Articles from August 2013

Impractical Applications: A Long Week

…no real lessons, this week, sorry. This week’s posts aren’t really teachable, my laptop battery died, replacing it has been absurdly complicated, most of the games I was to play in this week got canceled, the last ran slow, and my life has been an apocryphal Chinese curse. Decently coherent commentary will hopefully return tomorrow.

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: What Aus Sees in Them

Tonight’s exercise is a “What do you see in these people?” riff featuring Aus, my current primary D&D character and general source of confusion and frustration—or at least, featuring her opinions on the oddballs with whom she investigates cults, saves cities, and occasionally chases random children through crowded cities. One of the things I found [...]


Or, why I really need to do my blogging in the afternoon while making progress on something else rather than in the evening after an overall disappointing day. I get… snippets. Not large enough to be a blog post. Not small enough to just ignore.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how epic the foe is, or how [...]

Tales from the Sketchbook: It Takes a Legion

Some things seem to beg for complicated, pushing mixed media art, finding new and interesting ways to use pastels, watercolors, colored pencil layering, black permanent markers, White-out and a pushpin, or all of the above. Some just require severe boredom, an index card and a mechanical pencil.
I blame these guys on one of my GMs. [...]

Impractical Applications: Close, Detailed, What?

One of the things that got me thinking about backstory characters and their categories was finding myself, while designing one of my latest characters, with some in categories I’d almost never used before.
By the time I was done writing her, Juniper had ended up with three decently backstory characters I’d count as detailed, one of [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: In the Playroom

This is something of a character showcase and backstory piece I did last month. (It sometimes amuses me how much more descriptive text I’ve used on Malora than on Lian. This tends to happen with the second primary character in a given story, to the point where she—it’s generally a she—starts taking over from whoever [...]

Trust, GM Willingness, Player Interest, and the Backstory Character

Yesterday, I talked about four categories of backstory characters, and mentioned the particular importance of understanding them to tabletoppers, both GM and player. Today, I’m going to look at why. Note that I am using the same terminology as in the previous post: the central character is the character being provided with the backstory, while [...]

Degrees of Backstory Characters

Into every character’s backstory, a few characters who aren’t the backstory’s central character must fall. They don’t live in a vacuum, after all. (And if they do, they’re probably pretty boring characters, and lack verisimilitude. Even hermits usually had someone who raised them.) That doesn’t mean they’re all created the same, though.
Overall, backstory characters are [...]

The Generic Villain vs. the Evil Overlord List, Items 41-45

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.
41. Destroy all time-travel devices once power is secure. Heck, why wait? See how many time-travel devices you can work into the collateral damage while you’re still taking over—don’t [...]

Impractical Applications: This Week’s Teachable Moments

…since this week really hasn’t been much good for tying in with the articles, a few interesting tidbits.
One: when planning for a group to infiltrate a party, it is always good to have an option by which they can go in the front door.
Two: if you have two proficient sneakers, and one is the center [...]