Delayed Followup: Proactive vs. Reactive

A long time ago I wrote about player styles, particularly proactive vs. reactive approaches to a game. The old article was something of a simplification of the issue, and since then, I’ve learned a bit more about the proactive-reactive continuum.
One of the things I’ve noticed about a proactive style is that it isn’t necessarily either-or; [...]

Salvaging the Power of Friendship/Love

Yesterday, I went into a big long rant about the Power of Love and/or Friendship and what under what circumstances it annoyed me. But it’s just not right to do a post about how something can go wrong without a follow-up on how it can be done right, so here are some ways to make [...]

Words Fail Me (and Isn’t That Awesome?)

Yesterday, I talked about situations in which one person just wouldn’t understand what another was explaining because they just didn’t have the mindset for it. But as UZ pointed out in a comment to that post, sometimes, it’s not the mindset that gets in the way: instead, it’s the vocabulary. Here, language barrier plays a [...]

Characters and Worldbuilding: So What Do I Do With This Hat?

The first responsibility of a worldbuilder is to create a culture: to figure out what sorts of things it does, what it values, which activities are popular—in short, what combination of factors it is that creates the Generalized Member of this particular culture. In short, to design its hat. So far, so good, right?
But then [...]

How to Make a Threat Stick

One of my players once told me, “Your NPCs don’t respond well to threats”. I looked back over the sessions that had inspired this, and yes, that was true; they didn’t respond particularly well to the threats that had been delivered to them. But that got me thinking—was it that they didn’t respond well? That [...]

The Subtle Art of Characterization: An Overview

The most difficult thing about putting together a world is often the people. This goes double when you’re running a game, as the impressions your players can get of your secondary characters can have plot-changing repercussions. (Note: If looking for straight writing advice, substitute “Main characters” and “audience” for “PCs” as seems appropriate.)
So how do [...]

Getting Started, Part 3

“You’re looking for the writers, the musicians, the drama people, and the sociology majors.” That was the recruitment advice I got from the first person who ran a game for me at college. It’s not always accurate, but for people like us it’s a good start.
The big thing about finding a group is making sure [...]

Getting Started, Part 2

So now that you’ve decided to play, and figured out approximately how (no need to commit yet, though, since these things are all intermingled), the next choice is what you’re going to play. Now, this part gets a bit more difficult.
First, there’s the simple question of whether you’d prefer a freeform or an established system. [...]

Getting Started, Part 1

As joanne1398 has pointed out in her response to my opening post, a lot of the problem with getting into roleplaying is knowing where to get started and whom to get started with. This series will be on the basic decisions that go into game setup.
The first thing you want to consider is the medium [...]

An Ode to Player Characters

They’re a random factor, a source of chaos, an uncontrollable force of nature. Rarely does any plot which meets them survive unscathed. They forget the names of those around them, work from motivations all their own, and usually have far too high an opinion of their impact on the world. And they are our most [...]