Articles

An index to role-playing-related articles published on the blog. For more specific browsing, you may want to search.

Character Development

A Contest-Worthy Character? (05/29/11)
I was puzzling over who I wanted to submit to DriveThruRPG’s Tell Us About Your Character Contest. None of my creations immediately leapt out at me, and the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. Why was I looking at other people games at all when I had a novel of my own to plumb?

But that says something about my characters, doesn’t it? That’s there’s something not quite right about them. They’re not fully-fledged yet. Not distinctive enough yet. Or lovable. Yet. It got me to thinking about what kind of character would win that contest, and I wonder if I couldn’t use those traits to try and develop them more completely, if not in time to try and win a tablet, at least for the novel I have half-way outlined. (Read More)

A Double-edged Sword: Making Your Greatest Strengths Your Greatest Weaknesses (05/22/11)
For the typical D&D player, the game essentially boils down to “winning.” You slay the monsters, find the treasure, level up. A steady upward climb. Fun, to be sure, but I’d rather just play a board or video game if I wanted that. Tabletop allows for a little something more, that is to say, the unparallelled ability to tell any story, act any part. It’s the stage on a smaller scale, in which the audience are also the actors.

What drives a story more than anything else? Conflict. So the GM twists your arm a little. Hits you where it hurts. But who says the GM is the only one who can introduce conflict? What happens when the players take it into their own hands to make a multi-dimensional, real character, replete with desires, strengths, and weaknesses?

Whoever said they couldn’t be the same thing? (Read More)

Six Degrees (03/14/11)
No doubt you’ve heard of the Six Degrees by which everyone is purported separated. But in role-playing, you can use that idea to create more complex relationships and increase your investment in the character. At the table, it makes for some pretty hilarious or moving scenes, while in ‘massive’ contexts, it’s essentially required in order to get more than random RP. Here are some tips for tying your characters to others in both platforms, and even some ‘homework’ for you to make your characters more connected to their world… (Read More)

Homebrew on Tap

Gods for a Highlander (05/31/11)
With Eric and my characters in Le Morte de Mordred both having pagan gods in our backgrounds, I thought it might be fun to flesh them out a little more, replete with alignments and domains for Dungeons & Dragons 4e, along with suggested classes and builds to fit. The names are Scottish Gaelic, though you could make them more or less Irish, Welsh, or Saxon according to your taste or setting. (Read More)

Improvisation

A Review of Play Unsafe by Graham Walmsley (03/19/11)
Was it worth the price? Meh. Not least of all because I bought through LuLu originally and got ripped off at $10 when it goes for $8 at the UnStore. At $8 it seems more reasonable, but given my layout qualms and the lack of depth, and the sheer repetitiveness of material that’s freely available on the internet, I wasn’t as pleased as I could have been. 1/3 Crits. (Read More)

Out of Character Issues

Drama and Drama: Yours Shouldn’t Have Llamas (04/25/11)
As I was reading over the Drama Mamas column on WoW Insider, it shocked me that I had been involved in, or bore witness to, no less than half the predicaments described there. Maybe you can blame rhetorical theory for why we fall for our role-playing partners, while Murphy’s Law essentially dooms couples who play together in the same guild in spite of the dangers, but the resulting drama of either (or both) can soon overwhelm the fun of collaborative storytelling.

And that’s where I ended up after almost two years of role-playing in World of Warcraft. The out-of-character web of relationships was too entangling, and things got too personal. I had to step back.

Now I play Dungeons & Dragons with nine including myself, with little to no issues. What worked at the table, when my online experience failed so abysmally? (Read More)

Player vs. GM

The Selfish GM (05/28/11)
When you realize that your once-weekly game becomes a chore, something you dread and stress over, you’re doing something wrong. Right now I just don’t like the way my players are taking the game. I have an epic movie playing in my head, something along the lines of the original Assasin’s Creed or Kingdom of Heaven. At the table I feel more like I’m running Aladdin and its sequels, with progressively crasser jokes and characterization. And I have a hard time standing by and watching them make a mockery of my homebrew setting.

But there’s a bigger question at stake here: is that really their problem, or is it mine? (Read More)

System Mechanics & Play

Arbitrating Diceless Role-play (03/20/11)
I like my rules as light as can be while still being able to provide a form of standard arbitration. Why? I’ve done forum RP when there was no rules set for resolving conflicts. You get a lot of stalemating and a lot of OOC negotiation in order to push plots through if you aren’t catering directly to a character’s desires, which are difficult to justify knowing IC’ly anyway much of the time. However, when there was a loose system for resolving contested actions you lost some control of your character, and insodoing, allowed for a richer story to unfold… (Read More)

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