Articles from October 2008



Undead Week: A Rant on Perspective

Why are the undead written so similar to the living?
Their death changes nothing. They still see the same colors, feel the same walls, smell the same scents—okay, maybe the blood smells stronger, but honestly, that’s cliché. They can’t always go out in the sunlight, sure, but that’s barely a change. Hearts which no longer beat [...]

Undead Week: On Ghosts and Manners

“So there I am—visible, mind you—and up comes Kaz. And he walks right through me! Like I’m not even there! So I turn around to give him a piece of my mind, and he just laughs it off—and you know he knows better, he’d never do that to Nita—and says he’d been thinking about inviting [...]

Undead Week: More Blood Conventions

So yesterday, we were talking about blood and social ritual from the perspective of the vampire and the willing blood donor. It’s not the only way these things can go, of course.
For one thing, not everything that drinks blood has fangs. Most of them, sure, but every so often there are counterexamples: the ghosts in [...]

Undead Week: Social Drinking

Consider the vampire. More importantly, consider the vampire’s diet. Vamps just gotta drink blood.
I’ve seen a lot of substitutions and workarounds been used—medical blood, animal blood, stuff-that-isn’t-necessarily-blood-but-carries-life-energy. That’s one way to go about it.
But if it must be fresh, and must be human, at some point it’s probably going to get to the point where [...]

Undead Week: The Dead Man’s Calendar

While brainstorming today’s post, I realized that I was approaching a rather interesting conjunction of events—I’d committed to having my birthday during Undead Week. Potentially contradictory, isn’t it? Being an opportunist when it comes to topics, I decided to run with it. Which gave me today’s question: what events do the undead, particularly ghosts, celebrate?
On [...]

Undead Week: Introduction

Welcome to Undead Week at the Exchange of Realities!
Since my posting week (not counting Impractical Applications) ends with Halloween, I figured I’d celebrate. And what better way to hit up the spookiest time of the year than by taking a closer look at the undead?
Undeath is an interesting sort of state. Originally, it was viewed [...]

Impractical Applications (Gods and Favors)

This week I discussed making the implausible feasible through various techniques. This, of course, was not without inspiration from my charming players, who seem to ask the impossible before breakfast and justify it by the end of dinner.
This situation, though, is a doozy, even for them. Big Things are going down, things that even they [...]

The Generic Villain on When Not To Kill Your Lieutenant

So there you are, meeting with your advisers. There’s a plan that’s just been executed, one proposed by one of your lieutenants and signed off on by the five-year-old child after a few hours of explaining the words with more than three syllables. There’s no chance of it going wrong according to the data you’ve [...]

Where Does the Wonder Go?

The other day, I riffed on the need for wonder in our worlds. There wasn’t much response to it here, but our friendly neighborhood zombie brought it up to me in conjunction with why H.P. Lovecraft is so popular, and that got me to thinking.
Lovecraft, he pointed out, got people going on Cosmic Horror, the [...]

Making the Implausible Feasible

So you’ve got this great idea. It’s Epic, it’s inventive, it’s glorious—and it’s a one in a million chance at best. And not only is the world against it, but there’s also the matter of suspension of disbelief; if you’re a writer, there’s a risk of the audience crying foul, and if you’re a gamer, [...]