Posts belonging to Category Symbolism

A Few Notes on Miracles

In the spirit of Christmas (all right, sort of), I’m here to talk to you about miracles. A lot of the miracles I’ve seen all look the same: they’re big, and flashy, and look like they were designed to frustrate sfx artists and elicit gasps from an audience. They’re big, brass-band climax setpieces. Nothing against [...]

Six Reasons to Love a Dream Battle

For regular readers, it’s a well-known fact that I’m not too fond of fight scenes. But offer me a fight within a dreamscape and I may well eschew my usual combat avoidance in order to take it. What, then, is so great about dreamscape battles?

Nobody dies. I realize that some people might take a dimmer [...]

Keeping Maneuvers Fresh

Here’s a question for the particularly visually oriented in the audience: have you ever read a fight scene, or participated in a game where description mattered, and see the same move over, and over, and over? If you’re like many of the people I know, you get a bit bored by that—or possibly you lose [...]

Dangerous Dreams

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that everyone has the potential to use dreams as exposition or foreshadowing. Unfortunately, not everyone does it well. There are a number of pitfalls that come from leaning on dreams to serve vital roles in a story.
The biggest mistake, of course, is not balancing the level of information with the [...]

Dream Exposition

Yesterday’s dreamscapes were pretty, but that’s only one narrative use for dreams, and one that practically requires lucid dreaming or a way to get into someone else’s head. Most worlds aren’t up to dealing with that, and even those that are sometimes want to do something else with their dreams. But just about everyone has [...]

Looking Into Dreams

They’ve been used as setting exposition, foreshadowing, characterization, an excuse to play with the laws of physics, a way to cop out of a story that people couldn’t tell because of its ramifications to the setting and timeline, a visualization for mind-affecting magic, a place to ambush enemies, a way of delivering messages without worrying [...]

Rituals and Themes

A ritual isn’t just a bunch of steps blended together; it has to have a theme. After all, there’s a certain unity to most rituals, something that binds the individual steps together. You don’t often see a ritual involving invocation of the Five Dread Names of the Forbidden One, a reenactment of the last battle [...]

Creating Rituals Through Symbolism

A well-described ritual can be an excellent tool: it lets storytellers create immersion, and allows RPG players to make their actions sound nifty and their crazy magical schemes just the slightest bit more plausible. But how to go about figuring out what they look like? In my experience, the best way to do so is [...]