Who cares about Otiluke, Mordenkainen, Rary and whatever geezer names they trot out.

Herschel

Adventurer
This is an issue with D&D Next that I don't know the design team has even looked at in any major way. In the latest survey, they spammed out all these old spell names, many with names of "some old Wizard or something" attached. I've been around longer than the game and they don't even mean much to me any more. What are they supposed to mean to newer players?

Unless your game is stuck in a chronostational Greyhawk, they're either all dead and stories fading, some names people talk about or newer players may never have even heard of them.

Yeah, Mordenkainen is basically Gary's Elminster/Mary Sue and most of them are in the same vein, but if they're going to trot that stuff out again then make it evocative. Otherwise they may as well call it "Jim's Floating Disk".

A stand-alone, evergreen product would be cool, but probably not a good idea. Sidebars would be immediate and right in the new PHB, but could take up a whole lot of already tight print space. I'm not sure how they should do it but I do feel something should be done if they're going to use those names. Tell us who Tenser and Bigby were, don't leave it as just ways to make spell names longer.

Thoughts?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

CAFRedblade

Explorer
The thing is, those names for those characters' spells came first.

It's like if a scientist discovers a new species, or element, they name it, or the item gets named after them.

All those names are iconic in a general sense at this point.

Yes you could name Tenser's Floating Disc spell to just Floating Disc,
but it's not as evocative (to me) even if I've never played in Greyhawk.

Even if you never come across those wizards in your campaign, or rule they are all long dead, they were the first to create those particular spells. Perhaps one day your Wizard will develop a new spell which will carry on his name long after he is dead....

And you can easily change the name to something appropriate for your campaign setting...
 




El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
Who cares about them? I Do. I like them, and I completely disagree with the OP.

New Players may not know those names, but it can give them a feeling of depth and history to the game...a sense that there's layers of things for them to discover. It also opens up the possibility (group and campaign dependent) that they may have a spell named after their character someday. And that's Cool!

IMO they're a plus, not a negative. But if one doesn't like them, one can simply ignore the character names.

They're an iconic part of the game for me, and add depth to my games even when I'm not using Greyhawk (which I mostly don't). I think they should stay.

:)
 

Because every world should have someone called 'Medium' Rary, and a Male Elf called Melf? I'd almost prefer renaming every Mordaniken's spell in Dark Sun after one of the Sorceror Kings and in the Realms after Elminster.

Either that or rename the sorceror kings Mordaniken, Melf, Tenser, and Bigby - and then go beat them up at epic level.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
What are they supposed to mean to newer players?

Exactly what they meant to us when we first picked up the game - that there's a history and setting behind those spells, and thereby to the practice of magic in the world. Evoking that feeling of history can be important to the adoption of the game.

You don't need to be "chronostationary" for those names to have meaning in the world. Today, we still reference the names of Newton, Mendel, Darwin, and Einstein, because they are part of history. Being long dead is no barrier to the reference.
 

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
...But hey, who cares about Schrödinger's Cat, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Newton's Law, Euler's Number, the Pythagorean theorem, Einstein's relativity theory, Hawking Radiation or Einstein-Rosen Bridges...

And don't ignore Gianni Vandehey's principle of entropic inversion...;)



(here for those that don't know the reference)
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
I love these spell names. They create an implied world, where these names can mean something. What exactly can be up to the DM.

But hey, who cares about Schrödinger's Cat, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Newton's Law, Euler's Number, the Pythagorean theorem, Einstein's relativity theory, Hawking Radiation or Einstein-Rosen Bridges...

They are the spell equivalent of Bell's Theorem, Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, or the Fermi Paradox.

EDIT: everybody appears to have the idea...
The difference here is that real world scientists are real people who have actually done something to deserve the respect, and that the use of their names is done to avoid confusion. D&D wizards are not real, not even in the context of the history of most published campaign settings, and their names are not needed to distinguish spells.

Does it matter if a spell is "Melf's Acid Arrow" if there is no other thing in the game called "Acid Arrow"? It doesn't do a thing to add to clarity. On the other hand, Euler's Number or the Pythagorean theorem are rather important to clarifying which number or theorem is being discussed...

Still, I'm not a fan of this style of naming spells after random wizards simply because I've never cared about them at all. When I first started playing with 3E I didn't have a clue who they were, the game never even briefly explained who they were, and I just thought their names were weird and out-of-place. Nothing over the last several years has changed that initial opinion.
 

the Jester

Legend
I love those names, and plenty of my homebrewed spells are "Marius' x" or "Nirrighan's y" or whatever.

Not only that, but I think it's worth asking two questions before changing anything:

1. Does this have a long history in D&D?
2. Is there a good reason that changing it improves the game?

If the answer to number 2 isn't Yes, there's nothing gained by changing the element. If the answer to number 1 is Yes, then changing it is going to alienate some players. In this case, I see no gain worth the drama, and a loss of flavor that doesn't only not improve game, it makes it blander.

So, no thanks- I'll keep Bigby's grasping hand, Tenser's floating disc and Nirrighan's dismemberment as they are.
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
I think they should add more names.

It comes from The Dying Earth by Jack Vance. Spells were named after the wizard who discovered them.

The tomes which held Turjan's sorcery lay on a long table of black steel or were thrust helter-skelter into shelves. These were volumes compiled by many wizards of the past, untidy folios collected by the Sage, leather-bound librams setting forth the syllables of a hundred powerful spells, so cogent that Turjan's brain could know but four at a time.

Turjan found a musty portfolio, turned the heavy pages to the spell the Sage had shown him, the Call to the Violet Cloud. He stared down at the characters and they burned with an urgent power, pressing off the page as if frantic to leave the dark solitude of the book.

Turjan closed the book, forcing the spell back into oblivion. [...] Then he sat down and from a journal chose the spells he would take with him. What dangers he might meet he could not know, so he selected three spells of general application: the Excellent Prismatic Spray, Phandaal's Mantle of Stealth, and the Spell of the Slow Hour.​

(I got that from here.)
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Two words:

Brand

Identity


Some of the folks who care about those geezers are the folks who see the name "Bigby" as unique IP, and see visions of six Bigby action figures with collectable "hand" spells. Or whatever.

They might get in the way a bit when you're doing a specific subsetting, but it's easy to drop names in your world. In the published stuff, reinforcing that IP and those iconic characters is smart business.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
This is an issue with D&D Next that I don't know the design team has even looked at in any major way. In the latest survey, they spammed out all these old spell names, many with names of "some old Wizard or something" attached. I've been around longer than the game and they don't even mean much to me any more. What are they supposed to mean to newer players?

Unless your game is stuck in a chronostational Greyhawk, they're either all dead and stories fading, some names people talk about or newer players may never have even heard of them.

Yeah, Mordenkainen is basically Gary's Elminster/Mary Sue and most of them are in the same vein, but if they're going to trot that stuff out again then make it evocative. Otherwise they may as well call it "Jim's Floating Disk".

A stand-alone, evergreen product would be cool, but probably not a good idea. Sidebars would be immediate and right in the new PHB, but could take up a whole lot of already tight print space. I'm not sure how they should do it but I do feel something should be done if they're going to use those names. Tell us who Tenser and Bigby were, don't leave it as just ways to make spell names longer.

Thoughts?

Use them in place of "iconic characters" for generalists and specialist wizards.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I do, and as your DM I intend to educate your character......history and context are part of what makes the game.

Sent using Tapatalk 2
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I actually wish they would go a step further and share some details of noted wizards/fighters/monks/etc. as example figures players could model their characters after. Encourage a connection to history and the wider world. Less PCs as an island on to themselves is something that should be encouraged.
 

Personally, I don't care about any of those names--partly because I started in BECMI, which didn't use the names even when it used the spell, so to me "Floating Disk" was always more natural than Tenser's Floating Disk. But while I don't care about them, I also don't think they create any problems. Since other people clearly enjoy the feeling of a setting that they provide, I don't mind WotC continuing to include them.

I wouldn't in principle mind more detail, but it worries me in practice, because some of the detail from the history of the game is lame, but changing it will alienate many people for little gain. As it is, I'd just leave it at the spells and some references around magic items and the like, and let DMs either fill in the rest on their own or do research on the internet.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
I love these spell names. They create an implied world, where these names can mean something. What exactly can be up to the DM.

But hey, who cares about Schrödinger's Cat, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Newton's Law, Euler's Number, the Pythagorean theorem, Einstein's relativity theory, Hawking Radiation or Einstein-Rosen Bridges...

Right, but all those names mean something, at least to the educated/informed. IOW, If you know those theories/principles/concepts/etc. you most likely know some basic knowledge about those names as people/historical figures.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
Exactly what they meant to us when we first picked up the game - that there's a history and setting behind those spells, and thereby to the practice of magic in the world. Evoking that feeling of history can be important to the adoption of the game.

You don't need to be "chronostationary" for those names to have meaning in the world. Today, we still reference the names of Newton, Mendel, Darwin, and Einstein, because they are part of history. Being long dead is no barrier to the reference.

Right, but there's no reference to those names outside of the spell names later on. I think there should be sidebars or something with a blurb in reference to those casters. Call it necessary fluff to bring the game to more common footing.

I'm not saying there has to be a lot of information on them, just that there should be some, whether it's appearance, temperment and specialization or whatever. Kind of like one of the oodles of basic blurbs on Elminster.
 

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
The difference here is that real world scientists are real people who have actually done something to deserve the respect, and that the use of their names is done to avoid confusion. D&D wizards are not real, not even in the context of the history of most published campaign settings, and their names are not needed to distinguish spells.

Ahhh, but those names refer to characters played by people that were formative to the Greyhawk Campaign and early D&D. In essence, those player's pseudonyms. IMO, being a part of the formation and history of such an early part of D&D does deserve respect, and having their characters names eternally part of the core of the game, I think perfectly fulfills that.

But I don't need that as a reason to want them included. Nor do I think that any "need" is necessary. It's just a game afterall. IMO, the only prerequisite I need is "are they Cool...?"

For me, they most certainly are.

:D
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top