Articles from December 2010



In Defense of Destroyer Rationality

UZ, in an eloquent response to the Generic Villain riff on filling the destroyer archetype, commented that
In short, every destroyer is an aggrieved child throwing an elaborate and highly effective tantrum against the fact that life is not fair. As a reader or player invested in the reality of the fantasy story, we’re not supposed [...]

A Comparison of Anachronisms (or, A Tomato in Sparta)

I’ve already mentioned my tendency to get inspiration from books in military reading lists, but most of those are, well, military-related. Politics, governance, various aspects of what it’s like to be in a war, strategy, the occasional riff on globalization—not technique, so much. And then I was reading Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, a novel [...]

The Generic Villain on Being the Destroyer

Last week, I talked about being the dragon, the one who impartially eviscerates concepts the protagonists use as crutches. Then the Management decided to go all meta with my concept, and when someone steals my lines, I steal back. So now that we’ve covered the dragon, let’s look at one of the other big concept-breaker [...]

Impractical Applications (Amethyst Sirocco and Multipurpose Scenes)

I got started on the multipurpose scene issue because of one that I’d been planning for today’s session. (Granted, it went off a lot later than I’d been hoping, for a number of reasons, but at least it’s moving, and will continue to do so by wikipost over our short holiday hiatus.)
It started with a [...]

Tales from the Sketchbook: Lien

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, [...]

Ways to Meet the Antagonist

Yesterday, I talked about antagonists who just plain don’t show up on stage, and what can go well or wrong with them. So if you’re finding yourself with an antagonist who really should be up there but for whatever reason can’t be, what sorts of things might you do about it? Here are four (three [...]

The Absent Antagonist

Most antagonists have a lot of screen time, even a tendency to chew up the scenery when they show up. It’s to be expected, right? They’re the ones who are pushing half the action, and without them there wouldn’t be a plot. But sometimes you get one who for whatever reason is never on stage. [...]

The Multipurpose Scene

Some of us have nice simple plots and worlds, and this is just fine. They’re straightforward, each scene doesn’t need to do too much at once, so they can focus on getting one plot to work well. And then there are some of us who have a tendency to try to juggle multiple plotlines, build [...]

Three Concept-Breaker Archetypes

Some villains try to take over the world. Some try to destroy it. And then there are the ones who end up targeting concepts, as often as not ones important to the protagonists. Yesterday’s Generic Villain post, and some conversations I had about it, got me thinking about these sorts of antagonists, and I found [...]

The Generic Villain on Being the Dragon

The important thing is that the dragon is always right, and the dragon is always evil. —UZ
I don’t often mess with The Management, so imagine my surprise to discover someone dangling me the above bit of Narrative Philosophy in response to one of her posts. It’s about the dragon (or someone else, but it’s dragons [...]