On naming things in Exalted

Here is the trick to making cool names and things in Exalted.

Start with something cliché, or ridiculous or lame and then disguise it. As my reaction upthread shows, I didn’t realize for years that Death of Obsidian Butterflies was literally a spell for glass cannon wizards, because the spell was disguised.

Infallible Messenger was an IM (ie, Instant Message, you know that thing we used to do before twitter and skype and texting).

Invulnerable Skin of Bronze was “Doc Savage, the spell!”

Heck, look at the old standby Birth OSanity’s Sorrow.

You take an effect that, if you were to explain it in clear terms to the audience they would look at and raise eyebrows or roll eyes or dismiss out of hand and then you obfuscate it, by using flowery words like obfuscate.

This does two things: first it gets the effect and/or setting element past that initial reflexive hipster genre-aware part of your brain that wants to roll your eyes and call it all silly. Second, it allows the player to feel clever when they realize that you flowery name is actually just an elaborate pun or disguise for a fairly common effect. This second bit also allows you to expand the lore in a new way because you say to the players “This is how you do stuff that would seem silly in this game.” Like, if I want to have robot armies in my game? Brass Legionnaires!

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