Articles from February 2011



Tales from the Sketchbook: “Splash?”?!

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, [...]

Truth and the RPG

As I finished my riff last week about laying down the canon integration rules in my timeline for newbies, I found one tangentially related question bugging me. The game plays very fast and loose with its setting canon; that’s practically a signature style for me. On the other hand, the numerous bits and pieces of [...]

Eight Tagging Tips

I’ve talked a lot about tagging in play-by-posts over the last couple of days, explaining how it works and what sorts of situations it might help prevent. But knowing what and knowing why isn’t much good if you don’t know how. So here are some rules—or at least, heavy guidelines—for dealing with tags in a [...]

Autopsy of a PBP

The play-by-post was dead by the time I arrived. It showed the occasional sign of life—the view-count might increase over the span of a few days, and its players sometimes referenced it. But it hadn’t been posted in for the last month, and nobody seemed to want to try—and now with its GM’s closing post [...]

PBP Tactic: Tagging

A lot of gaming tricks are universal throughout the different media by which one can play, but some have techniques specially suited to the medium. In live-gaming, it’s voices and physical acting; in play-by-chat, it’s getting in under the character limit on the first try—but in play-by-post, it’s tagging, and it’s near-vital to the survival [...]

The Generic Villain on Heroes of Xerox

This one goes out to all of you who’ve lived long enough (or simply gone through a sufficient number of foes) to have to deal with at least two separate waves of the same people. After all, in worlds like ours, history doesn’t just repeat itself; it spirals constantly, often telling the exact same story [...]

Impractical Applications (Canon-Wrestling)

It’s something of a running joke how thoroughly I try to avoid many canonicals in my Exalted game. The gods? Sort of fade into the background unless they really impressed me or fit well into one of my plans. The Exalts? Might get alluded to, will probably get picked on in passing. I give a [...]

On Differentiating Antagonists

We know all characters need to be differentiated one way or another, but it’s particularly important for antagonists. After all, even in standard fiction, villains drive the story enough that it takes a really spectacular main character to make up for a bad one, and—well, since the protagonist in a game’s been outsourced to the [...]

Canon-shift, Rules and Newbies

RPGs, as combinations of settings, mechanics and other features designed by companies for profit, are always in motion, pretty much until somebody decides the property’s not worth supporting and cancels the whole line. Games, as the collective imaginations of the players and the (if applicable) GM, are also always in motion. Neither of these properties [...]

Difficult Concepts

One of my players once reminded me of the adage that you can live in the same house with a man for years but you’ll only really know who he is when you tie him up and try to chuck him over the rim of a volcano. I can agree with the importance of conflict, [...]