Articles from June 2012



The Generic Villain on Favoring Facelessness

Some of us like our faces to be recognizable, to the point where we tie them to our identities and stick them on every banner, statue, brochure, button and coffee mug within a five-mile radius of our ominous and often compensatory lairs. Then there are those of us, who, as I do… (pause to adjust [...]

Impractical Applications (Too Politically Canny)

The heroine of my current writing project developed a lot of her characterization partly as my attempt to add to the short list of adrenaline junkie social manipulator heroines in the combined body of speculative fiction. A nice goal, but given that her first appearance involves her learning the necessary political skills, I was encountering [...]

Camp NaNo and the Spirit of the Rules

It begins the way these stories always begin: Shinali talks me into signing up for (a variant on) NaNoWriMo, and chaos ensues. This time, though, is different. It isn’t the official month—it’s June, and we’re doing the “Camp” version instead. This time I’m leaving the Generic Villain behind and taking a stab at Almagest again, [...]

Showing Politically Skilled Characters

Let’s face it, intrigue is fun: it creates cerebral rather than physical conflicts, gives the audience a chance to match wits with the characters, and leads to some of the best sneaky maneuvering and one-liners a fictional setting can allow. Then it gets tangled up with politics, and things get really interesting; a politically skilled [...]

Reprise: How to Keep Mind-Reading from Breaking a Plot

Originally posted on June 2, 2010.
While I’m not too fond of dealing with mechanics as a whole, there are some that just appeal to my problem-solving nature: ones that can drive a GM crazy, but might just take a little sideways thinking. And not long ago, I caught on to a comment [...]

Reprise: Conflict Without Requiring Combat

Originally posted on May 14, 2010. The comments were awesome.
Any time you’ve got two characters opposing each other, there’s bound to be some sort of conflict. How else do you reach a resolution? The thing is, most people think of conflict, and their thoughts immediately flit to physical conflict and the crash [...]

Reprise: Ask GV: Stalling for the Low-Resource Antagonist

Originally posted on March 15, 2009–but the Generic Villain is still open for questions! Just leave them in the comments!
Long ago, I invited people to step up with questions for the Generic Villain. Took long enough, but we’ve finally got a request.
Reader Brickwall, on behalf of Vamaldes, dragon god ascendant, asks:
Hello, Generic Villain. I’ve been [...]

Reprise: Impractical Applications (Squee-Worthies)

Originally posted on May 14, 2011

A while back, I talked about the implementation of cute things in a storyline (particularly one whose milieu isn’t already full-to-bursting with cute things). As you’ve probably guessed from my intro, I use them regularly.
Shizuyo, for instance, gets most of her cute from her physical appearance; [...]

Reprise: Five Ways to Keep a Character Fresh

Originally posted on April 26, 2011.

While some groups can meet every week without much by way of variation, others aren’t that lucky. Some are closer to once a month; some are brief periods of together interspersed with long droughts of “you’re across the country, he has school too, I have work, [...]

Reprise: Awesome Vs. Better Than You: A Character Continuum

Originally posted on March 24, 2010.
I find there’s a continuum over which powerful characters (either compared to the PCs in a game, or compared to the world in which they’re in) tend to fall. On one end, you have the characters who are truly Awesome; one can envy them, but they’re much [...]