Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WotC Designer Firstson Familyname Surprised At D&D Naming Backlash

In an exclusive interview with RPG Blog 2, Wizards of the Coast Associate Dungeons & Dragons Designer Firstson Familyname seemed perplexed at the backlash against many of the noun-verb, noun-noun, and adjective-noun type of naming conventions used in D&D, such as the Fire Archon Blazesteel, Bloodspike Behemoth, Shadowfell, Trollhaunt, and Thunderspire, to name a few.

“I just don’t get it. From the earliest days I can remember, when my parents got me my first Poopmaker Puppy, that’s how we spoke,” Familyname confessed.

“We lived in a Redbrick Ranchhouse, and all in all my childhood was pretty normal, from playing with a Bestfriend Neighborkid to falling in love with a Teencrush Heartbreaker.

Why any Gamerfan feels like I’m naming D&D monsters or powers strangely, I’m not sure”.

Mr. Familyname admits the criticism has been trying.

“My wife, Spouseunit Nicewife has turned into a Spouseunit Nagwife, and that's been hard for my kids, Firstborn and Uplannedbaby".

Still, Firstson’s faith in himself and a higher power keep him going.

“I just have to trust that I am an Elite Firstson, and my life is in the hands of Personalsavior Jesuschrist”.


Stargazer said...

Haha! That's just awesome! You made my day a little bit brighter! :)

Rob Lang said...

I coughed up sandwich over "Spouseunit". I'm going to call my wife that from now on.

Roger the GS said...

Hey. It worked fine for Magic: The Gathering. (Which in turn was a riff on White Wolf's "Creature: The Pretentiousword.")

heyjames4 said...

It is exactly like Magic: The Gathering. In Mark Rosewater's Making Magic column a few years back (can't find link), he explicitly said that the reason they were naming things in the style of "utterdark snipekin", "bloodwave tempestmaker", or even "tenser's transformation" was that using compound words exponentially increases the number of names you can come up with (and sell product for).

That you can patent "spikenail hobgoblin" but cannot patent "goblin" is (officialy) icing on the cake.

Greyaxe said...

“My wife, Spouseunit Nicewife has turned into a Spouseunit Nagwife, and that's been hard for my kids, Firstborn and Uplannedbaby".

Milk squirted from my nose... I wasn't drinking any. LOL

anarchist said...

This style of naming is like nails across a blackboard for me. But I suppose it's 'invisible' to people whose first exposure to gaming was 3rd or 4th edition.

anarchist said...

Although what I really dislike is having a well-known fantasy creature, but with an all-new name.

At least D&D seems to be doing this for purely mercenary reasons, not because they think calling elves Faekinne makes them original.

Although I wonder about the value of their names. Who wants to call their lizard-people Dragonborn anyway?

Anonymous said...

Good job. Hopefully this makes the rounds at the WotC offices. I can't stand those names, personally... they are just laughably stupid sounding, though it's clear they were meant to be oh-so-cool-sounding. If it's done for copyright reasons though they are home free... NOBODY will ever try to copy those names.

Grendelwulf said...

Oh it is gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh.

The trollbones crunched redgold under their lairbridges. Behind my bloodmount & I, the truesightarcher sends deathkisses three-wise silverflamed. There by the rustgates, the timpscreams rolling through the air crunched like candythunder.

Oh, it was wonder of wonders. And then, a godhawk of like rarest spun heavenmetal, or like silvery wine flowing in a well of soulstones, gravity all nonsense now, came the calling blastcry above all the other sirens, and those sounds were like a cage of silk round my helm. They bored, like worms of sourplatinum, into the thick toffee gold and silver of my spiritmindsoul. It was such bliss, my brothers."
-excerpt from Tomb of Horrorshows


anonynos said...

So... this is something /else/ that WotC is getting blamed for? Because this sort of naming scheme never appeared before? Certainly not before 3e! I mean, something as silly as "Thunderbird" could only have come from people who only know who to play 4e, right? Damn these kids.

"Who wants to call their lizard-people Dragonborn anyway?"

People who want to differentiate their dragon-based lizard type people from standard lizardmen, I assume.

Andreas Davour said...

I'm not sure I get it, But, it was quite funny.

John Williams said...

Very funny!

I'm pretty sure that someone in the WotC marketing department said: "I want all names to be a combination of names stolen from Diablo, mixed with common DnD monsters, with words like spike or blood attached somehow."

rorschachhamster said...

So, you shouldn't be blamed for using dumb names because somebody did it before you? Even if you use them excessivly? Ô_o

Carpe Guitarrem said...

FANTASTIC. That was amazing. In fact, now I know what to blog today.

andurion said...

It started with Greyhawk and Blackmoor, but got big with Dragonlance and Planescape. ;)

Zachary The First said...

Thanks, guys!

@Anonynos: Certainly, it's existed for a long time. It's just fun to tweak WotC about it, because it's so visible. I'm not blaming, just teasing.

Honestly, my players will tell you my naming conventions are just as bad. I also use anagrams of friends' names for place names...

anarchist said...


"People who want to differentiate their dragon-based lizard type people from standard lizardmen, I assume."

That's the problem. A good writer would call their lizard-men 'lizard-men', and give them interesting characteristics.

But, as I said, I think the phenomenon of Wizards wanting to be able to own the names of their monsters is different to the phenomenon of fantasy heartbreakers where "our elves are called something completely different."

Nick Crayon said...

You definately made me smile.

@anarchist- That's exactly the point. It seems like Wizards is trying to get away with bland descriptions of monsters and powers by naming them something else. To steal an example above, instead of making the goblins interesting foes by making them have a unique culture, or interesting tactics, or even visually appealing, they just say, "Hey, these are Spikenail Hobgoblins, not regular Greenskin Tinygoblins!"

nebussa said...

Ever read Beowulf?