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General The Origins of Some D&D Names


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Many of the names of D&D spells, characters, and monsters have their origins in the family and friends of D&D co-creator Gary Gygax. Some were the names of characters played in early games, others were anagram of player names, and many were both! Here's a few off the top of my head. Let's try listing them.

  • Melf. Male Elf.
  • Tenser. Ernest Gygax.
  • Vecna. Jack Vance.
  • Xagyg. Gygax.
  • Drawmij. Jim Ward.

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So many more than I knew of. I am generally not big on anagrams and puns.

I think the names in Greyhawk and AD&D worked better as a straight weird fantasy vibe not knowing the origins but this is interesting.

I had assumed Tasha was a daughter of Gygax's, interesting to hear she was a young fan.

I had seen some products, I think from Mayfair Games' Role Aids, by a guy named Nystul, neat to read the actual inspiration was a stage magician who suggested his eponymous magic aura spell.

I wonder now about Otto's origins.