Articles from October 2013



Just Because It’s Not Your Scene…

Into every game, a couple scenes that not everyone’s enjoying seem to fall. (Heck, even the enjoyment varies. Some people have characters who are into it but are dead bored themselves, or are enjoying the scene but the character has no use for it.) It’s reasonable not to be having fun. We aren’t a tabletopping [...]

The Generic Villain vs. the Accidentally Sentient Computer (Evil Overlord List Item 59)

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.
The Evil Overlord List, Item 59 expressly forbids creating a sentient computer smarter than you are. It’s a sensible piece of [...]

Impractical Applications: You Know Your Class Is Getting To You…

I had two things on my mind last weekend.
One was a dilemma faced by one of my PCs, made more complicated by the possible impact of my decision on group and plot and whatnot—the PC’s been staying recently with the legion unit she used to belong to, and when she was roused in the middle [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Surfeit

She had had quite enough of needing help.
Sure, it was justifiable. Acquiring the interest of very large, very scary things tended to do that. There was a point past which the amount of self-defense training she’d managed to shoehorn in around things that seemed more relevant if she was justifying them to her superiors and [...]

Cultures and Children

We don’t often think about children in speculative fiction or our games—at least, not once we stop reading entirely in the children’s section. They might be incidental characters, might possibly serve in a MacGuffin role, but they’re not likely to be the protagonist. As such, it’s easy for us to forget about them in a [...]

Characterization Exercise: Where Is This Problem Going?

I blame the US government shutdown for this one. If I hadn’t been tracking it, trying to figure out whether I’d be out of work (and then, when I’d go back to it), I’d wouldn’t have gotten suckered onto far too many comment threads. (Curse my curiosity!) If I hadn’t been looking at the comment [...]

Impractical Applications: Slogs

One of the things I find most interesting about combat slogs is how utterly different they can be. I’d had three in mind when I was writing this week’s posts about the mechanical and contextual causes of a slog battle; one that was part of a running trend and two that were specific to that [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Kes and Fear

Going back to fear reactions for this week’s post; they’re usually good for some exploration. Today I’m going to look at my old long-runner, the demon hunter Kestrel.
It’s not that Kes isn’t afraid. She takes the battlefield against things that would probably be able to kill her if she ever let them get within striking [...]

Challenge vs. Slog, Part 2: Contextual Slogging

Yesterday, I talked about mechanical factors that could turn a challenging battle into a boring slog. Today, I’m going to talk about contextual factors; reasons why what’s going on in the game could bring out the slog in an otherwise awesome challenge.
We really can’t see the relevance. One of the things that helps keep a [...]