Articles from September 2011



The Generic Villain Theft-Proofs

Let’s face it, if there’s one thing we learn quickly, it’s that heroes consider us the exception to any rules they might have against stealing. (Seriously. They come through one of my subject villages, and next thing we know everyone’s talking about missing gold, medicinal herbs, underwear, you name it.) Particularly when we’re packing things [...]

Impractical Applications (Helping!)

This week—my gaming didn’t have much to do with my writing. It’s harder to draw a theme out when I’m one of the players.
This isn’t to say I didn’t do something practicable, though. We were near the end of the hiatus game, something that was bound to involve a lot of people. One thing to [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: Kindly Elsewhere Your Dramatic Necessity

There are two things I’ve always loved about a good tabletop game.
One of them is that it can be—and often is, I’m very good at finding some element of it to which my character du jour could reasonably get attached and clinging to it like a limpet—my story, in a way that books really can’t [...]

Things You Might Want To Know When Planning a Heist

Who doesn’t love a heist plot? Complex plans, daring teamwork, heart-stopping near-misses—and uses for mechanical skills, social deception and physical prowess alike! The problem is that as plots go, the heist plot requires a lot of knowledge, both about the specific place being stolen from, and about the world in general so people know what [...]

Utilizing Table Norms

Yesterday, I talked about the discussion of social norms and market norms in Predictably Irrational, then expanded them to apply to the peculiar meta-dynamics of the game table. As I pointed out, you need to know what categories these norms fit into to take advantage of them, but, then, how do you utilize the norms [...]

Social Norms, Market Norms, Table Norms

I have to admit it: I’m addicted to books about how the mind works. I almost always learn something new (I’ve read more than half a dozen this year alone, and not a single one has failed to show me something I hadn’t seen before), they’ve got a lot of cross-discipline uses, and I’ve always [...]

The Generic Villain vs. the Calendar

The Generic Villain will be back next week.
(Don’t forget: villainy doesn’t operate in a vacuum! The Generic Villain takes any and all questions about evil and the pursuit thereof. Leave a question in the comments, get an answer and a link back to your site.)

Impractical Applications (The Old and the Awesome)

Earlier this week, I talked about the implementation of awesome old people as characters. It’s been a bit harder for me in my games—the oldest character I’ve gotten to work with comes canonically pre-awesomed—but I’ve had a few opportunities to play with the concept.
One of these is Natesa, who shows up primarily in my main [...]

Silly Idea for the Daring GM/Player

This isn’t an exercise. After all, most of the exercises I post have a practical use in telling you something about your plot or your characters, rather than just amusement value. (That’s not to say that they aren’t there for the amusement value as well, but… still.) Besides, it requires willingness to use a skill [...]

Creating Awesome Old Characters

Yesterday, I talked about awesome old characters, and why they work so well with their audiences. Today I’m going to look a little more closely about how we make the awesome oldie.
First off, remember confidence. The awesome old character has been around for a while; she knows what she can do, she knows how the [...]