Articles from November 2012



Design Questions for Ruins

Yesterday, I talked about how nifty ruins were as a feature of a setting. But what does it take to make a good ruin? I’ve already talked about building, aging and abandoning cities in general, and these serve as a pretty good stopping off point. On the other hand, it might be that we’re going [...]

Why Ruins?

Ruins are awesome. We’re all in agreement, right? We go tourist on them (at least, until some fool starts vandalizing the plinths or screwing under the altars or attempting to Life Imitates Action Movie through them, and then we can only admire them from a distance, not that it keeps us from trying), we write [...]

Impractical Applications (A Mannerly Bunch)

Earlier this week, I sang the praises of polite primary characters. While it isn’t technically a requirement in my game, they’re pretty common on both sides of the screen, to the point where I find it harder to name five characters who don’t default to generally courteous than I do to name five who do. [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Lysha Waits

Tonight’s exercise is based on my old “Marking time” exercise, from May 2010: observing a character at rest, waiting for something to happen. It is also an illustration of what happens when I let someone else choose the characters I write about—Lysha, God of Prophecy and living string-tangle, is difficult enough when just dealing with [...]

When I’m Looking at a Combat System

My group has been improvising a FATE adaptation recently, and when we went to test it today, one of the first things we looked into was how its fight turned out. I learned a few things—some about our work in progress, but more about the kinds of things one looks at in a fighting system.
There’s [...]

Characters and Courtesy

Ursula Vernon noted in a recent post that we have too few polite heroes in today’s stories. The post was only partly about that, so she didn’t really go into detail on why; since I agree, I’m going to take a stab at what’s so great about polite heroes—or, for that matter, polite primary characters [...]

The Generic Villain Has a Destiny

(This title scheme again. Is the Management trying to get me killed?)
Heroes aren’t the only ones who find themselves flying in front of the tailwind of Fate. Sometimes we, too, find ourselves the beneficiaries of prophecy, and spend a brief time recognized as the favored child of the forces that create our worlds. Sadly, most [...]

Impractical Applications (Scattered Reflections)

Wow. UZ’s been busy.
I admit, this set of posts was hard to write to, mainly because aside from a burst of inspiration today, I haven’t written much in the last several months that wasn’t either part of a game or something for this blog, and these posts seem to invite writing examples rather than RP [...]

Guest Post: In Conclusion

This is the last of the UZ guest posts; regular posts will resume Friday night/Saturday morning.
Even as I am dishonest in fiction, so I am dishonest in most forms of composition; most readers will have noticed several narrative techniques that I’ve used in these posts. Not least of these techniques is the [...]