Articles from June 2009



Impractical Applications (Whence the Impracticality?)

Those of you who weren’t with me when I started might wonder about my designation of “Impractical Applications” for my weekly riffs on my own gaming. So here’s the explanation.
I sparked on the name long before I ever began writing these riffs, back when I was in college. It had [...]

On Deadlines

Best friend. Worst enemy. Implacable, mindless force. Motivation. Inevitability. Deadline.
People’s reaction to deadlines is often very mixed. For most people, the primary association is going to be with chores, homework, and other Things That Had To Get Done In A Specific Timeframe. Too them, the deadline is [...]

How To Post Regularly and Not Run Out of Ideas

I’ve often been asked how it is that I manage to keep going and going and going within the blog topic I have. It’s a pretty complicated answer, but useful to the average blogger, so I’ll take a stab at it.
One of the most important tricks I’ve used is setting [...]

Anniversary (or Ravyn and the Writing Desk)

When I first started this blog, one of my friends wondered how long my material would last. I can’t say I blame him. Here I was, unable to get new topics with every game supplement like my more system-specific counterparts, determined to avoid the Edition Wars and its corresponding [...]

Caution: May Contain Spoilers

When I wrote about campaign journal articles yesterday, Josh mentioned that part of a reason for his were that they were useful to the game group. It makes perfect sense to me; my players all are or have been regular readers of this blog, and I’ve been able to [...]

Campaign Posts: Do They Work?

This week will conclude my first year as a blogger; as a result, I’m focusing on blogging-related topics.
Rare is the RPG blogger who hasn’t at some point written about a campaign he or she is either running or playing in. Some, myself included, even use such things as a regular [...]

The Generic Villain on Being Heard (of) But Not Seen

This one goes out to all the masterminds, from the weak but canny delegators to the hefty powers who do most of their work by proxy.
A hefty part of our work is intimidation—being able to strike fear into our foes’ hearts just by hinting that we might be involved in a [...]

Impractical Applications (A Hero, not a Ruler)

Yesterday’s post was on heroes making bad rulers. It’s a topic I know well, through experience with one of my primary characters. It’s also one I’d explore more deeply if I had the chance.
The character I had was an accident, in just about every way; from socialite/spy to military [...]

Why Heroes Shouldn’t Rule

It’s funny how often characters are expected to go from hero to ruler. Heck, early versions of Dungeons and Dragons took it for granted that the successful adventurers, after a while, would go from working solo to having anything from a keep to a country.
I have difficulties with this. [...]

Five Needs to Bring a Character Down

A flawless character, most people will agree, is no fun at all. To really engage the audience, a character needs flaws, shortcomings—in short, weaknesses. For many creators, these tend to be pretty standard fare: cowardice, impulsiveness, stupidity, one or more of the Seven Deadly Sins, you get the [...]