Articles from December 2011



Characterization Exercise: Define “Hero”

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival, on the subject of Heroes, Living and Dead, got me thinking about the term. “Hero” is a pretty subjective term, as these things go; some people consider heroism to be anything that involves improving other people’s lives, others see it as risking one’s life, there are still more whose main [...]

The Generic Villain on Dead Heroes

RPG Blog Carnival this month is on the topic of Heroes, Living and Dead—and having appealed to the Management’s sense of the ironic, I’ve persuaded her to let me take the first stab at it. I talk about living heroes all the time, those little impediments, but I haven’t done quite so much about the [...]

Impractical Applications (Weaseling Out the Plan)

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been talking about antagonists with Grand Plans, how to keep these plans from seeming too dependent on creating victory conditions at the last minute, and moreso how to come up with their plans. I’d talk about my current efforts—Solace is a grandmaster of the Master Plan, even if trying [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: Creep Factor

Creepy characters are something of a hobby of mine. It started by accident; one of my early characters somehow managed to creep the socks off of her entire party, and at the time I couldn’t seem to figure out how to make her stop. So I designed a character to see if I could do [...]

Five Sources of Plan-Fodder

While I talked yesterday about stringing together details and questions to come up with an antagonist’s plan on the fly, space constraints left me rather vague about what sorts of details and questions might actually qualify. Here are a few I’ve either used or seen used to pretty good effect.

This will be dramatic now, what [...]

Reaching the Plan From the Beginning

Yesterday, I talked about figuring out the antagonist’s long-running overarching plan when you know the end but aren’t quite so sure about the middle. Today, I’m going to talk about it from the other direction: you’ve got the beginning, you’ve got a very vague idea what the antagonist wants (probably something vague like “Take over [...]

Reaching the Plan from the Ending

Last week, I talked about situations a writer or GM trying to run an antagonist with a Plan might be trying to run that opponent from (with regards to knowledge/lack of knowledge of the plan itself). Today, I’m going to look at how to get to that plan from one of those scenarios in a [...]

The Generic Villain on Granted Names and Titles

We all know how important intimidation value is, so it’s not surprising that we make sure our minions sound impressive from the moment they’re introduced. The trouble is, many of us really aren’t that good at it, giving them dramatic titles or noun-phrase names that instead of invoking trembling bring forth raised eyebrows, muffled snorts [...]

Impractical Applications (This Shouldn’t Work….)

Earlier this week, I talked about characters getting an idea that’s technically impossible to carry off, and doing ridiculously well anyway; as promised, here’s the inspiration.
The game: My weekly Exalted game, as usual.
The group: shuttling their Friendly Neighborhood Necromancer around inside a miles-long walking corpse to find the anchors of the necromancies animating it and [...]

Context as Opponent Enhancer

Our heroes of the last six years plus or minus a few cast changes, having narrowly escaped the bloodthirsty duelist they really didn’t feel like fighting, climb their way down the face and shoulder of the giant undead corpse-thing towards the elbow (through which they expect to make an entrance). As they approach the elbow, [...]