This page probably doesn’t make a lot of sense by itself, read this story from the beginning. Good luck and God speed.

Pronunciation of fantasy words can be tricky sometimes, especially if they sound like real life modern day words. I should know, I named the female head of state in my setting Keterlyn, a real Medieval German name, and I had a player repeatedly call her Ketamine. Now, was he getting confused or was he just being a dick? You be the judge!

Whatever the case, players seem to delight in playing around with characters’ names. All good fun in small doses, but given that these characters only really exist as names, funny voices and mental images, it runs the risk of undermining the architecture of the story. You call a dwarf Strallowshax and they will spend the entire evening calling him Shallowstrax until even you can’t remember which one is right.

This is a problem that exists only in tabletop roleplaying and collaborative storytelling, to the point I’m struggling to draw a parallel with anything else. Imagine a hypothetical sci-fi world in which you could watch a DVD and press buttons on the remote to change small details about a character’s appearance. The person sitting next to you on the sofa keeps tweaking the main character’s hair colour. A little bit would be fun, let’s say five minutes of fiddling. If they kept doing it for the whole run-time it would be annoying and take you out of the story. And the longer the did it the surer you would become that they were experimenting to see what they could get away with.

I don’t take it personally. Players at the gaming table sometimes just won’t care what the dwarf’s name is, other times it is the studied indifference of the too cool for school. In either case, perfect Amy territory.

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