Articles from November 2009



You May Need a Montage, But What’s the Montage Need From You?

There’s a long road to be traveled, a whole city to search for a missing objective, training to be run through, a magical ritual to be setup—in short, a long and arduous task that nobody really wants to detail out. This is a job for a montage—but how do we make the montage interesting?
The first [...]

The Generic Villain on Keeping Respect in the Final Confrontation

Everyone knows that one of the most important skills in a villain’s bag of tricks is intimidation. Whether she’s blatantly fearsome, innocuous yet creepy, or something else entirely, she has to be able to strike fear into her foes when she wants to. We all know that, so we all try. But we don’t all [...]

Impractical Applications (The Character Arc of Satsu Kiara)

This week, character arcs were at the forefront of my mind. Due to my inspiration being mostly character-oriented, I deal with those a lot; most of my PCs, and even a decent number of my NPCs, have gone through at least one character arc, possibly more. But one of my favorite arcs is that of [...]

Cues for the Character Arc

Character arcs don’t just happen out of nowhere, and for good reason. Having somebody just wake up one morning and say “I’m going to change some aspect of my personality!” would be a bit odd, wouldn’t it? You’d expect a cause, even something as improbable as a dream about antelopes, breakfast materials and blackmail, wouldn’t [...]

The Reverse Arc

Most people seem to see change in characters as a permanent matter—that once a change is made, it stays made, and the character carries on in that new path. It’s understandable to do that at least a little, particularly since the more action-oriented audiences would probably get sick of it and want to move on. [...]

Three Character Arc Types

It doesn’t seem right if a character begins and ends the story as the exact same person, does it? But figuring out what kind of change they’re likely to go through is difficult in its own right, particularly for people whose strengths lie more in the range of events or settings. There are just so [...]

What Neuromarketing Can Teach Us About Memorable Characters

I hadn’t been going to post this one for a while, but then I blundered onto ChattyDM’s riff about managerial skills and GMing, and he asked for it in the comments. Never let it be said that I turn down perfectly good requests.
The fun thing about writing and role-playing is that there’s no field they [...]

How to Show Character Change

One of the things I’ve always been fascinated by is character change. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I can spend hours just looking over the behavior of a character and seeing how it compares to when she was created. Making mistakes and coming to terms with them, dealing with old traumas, [...]

The Generic Villain on Being a Deal-Maker

Last week, I talked about making deals with the heroes, and things to keep in mind when doing so. But there’s another important element to making those sorts of deals, and that’s being the kind of Hand of Darkness the heroes are willing to make deals with and not necessarily kill on sight. Tricky? Yes. [...]

Impractical Applications (Why Not To Wait)

My game’s one of the things that taught me the most about the dangers of waiting for the proper moment. It’s pretty much inevitable when you’ve got a game full of people who all have latent hammish qualities, a wide range of typing speeds, and nearly no communication outside of the primary IC and OOC [...]