Articles from May 2011



Ingredients of Combat Spark

Yesterday, I talked about how combat spark, the peculiar quality of a fight scene and the maneuvers therein, is comprised of a number of component elements. What are these elements, and how do they help?
Combat spark is a trait that seems to act more on actions than on overall sequences, particularly in RPGs, though a [...]

Combat Spark

Last week, I squealed over the presence of a quality that I called that (as in, “My game needs more of that”) in Kung Fu Panda 2. As promised, I’m going to look into what it constitutes—including coming up with something else to call it. I’ve gone through several possible names (je ne sais combat [...]

The Generic Villain on Being Intimidating Despite Your Species

I’d had my own ideas for this week, but the Management said something about a panda, went haring off after a white peacock, and came back with an editorial mandate. She might have the right idea, though. For most of us, “peacock” and “intimidating” don’t seem to belong anywhere near the same sentence, but that [...]

Impractical Applications (In Dream)

This week, I talked about dream quests. I’ve written three in the time I’ve been gaming, only one of which is actually a quest, so to speak, but they’ve all made for interesting experiences.
The first of these was a Type 1.5 dream quest in the first story arc of my game, with the characters venturing [...]

Kung Fu Panda 2: Please, More of That!

I’ll admit, picking up technique wasn’t particularly on my mind when I went to see Kung Fu Panda 2, aside from testing the premise that the best way to see a kids’ movie on opening day is the middle of the afternoon during the school year (today’s experiment: successful). But to say I got blogfodder [...]

Two (and a Half) Flavors of Dream Quest

Yesterday, I talked about the dream quest, the pseudo-supernatural, pseudo-symbolic trip through a not entirely real realm for the sake of goods, power-ups, fixes to otherwise nigh-on-impossible problems, or understanding of one’s own psychology. One thing I’ve noticed about these dream quests is that they tend to fall into two major types, each of which [...]

Uses of the Dream Quest

The world is a single building, a series of places connected by montages, a place out of an Impressionist painting. Useful objects come readily to hand, and sometimes for the strong-minded even the world itself is malleable. There’s something to be found, and everyone has a pretty good idea what direction to go but less [...]

Starting with a Plot…

The toughest part of beginning with a story or game, I’ve found, is getting enough of a balance between beginning concepts to actually have a story rather than a set of fleeting ideas in nowhere-space. You have a plot, and a vague outline of what the setting might look like, and that’s it. Where to [...]

Breaking Out in Wretched Hives

Somewhere in this place, anything can be bought. There are dark corners with darker figures lurking in them, there are scents that have never reached the noses of the truly innocent, and the law isn’t nearly as important as the Rules. The people here are either comfortably untouchable as they take advantage of everyone else [...]

The Generic Villain on Abandonment

Evil’s often equated with pragmatism. We can afford to be pragmatic; we don’t have to worry all that much about keeping our cred by valuing every life, maintaining honor… you get the idea. Leaving people in the lurch because it’s not at all tactically, strategically, financially, or in any other way sound to go fetch [...]