Articles from December 2010



Networking Characters

Most characters’ power seems to lie either in themselves or in a relatively easily accessible source. Among the mundane characters, you get the strong, and the clever, and the beautiful, and often combinations of the above; among the powered, you get innate superpowers, you get drawing from magical leylines or the local equivalent… you get [...]

Group Dynamics: The Character and the Group

In Monday’s riff on the three types of character connections that go into group dynamics, the third connection I mentioned was the character-group connection: how the character views the group around her, both conceptually and as a collection of people. Unlike the others, this one is almost as much about the character’s identity as about [...]

Group Dynamics: The Character/Relationship Connection

One of the most difficult elements of group dynamics is looking at the connections between characters and other characters’ relationships. After all, it’s not connecting to a tangible thing like another character, it’s doesn’t have the same consistency on the other side of the link as tracking a character’s relationship with the idea of the [...]

Group Dynamics: Five Cool Sources of Character Links

Yesterday, I talked about group dynamics, and how they’re based around several types of connection within a group of characters. Today, I’m going to look more closely on the first and simplest kind of connection, the one that directly connects two characters.
So what sorts of things might connect two characters, either before or after they [...]

Group Dynamics: Three Types of Connections

We often find ourselves creating groups of people who are together for some reason or purpose. Protagonists, antagonists, neutral characters, potential allies, combinations of the above: these groups are all over the place. In order to make them interesting, we can’t just look at them as groups moving in lockstep, nor as sets of individuals [...]

The Generic Villain on Holidays

Holidays. They’re an interesting little piece of work, particularly in the original sense of the term and not the more modern, rampant commercialism, most government employees and public school students get the day off meaning. A lot of us Hands of Darkness really aren’t sure what to do with them, and can you blame us? [...]

Impractical Applications (The Obligatory Gratitude Post)

Christmastime is here, by golly
Disapproval would be folly
–Tom Lehrer
This week, the day for an Obligatory Holiday Post coincides with the usually planned Impractical Applications. (I’m not sure I want to think about next year, when it falls on what’s usually a Generic Villain day. Easter was bad enough.) It’s a good time to sit back [...]

Memo, Please?

One of the things I’ve always found interesting about character development in RPGs is that it is possible to express it in such a way that some people (both IC and OOC) will notice, some won’t, and those that notice might notice different levels of change. With the right combination of trust variation, sidechats, and [...]

Character Exercise: Conclusions IC

Yesterday, I introduced an exercise for two people based on taking information and drawing conclusions. But there’s another use for it, one that can be done with two people but works just as well with one, one that’s a little more character-driven.
It’s pretty much the same sequence of events, with one minor difference: instead of [...]

Writing Exercise: Jumping to Conclusions

A good writer or GM needs to be good at getting people to draw the right conclusions. Readers who like predicting the action, or players on general principle, are served well by being able to draw them without the extra help. Heck, observation and logic are useful in the real world, particularly for identifying problems [...]