Articles from March 2011



In Defense of Idle Conversation

I’ve had long arguments with at least one of my players/GMs about whether a scene that seems entirely to be small talk is worth it—and goodness knows I’ve heard plenty about conservation of detail, streamlining sessions, that sort of thing. So it came as a bit of a surprise when, twice in two weeks, I [...]

The Generic Villain on Puppetmasters and Priorities

Being a puppetmaster is fun. I’ve done it myself a time or two, and I know some blasted fine ones from my travels, but I’ve seen at least as many people try and fail. Somewhere in the process, they forget about their goals and start being more interested in establishing to everyone who will listen [...]

Impractical Applications (Redeemability)

A while ago, I talked about details that make antagonists, if not redeemable, then at least a little more tolerable. That’s something I’ve tried to put into practice a few times, to test out audience reactions myself.
First, there was Jalil, and to a similar extent his family. The man himself was something of an accident [...]

Comparing Rapunzel Adaptations: Split Ends

Yesterday, I compared two Rapunzel adaptations, talking about the elements they shared with the story and each other (or in some cases, just with each other). But the most important part of differentiation is differences, so I’m going to look at some of the major ones between the two stories. There may be spoilers; read [...]

Comparing Rapunzel Adaptations: Two Strands of Hair

I’ve talked a lot about fairy tale adaptations this week; I’m sure I don’t need to say that I think being able to differentiate yours from the numerous other adaptations out there is one of the most important parts of the creation process. But how can you get a unique plot out of a story [...]

So You Want To Rewrite a Fairy Tale

Looking into writing a fairy tale adaptation? Here are four questions to consider when putting it all together.

What’s the same? Fairy tale adaptations are rather like utilizing canonical or otherwise pre-existing characters in a game; vary too much, and risk either people not recognizing the story or people calling story derailment. Fortunately, fairy tales and [...]

Fairy Tales: Lost in Adaptation

There are many hazards to retelling a fairy tale—people figuring the subgenre is played out, accusations of laziness, the difficulty of satisfying people who liked that other adaptation better—but I think the most dangerous hazard is the possibility that the audience won’t connect to the original source material, and that as a result, the story [...]

Fairy Tale Adaptations

Fairy tales are pretty ubiquitous, either in their original forms or, more often, in some sort of thematically altered form. My library’s juvenile nonfiction section alone has a shelf of them, and we keep tripping over ones that might have worked just as well shelved with them in the 398.2s but ended up in fiction [...]

The Generic Villain on Taking a Breather

Some of us, particularly ones who make a career out of running antagonism, really don’t know when to slow down. We keep to the hero’s schedule, even—perhaps especially—when the hero’s trying to take a breather. (Whether they happen to go where we need to work, or we’re trying to hound them so they can’t rest [...]

Impractical Applications (A Crowd-Pleaser Post-Mortem)

Here I have a wrap-up of the crowd-pleasers in my last game session, as drawn from the session logs. If something seems to appeal to an individual rather than the full group, I mark it with the character’s name. For context, the session in question involved the group trying to get the hang of driving [...]