Articles from October 2009



On the Implementation of Subtext

I’ve been talking about subtext all week, and yesterday I talked about setting it up by figuring out what it is and then moving on to expressing it. So how do you go about expressing that subtext is there and hinting at what it is?
One way is body language. Yes, it’s harder to do it [...]

Subtext and Sources

Usually, the first phase in choosing subtext is to figure out what that subtext is. Some people occasionally make exceptions, creating a situation that drips subtext and then retrospectively trying to match the subtext to the scene, but the scene will be cleaner if at least some of the subtext is already in-mind when it’s [...]

The Uses of Subtext

You can see it in almost any part of a story, though it’s likeliest to show up in scenes where there isn’t a lot of action going on. Most of its value is in the fact that it’s hidden, and there are people who make it their obsessions to hunt it down and pick it [...]

The Generic Villain on the Next Generation

Progeny. When you think about them, don’t you just start thinking about the advantages? They’re nice and malleable, perfect for shaping yourself a chief lieutenant or even a successor. They make nice low-cost minions while they’re still learning, and when they’re too young to do that you can use their existence and proximity to you [...]

Impractical Applications (Sidechats)

It wasn’t an accident that I talked about sidechats now, though I myself was a bit surprised that I’d managed to go as long as I had without touching them. The sidechat is a device I’ve depended on for a while, both as a GM and as a player, and has been particularly important in [...]

On Side Chats

Sometimes a player can’t go the whole time between sessions without a game fix. Other times there are things that one player would find interesting but that would bore the group, possibly because of style and possibly because it’s too single-character-focused. Or maybe it’s part of an attempt to give everyone a piece of the [...]

Reality in Review: September 2008

It’s time again to look over the highlights of a year past! September 2008 may not have been the month I learned that a 1000-word post might work better as two 500-word posts, but it was certainly one of the first months where I made a point of writing series rather than sticking to individual [...]

Buy One Get One Free Setting Detail

One of the biggest problems people have with worldbuilding is that it involves a whole lot of detail—and the paradox that while not all of it is plot relevant, and too much irrelevant detail only bogs things down, you need a certain amount that both is and isn’t plot relevant to make the world seem [...]

Moral Codes and Underlying Concepts

(More for RPG Blog Carnival: Morality.)
Creating moral codes is in and of itself an interesting process. Most of the moral codes I’ve seen have been based on an existing one (often the creator’s own), with tweaks to accommodate the world. Some people seem to make their codes out of figuring out what’s going to appeal [...]

On the Moral Code

This one’s for RPG Blog Carnival, this month on the subject of morality in RPGs (and, it would seem, wherever else it’s relevant.)
A character’s moral code is, in my opinion, one of her more interesting aspects. It gives a good sense of what she will do in a situation, and at least as good a [...]