Articles from February 2012



Ravyn Freewrites: Expectations and Surprises

I keep myself under low expectations with regards to mechanics. I’m not sure why. It might be because in my formative years as a gamer, I played with people who had been playing longer than I was. They knew the system. I didn’t. Often they had a few dozen books, and I was lucky to [...]

Character Born of Location

During my discussion of perfect locations last month, I mentioned the idea of locations that reached their ideal point because of one or more of the characters present. The converse also exists—sometimes there exist characters who are brought to their full potential (or at least, framed into a version not seen anywhere else) by their [...]

GMs, Writers and Hedgehogs

I first ran into the idea of the Hedgehog Concept in a book on businesses and how they succeed—but hey, what am I if not prone to interdisciplinary approaches? According to Jim Collins, the idea of the Hedgehog Concept is inspired by the idea that the fox has many tricks, but the hedgehog can always [...]

The Generic Villain On Poisons and Protagonists

Most of the time, we have to deal with the heroes face to face and skill to skill, by weapons, minds or tongues. But sometimes we’re lucky and we can let poison do some of the work, as long as we know how to use it.
For purposes of this exercise, I’m going to define poison [...]

Impractical Applications (Seeking Marten)

In last week’s Imprac, I’d mentioned that I’d started off the alternate timeline in my solo game with two search plots. The second, the one currently in progress, was the player’s original intention. The first one, though, was a chance to get used to the new situation, and see how the player/character would handle it. [...]

That Was… Almost Too Easy

“What kind of graduate program,” I ask, glaring at the computer screen, “doesn’t even make you write an essay?”
I’m still in the throes of grad school application, comparing the one I’ve been stalling on my app to with the one I’ve probably just been accepted in. Sure, the former is cheaper, but something’s been bugging [...]

Search Plotlines: Dealing with the Impossible

PCs have an absolute gift for not quite understanding what the word “impossible” means. If there’s something that can’t be done, it’s a better than even bet a PC has tried it. Sometimes, when they’re taking on impossible challenges, it’s something straightforward, like challenging an enemy who you know is far too strong for them; [...]

Rival Searchers: Alliances

One of the things I find most fascinating about having multiple rival searchers in a search plotline is the strange bedfellows it creates. If you’ve got more than three or four different parties trying to get the same thing, there are bound to be alliances, people working together—at least for now—to increase their chances. What [...]

Rival Searchers

It may not have been the first search plotline factor I mentioned, but the possibility of rival searchers, along with being a sure source of tension, is one of the most complicated potential elements of a search plotline. Each rival searcher only adds to the complexity.
How many are there? If you’re going for a straightforward [...]

The Generic Villain Works Around Being Age-Appropriate

Last week, I talked about all the things not to do if you know that those watching you across the Wall are generally (or at least generally supposed to be) young. I know a lot of you are thinking, “Why would I want to operate under all of those limitations? Won’t that mess me up?”
You [...]