Articles from May 2013



Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: A Pile of First Lines

Sometimes you hit what might be a good idea and get stuck there. These were opening sentences and images I considered posting before losing momentum; I’m not sure if they’re worth keeping, but they might be worth expanding later.
The room might not have been green; it was hard to tell. Marble walls, marble floor, and [...]

Opinion: Better Angels

It’s a time of year for new systems in my groups, apparently, so one of mine has just tried out Better Angels. Supervillains guided and aided by (in our group’s case, increasingly exasperated) demons? Conceptually, this was definitely on our “heck, why not, sounds like fun” list. It wasn’t something I’d do for prolonged periods [...]

Dealing with Setting Discontent

A setting can make or break a story. Sadly, the setting is a lot more rigid than the character; characters are expected to arc on a regular basis, and can usually do so with relatively minimal justification, but for precepts of a world or a culture to change generally requires a bit more of an [...]

Impractical Applications: Two Dubious Impressions

I talked this week about ways of handling the party disliking your slated-to-be-important NPC, both to do and to avoid. I’ve been lucky; most of my NPCs have only gotten that reaction when they were meant to. But as a player I’ve seen them go well, and I’ve seen them go poorly. There are two [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Infestation

This is the beginning of a very bizarre idea that popped into my head today. The idea itself doesn’t quite make it into the text, but the character it created does.
The door was opened by a man whose suit and loose tie gave me the impression that he was, in fact, the man who had [...]

Things You Can Do When the Party Hates Your NPC

Yesterday, I talked about situations in which the party hates an NPC you need them not to hate, and how not to make it worse. Today, I’m going to look at the positive side—ways to actively try to get the NPC back into the party’s good graces.
If it was something they did, admit error. Yes, [...]

Things Not to Do When the Party Hates Your NPC

They tell you in the real world that first impressions are everything. It’s even more the case with RPG characters, particularly the ones you want to keep around—and sometimes it’s just going to go wrong, and for whatever reason the entire party is going to decide that they loathe the character you’d wanted to pin [...]

The Generic Villain Runs Protagonists Into a Wall

Taking a break from the Evil Overlord List to talk about something near and dear to our hearts—keeping those blasted protagonists out of our hair. Sometimes, we just need to stall the living daylights out of them. We know we probably can’t kill them, or at least not all of them; we know that we [...]

Impractical Applications: Articulating the Problem

One of the things I brushed on this week was a person being just that oblivious—and at least some of it possibly being my fault. I’m not sure how much of it is and how much of it isn’t. The phrase “It’s not fun anymore” came up, but wasn’t believed until one of our other [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Paperweight

Tonight’s exercise is a bit odd. I’ve been of the opinion for a while that one of the biggest problems in writing these days is people who write things that should be creepy—or at least, that come across to me as pretty disturbing—and apparently miss how creepy they actually are. On the other hand, it’d [...]