Posts belonging to Category Exposition

A Resonance of Place

One of the things I’ve always loved about a good world-building is a sense of place: the idea that after a little while, hearing a place name alone will bring in all the echoes of what the place actually means to the characters. It’s important, particularly in a narrative that bounces about between cities and [...]

The Double Life of In-World Slang

One of my favorite things about new worlds, particularly settings with a subculture-high, inner-city emphasis to them, was all the nifty slang I was going to run into. People would throw around all sorts of colorful similes and metaphors referencing things I’d never heard of, and I’d read through and grin and take note for [...]

I Don’t Think Like You, All Right?

When we’re dealing with characterization, most of us have a tendency to write what we know—we’re used to the things we prioritize, and often figure out our characters based on “accepts this premise—rejects that one—ignores that one entirely….” Sometimes, though, we see characters who operate on a principle that just doesn’t resonate with our audience, [...]

The First Rule of Starting an RPG

An RPG doesn’t need to start with every little detail worked out. It helps, but it’s not necessary. I’ve seen games with rules for half-built characters, and games where the characters were talking IC and nobody’s sheet was even remotely finished. There are games where you can get away delegating figuring out what brought the [...]

Character Exercise: Conclusions IC

Yesterday, I introduced an exercise for two people based on taking information and drawing conclusions. But there’s another use for it, one that can be done with two people but works just as well with one, one that’s a little more character-driven.
It’s pretty much the same sequence of events, with one minor difference: instead of [...]

The Multipurpose Scene

Some of us have nice simple plots and worlds, and this is just fine. They’re straightforward, each scene doesn’t need to do too much at once, so they can focus on getting one plot to work well. And then there are some of us who have a tendency to try to juggle multiple plotlines, build [...]

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 [...]

With One Scene

Often, a writer can get away with establishing a character slowly, over time. In this scene, emphasizing this quality. In another scene, another one. A slow, gradual process. A GM with a long-term enough plan, or a player who wants to dole out the information bit by bit, might be able to do the same.
But [...]

Marking Time

One of the biggest difficulties with an Earth-with-modifications setting is getting across to people the time period in which the story is set, particularly as the setting gets more and more modern and the distinctions less and less obvious. A little slip, and it becomes easy for people to forget that this is supposed to [...]

A Peculiar Conundrum

So I’m sitting and talking with one of my former players, and he asks me a question: why can’t these characters let their emotional shields down when the whole group’s around, since they seem to do just fine in sidechat? That gets me wondering. After all, the inner lives of the characters are my favorite [...]