I wrote earlier about the Germanic influence on the names of my Dwarf toons. When I go to play other races, though, that approach doesn’t fit. I don’t see humans and Draenei as having the same Celtic cultural influence. So when I went to start creating toons of other races (to start getting a feel for other classes and races), I needed another source of names. For those names, I quickly found myself turning to one of my favorite writers, the outdoor humorist Patrick F. McManus.
I started reading McManus in Field and Stream when I was a kid. For a few years I was into fishing, and my mother got me a subscription. (This was when we lived in New England. A couple of years later, we moved to Kansas where, well, there is no water. Hence no fish. Hence no fishing.) I took to his stories right away, and I loved his engaging cast of characters: the old woodsman Rancid Crabtree, sidekick Retch Sweeney, and general purpose girl Olga Bonemarrow.
So when I was persuaded to start a hunter as my first non-dwarf toon, he naturally had to be named for Rancid Crabtree. The full name was too long (and would have violated Blizzards naming rules), so I adapted it, and Rancecrabtre, the Draenei hunter, was born. Along the way, he obtained Matilda Jean, named for the cat belonging to “the Troll”, sister of the stories’ narrator (in WoW, Matilda Jean is a raptor, btw); and Strange, a bear named for the narrator’s (ugh!) dog.
Similarly, when I started a human female priest, I had to turn to Olga Bonemarrow. Again, the name was too long, and could run afoul of WoW naming rules, so I needed to dress it up. Olga’s a Russian name, and I studied Russian in college, so I turned to the Russian term for “bone marrow”, kostny mozga. “Olgakostnymozga” is still too long, so I began chopping letters out, somewhat indiscriminately. After all, Olga was a throw-away toon, or so I thought;I just wanted to get a feel for what it was like running a healer (and to have an easier time getting in PUGs for dungeons, which was all but impossible on a hunter like Rance.
I ended up with “Olgakosmga”. Not a bad name for a throw-away toon. Little did I know! What with one thing and another (especially running with a small guild of friends that already had a main tank firmly in place), Olga became my main. Which is how a bewhiskered, gravely-voiced man comes to be known to most of his friends in game as “Olga”.