Naming of Settlements and Companies Going Forward


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Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

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For the Land Rush we are being pretty flexible with naming of guilds since they aren't the same social structures as will be in game, and we want people from existing multi-game guilds to be able to find their group. That said, once we get into Early Enrollment, we will not be so forgiving.

Names in PFO need to be world appropriate. Names that are not world appropriate will asked to be changed. Some rules for determining if your name is world appropriate:

1. It references characters, places, things, etc, from non-Pathfinder IP. If you had a company called the Rohirrim Militia or the Sadakar Reserves (hopefully spelling those right), those would not get approved. A good test is to think "Could Paizo publish my company/settlement name in a book without confusion or legal action?" If this answer is no, you need a new name.

2. No referencing real world things like languages, people, places, in your company/settlement name. If you want to specify your company/settlement is primarily for players in a specific country or that speak a specific language put it in the description, not the name.

3. No referencing game mechanics in your company/settlement name. No "Instance Runners" (not that we have instances) or "Crafting Skill 12+ Only" company names.

4. Names that are not in English will be dealt with on a case by case basis, but generally we would prefer to avoid them. Our languages don't exist in Golarion, but if it sounds cool and isn't immersion breaking it may work. No Stercus Accidit or other ridiculousness (yay! All those years of Latin finally were useful!).

Really the sniff test is could Paizo put this in a book, have it sound good, be legal, etc (not saying Paizo will or anything like that, but it is the best conceptual test).

Goblin Squad Member

1 and 2 are cool 4 is not as cool but understandable.

What is the reason for 3?

Goblin Squad Member

I imagine it's immersion breaking. Difficult to publish "Weapon Skill 50+ Company" in a book.

Goblin Squad Member

Where do we ask if a non English name is cool or not?

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

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Papaver wrote:

1 and 2 are cool 4 is not as cool but understandable.

What is the reason for 3?

Mainly immersion for 3 and 4. For 3 there is no in world reason why you would reference game mechanics in a company or settlement name. It's not like the characters now they have an alignment or a Reflex bonus.

For the non-English names, one of the guidelines we've been working under in designing the game is avoiding non-English derived words as many languages that we would draw from (latin, for example) don't exist in Pathfinder. Which makes naming things like alchemy interesting since so much of it is Latinized (that and we found some awesome 15th century German wood cuts on sword fighting that we pulled attack names from but had to translate).

Now out of the Guilds we already have, things like the Pax Aeternum and Golgatha, those aren't what we're worried about. And the Finnish one I can't hope to type from memory works because it sounds like it could be in world, just means Brothers in Arms, and could go in a book. It's when we get into really long names, or names where people use the language to hide other rulebreaking, that we get into trouble.

Goblin Squad Member

Papaver wrote:
Where do we ask if a non English name is cool or not?

Perhaps start with customer.support@goblinworks.com? Ryan himself's been getting those emails so far :-).

Goblin Squad Member

Lee Hammock wrote:

For the non-English names, one of the guidelines we've been working under in designing the game is avoiding non-English derived words as many languages that we would draw from (latin, for example) don't exist in Pathfinder. Which makes naming things like alchemy interesting since so much of it is Latinized (that and we found some awesome 15th century German wood cuts on sword fighting that we pulled attack names from but had to translate).

Now out of the Guilds we already have, things like the Pax Aeternum and Golgatha, those aren't what we're worried about. And the Finnish one I can't hope to type from memory works because it sounds like it could be in world, just means Brothers in Arms, and could go in a book. It's when we get into really long names, or names where people use the language to hide other rulebreaking, that we get into trouble.

Will this limitations expand to character names? I'm asking because this feels very much like forcing people to RP-conformity even if they have no interest in RP and I draw the line at character names because while I don't use any offensive or even provocative character names they are everything but RP conform with any kind of fiction.

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

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Papaver wrote:
Lee Hammock wrote:

For the non-English names, one of the guidelines we've been working under in designing the game is avoiding non-English derived words as many languages that we would draw from (latin, for example) don't exist in Pathfinder. Which makes naming things like alchemy interesting since so much of it is Latinized (that and we found some awesome 15th century German wood cuts on sword fighting that we pulled attack names from but had to translate).

Now out of the Guilds we already have, things like the Pax Aeternum and Golgatha, those aren't what we're worried about. And the Finnish one I can't hope to type from memory works because it sounds like it could be in world, just means Brothers in Arms, and could go in a book. It's when we get into really long names, or names where people use the language to hide other rulebreaking, that we get into trouble.

Will this limitations expand to character names? I'm asking because this feels very much like forcing people to RP-conformity even if they have no interest in RP and I draw the line at character names because while I don't use any offensive or even provocative character names they are everything but RP conform with any kind of fiction.

Character names we're less worried about since really so many fantasy names are made up gibberish. If you name yourself some curse word in another language, sure, that's problematic, but otherwise we don't care much. We will care about the first two points on the earlier list though (names from other IPs and names referneceing real world people); we are not interested in having a game with Legolas, Legolass, Legollaass, or any of his cousins or Orlando Bloom in it so existing IP names or real person names will be disallowed when we find them.

Goblin Squad Member

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Lee Hammock wrote:

(not that we have instances)

thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

Goblin Squad Member

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I am very happy to see this. Thank you.

Goblin Squad Member

Lee Hammock wrote:
or names where people use the language to hide other rulebreaking, that we get into trouble.

I'll cover Dutch rulebreakers for you, and report them if they try to pull stuff like "Voetballuuuuuh" which means something like "Soccerrrrrr!" (We love soccer, World Championship in June!)

Also, did you mean to say Sardaukar, from Dune? :)

Goblin Squad Member

Lee Hammock wrote:
Now out of the Guilds we already have, things like the Pax Aeternum and Golgatha, those aren't what we're worried about. And the Finnish one I can't hope to type from memory works because it sounds like it could be in world, just means Brothers in Arms, and could go in a book. It's when we get into really long names, or names where people use the language to hide other rulebreaking, that we get into trouble.

Cærux Khaiognos (the true name of The Seventh Veil - Seekers of True Knowledge) and Koinonia Emporou (Merchant Society) are both derived from Greek. Would they be acceptable as well? I'm not asking for a ruling to hold you to later, just trying to gauge if it's an obvious "No" already.

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

Tyncale wrote:
Lee Hammock wrote:
or names where people use the language to hide other rulebreaking, that we get into trouble.

I'll cover Dutch rulebreakers for you, and report them if they try to pull stuff like "Voetballuuuuuh" which means something like "Soccerrrrrr!" (We love soccer, World Championship in June!)

Also, did you mean to say Sardaukar, from Dune? :)

Yep, that's what I meant. Good catch. Haven't read the book in ages.

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

Nihimon wrote:
Lee Hammock wrote:
Now out of the Guilds we already have, things like the Pax Aeternum and Golgatha, those aren't what we're worried about. And the Finnish one I can't hope to type from memory works because it sounds like it could be in world, just means Brothers in Arms, and could go in a book. It's when we get into really long names, or names where people use the language to hide other rulebreaking, that we get into trouble.
Cærux Khaiognos (the true name of The Seventh Veil - Seekers of True Knowledge) and Koinonia Emporou (Merchant Society) are both derived from Greek. Would they be acceptable as well? I'm not asking for a ruling to hold you to later, just trying to gauge if it's an obvious "No" already.

I can't promise æ will be available as a character, I don't think those will be a problem because a) they're short b) they're sufficiently English-ized in translation that they don't scream real world language (but that may just be me not knowing greek). Plus I type these in to google and Seventh Veil stuff is most of the search results, so it's not like these will be confused with something else.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
Lee Hammock wrote:
Now out of the Guilds we already have, things like the Pax Aeternum and Golgatha, those aren't what we're worried about. And the Finnish one I can't hope to type from memory works because it sounds like it could be in world, just means Brothers in Arms, and could go in a book. It's when we get into really long names, or names where people use the language to hide other rulebreaking, that we get into trouble.
Cærux Khaiognos (the true name of The Seventh Veil - Seekers of True Knowledge) and Koinonia Emporou (Merchant Society) are both derived from Greek. Would they be acceptable as well? I'm not asking for a ruling to hold you to later, just trying to gauge if it's an obvious "No" already.

I may be reading too much into all this, but my guess is that they would like to have the option to incorporate what happens in PFO into the Pathfinder IP. Kind of like the Tarrasque discussion in the other thread. D&D used something from a real myth, but added an additional 'r' to their creatures name.

Goblin Squad Member

Thanks for the reply, Lee :)

Goblin Squad Member

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If only my dull "business" friends, who think "gaming" is playing a little Tetris on their Blackberry, would understand the warm bath that is Nerd-dom, where your fellow-gamer sais Sadakar and you instantly know what he is talking about, because you read the same books.

I remember when I told them about Everquest back in '99.....they still ask me "if I still play "that puppet in that game"....

*strokes his 700+ Scifi and Fantasy books*

Goblinworks Game Designer

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FMS Quietus wrote:
I may be reading too much into all this, but my guess is that they would like to have the option to incorporate what happens in PFO into the Pathfinder IP. Kind of like the Tarrasque discussion in the other thread. D&D used something from a real myth, but added an additional 'r' to their creatures name.

We can't speculate on how likely Paizo is to someday want to enshrine player-created details from PFO in printed Golarion lore... except to note that if your names wouldn't fit in a published product then they definitely won't use them :) .

CEO, Goblinworks

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Papaver wrote:
Will this limitations expand to character names?

As we have said before, consider all names you give your characters to be probationary and subject to a change request at any time.

I think that names of in-game features - characters, companies, and Settlements - rapidly set a tone for how the game itself is perceived by its players. The more anachronistic the names, the less seriously people tend to treat the game environment.

It's impossible for us to review and approve every name for every character. There just isn't an ROI calculation that makes sense in that space. But what we can and will do is spend some time vetting names and rejecting names we think are inappropriate for the setting. We can't possibly hope to address every name that is a problem but we can create a situation where people have a reasonable belief that if they create a problematic name it will be nullified.

My advice is to err on the side of caution. Don't try to be clever with a name "like" something from someone else's IP, or "like" some real-world civic or social topic that will offend others.

With regard to foreign languages it's almost impossible for us to have a rule. We won't know the difference between a made up word and a word that means doing something unspeakable to your dog in Uzbeckibeckibeckistanian. Latin is a particularly tricky case since so much Latin has been absorbed into English and so many portmanteau words have Latin roots in them. It will be so commonplace that we'll spend more time trying to tell people "don't use Latin" than we do getting constructive work done. Just be aware that there are a lot of Latin speakers who get attracted to games like this and if you are trying to be "clever" with your Latin transgressions on good taste, you'll likely be swiftly identified and reported.

RyanD

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

What about constructed languages? An existing example being the Sindarin 'Taur-im-Duinath'... 'forest between rivers' from Tolkien's Silmarillion. The OP cited Legolas ('green leaf') as not being allowed, but is it specifically the usage of a published name or should we avoid the entire language? For example, would 'Legoduin' ('green river') be ok since Tolkien never used that particular combination?

Goblin Squad Member

Good thing I didn't plan to use the name Tyrion. I came up with that way back in the late 90's (for a dwarf no less, but the D&D kind) before I had ever heard of George R.R. Martin. Sadly I cannot use it anymore without being accused of ripping it off. Thanks HBO!

Overall I approve of the policy, though.

Goblin Squad Member

CBDunkerson wrote:
What about constructed languages? An existing example being the Sindarin 'Taur-im-Duinath'... 'forest between rivers' from Tolkien's Silmarillion. The OP cited Legolas ('green leaf') as not being allowed, but is it specifically the usage of a published name or should we avoid the entire language? For example, would 'Legoduin' ('green river') be ok since Tolkien never used that particular combination?

I sure hope they're not going to disallow names derived from Tolkien Elvish - that would take away some of mine and most of my wife's.

Goblin Squad Member

My name Tyncale comes from an obscure NPC in Everquest. It is actually Tynkale and he is one of the Paladin Guildmasters of the High Elves in Northern Felwithe. There are literally thousands of NPC's in Everquest, and this particular one does not have a crucial role or some, so I hope this is allowed.

Goblin Squad Member

How are you handling existing guilds with real-world or metagame references such as Spanish Inquisition, vVv Gaming, or the Bluebox Society whose motto is "Saving the Universe, one instance at a time"?

Goblin Squad Member

Tyncale wrote:
It is actually Tynkale and he is one of the Paladin Guildmasters of the High Elves in Northern Felwithe.

Hah! That explains why it sounded so familiar! Khimber was a High Elf Paladin in EverQuest :)

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

Tyncale wrote:

My name Tyncale comes from an obscure NPC in Everquest. It is actually Tynkale and he is one of the Paladin Guildmasters of the High Elves in Northern Felwithe. There are literally thousands of NPC's in Everquest, and this particular one does not have a crucial role or some, so I hope this is allowed.

That level of obscurity I don't think is a problem. If it was one of the Everquest iconics, that'd be an issue.

Goblinworks Lead Game Designer

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TEO ArchAnjel wrote:
How are you handling existing guilds with real-world or metagame references such as Spanish Inquisition, vVv Gaming, or the Bluebox Society whose motto is "Saving the Universe, one instance at a time"?

Generally speaking, those wouldn't pass muster for company or settlement names. It could be the Chelaxian Inquisition, or the Red Inquisition, etc. The other two would likely have to come up with some other options, though the motto we don't care about so much as it won't be displayed as much in game. We don't have a policy on mottos yet.

Goblin Squad Member

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I could see some hand-wavy explanations for The Bluebox Society. Spanish Inquisition may be a hard one to swallow. Their members should fly to Goblinworks HQ and perform the entirety of the MP skits in front of the staff and a video camera in order to convince them to keep it.

Goblin Squad Member

Lee Hammock wrote:
Tyncale wrote:

My name Tyncale comes from an obscure NPC in Everquest. It is actually Tynkale and he is one of the Paladin Guildmasters of the High Elves in Northern Felwithe. There are literally thousands of NPC's in Everquest, and this particular one does not have a crucial role or some, so I hope this is allowed.

That level of obscurity I don't think is a problem. If it was one of the Everquest iconics, that'd be an issue.

That makes sense. I would not try to take a name like Antonius Bayle or Firiona Vie, since that name would be immediately recognized by anyone who played Everquest, while a nobody like Tynkale is only remembered by, well, people with humongous memories like Nihimon. :D

The "must not be iconic" part makes a lot of sense and should be an easy to follow guideline for most.

Goblin Squad Member

Lifedragn wrote:
I could see some hand-wavy explanations for The Bluebox Society. Spanish Inquisition may be a hard one to swallow. Their members should fly to Goblinworks HQ and perform the entirety of the MP skits in front of the staff and a video camera in order to convince them to keep it.

When looking through the Guild List, I did not expect the Spanish Inquisition. Or the Bluebox society for that matter (though I got the reference). After seeing that, the reference to the Silence was obvious.

CEO, Goblinworks

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There's a qualitative difference between "Legolas" (or "Gandalf" or "Darth Vader") and words in made up languages used as names. Especially made up languages which are at root often old Norse, old English, low German, or other real-world tongues.

Goblin Squad Member

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It is always possible that at some point a British girl, who loves to play with Lego, and has absolutely never read Tolkien or seen the movies, wants to play PFO and unwittingly names herself Legolass.

Goblin Squad Member

CBDunkerson wrote:
What about constructed languages? An existing example being the Sindarin 'Taur-im-Duinath'... 'forest between rivers' from Tolkien's Silmarillion.

I was interested in this one too, because it's NOT words from a constructed language, it's an actual place name in the Silmarillion (in the south of East Beleriand).

It sounds like obscurity is a kind of protection--if you name your settlement "Minas Tirith," I would guess that's not allowed, but a relatively obscure place like "Taur-im-Duinath" seems to work.

Goblin Squad Member

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Tyncale wrote:
It is always possible that at some point a British girl, who loves to play with Lego, and has absolutely never read Tolkien or seen the movies, wants to play PFO and unwittingly names herself Legolass.

Poor thing, I hope she's understanding when asked to change it...

Goblin Squad Member

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So who would win, Legolas, Gandalf or Darth Vader?

Let me also put something useful in this post: this is an awesome fantasy namegenerator: Fantasy Names

Goblin Squad Member

Tyncale wrote:
So who would win, Legolas, Gandalf or Darth Vader?

Gandalf, duh.

Darth Vader almost died to non-living fire... Gandalf defeated the very embodiment of living fire.

Legolas really shouldn't even be in the list, but I understand the chain of events that led to it. :)

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
What about constructed languages? An existing example being the Sindarin 'Taur-im-Duinath'... 'forest between rivers' from Tolkien's Silmarillion.

I was interested in this one too, because it's NOT words from a constructed language, it's an actual place name in the Silmarillion (in the south of East Beleriand).

It sounds like obscurity is a kind of protection--if you name your settlement "Minas Tirith," I would guess that's not allowed, but a relatively obscure place like "Taur-im-Duinath" seems to work.

Actually, Sindarin (and other langauges in Tolkien's works are Constructed Languages.

Goblin Squad Member

Uh, that's pretty obvious Drakhan--elves aren't real ;)

What I mean is that "Taur-im-Duinath" is an actual place name in the book, not a neologism made using words from Sindarin. They didn't use Tolkien's language and then make up a place name--they took a place name Tolkien made.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
There's a qualitative difference between "Legolas" (or "Gandalf" or "Darth Vader") and words in made up languages used as names. Especially made up languages which are at root often old Norse, old English, low German, or other real-world tongues.

Cool... though technically Gandalf IS a word from Old Norse, meaning 'wand elf'. :]

CEO, Goblinworks

Yes, that's exactly my point.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
Gandalf...

Kinda gotta go with the even-more-immortal-than-an-Elf guy, yeah.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Tyncale wrote:

So who would win, Legolas, Gandalf or Darth Vader?

Let me also put something useful in this post: this is an awesome fantasy namegenerator: Fantasy Names

Hey, Wizard101, a totally different game than this, has an awesome name creator too. First time I played it, I spent almost an hour going over the various name combos.

When I finally made a survivable storm mage, I called him Colin Storm, just so his battlecry when he brings up his Tempest spell was "I'm Colin the Storm!"

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
What about constructed languages? An existing example being the Sindarin 'Taur-im-Duinath'... 'forest between rivers' from Tolkien's Silmarillion. The OP cited Legolas ('green leaf') as not being allowed, but is it specifically the usage of a published name or should we avoid the entire language? For example, would 'Legoduin' ('green river') be ok since Tolkien never used that particular combination?
I sure hope they're not going to disallow names derived from Tolkien Elvish - that would take away some of mine and most of my wife's.

Avari..*cough*

Goblin Squad Member

Bunibuni13th wrote:
Tyncale wrote:

So who would win, Legolas, Gandalf or Darth Vader?

Let me also put something useful in this post: this is an awesome fantasy namegenerator: Fantasy Names

Hey, Wizard101, a totally different game than this, has an awesome name creator too. First time I played it, I spent almost an hour going over the various name combos.

When I finally made a survivable storm mage, I called him Colin Storm, just so his battlecry when he brings up his Tempest spell was "I'm Colin the Storm!"

*facepalm*

Goblin Squad Member

I think this discussion has highlighted the fact that the Pathfinder IP is seriously lacking in constructed languages of its own. The racial source books don't even include a basic primer of common words. In short if we are to come up with setting appropriate names we need more setting appropriate resources.


Lord of Elder Days wrote:
I think this discussion has highlighted the fact that the Pathfinder IP is seriously lacking in constructed languages of its own. The racial source books don't even include a basic primer of common words. In short if we are to come up with setting appropriate names we need more setting appropriate resources.

With all the intelligent people on these boards, I am sure someone can come up with a constructed language for the setting :p

Goblin Squad Member

Lord of Elder Days wrote:
I think this discussion has highlighted the fact that the Pathfinder IP is seriously lacking in constructed languages of its own. The racial source books don't even include a basic primer of common words. In short if we are to come up with setting appropriate names we need more setting appropriate resources.

+1

I actually wish they could license out the use (for a reasonable price) of Sindarin and other Tolkien languages for use in other fantasy realms.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Part of it likely is the nature of ConLangs to divide a community. While Tolkien didn't do it for that purpose (he was a linguist, foremost) in Middle Earth, it still does this. People will use them to divide themselves from others. By keeping Golarion free of alternate languages in the text, they're keeping the game more open to casual players.

Goblin Squad Member

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THANK YOU! I appreciate this approach, and it bodes well for the overall theme of the game moving forward.

Lee Hammock wrote:

For the Land Rush we are being pretty flexible with naming of guilds since they aren't the same social structures as will be in game, and we want people from existing multi-game guilds to be able to find their group. That said, once we get into Early Enrollment, we will not be so forgiving.

Names in PFO need to be world appropriate. Names that are not world appropriate will asked to be changed. Some rules for determining if your name is world appropriate:

1. It references characters, places, things, etc, from non-Pathfinder IP. If you had a company called the Rohirrim Militia or the Sadakar Reserves (hopefully spelling those right), those would not get approved. A good test is to think "Could Paizo publish my company/settlement name in a book without confusion or legal action?" If this answer is no, you need a new name.

2. No referencing real world things like languages, people, places, in your company/settlement name. If you want to specify your company/settlement is primarily for players in a specific country or that speak a specific language put it in the description, not the name.

3. No referencing game mechanics in your company/settlement name. No "Instance Runners" (not that we have instances) or "Crafting Skill 12+ Only" company names.

4. Names that are not in English will be dealt with on a case by case basis, but generally we would prefer to avoid them. Our languages don't exist in Golarion, but if it sounds cool and isn't immersion breaking it may work. No Stercus Accidit or other ridiculousness (yay! All those years of Latin finally were useful!).

Really the sniff test is could Paizo put this in a book, have it sound good, be legal, etc (not saying Paizo will or anything like that, but it is the best conceptual test).

Goblin Squad Member

Not sure about Pathfinder canon? Check out the Pathfinder Wiki, or better yet go check out the Inner Sea World Guide. Great stuff!

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