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Naming Your Weapons

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Greybeard, May 25, 2011.

  1. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    Generally in my experiences I only named sentient weapons, ones with their own lifeforce. That way they ARE characters instead of just a shiny bauble with cool powers. :p
     
  2. Phin Scardaw

    Phin Scardaw Troubadour

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    Personally, I love the idea of weapons that have names in fantasy stories, ever since I first read The Hobbit: Gandalf found Glamdring; Thorin found Ocrist; Bilbo found and named Sting. I remember thinking things like: Who named them? Who forged them? How were they lost? How old are they? How did the trolls find them? These are the kinds of questions that stir the imagination and get a reader interested.

    I've used the device myself with brilliant success. In my novel The Sylvan Song I have twin elf-blades that are the legendary weapons of two famous Elf-Knights. This is created as part of the history, but one of the swords, Oromnos, comes into play near the end of the story.

    The thing to remember is that every character and special item introduced in the story should have its place. There's no point in naming a weapon that is only written of a single time and has no special function. Your readers will take notice of a named weapon and will expect it to mean something special: don't disappoint! That is why not every weapon should be named, because not every weapon can fulfil this criterion. As for the name itself - if it can, let it reflect the history of its making, as this will add texture to the story; but as with any character name, it should come of its own mysterious accord and feel right.
     
  3. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    I have done it myself while role-playing and with some good success as well, but it isn't something I generally do. One of the characters; a Paladin came across a sword named Diasimus and the story goes that it once belonged to a powerful paladin that had become a fallen knight when he was influenced by a demon over the course of many years. In the depths of his sin, had he realized what happened and as a way of amending his ways beseeched unto his god for the power to vanquish the creature and ended up trapping it inside the sword (which was a holy avenger). He was buried with the sword and it laid dormant, the evil corrupting that holy blade and resurfaced a couple hundred years later when tomb raiders accidently stumbled into the ruined temple of the forgotten god. It affected them, pretending at first to be nice, but eventually it just leads to their corruption and death.

    The demon still lives in the sword and when the paladin finds it, he is slowly corrupted and the rest of the party have to try and kill him before he can release the demon.
     
  4. Rullenzar

    Rullenzar Troubadour

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    There is nothing wrong with naming weapons just make sure the actual weapon has some kind of backstory to it (forged in the depths of the shadow realm) or something.

    I'm creating a story based on the principle that the higher beings can only kill each other using a weapon forged from their own body(will not explain this lol). Each weapon having been named after their creator etc... in this case i believe naming is alright. However giving names to random swords picked up or stolen off the backs of enemies is just plain silly.
     
  5. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

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    In my initial forays into fantasy I thought naming weapons was great. As I read more fantasy I thought naming weapons was okay in the right circumstances, and now...

    The last fantasy book series I read, only one weapon was named in the whole thing--not the staff given to one of the adventurer's which had belonged to the same all-powerful mage for three thousand years, not the rapier used by the Prince and Heir to the throne to beat back an invading army multiple times, but a dwarven hammer. They never spoke of the back story, the author never went into what magic it was imbued with, and it only made an appearance three times later in the book, and not even in critical battles. It's name was X's hammer, where X was the name of the first dwarven king. That's it.

    That's the kind of named weapons I like in fantasy. It was named as a point of cultural reference to emphasize the dwarven love for their monarchs although they had overthrown monarchy long ago, and was neither critical to the story nor necessary to remember. It goes back to the whole think about how a character like Jayne can name a weapon like Vera even though it may not be that special--if you have the right character, it can work and describe culture. Otherwise it's "LOOK AT MY MAGICAL WEAPON IT'S AWESOOOOOOOME!!!" and I hate reading that
     
  6. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    Change 'culture' to 'the character' and I entirely agree. In fact, it's a good point. Naming a weapon says something about the person naming it. If a named weapon is otherwise mundane then it speaks more about the people who have carried it and how people continue to hold it in high regard.
     
  7. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    When I first started out, pretty much ALL my weapons were named. xD But now, generally I only name things like weapons if they are absolutely essential or important to the plot. Otherwise you're just cluttering the reader's mind with something they don't need to remember IMO. And when I do name them, I try to make it something that's easy to remember. IMO for things like swords, bows, etc. descriptive names can often work better than made-up proper names. Just make sure the result isn't to RPG-ish.

    E.g. "The Mage's Icebound Sword of Quickness" is terrible. But "Wind Reaver" is interesting.
     
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