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

Herschel

Adventurer
2. Is there a good reason that changing it improves the game?
...So, no thanks- I'll keep Bigby's grasping hand, Tenser's floating disc and Nirrighan's dismemberment as they are.

I'm not saying change the names, I'm saying give us some freaking blurbs/stories/whatever to initiate EVERYONE who may only know the name (or not even that) with them.

Give us something to make them meaningful again instead of "just that name on that spell."
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Elf Witch

First Post
I care because it is a reminder of the game's long roots. When a new player asks about them I tell them they were named after the first players PC in the game. I have never had anyone feel that it ruins their enjoyment of the game.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
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.

And for those educated/informed about the history of the game, those names mean something as well.

It's all about context. My grandmother probably didn't know anything about Euler's number. Its context wasn't important to her despite the fact that she was educated, thank you.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
I care because it is a reminder of the game's long roots. When a new player asks about them I tell them they were named after the first players PC in the game. I have never had anyone feel that it ruins their enjoyment of the game.


I never said they ruin the enjoyment of the game. Again, I'd like to see something that actually brings those names back to the front again. Let people know a bit about them who aren't familiar with them.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
And for those educated/informed about the history of the game, those names mean something as well.

Right, but why not give people who haven't seen the old Greyhawk stuff (as well as those of us who do know it but haven't seen many of them mentioned in over a decade) a frame of reference. To me this is important fluff and something I miss in later editions.
 

Elf Witch

First Post
I never said they ruin the enjoyment of the game. Again, I'd like to see something that actually brings those names back to the front again. Let people know a bit about them who aren't familiar with them.

You are not the only one commenting about this either.

Though calling them Mary Sue was a little insulting. But then I have never met a PC that was not a Mary Sue.
 
Last edited:

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Right, but why not give people who haven't seen the old Greyhawk stuff (as well as those of us who do know it but haven't seen many of them mentioned in over a decade) a frame of reference. To me this is important fluff and something I miss in later editions.

I think things like sidebars with details about the history of the game, prominent NPCs that helped define elements of the game, and other tidbits of information would be a great idea. I've been a proponent of the game preserving more of its history for a number of years now.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
Who cares about Otiluke, Mordenkainen, Rary and whatever geezer names they trot out.
I neither know nor care who these characters are in the Grayhawk canon.

What those spell names add to the game, though, is a sense of history and specificity. The idea that someone invented the spell, that it isn't some generic power that fills a mechanical niche. Flavor.

So if the choice is between Melf's Acid Arrow, Acid Arrow (boring), or Acidarrow of Ongoingdamage (stupid), I don't see any reason not to go with the classic. All spells don't need this; just a few to spice things up. Worst case scenario, the proper noun doesn't work for you, and you ignore it. Best case, it makes you think about the game in a new and interesting way.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
You are not the only one commenting about this either.

Though calling us the Mary Sue was a little insulting. But then I have never met a PC that was not a Mary Sue.


What "us"? Unless you were the person to create and play those characters in Gary's old group then there's no reference to you. That reference was in response to those who complain the iconic characters are Mary Sues, which yeah, I can see that but it's still important flavor. Elminster is still an important character to the FR lore for a whole lot of people too, he just has current content.
 

Jacob Marley

First Post
I never said they ruin the enjoyment of the game. Again, I'd like to see something that actually brings those names back to the front again. Let people know a bit about them who aren't familiar with them.

Which version do you choose? Rary the Mage or Rary the Traitor? Do you include information about them that occured in Living Greyhawk? Even is many, many players of D&D didn't participate?

Or, perhaps instead, we just say something like "Tenser is an anagram of Ernest, son of Gary Gygax, and was one of the first characters played in the early days of D&D. We are including him and other of the early characters' names throughout these books... yadda, yadda, yadda."
 

Pour

First Post
The historic names may add something for a select group of the fan base, and that's cool. I don't particularly care, as they have no bearing in my game, but I wouldn't actively seek to eliminate them. They really do no harm.

I do see something else in this kind of a topic, though, which I do sympathize with. The more of the past nuances you bring into the present edition, the more the people who do not cherish the idiosyncrasies and nuances of the past will resist for feeling forced, disassociate for being uninterested, or simply wonder as to their lack of reference. The names are unimportant to some as they are important to others. Luckily, they're just names, but I could see other aspects of the game with much more mandatory weight being contentious between old school, 3e, 4e, and entirely new gamers. It's not all nostalgic to everyone, and some of the quirks actually come off as silly or entirely unappealing. I've felt it before myself over issues with the assumed cosmology. It's only exasperated by extremists.
 

Mallus

Legend
I don't so much like those names because of their part of D&D's history, or brand identity, or whatever --though there's nothing wrong with a little respect for what came before.

I like them because they're good names. And specific/concrete language is almost always better the non-specific/mushy language.

Using the classic D&D names is a great starting point. A DM might want to replace them with their own setting specific ones, and that's even better. But follow suit -- don't genericize.

A friend of mine in my old 3.5e campaign had a great naming his spells and self-made items in grand old Gygaxian/Vancian fashion. His Burne's Immaculate Contraction wouldn't have had half the charm if he called it Shrink Large Magic Item.
 
Last edited:

JRRNeiklot

First Post
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

There is no difference to the characters. The word IS real for them.

Still, I'm not a fan of this style of naming spells after random wizards...
Mordenkainen is hardly a "random" wizard.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Keep the names, I say. Besides the parallels to RW naming conventions of discoveries, they are touchstones to the dawn, not just of the game, but of the hobby. Sure, they may be out of place in campaign settings that other than those of their origins, but D&D DOES allow for interplanar travel & multiple Prime Material planes...

If that still bugs you, realize that not every setting has an Ehlonna, Zagy, etc., and just change the names for your campaign.

FWIW, I sometimes do this myself. I was in a campaign in which there was a HR that allowed casters to learn Metamagically altered spells as distinct spells without having the feat. IOW, you could learn fireball as a 3rd level spell, as per normal. But you could learn Still Fireball as a distinct 4th level spell, one tht counted against your spells known.

My lightningphillic, armor wearing sorcerer PC learned ALL of his attack spells as either stilled or lightning (or both) versions, and plastered his name all over them.
 
Last edited:


Herschel

Adventurer
Which version do you choose? Rary the Mage or Rary the Traitor? Do you include information about them that occured in Living Greyhawk? Even is many, many players of D&D didn't participate?

Or, perhaps instead, we just say something like "Tenser is an anagram of Ernest, son of Gary Gygax, and was one of the first characters played in the early days of D&D. We are including him and other of the early characters' names throughout these books... yadda, yadda, yadda."

I'd leave the Living Greyhawk stuff out, but wouldn't mind it being in. Personally, I'd go with the rary the Traitor included because that was in the regular, mass market material.

As for the Tenser bit, yes, that's what I'd like to see. Then a short description of the character's personality, specialties, etc. Bring the game home and make it feel more personal. A shared story amongst players.
 

Mengu

First Post
I couldn't care less, what the books call the spell. I dislike the setting implications, but if it's just a name, I can live with it, whatever. I will likely reflavor everything to fit my characters/campaigns any way, as I have done so in all previous editions. I'm fine with generic names, Greyhawk names, Japanese anime names, whatever floats their boat. It's the mechanics that matter to me.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
Keep the names, I say. Besides the parallels to RW naming conventions of discoveries, they are touchstones to the dawn, not just of the game, but of the hobby. Sure, they may be out of place in campaign settings that other than those of their origins, but D&D DOES allow for interplanar travel & multiple Prime Material planes...

If that still bugs you, realize that not every setting has an Ehlonna, Zagy, etc., and just change the names for your campaign.

FWIW, I sometimes do this myself. I was in a campaign in which there was a HR that allowed casters to learn Metamagically altered spells as distinct spells without having the feat. IOW, you could learn fireball as a 3rd level spell, as per normal. But you could learn Still Fireball as a distinct 4th level spell, one tht counted against your spells known.

My lightningphillic, armor wearing sorcerer PC learned ALL of his attack spells as either stilled or lightning (or both) versions, and plastered his name all over them.

Which is why maybe sidebars would be "good enough". I don't mean to imply every world must have a Drawmij, just that a something to unite the player base about him is something I definitely want.
 

Crazy Jerome

First Post
Having been a fan of Vance's "Dying Earth" almost as long as I've been running D&D, I've always liked the names. I do agree that there should be some kind of information about where they come from, if only in an appendix. It wouldn't hurt to include a few suggestions about changing the names to fit your campaign, either.

In fact, I wish more spells had such names, but within limit. I doubt many people would be really thrilled at this point with "Jezebel's Fireball" or "Fuzzy's Magic Missile." ;) It works for most of the Leomund or Bigby or similar spells because those spells are nearly always really odd. The Melf's spells are an exception, both because of the silly name and because what's so odd about "Acid Arrow"?

If they were consistent about this, a spell having a name would be an easy clue that it does something unusual. You can even extrapolate this to a kind of natural language effect on spell names within the game world. Back at the dawn of magic, "Magic Missile" did get named after someone. There might have even been competing versions. It operated a little strangely in those days. After thousands of wizards tinkered with it for centuries, it settled down into (presumably) perfected form, which everyone just calls "Magic Missile" because it's so standard. And in any case, the "Magic Missle" we have now is a conglomeration of those spells. So who would it be named after?

Or if you really want to get far afield, use the Arcana Evolved simple/complex/exotic division, with all the exotic spells as named spells, but sometimes having simple or complex versions of those spells that are more bare bones. "Fireball" does the basics that it always did, but "Jezebel's Fireball" does that "expanding to fill a certain space" trick.
 


An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top