Sunday, June 25, 2017

Raiding Pharmacies and Labs for Names

Here for your amusement is more material for name inspiration if people don’t want to steal obscure names from history, or from Ikea products: pharmaceutical names.  If you want to go for a knowing joke around the table, you can use well known ones.  But there are plenty of pharmaceuticals which are more obscure and whose names are blank canvases for DMs and players.

Cymbalta –  “One of the many caravans hauling spices from Minchetabish to the fortress city of Cymbalta was attacked by ghouls.”

Remeron – “The ancient port city of Remeron and its eponymous maritime empire have ruled the seas for centuries.”

Ativan – Could be a city, could be the name of a paladin.  A lot of these drug names could be the names of elves.

Celexa – An elf queen?  It also sounds like a Korean car: “Introducing the 1997 Kia Celexa hatchback with 35 mpg city, 38 mpg highway…”

Zyprexa – Haughty elf queen?  Street magician whose prestidigitation provides cover for her gang’s thievery?  Embattled kingdom which must never fall to the besieging goblinoids?  The name of the planet which controls 84% of the Andromeda Galaxy’s starship engine manufacturing interests?   

Latuda – Meh.  This seems deserve only a name next to a medium-sized circle on a map.  The North Central mid-states number 3 trans-shipper of plumbing supplies.

Naltrexone – THIS seems to have more schmirntz!  A streetwise con man?  An up-and-coming rough-and-ready republic ruled by a meritocratic merchant oligarchy?

Haldol – If you don’t think names like this are too well-known, or don’t feel this has serious and sad associations that shouldn’t be part of gaming, I suppose this could be the name of man-at-arms.  Most of these drug names deserve a moment to think about the associations for people at the table.  If you decide it won’t be a problem, go ahead and repurpose the names…

Invega – Sci-fi?  Planets need a lot of names.

Risperdal – Beautiful-sounding name for a kingdom, a city, a valley, a river, or a wizard.

Olanzapine – So many of these names, especially generics, sound like chemicals (which is what they are, anyway) so converting them into something else is like putting Bangkok Thai Deli into the former Burger King on University Avenue, with its specially-shaped roof.  Everyone refers to the restaurant as “the one that’s in the old Burger King- you can tell it when you see it.”  But I’m willing to try: “Pirates infest the waters of the Olanzapine Gulf,” or “This is Princess Olanzapine.”

Lunesta – My hat is off to the marketers who crafted this very poetic, positive-association-saturated name.  Eccentric dowager aunt?  The Faery Queen?  Walled city on the moon, reachable by voyaging through the aether on the backs of huge Lunar Moths?

Librium – Island city of Libertarian pirates and merchants?  Magical lighter-than-air metal from which angel-like wings can be fashioned?

Rivotril – If you ever need a name for a Thri-Keen NPC…

Serax – A fine name for a celebrity gladiator, a sorcerer, a centurion, a horse nomad chieftain or mountain-province warlord.

Atarax – Formidable Lawful champion, or, conversely, the name of an evil spirit formerly worshipped by a cult of mystical anarchist philosophers in Late Antiquity.

Venlafaxine – Foppish noble snob- female or male.  Insists that name must always be preceded by elaborate, long-winded title when addressed or spoken about.

Mebicar – An ogre.  Another wizard name.  Another city-state, maybe the antagonist vs. the PC’s hometown.

Selank – I love obscure Russian pharmaceutical names!  This sounds like a prison cell door sliding into place and locking, or a heavy sword pulled out of its sheath and hefted onto a rusted metal table.  The commandant of an orc guard tower in the Borderlands.  Or a tough, rebellious, disinherited noblewoman, the former Lady Selank, an excellent horsewoman and falconer. 

Buspar – Kind of an annoying sound to this name- it would be a square peg to fit into a campaign world of carefully chosen names.   It sounds like a European gas station chain with a slick logo.  But it could be a forest kingdom of tough, portly people, human or not-completely-human, who wear metal-studded leather armor and carry cudgels:  “The rude subjects of Radahast, King of Buspar, are known as Busparts.”  Make sure to pronounce it BOO-sss-par and not BUS-par, so that people don’t associate the name with the Metro Transit Authority and its prosaic vehicles of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Sediel- Sounds like an angel, or a fallen angel, or one of the Nephilim. Could be an elf, or the spirit of a forest stream, too.

Ectris – A sorcerer or sorceress. A sadistically cruel minor noblewoman.  A telekinetic alien.

Girosa – Bustling mercantile city-state.  Inhabitants are famed for their sometimes-inappropriate jollity,  heavy drinking, rubicund faces, and culturally-ingrained frequent loud belly-laughing habits. 

Rotigotine – This should be an adjective describing something ornate and intricate - “The parading guardsmen carried masterpiece silver-chased rotigotine 17-point guisarme-voulges which glinted in the sun.”  Jorge Luis Borges would have had a field day with this drug name list.

Piribedil- Promising young page attached to the Court.  Or maybe a Court Sage who is both cited in matters dealing with magical research, and consulted for all the juiciest gossip. 

Talipexole – A seaside village near Puerto Vallarta overrun with German scuba tourists. Or Is this an M.A.R. Barker kind of name for an NPC? I don’t really know much about Empire of the Petal Throne.

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