Articles from September 2008



Impractical Applications (Making Bugs)

When I first started creating species for my world, I took the idea rather literally, and invented a created species. Two, actually. Both were varieties of arthropod, and both were created mostly around their purpose.
Amusingly enough, what got me started on the little guys was an experiment in my molecular biology class. We’d been testing [...]

Ecology for World-Builders: The Creature in the World

Over the last couple of days, I’ve talked about getting ideas for new creatures from relationships with humans that aren’t just opportunities for random monster events. Today I’m going to take the humans out of the equation, focusing instead on creatures’ relationships to the world around them.
Yes, I realize I probably lost half my gamer [...]

Ecology for World-Builders: Animals Get Metaphysical

Apparently I can’t stop talking about animals’ relationship to the humans or equivalents thereof in one’s setting.
It doesn’t need to be resource-based in nature; that’s just easier. Animals are just as good for inspiring emulation, populating legends, creating rites of passage, and otherwise filling more metaphysical and symbolic roles.
Animals have been associated with personal qualities, [...]

Ecology for Worldbuilders: Humans’ Resources

One of my favorite tricks for coming up with new species of animal is trying to figure out what uses humans would have for them. It’s two birds with one stone, after all—new animals for the world, cultural detail for the people.
And the list of physical resources humans and their ilk can get from the [...]

Ecology for Worldbuilders: The Predator Issue

People trying to design a new ecology tend to start with the predators. It’s understandable, particularly in RPG worlds; after all, half the creatures tend to be designed with the expectation that the protagonists will fight them, and it’s not quite as heroic fighting off something that only eats leaves, unless you’re trying to protect [...]

Ecology for World-Builders: Why Does It Matter?

Consider the fantasy world. Most of the time, when we experience in it, we’re being exposed to new and interesting cultures, dealing with exotic political systems, seeing the effects of magic on society, being introduced to alien creatures with an intelligence all their own, you name it. But there’s one thing that a lot of [...]

The Generic Villain on Animal Companions

More from the unofficial mentor of Hands of Darkness everywhere!
So maybe you want an extra set of eyes watching over you (or one that you can watch through). Or you need something to run messages through your Dark Citadel. Or something that can give you an entirely new perspective on your evil plans, or will [...]

Impractical Applications (The DDR Incident)

I had an idea for what I was going to write tonight. Had been going to tie into that article I wrote the other day about familiars, using one of my favorite familiar NPCs. The key word here is had.
But something tonight happened that I just had to share. I’d been having a little trouble [...]

Homebrew – Bears Mentioning

Yesterday, I talked homebrew astrology. But what’s the fun in astrology if you don’t have someone to use it?
Inextricably intertwined with my homebrew variant on Exalted astrology are the Arthchwyl, a race of polar bear savants who boast a near-unparalleled gift for divination and understanding of the future.
They began with an image, which rapidly dovetailed [...]

Homebrew – Seeing Stars

This one’s for the RPG Blog Carnival. They’re homebrewing this month, and while most of my homebrew either isn’t what they’re looking for or would get me in trouble at work if I relayed, there are a few things I’ve done that just about qualify.
The most interesting of these, I think, was the time one [...]