[Gut-Punching Fairy Tales] Need a name, stat!

edited March 2010 in Game Design Help
So I'm working on a first draft of my game about teenagers working out their adolescent trauma through a fairytale quest. And I need a name! It's getting kind of weird and silly to be proceeding without having that nailed down. So I'd like some help picking. Here's the flavor text that I wrote for it; the name comes at the end and should fit this:

Growing up. It's a time enshrined as blissful, innocent, simple—but that's a lie. Truth is, "growing up" is not for the faint of heart or fragile of soul; it's a treacherous ground of confusion, heartache, isolation and pain. The ones who shepherd you have no clue how to comprehend you, much less help you, and those in it with you are too wrapped up in their own pains, neck deep in a sea of sorrows, to to reach out to you in yours. Growing up is trauma. Maturity is bought with blood. But it must be done.

There is one hope. There is a land, perhaps in the woodland's heart, perhaps over the rainbow, perhaps in your own backyard, where magic dwells and enchantment rules, to which you can flee from cruel cliques and wicked step-parents and unrequited love. A land of Faerie where a bewildered boy can find wonder and excitement and a lonely girl can find beauty and delight. But it is no escape. It is a world of exacting rules and deadly dangers; its beauty has fangs and its adventures, a price. It has destroyed a thousand children before you and will gladly consume you as well. It cannot be fled, it must be faced. And the menace of Faerie is nothing more or less than what you bring with you to it.

There lies your adventure. Have you bravery enough to wrestle with demons? Wisdom enough to resist beguilement? Nerve enough to grow up? Come then to the...


Tragic Dominion


That's currently my favorite. Other possibilities:

There lies your adventure. Have you bravery enough to wrestle with demons? Wisdom enough to resist beguilement? Nerve enough to grow up? Come then and become...

Lost in Dreams


or

There lies your adventure. Have you bravery enough to wrestle with demons? Wisdom enough to resist beguilement? Nerve enough to grow up? Come then into the...

Brutal Glamour


Whaddy'all think? I'm looking for both gut reaction and considered analysis. Which grabs you best? Which fits most clearly with what (note, not TELLS what) the game's about? Any other suggestions?

Peace,
-Joel
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Comments

  • edited March 2010
    Joel, I'm not mad about any of those names. Tragic Dominion doesn't say much (it could be a wargame); Lost In Dreams is too vague; and Brutal Glamour...well, that's the closest.

    I'm playing Dragon Age, at the moment, and like the idea of Blood Magic. Even before I know what Blood Magic is, I know it's bad. Blood Glamour? Something like that?

    Still, you don't need a name. A Taste For Murder went through 17,000 different names.

    Graham
  • Gut reaction: Tragic Dominion's best. I don't really like Lost in Dreams--it doesn't seem to fit as well with what the game's about as TD or even Brutal Glamour. I sort of like the ring of Brutal Glamour, but it just doesn't quite fit. It sounds more like 4e campaign set in Faerie.
  • How about Into the Woods. You'd be stealing from Steven Sondheim, but not in a malign way.
  • edited March 2010
    Brutal Glamour, since going off to fight in a fantasy land would be exactly the wrong way for most adolescents to form a prosocial and supported identity in the real world. I hope the "final boss" of each session is a real-world encounter where the adolescents have to use the skills they picked up in the fantasy land. So, for instance, the conflict is breaking up with their boy/girlfriend, and the task is CLEAVE ATTACK TO THE STERNUM!!!!!
  • I think they're all pretty awful - Lost in Dreams strikes me as the least awful. Brutal Glamour is just lol - please don't use that. Sounds like a game about post-apocalyptic rock stars in blood sports or something.

    I don't have any suggestions, but I think it might be better to go for something understated. 'Tragic Dominion' and 'Brutal Glamour' are over the top - and they give the completely wrong impression to what I think your game is about. I'm a major fan of this genre, and yeah, I'd describe some of the stuff in it as 'brutal', but putting 'brutal' into the name is just ... I don't know. Awful.
  • Interesting reactions.

    It looks like Brutal Glamour is straight out. It hasn't tested well with anyone I've run it by; those who didn't make the Hack'N'Slash connection thought of supermodels. So ick.

    In terms of over-the-top-ness, I definitely want to hit a "just-enough-not-too-much" point with it. I was trying to think of words that teenagers might actually use to decribe the pain in their lives. So that's where "Tragic" and "Brutal" come from.

    The results here and elsewhere seem split between Tragic Kingdom and Lost in Dreams. People have a really strong (positive) reaction to one or the other. There's no "Well this one's the best but that one's pretty good too"; it's one or the other, firmly.

    So hmm.
  • Tragic Dreams, Daydream Ascendancy, Suffer Bewitchery, Indomitable Grievance
  • How about you just call it Heart of Ashes, and steal a year of hard work from me?

    I'd suggest:
    Faerie Court
    Elsewhere
  • Can you give a bit more of an indication of what this game does? I'm coming in with a strong bias thinking Pan's Labyrinth, The Story of the Vivian Girls, and Narutaru (aka 'The Dead Star and the Jewel of a Girl', which I think is an awesome name). Things that bring you in with nice things of children growing up in a magical world and then hit you with highly disturbing imagery and events.

    But from your description it could be safer than that - more like Stardust or Phantastes. Bad - even somewhat disturbing - things happen, but it's far more an adventure than something horrific.

    Or it could even be a fairly happy adventure, say, The Land Behind the World or Labyrinth. Sure, 'It has destroyed a thousand children before you' - but are you really getting into the protagonists being destroyed? Or is it more like backstory?


    If you're thinking level #1 here, I think the last thing you want to do is state up front in the title that horrendous shit is going down. The strength of the genre is that the horribleness sneaks up on you and then smashes you in the face while you're all 'oh yay - fairies!'. Be unassuming. If you have any motifs, characters, places, etc. that will appear in the game as a constant thing, I think a reference to those would work better. 'Tragic Kingdom' is very blunt. 'Lost in Dreams' is better but it doesn't really spark my interest - it seems kind of generic. Don't remind the players every time they think of the game that something tragic or awful is just around the corner.
  • edited March 2010
    After All or Ever After?
  • Aik, you've got a good point--perhaps I'm going to need to describe a bit more about how the game plays before people can give really fitting and useful feedback. Not that the response so far hasn't been interesting, but there are some tangents starting to develop that could dilute the discussion if they go further.

    For instance, Joe, you can relax--my game is much less Golden Compass and much more Mirrormask.

    So: the game has three player roles--Light Faerie, Dark Faerie, and the Hero/Heroine. You start by narrating the Heroine's mundane circumstances; the Heroine player will describe positive and negative qualities of their character, the Light Faerie describes how a supportive or sympathetic person responds, the Dark Faerie describes how an unsympathetic or abusive person responds.

    Then the real shit begins--a Faerie Nemesis takes the stage, taking or threatening something of the Heroine. The character must go into Faerie to complete a quest to get it back, become whole, and so forth. The Dark Faerie will portray the Nemesis and all obstacles and enemies, and the Light Faerie will play Faerie allies the heroine encounters on her journey.

    Now, how this all proceeds is, the Nemesis and his Powers, the Allies, and the Heroine's Qualities are all cards on the table with light and dark stones on them. The Heroine encounters obstacles and overcomes them, the stones get shuffled around and used up. When a card runs out of stones, the last player with stones on it decides how that thing is Transformed. And when the stones all run out, whichever stones are on the table last, Light or Dark, tell us respectively whether the Heroine gets to go back home and carry her transformation back to her mundane life, or whether she stays in Faerie forever.



    So I'm working off a very deliberately agnostic outlook on how the story turns out. We don't know whether it'll be a light fluffy happy ending or a purely miserable one. And there are several axes that are independent of each other: "Does the Heroine become a better person?" "Does the Heroine make a happier life for herself?" and "Does the Heroine get back home?" are all questions that can be answered yes or no in any number of combinations. It's all in how the Heroine's qualities are Transformed, and how she transforms the Faerie world as well. And in the purely subjective way that the players feel about the story they create. Is the ending of Pan's Labyrinth a happy one? There's a lot of differing interpretations, and more to the point differing feelings about that.

    There is definitely a whole spectrum of these kinds of stories, from Stardust and The Labyrinth to Pan's Labyrinth and Nate Powell's Swallow Me Whole, where interacting with fairies is heartbreakingly indistinguishable from mental illness. Even the lighter ones are definitely about growing up the hard way, by facing all your fears and hangups as spiritual manifestations. In the Labyrinth, the biggest problem in Sarah's life is that she's really spoiled and her parents want her to babysit. In her case, the Faerie Nemesis is her own desires ("Everything that you wanted I have done."), and her big Transformative moments are realizing that "life isn't fair," and that her desires have no power over her.

    Thing is, though structurally the Labyrinth works great for this game, I don't know that I really want to include the lighter side of the spectrum as a possibility of play. I don't think every play of this game needs to delve into the darkest corners of abuse and trauma, but I want the baseline to at least be "real shit." No evading or avoiding the wounding and pain of growing up. You know how in the Breakfast Club, it first seems like Bender is the one with the real problems, but as you go along you find out that the Jock wishes his knee would give out so his dad would stop applying competitive pressure, and the Princess is trapped in a world of her own making, and the Brain wants to kill himself because he's getting a B in shop? Does Brian have a "good excuse" for wanting to kill himself, compared to Bender's world of beatings and cigarette burns? But Brian's shit is real, and just as real as Bender's. Even if we tell a story with problems as light as Sarah's in the Labyrinth I want emotional resonance to be a given for play.

    Which is why I avoid pulling my punches TOO much in the title. Something that just says "Hey, fairies!" would not just be a sucker-punch when shit DOES get real, but possibly prevent it from getting real in the first place, by encouraging a "hey, fairies!" kind of game.

    But on the other hand, I don't want to be TOO blunt in the title.I don't want to hit the players over the head with tragedy, but I do want to convey firmly that the game is, well, dangerous. I want to be clear, but artful. A tricky thing.

    Peace,
    -Joel
  • I ran a game using a home-brew system about the coming of age story in modern times with a fairy-run town esque type deal. It was about kids going off to college and the small town they dealt with, all based around the fae and it's magical influences in the town.

    I called the game Lucid Dreaming. If the title strikes you, steal away.

    My other advice is to do some research on older fairy tales and mythologies. Some great titles come from research.
  • edited March 2010
    Ware the fell, ware the fell
    Ware the fell, my weary way

    I don't know, but I notice all your references (e.g., Mirrormask, Golden Compass, Pan's Labyrinth, Labyrinth, Stardust) name a non-mundane thing that, from the magical world, connects the plot to the theme and the mundane world to the magical world. Maybe if you find your thing the name will be obvious.
  • Posted By: Joelthe game has three player roles--Light Faerie, Dark Faerie, and the Hero/Heroine.
    The hero/heroine is caught between light and dark?
    Perhaps Dusk should work it's way into the title?

    Into Dusk
    Beyond Dusk
    Falling Light

    Dusk Court
    A Child at Dusk
  • I like "Ever After."
  • edited March 2010
    Kaleidoscuro
  • Chiaroscuro.

    The Fell and Deadly Stones.
  • Lost Sheep
  • Posted By: JohnstoneThe Fell and Deadly Stones.
    I like this.



    The Faeries of Dusk
    (Something) & the Faeries of Dusk
    The Darkest of the Faeries

    The Bridge of Prices
    A Crooked Bridge to Cross

    Dusk in the Faerie Court
    Dusk in the Court of Faeries

    Dawn in the Court of Faeries

    Dreaming in the Faerie Kingdom
  • Dapplegrim
    East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon
    (both fairy tales from Norske Folkeeventyr)
  • Posted By: BurrEast o' the Sun and West o' the Moon
    This story is the fucking bomb, by the way. I'm gonna get out my Mercer Mayer version and read it again right now.
  • edited March 2010
    Posted By: Joeland much more Mirrormask.
    ok, holy shit, I just became way interested. Use this to describe the game.

    For some reason, "Fairy Tales" sounds blah to me, but if I think about it, I love a lot of fairy-tale-esque stuff, especially Gaiman.
  • Posted By: BurrI don't know, but I notice all your references (e.g., Mirrormask, Golden Compass, Pan's Labyrinth, Labyrinth,Stardust) name a non-mundane thing that, from the magical world, connects the plot to the theme and the mundane world to the magical world. Maybe if you find your thing the name will be obvious.
    Yeah, my wife was saying something similar based on her researching on marketing tactics--if you name a concrete object (preferably connected with an interesting adjective) in your title you've got a good shot at people remembering it. I'm definitely going to have to keep my eye out for my "thing."
    Posted By: joepub
    The hero/heroine is caught between light and dark?
    Perhaps Dusk should work it's way into the title
    Yes. This. Thank you.
    Posted By: Burr
    East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon
    I'm definitely going to have to check that out.

    Has anyone read Outside Over There? It's by Maurice Sendak and it was an inspiration for The Labyrinth. It's a very simple story, baby kidnapped by Goblins, sister follows and gets her back--but just like anything by Sendak the implications tucked into corners of the narrative and images are just heartrending. I don't wanna spoil it; track it down and read it, it takes like five minutes. But I consider it a major source for Tragic Dominion.

    Thanks everyone. This seems to be pointing me in some fruitful directions.

    Peace,
    -Joel
  • edited March 2010
    Posted By: JoelI'm definitely going to have to keep my eye out for my "thing."
    Just promise it won't be a heart. Or anything that's on fire, or that has been on fire.
    FINAL WARNING.

    PS. This is me being silly.
    I can't wait to hear more @ Gamestorm.
  • What about a dream? A dream combined with a fire by-product? :)
  • How about 'Rose' as a component of the name? Fairy tales are lousy with the things. There's the connection to faerie (it's a flower) but it can also be a metaphor for coming of age. I liked 'Dusk', too.

    How about:

    'The Rose at Dusk'?

    Slightly oxymoronic, with the heroine being the rose trapped between light and dark.
  • I keep wanting to add a verb about the becoming and growing up aspect of things.

    Refining, forging, tempering, something like that.
  • Hmm, Tempering Dusk?
  • Posted By: JoelWhat about a dream? A dream combined with a fire by-product? :)
    Me & You & Jackson should publish an anthology of "hearts & fire symbolism & fairy tales" games.
    Call your game Flames of Youth at Dusk.
  • Thistleheart

    Stoneshadow

    Redoubt

    Faraway
  • Posted By: John PowellThistleheart
    Best.
  • The Darkling Mirror
  • Thank you, everyone. I think I'm full up on concrete suggestions. I'm gonna mull over my options.

    Feel free to continue giving your reactions to the names I suggested, though.
  • Posted By: joepubPosted By: John PowellThistleheart
    Best.

    Thanks! I forgot to mention I like:

    Gut-Punching Fairy Tales
  • I've been considering keeping that as a subtitle.
  • Where the Wild Things Are movie seems like it would fall into similar territory
  • Oh TOTALLY similar. I almost wanna say that I'm making Maurice Sendak: the Game.
  • Y'know, I think one thing that's holding up my decision is that I don't want this to be about a specific Faerie World, presented in the text, even broadly sketched. I want each play experience to be a shared Dream, unique and precious, that the group creates together. SO coming up with a World and finding a name within that, or inventing a name that implies some specificity about the World, doesn't work for me.

    Peace,
    -Joel
  • edited March 2010
    Posted By: JoelWhat about a dream? A dream combined with a fire by-product? :)
    Is it supposed to be a major feature of play, wondering whether you'll come out of the faerie experience broken or empowered? If so, a title that hints at that tension would work. Riffing off fire, I think good outcome = Phoenix and bad outcome = Ashes. So maybe a title of Twilight Ashes and then a cover illustration that includes a phoenix. (Or, hell, a phoenix icon as part of the branding.)

    I like this better than Tempering Dusk, which makes me think of protagonists doing magic or alchemy. Tempering Dusk might make a great description for something the Dark and Light Faeries do...

    If this is off-topic, ignore me, but I really want to know how the non-faerie life of the heroine sees play pre- and post-fairyland. The interaction of reality and fairydom might spark further name ideas.
  • Posted By: David BergRiffing off fire
    I think that, actually, Joel was poking fun at the fact that other West Coast designers are currently designing fairy-tale/dreamland games titled Heart of Ashes (myself) and The Smoke Dream (Jackson), respectively. They are both about recovering a heart, and exploring a foreign landscape (while learning its rules), and have smoke/ash in the title. Mine also has fire iconography.

    So... like, I'm 95% sure he's joking about that angle. Otherwise, he's in trouble.
  • Damn you all. Your games should be obligated to have a death match against each other.

    Okay, fuck metamorphosis through fire. Pupa! Chrysalis! Kafka! Waugh!!!
  • Posted By: JoelOh TOTALLY similar. I almost wanna say that I'm making Maurice Sendak: the Game.
    There you go again, getting me hot & bothered for this game. I think it's fruitful to mention that while your initial pitch didn't get me very excited, when you've pointed to certain fiction (Gaiman, Sendak) and said, "That's what this game is about," you've gotten me totally charged.
  • Dusklands

    Into the Woods at Dusk

    The Wild at Dusk
  • Go with Dusk Fires and you, Joe and Jackson can make a trilogy.
  • Aortic Dusk Fires.
  • That sounds like a Magic card.
  • Posted By: hans ottersonThere you go again, getting me hot & bothered for this game. I think it's fruitful to mention that while your initial pitch didn't get me very excited, when you've pointed to certain fiction (Gaiman, Sendak) and said, "That'swhat this game is about," you've gotten me totally charged.
    Cool! I'm so glad to hear that. This game largely arose from my discussions with Willem Larsen about Sendak and the Labyrinth. Only when I say it's a game based on the Labyrinth, people start quoting funny lines and making jokes about David Bowie's tights, so I've backed WAY off from that. I'm emphasizing the Maurice Sendak angle now because that's really where the emotional core of the game lies.
  • So I'm leaning toward something with "Crucible" now.

    "Crucible of Dusk"?

    "Crucible of Shadow"?

    just "Crucible?"
  • I like "The Crucible of Dusk" better than "Crucible of Dusk".

    I actively dislike "Crucible of Shadow" (Vampire: the Masquerade-esque) and "Crucible" (Strong association with book about Salem witchhunt).
  • The Dreaming Crucible?
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