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 NPC names: mundane versus exotic?
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Azar
Master of Realmslore

1256 Posts

Posted - 01 Dec 2023 :  09:11:40  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We can add The Caldwells to the list.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36773 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2023 :  04:36:52  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

We can add The Caldwells to the list.



Ugh... At least it's not Smith or Johnson.

Though I'm surprised the family doesn't seem to have any connection to revealing clothing for women, and especially surprised that they don't have a like a ruby mine or something.

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Azar
Master of Realmslore

1256 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2023 :  07:54:31  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How'd I miss The Oberons? In any case, they are far from the most incongruous individuals. Mythological names (specifically, for mortal beings) in The Realms tend to reside in a grey zone, at worst; no one bats an eye at a bloke named Artemis...

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

We can add The Caldwells to the list.



Ugh... At least it's not Smith or Johnson.

Though I'm surprised the family doesn't seem to have any connection to revealing clothing for women, and especially surprised that they don't have a like a ruby mine or something.



What's surprising is that, yes, they "debuted" during the advent of 5e, but someone decided to bring them back for the latest cinematic tie-in. They are now double baked into The Realms .

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36773 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2023 :  18:48:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

How'd I miss The Oberons? In any case, they are far from the most incongruous individuals. Mythological names (specifically, for mortal beings) in The Realms tend to reside in a grey zone, at worst; no one bats an eye at a bloke named Artemis...




Actually, that one has bugged me since I first read it back in the 90's.

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TBeholder
Great Reader

2356 Posts

Posted - 09 Dec 2023 :  06:28:26  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
38. Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
Hmmm...

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 09 Dec 2023 06:29:49
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Azar
Master of Realmslore

1256 Posts

Posted - 09 Dec 2023 :  11:57:04  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
38. Do you see nothing wrong with having two characters from the same small isolated village being named "Tim Umber" and "Belthusalanthalus al'Grinsok"?
Hmmm...



As much I as derive the occasional chuckle from lists such as those, I find that they can be discouraging and even impractical (some might say "unrealistic") for aspirant entertainers who have yet to accrue enough wisdom to distinguish between good advice and bad advice.

Here is a prime example ->

quote:
16. Do any of your female characters exist solely to be captured and rescued?


Be it the distressed damsel, the brusque magistrate or the grasping proprietor, there are characters whose raison d'etre is to fulfill their appointed roles before exiting stage left. Unless you are working with a remarkably small assemblage of personalities, in the economy of detail, you either cannot or will not afford depth to every individual when other considerations are vying for your investment. Plus, there is another stumbling block: the difference between mediums.

In a novel, you can insert that lengthy (and ideally amazing!) backstory on a character and the reader will be aware of this eventful history (okay, there's theoretically nothing stopping someone from skipping past the paragraphs, but most folks will digest this content at least once). When you are the Dungeon Master for a tabletop roleplaying game, it is entirely possible that the players will remain COMPLETELY oblivious to the genuinely interesting four page story that you've concocted for that NPC...that man who was once a merchant that conflicted with his family before falling on hard times in a cutthroat market, having to support himself by becoming a mercenary of all professions and discovering that he not only had a knack for the blade (a knack inadvertently suppressed by his disapproving parents) but possesses a nobility of spirit that puts many of the knights in his kingdom to shame. That unusually principled sellsword may die in his first battle alongside the Player Characters, may be ignored altogether or may simply never be engaged in meaningful conversation with the Player Characters.

Furthermore, for all the flak people give certain established genre conventions, they are classic for a reason. They endure, for a reason. Trying your hand at a subversion is fine (though, nowadays, many subversions are on their way to becoming old hat), but if you can take the tried and true and put your own spin on it while delighting others...good for you.

-- -- --

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

How'd I miss The Oberons? In any case, they are far from the most incongruous individuals. Mythological names (specifically, for mortal beings) in The Realms tend to reside in a grey zone, at worst; no one bats an eye at a bloke named Artemis...




Actually, that one has bugged me since I first read it back in the 90's.




Correction: Wooly batted an eye (and probably much worse) back in the day .

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36773 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2023 :  16:36:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Heh. I've always liked the deity Artemis, so seeing that name used jumped right out at me...

It was sometime after that that I learned of Artemus Gordon from the old TV show Wild Wild West. At least that spelling was changed a bit...

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Azar
Master of Realmslore

1256 Posts

Posted - 11 Dec 2023 :  01:27:56  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
At least in 2e, there was one "Munro Cassimar" living in Shadowdale.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Heh. I've always liked the deity Artemis, so seeing that name used jumped right out at me...

It was sometime after that that I learned of Artemus Gordon from the old TV show Wild Wild West. At least that spelling was changed a bit...



Phonetically speaking, it is - in essence - a distinction without a difference...is it not? Kind of like "Tim"/'Tym"?

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36773 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2023 :  03:14:49  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

At least in 2e, there was one "Munro Cassimar" living in Shadowdale.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Heh. I've always liked the deity Artemis, so seeing that name used jumped right out at me...

It was sometime after that that I learned of Artemus Gordon from the old TV show Wild Wild West. At least that spelling was changed a bit...



Phonetically speaking, it is - in essence - a distinction without a difference...is it not? Kind of like "Tim"/'Tym"?



At least when you change the spelling, you can claim it's a different name, or maybe say it's inspired by but not a direct lift from, etc... It's a common enough thing; I work with a guy named Jean and my dad goes by Gene. Is it Carol or Carole? Carolyn or Caroline? Kris or Chris? And so on...

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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