Posts belonging to Category Thematics

Reprise: Water, Water

It’s finals week. A perfect time for reruns. Regular posts will (most likely) resume next Sunday night.
Originally posted July 13, 2008.
It’s one of the classical elements, and necessary for life. In legend, it has been credited with births and deaths, healing and disasters. It’s been walked through, walked on, and floated over. [...]

Culture as a Character

When I was volunteering at Conjecture, there was one panel that I had decided the moment I saw the schedule that I was going to see. I would carefully schedule my break, I would barter time with the other volunteers—but I was going to go to that piece on Fantasy/SF of Manners and Culture as [...]

Serious Business

Most of us have seen something that qualifies as Serious Business. It’s not going to change the world, it’s not life or death, it might not even seem like anything more than a simple pastime, but to the people who care about it—the football fans who close their businesses when the two state colleges’ teams [...]

Points of Resonance

Yesterday, I talked about the importance of getting places to resonate with the people in a world and thus through them with the audience, even before anyone actually sets foot there, and talked about what sorts of factors might give the places that resonance. The next step, then, is to figure out what sorts of [...]

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 [...]

Nonvisual Magic Step By Step

One of my players recently asked me how I did nonvisual magic in my games. I covered the topic before, about a year ago, but since then I’ve had time to refine my technique a bit and think about the process, rather than just the descriptors, of my effect/sense descriptions.
I start with the outline, well [...]

Magic Between Cultures

I’ve noticed that in many of the books I read, magic is rather similar to physics, in that it works the same way no matter where you are and where you came from. Sure, you might get cases where it seems to work differently due to other factors, rather like the way gravity differs between [...]

Universal Symbols?

In response to my riff yesterday on discovering a character through one of her interests, UZ pointed out that there was a certain universal symbolism about tea.
“A villain who drinks tea is a civilized villain. A murderer who drinks tea is an urbane murderer. There is no such thing as a tea drinking contest. In [...]

Five Reapers: Myth-Dissection

Over the last couple of days I’ve dipped into mythology a bit, with a crew of anthropomorphized Deaths and a new legendary look at quicksilver. Now I’m going to look back and see where they came from—who’s up for a little myth dissection?
I find the best thing to do when toying with mythology is to [...]

Five Reapers: Death Metal

They say, in the land with the five reapers, that quicksilver is the symbol of death.
It is liquid, and one cannot escape a liquid. What would stop a rolling stone, it simply flows around; what the air would not have the weight to move, it overwhelms. Quicksilver is captivating. Like water, it beads up, it [...]