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


Cute but dangerous
You know, each of my worlds simply has a guy named Bigby and a guy named Mordenkainen and a guy named Tenser. OK, sometimes they aren't guys...

The names don't need to refer to the original characters when you are playing elsewhere than Greyhawk. But I'd want to keep the names for all the reason listed in this topic and probably some more ;)

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And then I have to remove them to play the game in the setting for my campaign.
Which is more difficult, removing them or inventing whole new wacky names yourself?

(says the guy who usually prefer his own wacky names).

There is no good reason for removing the classic, nutty D&D wizard names. Leave them in for DMs who want to use them. If they don't fit your world, replace/remove them. This is not rocket science...

Why remove a resource --which takes up almost no space on a page-- that a lot of gamers find useful/flavorful??

They did a poll on the blog about whether people wanted spells named after iconic casters in the core books.

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Out of over 4300 respondents:

  • 41% said "Yes. They should be part of the core game because that’s what D&D is."
  • 29% said "Yes. And add more names, such as Emerikol, Entreri, and Blackstaff."
  • 15% said "No. They should be presented with the settings to which they’re appropriate."
  • 13% said "Maybe a few. However, they should be limited."
  • 2% said "None of the above."
You can always drop the names when they aren't relevant to the campaign setting.

I believe I voted "Yes, and add more." :)

Lord Pendragon

First Post
I've always appreciated the names in the spells. They're just free flavor. Perhaps I feel less concerned with them because none of my players would ever assume the names meant anything beyond the possibility that somewhere in my self-created campaign world, someone was once named Mordencainen.

They'd hardly think they knew anything about said Mordencainen (or even if he really existed) simply because a spell was named after him.

And someday I might actually have them find a "Mordencainen" in a crypt or something. Might give them something to chew on. :p


The name of wizards being attached to spells did at least two things for me; one, it made me want to find out more about them and two, it inspired me to think about some of the famous mages of my own campaign world.

M'jal, Telsar, Stormonu, Kirk, Emerald, Sarve, Black Marentail and others.

At times I wish D&D had fighting styles from the beginning as it would have inspired me to name great fighters as well - perhaps named miracles (such as Sustarre's Chariot) and even rogue stunts to inspire other famous NPCs. I did come up with some, but only much later and only when I realized I hadn't fleshed them out like I had the wizards. It's something I still sometimes struggle with - I can name my campaign wizard history with ease, but not the names of the famous Sun Tsu's, Miyamoto Musashi, D'Artagen, Robin Hoods or Archbishop Turpin of my world.

That said however, I am fine with or without the names on spells. With the names, they inspire a sort of shared history and make you think about the famous individuals or rockstars of your own campaign world. Without it, you are freer to create your own pantheons of ancient heroes.


First Post
I agree that the names add a lot to the game, and I think they should add more -

Melf's Magic Missile
Elminster's Etherealness
Gygax's Geas
Khelben's Chain Lightning
Hermione's Baleful Polymorph
Gandalf's Globe of Invulnerability

and so on & so forth.

Crazy Jerome

First Post
Another way to play the names, at least in a world where mages have any kind of social interaction on a regular basis with other mages, is to make it all a bunch of academic pretension. That is, all the mages know that there is no "Tenser", never was a "Tenser," and that the floating disk spell was made by some little balding sorcerer named William of Hobton, a couple of hundred years ago out of sheer laziness. But "Bill's Floating Disk" is no way to market or create an image of power.

So amongst themselves, they casually call it "floating disk," but in their writings and interaction with others, they always use the full name. Any non-wizard with sufficient arcane knowledge would know this as well, and probably roll his eyes every time the wizard starts up again. :D

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