A lot of times when I write these columns, I have either a point to make or a higher concept that I am touching upon. This is not one of those times. This is a time when I simply want to share something that is interesting to me about Final Fantasy XIV, and that is the way that the game handles its NPC names across the board because the game is actually really good at naming non-player characters, but at the same time, it can be easy to overlook that some of those names are… off.
Some of the names are odd historical names that are actually normal names for certain time periods but look really weird for those of us reading the names in year two thousand twenty-four of the common era. Others are perfectly normal names for the fantasy language that has been established for various non-hyuran races, but they look really weird to those of us who speak… you know, English. Probably Japanese, too. For the record, I am not counting NPCs named with attributes rather than names; while the Painfully Ishgardian Man is a treasure for all of us, his mother probably doesn’t call him that.
Does Firmalbert do anything of note? No. He’s a guard, and he stands there and guards. Firmalbert is not bothering anyone. He does his job and goes home, licks his giant salt rock because that’s an Ishgardian thing, and isn’t bothering anyone. But his name makes me smile every time I have to go to Ishgard, and so I salute you, Firmalbert. We forever oppose his nemesis, Softrodney.
Let’s be clear about something: Vrtra’s name is based off of a figure in Hinduism that is commonly written as “Vritra,” which is how the name is pronounced in the game. There is nothing inherently funny about this. There is, however, something very funny to me about deliberately choosing a spelling of the name that may not be blindingly inaccurate but does leave English-speaking readers hoping desperately that they might be allowed to purchase a vowel.
I am pretty sure that this woman’s name is meant to be pronounced Theh-NO-ease or something similar, but it looks like she should be talking about the 1996 Tony awards and teaming up with someone named Thefunk. (Yes, I am aware that’s not the spelling in the title. Why do you have to undercut all of my jokes?)
Those of us who suffered through anime fandom in the mid-aughts can probably just be glad this character’s name far postdates the brief time when “desu” became a shibboleth among a certain groups of fans. Again, it’s a perfectly normal Lalafell name out of context, but it is at least one of the names here that almost certainly looks just as ridiculous to Japanese players as it does to English-speaking players. Maybe not to German players. I don’t know, I’ve never Germaned.
There’s no world where you can convince me that no one knew what was happening when the head of the Carpenter’s Guild – an expert at handling wood – is named “Beatin.” This has to be intentional. I really, dearly want it to be intentional. Because if it’s an accident, someone really had no idea what they were doing whatsoever, and the idea that someone accidentally made one of the most perfect off-color jokes like that is kind of depressing.
Thankfully, this is the last unintentionally sexual-tilted name on this list, right? Right? (Nope.)
If you’re familiar with Roegadyn names, this one is pretty normal and makes sense. Once you read it with a steady eye, it doesn’t even defy your efforts to twist your tongue to say it right. But the fact that this name winds up with a nice big brick of five consonants in a row and several of them on the home row makes the name look like a keysmash, and I’ve seen so many people make the joke that Ahldskyf specifically makes it impossible to tell that random gibberish RMT bot names are not lore-appropriate. Sure, none of that is true, but I can’t exactly blame people walking into Limsa Lominsa for the first time and seeing this NPC and thinking, “Well, I give up on names.”
My research to find out about the origin of this name has mostly turned up some notes that there’s a family name Ilcum that was based in Cornwall at some point. None of this matters in the slightest because her name is Ilcum. This has produced a number of characters with names including Ilcum Goode, Ilcum Plenty, Ilcum Anya, and my personal favorite, Ilcum Moore. Many of these jokes have been made several times. The name search is twelve pages long.
It should also be noted that Ilcum was part of the general reduction of MSQ bloat in patch 5.3 and her quest has been excised, meaning that not only does this NPC have a name that launched a thousand… somethings, she’s kind of eligible for an in memoriam tribute. So despite her name… she went. I’m not sorry.
It’s impossible for me not to read this name as if it were a question from a gregarious Southerner. Y’all met? Not yet! Hopefully there’s no Tennessee on the First, that’s all I’m saying.
I know, it’s kind of hard to find anything as funny as Ilcum. Hold it in a little longer, people, we’re so close to the ending.
9. Oul Sigun
Presumably somewhere in Il Mheg there is the fabled Yung Sigun, but all we get to do is meet Oul Sigun. Despite their childlike demeanors, the pixies do have someone who is good and oul’. It helps that “oul” is Irish slang for referring to someone as old, so that’s just naturally where my mind goes every single time.
Last but certainly not least, there is a merchant in Eulmore whom we never have to ask what he’s doing. He’s Dadden. When you say, “I’m looking for potions,” he replies, “Hi, looking for potions, I’m Dad.” If you turn up the heat, he appears behind you to inform you that you could just wear a sweater. He’s wearing socks and sandals, and when he changes into different shoes, they’re still sandals. There is no conceivable way he could be more dad.
However, as charming as all of these names are to me, I also know that if you’ve played the game there are names that you have encountered that stick in your head just as actively. Heck, there are names I could have put on this list that I didn’t. The sheer range of sobriquets across Etheirys and on the First mean that for every dozen names that don’t even crack a smile, there’s a girl asking for a long drink with a name like Ilcum.
I am not even joking; that was the quest she gave.