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Thread: The Power of Names

  1. #1
    Commander Karl MkVI's Avatar
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    The Power of Names

    Not sure if this has been brought up before, apologies if so. Anyhow, something occurred to me recently.

    So, as in Prospero Burns, apparently knowing someone's name gives you power over them. A reference to ancient mythology and such. All very well; I've always been something of a fan of the Horus Heresy series' constant references to ancient human beliefs and such*. However...

    Surely that means any randomer with a minute amount of psychic power could just walk up to Draigo and shout:"KALDOR DRAIGO!!" and that's that; he has power over him.

    Or am I missing something...?

    N.B: I've deliberately asked this question in a manner which might make the question (and me) look brazen and entirely stupid. The astute of you will realise that, if I'm right in my interpretation of this material (and I sincerely hope I'm not, and that I have simply misunderstood, or not read the book for far too long), then said mannerism kind of reinforces my overall point!

    All thoughts welcome, cheers,

    Karl

    *To me, bizarrely you might say, it makes the ideas more 'real' (or, if you prefer, 'believable'), in a retrospective sort of way. Anyhow, that's another story entirely!!
    Last edited by Karl MkVI; 04-05-2012 at 15:51.
    Quote Originally Posted by Polaria View Post
    Coincidentally the Impossible Planet spells straight out that Necrons can indeed move between stars... Then again, that was also written by Ward that had long ago passed into legend for its improbable ability to be inconsistent between the codexes at will. Wherever the Ward appears, strange happenings occur: memories change, ancient codexes rewrite themselves and canon background shifts in its orbit- almost as if history is being rewritten.

  2. #2
    Chapter Master gitburna's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    This could be why grey knights have such long names (do they still have those infinitely long names, like the Custodians?)
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    Chapter Master Buddha777's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    I could be off base but for the most part Prospero Burns seems as kind of an outlier when it comes the "true name" thingy. Originally in the old Daemonhunters codex the Grimoire carried by each Grey Knight carries the true names of all the deamons they fought; with the cavet that they are extremley long and hard to speak and must be said perfectly. This was an ancient (and medieval) reference to the idea that demons could be controlled if you knew their true names.

    Switch to Prospero Burns and suddenly that same principle applies to all beings, not just demons. I suppose I chalk it up simply to the fact the demon in Prospero Burns is just immensely powerful (so super powerful + true name = control) but other than that I don't know.

    I loved both a Thousand Sons as well as Prospero Burns but both books took psychic powers to a DBZ level of ridiculousness so it may be best to count them as outliers or perhaps it's a new take on psychic abilities in 40k.
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  4. #4

    Re: The Power of Names

    I try and not pay too much attention to how "magic" works in 40k. A lot of stuff is pretty silly especially in Know No Fear when murder two Marines who vaguely know each other is built up into this great betrayal.

    Although that was just bad writing on Abnett's part in my estimation.

  5. #5
    Chapter Master Wyrmwood's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    It's always been thus with Daemons, hence why they have bizarre names and titles more often than not. It's metaphysics more than anything, and intent and belief are everything. When I speak a name upon seeing an old friend, that word becomes infected with meaning through my emotions and tone. The old friend may respond to the name, turning to face me - so it works like a metaphysical command or declaration. It's instinct and psychology as much as anything else, which ties into my next point about belief and emotion.

    Belief, and more importantly the emotions that fuel it, are the power of Chaos. Knowing a name is significant as well, because Knowledge is power. In theory, this combination of knowledge and power through emotion and a strong understanding or belief in mysticism are what transform simple words into words of power, words that can hurt and even kill.

    As far as I understand it, scrapcode works in a very similar way on a far larger scale.

    MvS could probably explain it better than I can, and probably more accurately too.
    Last edited by Wyrmwood; 04-05-2012 at 18:32.
    Quote Originally Posted by Meriwether
    That's Darnok for ya: No matter what it is, he'll make it fit.

  6. #6
    Commander Karl MkVI's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    Received and understood, especially with regards daemons; long, elaborate, difficult-to-pronounce True Names. Makes sense, and is indeed a mythology/medieval reference, which personally 'm cool with, especially since it's rare that someone would know (and be able to pronounce!) the true name of a daemon. But I echo Buddha's point (saying that feels awesome; good name choice dude ); it seems that Prospero Burns has applied that to anyone. Which, to me, seems silly. I guess I might be leaning to your conclusion personally, Bud (ok, now officially the best name ever; it works on so many levels!!);

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha777 View Post
    I suppose I chalk it up simply to the fact the demon in Prospero Burns is just immensely powerful (so super powerful + true name = control)
    Seems the most logical conclusion to me. However:

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha777 View Post

    I loved both a Thousand Sons as well as Prospero Burns but both books took psychic powers to a DBZ level of ridiculousness so it may be best to count them as outliers or perhaps it's a new take on psychic abilities in 40k.
    I have to disagree with this; I think in the fluff (if not, obviously, and for obvious reasons, the game) the rampant potential of psychic powers of this magnitude was and has always been there, if not completely explored. Remember, we're talking about Magnus, possibly the Imperium's second most-powerful psyker ever, and a primarch to boot; Ahriman, who is now one of Chaos' greatest psykers; the Emperor ("One of the most powerful psychic beings in the history of life" (Aurelian)); I could go on. Think of it like this; Alpha Plus psykers have always been described as being able to "snap a battle titan in half". Now, here we're talking about characters who have trained and learned to hone these immense powers. ATS and PB just explored the nature of psychic power, and the multitudinous, previously-unexplored manners in which it might manifest and be harnessed (leaving one's physical body, for example). We're talkibng about the power of thought here; if one accepts that thought can be power, then the potential for that, if recognised and utilised by a capable individual, is... well, whatever you can think!

    Am I making any sense...?
    Last edited by Karl MkVI; 04-05-2012 at 19:32.
    Quote Originally Posted by Polaria View Post
    Coincidentally the Impossible Planet spells straight out that Necrons can indeed move between stars... Then again, that was also written by Ward that had long ago passed into legend for its improbable ability to be inconsistent between the codexes at will. Wherever the Ward appears, strange happenings occur: memories change, ancient codexes rewrite themselves and canon background shifts in its orbit- almost as if history is being rewritten.

  7. #7
    Chapter Master Lupe's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl MkVI View Post
    Surely that means any randomer with a minute amount of psychic power could just walk up to Draigo and shout:"KALDOR DRAIGO!!" and that's that; he has power over him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Codex: Grey Knights, page 6
    No Grey Knight bears the name he was given at his birth. This is in part to distance him from his previous life and loyalties -an outward sign of having essentially been reborn in the service of the Inquisition. In any case, once a Grey Knight's identity has been broken down and rebuilt during training, he is unlikely to remember his past, so what matter if his name is no longer what it was? Only on completion of training is a Grey Knight granted his new name - until that point recruits are assigned only a number. Each name is actually a fragment of magical lore, divined by the labours of the Chapter's scribes to act in perfect opposition to the true name of a particular Daemon. Thus, even the Grey Knight's name is a weapon against his hated foe.
    So, that means that walking up to Kaldor Draigo and shouting his name would have absolutely no effect, because his true name would be something different altogether (and I choose to retain the strong convinction that it's in fact Mary Sue Fanboyson).
    Last edited by Lupe; 04-05-2012 at 20:32.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunnahabhain View Post
    Choose Guard. Choose the right Imperial army. Choose Proper fire Support. Choose Big Guns. Choose Basilisks. Choose Manticores. Choose Deathstrikes. Choose all of them. Choose Artillery regiments. Choose to level the playing-field. Choose to level the Mountain range next to the playing field. Choose Guard.

  8. #8
    Librarian The Red Pilgrim's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    It seems to be part of Enuncia, or sorcery. In the Ravenor novels, the villain Zygmunt Molotch can shout a persons name, using it as a weapon of sorts - like temporarily stunning them, disarming them, etc. The demon just seemed to have a greater command of it. Which is to be expected, given that it's clearly a greater demon of some sort.

    As for having a longer name, I don't think that really protects you.. As the Custodes in Prospero Burns has his first name - his true name I imagine you'd call it - used to control him.
    Last edited by The Red Pilgrim; 04-05-2012 at 22:51.

  9. #9

    Re: The Power of Names

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl MkVI View Post
    Surely that means any randomer with a minute amount of psychic power could just walk up to Draigo and shout:"KALDOR DRAIGO!!" and that's that; he has power over him.

    Or am I missing something...?
    I don´t think anybody with minute amount of power could control another person just by knowing his name.
    I think its more like if you know a persons power it like opening a door to a castle, you don´t have to fight to breach the walls, but you still have to fight or get pass the inner defenses.
    Both a demon and a Grey Knight is a force to be reckoned with, so they might be able to pull it off through sheer force of will or something like that.

    I think its a little like Steven Kings IT where in order to defeat Pennywise they had to perform a ritual where they where holding each others tung (figuratively speaking), doing so would allow them access to their inner being and thus enabling the kids to defeat Pennywise.
    Probably same thing here you know ones name it allows you to get past the outer defenses and mind battle your target.

    So if a powerful psyker went up to Kaldor and shouted his full name KALDOR DRAIGO!! and pronounced it correctly, the psyker would be able to go past Kaldor´s psychic defenses and directly mind battle Kaldor and maybe managing to either freeze him or maybe implant something inside his mind or something else entirely.
    However that´s only assuming that the Psyker wins the battle if the psyker doesn´t i think its a door that leads both ways and Kaldor might be able to stun the psyker if he is strong enough.
    Last edited by Erikjust; 04-05-2012 at 20:55.

  10. #10
    Chapter Master Xisor's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    In PB, I took it to be one aspect of the daemon in question's power. That is: there was another magic at work, the actual sorcery, but knowing the targets name gave you a big boost in power. In a manner, it was trying to show off, it had built itself into the box of aversions and constraints and such, fitting into Hawser's mind such that Hawser could almost never conceive of it.

    And yet, Bear escapes all this because that's not his name. Grey Knights are mind-scrubbed, their names aren't their own. To find that out, you'd have to know their given names. (Hawser's resilient because he's an orphan and nobody now knows his name.)

    Like much of magic and mythology, it refers properly to silly ideas. Ghosts, for example - where are they? All the people who've lived, only a tiny fraction of them leave ghosts, and all those ghosts do is annoy people in dark places when they're already half asleep or distracted?

    You've got to know all the other sorcery and magic and psychic and silliness that goes into tapping into the warp. Knowing an item's true name/given name will give you special power over it in that regard, but only if you're able to exert that sort of influence over them in the first place. Complex, but yes, it was missing from PB because, and I'm happy with this, PB doesn't take the time to explain every little bit of new material. Unfortunately that means a few bits get missed in a reading, overlooked or simply forgotten, but I think it's a much richer book for it.

    To use the 'mind like a fortress' example from PB itself: knowing the true name lets you bypass many of their defences, whether it's by knocking down their walls, opening a gate, catapulting you over, mining your way in... somehow, the name gets you in. Like a password into the soul. You've still got to have weapons and skill do do something once the defences are down.

    Being a mere worm and trying to take on a castle is all very well, but gates down... you're still a worm. If you can even pronounce the name. Okay, bad example. You get the idea. A child could lower the defences (say the name), but could they do anything when they get inside the castle?
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  12. #12

    Re: The Power of Names

    There is a demon living in my shed at home, every time I open the door to go into the shed I have say a spell to repel it or run the risk of an attack. This involves the entities name. It is not so much just knowing the name of the demon (In W40K I would read daemon.) but it is more to do with how you say it and the inference that is put behind the words. I am pretty sure, (Although I admit I have not tried it.) that if I said the incantation as a load of meaningless gibberish I would get the same result as long as the strength of intent and thought were the same. It simply helps one to focus on the issue at hand making that inference of command easier.

    For example I use similar means to repel my cat when he tries to rush out the front door when I am leaving for work and it is pooring with rain. (Thus I want him to stay in.) I am quite sure he does not actually understand English (I am not sure the demon does for that matter?) and as such does not know what I am saying to him, however my intent is quite clear due to the mannerism in which it is said / pronounced / cast, whatever term you choose to use. But I could use the same tone of voice and thought and say any old rubbish, he would still then get the message.

  13. #13
    Chapter Master TheDungen's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    My guess would be that combined with massive psychic power it may be possible to controll a mortal through his true name (is that the same as his everyday name?) but jsut as an untrianed human will have no use for a demonic truename i doubt that anything but the most powerful demons will have use of the mortals true name.

  14. #14

    Re: The Power of Names

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDungen View Post
    i doubt that anything but the most powerful demons will have use of the mortals true name.
    Maybe a lower demon would have use of a mortal, if he or she has either some untrained psychic powers and/or was in a position of power, he could use that mortal to instigate an invasion or something like that and gain favor by the dark gods and thus be elevated to a more powerful position in the demon hierarchy.
    But apart from that i think your right the whole thing done to Casper Hawser in Prosporo burns would probably either take an especially gifted individual or a powerful demon to pull that off.

    Also i don´t think lower demons or those of Khornes ilk think that far ahead.

  15. #15
    Chapter Master Crazy Ivan's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    Quote Originally Posted by Lupe View Post
    So, that means that walking up to Kaldor Draigo and shouting his name would have absolutely no effect, because his true name would be something different altogether (and I choose to retain the strong convinction that it's in fact Mary Sue Fanboyson).
    Obviously it's
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  16. #16
    Chapter Master TheDungen's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    Quote Originally Posted by Lupe View Post
    So, that means that walking up to Kaldor Draigo and shouting his name would have absolutely no effect, because his true name would be something different altogether (and I choose to retain the strong convinction that it's in fact Mary Sue Fanboyson).

    Not mary sue a mary sue is a female overpower character he's either a cannon sue or a Marty Stu.

  17. #17

    Re: The Power of Names

    You never know, it could be like that Johnny Cash song. Maybe Draigo's father knew he would need to grow up to be strong enough to rip the warp a new one and gave him a girl name to toughen him up. Heck maybe thats why he carved out the demon primarch's heart and signed it... maybe he called him by Mary Sue, which pushed Draigo over the edge....

  18. #18
    Chapter Master Lupe's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDungen View Post
    Not mary sue a mary sue is a female overpower character he's either a cannon sue or a Marty Stu.
    I know. The problem is that neither of the options you present allowed me to stealthily mock his manliness out of spite, while still complaining about his ridiculously overpowered status :P
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunnahabhain View Post
    Choose Guard. Choose the right Imperial army. Choose Proper fire Support. Choose Big Guns. Choose Basilisks. Choose Manticores. Choose Deathstrikes. Choose all of them. Choose Artillery regiments. Choose to level the playing-field. Choose to level the Mountain range next to the playing field. Choose Guard.

  19. #19
    Chapter Master TheDungen's Avatar
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    Re: The Power of Names

    haha good save

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