Articles from May 2009



The Generic Villain on Immortality

“I shall live forever!” you say, reaching to the heavens or grasping at a new source of power. You’ve found the Fountain of Youth, learned how to tie your life force to an object, gotten a wish and decided you want to be impossible to kill, and everything is absolutely [...]

Impractical Applications (Tuyet and Adult Influences)

This week, I talked about the older characters most likely to have shaped a character’s growth, and how they interact with the character and each other. As an example, I’m going to use one of my old characters and the process of extrapolating the adults with whom she had been [...]

Character Relationships: An Alliance of Rivals

After all of yesterday’s reasons why parents and adults with distance are often portrayed as rivals, you’d expect them to be like oil and water, right? But it doesn’t have to be that way; in fact, there are plenty of ways in which the parent and the adult with distance [...]

Parent and Adult With Distance: Rivalry

Yesterday, I introduced the adult with distance, a character who often mirrors and complements the parent’s role in a character’s relationships. But the world’s more complex than just connections to a specific character, so I’m going to look at a different issue; how the parent and the adult with [...]

Character Relationships: The Adult With Distance

Yesterday, I started talking about parents and their potential impacts on characters and their development. Today I’m going to stay in that vein but take a slightly different tone, as I move on to the next step outward in a developmental relationship: the adult with distance.
At heart, the adult with [...]

How Parents Can Shape Characters

Yesterday, I started riffing on the importance of knowing how characters were shaped through their interactions with other people. Today I’m going to start with the obvious movers and shapers: the parents.
Now, before I get into the details, a point of definition: for the purpose of this article, I am [...]

No Character Is an Island

Way back in February, I ranted against characters who have no roots to speak of: the ones who didn’t seem in any way to have been shaped by other people. I’d originally been going to start on this series then, but I got a little distracted explaining why characters with [...]

The Generic Villain on Prejudice and Villain Cred

The Dark Powers have me on Demographic Watch this week. It’s good to do that—settle in, rejuvenate that mindset of treating people as statistics. But some of what I’ve been learning strikes me as worth talking about a little more closely.
Namely, I’ve noticed that a lot of newcomers, when [...]

Impractical Applications (With a Huge Cast)

I’d originally been going to talk about relationship mapping and how it applied to my game, as I have an exceedingly large cast of characters and spend a lot of time having to deal with them and keep them straight. But then I sat down and sketched out a partial [...]

Relationship Mapping

One of the things I’ve noticed in my discussions on keeping track of large casts and on use of narrative anchors was that inter-character connections can get a lot more difficult to keep track of when there are large numbers involved. This is particularly a problem, I think, for [...]