Articles from July 2009



And Yet It Matters

You wouldn’t know that they’re hurting. It’s not visible, like a limp or a scar; they’re too proud for that. They’ve modulated their voices so the choke goes away, convinced themselves it doesn’t really matter well enough to fool you, and though they’ve voiced their objections, it didn’t seem like something that was all that [...]

Enhance Your Story With Other Fields: Biology

One of the best things about writing and gaming is that they take skill synergy like almost nothing else in the world does. No matter what you do or learn, odds are that some part of it can apply to the writing desk or the game table. Sometimes it’s direct, sometimes it’s obvious when you’re [...]

The Generic Villain on Dealing With Death

Title says it all. And no, I don’t mean the deaths of your minions, or of your enemies, or your lieutenants, or even that thing with the big eyes and bigger fangs you keep around to scratch behind the earholes and feed your enemies to. I mean your own death. Dying, dealing with it, and [...]

Impractical Applications (Chiko)

This week, I talked about familiar as character prop. My best example for that isn’t Shizuyo, though she does pretty well on her own; rather, it’s a little fellow named Chiko.
Chiko was designed for my primary RPG character, Tuyet, from the species up. What I began with was a foot-long gliding lizard, with elemental inclinations [...]

If the Shoe (or Whatever) Fits….

I’ve always been fond of magic items that were very much a product of their histories. You know there’s a story, and there are relatively intuitive ways to figure out what that story is. (And not just “Ask the item”, either, even if it does have intelligence or a talkative spirit.) But there’s one element [...]

Five Tips for a Useful Critique

If there’s one thing most good GMs and writers have in common, it’s that they want to get better at what they do. It’s hard for people to be objective when looking at their own work, though; that’s why they ask for comments. Only a lot of people aren’t very good at giving them. I [...]

The Familiar as Character Prop

Familiars: a perpetual presence on a character’s shoulder, not quite thinking in lockstep with the character but not entirely separate, either. I’ve written about familiars before. But that was about the familiar as a character in her own right; tonight, I’m going to talk about the familiar as an outgrowth of a character. (Needless to [...]

The Party-Pooper’s Tale

For RPG Blog Carnival—you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to try to fit “D&D” when you’ve got a system-neutrality policy. You could also call this one “Why I Swore Off New Adventuring Parties”.
Walking into the tavern, for me, is like walking through molasses. It’s what everyone does. Only reason I’m doing it is that [...]

The Value of Image

What value is the image that people want others to see?
You’d be amazed.
That image has caused otherwise clever people to fall into stupid traps because to do otherwise would risk damaging the image, and caused otherwise stupid people to do clever things because they feel that is what’s expected of them. It’s caused otherwise intelligent [...]

The Generic Villain on Cheerful Villainy

In the beginning, there were stories, but there was no conflict—sure, little things like “His piece is bigger!” or “The property line is HERE!”, but not big-C Conflict. And the forces of narrative causality looked upon this and were bored. And in this boredom they split the light from the dark. And to the dark [...]