Articles from October 2010

The Generic Villain Chooses a Decoy

In last week’s riff on figuring out if you’re some greater villain’s decoy, I mentioned that the fastest way to avoid being used as a decoy is to set up a decoy yourself. After all, too many sandwiched decoys destroys a plot, and Dramatic Necessity does not like that—and besides, having someone else you can [...]

Impractical Applications (Relaxing)

Earlier this week, I talked about ways that different characters tend to relax. Since I have a lot of characters who need to be decently well developed, I’ve had a good deal of opportunity to play with the concept. Most of them use hybridized means of relaxing, depending on their circumstances.
Tuyet practically got a character [...]


I talked a lot, a long time ago, about how to choose characters’ names. But what about when the character just plain doesn’t have one?
There are a lot of downsides for a character not having a name. For one thing, it makes it harder for the audience to refer to the character quickly (though to [...]

Tales from the Sketchbook: Natesa

A picture paints a thousand words; a picture with context can say a lot about a game; but explanations of the random sketches of an artist-gamer can say the most of all. In this series, I look at the just-had-to-draw-them images distilled from my games: what they are, what they mean, why they demanded drawing, [...]

Why You Might Want a Trainwreck

If there’s one piece of wisdom universal to roleplayers, it’s that as players are added to a situation, the probability of it taking a direction, usually calamitous, for which you have not planned approaches 1. Players and utter trainwrecks go hand in hand, after all—and usually, we plan carefully and add a few extra contingencies [...]

Character Kernels: Under Theme

A while back, I wrote about getting to understand the kernels of one’s characters by casting them into character roles from an existing story. That’s a fun way to find the parts of the characters that define them, but it’s not always easy; as often as not, most stories aren’t going to get you anywhere [...]

Character Relaxation

Conflict. Setbacks. Putting stress on the characters. Since they all make for the best plot, they’re all pretty common in the average game or story. But that brings us to the question of how the characters try to deal off the stress: in short, what do they do to relax?
While the exact means of relaxing [...]

The Generic Villain on Knowing When You’re a Decoy

Many Hands of Darkness are used to being the only game in town, villainy-wise. We sit at the tops of our grim, forbidding castles, toying with our forbidden spells and listening to the screeches of the weak as our minions exploit them for our benefit, occasionally delivering a well-practiced maniacal laugh or engaging in such [...]

Impractical Applications (Five More Minutes?)

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered in my game, it’s that sleeping or barely-waking characters can make for some really interesting comments, regardless of whether it’s me or one of the players providing the dialogue. What sorts of odd things did they come up with?
Kes came in two flavors, depending on how abruptly she’d been [...]

Fun With OOC [Character]

Luath and Rilik are snickering at their own misfortunes over something delicious. Alabaster’s leading the group in a snarkfest over the current situation. Tuyet’s just wandered up and is asking if she can please fight someone amusing whom she doesn’t feel obligated to kill to keep them from leaving a trail of collateral damage a [...]