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What's In a Name?

Well, if you think about it... everything!

Choosing a name is the first big decision you make when you enter the realms and many folks say it's the biggest decision of all when it comes to character creation and development. After all, you will be raising your stats and skills as you play, but your name stays with you forever! So keeping that in mind, here are some guidelines to help you make an educated decision on your name.

Do's & Don'ts

DO be original! In a Roleplaying game like DragonRealms, originality is essential. In many fantasy books and even in actual history, names that identify a persons profession or "compound" names are common: Smith (Blacksmith), Cooper (barrel maker), and Johnson ("son of John") are just a few examples. As surnames (last names), these names are completely acceptable and even encouraged, within reason. A general rule of thumb to go by is a name composed of two nouns, adverbs, or adjectives put together is usually acceptable (there will always be exceptions), but when you start trying to make sentences into a last name, you'll most likely run into trouble. Also, if your first and last name put together make an entire sentence (or in some cases the opening paragraph to a novel), you're most likely going to be asked to change it, as well.

DO "borrow" from literature, but DON'T "steal". Most of us are familiar with names like Bilbo, Gandalf, Drizzt, or Raistlin. That simple fact that most of us know these names makes it far too disturbing to see these names in DragonRealms. When someone sees "Gandalf" arrive, they immediately think of the legendary Tolkien character and their mind is forced to see him as a majestic elderly human wizard, regardless of the fact that your Gandalf may be a bright green Gor'Tog or a bouncy little Gnome. Famous names from fantasy literature will almost always evoke a mental image and many times, even an actual personal reaction from those people you may meet in your adventures. Choosing the name of a famous evil villain can be just as dangerous to your reputation as choosing a well-loved hero, regardless of how you intend to roleplay his personality. Also just as "jarring" to the senses is seeing fifteen people with various spellings (and misspellings) of Raistlin. There are hundreds of thousands of possibilities for original names, loosely based on famous characters, which are available with a little effort and imagination. Learn to improvise, but also remember to compromise.

DO also keep the genre in mind! DragonRealms is based in a fantasy world. "Tribal" or "Native" names like Wolffriend, Runningdeer, and Soaringeagle set a dramatically different mood and are indicative of a completely different period of time and a specific culture from history. However, compound-word names like Ironjaw, Rockbreaker, or Goldtooth ARE allowable and even encouraged provided that they come from a genre that "fits" with the one DragonRealms is trying to depict.

DON'T "title" yourself. First names like Lordbob or Sircharles assume a lot, particularly that you've got some sort of power or authority from the very moment you exit the character manager. Remember that titles and honorifics in DragonRealms are earned, so if you want to make a name for yourself, you'll have to work at it here, just like in real life.

Odd punctuation and multiple capitals are generally allowable in a last name, particularly if they enhance your character's history. However, DON'T use apostrophes and capitals to help create a title or sentence, or to get around the naming rules with what would otherwise be considered unacceptable. Examples of this would be using prefixes like D, Da, De, Di, El, Z, Za, Ze, Zi, L, Le, La, Li, The, Tha, or Th with (or without) a hyphen or apostrophe to indicate a title or occupation. D'Healer is not acceptable, nor is Ze'Killa, but D'Hrami or Li-Wega would be fine.

Also, there's a fine line between a "unique" or "cute" name and just plain old "stupid" name. DON'T forget that you're stuck with the name you choose, so while Boopykins Loveycuddle, the Gor'Tog barbarian, might seem like a neat thing to do at the time, you may soon come to regret that name choice and unfortunately, there's no way to change your name, other than re-rolling your character and starting over from scratch.

DO look for inspiration from exotic languages, but again, borrow, don't steal. Search the web for translation services (like http://tranexp.com/) and get creative! Find an obscure language like Croatian, Finnish, or Welsh and see what "Iron", "Dog", or even "Cheese" looks like in another tongue! Avoid the "common" languages like French, Spanish, or Italian and go for something unusual. If all else fails, use the results of your search as a starting point and shuffle a few letters around until it sounds good to you.

Important Note
People have been locked out because they were "bored" and decided to roll up vulgar names "just to be funny."

Last but not least, DON'T be vulgar. Rude, crude, vulgar, or names that are in bad-taste will not only be re-rolled, but it's also possible to have a warning issued for game disruption if you make this a habit.

Examples of Common Naming Violations

Modern Name (Coolman, Gangstadood, Klingon)
This includes any modern connotations, out of genre, or out of character names. Musical artist names, Gang slang, TV characters, and movie characters are not allowed.
Title (Sirfreddie, Drfreddie, Freddiejr)
Includes existing guild titles as well as real life titles: Sheik, General, Admiral, etc. Many people will point out someone like Sneak, who has a title as a name. Sneak was playing DragonRealms before Titles were available. If Sneak re-rolled today, he most likely would NOT be allowed to have that name again.
Sentence or Phrase (Iamgoingto Killyouall, Evilbob TheDestroyer)
As mentioned earlier, two words put together as a first name, or a first name and a last name that make a phrase, don't always make a bad choice for a name. Moonshade is not a bad name, nor is Nightwalker. However, if the first name or first and last name combined is made up of words that make a sentence in order to get a point across like Gmssuck Yurgamestinks, Godofdeath Killerofall, etc., this qualifies as a "bad name".
Nonsense (Asdf Nmnsdfnzxc)
This is pretty easy to figure out. It doesn't take a lot of effort to turn a name like this into something acceptable though -- while Asjhk Jkjash is just a bunch of random letters, Asajahak Jokajash is just fine.
Capitalization (WeIrD cApItAlIzAtIoN)
This is another easy one to explain. In general, Bob StarLight would probably not warrant a rejection, but BoB StArLiGhT definitely would be rerolled.
Staff Name (*first* name is too close to a GM name)
Names like Riella, Danalay, Rotcloar, Brigdah, or Soloman will not be allowed. It's far too easy to confuse another player by walking around with a name that looks like a GM or Host's name. Not to mention that GMs regularly kill each other and it would be "a bad thing" if there were players running around with names that were too close to a GM's name when it got messy upstairs. ;)
NPC name (NPCs or Elanthian gods)
In this situation, we're more worried about first names. There's nothing (technically) wrong with John Kertigen, or Mary Drogor. Some people want to have an NPC name in their last name. Names like Jeff Idonite or Steve Havrothson are perfectly fine, although you're setting yourself up in some pretty big shoes and you don't always know how that god may feel about you claiming to be someone on their "good side" since some of them don't have good sides. ;)
Religious (references to real-world religions)
Again, it's usually first names we're worried about and usually the major religious figures such as God, Satan, Baal, Vishnu, Shiva, Buddha, Pope, etc that we care about. We also suggest you avoid names with "Angel" names, "angelic" type names, or names with "angel" in them since there are technically no "angels" in DR.
Double/Triple (Joooe, Jjooeeyy, JoeyXXX)
One set of double letters in a name is almost always ok and even two (and maybe three) sets of double letters are SOMETIMES ok if it makes sense. If a name has three of the same letter in a row, it's usually someone trying to "force" something. Choose another name. ;)
Numbers (Bob99, Bobiii, Bobvii, B0b)
This is very straightforward. No numbers, no roman numerals. Double "i" or double "x" is a tough call sometimes, but as the example states, Bobmcmxciv is pretty obviously not going to be a name we'll allow, but Felixx or Alanii would be fine.
Drugs (drug references)
Anything drug related is not allowed. This includes any forms of "recreational" drugs (i.e. Cocaine, Heroin, Opium) as well as any other prescription drugs (i.e. Paxil, Prilosec, Ritalin) and over-the-counter drugs (i.e. Tylenol, Robotussin, Aleve)
Abbreviations (Drgnslr, Grngobln, Ldyjssie)
If the name is rejected when it's all spelled out, making it shorter doesn't mysteriously make it ok to use.
Items (items or critters (not verbs): Longbow, Goblinkiller)
This is another situation where we're more concerned with first names. John Broadsword is absolutely fine. The system will not have a problem with "Broadsword" being your last name. If, however, you try to pick a first name that is a verb in-game, an item name, or a creature name, you'll run into far too many problems.
Vulgar Don't even try it.
Punctuation (Bob Fast'talk-er)
This is usually someone trying to get one "special" or specific name that's already taken and they have to do "something weird" to get the system to allow the name like putting an apostrophe at the beginning or end of a name, a hyphen at the end with nothing else after it, etc. This also usually also happens when someone's trying to make a "sentence name" and the key to this is "inappropriate" punctuation. Jeff Hands'in'your'pockets, or Bob Steal-yer-gold is bad, but Cindy Bright-sun is fine. Generally speaking, apostrophes used to break up normal English words aren't appropriate, hyphens usually are.
In Bad Taste (in poor taste or offensive)
This is another category that generally needs no explanation.
Initials (Mary KJohnson, BobJ Smith, PJ Howard)
This is another easy one.
Celebrity (real-world celebs/historical figures: Julius Caesar)
A hotbed of contention and one of the most popular categories for names is Book Characters and Celebrities. If the name is well-known enough to be "jarring" like Bilbo Baggins, Tom Cruise or Drizzt Do'Urden, pick something else. Lesser-known characters from lesser-known books are sometimes acceptable, but surely you can be more original than that. They key is, we don't want major out-of-genre characters walking around in Elanthia. If it's a character name that a not-so-avid-reader would still recognize, choose something else. Remember, though that many people have never read the Drizzt stories, but they know his name enough to know it's from a book.
Copycat (disruptively imitating/parodying another player's name)
You can't make up names simply to harass other players.

 


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