Articles from November 2009



Wait for the Right Moment? I’ll Pass.

Usually, I love it when people in my games work with the Laws of Dramatics. They’ll kindly let the villain monologue at them, they’ll suggest awesome plot complications… you get the idea. Heck, every now and then someone will suggest and then facilitate something that scuttles his own plan because the alternative is just that [...]

Got Scenery–Now What?

Epic scenery tends to get a bit of a bad rap, particularly in role-playing games. Sure, they ask, it’s big and pretty and all, but are you sure you didn’t put it in just for an excuse to show off your ability to create the stuff? And most of us, being honest people at heart [...]

Epic Scenery

Into any story, a little epic scenery seems to fall. Okay, not fall exactly. More come crashing down into view at just the right moment to make everyone use it and take the audience’s breath away. Either way, it’s pretty much a staple of stories in general and the speculative fiction genre in particular. But [...]

Giving Secondary Characters Their Moments

Who says the world has to revolve around the heroes? Your secondary characters deserve a little time in the spotlight as well; if they aren’t doing anything, after all, why are they there?
For a writer, giving a secondary character a Moment isn’t too hard. Everyone has a set of skills suited to a specific purpose; [...]

Gaming and Time Management

You may think this article is going to be about finding the time to make sure your plot’s coherent, knowing when it’s worth giving a character a full stat block vs a summary, a backstory vs a general impression. Or about balancing work and the rest of your social life and your game.
It’s not.
This is [...]

The Generic Villain Makes a Deal with the Angel

Just because we’re the villains doesn’t mean we always have to fight the protagonists. If you’ve already been defeated, if you’re trying to look like you’re harmless, or if they just plain aren’t aware you’re a Hand of Darkness, you may find yourself in a position to bargain with them. I know many of you [...]

Impractical Applications (Dreamscape Battles)

Today may mark the first day that 100% of my group has had an absolute field day with the battle.
The stage was the dreams of an old enemy (or rather, the old enemy’s segment of the dreamscape of a friend—yeah, it’s complicated). I’d split the group up at the end of the previous session, partly [...]

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 [...]

Party Cohesion

The thing about most RPGs is that they involve a group. Yeah, you can have solo games, but it’s usually designed not to, and then you lose a lot of the interaction and the unpredictability. But the thing about groups is that they’re made of individuals, and individuals have a tendency to want to do [...]

Those Who Once Dared

In any setting where there are battles to be fought and adventures to be undertaken (and in how many settings is this not the case?), there will be those who once dared. The ones who went out and came back, whether they’ve decided never to go out again or are just waiting for the next [...]