Articles from July 2012



Aging a City

Yesterday, I talked about getting an overall visual appearance for young cities. Let’s face it, though, everything ages—and cities have a lot of time to age and a lot of factors to age them with. Think about these things:
Has it been changing hands? I’m not just talking about another group of entirely different people riding [...]

Bones of the Young City

Even in fantasies that read like a travelogue and science fiction that spends most of its time moving out in the black, cities tend to stand out. And why wouldn’t they? One needs to go there at some point. That’s where the supplies are, where the interaction is, where the political powers meet. Some stories, [...]

Impractical Applications (Flaming Hakarl)

Last week’s Imprac talked about my having ended up needing to rangen a monster at the last minute; earlier this week, I talked about how I go about pulling giant monsters out of nowhere. For tonight, let’s look at the monster in question.
Flaming Hakarl, as one of the PCs nicknamed it, was the result of [...]

Ravyn Vs. Paranormal Romance: Plotting

In that paranormal romance writing class I was taking, once I’d gotten myself through the travails of trying to figure out why my heroine wasn’t quite as externally interesting as my hero, the next step was plotting. I’m a character-driven creator; plotting a story before I’ve spent a little while hanging out in its characters’ [...]

Questions That Keep Me Going Through a Plot

Keeping going in a game can be difficult sometimes—if the players are driving me crazy, the style isn’t anything I’ve done before, the… you get the idea. It’s easy to be frustrated nowadays. Writing, sadly enough, is likewise: if anything, a game is likelier to keep my attention, or at least my participation, because the [...]

On My Abrupt Generation of (Usually) Giant Monsters

Sometimes, you have time to come up with the huge nasties that dot your world. To figure out their biology, their natural enemies, what would get them in conflict with the main characters, to come up with awesome powers that make them a challenge and a description that makes everyone who so much as reads [...]

The Generic Villain: If At First You Don’t Succeed….

For most people, failure is simply a part of life. For us, though, not only is it a reality with which we must contend, it’s part of the job description. Narrative Causality and the Laws of Dramatics do not want us to win—at least, not in any meaningful way. As a result, we—and particularly the [...]

Impractical Applications (Not Exactly Random….)

My group has spent the last several months’ worth of sessions fighting its way through, or narrowly avoiding, or dissuading, Powerful Things—a fact which on the surface probably makes me seem pretty hypocritical given Friday morning’s random encounter rant. Some of this is due to the fact that we’re just slow—we’ve had a few skipped [...]

How Not to Make People Hate Random Encounters

I understand why random encounters exist. They do demonstrate that the world is a living, breathing place, that there are Things Out There that aren’t just Whatever Is Determined By the Local Dungeon; they do very much discourage the fifteen-minute adventuring day; a clever GM can use them to drop a new lead to another [...]

Things You Might Want to Know When Planning An Overland Trip

Though the exact means change up depending on the setting, travel is still a universal in fiction; getting from Point A to Point B, and dealing with the challenges in between, can be an adventure regardless of time, place, or technology level. The biggest staple, particularly in fantasy, is the overland trip: something that it [...]