Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Naming Conventions for Weirdos In Holes

You can tell this guy has three names and is drooling for a fourth, credit Tomek Larek

Peasants have one name, occasionally adding "of [town]" if they've gone travelling... but that never happens. Usually they are content to go by "Oi! You!". Merchants, mercenaries and the like will have a last name. Nobles will append and prepend and insert all sorts of bullshit middle names and honourifics, as many as they can get away with. There are rules in place that determine who gets what, a byzantine nightmare of rules in fact, but any sufficiently complicated system can be adequately represented by random generation.

Dwarven names are composed of three elements, their profession, their place of birth/employment, and an identification number. Example: "Wellshaper, Seventh Hill, 511". Nicknames are common, either an abbreviation of their full title, or a particular physical identifier.

Elves pick a particular moment of beauty as their name/title. Perhaps Vibrant Swans Fill the Dusk Sky in June. They affect human titles for nicknames nicknames e.g. "Your Grace", "Your Majesty", "Duchess of Everywhere", but it's all a silly game to them, and they change like the wind. As they ascend the ranks of gentility and the mystic arts, they acquire ever broader domains of purity and grace. Their "king" is called The Moon, their "queen", The Stars. Do not ask who is called The Sun.

A full Orcish name is a list of all the names of notable people they have killed, in order. Example: Leofing-Alice-Nash-Wulsi-Perchehay. If an Orc asks you for your name and you refuse to give it, expect to be tortured to death. Hence, ambushes are almost useless: an enemy not worth their name is weak enough to be killed out in the open, and the loss of a truly spectacular name in a dishonourable fashion can be social suicide in Orcish society. Orcs with truly extravagant names will often go on spirit journeys to discover their true identities, coming back with a single name of power.

Sidenote: Human nobles say that Orcs picked up the idea of multiple names representing authority and privilege from them. Funnily enough, the Orcs say the exact same thing about the Humans...

Goblin discover language the same way your shin discovers a low coffee-table in the dark. The first four words they think or say are usually the ones they take as their name. This is frequently a description of the first thing they saw, stole, or were hit with. Example: "Apple-Closest-To-Rock" or "Big-Pointy-Branch-Pointy".

Alternatively, from this lovely gem.

Mages of all sorts have been protecting their given names from malfeasance for aeons. Witches bury their given name within a forest, Warlocks frequently bind their name to their Patron, Sorcerers... alright, Sorcerers usually have their birth-name, but are you really going to mess with one of those? Wizards protect their given names by taking one, an simple process requiring a basic spell performed when they become an apprentice. The new name encapsulates the old one, deflecting appellomantic spells by sending them to a counterfeit "recipient", so to speak. Unfortunately, a minor spell-mutation that was grafted onto some nasty Power Words allowed for a loophole: if you could guess the taken name without being specifically told what it was (reading it counted) then it would bypass the heretofore impregnable protections. Remember, these taken names were chosen by young, teenage apprentices. Dozens of Wizards going by the taken name "Maximus Power" were mind-controlled, teleported, turned inside out etc. before the cause was discovered.

Ever since, Wizards have chosen only the most unlikely, outlandish and humiliating names possible. Examples: "Bingbong Wigglewatch", "Archmage Vestal Puickalier VII", "Frillnecked Lizardbang". Paranoid Wizards may choose a name that is a random collection of letters, numbers or made-up symbols, but a dreadful fate awaits those who abandon their own name in such a a fashion.

A genteel, female human name, or a virtue . They are mostly devout Hesayans, or at least, they are raised that way. Those that achieve significant achievements are free to add them as a last name. Examples: "Annabelle", "Charity", "Miriam - The Archway of Gablesar", "Catherine - Six Trolls At Darkling Brook" (This is all Skerples', I did nothing apart from add non-military surnames)

The worst, most foul insult they have invented ever.

There are too many angels in heaven. They can all dance on the head of a pin, and if you want anything like order up there, you'll name and regiment them. And they all need different names. For a being of pure soul, identity isn't seperate from self, it is the self. And since all angels are highly uncreative, when a new angel (or half angel) is created, they'll be given the predecessors name, plus one. The names of the first few angels were unique, but latter angel names are aphorisms and homilies. Usually about the genocide of sinners.

Still to come (though possibly never will):
  • Halflings
  • Clergy, who collect names and titles and can't get rid of them
  • Barbarians?
  • Kobolds and Dragonborn
  • Aasimar and Tieflings

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