Reprise: Four Ways to Show a Character’s Skill Without Having Her Use It

Originally posted on June 30, 2009

One complaint people often have about bad writers is that they claim their characters are good at doing a certain thing or have a certain interest, but there’s next to no evidence in the text that it’s actually true. Characters who love books [...]

Showing Politically Skilled Characters

Let’s face it, intrigue is fun: it creates cerebral rather than physical conflicts, gives the audience a chance to match wits with the characters, and leads to some of the best sneaky maneuvering and one-liners a fictional setting can allow. Then it gets tangled up with politics, and things get really interesting; a politically skilled [...]

Establishing Game Tone: Show, Don’t Tell

Playstyle, I think, is one of the likeliest things to drive a group apart. When you’ve got a full group on the same style, and on the same wavelength with the GM, it goes well. When you don’t…. well, you’ve got one person cursing things another was directly encouraging, the GM’s about ready to scream [...]

With One Scene

Often, a writer can get away with establishing a character slowly, over time. In this scene, emphasizing this quality. In another scene, another one. A slow, gradual process. A GM with a long-term enough plan, or a player who wants to dole out the information bit by bit, might be able to do the same.
But [...]