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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Hi all. I'm quite new to D&D, but I'm an avid tinkerer in game design (both the number-crunching bits and world-writing bits) and find myself brainstorming ideas for a world setting. Now I don't expect to be coming up with anything useful anytime soon, being as I have only the very barest familiarity with the game system, but I figure by the time I have enough experience to start thinking about doing anything serious I should have plenty of material to work with.

    This leads to a question of preference: if the world I'm laying the foundations for features a race or class which is similar to, but functionally distinct from one of the core races/classes, is it better to reuse names to link them to core material, or to come up with new names to hammer in the point that they're different? Like say if the traditional D&D concept of "paladin" didn't fit in your world, but you wanted a different sort of holy warrior interpretation available, would it be a better idea to rewrite the paladin class and say "Here, paladins work totally different in this world" or to scratch paladins out entirely and say "No, there's no paladins here, you can be a ______ instead."

    This is a pretty academic question for me, but I was just curious as to what others think on the subject.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    tgva8889's Avatar

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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Depends if it makes sense to you in your world to still call this "new class" paladins. If it doesn't make sense, then change the name. If you change the paladin class, it will be as if it was always that way to the people of your world. This is the same for other classes, though most people in the world do not refer to them as classes. To them, a Paladin would be some kind of holy warrior against good, while a fighter would be a trained soldier and a barbarian would be a wild man who uses his rage to implement his power.

    Basically, the people of your world see classes as just types of people. The guy in the armor is probably a soldier to them, even if he has a warhorse. If you want to change the paladin class, do what you want with the name, it won't matter. If you wanted to use it together with the paladin class, then change the name.
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Indeed, the people in this world have no concept of a "character class". I'm not writing the setting for the fictional people who live in the setting; I'm writing it for the players who may someday be playing it, who will at least in part be thinking of them as "classes".

    So, to rephrase the question somewhat: if I have something that is somewhat like a paladin but different, will it be easier for players to grasp if I just call it a paladin, or should I rename it so they won't get hung up on the differences between the "pseudopaladin" and the paladins they're used to?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Ha! Ever heard of the "Knights of Solamnia"? They replace paladins in dragonlance. Giving these new classes different names will certainly give your world some flavor... the downside, however, is that some insensitive players might poke fun of your new class names... >:(

    For instance, whenever one of my players refers to the knights, he always puts the words in quotations ... jerk ...

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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    In my own campaign, paladin is just a word used to describe good, armored heroes. Sometimes thats a cleric on horseback, and sometimes that's a specialty holy-warrior type that I came up with to replace the paladin class.

    In the introductory write up, I listed classes that could be taken as-was, classes with minor changes, and then classes with major changes, and then listed banned classes, and finally with a big bold heading, new classes.

    It was messy to look at, but the players appreciated the categorization when they went to make characters.
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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Yossarian--depends on how different it is. You can call it a "Paladin variant" and warn players it doesn't play like a typical paladin.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    I would suggest an alternate name, myself; it helps to divorce the altered class from the original in the minds of the players to be a "Crusader of Barsoom" instead of a "Paladin". Even if they never refer to themselves as a Paladin IC, there's still going to be that hanging in the back of their heads.
    The Cranky Gamer
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by Hallavast
    For instance, whenever one of my players refers to the knights, he always puts the words in quotations ... jerk ...
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    Ultimately it depends on whether you think the new names will be flavorful enough that they reshape the way your players think about the setting and the game. If Athasian "Bards" poison people and assassinate their hosts routinely, then it might be worth coming up with another name for them. If the "Knights of Solamnia" are basically just Paladins with the serial numbers filed off, then you get no real bang for the buck of making the players say the extra three syllables, and are essentially wasting their time.

    I guess for me, that's whaat it boils down to-- are your names making the world more exciting and intriguing, or are you wasting the players' time?
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Ah, the Athasian bards. Who doesn't miss them? So cool...you won't find that level of coolness in FR I'll tell you what.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by thatguy
    Ah, the Athasian bards. Who doesn't miss them? So cool...you won't find that level of coolness in FR I'll tell you what.
    Eh... I would've prefered if poison was just one of several options for an Athasian bard. After all, if they're all known to be assassins, who on earth would let them into the house?
    The Cranky Gamer
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    *"I" is an English pronoun in the nominative case of first person singular. It does not indicate the actions or writings of anyone but the first person, singular.
    *Tataurus, you have three halves as well as a race that doesn't breed. -UglyPanda
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Naming conventions in homebrew worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by MrNexx

    Eh... I would've prefered if poison was just one of several options for an Athasian bard. *After all, if they're all known to be assassins, who on earth would let them into the house?
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