Can I summon an otherworldly creature with the gate spell without knowing its true name?

For example, say I cast gate and say Orcus's name. Assuming he didn't veto the gate opening, would this summon him? Or would I have to say his true name for this to work?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ What makes you think that "Orcus" isn't Orcus's true name? \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


You must know the target's actual name to summon them via Gate (but there's no indication that Orcus's name isn't really Orcus)

As the gate spell describes:

When you cast this spell, you can speak the name of a specific creature (a pseudonym, title, or nickname doesn't work).

The specific term "true name" isn't used here - perhaps deliberately, to avoid harkening back to the (awful) truenaming magic system from earlier editions. As long as the name is a name legitimately used as a sort of proper name by the entity you're trying to summon, you get that creature.

You can't cast gate and say:

  • Mr. Sucro (this is a pseudonym Orcus uses when booking hotel reservations incognito)
  • The Blood Lord (this is Orcus's title, not his name)
  • Orcy-Worcy (this is your affectionate nickname for Orcus)

But you can say "Orcus", and get Orcus, assuming he deigns to allow the gate to open in the first place1. There's no indication in the manuals that I can find that Orcus's proper name is anything other than just Orcus.

1He's probably cool with you saying hi if you're on an "Orcy-Worcy" basis with him.

  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ "Orcy-Worky" made me legitimately laugh out loud. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 23, 2019 at 13:00
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure if any of this is correct, but a reddit thread attempted to figure out if Orcus was the true name. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 13:14
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @guildsbounty Indeed they are, but that's not a "True Name" what gate asks for - just the plain old regular name. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 13:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar Oh...huh....missed that somehow. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 23, 2019 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @cpcodes No, you get George Sucro. The shopkeep who owns the drygoods store down the street. Awkward. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 16:37

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