November, 2014

Roleplaying

Advice for Running Your First Campaign

800px-D&D_Game_1

It’s time. You’ve been on the player side of the table for long enough. You’re ready to take the plunge and GM your own game for the very first time. The traditional wisdom, if there is such a thing for roleplaying games, is to run a few one-shots first, but I don’t hold with that. Read more »

Storytelling

Six Plot Excuses No One Wants to Hear

buffy-with-kathy-milk

When storytellers are cornered by a tough plot problem, our first instinct is to ignore the problem by making our characters behave irrationally. Then we use character dialogue to handwave it and hope the audience doesn’t notice how unrealistic it is. Just take these six excuses. Read more »

Storytelling

Five Ways to Generate Suspense

Astronaut gets a little too close to an egg in Alien

Suspense builds up to conflict by causing heroes and the audience to worry about the outcome. It serves as a warning that can drive the characters and plot. Conflict that comes without that warning is jarring. While it can also be useful, it’s more likely … read more »

Writing

Ten Ways to Inspire Your Description

girl-writing-goldfinch

Good description is meaningful and imaginative, but it can be difficult to conjure an exciting rendition of every tree and shrub in your story. If you’re struggling against another bland paragraph, here are ten ways to give it some interest. Read more »

Roleplaying

Weaving Great Campaign Plotlines

Cat's cradle 3, Museum of Jurassic Technology

You’re ready to sit down and write the plot for your masterpiece, but writing a campaign isn’t the same as writing a one-shot adventure. You have the time to build the stakes at a relaxed pace, explore the expansive campaign world, and cultivate relationships with the cast of … read more »

Analysis

The Three Traits of Annoying Characters

jar-jar

Once in a while, storytellers slip up when crafting a protagonist. A character that was supposed to be an audience favorite becomes the focus of malice and frustration instead. While each person’s taste in characters is unique, some traits are likely to inspire intense dislike. … read more »