Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gleep Wurp the Gamer Namer

I think it's somewhere in the back of the G1-3 module, but there is a D&D pre-gen character named Gleep Wurp the Eye-biter. That name has stuck with me since the first time I read it as a wee lad chucking dice for the first time.

I hate that name.

In fact I hate all sorts of faux fantasy names. Most are just some sort of strange mash-up of consonants and vowels attempting to sound fantastic and foreign. Too often the only serve to make me realize how absurd (or potentially how crappy) the book is I am reading. It takes me right out of the world because I have to puzzle over what the heck does this word sound like,and how do you pronounce it anyway.

This is part of my hang up with the Simarillion (say that 3 times fast)and why no matter how much I want to read it, I simply chuck it in frustration. Contrast that with the Hobbit or LotR trilogy. I can easily sort out the names in those and though strange (Boromir, Bilbo, Frodo, Smaug, Sauruman) I can reasonably assume how to pronounce them.

Contrast that with some from my favorie offender R.A. Salvatore: Drizzt Do'Urden, Jarlaxle Baenre,Ilnezhara,Tazmikella,Eilistraee, Fraehlern. (note one of those is not an actual Salvatore character...but its poop-like nature fits right in.) I have about 6 different Salvatore collections on my shelf that were gifts...and attempts to have me overcome this prejudice. I have not been able to finish let alone get beyond chapter 3 in any of them.

I am sure we all have our own pet peeves, but nothing takes me out of reading, or for that matter gaming, quicker than some absurd or unpronounceable merger of letters masquerading as a name.

If you think I am going to call you by a character name like Flexelgramhult Von Rubtyyrst for the next hour, let alone months of a campaign, my friend pick up your dice and head for the exit now.

Okay so you know what I hate, what do I do to get around it? I simply mix up the letters from common words we already know. It makes them seem familiar but different at the same time. Examples? Sure, guess the real stuff I made these names out of:

Vany Dray
Nolerad Tamlin
Wred Ebres
Det Millaws
Mrebun Xis
Sajon Shewa
Noj Darnbon
Drowl Reises

Is it perfect? Probably not...but they are unique, somewhat fantastic while still being pronounceable and reasonable.

Peeca Tou
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