Is it a legal concern if a procedural name generator might generate the names of real people?

(This question is similar in spirit to this question, but I think this case is sufficiently different and specific enough to warrant a new question.)


In one of my current side projects, I have a little procedural name generation system for NPCs. Its purpose is akin to the random profiler in Watch_Dogs and the way it procedurally generates little NPC identities and blurbs to flesh out the game world, in that the system exists to spit out some generic NPC identities and give bits of information about them. Which can sometimes give very funny results, in Watch_Dogs’s case.

The procedural system in my project is fairly basic, and it generates:

  1. a random first name, taken from a list of the most common baby names in North America. (i.e. Anna, Nancy George, William, etc.)
  2. a random last name, taken from a list of the most common surnames in North America. (i.e. Rogers, Smith, Walker, Brown, etc.)

As a result of this dataset, the generator typically spits out generic names like "John Smith" and "Marcy Walker," which is what I wanted it to do and it works as intended.

The question

In the process of testing, I have noticed something about this generation system: because it is specifically designed to generate normal-sounding names that could plausibly exist, it can inadvertently generate the names of real, famous people. For example, it has the potential to spit out "Chris Pine," "Will Smith," "Tom Hanks," and probably a few others, simply because it pulls from lists of common names and could plausibly stumble across and combine those options. From a player’s point of view, it would probably be a little surprising to stumble across an NPC named Tom Hanks just wandering around the world.

This leads me to my question: If I were to ever release this game commercially, is it possibly going to be a legal concern if a procedural name generator sometimes inadvertently spits out the names of famous, real people? Are there other potential ways this could be a problem from a game design standpoint? Would it count as some kind of unauthorized-use-of-identity issue? And, if so, should I program in some "blacklists" of names that the procedural generator should avoid spitting out, i.e. by giving it lists of celebrity names to avoid?

Which Spheres of Might talents give a Vector attacks through Kinetic Overload?

The vector symbiat archetype, from Champions of the Spheres, has the ability Kinetic Overload, which reads, in part:

When a Brute, Scoundrel, or Wrestling talent would grant the vector an attack against a target within his telekinesis range as the result of performing a maneuver [emphasis mine], he may choose to make a ranged attack roll to pummel his target in place of the attack, dealing 1d6 + his casting ability modifier bludgeoning damage. This damage increases by 1d6 at 3rd level and every two levels thereafter and counts as magic.

My question is which martial talents from these three spheres actually grant these attacks? Some seem to obviously grant the attack (Scoundrel’s Mug, Wrestling’s Chink in the Armor), and others probably not (Wrestling’s Slip and Strike), but what about an ability such as Wrestling’s Piledriver?

When you successfully maintain a grapple against a creature you have already pinned, instead of one of the options normally available when you maintain a grapple, you may lift them over your head and smash them into the ground, automatically threatening a critical hit with your unarmed strike and rolling to confirm as normal. If the critical threat confirms successfully, the creature must make a successful Fortitude save or be staggered for 1 round. Use of this talent breaks your grapple on the creature. At +10 base attack bonus, the target is dazed for 1 round instead.

Does this fulfill the twin parts of Kinetic Overload, namely, "making an attack" (it’s automatically threatening a critical hit; no attack roll is being made, but a confirmation roll is called for), and "as the result of performing a maneuver" (it’s an option upon maintaining a grapple)? Does Kinetic Overload’s option to make the attack with telekinetic force override Piledriver’s requirement that the attack be made with an unarmed strike?

Piledriver’s the most confusing example I’ve found in my readings, but I’d like to see either a specific set of tests (does it have to be an attack roll, does it have to allow any weapon to be used with it, etc.) or a full list of all talents that grant an attack that Kinetic Overload can replace this way (probably no more than a dozen unless it’s a lot more generally applicable than I’m understanding it to be). I’m also working under the understanding that the attacks made as part of shove, marked target, and snag do not qualify, since they’re handled in their own paragraph of Kinetic Overload.

What are some ways one might implement a more story-driven spell/skill acquisition?

What are some ways one might implement a more story-driven spell/skill acquisition? Hopefully in a way that isn’t a complete slog.

The idea of the players’ handbook being used as a shopping catalogue kinda ruins the immersion for me. It doesn’t make much sense that a character can go to sleep one day and then wake up the next suddenly knowing a bunch of new spells or skills if they happened to reach a new level. Especially that often those spells/skills have nothing to do with any in-game actions or backstory of the character. I’d love to see a game where the characters have to actively work towards acquiring their skills, and not just waiting till they’ve passed the next level threshold.

The question is largely about how a DnD5e system might get modified to fit my concerns because I don’t really have a group yet and 5e players are easiest to find. That said I’m open to hearing about other game systems.

In the context of 5e I was thinking of flipping the relationship between levels and skills/spells on its head and not have levels grant you skills but rather the achieving skills bumping your level up (at GM’s discretion). By "achieving skills" the character pursuing an RP way to acquire a skill. Depending on what’s going on in-game it might be super easy for some skills (e.g. you find that move that you’ve been trying to do all this time suddenly just works after enough practice) or verging on impossible for others (e.g. getting an ice-y spell for a character who is all about fire stuff). I imagine this could create a greater sense of anticipation and, ultimately, reward at the advancement of characters. Or I might be completely wrong and it’s only going to scare off potential players who just want to minmax.

Lore help sought: how might my players change a deity’s domains?

The short setup: my players believe they’ve angered a major deity and want to atone for their actions. Since the deity in question is Desna, who wants to reclaim the Beasts domain from Lamashtu, one of the "obvious" options is to help her achieve that goal.

I’ve been looking for lore about how PCs (and mythic ones at that) might be able to even nudge the cosmic balance such that one deity might take a domain from another.

I know the ultimate answer is "whatever the GM says works works". I’m hoping that there’s some obscure bit of lore that I’ve overlooked that might point in a helpful direction.

So: what, if any, precedent/lore/… is there in Golarion for mortals to change – or aid in a change to – a deity’s domains when there’s no chance of a negotiated transfer?

Is there a more cost-effective way to get a +4 to Str and Con than a Belt of Physical Might?

So I’m making a new level 11 character, and I have enough funds to purchase a Belt of Physical Might +4 to STR and CON. In 3.5, splitting up these items might be in different magic item slots. Not so much in Pathfinder.

Are there other more cost-effective ways to get ‘permanent’ +4 bonuses to these stats?

How might investigating a prison break be accomplished?

I can’t think of a way to concisely fit my entire question in the title, but here goes.

I’m currently running Dark Heresy 2e for my group, as my second time GMing a game (the first time was short-lived, and hardly counts). They’ve successfully tracked down and captured a recidivist who recently escaped from a prison world, but I intend for them to investigate that prison world next and find that not only was she broken out by an outside force, but that the party in question was hired by a rival Inquisitor with a grudge against the group’s employing Inquisitor.

The planet in question is not yet fleshed out, so the answers to the following questions might help me accomplish that.

With background out of the way, here are the questions:

  1. How might someone break a small group of prisoners out of a penal colony and get them off-world? I want to make it believable that the person who broke them out was a professional, but also make it not too hard to figure out for a group with a couple rookie RPG players at low level. My brain is kind-of bricking right now; I can’t think of something interesting that isn’t too easy or has already been done.

  2. How can I drop hints that it is this rival Inquisitor without making it plainly obvious, so that the party can’t simply take the evidence to a tribunal and have him arrested? Ideally, they find tangential evidence, enough that their Inquisitor is sure that it’s him, but not enough to have a trial, so that it’s up to the party to chase him down.

Any additional advice you could offer is also appreciated.

How might one permanently change the key ability for a specific skill from a mental to physical stat?

How might one permanently change the key ability for a specific skill from a mental to a physical stat?

Specifically the Craft skill, and from INT to DEX, relating to a character that can carve whatever they see but doesn’t use intellect to do so as they are something of the classic Savant type which does not interface with the world through intellectual logic or thinking patterns.

I am ideally looking for a rule or mechanic that supports the concept, rather than just home-brewing something, if possible. If such a rule or mechanic doesn’t exist, then knowing that is helpful too. And something that can be taken at as low a level as possible, be it feat, trait, feature, item, or power.

I am aware of the Void Disciple ability of Void Release which swaps primary stats for all purposes temporarily, however, taking 10 levels of a prestige class for a 3/d ability is very suboptimal, and does not meet my requirements. The Variant rule for alternate ability skill checks is DM dependent, therefore it may not work when moving the character between different groups and thus is likewise not what I’m looking for.

WotC officially approved materials only please; such as Dungeon, Dragon, Rokugan, Dragonlance, Kingdoms of Kalamar, official co-owned sites, etc..

InnoDB: page_cleaner: settings might not be optimal (how to tune)

I am having similar issues to this question but I’m trying to understand how to tune the database correctly (rather than just lowering settings and hoping 😉

In the error log I have these entries (often days or weeks apart)

2020-12-19T11:54:53.640527Z 0 [Note] InnoDB: page_cleaner: 1000ms intended loop took 12204ms. The settings might not be optimal. (flushed=27 and evicted=0, during the time.) 2020-12-19T23:14:04.901370Z 0 [Note] InnoDB: page_cleaner: 1000ms intended loop took 6788ms. The settings might not be optimal. (flushed=10 and evicted=0, during the time.) 

And corresponding entries in the mysql-slow log! down to the second. What I find weird is that I thought the cleaner was supposed to be some kind of background process… why does it have any impact on the queries themselves?

mysqltuner is happy, the db has 32 gigs ram and some relevant settings are


  1. innodb_page_cleaners is currently 4,
  2. innodb_buffer_pool_instances is 25 !.
  3. innodb_buffer_pool_chunk_size is 134217728
  4. innodb_buffer_pool_size is 26843545600


  1. Should I just set the page cleaners to 25 as suggested in the other answer.
  2. Should I try 1) first, see if it makes a difference, then lower the innodb_lru_scan_depth if I don’t see an improvement?
  3. Why doesn’t MYSQL just default the page cleaners to be the same as the number of instances if it can have such a drastic affect? t suggests setting the page cleaners to the same as the pool instances. Why doesn’t MYSQL just default to that if it’s so sensible?
  4. Is it expected to see the cleaner have an impact in the slow-query log?


What entity might inhabit the weapon of a Tiefling Hexblade with Levistus bloodline?

I’m planning to play a Tiefling Hexblade with Levistus bloodline. The weapon of this Hexblade should be inhabited by an entity that was sent by Levistus. What entity could that be? Demons don’t work together with Devils, so that’s not an option. Another devil? Is it possible for a lower devil to inhabit objects? A ghost like entity seems wrong, too.