WORMY’S WEDNESDAY WHAT? Proper names in the game

Every week we pose a question for YOU, the fans of Legendary Games, something short, sweet, and to the point. And since we like a little alliteration, I think the Worm that Walks will wear the crown as the WEDNESDAY WHAT? mascot! In honor of the late, lamented Dave Trampier, we shall call him… Wormy!


The setup:

Back in 1st Edition, a lot of elements in the game were named after their creators, often named after characters in the ongoing campaigns of the creators. The “hand” spells of Bigby and the magical constructs of Mordenkainen, and more named for Tenser, Rary, Otiluke, Evard, and more were staples of our game. Proper names like that are protected content, of course, which is why you don’t see them in OGL products like the Pathfinder RPG, but they can add a lot of flavor and sizzle to a game.

The Forgotten Realms certainly took that concept and ran with it from the very first “Pages from the Mages” article, but it wasn’t just spells. Some magical items had names attached, and intelligent items had unique personal names as well, but really any feat or game rule could be personified by giving it a name that attaches to someone in the campaign world. That may be less true if you aren’t playing in the Realms or Greyhawk, though the ability to travel across worlds in fantasy certainly implies that those famous folks could have spread their secrets into many campaign worlds, and it would be just as easy to invent named mages in your own home campaign that rose to similar heights of fame. In a fantasy game played by busy people with busy lives, seemingly small elements like the consistent and repeated placing of fantasy names and peoples can help give a mental structure for players to immerse in the world and really feel the sense of fantasy and wonder. Then again, for some it may just be one more complication, and they’d rather just say mage’s sword instead of trying to remember how to pronounce some made-up wizard’s name.

This week’s WORMY’S WEDNESDAY WHAT?What are some of your favorite spells, magic items, feats, and so on that have (or used to have) a proper name attached? And what do you like to do in your campaign, as a player or GM, around adding proper names to spells, magic items, feats, etc. and why?

Watch it wiggle, see it squiggle...

Watch it wiggle, see it squiggle…