Thursday, August 15, 2019

Evocative Names

Just yesterday I was reading this blog post about evocative names for attributes.

Unfortunately, I lost track of it, but it reminded me of the importance of language.

Without sacrificing functionality, we should try to use more evocative names for things.

Driving to work this morning, I realized that advantage and disadvantage sounds rather mechanical.  After all, it's part of the 5e D&D system... a "non-copyrightable" game mechanic that I love and use frequently.  So much, in fact, that it does nothing for me, aside from designating a particular rule.

From now on, I think I'm going to call "advantage" favor, favored, favored by the Gods, the Gods have shown you favor, etc.  Similarly, "disadvantage" will be referred to as ill-favor, ill-favored, ill-favored by the Gods, the Gods are displeased with you, and so forth.

Not only does it sound less like a game mechanic, but it also evokes notions such as fate, destiny, divine providence, and that the Gods are always watching, occasionally sticking a hand or tentacle into the mix, influencing events.  It makes whatever results (after the dice have been rolled), seem like they were ordained by higher forces, hinting at the oracular power of random dice rolls.

This blog post wasn't earth-shocking or anything, just an idea I had.


p.s. 32 page preview of Cha'alt on DriveThruRPG - check it out!


  1. At the risk of turning a game into Bill & Ted's Excellent Fantasy Adventure, I think Bogus and Righteous would work well. The big reason being that these terms are not ones commonly used by anyone (at least these days). The problem with Advantage and Disadvantage as game play mechanisms is that it removes two common words from your vocabulary.
    You can't not talk of Advantage and Disadvantage when using them in conversation.

    1. I love it! For the right game, I think Righteous and Bogus would be perfect. Hmm...

  2. I like it venger. Jd I never realized it until now. "if we do this we will have an advantage" work talk. Back of head "take the highest dice"

    1. Yes, the mechanical connotations have usurped their true meaning.