Over at Terminal Space, Albert Rakowski has just begun a series of posts providing alternate names for D&D magic-user and cleric spells. Each spell has three different variants -- arcane, mystical, and demonic -- each of which lends a different flavor to it without changing its mechanical effect in any way. This is a great idea and one I've often thought of adopting myself. Anyone who's familiar with Empire of the Petal Throne's Tékumel will know that many of its spells are little more than renamed OD&D standbys, but their new names are so beautifully evocative that they seem so much more interesting.
D&D's spell names are (mostly) very bland, almost clinical. I don't think that's a problem in and of itself. As a baseline for discussion amongst players, it's probably much simpler to talk about fireball rather than, say, the inexorable conflagration of Thoom or something similar. But, except in certain circumstances, I find it pretty boring to say, "I cast magic missile" or "I use cure light wounds" in play. It does very little to evoke a fantasy setting and in many cases reminds us that we're playing a game with rules.
So, what Albert is doing is, I think, a great example of what I wish we saw more of in individual campaigns: tailor the baseline spell list to the setting. I'll probably do it for the Dwimmermount campaign at some point, if not for the current campaign, then for a future one. It's something I'd intended to do all along but never got round to doing. Perhaps it's time to correct that.