Articles from February 2013



Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Boom!

This one wasn’t inspired by any of my previous exercises, but by a simple question: how would certain of my characters respond to the sound of an unexpected explosion somewhere out of sight?
Ruby investigates immediately. If it does turn into a fight, she can handle it, and if it doesn’t, it’s a Cool Thing to [...]

RPG Transitions: Play-by-chat to Face-to-face

We all have our favorite formats—ways of running or playing our games that for whatever reason we’re more comfortable with. But the more we specialize, the more likely it is that at some point, we’ll need to step outside that format and try running a game in a different context. The group that was scattered [...]

Game Review: Legends of the Wulin

Another one for RPG Blog Carnival. This got a little wordy.
I wasn’t expecting to like Legends of the Wulin as much as I did. It’s a wuxia-inspired game, and a less-spirits-and-supernatural spiritual successor to Weapons of the Gods, to which the closest I got was a discussion of one of their key mechanics that ended [...]

The Generic Villain Vs. The Evil Overlord List: Item 20

The Generic Villain continues a point-by-point facedown and update of that reference material of all baddies with imperial ambitions, The Evil Overlord List.
And on to Number 20. Seriously, Peter, what’s with the expandable ones three points in a row? Is it you being particularly open-ended, or me getting a bit too good at coming [...]

Impractical Applications (It Has to Be….)

I talked earlier this week about the twin lures of “It has to be you, and it has to be now” as the key to getting players going on your plotlines. All in all, my GMs have been pretty good at this, though there have been a few times that something went sideways and the [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Devin’s Retelling

Earlier this week, I introduced an exercise involving having a character retell an event and other characters react. This one is my first attempt; I went through several possible sets of characters to do a first exercise with, but the contrast between Devin’s reactions and Taraneh’s, and the number of moods this one was likely [...]

Characterization Exercise: Retelling and Reaction

A long time ago, I suggested an exercise in which the object of the game was to come up with a character’s retelling of an event, in voice. But no story is told in a vacuum, and few are told without someone to hear them.
For this exercise, then, choose two characters and one event. It [...]

Selling a Conflict: Two Key Points for Your Players

All of the conflicts I’ve seen work have made two major points to the players/characters: It has to be you, and it has to be now.
It has to be you. This is probably the most important of the two, playing as it does to the egos of the players—and to the verisimilitude of the overall [...]

Impractical Applications: Not So Mutual

I talked earlier this week about characters with mutually dependent characterization. They show up a lot in my gaming, to the point where it’s almost disconcerting to me to have a PC whose characterization hasn’t been influenced by someone two months into any given game (PC, NPC, I’m not picky), and if I were to [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Dexter’s Fear Profile

For this week’s writing exercise, I revisited the fear profile. I made the (possible) mistake of asking for prompts, which left me with a character who in all my years of gaming has never been onstage with something that legitimately scared the whey out of him—nor anything that he had much reason to fear at [...]