D&D 5E D&D Next Blog: What's in a (Spell) Name?


First Post
Actually, some of my favorite spell names used words that I had never heard before, such as "prismatic", "incendiary", "mnemonic", and "phantasmal". Certainly gave my vocabulary a jolt, I can tell you. :)

Prismatic Spray, Incendiary Cloud and Phantasmal Killer aren't the things I'm talking about. You can infer their functions entirely from their names, and the rules are only needed for specifics. Well, 'prismatic' is a technical termini in D&D, but once you know what one of them does, you know what they all do. I was talking about things like Crescendo Sword or Divine Reverence which tells you nothing about what they actually do.

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It seems odd that named people seem to be okay, but named organizations are less well received. Doesn't anyone else remember the indignation over Golden Wyvern and Emerald Serpent in the run-up to 4e? Do named organizations somehow intrude more than named individuals?

Because a named individual has less baggage. I mean think about it, who is Melf?

Is he a long dead wizard famous thousands of years ago?
Is he Jim Ward's PC?
Is he a powerful and contemporary wizard like Elminster?
Is he a member of a larger group of wizards like the circle of 8?
Is he some dude who found a scroll for acid arrow in a dusty tomb and happens to have a really good flair for public relations?

I mean really, unless you dove really deep into Greyhawk lore and really started digging into the setting any one of those answers would be perfectly acceptable at your table.

Organizations however are by their very nature made up of numerous NPC's with the ability to affect the world around them in ways that might infringe on places that the DM wants to take his campaign.

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