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About NecroBones

NecroBones Enterprises
(tm) Ed T. Toton III, 1994

Welcome and greetings! So you want to learn a little about NecroBones Enterprises eh? You may either read about the Dread Lord of NecroBones, AKA Ed, or scroll down and read about NecroBones itself...


Nutshell version:

The name came from an attempt to pick something sufficiently unique that it would be unlikely that anyone else would ever come up with it and cause a trademark issue. So I picked something that related to some of my hobbies and games.

Think of this whole theme as a silly year-round Halloween party, used as a marketing ploy for my software, art, comics, and game expansions. It's something I've cobbled together over the years, and is the common thread that ties my creative endeavors together. It combines fantasy gaming and artwork to make something that is fun for me. It's that simple.

I know most of the hacker geek types tend to prefer to have a simplistic and understated web presence, if at all. I however enjoy using my websites as my personal sandbox. Get over it. :)

Unabridged version:

One thing I had noticed years ago is that people tend to download shareware computer games that simply bear a name that they are familiar with from other games that they felt were enjoyable. I wanted to have a logo that would be instantly recognizable, something different and unique. Finally, in the fall of 1993 I decided that my games had reached a certain level of quality that the time had come for a name. This obviously is before the downfall of shareware... or at least, back when shareware was really a big thing. But of course, choosing a name is difficult, especially when you want to take into consideration the fact that you may get tired of something after several years. It makes you want to choose carefully and have a name you'll be happy with for a long time. So I thought back to the things I had enjoyed in my other creative tasks over the years.

In the BBS world I had often gone by the alias of Necromancer. In computer and role-playing games, I had always heavily used undead creatures as villains and monsters (for about as long as I've been playing games, the undead were always my favorite nasty evil things). I mean, who doesn't love a good ghost story? Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays, especially with the many fond memories I forged as a child, with our family parties, and a neighborhood full of people who got into the spirit of the day. I even went so far as to run my own haunted house for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy, based more on interesting special effects than sheer startle-factor. Levitating objects with fishing-line was more interesting than gore made from spaghetti, etc. Mine was a sophisticated house of horrors. :)

The origins of this choice in ghosts, ghouls, and skeletons are rather silly and amusing. Somewhere around 6th grade, a good friend of mine and I pretended we were spellcasters of a sort. (Where were the Harry Potter stories when I was a kid? We'd have eaten that stuff up!) He was a worlock (inspired by the old TV show entitled "Bewitched")... and I chose "Necromancer" as it was a strange and unusual term I had just learned the week before (which, as I mentioned above, I went on to use as my handle on my Bulletin Board System, years later, mostly out of continuity in my hobbies). I didn't fully know what it was at the time.

Ral Partha skeletons Prior to that, when I first started playing Dungeons & Dragons around 5th grade, I started to collect the small Ral Partha miniature figurines to use with the game. (It's interesting that I never read The Lord of the Rings, since D&D is heavily based on it. Too bad I never really took to recreational reading). I had an idea to build a castle diarama, and wanted to populate it with interesting monsters and creatures. At the hobby store there were many to choose from, but one that Ral Partha skeletons sprung to mind was the skeleton archer, because it was one of the only characters that would look right standing on the battlement of the castle, since it was holding the bow at a downward angle. So I bought it and a few other skeletons. The castle never got completed (though years later I made a different one for gaming, which recently has spent years on display atop my TV), but now I had a direction to use in my gaming. The skeleton figures were cheap and abundant, and really cool. Later, while playing the game with some friends, someone had created a character that was a wise and sage-like skeleton. I adopted this and created my own NPC (non-player character) that was a friendly and wise character, who was also a merchant of magical goods and would show up to sell interesting things to the players. His name was Skellion, and he's appeared in several of the games that I wrote, as well as my Neverwinter Nights modules. These few things added together and created a basic thread that would follow in all my gaming and online activity since.

Bones Comics character In January of 1987 I created a small comic series (for fun) called Bones Comics (which I had continued to work on for about four years or so... though recently it has been somewhat resurrected in a completely new style and medium, as Bones' UO Comics, and even later as an Online Bones Comics). This perpetuated the undead theme, and when I thought about an online name to use for my software and products, I decided to merge the "Bones" name with "Necromancer", resulting in "NecroBones". I wasn't sure (I'm STILL not sure) how well that name goes over with most people, but I DO know that it stands out. Some people merely laugh when they hear it, and others tell me something like "Hey, that sounds like the kind of thing that might have been in one of those war-games I used to play..." (the latter being one that I actually heard when I was contacting credit-processing firms for getting my sword business online, and told them my registered business name was "NecroBones Enterprises"). I'm sure some people think I'm really wierd for having chosen something like that, and others just accept it as fairly typical fantasy genre naming. But the goal was to make something that was unique and attention-grabbing, easy to spell and easy to remember, and would build a coherent continuity with my previous hobbies. And, well... It's as I've always said... I'm almost certainly gauranteed that the name will be truly unique, since no one in their right mind would choose something like that. :)

So, what it all comes down to is this: NecroBones is me. Period. It's a name that I put on my games (and related things), and anything else I might make. "NecroBones Enterprises" is now a registered "Sole Proprietorship", and I do all my online business under that name. I also have an application in at the US Patent & Trademark Office to have it fully registered as a trademark.

Unfortunately, things don't necessarily turn out as you plan. I never meant for "NecroBones" to become my only online persona, as such. It was originally just a trade-name for my shareware, but because of the focus of the website, and the popularity of my Tribes maps, the name has almost taken on a life of it's own. Take a look on google for 'NecroBones', and behold thousands of page hits. I've only found one so far that has nothing to do with me. (12/23/2003, 4,460 hits on google) (05/11/2006, "about 41,300 for necrobones")

So will the name continue? Will I change it at some point? Who knows, only time will tell. But I've been using this name/theme for over a decade now, and it's served it's purpose quite well.

That leaves us with what the word "NecroBones" means. Well, it literally means "Dead bones" or "death bones" or "bones of death", since the prefix "necro" always means "of or having to do with death". For instance, "Necromancer" means "death master" or "master of death" or "Master of the dead". For those of you who don't know what a necromancer is, it is a spellcaster, somewhat like a wizard or sorcerer, who performs magic through contact with or control over the dead (of course, this is open to interpretation, as some see it more as merely someone who contacts the dead or raises the dead, and many dictionaries describe it as one who foretells the future through contact with the dead). Obviously, I don't actually do these things... but from looking at this site, you should see that it's all a big joke anyway. :)

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