Naming a Champion

In spite of my fervent attempt to avoid any enthusiasm about new games in general, and Champions Online in particular, Syp’s regular outpouring of cool screenshots and information is proving hard to resist. For one thing, I don’t think anybody is immune to the lure of the superhero and I’m no exception; and for another, it’s looking pretty damn good.

I never really got to play Champions as a tabletop game (an intro session doesn’t really count), though I had a friend who’d been in a campaign that had been going for years and who waxed lyrical about the freedom and complexity of the system. Superheroes are cool, yes, but for me they’re at their coolest when they’re multi-faceted — more Watchmen or V for Vendetta than Batman the TV series, if you see what I mean. (Which is not to diss the latter at all, which has an enduring and unique camp charm.) I like my heroes to have, at very least, a darker wrinkle here or there. Heroism — and that includes super-heroism — is at its most powerful when it involves a measure of sacrifice, if doing the right or necessary thing is difficult and somehow costly. I like dilemmas. I also firmly believe that story is rooted in character (and not the other way round, for the most part), so complex characters are essential to any enjoyment I may derive from story-telling.

Deep analysis aside, however, what got me thinking yesterday was leafing through the “Rate My Champion” section of the official website and looking at the various names and looks people come up with. Yes, this is a shallow pursuit, but looks and name are integral to designing a good superhero and, to be honest, I tend to spend ages deciding on both even for my characters that aren’t super-powered. Names are important: a character’s name may mean nothing to anyone but me, but it resonnates for me and that makes a difference when I play. Which is why I’ll never have a character called xxSlayAxx; I’m not bothered if you do (much), but that’s the online-game equivalent of a cold shower for me.

I recently gave my worse half the nickname of “Mr Methodical” because, unlike me, he usually knows what he needs to do and in what order and spends a fair deal of time making sure stuff is correctly planned for and laid out. Even in games! (My attempts to emulate this usually end up with 2,487 pieces of paper scattered around my desk and me having no clue what the scribbles on them mean.)  It then struck me that this wouldn’t be a bad superhero name: it doesn’t take much to imagine an obsessively organised person with all manner of neatly laid out tools, maybe an underground forensics lair (with humming devices and machines that go ping), and possibly a Mr. Monk-like compulsion to neatness or other repetitive activities. Mr Methodical might be a bitch to go on missions with unless you’re prepared to wait 3 days for him to come up with the perfect plan of action, but he’d be invaluable in terms of research and investigation.

Sadly, I don’t appear to have a real life superhero name. Tangent Girl? Mr Methodical suggested that I cook a mean potato (baked, roasted, sauteed, saladed, you name it), but “The Tater Maker” doesn’t quite have the ominous quality I’m looking for. I suspect I’m just not ominous enough to warrant a myserious and ominous nickname. Fortunately, that won’t stop me from making such characters when Champions comes out.

What’s your real life superhero name, if you have one? I’d ask people for names they plan on using when the game launches, but that’s akin to industrial espionnage in MMO terms and I don’t want anyone to send out flying mechanical (or mutated) monkeys to hunt me down.

20 thoughts on “Naming a Champion

  1. My main in CoH is Parabellum. She’s an AR/Devices Blaster. I hope I can recreate her for Champions. She had a pretty neat backstory – ex-Greek Special Forces cyborg who fights crime in Paragon City because there isn’t a better testbed.

    Iridar and I recently played a Champions: Star Heroes pen-n-paper campaign. My character in that campaign was Gideon, an infiltrator type for the group. Sort of a Dr. Who meets the Batman. Perhaps I’ll roll Gideon in Champions Online as well.

  2. What’s your real life superhero name, if you have one?

    Captain Verbiage.

    A superhero name which is ironically short and to the point, in order to confound my enemies.

  3. Names are extremely important, especially if there’s any role playing involved.

    Shamans and storytellers throughout history have demonstrated a reverence for names. Some cultures have traditions wherein knowing the True Name of something or someone gave you extraordinary power over them. The Cthulhu mythos suggests that such knowledge of the Old Gods can be enough to drive humans mad.

    Names hold great power, since they are tied so imtimately to identity. Every time I see a “xxhawtchikxx”, a little of my faith in humanity dies.

    I’m still waiting for a game that lets me make a character named Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

  4. Oh, I almost forgot; Puzzle Pirates is one game where the OMs (Ocean Masters) take names from the Greek pantheon. It’s interesting to see the interplay between personality and mythology.

  5. No real life super hero name here, but my favorite CoV name is Ahbra Kadaver. She’s a Zombie/Dark Miasma Mastermind and I LOVES to play her!!

  6. Hmmm… My CoV characters are:

    Madame Scurry. She was changed into a part cockroach by exposure to both Raid and Radium. She doesn’t sleep beneath a dresser, though. I don’t know if I will bring her to Champions, but whatever name I do use will probably be an equally painful pun.

    Tara Mythcrafter. What an awful name! Let’s forget about her. I named her after my Wizard101 character, I was trying to see if I could make a wizard in CoV but utterly failed. She looks cool, though.

    Doujinshi Girl. I was in an anime/manga phase at the time, what can I say. Her skin, hair and armor is all black and white, and she yells out her attacks as she uses them. WEB GRENADE! YIYIYIYIYI!

    … and some others.

  7. I had a character in City of Heroes named Onami (Great Wave). We was a samurai from the 1600s whose father was slain by another lord with a magic blade. Both Onami and his father’s killer absorbed part of the impact and were granted immortality (in the sense that they no longer aged). The crux of it was, to be a good samurai, he must avenge his father but killing the lord who slew his father would break the spell and kill Onami.

    @Tesh: I agree. Character names are often the most customizable part of the character making process and yet the names some people willingly want hanging over their heads … sheesh.

    @Tipa: Madame Scurry? Thanks, I now have coffee on my keyboard. 🙂

    Given the amount of posts I make on blogs during the day, I think this is a job for ….

    General Forum!!!!

    Hahahahahahha *deep breath* Ahahahaha!

    What? Because it’s like the common name of a forum type and a military … oh, never mind.


  8. @ Khan that’s actually a hilarious name, and very blogger/gamer appropriate.

    And if I ever come visit you in-game and get into a fight on the way, I can say “A funny thing happened on the way to the Forums'” … /groan 😀

  9. I friend in WoW knew someone in CoH who had a pugilist character called Mr. Phister. His battle cry was “Brace yourself! I’m coming in dry!!” *winces*

  10. @ Manamar Didn’t we demote you back to Factoid Boy at some point? Though I’m sure you’ve earned the repromotion in the meantime! 😀

  11. My first ever CoH hero was the Habenero Hunter. He was a fire blaster who loved habanero peppers and one day, while walking home from buying some, was victim to an explosion from a close-by research facility. The explosion fused the properties of the pepper to him and he could control fire!

    Other than that, I have Wiqd, obviously … Vindi is what I used in WoW for the longest time and my DK is Cowmatose. He’s a tauren 😛

  12. To this day, I miss my Gnomish Mage/Engineer Fizzwhump. The name was just so… evocative and onomatopoetic, though in a better naming scheme than WoW offers, that would have been his last name, and his first name might have been something like Chiss.

    I’m still baffled by the single-name limitation in WoW.

    I’m still not sure what I’d use in a superhero genre. It would depend largely on what gameplay options existed, and the character visuals. Making a Tauren named Wolverine just wouldn’t work, for example.

  13. My hero character’s name is Mysterien, which means “occult” in German. He is a descendent of a member of an elite group within the Third Reich that was secretly investigating Hitler’s use of alleged occult practices during his reign of terror. The group was on the verge of bringing Hitler down when the Allies destroyed Hitler’s regime. Proof of his occult activities never surfaced. Learning about his great grandfather’s work, Mysterien derives his powers from occult and paranormal sources.

    I created the character some 20 years ago when I was playing a text-based MMO called Modus Operandi by Simutronics, the company that has created Hero’s Engine. I’ve used the character in Champions PnP and in City of Heroes. Can’t wait to resurrect him Champions Online.

  14. I have been keeping an eye on Champions, but I can’t seem to find anything about it’s PvP which puts me off a bit. I hoping for a world PVP system not a BG/arena style PVP.

    Anyway, I get most of my names from luchadors. I think they there is a luchador wiki to help out finding names.

  15. My super-hero name in a game as Champions would be The Stoner and I would have psychic abilities such as:

    – removing aggressiveness
    – inducing confusion
    – imobilizing enemies in a psy-energy couch
    – make the enemy desperately look for Twinkies

    I would be a crowd control super hero, able to root enemies into place.

  16. My super hero’s name is Eccentricity. Benjamin Cooke is your average 3rd grade English teacher. An advocate for proper grammar and punctuation. However, this seemingly normal man has quite a secret. He has the power to manipulate electricity.

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