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This month I asked over one hunded characters on Darker Realms why they chose the names they did and where their names came from. Here is what I found out:

More of the characters I interviewed got their names from books or poems than from any other source. Among them are Cathbad, who got his name from a series of tales about the heros of Ulster - the "Ultonian Cycle" of Irish legend (Cathbad was the chief druid of Ulster), Cenedra (from David Eddings' "The Belgariad" series), Demitris (from Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus"), Elendil (from Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy), Ezeulu (the main character of Chinua Achebe's novel "Arrow of God"), Freya (from The Renshai Chronicles by Mickey Zucher-Reichert), Gibreel (from Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses"), Guilo (from Peretti's "This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness"), Hamlet (from Shakespeare), Hammadryad (from Heinlein's "Time Enough For Love", Jabber (short for Jabberwock, from a favorite poem by Lewis Carroll), Narya (from Tolkien), Skrull and Voodoo (both comic book characters) and Unk (from Kurt Vonnegut's novel "The Sirens of Titan").

A couple of other characters were named for authors, including Chaucer and Kahlil (from Kahlil Gibran, one of his favorite authors). The character Book wasn't actually named for a book but for a character in a movie ("The Witness") but I decided to include him here anyway. The character Page was so named because the player is "totally inspired by and in awe of [the character] Book".

Several other characters were also named for characters from television or movies. Data (from Star Trek:The Next Generation), Moe (from the Three Stooges), Obiwan (from Star Wars), Reptarr (from the Rugrats movie), Tincup (he's a golfer, and the movie "Tincup is basically his life story - except he didn't get the girl !) and Tweak (from an episode of South Park).

A few were named for music - Daysleeper (from the song by R.E.M.), Fortuna (from Carl Orff's choral work "Carmina Burana"), Jubal (the father of most instrumental music according to Genesis 4:21 - the player is a band director), Requiem (from Mozart's "Requiem") and Revolver (from the Beatles album by the same name).

A handful of DR's characters are named for alcoholic beverages, among them Chivas, Grog and Jack (who was drinking Jack Daniels at the time he created the character),

Several of DR's characters claim to have pulled their names out of thin air or favorite body orifices. These players include Chaucer, Fang, Skebet, Taka and Zoltomar.

Some used the names of D&D characters. These include Frazaal, Malison, Ratik and Stack.

Still others named their characters based on the suggestion of someone else, namely Chia (short for chiaroscuro, a "cool word that Unk brought up", Lyndai (suggested by Lucifer), and Tarwick.

Three characters share names with monsters on Darker Realms - Goody, who was named after Requiem's wedding secretary (who allegedly was named after a comb!), Halja, and Mugger, who named himself after the mean mugger standing outside the blackjack room. When he's standing in that room, people can't get by him!

Kitty and Maynard both named their characters after their cats. Maynard even got permission from his first!

Heraclitus and Nietzsche were named for philosophers.

Characters named for gods or goddesses include Kalma, the Finnish goddess of death, Loviatar, a goddess of pain with black widow-like tendencies (seduced men and killed them - watch out for this chick, guys!) and Tisiphone (goddess of vengeance - one of the Furies in Greek mythology). Mefistofele, on the other hand, is one of the names of the devil.

My personal award for originality in picking a name goes to Calrous, who while playing scrabble on acid with friends made it up as a word and claimed it was a tropical disease. This guy really needs to play scrabble with Lucifer sometime.

A close runner up was "Kosit" who got his name from drunken mumblings in a bar one night. A friend thought he said "Kosit", when he really said "Oh, shit!"

My personal award for least original goes to Chad, Ric and Valerie who used their real names! Chad's girlfriend at the time he began playing had urged him to "be honest in answering questions" before actually roleplaying. When asked for his name, he typed it in! Ditto Valerie, who claims she didn't realize she was naming a character when she typed her name in.

Similar to this are characters who used their nicknames (Cricket, Docg, Pwood (short for peckerwood) and characters that used some manifestation of their name. Hok used her initials (KOH) backwards), Kneel used his Cepheid Variable nickname, a misspelling of his real name , Mariem (her middle name is Marie, she tacked on the "M" because she liked the way "miriam" sounded but didn't want to spell it that way), Mindl (her real name is Mindy, but "l" is easier to type than "y", plus it sounded neat), Reflection (REF resembles her initals, and she considers herself to be a reflective person) and Taylva (an abbreviated combination of her first and maiden names - she had to bubble it in on a scantron once).

Speaking of backwards names, of those interviewed, Hok and Luapcire (named for a favorite cousin) have names that spell something backwards.

The award for "Most Revealing" goes to Satoria, co-creator and former god of the mud who admits (you read it here first, folks) that he is, indeed, male. Satoria comes from "sartori" or "satori", a state of intuitive illumination sought in Zen Buddhism. The player typoed and added an 'a' by accident, and decided to just go with it and make the character female.

Characters that didn't fit into any of my neat little categories are as follows:

Anastases - means "reincarnated man" in Greek.

Baphomet - was the being the Knights Templar were accused of worshipping.

Bari - a town in Italy where some of the player's collaborators are.

Center - was the center on his high school football team.

Devnull - refers to a special file found in unix systems, /dev/null

Drtsubo - formerly Tsubo, a vital point in acupuncture, he changed his name to "Drtsubo" after becoming a doctor of chiropractic.

Galeck - wanted something that sounded barbaric.

Goshawk - used to train and hunt with hawks in college.

Goudron - means "tar" in French - he saw the word while working in a corner store.

Grug - son of Grog (see "alcoholic beverages")

Hellmonger - wanted something evil sounding.

Hoper - she's gay and got sick of horny guys hitting on her. She created the name in hopes of finding something less feminine than the name she had been using.

Hothead - picked for his temperment. Jaguarundi - a real animal - a sleek, mean feline which sounded neat as a name.

Magritte - after Rene Magritte, a Belgian painter known for surrealism.

Milanion - from Greek mythology.

Milk - he likes milk - and so doth everyone else!

Myton - was feeling silly and opted to be the "Mighty Myton".

Petunia - wanted something ugly-sounding, yet feminine.

Pillow - she likes to sleep!

Reb - he's from Texas - it's a Southern thing.

Rundodundo - says "I am RundoDundo man, and I go RundoDundo, RundoDundo - and there's nothing you can do about it!" He's probably right.

Sifu - Chinese for father, teacher.

Slosh - what you get from drinking "Grog"

Squishy - was originally a shifter, and wanted a good shifter name.

Stargazer - is interested in astronomy.

Sweep - named for the Oakley "Iridium Sweep" sunglasses that were sitting on top of his computer when he got started.

Tenebrae - Latin for darkness.

Tisha - named for Tisha Venturini, soccer player on Team USA (#15)

Toxic - after a cheesy hair band that was out a few years ago - "Slik Toxic" (Toxik?)

Venomchaos - wanted Midnightchaos, but it was too long. One of the founding members of the "Chaos Clan", a group of friends that gets together to play Starcraft.

Wierdo - obvious reasons.

Zeek - sounded like a good name for a barbarian.

This article is much longer than I had anticipated, but there are just so darn many characters! If your character is not included in this article and you would like for it to be in the follow-up article, please send me the information, and I'll include it!

-- Petunia

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