Class Chronicles08/01/2007

The Power of Words

The 20-level classes presented in books other than the Player's Handbook have become popular choices for players and DMs. Earlier articles in this series discussed how to import the classes from the Player's Handbook 2, the Complete series, the Miniatures Handbook, and Heroes of Horror. This installment focuses on the Truenamer from the Tome of Magic.


True names play an important role in all forms of magic, from conjuring foul fiends to power words with dramatic effects. All spellcasters use them to a certain extent, some more than others. The truenamer is a magic user who devotes her magical studies to understanding how the world is defined by a complex cosmic language known to very few people. As such, they are among the most academic magic users, spending years of their lives researching in libraries.

In the Realms, academically-minded religious institutions are the most likely places to find truenamers. The different philosophies of each faith define how truenamers of that faith see their power. This is clear in the choice of prestige classes and specializations chosen by members of different faiths. Bereft, truenamers interested in words of creation that can unravel the world, are common in the Church of Shar. Brimstone speakers, truenamers interested in the purity or goodness that can be achieved with their magic, are often found among the worshippers of Lathander and occasionally Kossuth. Truenamers in service to Oghma and Mystra are more likely to pursue a purer truename path, avoiding specialized truename prestige classes.

Truenamers are most frequently found in service to monasteries and schools dedicated to Oghma and Deneir. The Lord of Knowledge is the patron of academics and as such, he has a distinct interest in classification and definition. The magic of truenamers centers around defining the true name of each creature, object, and location, forging a clear connection with the worship of Oghma. It is no coincidence that clerics of Oghma are known as Namers. The largest concentration of truenamers in service to Oghma is found in the Leaves of Learning temple in Deepingdale.

As the god of language and writing, Deneir is a perfect match for the truenamer. Most of his clerics are as academic as any mage, taking their roles as scribes and chronicles quite seriously. In constant search of the "Metatext," the glyphscribes often dabble in truename magic. It's quite common to see truenamers in temples and other institutions dedicated to both Deneir and Oghma. The largest concentration of truenamers in service to Deneir is found in the Iron Dragon Mountain temple in the Earthfast Mountains.

Truenamers are found in other churches in the Realms. These fall into two categories. The former includes the faiths of Azuth, Gond, Milil, Mystra, Savras, Thoth, Velsharoon, and other deities with the knowledge or magic domains. The latter includes the faiths of Beshaba, Chauntea, Mystra, Lathander, Selûne, Shar, Tymora, and other deities associated with the creation and cosmological structure of the Realms.

Unsurprisingly, truenamers are also found at the premier academic institutions in the Realms. They are almost never enrolled in a specific program of truename studies, but rather, work one-on-one with special masters of their form of magic or in special study groups and seminars of four to five students. Such study groups can be found in a number of locations in the Realms. The wizard college of Gheldaneth in Mulhorand includes at least three small true name seminar groups. In Waterdeep, truename study groups and independent studies can be found at the Eltorchul Academy and New Olamn. One small but esteemed study group is found at the Lady's College in Silverymoon. Several independent study groups operate in Halarahh, Calimport, and Yhaunn.

Truename dabblers are significantly more common than truenamers in the Realms. These are spellcasters who study a small amount of truename magic to enhance their spells. These spellcasters learn the truename skill and often have significant contact and studies with truenamers but are not as dedicated as a truenamer. They use the spells listed on pages 253-262 of the Tome of Magic. Many of these spellcasters also take levels in truename prestige classes, most of which are geared toward non-truenamers with an interest in this form of magic.

House of the Unnamed

One of the only academies in the Realms devoted to truename magic is found in Velprintalar in Aglarond. Little more than a cluster of four study groups, the House of the Unnamed is a small haven for truenamers from the eastern Realms. Located in a small grounds building adjacent to the House of the Four Moons (a temple of Selûne), the House of the Unnamed contains the largest library dedicated to truename magic in the Realms. Other libraries such as Candlekeep or the one found in the Leaves of Learning may contain more volumes of interest to truenamers but none are as well-catalogued or concentrated as in this school. The school is run by Elthenhelm Hamastyl, brother of High Steward Nerrol Hamastyl, the Simbul's representative to the Royal Council and the leader of Selûne's faith in Velprintalar.

House of the Unnamed (Minor Arcane): AL NG, LG, CG; 13,000 gp resource limit; Membership 19; Mixed (14 humans, 2 half-elves, 3 gnomes); Dues All members must spend 3 hours, 4 times a week, scribing and enhancing the library (at least 26 weeks of the year, though not consecutively).

Authority Figures: Elthenhelm Hamastyl (NG male Damaran truenamer 14).

Important Characters: Study group leaders: Sarlisha Kjenth (CG female Rashemi sorcerer 2/truenamer 7), Maaruel Vench (LG female Rashemi truenamer 8), Nelinarian Tansmith (CG male half-elf fighter 3/truenamer 6), Maerwûn Venedel (NG female Chondathan truenamer 9).

Associated Classes: Truenamer, spellcasters who dabble in truename magic.

Associated Skills: Knowledge (any), Speak Language, Truespeak.

Requirements: At least 5 or more ranks in Truespeak; at least 5 or more ranks in any 2 knowledge skills; ability to speak at least 3 languages.

Favored in Guild Benefits: None.

About the Author

Eytan Bernstein hails from exotic Long Island and spends his days writing and editing projects for numerous game companies. In addition to his work on Dragons of Faerûn, the Magic Item Compendium, and numerous other projects, Eytan serves as a partner and PR & Marketing Manager for Silven Publishing. Eytan enjoys hunting for gems and minerals in rock quarries, studying religion and theology, composing music, and playing with his many pets. For more information about Eytan, check out Send questions and comments for Eytan here.

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