Articles from November 2010



Have Character; Need Image?

We’ve all heard about people who describe their characters too much, too florid, often when it really doesn’t make sense to do so; I think most of us can agree that that’s generally a bad idea. But some people have the opposite difficulty; they can settle down in a character’s head, dredge up personality, skills, [...]

Exercise: As Someone Else

This one’s an idea I’ve toyed with on several occasions—once as a sort of RP team-building exercise, once as a theoretical experiment, once because I was bored. Like most of my exercises, it helps to know the available pool of characters. Unlike them, it also helps to know the pool of players; this one isn’t [...]

The Generic Villain Rules from a Nutshell

Back in the day, madness was pretty common among our kinds of people. It was such a perfect way of ensuring we were Evil without any further explanation, so we could cut with the backstory and get on with the puppy-kicking. Nowadays it’s seen more as cliché, and we all know how the Laws of [...]

Impractical Applications (City Gods and Flavors of Insanity)

It’s easy to play insanity according to a pattern, doing the same thing every time, but as far as I’m concerned, ease is the only advantage. People—or other entities—are individuals; they’re not all going to break the same way. Besides, a little variety is fun.
I’ve had opportunity to do this even when circumstances would make [...]

Tales from the Sketchbook: Procopia

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, [...]

Character/World Exercise: Give Us a Tour

“So this is my place….”
I’ve done a decent amount with characterization exercises, and every now and then played with worldbuilding exercises, but sometimes you don’t want to do them separately; at times like that, it’s better to get the world, whether it’s your creation or just one you want to understand better, properly interwoven with [...]

Characterization in Summary

Most of the games I’ve played in, particularly the ones that were meant to be character-driven, really didn’t cover time well; I found that as often as not, we’d stop and hold a conversation in hopes that it would help figure out how the characters were dealing with this or that or the other. So [...]

Presentation of Madness, Axes of Insanity

For me, the toughest part of presenting insane characters has always been their portrayal. There’s a lot to balance: making the character different without making her obnoxious. Not turning her into a one-note character, nor offending/triggering people who have had to deal with real live mental disorders (one of the reasons why I tend not [...]

Insanity: Creating a Pre-Maddened Character

Insanity is an interesting character trait, when done properly. It creates a little differentiation between the character and those otherwise like her, lets you explore a slightly different style of logic (particularly when you’re going for rational except for a few important details, or when the challenge is seeing what kinds of things you can [...]

The Generic Villain on Specialization

Of the traits we can acquire, specialization is one of the most two-edged of all. It makes us stronger but can leave us more open to other angles of attack, and can both add to and subtract from our overall personalities. But is it worth it, and if so, how specialized does it make sense [...]