Articles from May 2010



How Important Is a Picture?

Books and RPGs are, as a class, not the world’s most visual of mediums. Yeah, you’ve got cover art (not that it necessarily gets it right, as a number of people could attest); yeah, there’s the whole battlemap thing, particularly when dealing with variations on D&D, but on the whole it’s as likely as not [...]

The Generic Villain on Asking for Favors

Most of us prefer to work alone, but we can’t do everything ourselves. So every now and then, when that time comes when there’s something that’s outside our skillset, and gritting our teeth and doing without isn’t an option, we find ourselves likely to come to someone who does know how or does have the [...]

Impractical Applications (A Half-Conversation Examined)

Earlier this week, I held forth on half-conversations, a form of partially narrated conversation in which the perspective only encompasses one side of the conversation. I rather enjoy the things, and have found several occasions on which to play with them.
One of the easiest cases for me was in a game I was playing in. [...]

Birth of a World: The Game of Origins

From my eventual novel-world, another potential idea to color up the culture.
“All right, how about why one can never find a pen of the appropriate thickness when one needs one?”
Some games in the World Without Yet a Name are games of chance; some of physical prowess—but then there is the Game of Origins, favored pastime [...]

Shaking Up the Week

Yesterday, I talked about the uses of a weekly routine in grounding a story or its characters in their world. The advantage, of course, is that it creates a set of predictable yet limiting events, gives people a feel for what the patterns are like. But there’s one other trick that can be done, once [...]

It Must Be Tuesday

Routines are a natural human behavior, whether the people engaging in them choose to admit it or not. And one of the most common routines in this day and age is the weekly schedule: the things that happen on this day, or these days, week in and week out. It’s not just an interesting observation, [...]

Half a Conversation

One of the fun things about conversations is that giving an audience part of one can imply the rest. I’ve already discussed some of these partial conversations before, in the form of the wordless conversation and the sound-only conversation. But there’s another kind, this one a literal half-conversation, and this is one you’ve all had [...]

How Well Do You Know These People?

Let’s say you’ve been in a long-running tabletop game for, well, a good portion of the time it’s been running. Year-long, maybe more, certainly a whole lot of staring at at least some of the same people over the campfire over and over (plus or minus deaths, player departures and additions, you get the idea), [...]

The Generic Villain on Minions and Suicide Missions

Sometimes one must be sacrificed for the good—sorry, benefit—of the many. And sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where the price is clearly marked, and happens to be counted in the lives of our minions. It can’t always be easy.
Now, we’re not exactly known for valuing human (or whatever) life by virtue of it [...]

Impractical Applications (Aisling and Character Research)

I’m on GMing hiatus for a little while, so one of my players volunteered to step into the breach with a short-shot: a good deal, if you ask me. So he tells me he’s going to try his hand at the Dresden Files RPG, and while I get a little twitchy (I have this mental [...]