Posts belonging to Category Exercises

Characterization Exercise: Define “Hero”

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival, on the subject of Heroes, Living and Dead, got me thinking about the term. “Hero” is a pretty subjective term, as these things go; some people consider heroism to be anything that involves improving other people’s lives, others see it as risking one’s life, there are still more whose main [...]

Guest Post: Journaling In Character

Tonight’s post is brought to us by regular commenter Shinali, lady of the prolific (and hilarious) IC journals; she kindly offered this one to me after my request for guest posts a while back.

Sometimes your character’s views on things matter, but there is no way she would share them publicly. Other times you [...]

Characterization/Plot Exercise: The Switch

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell how much of a character’s personality is her and how much is her surroundings. Hopefully, a character’s personality will be independent of her role in the narrative she’s involved in, whether it’s a tabletop game or some sort of fiction. But what better way to check than to [...]

Characterization Exercise: Strife!

Every now and then you get people asking, “If [Character] and [Other Character] got in a fight, who would win?” I’ve never been fond of those questions; trying to match up two characters that work entirely differently, let alone take into account all the factors that would come into play and complicate matters further, and [...]

Characterization Exercise: Code of Conduct

One of the toughest things about a relatively new character can be figuring out where their boundaries and obligations lie—which is a pity, because those can be the fastest way of making a character interesting. Shinali recently poked me with a solution, based on her regular quoting of Gibbs’s Rules: write the character up a [...]

Characterization Exercise: What is Power to You?

Power: along with sex, money, and occasionally elephants, it’s a common motivation for characters. But while it may take five letters to write, it takes a lot more work to define precisely; even characters who agree that they want power won’t necessarily agree what power is, let alone what (if anything) they want it for. [...]

Writing a Character Fear Profile

Sometimes, it’s easier to approach something when you can fill in the blanks; characters’ fear reactions are no exception. The following is the skeleton of a possible way of recording a character’s fear profile; her standard reactions, her greatest fears and those most expected but least likely to actually bother her, her sensitizations and habituations, [...]

Analyzing Interests: A Character Study

A long time ago, I talked about choosing a character’s hobbies as a way to show more of her personality. There’s another direction this can be taken in, though—taking a character who already has a hobby, interest, or similar fluffy focal point, and looking through it to see what else you can learn, both about [...]

Clarification on “Will Always Win Because…”

The comments to last week’s “Will Always Win Because” riff made me think I hadn’t really made my purpose clear enough in the original riff. So here, instead, are some examples from different games I’ve been in. Note that while the character’s foes winning is treated as because of a feature of the character and [...]

…Will Always Win Because…

We’ve all run into characters in our or other people’s narratives that are just stupidly hard to put a real challenge to, let alone defeat. I know I’ve often tried to design good villains, only to realize that I’m not entirely sure what exactly is going to lead to their defeat. Or someone else is [...]