Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why "Beacon"?

Why am I calling it Beacon?  When I play Microlite with the kids we just call it d&d (notice the lowercase) and in my opinion this is just like we use band-aid or frisbee.  My kids don't ask for a Band-Aid brand wound binding (or even for a bandage) or a Frisbee Disc, they ask for a princess band-aid or the blue frisbee.  They don't ask to play Microlite - they ask to play d&d.  I would bet that "d&d" has passed any reasonable test for genericized trademark by now.

Anyway I was thinking of all the "Blank & Blank" names used for rpgs and I knew that another one wouldn't really stand out in peoples minds, I wanted to go with something that would.  I don't want to compete with the likes of Tunnels & Trolls or Castles & Crusades or Swords & Wizardry.  I like Labyrinth Lord because it kind of avoids that problem while still sounding similar.  Also I am not working on a retro-clone - Microlite is firmly in the d20 camp even though it is trying to capture the pre-skill old skool play style.  "Swine-men and Scimitars" wasn't going to cut it.

I considered a Microlite style name or adding a M20 to something, say "MicroPillager" or "Caverns M20" but I didn't want it to appear to be a programming language and I really wanted to represent something 'lite' not something super or micro-lite.

Lite... Light.  Hmmm, maybe "Light Quest" or "Light Spell".  Maybe "Torch Bearer" (yuck).  Maybe Beacon.   Yea...  Beacon.  A shining light in the dark.  A warning of trouble.  I liked that a lot.

As a bonus when I searched to see if it was already being used and went to beacon on Wikipedia there was an awesome illustration by Karl Dahl called Vardetenning* AND it was in the public domain.  Wow. that name and that image seemed to really sum up what I thought the feel of this system should be. I think was a sign that the RPG gods were smiling on me.

But I know that when we play it will still be d&d.

*if you didn't put it together yet it's the illo used for the blog header and on the cover of the Beacon PDF.

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