Articles from August 2008



When Not To Press On

There’s always an ending.
For games, for series, for everything. It’s hard for us to admit that, though. Maybe it’s still an attachment to this character, or this world, or a desire to see a certain social dynamic finished. Maybe what we’ve got is really, really popular, and we don’t think we’ll ever top it.
It happens. [...]

An Ode to Healers

Without them we might lose our battles, or merely spend weeks between them recovering. Without them our stories would be darker. We know them even in the real world—less power, yes, but more training and dedication.
Here’s to our healers!
They can be the easiest to play but the hardest to play well, particularly when not in [...]

Getting Into the Game Late in the Game

Requested by my wonderful colleague crsenter. (As a side note, I highly recommend her blog for people who want to work on their writing; she has an excellent approach to creativity and inspiration.)
Her question was how to get into the game late in the game, namely around the age of 40. Now, aside from the [...]

Destiny – Doing It Right

Yesterday, I riffed on Destiny going wrong, in the form of the Grand, Plot-Moving Destiny, and from the responses I’ve seen, it looks like people are seeing me as going against Destiny in all its forms.
Not so, but far otherwise. It’s just that one I can’t stand. Destiny can be done well, but as I’ve [...]

The Trouble With Grand Destinies

I’m rather picky about which plots I keep around. If some fresh-faced farm boy of uncertain parentage comes up to me brandishing a shiny object and declaring that by virtue of this mystical item or these garbled dreams or this mark upon his brow he is the one who will save the world/bring peace to [...]

Impractical Applications (Hero-Stress)

This week’s Impractical Apps is going to be a little different, mainly because I couldn’t run game this week.  Or do much of anything else.  I’m going through a bit of a rough time, if you’re prone to massive understatement.
So instead, I’m going to ask a rather touchy question.
The adventurer–the PC–is often the one standing [...]

Fractions: Sample Non-Binary Combat Options

On Monday, I presented my opinion that the problem with combat is the rather binary nature of its outcomes.  DocBadwrench requested some sample alternatives:  here’s what I’ve got, from about a day of thinking.  While his original request was for mechanical solutions, these don’t exactly qualify; spicing up battle is at least as much a [...]

Iron Chef World-Builder: Finished Product Sample

Continuing yesterday’s topic:  the dwarven Apology to the Abandoned Picks, an example of ways to do New and Interesting Ceremonies for an invented culture.  Enjoy!
The first ones into the Meeting Hall are, of course, the musicians. Barefoot and in pairs, they carry in the instruments from their respective access tunnels: bronze-keyed marvels, each one’s frame [...]

Iron Chef World-Builder: A Creation Process

I begin with the music. I flashed on the idea a few weeks ago, when leftbower first mentioned dwarven aesthetics in a comment here: dwarven gamelan music. I’d originally suggested it just as an exercise in “Nobody’s done this before”, because I felt that the primary dwarven art form would be auditory in nature, but [...]

Iron Chef World-Builder: Subverting Cliche

There are no new stories, they tell us. And most of us nod and try to at least put a different spin on old ones. Coming up with something new and different, or at least new and interesting, is a hobby for many of us. And then we hit the book or the table with [...]