Articles from September 2013



The Generic Villain vs. the Evil Overlord List, Items 47-53

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.
47. If a callow youth is starting a quest to destroy you, get rid of him while he’s still a callow youth. I really can’t [...]

Impractical Applications: A Room With a Shouldn’t

I talked earlier this week about can, can’t and shouldn’t in terms of how locations affect characters’ actions. There are a lot of potential examples for this, but the main one that comes to mind for me was a long time ago in my game, when the group went after Zora for the first time.
The [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Iceberg

Another location revisited in honor of RPG Blog Carnival. I can’t even remember how long ago I used this place—just that I designed it as a clearly magical location, that the iceberg is itself an internally complex building, and that the group had been almost beaten there by a crowd of old rivals. And that [...]

Can, Can’t, and Shouldn’t: Three Ways Location Shapes Behavior

This is another post for RPG Blog Carnival. Thinking about locations seems to bring out the best in my inspiration.
Locations have many different effects on the characters who occupy them: physical, metaphysical, emotional, you name it. But one of the biggest effects a well-designed tactical environment creates is a change to behavior. Particularly, it creates [...]

Battlemap? What Battlemap?

When I looked over the prompts for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival (Location, Location, Location, hosted at Campaign Mastery), one of the first that stood out to me was “How do you represent a location if you don’t have a matching battlemap?” It’s not that I’ve never had that problem, just that I’ve never seen [...]

Impractical Applications: A Recap Sampler

I talked not too long ago about recaps, particularly for game sessions. I’ve seen a few different styles in the past few years, with a wide variety of results.
In my game, I usually favor the recap-in-voice—and since my game has characters out the ears, usually try to make sure that no individual NPC recaps twice [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Snowfall

For this month, in honor of this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, I’m focusing my writing exercises on locations, particularly the descriptions thereof. Or at least, such was the plan. This one got away from me a little, focusing not so much on the place itself as on the mood and on the weather—a fair deal, [...]

The Dreaded Recap

Recapitulation is an inevitability of any sort of part-by-part storytelling medium, particularly as the separation between the installments increases. Giving the players a refresher between sessions, letting readers of a series know what they might have missed and/or reminding them what happened last time, the occasional catch-up for long-running webcomics—without a recap, the audience might [...]

World-building: Some Travel Questions

One of the nice things about the modern world is that we can take travel for granted, and never realize how much it helps us. There’s a lot more impact to what’s available than you might think—even owning a car vs. taking mass transit can be the difference between a half-hour trip to get groceries [...]

The Generic Villain vs. the Evil Overlord List, Item 46

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.
Item 46 of the Evil Overlord List recommends responding to an adviser pointing out that The Hero is only one person and asking what one person can [...]