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Throwback to Goriya

Name Cameos in Jeff's Games

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Triumph   

For A2CS, you list Morrigan as a Celtic goddess. But isn’t it more likely that Jeff got the name from the character in Dragon Age Origins - a game he talked about on his blog quite a bit - rather than just from reading Celtic mythology? (Apologies if this is already established somewhere; I searched and didn't see anything in this thread addressing this.)

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Given the juxtaposition with the mythological counterpoint of Venus Castinan, I'm going to say no, unless that name also appears in Dragon Age (and if it does, I can't find it on the internets). Also, Jeff did some heavy research into both Celtic and Roman culture when he wrote Nethergate. Yes, that was almost 20 years earlier, but they are definitely things he has read about.

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Interesting find. The book has some things in common with Redbeard's ideology in terms of means, and some major differences in terms of aims. Avadon's Redbeard maintains his power through strength, but a social darwinist he is not. "Redbeard" actually shows up in a number of different places in history (see another Wikipedia link: Redbeard). Consider for example the Holy Roman Emperor, of whom Wikipedia says: "He combined qualities that made him appear almost superhuman to his contemporaries: his longevity, his ambition, his extraordinary skills at organization, his battlefield acumen and his political perspicuity." Sounds more like the Keeper than Ragnar Redbeard does.

 

And of course, there's also the fact that we also have plenty of Blackbeards, Bluebeards, Greybeards, etc. It's easy to put a color in front of a beard. Given the acknowledged inspiration of Bluebeard, and the fact that Jeff has red hair and clearly wrote some of himself into the character, it's also possible that he just changed the color rather than paying attention to any previously existing Redbeard.

 

So: definitely not impossible that Ragnar Redbeard was some kind of inspiration, but based on the evidence we have, I don't think it's likely. I note though that you said "is" rather than "could be" so if I've missed something here, please point me in the right direction.

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Consider for example the Holy Roman Emperor, of whom Wikipedia says: "He combined qualities that made him appear almost superhuman to his contemporaries: his longevity, his ambition, his extraordinary skills at organization, his battlefield acumen and his political perspicuity." Sounds more like the Keeper than Ragnar Redbeard does.

 

If Frederick Barbarossa was so superhuman how come he was too dumb to take off his armor before fording a minor river in Anatolia? Checkmate, Hohenstaufens

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Vera   
Posted (edited)

Just met Prynne in Bargha in A:EftP and she has scarlet hair. If that's not a reference to the novel The Scarlet Letter I'm, uh, a dancing monkey or something. 

 

There seems to be a reasonable chance, given that, that Marlowe (again, EftP in Bargha) refers to the Renaissance English dramatist. Quite appropriate, given how his life and his plays had to do with sketchy people, bad deals, murder plots, political intrigue, power grabs, and the like. 

 

I'm willing to bet there's at least a handful more references like this I just miss because I only pay attention to* names of quest-givers. 

Edited by APVera

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I've now edited this to fix most of the formatting screw-ups the switch the IPS 4 caused.  There's now tons of extra space, which _is not_ there in the text editor.  Sigh...

 

Prynne and Marlowe have actually been there since Exile I back in 1994.  Anyway, Prynne especially is hard to argue with.  It looks like Bargha has a bit of an assortment.  It would be great to fill out the list; if we can get them all to fit to something, I'll feel better about a one-off like Marlowe.  Here are the names Bargha has, along with what guesses we have:

 

Prynne - Hester

Marlowe - Christopher?

Maher - Bill  (fits w/ Jeff's political views of the time)

Cleese - John

Ethridge - Melissa (very likely, at least assuming this is the same Ethridge who hangs out with Amos in E2)

Calder

Johnson (changed to Johnston in either A1 or AEFTP)

Cynthia

Molly

Bela - (Bartok seemed new to Jeff when he saw Bluebeard's Castle)

Cabanero

Rogow

Vennel

 

This mostly feels up in the air right now but perhaps we can solidify it.

 

I also stumbled on a potential Nicodemus reference.  Though the name shows up all over, it is used in _The Rats of NIMH_ where Nicodemus is one of a number of rats gifted with great intelligence and a long life through scientific experimentation, and who, relevantly, gives the protagonist a strange magical amulet.  Seems like a plausible choice for one of Jeff's kids around the time Avadon was being written, too.

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Vera   
Posted (edited)

I'll try to work through the games mores systematically and come back at some later point with a large list, and not just a random post like above, ha. I am sure there are probably a reasonable number of literary references which may only be able to be perceived in context. Agreed that Marlowe seems questionable. I just thought it would be amusingly appropriate if that were a genuine namesake. Here's some more plausible ones:

 

- Molly Whuppie is a Scottish fairy-tale with three girls (one named Molly) and a giant. The Molly in Bargha talks about being scared of giants.

 (I have to say, that is actually an excellent reference, seeing as Bargha does have giant troubles. If that's a coincidence it's hilarious.)

 

- Cynthia is another name for Artemis, and Artemis was often portrayed as a winged goddess. (There is a line in Bargha about you wondering where she gets the feathers for her pens.)

 

- Angus Calder was a famous Scottish academic (literature, arts, also politics). There is a publishing company named after him. 

 

- Bela - maybe the actor who played Dracula in the 30's? Don't remember the movie but Dracula's body and aging is a big deal in the book. 

Edited to add: there's references to him being "ancient" in the dialogue.


Edited again to add: From EftP in Spire, all highly questionable but maybe others who browse this on occasion may be able to confirm/deny if there are identifying details:

- Zagat might be the scifi author.
- All that Cliff is coming up with in my brain is "Cliff Notes"
- Eustace - from one of the Narnia books OR a character from a weird Nathanial Hawthorne children's story. Seems even more questionable than other references in Spire list for various reasons.

 

And Entwhistle might be the guy from The Who? 

Edited by APVera

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Zagat is also the name of a restaurant guide.

Alexander Calder is an American sculptor known for creating the mobile.

 

"To an engineer, good enough means perfect. With an artist, there's no such thing as perfect."

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I am glad to see someone else who is excited to look through names and find connections, APVera!  It's a lot of fun when you find something.

 

And these are all good references and certainly possibilities.  I have to stop and remind myself sometimes: when you name a character, it's really hard to pick an existing name without also picking one that is shared by lots of famous people, both living and dead.  This especially applies to all those common English names from the Exile era.  So that's why I usually avoid adding things to the list unless there are at least two converging similarities and no facts to make it seem unlikely.

 

In Prynne's case, it helps that she has an unusual (and highly iconic) name.  I'll add her in the next update.  Cynthia I think is a stretch.  Molly is tempting but I have a hard time ruling out a coincidence -- any little kid in Bargha would be terrified of giants.  I also can't think of any other times Jeff's used fairy tales or folklore as name sources.  Calder (the academic) was a controversial figure, so fits with the Abyss -- except that Jeff put some non-controversial names there, too.

 

Eustace Bright just became incredibly tempting -- Nathaniel Hawthorne, of course, was also the author of The Scarlet Letter.  Time to look for other Hawthorne connections with the rest of those names.

 

Edit: Calder published The Haunting Tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1980.  They weren't the American publisher, though, and I can't find any reference to Eustace in that particular book.  Hm, hm.

 

Edit: Roberta Rogow is a somewhat fascinating science fiction figure who published zines and a book (and a lot of other stuff) over many years.  Not implausible.

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Posted (edited)

The Who's bassist was named John Entwistle, with no H in his last name. He made a solo album called "Whistle Rymes", named to poke fun at the constant misspelling. I have not yet encountered that character, but just worth noting. If you find any likely looking Rogers, Daltreys, Pete(r)s, Towns(h)ends, Keiths, or Moons, or any of their prominent characters from their songs, who are somehow connected to Entwhistle the Avernum character, that might make sense, but not sure why he'd only name someone after John specifically. Except one of his signature songs is "Boris the Spider", come to think of it. If there's any other link with that, that'd be something, but I would be surprised. I think I pointed out all these unlikely possibilities earlier in the thread too (there are towns named Moon and Port Townsend in E/A3 for example) but I think those were all dismissed as coincidences.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Those were dismissed because there are better, conflicting origin possibilities for them, especially Port Townsend, and because they are far apart and/or in different games.

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Vera   

Mostly I've only named possibilities which are strange enough coincidences to be noteworthy. Entwhistle is a very unusual name which I've only ever heard ONCE. Likewise, I've only heard Cynthia+feathers once, Molly+giants once, Marlowe and Zagat as names I've only heard twice, etc. (Zagat was a pulp sci-fi author, which seems, to my limited knowledge, extremely likely to be something JV is or was once into.) This is particularly significant because literature is my area of specialty (and has been for 12 years), and it's not often I see so many names jump out at once! Ha!

 

But I've got no real commitment to being right, I just find the potential for literary references funny. I mean, the idea of a Greek goddess making a cameo in Avernum as a librarian, providing feathers for all the pens in Avernum, just cracks me up. (Seriously, the Empire's not sending down birds or feathers, right? So where WOULD they come from?) :D
 
Currently checking out all the Scimitar / Abyss names to see if there's more possibilities to reference The Who. I don't even like The Who. -_-

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OK, this is a real confluence of author names, so I added 'em all.  Also found an additional SF writer, Cynthia Felice, who seems especially likely since she collaborated with Connie Willis, another SF author who has a cameo in a later game.

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Vera   

In addition to being his daughters' names, Cordelia (King Lear) and Miranda (The Tempest) are originally Shakespeare references! (He named his daughters with his favorite names, which came from reading Shakespeare? I am impressed!)  

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/52xrub/im_jeff_vogel_i_run_spiderweb_software_since_1994/d7oa2xe/

 

Although given Miranda's personality in Avadon vs. The Tempest, the name is honestly the only resemblance of which I know. It's funny that he named his daughters after two of the prototypical good/innocent types in Shakespeare. :p

 

I am now eagerly awaiting the end of my workweek so I can actually hunt through Avernum/Avadon for Shakespeare/Renaissance/various theater references. Apparently theater is one of his non-game hobbies. 

 

 

 

21 hours ago, Randomizer said:

Zagat is also the name of a restaurant guide.

 

I went all the way back to Spire just because I wanted to see if Zagat was the guy who ran the inn (or if he sold food).

Sadly, no. (He lets you fight in the arena and references the possibility of you becoming monster chow, though!)

 

 

 

 


 

 

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Sudanna   

Maybe it's not quite the kind of name the topic intended, but what's the word on Jeff getting the term "Shaper" from Schismatrix and the rest of the Shaper/Mechanist universe? Geneforge was originally going to be science fiction, after all.

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Sudanna   

Yeah. Technocratic biotechnologist fascist-academics led by a Shaper Ring Council.

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Istara   
On 19/01/2017 at 1:21 AM, Triumph said:

For A2CS, you list Morrigan as a Celtic goddess. But isn’t it more likely that Jeff got the name from the character in Dragon Age Origins - a game he talked about on his blog quite a bit - rather than just from reading Celtic mythology? (Apologies if this is already established somewhere; I searched and didn't see anything in this thread addressing this.)

It's far more likely, given Jeff's interest in Celtic mythology (eg Nethergate) that he had heard of Morrigan long before it was used as a character in Dragon Age.

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