Articles from March 2012



When Even the Player Doesn’t Know What’s Wrong

Not every character catches on with the player; I think it’s safe to say we all know what it’s like to play a character who just isn’t fun, whether that’s not fun yet, no longer fun, or never that much fun to begin with. Stinks, doesn’t it? While it isn’t specifically a GM’s job to [...]

The Generic Villain In Voice: GV Goes to a Party

(A thought exercise from the Management. I can neither confirm nor deny this incident.)
So here we are, thanks for inviting us, how are you this evening, is there somewhere I can put my cape? (all right, you two, scope out the snack table).
Really? REALLY? They did what? Those silly heroes.
Yes, Lilith still likes you. Come [...]

Impractical Applications (A Week of Canceled Games)

You’re not going to get much of an example this week, partly because of the topic drift of the prior week’s post but in large part because I haven’t been doing much gaming this week. It’s not that there aren’t things scheduled; I had to turn down a group last week because the schedule was [...]

My Two Favorite Things About Urban Fantasy

I’m not much of an urban fantasy person… mostly, anyway. I enjoy what I read, sure (though it’s probably safest not to get me started on my love-hate relationship with the Dresden Files), but I’ve only had one must-follow writer for non-YA UF since I started understanding what delineated the genre, and that one I [...]

Tips for Taking a Critique

The toughest part of creating something and releasing it to an audience is dealing with the audience’s reaction to it. It’s easy to imagine that we are going to be The Best Creator Ever and that nothing we do is every going to mess up, but it never works out that way; there’s always something [...]

Serious Business

Most of us have seen something that qualifies as Serious Business. It’s not going to change the world, it’s not life or death, it might not even seem like anything more than a simple pastime, but to the people who care about it—the football fans who close their businesses when the two state colleges’ teams [...]

The Problems and Promises of Real-World Settings

When we’re creating our stories, or choosing our game systems/settings, we’re generally given a choice: create a world of our own/use a fictional setting that’s already there, or use a variation on the world we actually live in. Real-world settings provide a certain familiarity and an existing structure, but while they have their benefits, they [...]

The Generic Villain Takes Over Countries

Given that ambition is a common route to evil, a lot of us find ourselves looking at territories of any sort as something that might be worth controlling. It’s there, why not? But taking over a country (or equivalent thereof) is both a great challenge and a great responsibility; take some time to think about [...]

Impractical Applications (Anti-Anticlimax Anathema)

Earlier this week, I talked about Artifacts of Anticlimax, those magic items that have been hyped into the stratosphere but just can’t live up to the hype for a number of reasons. I’ve occasionally been known to deal with items of this level—they’re something of an expectation in the kinds of settings I favor. My [...]

Exercise: A Portrait of a Social Dynamic

I’m not going to even consider quoting Tolstoy on this one. Happy families are not all alike, save to the kind of person who sees happiness and assumes it a default state, an absence of any effort to reach that point or of crisis to tear it away. Social dynamics, similarly, are never exactly alike—it [...]