[Meta] Character names in examples

edited May 2019 in Story Games
After using a bunch of character names both made-up and real, the last couple of days I've started using some standard ones.

From school I remember "Alice" and "Bob" and "Carol" often used in examples and I checked out the history of those examples. That page also mentions a late sixties film (not sure if it's a sex film…?) that I've never seen. I thought it was funny that the fourth name didn't start with a D so that's my fourth example, Ted.

The way I use it, these names are the character's names. The players also happen to be named the exact same thing as their own characters. Usually it's clear from context if it's the player ("Alice was late to the session") or the character ("Alice dropped her torch"), but when I need to disambiguate I'll try to remember to write "Bob" for the character and "Bob's player" for the player (named Bob) who plays "Bob" (the character).

FWIW, we use character names almost always. "Creggenmore the destroyer, would you hand me the grapes please" (grapes being my fave DMing snack since they're available year round, when cherries aren't in season, please I want cherries to come in season soon). It's only when we need to be deliberate that we use different names to differentiate "Creggenmore the destroyer feels this, but Neal feels that".

We also have two special hand signs. Holding hand over head: OOC statement. Pointing both hands (pointing with index&long finger) to the respective sides of the head (right hand to right side of head etc): sending message through telepathy to the person I'm looking at.

uh feeling self-conscious & nerdy rn


  • edited May 2019
    Those hand signals are smart!

    When I write examples, I tend to use “boring” real world names for players, and very obviously made-up names (“Creggenmore” is great!) for the characters.

    I try to say “Bob’s character” or “Creggenmore’s player” instead of making the reader learn two different names, whenever possible.

    As a sort of default convention, I usually make the player male and the GM female (just to go against stereotype, but also to make it easier for the reader to follow when I use pronouns).
  • This is good, I always find examples of play confusing where you have A, B, and C as players and X, Y, and Z as characters and you’re expected to remember which goes with which. If it is really important to distinguish, at least they could begin with the same letter.
  • As a sort of default convention, I usually make the player male and the GM female (just to go against stereotype, but also to make it easier for the reader to follow when I use pronouns).
    Fudge was the first place I saw this ♥

    I like having two male example characters and two female. It's easier to write unambiguously (as in, you have a greater chance of guessing what pronoun belongs to which character) when some characters use she/her and some use he/him. In our real game we also have some enby PCs.
  • Back when I designed, I had all the characters and all of the players be female, since that's my experience, and some of the stuff I was working on was stuff I wouldn't want men to play, since it was lesbian-specific stuff.
  • That's the one thing I find most frustrating with English compared to Lojban; in the latter all pronouns always refer to one specific thing. (There are twos sets; one is based on "when in the conversation was the person first mentioned": "Alice met Bob. The former said…" Where "the former" is a pronoun, "ra" is the word that means that. The other set of pronouns is a set of letter you assign to people the first time you mention them. "Alice, whom I'm gonna call A, met Bob. A then said…"; that way is a bit clunky.)

    An all-female text, at least if written by someone like me who don't write good, could end up being super clunky

    The reason you have for writing it that way, though, Emma, is really good and ofc overrides any of the possible cons such clunkiness would have. Obv that's what you need to use for examples in that case♥
  • Everyone knows all you really need is "Foo," "Bar," and "Baz."
  • Quux & Frob♥
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