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Prior to the 1.1 release, my friends and I always referred to the guide as Brian. When we generated our new world, the guide had a name: Trent. This was sub-optimal, but we didn't try to do anything about it.

Later, Trent had an unfortunate accident involving a lot of lava. A new guide appeared: Maxwell. This was a new name. This leads us to the question: how many times must we murder our guide before we get Brian? Is Brian even a possible name? I couldn't find a list online. Alternatively, is there a world editor that will allow us to rename our guide?

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How many times must you murder him? As many times as it takes. But, if you get bored of murdering him... HAH! Like that could happen. –  agent86 Dec 12 '11 at 17:28
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Once more, we lament the loss of [Murder]. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Dec 12 '11 at 17:38
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up vote 15 down vote accepted

NPC names are saved as text in the world file. I'm not aware of any save editor that can rename NPCs at this point.

However: There are currently* 35 possible names for the Guide, and — one of them is, in fact, Brian. Since the name is completely random each time, there's no telling how many of the gentle Guides you'll have to mercilessly eviscerate before finally getting a Brian.

Although, at about the 24th slain Guide, your chances of having gotten at least one Brian will approach 50%.


Hex editing

If you really want to rename your NPCs badly, you can do so by editing your raw save file with a hex editor like HxD. This should go without saying, but make a backup first because it's very easy to fry your save file.

Currently*, the NPC names are at the very end of the save file. They're saved as strings with length prefixes, so edit the name to be whatever you want, then edit the byte before it to reflect the length. For example, "Brian" has 5 characters, so you'd edit the preceding character to be \x05 (ENQ).

The maximum length for NPC names is 22, and obviously they will reset if the NPC dies.

* Terraria 1.1

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Thanks! I considered the murder technique viable as long as the list of potential names was less than about 200. –  ccoakley Dec 12 '11 at 17:36
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Minor quibble: The likelihood of getting a Brian within 24 kills is ~50%. At the 24th kill the chances are still exactly 1/35 of getting a Brian next. Of course that's probably not true either given psuedorandom number generation ... ;) –  Matthew Read Dec 12 '11 at 17:51
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@WilliamJackson Well... I looked it up in the source code, so I have myself. I'm an administrator over at the Terraria wiki, so I guess I could create a source and then cite that or something. Although this information is probably not at all interesting to most people, unless you wanted to find out, say, how long it'd take you to get a Guide named Brian. The problem with this kind of thing is that someone has to find it out, and the wiki's about as close to a peer-reviewed research paper as it gets. –  lunboks Dec 12 '11 at 19:14
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@Lunboks: One of many reasons I dislike the trend towards wanting a source on every little fact mentioned by an SE answer. EDIT: Also, +1! –  jprete Dec 12 '11 at 22:17
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@lunboks — Actually, the list of available names sounds like a nice addition to the wiki. –  Ben Blank Dec 12 '11 at 22:40
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