Articles from February 2009



Impractical Applications (On Swamps and Doves)

It’s another of those weeks for improvising. I’d had tonight’s scenario in mind for two weeks, but finding time to plan—that’s another matter. Particularly this week. First I was teaching test prep in El Centro, then there was stuff at work, then one of my friends dropped by for some anime-watching. But I’d still thought [...]

Writing Exercise: A Hundred Words

Sometimes brevity is the soul of wit, as in Rocketscientist’s writing exercise post this week. But sometimes what you want is a long sentence, and what matters is just keeping control of it.
I got this writing exercise from my creative writing professor about a year ago. At first, the concept looks simple. You have to [...]

Feel, Don’t Tell

One of my longest-running colleagues, Shakespeare, has been doing a run of writing exercises recently. It’s been a while since I did write on demand on a regular basis, but I’ve found doing these things to be a very useful skill, and this one in particular was very important to a newbie writer.
The object of [...]

The Return of the Tabula Rasa Character

Yesterday, I expressed objections to an idea: that the tabula rasa character, the one without preexisting social connections, is likelier to form relationships in a story or game than someone that already has a few such connections. Yesterday’s post was directly responding to the comment that set it off, detailing my disagreement with the comments [...]

Tabula Rasa Character: Does It Fit the Hype?

Yesterday, I remarked on the lack of connections many characters, both in fiction and in games, seemed to have within their worlds. One response in particular caught my eye: Brickwall, presenting the tabula rasa, or blank slate, character as one of the reasons why people wouldn’t start with pre-existing relationships. As he puts it, “Who [...]

Where Have All the Communities Gone?

There’s something that’s always confused me about a lot of fantasy characters, and even more of the RPG characters I’ve run into. See, I’ve learned from personal experience that very few people actually like operating completely alone, and most would choose not to.

Image courtesy of DAVIDKNOX on stock.xchng
So why are there so many lone wolves [...]

The Generic Villain’s Pet Peeve

Have you ever had a plan that was going to go perfectly, fantastically right? When your spies were in all the right places, your contingencies were covered, you were on a good enough streak that you might start thinking you were the star of the narrative, and nothing could possibly go wrong? I’m sure you’ve [...]

Impractical Applications (Jalil and Manipulation)

This week, I touched on manipulation in many of its forms.
I’ve learned a lot about manipulation in my games, mostly by dint of practice. And some of the best practice I’ve had was with the antagonist of the first arc of my game, an individual-manipulation specialist by name of Jalil. If anything, he’s as responsible [...]

Game Aesthetics (Ravyn Makes a Wish)

It’s been a long week. Which means I can afford to be a little selfish today, so I’m going to go on a personal tangent. A lot of people have been asking about things that make me wonder what it is that I want. In a game. In a story. In a world. And hey, [...]

Propaganda: When You Just Want Damage…

The last of Monday’s manipulation styles is manipulation through propaganda. Most of us have seen the impact of propaganda throughout history, and who hasn’t been on the wrong end of a commercial?
Essentially, the propagandist depends on the natural flow of information. As a result, users of this manipulation style are more common in places where [...]