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RE: (TFT) Names

I find names in Role-Playing Games to be very interesting, especially when the players and Game Master are doing something interesting (or at least funny) with them. They can be commentary on what happens in the game or in the game world. In the game worlds we ran, even from early on, the race and nationality tended to have an effect on the character names. As we noticed and got more interested in what people (and places) were called, we also noticed and indulged in some humor about it.

One country would lengthen one-word names based on social status, generally repeating the last syllable, so in the tradition of one small coastal nation, Dov the child became Dovov the young man, later Dovovov the warrior, who might become Dovovovov the stately gentleman. That was done for cultural interest but also to tease the players.

We too had cases where names were risk factors for horrible violence, or for character interpretation. Especially for minor non-player characters who didn't have much else detailed about their personality other than the ring of their name, although sometimes this could be deceiving. One player still reminds me of the brilliance of having one of the minor hired help named Brint Grint, join the party with sinister motives. Who would suspect danger from someone with such a name?

At one stage, a player became interested in Non-Player Character names and started asking me (the game master) what everyone's name was, including mundane incidental merchants. My mental random name generator began to break down, so when I would try to generate a name on the spot, "Bob" would often come out of my mouth. Eventually, it occurred: 

Player: "What's the wagon merchant's name?"
Me: "Bob."
Player: "No! His name is NOT Bob!"


I think it's particularly funny for people because identity and names are so closely linked. Imagine if you had to live life with a name that seems strange, hilarious, farcical, or whatever. "Oh... I _AM_ Peeblebreen Quorhoon!" Also, who people think they are really does shape their personality, more than we literally think about - we embody who we think we are, and I've never even thought about what it might mean to be a Peeblebreen until just now when I invented the name.

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