True Names

It's not the name you're given that matters; it's the one you earn.
  Every magical creature, whether Vampires or warlock, has a true name - a mystical signature unique to them and them alone. It is an embodiment of all they are, their essence distilled to a name... Or in some cases, several. True Names are not immutable but change as their holders live, grow and learn. Usually, a true name has the same core, and additions are added to it as a warlock walks through life, but sufficiently earth-shattering events or revelation can change even that.  

What's In A Name?

If you speak, it can hear you.
  Intrinsically linked to their holder, knowing someone's True Name offers significant power over them - or the reverse. On its own, knowing someone's True Name offers nothing in particular, except for a bargaining chip, but some magi specialize in exploiting them. Appellomancy is the magic of names, and its practitioners use the True Name of things to extract power and control. The magic of names is a complex art, functioning more as a bridge or a sympathetic connection. With it, Namers can bind ritual and spell from other arts together with a True Name to spectacular effect.   Others use Appellomancy to heal and restore, helping someone change their True Names to leave old trauma behind and reinvent themselves. Such pseudocide is rare and powerful, but for some the only way to forge a new path for themselves.  
The gods and monsters of the Beyond have a more intrinsic way of interaction with True Names, able to use them as gateways for terrible powers.
 
by Pixabay (Stephan Keller)

Monsters

"The thing that goes bump in the night" is more of a stage name, really.
  All innately magical beings have true names, varying in complexity depending on their scale and power. A least spirit or gremlin is a simple, sharp noise, while the true name of a Fae Archlord is a long, splendid thing.  
by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)
Every wicked beast and spirit are spawned with a True Name, and have an instinctive knowledge of theirs. They guard their jealously and never reveal it, no matter what kind of duress they are put under. No magic can divine it, and no spell can force them to divulge it.  
It seems to be a rule in the Beyond that a creature's True Name is out there to be found, but only if someone is looking.
  Magi have to work if they want to find one. Clues exist everywhere in the beyond, in the places where a critter was first spawned and the areas where they became powerful. The Beyond is not lacking in grand wars and terrible catastrophes, all which can leave fragments of a True Name. For those who want it bad enough, it's there, but it's more often than not one hell of a journey.
 
Monsters rarely bother with each other's true names; except, perhaps, as a bargaining chip for making Pacts.
  Monsters are both less and more affected by the use of their True Name, with some weaker monsters quickly falling under the way of anyone who holds theirs. With more powerful entities, such as the dark gods and arch-demons of the Beyond, such knowledge can be dangerous. If someone knows their True Name, they know it, and a link is made between the two. A few entities are so potent that just learning their True Name can change a magi.  

Magi

That's not who I am anymore - I'm a new person now, and you've got no sway over me.
  Without the spark of magic, there's no True Name. There's something about the essence of wonder and power that makes with such awareness that ignites a True Name within a mortal soul; a name earned, not given.  
Unlike creatures born of magic, wizards and witches have no innate understanding of what their True Name is. Fragments might come to them in dreams or in quiet moments of contemplation, but putting it all together can be a Herculean task. Once they know, it sticks with them, and they remain aware of their True Name, no matter how it changes.  
Many just don't bother finding out. If they don't know it, no one else can find out either - or so their theory goes.
  Magi aren't affected in the same way as monsters by the way others use their True Name. No use of it can compel a Magi to obey just by utterance alone, but they are vulnerable to the use of Appellomancy. Certain creatures have powers that only work on those whose True Names they know, often to produce effects Magi would struggle to recreate.
by Rawpixel.com (Freepik)
  In other ways, warlocks and witches are just another type of magical beings, just as susceptible to being warped and changed by the powerful entities of the Beyond if they aren't careful. On the other hand, mortals can change themselves in ways denied to most other creatures. While a Fae might grow and change, that's more often than not by whim and fancy. Hobgoblins will remain what they are, until changed by something more powerful than them.   Humans, almost uniquely among the denizens of Shedim, can decide to be different - they can say 'that ain't me anymore. I will be different'.
by Pixabay
 

The Beyond

The Beyond is a realm of monsters and magic, of wonder and horror, far from the mortal world. Here, spirits, gods, and demons dwell among impossible, myth-shrouded lands. Getting there is difficult, and getting out can be even worse.   The true home of magic, if there's a place where a witch will find a critter with True Names to its credit, it'll be here.  
The Beyond
Geographic Location | Jul 3, 2021

The world beyond all other worlds, a place of wonder and horror in equal measure.

 

Sigilarium

A fragmented language of absolute arcane power and purpose, Sigilarium is believed by many to be the language of True Names. It speaks the essence of things and brings them into the world, occasionally with great force, suggesting to many at least a relation with True Names.  
Sigilarium - Words of Power
Language | Jul 17, 2021

An ancient language of forgotten power, with words that burn their way into the human mind and leave smoldering embers when they go out.

 

Pacts

Pacts are contracts signed with entities of power, usually from the Beyond, where a Magi makes a promise in exchange for some boon. These range from small and fleeting, such as safe passage through a part of the Beyond or the Key to a particular Gate, all the way to immortality and forbidden, blasphemous powers. The price paid rises accordingly, and only fools make such promises lightly.   Knowing a critter's True Name can be either boon or bane - for some, it offers great leverage in negotiations, while others resent the intrusion of mortals into the very core of their being.  
Pacts
Condition | Jul 8, 2021

Making a deal with a devil, and its consequences.

 

Armor of Disassociation

A strange artifact that changes its wearer's very nature to better match whatever trouble they're facing, the Armor of Disassociation cloaks the wearer's True Name. Almost symbiotic, the armor layers its own True Name with its host, changing itself as it changes them.   A powerful example of Appellomantic enchantment, it is not to be taken likely.  
Armor of Disassociation
Item | Mar 10, 2021

A suit of armor that changes its host to face anything.

Titles

You are the Huntress now, beloved.  
  Just like changing hearts and minds can twist a True Name, so too can great or terrible deeds. Titles are additions to True Names, bestowed by other powers on the worthy or dishonorable. Such titles can be sources of strength for those who receive them or a terrible curse. Among the creatures in the Beyond, such titles are often transitory things, subject to the inscrutable whim of whatever region they occur in. To mortals, they are usually permanent, affixed to them whether they like it or not.  


Cover image: by Unsplash (Mohammad Alsharani)

Comments

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30 Jul, 2021 23:36

it's amazing how you created a magic system and added a layer to the whole world with this prompt!!

2 Aug, 2021 12:35

Thank you :D :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
3 Aug, 2021 21:05

Great work. I especially love the term "appellomancy"—there's such a music to the sound of it.

Check out the Bekiskpan — originators of the chain mail bikini and my entry for “On the Shoulders of Giants.”
5 Aug, 2021 11:13

Thanks!


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
5 Aug, 2021 08:41

Great article, I love how you've treated this concept! And Amelia is the huntress now, this is such a cool name XD Do the Countess give an individual title to all of those she favours , or is it more something like "Beloved of the Countess"?   Small note: I was a bit confused for a while and I think this is because of that sentence: "On its own, knowing someone's True Name offers nothing in particular, except for a bargaining chip". this made me think that you could not use the name to impose your will on someone/something else, but later you say that this work for lesser monsters, so I think some reformulation/ caveat would be helpful there.

To see what I am up to, here is my civilisation challenge article.
5 Aug, 2021 11:20

Whooops, I'll give that one a pass when I am able :D Thanks   And I think that depends. The Countess in particular probably gives that Beloved of the Countess title, or something like it. I'll probably return to this when able and expand on the limitations on monsters granting titles :)   Thanks :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.