Sunday 23 October 2016

The Chaos Deth Spiky Name Generator of Chaos

Having quite enjoyed building the Orc Name Generator, and being prompted for more by some of the responses to the original, I've constructed a Chaos Warrior name generator out of the original Oldhammer (pre Realms of Chaos) Chaos Warrior ranges.

As an exercise in geekness, trawling through the names themselves was very entertaining. But before we get into that, here is the result, Zhu's Patented Oldhammer Chaos Deth Spiky Name Generator of Chaos.

Warhammer Chaos Warrior Name Generator

Or if the dimensional portal iframe above isn't working visit : Ye Olde Oldhammer Chaos Warrior Name Generator

However, random Chaos Warrior name generators don't just grow on trees, not even chaotic twisted skull infested ones that jibber and clank in the night, full of ravens and other black feathery things that skwark and gibber endlessly. So here follows some of the arcane lore dredged up from mouldering tomes of evil regarding the early Citadel Chaos Warriors. As with the orcs, my sources are just the miniatures ranges produced by Citadel up to the end of Second Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle, not scenarios or rulebooks.

Solid Base Era Citadel Chaos Warriors 

Set One: Champion of Chaos Box Back (1982)

Set One version 2: Warriors of Chaos (1983)
From the First Citadel Compendium

Some copies of SS2 Warriors of Chaos also came with a scenario, mine didn't. However, I did get Airbornegrove to paint some up. Must get around to blogposting those, as soon as the sibilant demonic voices in my head let me stop engineering random name generators.

Quest for Chaos Scenario 1(via)
Quest for Chaos Scenario 2 (via)
It is well worth reading for the Swords & Sorcery background and atmosphere. The illustrations showing the warriors (and a Manfish!) in action by Tony Ackland are supurb, like spot illustrations for some unknown Moorcockian tome.

Set Three version Two: Knights of Chaos (1984)
Second Citadel Compendium

Knights of Chaos side 1 (via)

Quest for Chaos side 2 (via)
Again, these are essential reading if you want to get an idea of the dawn of the Incursion of Chaos, how it worked, who wreaked it, what it devastated, and why.

The blasphemous names of the Chaos Warriors from these sources, are as follows:

SS1 v2UlvarVileblood
SS1 v2SkathorSkullcrusher
SS1 v2KardosBloodhelm
SS1 v2BelmothBlacksword
SS1 v2Athgul Evilhand
SS1 v2DrakarDeathbringer
SS1 v2OgrothDarksoul
SS1 v2MorthogDoomaxe
SS1 v2UthmogElvenblade
SS1 v2NekrisDemonblade
SS3 v2TomarSpoghWarrior of the Divine Tuluk
SS3 v2Red DulmoonDark Saint of Insane Gotd
SS3 v2AgradChampion of Laughing Jokkle
SS3 v2Gindar MilkDisciple of Dark Zoombar
SS3 v2DoomedRatchraggedPriest of Wenwoch the Waylayer
SS3 v2RechgrundlePriest of Wenwoch the Waylayer
SS3 v2Cursed DoomhandleApostate of Heinus Suth
SS3 v2BuoophutBane-ArrowDevotee of Alaman
SS3 v2ThelKnight of Gorth the Great Obecisty

Don't read them out loud, Nyarlathotep is a busy fellow and doesn't like to be invoked on a whim.  The forenames are a mix of the Tolkienesque - several seem based on Morgoth, and generic fantasy sounding names, in fact they seem like they've already been randomly generated.

The structure of the secondnames in SS1 and SS2 is ver similar to that of the Orcs, a two-part name that describes some characteristic, although here it tends to be more narrative based rather than descriptive of arms and armour - as an example Uthmog Elvenblade is wielding a hammer, not an elven blade. 

Uthmog Elvenblade, John Blanche (1982?)
Not "Harry the Hammer"
There is a clear and dramatic shift in naming strategies from Speciality Set One versions 1 & 2 to SS3, where each Chaos Knight gets his own honorific title as Champion of one of Khornes divine retinue, and an ability bestowed upon him by his chosen deity - not really a mutation as later conceptions of Chaos would have it, but more a kind of super power. It was the end of a conceptual chain, where originally Citadel sold its creations as generic "Chaos Fighters", the Boxed Sets individually named each model, giving it a unique identity, through to fleshing out each identity as a unique character. Outside of the Regiments of Renown series and Scenario Packs the idea of models representing specific characters was largely abandoned - simply expecting the individual gamesmaster or players to pick models to suit their narrative or character concept or represent the character archetype or troop type.

Several of the names of these, the oldest of Oldhammer Chaos Warriors, stand out notably Arkon Stormrider.

Hello. My name is Arkon.
I wear furry pants, jaggy boot tops and a shoulder strap
circa 1982 (via)

Hello. My name is Arkon.
I wear furry pants, jaggy boot tops and a shoulder strap
circa 1970 (via)

The best thing about Heroquest is
I look like Arkon in a dress
Chaos Sorcerer circa 1989

Besides Arkon the Magnificent, with his indebtedness to Marvel comics in both name and design,  Bloodaxe Gutripper is clearly derived from 10thC Norwegian leader Eric Bloodaxe (who, unsurprisingly for Oldhammer, appears in Riverworld).  Another familiar name is Elrik Darkhelm, probably named after everyones favourite albinoid doomladen ex-emperor of Melniboné, but doesn't have any of Elrics trademark design queues. Drakar is Swedish for Dragon (which, I have to admit, only know because of Paul Bonners work on Swedish RPG Drakar och Demoner / Trudvang). Another one that struck me, but must just be an odd coincidence is that Tomar Spogh sounds a lot like Thomas Pugh, of Bolt-thrower miniatures fame.

After much bloodletting, belching and sacrificing skulls to the mighty overlords of chaos, I decided to drop the -letter suffix from SS1 Ulrik Bloodletter, as it often doesn't work well with any other prefix. It's nice to see the litany of blood, skull, death, demon  was well established even then.

One of the fun things was generating the name for the SS3: Knights of Chaos style honorific, so the deities name in Haxdar Widowrider Disciple of Bandar (for example) is generated using the same components as the other chaotic forenames, creating an infinitely branching family tree of ascended demi-god warriors of Khorne and their doomed followers. Not that this has anything to do with Realms of Chaos guff, ascending to godhood is pure BCEMI D&D isn't it!  An alternative approach could have been to just randomise the aspect of Khorne listed in the SS3: Knights of Chaos flyer, but that seems too dogmatic, in keeping with a strictly codified version of Chaos rather than the more freewheeling attitude evidenced by the other ranges of the period. Although what unearthly powers the Insane Chaos God Bandar may bestow upon his chosen Knight will have to be devised some other way! They're also not very frequent, so if you really want a follower of named deity, the generator will need refreshing a few times.

Mid 1980s Slottabase Citadel Chaos Warriors

Chaos Warrior miniatures released during the publication era of Second Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  Sculpted by Aly Morrisson, Bob Naismith and Michael and Alan Perry - an eclectic bunch of spiky deth chaos warriors if ever there was one.
Citadel C35 Chaos Warriors (1985) Compendium 3

C35 Chaos WarriorsUlrikGiblit
C35 Chaos WarriorsUdkar
C35 Chaos WarriorsNudSpinespittle
C35 Chaos WarriorsFenris
C35 Chaos Warriors
C35 Chaos WarriorsPenedal
C35 Chaos WarriorsDaethskar
C35 Chaos WarriorsHarrowhound
C35 Chaos WarriorsThe Iron DukeDuke
C35 Chaos WarriorsBandog
C35 Chaos Warriors
C35 Chaos WarriorsJagglespur
C35 Chaos WarriorsBezzlebound

By this point the Tolkienisms seem to have dropped all together, so no more anagrams of Morgoth. There are several canine references -  Fenris, the apocalyptic norse wolf demon, and Udkar and Ulrik also follow a vaguely norse bent.  Bandog may well be another canine reference to a class of English guard dog, a kind of Pitbull Mastiff. Harrowhound, maybe a small but vicious dog hailing from Harrow? I've no idea what Jaggle or Bezzle might refer to, 1985 seems a bit soon for bedazzle my vajazzle!

Then there is The Iron Duke, a nickname of the Duke of Wellington, a much celebrated English military commander and English Prime Minister. Odd choice for a Warrior of Chaos, surely a Goodly Knight of Law if ever there was one. Perhaps it's ironic.

Duke of Wellington "The Iron Duke"

Of course, this lead me to think that perhaps the nicknames of prime ministers, perhaps Dodgy Dave the Pigsticker, or  Teflon Tony B'liar (the list goes on, and on) could join the ranks of the Initiates of Khorne. It's even possible the canine references were a coded reference to Sir Winston Churchill - the Bulldog (and car insurance sales gimmick), but rather than add in external sources, I just mixed the name-parts in. As with the earlier Speciality Set Chaos Warriors, the two-part second names dominate, which lend themselves very easily to randomising.

And finally we have the consciousness devouring 1987 range of Chaos Warriors, sculpted by Jez Goodwin that would go on to form the definitive look of the Chaos Warrior throughout the bleak and dismal ages that would follow the end of Second Edition.

CH2 Chaos Warriors advert, White Dwarf 81 (1986) 

CH2Eric UmbrandEarthshaker
the Unstoppable
The Inscrutable
The Large
CH2DreadIndy Babylon
CH2PestilensOne Eye
CH2GigalDe ApplianceSir
CH2PifcoThe Deliverer

Again certain names jump out - Arnie Slicernecker - perhaps a loose play on Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gladstone - four times heavyweight Liberal prime minister William Gladstone - and like The Iron Duke before him, a peculiar choice for an agent of Chaos. On a medical front Ivan Edaik "I've an headache", Papworth Organgrider a reference to the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge that specialises in major organ transfer surgery. Pifco "The Deliverer" is the name of a UK electrical appliance brand. We also see Dread Indy Babylon, a reference to rastafarianism grafted on to a somewhat sumerianesque figure, and the oriental Suiyakai which could be based on a kind of japanese noodle dish. It's tempting to think that Pestilens One Eye is a reference to the one eyed daemons of Warhammers plague god Nurgle (which may have been in development, but unpublished at this time). Of particular interest to me is Erc Umbrand, who seems to be distorted echo of Umberto Eco - whose work is great, but also contains multiple layers of intertextuality and makes deliberate references through naming of characters.

And then there is Slambo.

Salammbo, by the mighty Druillet (1980)

Slambo. Ever wondered why the entire CH1 range is regaled in green armour? Of course we know Druillet had provided the inspiration for The Red Redemption, which were also sculpted by Jes Goodwin and released in May 1985. The design of Slambo provides the template for the Chaos Warrior in Heroquest (who nontheless fails to #twoweapon). I imagined the name was a combination of Slam and Rambo, still a valid joke, and considering  the reference to Arnie, not beyond reason,  but the weight of evidence that Druilet was something of the power behind the throne becomes as overwhelming as a great neon green chaos warhammer crushing down on a many tentacled beast from beyond the stars.

Then there are the honorifics - 'The Appliance", "The Unstoppable" which echo back to the Marvel Comics "The Mighty Thor" or "The Spectacular Spiderman" as well as Wrestling and American Football (William "The Refrigerator" Perry). Again, rather than adding to the list by invoking similar names, from sport and comics The Oldhammer Chaos Deth Spiky Name Generator of Chaos hews close to the sources.

And there endeth the beleaguered and mind shattering history of Oldhammer Chaos Warrior names. But of course, all this is but a history of a time to come!

What arcane anti-heroes of darkness has the generator summoned? What insanity hath the nominative Khaos engine wrought? What dark disciples of the infinite void are belched forth from the eternal cosmic darkness of Old Night?  If the Chaos Name Generator produces something funny, or entertaining or simply soul-destroying let me know in the comments!

Thursday 13 October 2016

The Name of the Orc

It's Orctober again! So lets celebrate by investigating some Orcish nomenclature:

Inspired by the random name generator in Erny's Warlord: Battle in the Darklands I wondered what a name generator based on archeogaming and the historical period of Citadel Miniatures and Warhammer gaming I'm interested in (i.e. the glory days of 1st and 2nd edition) might look like.

Rather than dice and tables I've used  the magic of modern random number generation built into Google Sheets to generate the list. And in fact you can do this too, by simply refreshing this page:

Or if the fancy-pants iframe above isn't working visit : Ye Olde Oldhammer Orc Name Generator
So how did this list come about I hear you ask? Well, ignoring any other published texts, scenarios, boardgames (sorry Bilge Gutrot) or other mentions of Orcish characters, I decided to focus solely on the names given to Citadel Miniatures, and scoured  catalogue collection and the Stuff of Legends to produce a definitive list of Old School Citadel Miniatures Orcs Names :

Jun 1984RR5 Harboth Black MountainHarboth
Jun 1984RR5 Harboth Black MountainYaskinForit
Jun 1984C15 OrcShield Bearer
Jun 1984C15 OrcBladebane
Jun 1984C15 OrcCyclopse
Jun 1984C15 OrcWarlord
Jun 1984C15 OrcMaulman
Jun 1984C15 OrcDwarfsmiter
Jun 1984C15 OrcAxe Killer
Jun 1984C15 OrcManiac
Jun 1984C15 OrcGuardsman
Compedium 3C15 OrcGashcog
Compedium 3C15 OrcNazram
Compedium 3C15 OrcBungerbol
Compedium 3C15 OrcGrigal
Compedium 3C15 OrcNishrok
Compedium 3C15 OrcGobstob
Compedium 3C15 OrcBrugzod
Compedium 3C15 OrcTizog
Compedium 3C15 OrcLutnob
Mighty Ugezod Death CommandosMighty Ugezod Death CommandosUgezod
Mighty Ugezod Death CommandosMighty Ugezod Death CommandosGuzrodDogchild
Mighty Ugezod Death CommandosMighty Ugezod Death CommandosMormoJabberbinder
Mighty Ugezod Death CommandosMighty Ugezod Death Commandosushtugthe gut
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcKroglod
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcHagblad the Maimer
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcBarg Brainbasher
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcGraglobGrinning
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcHoglodBone-breaker
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcGlodbogCrusher
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcGarglod Bow-Biter
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcEgrod Arrowchuker
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcKaglodChopper
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcOwd Glodger
Aug 1986 FlyerC15 OrcHolf Stunty-sticker
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderBodblat Standardbearer
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderGargStuntyspiker
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderGrodbol Slicer
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderTegrod Skullhat
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderGaglob Chuckbolt
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderNogzod Bighat
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderGoglobBighat
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderGegblodSlasher
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderBargogSmasher
Aug 1986 Flyerc21 Boar RiderCrazgogStuntybelter
Dec 1986C27 Orc Ballista & CrewBolbosh
Dec 1986C27 Orc Ballista & CrewOnefang
Dec 1986C27 Orc Ballista & CrewGnashtor
Dec 1986C27 Orc Ballista & CrewSlaghead
Dec 1986C27 Orc Ballista & CrewGubspor
Dec 1986C27 Orc Ballista & CrewGrimnose
March 1987c21 Boar RiderAxe Hacker
March 1987c21 Boar RiderBulgnoshBigblade
March 1987c21 Boar RiderDogface
March 1987c21 Boar RiderSpearscreamer
March 1987c21 Boar RiderAnzak Archer
Spring 1987Orc1Orbid
Spring 1987Orc1Darket
Spring 1987Orc1Bruk
Spring 1987Orc1Ranglit
Spring 1987Orc1Angok
Spring 1987Orc1Zinge
Spring 1987Orc1Spikk
Spring 1987Orc1Mannik
Spring 1987Orc1Myarg
Spring 1987Orc1Slyss
Spring 1987Orc1Hurt
Spring 1987Orc1Samig
Spring 1987Orc1Fletch

So I left out Ugezods mates who aren't Orcs. Goblins, Ogres, Hobgoblins, Kobolds, are all quite different and deserving of their own enquiry, maybe next time lads.

Besides the nice pun - Yeraskin Forit ("You are asking for it" - a beating, that is), there's some obvious trends here - first names are largely two syllables , and last names are largely compound words consisting of two elements that usually refer to either an act of violence, an enemy or a weapon. The fore-name parts are highly reminiscent of Bill & Ben the Flowerpot men in full on swear mode, with lots of 'ob', 'lob', 'gl' which is quite in keeping with Tolkiens naming of Orcs which gravitates around the same sounds. The more observant of you will have noticed that the Spring 87 names have a very different set of syllables, much more focussed on the shaper 'k' and 't' sounds than the 'g', not sure why, but it's possible the person who was responsible for making up silly names for miniatures was changed.

It's interesting that Man and Dwarf (and the nickname for Dwarves 'Stunty') appears whereas Elf does not. There might be some significance in that - perhaps Elves are perhaps not seen as a 'worthy' foe, or perhaps the sector of Orcdom in question doesn't come into contact with Elves, Slann, Lizardmen or Hobbits. Uzlud Frogspiker would be fine name for a Lustrian orc. Again, there is a Tolkienism in that Shagrat could be a similar formulation,  although I think the professor might shake his head at the suggestion that it's a compound word indicating bestiality with vermin.

Anyway, I built a table of the component parts of the published names:

Forename AForename BSurname ASurname B

You'll have noticed I haven't normalised the data. Indeed, items that have more frequency in the original name set have more frequency in the component data table, so some elements have a higher chance of appearing.  Its not a perfect weighting (which would have to take into account the size of the dataset), but it will do, won't it.

Anyway here's a bunch of Orcy ne'er-do-wells generated from this list:

Ushlod Glodgspiker
Gnashrg Chopperkiller
Gegspor Gutspiker
Ushrok Arrowman
Nazrok the Smiter
Morzod Dogkiller
Goglob Slicerblade
Tiet the Axe
Gabog Maul
Ushlod Bigbasher
Glodrg Chucklord

I've had to add in "the" to a couple of names to make them read better, but otherwise it's a pretty good emulation of a mid-80s Citadel Miniatures catalogue Orc nomenclature.

What I love most about random generation is how they feed the creative response, much like random character generation in Dungeons & Dragons (3d6 in order or nothing). One can just imagine the mace-weilding leering stance of of Doggog Dwarfbasher, or the stooped, grinning gait of Banik Glodgehat  underneath his patched-up leather helm, or the arrogant gesticulating of the Necromantic Orc Wizard who is Glodok Skullbinder.. They practically design themselves.

Occasionally the generator does produce something weird - Angbid Stuntylord for example. It's possible just to ignore it as being out of flavour, or perhaps it's an opportunity for backstory, maybe he's a slave-master with a retinue of Dwarven captives, or carries severed dwarf-heads on his standard or belt.

If you're interested in the nomenclature of the orc in gaming literature (and let's be honest, who isn't?) have a look at Zenopus excellent article on Gygaxian Orc Tribes names. Hmm...perhaps a ramble through the rulebooks of Oldhammer picking out tribal names... Oh yeah, and if the Ye Olde Oldhammer Orc Name Generator vomits up any particularly interesting, funny or inspiring names for you, I'd love to hear them.