Friday, February 11, 2011

On the origins of Harmil

SPAM is a Hormel trademark.
No confusion is intended.
It gets asked sometimes: where do my character names come from? Some are simple like Miskaton or Himalountain which are references to works of fiction (Lovecraft and Lucy: Daughter of the Devil, respectively). Some are just names based on role like Smitina the Paladin or Zot the Mage. However, across a wide variety of games and online services, I've often used the name "Harmil." This one isn't quite so obvious, and I figure it's worth having a blog post I can point people to for the story.

Back in the late 80s, I was gaming (tabletop) at MIT with the Strategic Games Society. Good bunch of folks, and some of my most formative gaming experiences were had, there. In one D&D game I was going to play a cleric, but I wanted to be a bit of a rough-and-tumble sort. Something like Friar Tuck from the Robin Hood stories. He was going to be the party's cook, confidant and healer. I needed a name that fit. For some reason, I imagined him constantly preparing unidentifiable meat for the party while they traveled, and this brought Spam to mind. Going from there, I thought of calling him Hormel, but that was a bit too on-the-nose, so I went for Harmil instead.

And thus was born my most widely over-used character / avatar / user name of all time.
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