Storytelling

Three GM-less Games for Your Roleplaying Group

Most roleplaying games have a very slow start. A game master must do hours of prep work, and players must build complicated characters. That makes it difficult to change plans on the fly, or to add a friend that doesn’t know the rules system. Fortunately, … read more »

Why Should Fiction Be Believable?

People argue that critics shouldn’t complain about the realism of fictional stories, either because it’s hypocritical to critique just one thing, or because fictional stories don’t need to be realistic. It’s not real — so what if it’s technically incorrect? Read more »

How to Talk About Dark Stories

Games of Thrones is dark; Disney’s Cinderella is not. Few would disagree, and many could choose confidently between them without knowing more. That’s why it’s practical to make recommendations based on how dark a story is. It’s easy to gauge, and many people have a … read more »

Five Unrealistic Character Traits

Storytellers want to have their cake and eat it too, even if the cake is absolute perfection, and the eating is relatable flaws. The inevitable result of trying to have it both ways is a character that defies human nature. These characters have traits that … read more »

The Keys to a Great Opening Scene

The beginning of your story can do many things, but one is more important than any other: capturing the reader’s interest. If they don’t keep reading, any other purpose – setting the tone, hinting at central themes, or whatever else – becomes pointless. As a … read more »

Making Interesting NPCs on the Fly

Your players will spend a great deal of time interacting with the non-player characters. The unpredictable nature of running an adventure means that you will be improvising NPCs as often as not. Fortunately, making them up on the spot becomes easy with practice. Read more »

The Six Traits of Strong Characters

What if you make up 20 pages of backstory, and your character still doesn’t feel “strong”? How can you even tell? I’m going to turn the subjective quality of “strength” into clear benchmarks by detailing six traits that strong characters have in common. Read more »