Articles from August 2011



Impractical Applications (Art in Action)

Earlier this week, I talked about setting up descriptions (particularly in action scenes) with the help of the design principles of art. It’s a pretty visual topic, though, so I think providing an example is warranted; in this case, a defensive stunt that after two false starts I ended up using for one of my [...]

Guest Post: Journaling In Character

Tonight’s post is brought to us by regular commenter Shinali, lady of the prolific (and hilarious) IC journals; she kindly offered this one to me after my request for guest posts a while back.

Sometimes your character’s views on things matter, but there is no way she would share them publicly. Other times you [...]

Process: From Image to Text

I promised earlier this week that I’d talk about how I get from the image in my head through the principles of art to the image I write, when writing action in stories and games.
As with the image composition, I start with the point of focus. Usually this is both a physical point and an [...]

Principles of Art and Process

Yesterday, I mentioned the design principles of art, and how I use them to create the mental pictures that I turn into my descriptions. So how do I get from principles to composition, and from there to a picture?
The principle I start with when laying out my mental pictures is always dominance. Where would the [...]

Composition and the Principles of Art

When I’m trying to get across a piece of imagery, I start with, well, an image. I don’t mean just getting a basic mental picture; I mean taking the time to take that picture and compose it, as if it were a piece of artwork or a short piece of film, then take the important [...]

The Generic Villain on Choosing the Team

Last week, I talked about teaming up with other Hands of Darkness. While it’s a useful tactic, it’s not much good if you don’t choose the right team; you’ll end up too busy backstabbing, protecting against backstabbing, arguing, hashing out the same plan for the sixth time, or engaging in other dysfunctional behavior to actually [...]

Impractical Applications (An Assisted Plan)

I talked a bit earlier this week about helping players out with their plans. I’m not the only one—I’ve had GMs who’ve done the same for me.
The most recent came about as part of the hiatus game meant to give me time to catch up with my own ideas. There I was, with a pretty [...]

Aiding and Abetting the Players

I have a confession to make: one that’s probably an even greater sacrilege than my disinterest in the risk of death and one that would get me mocked to the ends of the earth by the really PCs vs. Players GMs. I could blame my environment, I could blame the fact that for the most [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: Where My Pictures Come From

I started drawing again for myself(ish) a couple of weeks ago. It had been a while; for most of the summer, most of the drawing I’ve been doing has been weekly cartoon lizards for the library.
There were the costume sketches, of course, though those are rather like the lizards, done specifically because I had a [...]

Characterization/Plot Exercise: The Switch

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell how much of a character’s personality is her and how much is her surroundings. Hopefully, a character’s personality will be independent of her role in the narrative she’s involved in, whether it’s a tabletop game or some sort of fiction. But what better way to check than to [...]