Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's in a Name?

My Linkshell, TheSolonavi, was founded on July 24th, 2004 shortly after I created Draconum. I have had many inquiries as to the origin of these names. It just so happens that both monikers were lifted from a tabletop game called Mage Knight.

MK was played with dice, a 12-inch measuring tape, and plastic miniatures of different characters, which stood on a small rotating dial. On this dial, or base, there were numbers printed regarding the character's statistics for battle. Two players would move their characters around the playing field, taking shots at each other until someone is defeated.

The Draconum were actually a race of dragon-like creatures. I always had an affinity for these pieces due to their miniatures' aesthetic and strength of combat skill. My previous characters were named various, random things (Rydell, Bloodreign, and others). When I finally settled on what type of character I wanted to be for the long term, I needed a name I could live with. I knew I wanted something that would be fairly easy to remember/recognize for those who played with me. I either wanted a short name or one that could be shortened to a feasible 3-5 letter combination that could be "pronounced" as a name. (In other words, I didn't want to name myself something that started with Sne or Bha or something you can't "say.") Thus, Drac/Draco was born. It was a throwback to a game I used to enjoy, as well as being shortened to something easy-to-type and livable.

The Linkshell was the next step. Again, I looked to Mage Knight for ideas, because I didn't want to name the group something too generic or easily recognizable as a pop culture reference. "AngelsofDeath" or "TheCrimsonFury" or "TheJediKnights" are the kinds of names I'd be a little embarrassed to carry around, personally. (And no, none of those names were actually considered. I pulled them arbitrarily just now.) The Solonavi are yet another race of creatures in Mage Knight. At the time, Solonavi were relatively new pieces, as well. They are a race of bluish-green alien creatures, generally with wings. If memory serves, originally there were only about five unique Solonavi, each with specialized powers related to the game. These details fit along with the fantasy of FFXI well enough to work out. I colored the Linkshell a bluish-green and TheSolonavi came to be.

There it is; the origin of my character and LS names. I have grown to like them pretty well, and they're generally pretty recognizable and well-received. TheSolonavi has given me a few laughs when people guess what the name is. I've heard "Navi was the fairy in Legend of Zelda" and "I thought it had to do with soloing" among other far-fetched ideas. The 'Navi has been around over three years now without hideous drama destroying it or any other such nonsense. I'm proud of that, because there aren't many Linkshells left that can say the same.

As for my character himself, I like the Drac or Draco moniker. To nitpick at all, I'd say that I could do without the many names I've seen that are close to mine. Various spellings don't surprise me however, because it is a relatively well-known and widely-used common idea. If I had it to do all over again, I might have created something wholly original, but I won't complain.

Bonus fact to close this entry: The original name I tried to get for this character was Alucard (Dracula's half-vampire, half-human son in the CastleVania series), but it was taken thankfully. I can say now I would not have liked that name over the years.

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