Posts belonging to Category Mood

Characterization Exercise: Retelling and Reaction

A long time ago, I suggested an exercise in which the object of the game was to come up with a character’s retelling of an event, in voice. But no story is told in a vacuum, and few are told without someone to hear them.
For this exercise, then, choose two characters and one event. It [...]

On the Dropping of Mountains

Is there any writer—GM—creator of any sort who has not at some point dropped a metaphorical mountain on at least one member of her cast? I don’t think so. Tragedy and trauma may not be quite as ubiquitous as ants in San Diego, but they come pretty close. It’s pretty easy to tell why mountain-hurling [...]

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 [...]

Reprise: Can Big Drama Be Done Quietly?

Originally posted on February 22, 2010.
I play games in which grand and dramatic is pretty much the gold standard. It’s part of the system, I can deal with that. I see a lot of people writing in ways that are grand and dramatic, and hey, power to them. But there’s one thing [...]

Oh, Right, Humor!

I learned something new today: game is just plain different when I’ve got a character without a name.
It’s something I’ve sort of known for a while. We’ve had games where the character was thrown together at the last minute, and the less we’ve backstoried, the sillier we’ve gotten. I almost wonder if it’s the point [...]

Some Thoughts on Intimidation

To be intimidating might be the hardest job a character can have, particularly as the characters he’s supposed to intimidate get more and more powerful, and the audience more and more jaded. I’m one of that jaded audience, I suppose; my characters take no small amount of work to unnerve, and it doesn’t help when [...]

Perfect Locations: Marring Perfection

(Do I even need to tell you what prompted this post?)
When last seen, the broken walls of the old buildings had shimmered in the starlight, haunted by the soft strings and fluting of the lone musician; now the musician is gone, and in the sunlight the walls are merely ruined stone. The carnival last night [...]

Perfect Locations: Who’s There?

My participation in RPG Blog Carnival: Fantastic Locations continues!
Light levels in a scene may be one of the most subtle ways of creating the mood for the perfect version of a location, but they’re not the most counterintuitive way; that honor goes to the people who create a location. After all, people aren’t part of [...]

Perfect Locations: Seeing the Light

This series was written for RPG Blog Carnival: Fantastic Locations.
When I used yesterday’s post to introduce the idea of the perfect version of a location, one of the mood-contributing factors I discussed was light. It’s easy to forget, as an element; we’re used to always having at least some around us, and to not being [...]

Perfect Locations

This one’s back to writing for RPG Blog Carnival. I love the way it makes me think about aspects of the theme I wouldn’t have looked into.
One of the things that a lot of people forget about making locations, fantastic or otherwise, is that the locations themselves are in a constant state of flux. The [...]