Inspired by Fictional Events

A wise man once said: “Plagiarize! Plagiarize! Let no one’s work evade your eyes!”

I prefer to call it an homage.

As RPG players I’m sure we’ve all done it at least once. You name your character after a favorite character on a TV show, or in a book. Some of us like to make sure that our characters have a good song to go with their name. You might name your Changeling Motley after a band (Motley Crüe)… or a TV show (The Fae Team)… or both – you know, if you’re just that kind of special. Heck, you might have a tabloid in your universe called “Sick, Sad World!” It’s a tribute! The original creator would probably be honored to know that their work has been so inspirational. I know I like to think so.

While I generally try not to lift a plot directly from something else, the fact of the matter is that intentional or not it may well happen. After all, with so many books, and movies, and TV shows, and songs, and rambling blogs being written every day there is bound to be some crossover. Great minds (or in my case not so great minds) are bound to think alike at some point. I try to avoid it mostly because if I lift a plot device or a puzzle directly from something I’m familiar with, chances are my players will be just as familiar with it. That said, some settings are just too juicy to pass up. For example, if you make your PCs a camera crew filming a paranormal reality TV show at an abandoned asylum I can assure you that hilarity will ensue!

Truth be told I really do prefer the oblique references to things. For me, naming a character directly for another character is a little too easy. I can’t pretend to be above it completely, not without being ratted out anyway, but sometimes there is a better way. Could I have named my Adamantine Arrow Sentinel Eowyn after a certain shield maiden of Rohan? Xena, Artemis, Buffy… all are names that conjure images of kickass chicks. Any of these would have been appropriate for her but that would have been too easy. Instead I decided to name her Glamdring, after Gandalf’s Sword. I ask you, what mage kicks more ass than Gandalf? (No offense Potter. When you tell the Balrog of Morgoth the he SHALL NOT PASS you let me know, k?)

My little trick of naming Mages after cool weapons fell into place real easy. I have a Glamdring, a Narsil, a Guthwine, an Orcrist*, there are just so many named weapons in Tolkien to choose from – and with the rate at which my PC’s look for trouble that’s a very good thing! What’s scary is how easily other things in the campaign fit the theme without my consciously thinking about it. A few weeks after the campaign started I picked up my Seers of the Throne book and it fell open to an entry about the Seers of Panopticon! What better enemy for a group of people named for Tolkien Weapons than the Seers of the Great Eye?! It was a strange quirk a Fate I tell you, the book opening right to that page when I set it down… completely randomly…like…that…

Naaaaaaaah… it couldn’t be…

Mages Make Me Cry

*Hmmmm… I wonder if Sting is a Mage in my World of Darkness…

Posted on July 29, 2011, in Changeling the Lost, CtL, Gaming, Mage Awakening, MtAw, RPG, White Wolf, WoD, World of Darkness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Can’t disagree with anything here, especially since I do much the same though I mine academia for sources as much as scifi, fantasy, and the like.

  2. I try not to go for incredibly noticeable character names… my career criminal SIlver Ladder Thyrsus Mage who looks like Neil Caffrey, of White Collar, [without the Striking Looks] and aspires to be a “Gentleman Theif” someday, like A.J.Raffles or Thomas Crown, is named after a 19th Century French Salon Painter with a flair for painting about the refinement of the upper class and about women being swooned over by young men. I find the conjunction of aspects of his character to be highly amusing whether or not everyone else at the table sees the connections.

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