Friday, May 12, 2017

Anomaly: All the Best Names are Taken

As I look over the notes I have for Anomaly, I'm one again forced to look at the names I've selected. Names are a big deal to me, I put a lot of stock in them. Several friends of mine have reflexively trained me to come up with names that not only sound cool, but are difficult to mock. Just about every game I've written in the past two decades has gone through the "Playground Test" on many occasions.

Even so, a few names slip through unknowingly...

So what's my hang up today? Simply put, I'm trying to decide if these names are cool and evocative enough to keep, or if I should just ditch them and go with something else.

The Stellar Garden: This is the name I came up with for the region of space that the bulk of the campaign setting will be focused in. It's a somewhat isolated section of the galaxy, either contained within or cut off from the rest of the galaxy by a sprawling nebula.  I thought that calling it the Garden would carry a sense that this was a cradle of civilization and species development. A variety of races have evolved within the region, much more so than science or typical sci-fi would have you believe would occur within an area so small (galacticly speaking). I also thought it could carry an almost "Garden of Eden" vibe as well, the thought that within the garden are delights while outside the garden lie dangers to those within.

This is one name I'm on the fence on, but currently leaning towards keeping it. It's a sort of unique name, at least I think it is.  I can't remember any other sci-fi properties referring to a section of space as such.

The Union of Garden Worlds: Ugh...the more I look at this name, the more I want to drop it immediately. I just don't like it.  The abbreviation is too clunky (UGW). It looks ugly, sounds ugly, and feels cumbersome. I want this to be my United Federation of Planets, my Galactic Republic, my Alliance; but all the good names are taken. Federation and Confederation make me think of Star Trek. Alliance and Republic make me think of Star Wars. I could do something with League, I suppose, but I need to keep away from calling it the Star League (Battletech and Last Starfighter). Garden League sounds dumb. League of Allied Worlds could...huh.  That actually doesn't sound too bad as I'm typing it.  

"League of Allied Worlds"...huh.

I even like the anachronism; LAW.  I can come up with all kinds of nicknames for them, both as slang and as insults.  That could work, that could work well.

Drachon Clans: The Drachon are my klingons, my orcs, my Battletech Clans. The outsider warrior society that believes in might and prowess over political machinations, and yet cannot seem to get away from those within their society from having political machinations.  Physically, they're basically Dragonborn (a la D&D).  I don't hate the name "drachon", but I wonder if I shouldn't call the Clans themselves something else. Drachon Clans are basically Klingon Houses, or Orc Tribes; those all use the species name in their identifier.  Maybe Drachon Clans can stick.

Allef: My space elves, because every sci-fi game has space elves. I'm simply electing to merge my space-elves in with another trope; space cat-people. I named them Allef because they're basically alley cats at this point; something befell their homeworld, wiping out almost 90% of their population. They now gather in small colonies or travel the Garden alone, living off the scraps of society or stealing what they can to survive. Still, I'm on the fence about the name.

Bathalian and the Bathal Host: The main villains of the campaign, or the main obvious threat anyway. I got the name for these from a line of miniatures from Reaper Minis. They're mind-flayers/illithids with that particular name filed off, but they also have a real "Zerg Swarm" look to some of the more powerful members. That really inspired me to make them this massive horde that swarms over entire sectors of the galaxy, subjugating planets to their control. I like the name, and the idea that there's a religious component to their society (hence the name "The Host"). My take on religion in my games of late has been relatively minimal; the Force certainly counts as a religion, but it doesn't carry the same weight or presence as gods in settings like D&D. Having a religious motivator for this game will be an inspiring change.

Bodily-Function forthcoming"
Urnar: One of my council-member races for the League of Allied Worlds.  Their name looks and sounds too close to "urine".  Absolutely getting a name change.

The Dark One: Ah yes; this thing. The Dark One is the god that the Bathal Host is founded upon. It's the main deity of their entire belief structure. They receive "blessings" from this god, and use those powers to convert others to their beliefs.  I hate the name. It's too generic. I know I've ranted about this before in this blog too, but I can't come up with something better.  I sort of want the name to be a title, or an adjective, rather than some made up name like "Obliviax" or something like that.  (Although Obliviax sounds cool, I may need to use that name elsewhere...)

It's hard.  It's hard to come up with names at times, especially if I A) want to at least sound original and B) don't want to give away too much ahead of time. 

Names.  They're all taken, man.

1 comment:

  1. So, some suggestions...

    Union of Garden Worlds --> Paradise Union, The Eden Alliance
    Drachon Clans --> Drachon Pride
    Allef --> Mufasen, Asla, Simbar
    Bathalan and the Bathal Host --> Baneal, The Swarm, The Scourge
    Urnar --> Ranru
    The Dark One --> The Sanguine One (blessings of blood), The Flayer (grants pieces of flesh from him/herself and others)