Articles from September 2012



Guest Imprac: I’m So Doomed

This post is courtesy of Shinali, reporting on our current plot issue in my primary game–yes, the one with the unexpectedly snarky arc antagonist. We’re still in the midst of the fight, for reasons chronological, psychological and mechanical, and I’ll probably be discussing more of it week after next (since next week I’m going to [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Fear, to Ruby

I got this one from one of my 2011 exercises, which in itself was an extension of my template for writing a character’s fear profile. The idea is to figure out what role fear plays in a character’s life: how she views it, whether she shows it, when it’s all right and when it isn’t, [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: Is There Room to Fail?

There’s a lot I like in a character. Justified confidence. The ability to snark anything. Who doesn’t? But my favorites are the ones who fail. The ones who completely screw things up, sometimes repeatedly, and who in the wake of their sequential screw-ups look around, shake their heads, mutter something about how they got to [...]

Considering Failure Mechanics

Some recent experiences, particularly with going back to D&D after a long bout of dabbling in a variety of other systems, got me thinking about failure mechanics and how important they can be to a player’s experience.
A lot of the systems I’ve dabbled in have had some way of working around failure, making it somewhat [...]

The Generic Villain Feigns Godhood

While this is a continuation of my discussion of acquiring cultists as minions, and does potentially serve as an alternative to either finding or making up something for said cultists to worship, let me put on the record right now that this title is an artifact of the Management’s title creation process. I don’t do [...]

Impractical Applications (Forged in Sarcasm)

My group just met the enemy they’ve struggled through the Underworld oceans to destroy. She is old, she is scary, and she wields deadpan sarcasm as a secondary weapon. The players love it; I can’t figure out where it came from.
Part of it is probably my tendency to fall back on certain character types. I [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: More Varied Images

Still using the same characteristic images prompt I was using for a cross-timeline character study last week, but this time branching out into a few of my other characters. You might not get much of an image of their physical appearances, but I hope their personalities at least come through!
Amaya: The scene actually doesn’t seem [...]

Why Lack of Straightforwardness Matters

Yesterday, I talked about how almost everyone will look at a character’s job and decide that it’s easier than it actually is, including the character doing the job. Today, I’m going to talk about why that should matter to us, particularly to those of us who write rather than tabletopping.
The first, of course, is characterization—figuring [...]

Not Near As Straightforward As It Looks

Not too long ago, I had what felt like the same conversation twice in a span of about twenty-four hours. One day, on my commute home, I found myself talking to a fellow trolley rider who knew what my occupation was, didn’t quite get why I “needed to go to school for that”…. and then, [...]

Impractical Applications (Big, Powerful, Absent)

I talked earlier this week about reasons why the Big and Powerful character isn’t the one running around saving the world. This happens a lot in my game; both the setting and my own approach to things result in the world being full of the Obligatory Bigger Fish who for various reasons aren’t involved in [...]