Posts belonging to Category Dialogue

In Defense of Idle Conversation

I’ve had long arguments with at least one of my players/GMs about whether a scene that seems entirely to be small talk is worth it—and goodness knows I’ve heard plenty about conservation of detail, streamlining sessions, that sort of thing. So it came as a bit of a surprise when, twice in two weeks, I [...]

Deception: Drawing Their Own Conclusions

A good deception can be a thing of beauty, and even appreciated as such. I’ve often found myself rating the deceptions I’ve read or my characters have gotten themselves embroiled in, and there’s one tactic I’ve found that seems to give the deception a little extra style and—at least when dealing with my characters—a greater [...]

Deception: The Two Best Things To Say

I’ve been talking most of the week about deception, both the bases to cover and how to handle people who already know what’s going on. Yes, the biggest thing to remember is that deceptions are very individualized things at heart, but there are still principles beyond know what to hide and what conclusions to push. [...]


Before we head deeper into the depths of deception, we need to take a little digression into one of the peculiarities of the English language, one that both makes sure that our sentences aren’t absurdly long and means that we need to be really careful about our sentences’ metamessages. It’s also why it sounds rather [...]

Deception in the Game Group

Brickwall, in response to yesterday’s post on deception, mentioned that one shouldn’t start a deception around other people who know the truth, because they will inevitably get in the way. I agree that other people who know the truth are dangerous, but in my experience, there are ways of ensuring that they’re more help than [...]

Deception: The First Ingredients

One thing I’ve noticed about both games and stories is that every social monster needs at some point to learn how to deceive, whether this actually involves lying or not. After all, the social monster’s job is to get the people to the conclusion that she and/or her companions want them to reach, and that’s [...]

Character, Rank and Dialogue

I’ve talked a lot about dialogue before; it’s at least as useful as appearance for differentiating characters. And while accents, verbal tics, catch phrases and levels of vocabulary are all very well, there’s one way to take a look at a character’s mind that just requires interaction with people of different stations. How much store [...]

Beyond “Five More Minutes”

So the character’s just waking up, and is in that foggy haze between the dreaming and waking world—awake enough to be audible, asleep enough to not quite reach the point of lucidity. For her, it might be a good time to either pull the covers tighter and go back to sleep, or to get up [...]

How Not To Be Lost in a Scene

Yesterday, I talked about how a GM or a writer can keep from misplacing characters in a character-dense scene. But while it’s harder for someone who controls multiple characters to keep perfect track of all of them, it’s still possible for even a PC to be misplaced in a scene. Everyone’s talking too fast, it’s [...]

How Not To Misplace People in a Scene

One of the biggest problems with having four or five people operating in the same scene, regardless of its type, is the risk that the better-imaged ones will take over and the less-definite ones will get lost in the shuffle. A couple days ago, UZ asked how to avoid that without creating a completely patterned [...]