Trust, GM Willingness, Player Interest, and the Backstory Character

Yesterday, I talked about four categories of backstory characters, and mentioned the particular importance of understanding them to tabletoppers, both GM and player. Today, I’m going to look at why. Note that I am using the same terminology as in the previous post: the central character is the character being provided with the backstory, while [...]

Degrees of Backstory Characters

Into every character’s backstory, a few characters who aren’t the backstory’s central character must fall. They don’t live in a vacuum, after all. (And if they do, they’re probably pretty boring characters, and lack verisimilitude. Even hermits usually had someone who raised them.) That doesn’t mean they’re all created the same, though.
Overall, backstory characters are [...]

Reprise: Comparing Conversation and Combat

Originally posted on August 11, 2010.
What’s the difference between conversation and combat?
I found myself asking that of one of my friends, while thinking about UZ’s recent question on keeping all participants in a conversation involving more than four characters at once. I have difficulty with that sort of thing too, so I didn’t [...]

Map, Elaborate, Question: From Characters to World (and Plot!)

Yesterday, I talked about building a world around characters, rather than building enough of a world to mold characters into and moving outward from there. I’ve been toying with this recently, and I’ve found a pretty good sequence for trying to grow outward from one or two characters to a plot and a world.
I start [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: You Don’t Have to Build the World First?

I’ve always looked at putting together a story in a fresh new world as starting with the world, getting enough of it together to give yourself ideas, then sticking characters in it, then letting them bounce off each other until you have something approximating a plot. Wasn’t that how all the people with the really [...]

Why I Love Culture as Character

Yesterday, I talked about the idea of culture as character. To say that I’m a fan is a bit of an understatement—one of the things I was thinking, while sitting through the panel that set off yesterday’s riff, was that I keep trying to angle for an RPG of manners. It’s not just one appealing [...]

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 [...]

Videogames and the Illusion of Control (or Why Getting Me Onto Skyrim May Take a While)

I come from a household that does videogames; my boyfriend and I have practically made a sport of watching each other play. We’ve gone through a number of titles, from which I’ve drawn loads of interesting conclusions, and while we don’t necessarily play the same things, in the end our tastes are pretty similar—except for [...]

Growth and Revelation

In the comments to yesterday’s riff on why I don’t tend to start with my characters pre-heroed, UZ pointed out that there are two things that can both mean character development. It’s a topic I couldn’t resist poking a bit.
I’m going to start by assigning names to them so that we can keep the silly [...]

Learning from NaNo, Round 2: Nonsequential

I wasn’t too successful when I attempted National Novel-Writing Month last year. I had a few ideas, but the story didn’t write; I hadn’t pushed it hard enough to get it to start writing itself the way some of my older projects had. This year, though, I didn’t have the excuses I had before. I [...]