Posts belonging to Category Character dynamics

Three Pitfalls of Mutually Dependent Characterization

I talked yesterday about mutually dependent characterization, ending my riff with the idea that there are, in fact, risks as well as advantages to it. But what are they?
The first is utterly inseparable characterization. This most often happens when characters are designed as a set, rather than growing together naturally—they become so much of a [...]

Mutually Dependent Characterization

Sometimes, you get characters who are, for lack of a better term, inseparable. Not in the physical sense, mind. They don’t always need to be in the same place at the same time—yes, they can be joined at the hip, but where’s the fun in that? No, this sort of inseparability is a result of [...]

Characterization Exercise: Try to Be Civil!

This one was originally suggested to me by Shinali, though I’ve elaborated on it a bit.
For this characterization exercise, you’ll need two characters who, if they were to run into each other in most contexts, would be at each other’s throats—physically, verbally, or otherwise. They don’t necessarily have to be from the same world, but [...]

Why Lack of Straightforwardness Matters

Yesterday, I talked about how almost everyone will look at a character’s job and decide that it’s easier than it actually is, including the character doing the job. Today, I’m going to talk about why that should matter to us, particularly to those of us who write rather than tabletopping.
The first, of course, is characterization—figuring [...]

Not Near As Straightforward As It Looks

Not too long ago, I had what felt like the same conversation twice in a span of about twenty-four hours. One day, on my commute home, I found myself talking to a fellow trolley rider who knew what my occupation was, didn’t quite get why I “needed to go to school for that”…. and then, [...]

Shades of Creepy

On the one hand, I’m rather fond of messed-up social dynamics and mindscrewy plots and behaviors, in my fiction and sometimes even in my gaming (when done well): they’re interesting reading, they show me a part of human nature that I really don’t want to deal with face to face but do think that I [...]

Not Getting Romance in Everything

There was a book I read last week. I’m not going to say which of the books I read that set me off, as it’s a bit of a spoiler for the piece in question, but—there was this relationship. I didn’t see it as romantic, and while there was apparently subtext I completely missed that [...]

The Art of the Cross-Backstory

We don’t have to work alone when we’re coming up with our PCs’ histories—and a lot of us don’t want to! GMs like cross-backstories because it means they can circumvent the getting the group together part and focus on the actual plot; a lot of players enjoy the chance to collaborate—heck, some game systems even [...]

Exercise: A Portrait of a Social Dynamic

I’m not going to even consider quoting Tolstoy on this one. Happy families are not all alike, save to the kind of person who sees happiness and assumes it a default state, an absence of any effort to reach that point or of crisis to tear it away. Social dynamics, similarly, are never exactly alike—it [...]

Rival Searchers: Alliances

One of the things I find most fascinating about having multiple rival searchers in a search plotline is the strange bedfellows it creates. If you’ve got more than three or four different parties trying to get the same thing, there are bound to be alliances, people working together—at least for now—to increase their chances. What [...]