Articles from April 2012



Ravyn vs. Paranormal Romance: The Art of Cliche

The fourth unit of the paranormal romance course I took covered cliches, stereotypes, and how to avoid them. I’ll come back to the stereotypes later—one of the points of the lesson treated the common-knowledge traits of various well-known supernatural creatures as cliché—but what got my attention more was the assignment: get all the cliché out [...]

The Generic Villain on Destroying the World to… Ummmm….

One of my first riffs, a very long time ago, was on why it is a generally bad idea to destroy the world. Sometimes, though, we find ourselves in situations where the world needs to be destroyed–or at the very least remade so thoroughly that to some it might as well have been destroyed–in order [...]

Impractical Applications (A Foolhardy Conclusion)

I talked this week about maneuvering otherwise intelligent characters into less than sensible actions through a combination of stakes, time pressure, and playing to mental state and self-image. While I’ve done this to my players a few times, I think the best example I’ve seen was when this was done to one of my characters. [...]

Back to the Beginning

When I first began tabletopping, it really was rather like playing in one of those linear-plot video games. It was high school, I was trying D&D for the first time, and what we were doing was pretty much a string of battles with an Excuse Plot. I gleefully toyed with the personalities of my characters, [...]

Videogames and the Illusion of Control (or Why Getting Me Onto Skyrim May Take a While)

I come from a household that does videogames; my boyfriend and I have practically made a sport of watching each other play. We’ve gone through a number of titles, from which I’ve drawn loads of interesting conclusions, and while we don’t necessarily play the same things, in the end our tastes are pretty similar—except for [...]

How to Make a Character Do Something Foolhardy

Into every plot, a few regrettable–sometimes even downright stupid–actions tend to fall. Let’s face it, they make for better conflict, and sometimes half the fun is watching the character or characters pick up their own messes. On the other hand, GMs run the risk of players just not taking the bait, and writers run the [...]

Ravyn vs. Paranormal Romance: Concocting a Plan

My third assignment in the paranormal romance class (bet you thought I’d forgotten about it!) involved getting a big picture together—or more specifically, a plan for getting a book finished. This left me with a few issues, mostly based on the fact that I really didn’t want the first novel-length piece I finished since high [...]

The Generic Villain Stays Out of the Fight

Last week, I talked about viable reasons to put off a fight with the protagonist(s) (yes, the Management’s still got me on Carnival, why do you ask?). But all the will in the world isn’t going to do you any good without a way. How do you make sure those blasted prots don’t fight you [...]

Impractical Applications (And That, Your Honor…)

Over the course of the week, I’ve been talking a lot about why GMs might not be interested in running combat, and how to help them find ways to enjoy it again (what can I say, if I’m going to pick a Blog Carnival topic I’m going to pick something I can write about a [...]

Talking to the Combat-Reluctant GM

I’ve spent this week talking about the reasons why a GM might be prone to combat evasion, as a continuation of RPG Blog Carnival. No amount of knowledge, however, does any good without putting it to use. So what can you do if you’re looking for action but your GM isn’t enthused?
First, see if you [...]