Articles from May 2012



Oh, Right, Humor!

I learned something new today: game is just plain different when I’ve got a character without a name.
It’s something I’ve sort of known for a while. We’ve had games where the character was thrown together at the last minute, and the less we’ve backstoried, the sillier we’ve gotten. I almost wonder if it’s the point [...]

Telling a Story From Multiple Viewpoints

There are some stories that just can’t be told from one perspective—there’s too much going on, and no way the main character can be there to see all of it. That’s where multiple viewpoints come in—and where things start to get a little complicated.
The first thing to think about is how many viewpoints to use. [...]

Not Getting Romance in Everything

There was a book I read last week. I’m not going to say which of the books I read that set me off, as it’s a bit of a spoiler for the piece in question, but—there was this relationship. I didn’t see it as romantic, and while there was apparently subtext I completely missed that [...]

Gimme Back My Chargen! (Wait, What?)

So The GM Who Gets Us Into Everything is going to be running us a D&D Next playtest on Wednesday. Fair enough, and hey, I might even find something I react strongly enough to to make breaking system neutrality worth it. I look at the sample characters, I look at the basic rules, and the [...]

The Generic Villain on Load-Bearing Bases

Last week,I talked about load-bearing bosses. This week, I’m going to take a step up and talk about the load-bearing base. These may not be as common as load-bearing bosses, but as far as I’m concerned, not rare enough. One central headquarters, mobile fortress, or whatever it is gets taken out, and boom, there go [...]

Impractical Applications (Designing Eira)

Earlier this week, I introduced Eira, a were-kiwi designed for my paranormal romance class. As were-kiwis are odd even by my standards, I thought it might be interesting to lay out where she’d come from.
A good part of my design was based on the idea of not using a normal shapeshifter story. Most of the [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: Alter Ego Rumble?

This train of thoughts is the direct result of Seanan McGuire interviewing herself on her… self’s… publisher’s website. Or rather, of Seanan trying to interview her nom de plume, and Mira in return trying to rip Seanan apart with her bare words and for the most part seeming to succeed. Science-zombie-lady is vicious. (…seriously, just [...]

Expositionary Hand-holding

The other day, I found myself railing at a bit of boxed text in a game module I was being run through (at least, I hope it was just the boxed text and not my GM’s addition). It described a place, lots of visible details that made it obvious that we’d just walked into the [...]

We Never Start Fights. We Always Finish Them.

It’s odd how rarely I find new angles to old problems in my gaming; maybe it’s because most of my gaming is with the same three or four people, or maybe it’s just that I’ve been dissecting my games for blog material pretty much constantly for the last few years. But last night’s D&D game [...]

Ravyn vs. Paranormal Romance: The Were-Kiwi

When my paranormal romance class assigned me the description of a supernatural creature, I had a bit of an advantage already; the combination of being in that class, and going home on the trolley one day having just finished Discount Armageddon, had already put me in the mood to come up with a supernatural protagonist [...]