Articles from July 2011



The Generic Villain Compliments the Enemy

I’ve talked a good amount about messing with the minds of your opponents. But there’s one thing I’ve found that tends to be really good for the job with minimum effort—no monetary outlay, no risks of experiments going horribly wrong, just a little thought and a little bit of talking.
Compliment them. You’ll love the looks [...]

Impractical Applications (PC Plot-Hinting)

I think I just began a story.
In one of my games, we’re rotating people who are functionally serving as GMs, or at least as hosts, as the characters we play run around between worlds. There really isn’t a metaplot; I’m not entirely sure there’s a plot, most of the time. Lot of getting intrigued by [...]

Tales from the Sketchbook: Hatchling

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, [...]

Con Notes: Groupie Moments

I talked yesterday about hidden benefits of convention-going—the ways that watching the other people there, or even looking introspectively at your own reactions to whatever goes on, can help you learn a lot that can be slipped into characterization, world-building, or player motivation later. But what good is all that without some solid examples?
The first [...]

The Hidden Benefits of Conventions

As you’ve probably figured out from the filler over the last few days, I did the convention thing for the first time since midway through college. An hour on the trolley each way, a whole lot of standing in line… an experience. Then my muse suggested that instead of, or possibly along with, discussing the [...]

Convention Sketchbook Filler: Nize Hat!

This was actually the second piece that my group came up with when I was looking for fun character costume ideas for my convention sketches.

You may remember Timorous Sky—and even if not, you’ve probably seen Sky’s hat before. The Hat’s abilities include a knack for creating thorough disguises, sometimes even before Sky asks for him: [...]

Convention Sketchbook Filler: To Keep the Dead Down

More RPG characters in whatever costumes would hold still long enough—and this time, I go literary.

Olathe and Kiriko feature here as Sabriel and Mogget, respectively, from Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy. Kiriko came into the picture first, as I hadn’t been able to fit her in with the other familiars and their costumes, and I’d gotten [...]

Convention Sketchbook Filler: Familiar Faces

As promised, sketches to pass the time while I’m off con-going! I couldn’t come up with a decent costume for myself, so I’m making up for it with some of my group’s RPG characters.

Can they really be the heroes? Today’s subjects are all, or at least all have at one point been, PC familiars. From [...]

Writing Exercise: Salvaging Doggerel

“Her azure orbs sparkled in the moonlight.”
“I took this as a bad sign. Battle sapphires only sparkle when they’re about to be thrown, and I was too close to be the target—who else was out there? Were we under attack?”
–a response to deliberately dubious description.
Not all bad writing is irretrievable; in fact, not even all [...]

Writing Exercise: In As Few Words…

A long time ago, I wrote an exercise in which the object of the game was to find something and describe it in as minute detail as possible, in order to learn how to see things at the minute, mundane level. I pointed out then that the results of this exercise really weren’t meant to [...]