It is said that long ago when the multiverse was first formed the deities agreed that everything in existence would be given a True Name – not just what it would be called, but what it was. The True Name would define its innermost characteristics and its place in the multiverse. Thus True Names held tremendous power not only over its owner, but also over every part of the multiverse it touched. Some theorize that the gods meant to keep the Names among themselves, using them as a means to categorize and comprehend their many creations. Somehow knowledge of True Names landed in the hands of mortals, however (some attribute this to a spiteful chaotic deity), and mortals soon began mastering as much of their use as they were able. Whether the legend is true or not, knowledge of True Names has long been a valuable commodity on the planes. While those capable of understanding them are quite rare, the power they possess is enough to keep most planar creatures at least nominally interested in rumors concerning them. In truth, True Names are actually only the most basic representation of a much grander pattern, a language intimately tied to the fabric of existence. So complex and powerful to surpass even the complete understanding of the gods, most mortals are only able to grasp the smallest details of the language and must take the True Names Lore feat to comprehend its usage. Even the most powerful has only a very small collection of Names despite centuries of research and cataloging, and that is only available to those of the highest rank. Some theorize that all magic is based off this system, and that the greatest archmages are those who have begun to perceive the entire multiverse as an expression of this language. Outsiders often have a better grasp of True Names compared to mortals, and most know their own and maybe even the Names of their servants. The gods, on the other hand, are believed not to possess such Names, though if they did they surely would have gone to such extreme lengths to remove any record of them for the point to be a moot point. Despite being an intrinsically lawful facet of existence, there is little in the way of codified knowledge regarding True Names. There seems to be enough flexibility in their use that scholars cannot agree on what they are capable of given the knowledge of those who use them. Some individuals believe that living creatures aren’t the only things to possess True Names, but inanimate objects, ideas, and even events in time do as well. One of their only universal traits seems to be the fact that possessing a True Name gives you profound knowledge and power over what it represents. Thus, mortal spellcasters often seek them out in hopes of binding more powerful creatures to their whim, though it’s never that easy. It bears repeating that few individuals ever discover True Names, let alone devote themselves to understanding them. At the same time, their use is often at the center of legends where individuals seek out a True Name for truly epic tasks, or in even more remarkable tales the heroes achieve wisdom and power by coming to understand their own Names. Most adventures pursue rumors of True Names without ever coming close to the power they seek, however, while merchants selling rare tomes of lost Names by the dozens abound on the streets of major planar cities. Point being, players should not expect to see them used in every campaign, and they are best used as plot elements by the DM. If a player is considering taking the True Names Lore feat they should discuss the matter with the DM to determine if True Names will be used in the game and if the character will have the time necessary to study them.
Understanding True Names is only the beginning, actually acquiring one is where the real difficulty comes in. Discovering True Names is a quest itself. Learning any Name is an extraordinary event after all, and should come as a result of great effort and sacrifice. Characters will likely have to gather individual fragments over time by combining several different methods and leads. Syllables of a Name may be slowly put together by examining every aspect of someone’s life, from their origin and past actions, to their personality and motivations, and even their connection to people and places in the multiverse. Few people understand themselves well enough to know their own Name, however, and such understanding can take a lifetime to achieve. Therefore most adventurers also explore places such as the Astral, Dream, or Shadow Plane where lost lore or ephemeral knowledge can sometimes be found, or brave alien regions such as the Hinterlands or the Far Realm in hopes that wisdom can found in the madness there. It may also require bargaining with exemplar or even deities, though such deals always come with a high price. In the end, such endeavors almost always bring the characters closer to understanding the person representing by the Name, and that fact alone often dissuades researchers, for being able to know the minds of creatures such as archfiends can be enough to draw someone into their dark ways. Even after completing learning a True Name characters are likely to attract attention from those who would steal such knowledge or who seek to ensure no one else possesses such power. Simply put, the more powerful the individual represented by the Name the more likely other planewalkers, exemplar, and other forces will be interested in how that power is used, to say nothing of whoever the Name belongs to. A particular True Name can sometimes be found through occult research. In this case research typically requires access to libraries and other consultants. The only Names that have survived with any regularity are those of various fiends, which often end up landing in the hands of arrogant prime wizards. Naturally, most fiends spend a great deal of resources tracking down and removing any evidence of their Names, though a few are bold enough to use such knowledge as a lure for unprepared wizards.
Using True NamesEdit
Knowing another creature’s True Name grants a great deal of power over them, and it is for that reason exemplar go to such lengths to protect their Names. Typical powers granted by knowing a creature’s True Name include: The ability to ignore magical obfuscations such as mislead and nondetection, and use of a scrying spell always succeeds against the creature. The ability to cast teleport or greater teleport on the creature without being included in the spell.