Reality in Review: October 2008

With all the headlong pace on this blog, it’s been hard to take a moment and reflect. Now, though, is that moment, a chance to look back at the forgotten posts of just over a year ago, in October of 2008.

Body language was an important concept to me, as it’s one of the things that makes a live game easier than a play-by-IM, and has often vexed me about my own play-by-IM games. What better way to try to pep up the posture a bit than to write about it?

Two Things Every Character Needs was actually a response to a situation in the game I usually play in. We were on our third arc, I was having trouble with my PC, and I wanted to figure out why. When I found that what she was missing were the two things, the article just flowed from there.

What happens when you take me to a winery with a crowd of people a generation older than me and only one anywhere near my age? Imagined RPG battles, apparently. I may not have been the first to write about nifty places to hold a fight, but I’m pretty sure it was one of the more unexpected concepts.

There’s a tool that most GMs could use, and almost all of those would benefit greatly from, but most of them don’t. That tool is collaboration: finding a second person (or more!) to bounce ideas off of, get suggestions from, hear the “if I’m the MacGyvering PC, this is what I’d exploit” riff from before the flaw actually gets exploited, and occasionally convince to give a little bit of nerve-soothing flattery (particularly if it really is true). Back then, I looked at both the advantages and the hazards of a good collaborative effort.

Have you made a plan today? Do you think you need to? How do you put one together? Plans have always been one of my favorite parts of both gaming and reading (I have a bit of a weakness for a good heist movie, what can I say?), so it was pretty much inevitable that I’d get them into a riff eventually.

One of my favorite elements of fantasy is something that almost never showed up in the games I’d been in by the time I started this blog, and that’s wonder for wonder’s sake. I often see scenery that’s designed to be a battleground, and regularly run afoul of games where, if they were filmed as movies, the camera would be on the characters’ faces the whole time and you’d never see anything of the background. But rarely do I see scenes or places that are there just to make people whisper, “Wow.” …And a Sense of Wonder, and its companion article Where Does the Wonder Go?, were meant to fix that.

While I wrote a lot about undead in an attempt to get into that good old Halloween spirit, there was one article that really stood out for me—the one that the entire week was there to frame, so to speak. Vampire literature bored me; how many different ways can you handle someone who runs around drinking blood and being oh-so-annoyingly-attractive? So as an alternative to the love-bonds that are supposed to explain why a vampire and a human are in the same romance novel, or whinging about being undead, I started thinking about social convention among bloodsuckers, tied in the meanings of the context behind a kiss, and ended up with the vamp’s code of social drinking.

Did I miss anything interesting?

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