Articles from April 2013



Freewrite: Losing Gracefully

“My job as GM is to lose gracefully,” he says.
And I start overthinking things, as is my wont to do. I know that this isn’t universal; I’ve heard about games in which it was GM vs. players, I might even be in one (though if I am, the GM and I are going to have [...]

Impractical Applications (Running for Smart Alecks)

With my group, running for smart PCs is the rule, not the exception; even the tanks tend to be pretty good at solving riddles and exploiting technicalities. So we learn a thing or two about how to handle each other, or we face each other’s snark.
I deal with it by doing layer-plots. If I can [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: A Quiet Lot

A wordless conversation in my current project. Unlike my previous few attempts, this one itself isn’t at all likely to make it into the final version (for one thing, the perspective is off), but there’s a part in the final version that is going to look better because I wrote this one first. This is, [...]

Five Interesting Questions When Building a Society

Most of my posts on building worlds have been at least one post per topic, sometimes a full series—which is nice and all, but not very good when covering things that don’t need ages of explication. So instead, I’m looking at simple questions with far-reaching ramifications that make for an interesting way of characterizing a [...]

Running for Smart PCs

It’s pretty easy for a GM to manage a group whose idea of ideal characters to emulate are your standard sword and sorcery hero. Provide plenty of things for them to pound/spellcast at/otherwise beat to a pulp (possibly with variations for the ones who do it from behind, or do it with a little bit [...]

Ask GV: On Controlling PCs

UZ asks (in response to one of the Management’s posts, but hey, if it gets the mail-slot going…)

How do you get a PC to accept mind control? How do you sell servitude to someone who fights (theoretically) for freedom?
Dear UZ:
That’s a very good question. The PC is a special kind of protagonist—resistant if not [...]

Impractical Applications (Musings)

There hasn’t been much to say about my gaming this week—not that there hasn’t been one, just that it hasn’t had anything particularly egregious, and the week’s post were more about writing anyway.
The one thing that’s been going on is a personal project. I’m on one of those writing kicks again, as you’ve probably figured [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Sweeping the Sky

Another exercise featuring Zuleika; I’ve been making a strong push on her project, so finding her voice has been one of my top priorities. This one started out as an attempt to portray her , this one comes straight from her passion for astronomy; I’m hoping to find more of her elsewhere, but for now, [...]

Who Are We Rooting For, Part 2: The Protagonist

Yesterday I talked about ensuring that the audience is rooting for the character you want them to, with techniques focusing on the antagonist. But as came up in one of my points, the protagonist is often—if not predominantly—a good part of the problem. So what can we do with protagonists to keep them in the [...]

Who Are We Rooting For, Part 1: The Antagonist

One of the things I notice a lot, both in the chapter-by-chapter snarks I treat as a guilty pleasure, and in general reviews, are stories where the audience has a clear character to root for in mind, but for whatever reason, that character just isn’t the protagonist. For whatever reason, the antagonists are coming across [...]