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Players giving nicknames to your NPCs Annoying or no


Gamer Talk

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Taldor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My players constantly give nicknames to my NPCs even though i really try hard to give them regular names that are easy to remember. But no. They have to go around and give them silly or annoying nicknames.
In a previous campaign, a warrior named Neil ended up being called Shaq and a drow priestess called Ashassa (Ok not really a regular name but still) ended up being called chassis.
And let's not even begin with players naming most of the NPCs 'that guy with the beard' and some such.
Any horror/funny stories, nicknames from you?

Silver Crusade

Well...I can't remember the name of the Good Aligned Outsider who pretends to be a helmet in Jade Regent. (We TPKed last Friday, ugh. Stupid dice luck night; we would LOVE to roll over a 4, collectively!) I ended up calling him 'Wharrgarbl'.

We called the Shadowcount in Crimson Throne "Count Chocula" for a while, when we weren't proclaiming what a D-bag the guy was.

It doesn't bother anyone at the table, honestly.

We had a fighter my rogue called "Brick" and a sorceror who threw acid that she called "Mr. Splashy". And then there was the honest I-can't-read-my-own-notes moment with a certain Kuthite priestess:

Nym: "Oh, hey, I know you...you're...um..." (checks notes) "...you're that Laoni chick! How are you?" (smile)
Laori: "Um, it's actually Laori. With an r." (smile)
Nym: "Aurgh, sorry. I'll try to remember that. How embarrassing!"
Laori: "You are so CUTE when you're blushy! Do it again! Again!" (bouncing up and down)
Nym: "...?!?"


I don't mind players nick-naming NPCs, at least not very often...

Sometimes, however, my group gets very confused and forgets which nick-name goes with which actual name which leads to situations where they don't respond appropriately to an NPC.

...like the time they nearly attacked their ally, the king whose castle they were in, because they had all forgotten the real name of the NPC villain they had taken to calling Elfula and the name of the king (who they just called "the king") and for whatever reason thought "a name I don't recognize.. Elfula dares to attack use here?!"


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I once ran a campaign where one single session after learning the BBEG's name (Prestor Fenn), he was renamed "Mongo, the Dildo-Licker". That was the moniker he carried until the day my players finally caught and killed him.

How did I react? By making him steal the most important thing in the PC's lives...and then throwing them a golden dildo he had just licked to announce it. (They never did get that thing back, btw...)


1. i had a chelexian sorceress named Conflitta. Italian for Conflict.

Group called her Cornflakes because they couldn't remember such a simple name, pronounced Con-Flee-Tah.

2. a fetchling bard Named Umbriere, (pronounced Um-Bree-Ay). had to settle for Umbri because they were too lazy to remember such a simple name.

3. an aasimaar oracle named Lumiere (pronounced Loo-Mee-Ay), people start calling her Lumi or Lum.

4. had a tian inquisitor of Zon-Kuthon named Yamiko. Group calls her Hitomi, Buzzcut (she wasn't even bald), Sadist, Word for Female Dog that starts with the letter B, Scar (she had a cross shaped scar on her left cheek)

5. i had a Suli Oracle of Gorum named Kyra because the DM was too lazy to bother with names, people started calling her Uber Dike because of her 12 pack Abs, calling her Muscles (Strength 22), calling her Apachi Chief (she used righteous might a lot and the group made justice league jokes about it), and calling her Tincan because of her heavy armor.

6. i had a monk named Miyabi Kobayashi, whom as a slave was given the nickname Rex, and was treated like a dog, the group called her Rex racer, Cheese Monk, and "that tall B-word who rips stuff apart with her bare hands and mutilates corpses"

7. i had a wizard named Dimitri, whom was referred to as Al, because his soul was bonded to a suit of full plate. he was also called robot, steampunk man, golem, and "that russian jew" the latter due to his use of crafting feats, immunity to fatigue, special magic items, and so on to save both time and money. he was also called "batman" because he was always 10 steps ahead of the DM and had affordable contingencies for everything

8. i had a dwarf named Ulgar, who called himself the horrid. he was called "the orphanslayer" for being confused or dominated by magic and killing 12 PC orphans over the course of one dungeon from the same orphanage before the orphanage executed him.

9. my cousin had an elven witch named Anira, she went from her slumber hex always failing, to it only being successful at putting titans to sleep. she became "the titanslayer" than became "the drunken titanslayer" got promoted to a demigoddess after putting 6 titans to sleep with her hex, and stories are told of how tequilla brings out the titanslayer in you.

10. my buddy dale, always plays dwarven sword and board fighters. people never catch up on the name of his dwarves and are always 2 dwarves behind. so we call his dwarven fighters by the name of another identical dwarven fighter he played before. and thousands of fighters get mixed up. due to all being the exact same fighter.


I don't really mind all that much, as long as it doesn't get too distracting. I mean, these are names they hear every once and a while in a specific kind of place maybe only once a week sometimes a couple of times a month. At least a nickname implies that they have an understanding of the NPCs personality and increases the possibility that the NPC can be someone of value.

Cheliax

Back in my great heyday of none stop role-playing I had a group in The Philippines that nicknamed all our villains from Strahd to Verminard, each nickname comical and fitting to a T.

For example, Iug we called Cachupoy, who was a great comedian for his day, and who had the great (mis)fortune of looking like and having the physical attributes of the Old One.

Nicknames were needed back then when calling devils and demons by name had a 5% chance of summoning them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In my Rise of the Runelords game, the villain of Book 2 signed a cryptic letter with the signature "Wanton of Nature's Pagan Forms" My party referred to her as "Won Ton Soup". After they took her down with a volley of scorching rays, the wizard said, "Hah! Fried Won Ton!"

Later in Runelords, the party had gotten into a petty argument with one of the rescued rangers named Jakardos... whom they began referring to as "Jerkwad."

They have heard a couple of the bad guys refer to their boss "Mokmourian," but no one ever wrote it down. Later, one of the players asked, "So, what wad the name of their boss again... Ethel Merman?" And he's still known as "Ethel Merman".

In a 3.0 game I played a decade ago, the BBEG was some kind of undead warrior-king. We could never remember his real name, but we always called him "Lord Deathface."


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You called?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

When I am a player, I usually rename any NPC I meet something belittling, especially if they are dangerous or have some power over me.

When I am a DM and my players do the same thing, of course, it irks me to no end.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Striders of Fharlangn in my Shackled City game were forever Red One and Red Two after I hastily used red tokens to represent them on the battlefield. The second group I ran it for dubbed them Frick 'n' Frack.

I'm honestly not sure which was worse.

However, when they met the drunken Lord Vhalantru, he was quickly named Lord Drinks-a-Lot, which is hilariously awesome.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

When it breaks the fourth wall, comes across as dismissive and just snarking at the setting and N/PCs, ruins immersion, and kills the mood...incredibly frustrating as both a GM and a player.

If it's all in-setting and non-disruptive, not so much.

Shadow Lodge

One of my villains in a past campaign on Neverwinter Nights was a blue dracolich with a long draconic name starting with "Didrihl-" that I can't remember the whole correct spelling of right now. The bard in the party started calling her "Deedee" and everyone except the stoic Elf Cleric picked it up.

In my current Kingmaker game, some members of the party mispronounce the troll king's name as Hargooka instead of Hargulka. Also there's an NPC Advisor to the council named Ivan; the party Magus calls him every name that starts with I or A but that.

And the samurai calls every enemy that doesn't stand in front of him and fight "Coward".


It's a little annoying, but, at the same time it shows that they are interested enough in the game to give that npc enough attention and call it something they'll remember.

And really, anything that helps the group remember who's who, and keep them involved in what's going on, is worth suffering a minor annoyance for.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My group plays once a week. I'm poor with names IRL. I'll remember the name of the DMNPC that we hire when we need a certain expertise that no one in the party has, because we'll be using it constantly while he's with us, but you expect me to remember the name of that NPC we interact with once a month or so ? Really ? That one's getting a nickname, especially if the actual name is difficult to spell or hard to pronounce.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Crazy Dilmore. That's pretty much the name of any given NPC who the party can't recall.

In a lot of cases, it's just laziness on the part of the players. I try to avoid really crazy names for NPCs just to give my players a hand. They still make up silly nicknames, and the game still goes on.

I've since given up trying to correct them, and simply amend my notes to include the new nickname. Sometimes I throw in referential names, just to see who's paying attention. One of my players is a big metal head, so I had a shirtless warrior with a massive axe named Bruce Pike von Halford. He actually didn't get nicknamed, if I recall.


I'm guilty of doing this. And I think it vaguely annoys the GM.

But in my defence, I'm really bad at names.


My groups have gone as far as renaming npc's before. Not just a funny nickname to consign to memory, but flat out saying "No, his name is Bartleby now."

If the DM says the name, no one will recall it. If another player say a name, that's what the rest of the table remembers.


As a GM or a player, I think funny nicknames are funny (as long as they aren't racist or sexist or otherwise in poor taste). It might be out of place in a SUPER-SERIOUS game, but that's not usually the type of group I play with.

Shadow Lodge

Josh M. wrote:

My groups have gone as far as renaming npc's before. Not just a funny nickname to consign to memory, but flat out saying "No, his name is Bartleby now."

If the DM says the name, no one will recall it. If another player say a name, that's what the rest of the table remembers.

That's kind of a jerk move, IMO.

I admittedly kind of have it easier here since my groups play over MapTool; people can just mouse over the NPC's token to see the name. But other than a few pranks where one player renamed a token (because we've forgotten how to disable that ability for players >_>) I don't think we've ever had someone actually outright rename an NPC. At least, not OOCly. A few times I've had a PC or two who refused to call an NPC by their actual name, as noted above, but that's a very different situation.


Orthos wrote:
Josh M. wrote:

My groups have gone as far as renaming npc's before. Not just a funny nickname to consign to memory, but flat out saying "No, his name is Bartleby now."

If the DM says the name, no one will recall it. If another player say a name, that's what the rest of the table remembers.

That's kind of a jerk move, IMO.

I admittedly kind of have it easier here since my groups play over MapTool; people can just mouse over the NPC's token to see the name. But other than a few pranks where one player renamed a token (because we've forgotten how to disable that ability for players >_>) I don't think we've ever had someone actually outright rename an NPC. At least, not OOCly. A few times I've had a PC or two who refused to call an NPC by their actual name, as noted above, but that's a very different situation.

In the player's defense, it was a fairly casual game. The npc in question was a gnome rogue who constantly stole from the party and caused all kinds of grief. So when the players got his name wrong it turned into more of a taunt than anything. Our way of getting back at the little bugger when we did see him.

Had it been a more serious, story-heavy game, these antics would likely not abide.

Shadow Lodge

Ah yeah, that makes a big difference.


Orthos wrote:
But other than a few pranks where one player renamed a token...

Nothing ruins ambience like suddenly having the fey being fought renamed to "Danny Devito."


Scintillae wrote:
Nothing ruins ambience like suddenly having the fey being fought renamed to "Danny Devito."

That sounds like awesome ambience!

I just remembered: In Carrion Crown, we sometimes called The Splatter Man "Professor Splatterstein".


Carrion Crown spoilers:

Our GM for Carrion Crown roleplayed Duristan as an incredibly annoying person who managed to always take credit for everything we did while hiding during combat. We loathed him, and ended up naming him Dorkistan.

Boy, were we ever happy when he turned into a werewolf and we beat his ass down.


Carrion Crown, that reminds me:

My players took to calling a pair of characters (Vorkstagg & Grime, probably jacked up the spelling) Porkstack and Crime... when they weren't calling them Crawlo and Skin-boy like some twisted super-hero and his sidekick.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

LOL@Porkstack and Crime!


The GM mispronounced the name of one of my characters so often that it became an in-character running gag. When someone pronounced her name correctly, it was noticed as a sign of respect.


Not precisely an NPC but our Red Mantis Assassin character introduced herself as Harita-Heema Sharma with some kind of accent and really fast.

Me not quite catching all of it and my Sorcerer being somewhat...eccentric, have never even tried to pronounce it correctly, resulting in an ever changing attempt to pronounce the name, resulting in fun ones like "Hairy Buddha" and "Shamu".

The ironic part is that the Sorcerer's a Rakshasa (-spawn Tiefling who wants to return to his old life as an actual Rakshasa. Long story.) named Rusigari Rashiska, which ain't exactly much better in the easy to pronounce department.


We have an alchemist in our party named Hilmer, and it's taken us about 8 levels of serious effort to stop calling him Himmler. Remembering the names of the npcs in our current adventure path has taken some effort though.

I purposefully choose long awkward names the rest of the group can't pronounce, My Eidolon is Jhdurievdrioshka (originally Zhidurievdriotchka but the gm asked me to simplify it... After I simplified it he just asked me to say it and now the whole table just calls her 'Dree'...

One of the things I picked to make her 'unusual' and clearly an outsider is that other than my summoner, she calls everyone 'it' even when talking directly to them.

One player kept naming his character Harry Callahan, but since I don't watch clint eastwood movies I had no idea he was naming his character after Dirty Harry. In restrospect I'm glad not to have known.

I dont know why, but we used to have 'make the crazy long name' wars way back in the day and somehow I remember every wierd name we ever came up with.

Probably my favorite was my buddy's 'Astacus Artaxerxes Euctamon Naburimani'... I have no idea how I remember that stuff.

I agree, contemporary reference nicknames or calling people 'that bearded guy' or whatever would seem wierd to me. The worst its been when we can't remember a name it ends up being 'the mayor' or 'the bartender' but nothing insulting or silly...

Silver Crusade

Mr. Stabhands, for a noble my friend's hellknight intimidated by dealing 35 points of damage to himself.


We had a few NPCs in Council of Thieves nicknamed.

I'll have to dig up the list once I'm done with work for today.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

My CoCT group either couldn't pronounce or couldn't remember Ishani Dhatri--hell I still don't even know right now if that's correct--so we called him Shiny Dark Tree.

Mrs. Bell always referred to Vencarlo as Lord Hottypants. Her character was a flirtatious octogenarian.

This one player in my STAP group always referred to Malcanthet as Malcontent. Lucky for him he was a high-level paladin and therefore immune to her less subtle mind games.


My sorcerer in CoT nicknames people as a matter of course - expected, since she's loosely based on Harry Dresden. I've taken to keeping a list of names and associated nicknames in her character sheet.

The Hellknight Shanwen was "(Epic) Helmet Guy". We never did actually get his name in-character.

The actor Thesing became "Ruffles McJerkin", "Smuglord Upstuck", "Lord Highpants", and so forth.
Out-of-character, he's "Brat Pitt".

The director, Robahl, is "Maestro Ironlungs", "Sir Bullhorn", or "The Monocle Man".

Yakopulio is "OhGodsWhat" or "That Damn Gnome".


I had a wizard named Sarothane, which I thought was pretty cool. The players immediately started singing, "Sarothane, Mister Sarothane, should've been my name..." (i.e., to the song "Mr. Cellophane" from Chicago). Which ruined an important moment of serious exposition. They could've been worse though.

Another NPC, Byldar, wasn't nicknamed, but they always had to shout his name: BYL-DARRRR!!!!! For some reason that amused them.

There are other nicknamed NPCs I'm sure but I don't recall anything that really struck me as too annoying. It's only if it starts to distract from gameplay it gets annoying.


The group of NPCs in my Council of Thieves game (the "Children of Westcrown", as written), was named "The Lightbringers" by the players during the part where the gang chooses a name. They've since been renamed "The Pickle Squad" because I used green counters to mark their location on a battle map once.


So yeah, we only gave two NPCs in Council of Thieves these little nicknames. Our DM didn't mind, surprisingly.

Thesing Umbero Ulvauno = Umbro the Douche

Mantrithor Thrax (Devildrome Conjurer) = Anthrax the Douche

Shadow Lodge

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Ansel Krulwich wrote:
The group of NPCs in my Council of Thieves game (the "Children of Westcrown", as written), was named "The Lightbringers" by the players during the part where the gang chooses a name. They've since been renamed "The Pickle Squad" because I used green counters to mark their location on a battle map once.

We called ours "The Returners".


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

For me, it is more about the game feel then the renaming. If we are doing a super serious game, I expect little if any silly renaming. If we are playing a looser game, I would be shocked if they didn't rename most of the NPCs.

This falls into table agreement in my opinion. We, as a group, deside what the feel is we want and then we all try to not ruin that feel. No downers on comic games, no overt silly actions on the more serious games.


Had an evil elf priestess BBEG named "Llewella" (Welsh-derived). One of the players, Silverhair, decided she was a Southern belle and called her "Lou-Ella." Still have no idea if that was intentional, or just a mixup because of the sound of the names.


P.S. For people who don't like silly NPC names, Google the derivation of "Yeenoghu" sometime.

Taldor

You mean names like Yogurt?

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hama wrote:

My players constantly give nicknames to my NPCs even though i really try hard to give them regular names that are easy to remember. But no. They have to go around and give them silly or annoying nicknames.

In a previous campaign, a warrior named Neil ended up being called Shaq and a drow priestess called Ashassa (Ok not really a regular name but still) ended up being called chassis.
And let's not even begin with players naming most of the NPCs 'that guy with the beard' and some such.
Any horror/funny stories, nicknames from you?

Your players want to play a silly campaign, even though you're looking for serious. Just one fairly common form of player-GM dissonance.

Taldor

Yeah, well, i find new players when the ones i play with treat the game as just a game.


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I had an old player who would rename my NPCs to really derogatory things. Sometimes that just crushes your desire to play.

Years later, we remember Ashley Gainsworth, daughter of Thor and integral part of the plot, far better by her name as "*female genatalia*-waffle" than any other title.


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Hama wrote:
You mean names like Yogurt?

Supposedly -- and I'm not sure if this is just urban myth at this point -- people kept saying some demon lord's name (which in the Old Skool days gave you a 1% chance he'd hear his name spoken and come looking for you). Wary of that possibility, especially when faced with an evil DM, they started calling him "You-Know-Who." Whereupon the DM (Gygax, I guess) invented a new demon lord named Yeenoghu who thought his name had been spoken and appeared in a fit of rage...


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Supposedly -- and I'm not sure if this is just urban myth at this point -- people kept saying some demon lord's name (which in the Old Skool days gave you a 1% chance he'd hear his name spoken and come looking for you). Wary of that possibility, especially when faced with an evil DM, they started calling him "You-Know-Who." Whereupon the DM (Gygax, I guess) invented a new demon lord named Yeenoghu who thought his name had been spoken and appeared in a fit of rage...

I hope that's true.


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Hama wrote:
Yeah, well, i find new players when the ones i play with treat the game as just a game.

Ummm ... scratches head in confusion ...

Taldor

I can't play with people who cannot take the game even a little seriously. If it is just a game for them, like a game of solitaire, i don't wanna play with them. They kill my immersion.


Pathfinder is SRSBSNSGAIS.

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