GMs, Writers and Hedgehogs

I first ran into the idea of the Hedgehog Concept in a book on businesses and how they succeed—but hey, what am I if not prone to interdisciplinary approaches? According to Jim Collins, the idea of the Hedgehog Concept is inspired by the idea that the fox has many tricks, but the hedgehog can always [...]

Constructing New Timelines

Sometimes, we find ourselves needing a new course of events. It might be for a counterfactual exercise, a chance to use new people in a pre-existing world (or to replay the same world with the same people but different characters), a way of answering somebody’s what-if, an alternate universe the characters have figured out how [...]

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 [...]

Utilizing Table Norms

Yesterday, I talked about the discussion of social norms and market norms in Predictably Irrational, then expanded them to apply to the peculiar meta-dynamics of the game table. As I pointed out, you need to know what categories these norms fit into to take advantage of them, but, then, how do you utilize the norms [...]

Social Norms, Market Norms, Table Norms

I have to admit it: I’m addicted to books about how the mind works. I almost always learn something new (I’ve read more than half a dozen this year alone, and not a single one has failed to show me something I hadn’t seen before), they’ve got a lot of cross-discipline uses, and I’ve always [...]

The Generic Villain on the Standards of Evil

Why does even evil have standards?
The Management turned me loose on this one after a chat with Shinali brought the question up. There’s evil that evil considers too evil, but does good work the same way, and if not, why not?
Technically, it’s possible to be too good, but it works differently. Either it’s a flavor [...]

The Generic Villain on the Villain’s Journey

You hear a lot about the Hero’s Journey, that Campbell guy’s summary of the usual steps the heroes take in becoming, well, heroes (and usually running headlong into us). You don’t hear so much about our equivalent. But I’ve seen (and been in) enough stories to know that as with those goody-two-shoes, we have patterns [...]

Truth and the RPG

As I finished my riff last week about laying down the canon integration rules in my timeline for newbies, I found one tangentially related question bugging me. The game plays very fast and loose with its setting canon; that’s practically a signature style for me. On the other hand, the numerous bits and pieces of [...]

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 [...]

Fun With OOC [Character]

Luath and Rilik are snickering at their own misfortunes over something delicious. Alabaster’s leading the group in a snarkfest over the current situation. Tuyet’s just wandered up and is asking if she can please fight someone amusing whom she doesn’t feel obligated to kill to keep them from leaving a trail of collateral damage a [...]