Articles from December 2012



The Generic Villain vs. the Evil Overlord List, Part 1: Items 1-5

I suppose I can blame this one on Tom Coenen, for bringing up The Evil Overlord List a while back. The Management and I have both been familiar with The List for a while; I as long as this thing’s been running, she for about four years before then, I think somebody turned her loose [...]

Impractical Applications (So Many Mountains)

I talked earlier this week about dropping mountains on characters. As I mentioned, I’m exceedingly prone to this, particularly with my own characters—if it isn’t trying to mess with the heads of PCs and NPCs alike in the games I run, it’s cheerfully telling my GMs about how to mess with my PCs’ heads in [...]

Things I Learned Tonight

Why I am varying from my usual Wednesday approach will be self-evident by the time you reach the end of this post.
I really should know by now that if the people around me are wigging out about the probable weather on a day when there will be a lot of recruits’ families on base, it [...]

Abbreviated Sketchbook: A Lizardy Reflection

I haven’t recovered from finals week as much as I thought I had, I’ve written too many posts to keep from landing squarely on my own backtrail, and I spent longer today at work than I should have….

So here’s a cartoon lizard looking at its reflection in an ornament.
This, I think, is the problem with [...]

On the Dropping of Mountains

Is there any writer—GM—creator of any sort who has not at some point dropped a metaphorical mountain on at least one member of her cast? I don’t think so. Tragedy and trauma may not be quite as ubiquitous as ants in San Diego, but they come pretty close. It’s pretty easy to tell why mountain-hurling [...]

Reprise: Impractical Applications (Confessions of a Professional Party Backstabber)

Last post of the finals week reruns; I should be back to new content Sunday night.
Originally posted January 3, 2009.
This week, I talked about betrayals in story, and about recruiting PCs to perform the betrayals themselves. I’m sure you’re all expecting me to launch some sort of grand betrayal on my poor unsuspecting [...]

Reprise: Writing/Worldbuilding Exercise: Three Things You Can Find in a…

The reruns continue. This one was originally posted on March 30, 2009.
One of the things that makes a world seem more like a world and less like a static backdrop is the presence of things that are suited to the location and aren’t directly relevant to the action. In some cases, this [...]

Reprise: Epic Scenery

Reruns due to Finals Week continue.
Originally posted November 18, 2009.
Into any story, a little epic scenery seems to fall. Okay, not fall exactly. More come crashing down into view at just the right moment to make everyone use it and take the audience’s breath away. Either way, it’s pretty much a staple of stories in [...]

Reprise: Water, Water

It’s finals week. A perfect time for reruns. Regular posts will (most likely) resume next Sunday night.
Originally posted July 13, 2008.
It’s one of the classical elements, and necessary for life. In legend, it has been credited with births and deaths, healing and disasters. It’s been walked through, walked on, and floated over. [...]

The Generic Villain Impersonates a Protagonist

This one goes out to the tricksters and the masters of disguise, the shape-thieves and the absurdly good liars, and anyone else for whom the proper tactic seems to be “remove and replace a member of the main body of protagonists.” It’s not a tactic that’s often needed, which is just as well, as it’s [...]