Naming new Merc Units…

…it’s harder than you think.  You can do a lot of mixing and matching current units “McCarron’s Dragoons” for example, or mixing and matching names from the phone book and traditional names “Allison’s Highlanders” or simply shamelessly steal from fiction (which is what FASA did for the most part as it appears) with names like the “The Fighting Urakhai” or “Team Banzai”. Me? I do two of three. I figure people are going to be too damn smart to catch on to the first one, so I go with the others, I also look around fan-fiction, and people who have their own units in CBT or other fandoms, and ask really nicely if they want to be mentioned. So far? Only one person turned me down, and he was rather nice about it.

But sometimes? Sometimes they name themselves. I’ll give you an example. Bob, our League player, was asking a rules example and since he had sent it reply all to the group at large, he didn’t want to let on who he was using said stratagem that the rules allowed him to do. So, he created the “1st Fluffy Bunny Guards”. Needless to say? I couldn’t help myself. In they went into the mental hopper that one has for naming merc units.

And so, they lent their name to a Veteran Merc Battalion IIRC (I don’t remember individual units too well. If I have to look at it more than three times, I check the sheet). But how to explain how hardened, veterans joined a unit called the “1st Fluffy Bunny Guards”? It would have to be a joke, a bad one. But the Galatean authorities, not to mention Comstar and the local Lyran authorities aren’t going to take to this too well, thus the joke took on a life of it’s own, as in “get work or we’re throwing you in jail.” Voila! Story hook if I ever saw one. Might do a one shot on the unit’s origins. That would be worth some reading, though I suspect it might be a bit risqué for the folks over at CBT (nothing X-rated, just a lot of drunks and strippers and well…you know what soldiers on leave are like).

But it wouldn’t be just veterans, but desperate ones, guys who want to get back into that command couch, but aren’t too crazy about going pirate. They’ll sign on with anyone, even a unit that started as a whiskey fueled joke. That’s where the Fluffy Bunny Guards are genius. They know their place, and their place is a “unit of last resort”. Sure, they are the butt of a lot of jokes about “fluffy killer rabbits with pointy teeth”, but the last place I’d wanna put these guys is in a corner. The surprise you might get would be a very unhappy one.

So, it’s not just a name, but what’s behind the name that matters. Story matters. This is a game, but at it’s heart? It’s a way for Matt to write a story without resulting in too much fiat. And as such, things like this do matter.

So, it’s harder than you think.

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