July 21, 2014

Monday Musings: To Name a Norn

One of the big aspects of pre-planning one of my personal Creatures worlds, no matter what game, is plotting a naming scheme for my creatures. I generally hate not having a theme because the names I come up with on my own are frankly pretty horrible. When I create a character for my personal stories, it's different because I can plot out their personality and history in advance, and then come up with a name that suits it, or vice versa. When a norn egg hatches -- even if it's a purebred with a certain genome -- you're never quite sure what you're going to get. I'd rather not call a norn "Deathinator" unless I know it's going to be a grendel killer, you know?

This question always feels like a big one, and my answer typically lies in what I plan to do with that world. In a feral run of limited breeding (one of which I plan to finalize rules for once they're as I like them), I like making a two-part naming scheme a la "Protective Tub", with one adjective followed by a noun. However, I like to make it manual and follow a set scheme so I can always figure out who's related to who. Take, for example, we have two norns: a female named Shiny Tomato, and a male named Sad Frost. Should they have a child, its name would depend on the gender. Males will take after the adjective of the father and the noun of the mother, and females would take on the adjective of the mother and the noun of the father. In other words, a baby girl would be "Shiny Frost" and a baby boy would be "Sad Tomato." This scheme has the one major flaw, however, of "what happens if we get two children of the same gender from the same pair of norns?" I like to use synonyms for the adjective and the noun (if applicable) if that's the case, but that definitely gets quite a bit messy when it happens.

Sometimes I decide to pick a naming scheme based on a certain language or a mythology. In my opinion, consistency is nice when it comes to naming norns, so having a set tongue or mythos to go by really helps me. In fact, in one of my worlds where I'm breeding tinted norns, I'm using a language of my own design as a basis -- "Gremlish," the language of the color gremlins in my novel-in-progress. Because said gremlins are personified colors, I thought a world of tinted norns would benefit from a set of names from my novel's language. Plus, it's a great way to work on expanding that language's vocabulary for my own writing. A win-win, in this case!

On occasion, but especially when I do Random Event Feral Runs, I'll use this random name generator set to the appropriate gender of each norn. I find it adds to the experience of the randomness, at least in my humble opinion. This is where a lack of consistency can be fun and it's one of the few scenarios where it doesn't grind on my nerves. In my current Random Event Feral Run, I found it hysterical that we ended up with a wild blend of names even in our very first set of norns, with such exotic ones like "Liudvikas" blending with such common ones like "Brandy." I find that it makes each norn feel like an individual spice on a spicerack as opposed to individual leaves in an Italian blend. Unfortunately, I'm a bit finicky when it comes to having a naming scheme otherwise, so I like to always have a REF Run up somewhere.

On the rare occasion where I have a feral run that's simply that -- a feral run I walk away from and come back to later just to see what happened -- I may not have a naming scheme at all. Again, I consider myself pretty terrible at naming norns because they aren't characters that I can plot a personality for in advance. Sure, I can invent a broody fallen angel named Nikolai or a psychotic earth demon chief named Hrothga, but... what do I name a teeny shivering cute baby female norn? Chihuahua? Okay.

Meet Chihuahua, everybody. Yes, she exists.
...Yeah. I'm pretty awful when it comes to naming them on my own.

This leaves me to ask -- how do you name your norns? Do you have any special naming schemes you follow in some of your Creatures worlds? If so, feel free to share.

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