Description and setting

2 11 2010

If I have a hobby-horse/soap-box it is that GM’s could learn so much from writers. I have a vested interest, as my background is writing, but please don’t let that put you off.
So, today’s lite-sermon comes from a great book by Ron Rozelle. If, as a GM, you want to learn more about this subject, you could do a lot worse than read the Write Great Fiction series. But I digress.
Today’s tip is all about show don’t tell.
Any writer worth his salt will be able to tell you all about this subject. In essence, readers (and for readers read players) will invest in a sorry (adventure) most if they are allowed to create it for themselves.
Stephen King was a master at this. If you pick up any of his books and look for paragraphs of description. You’ll struggle to find them. What he did was give a few words and enabled the reader to create their own world, their own characters, based upon their own experience.
If you say a character is a computer geek, every reader will have a mental image. For every reader it is different but it works for us all as we all have our own frames of reference.
Where you have to be careful as a GM is that you want all six players to have the same image. Or at least you may do. Does it matter if we all have a slightly different image? If not, let us create our own pictures.
On the same subject, use description to set a scene or mood but through inference. Don’t say a character is angry. Say they throw a tool down on the ground. Tell the players they are red-faced and muttering under their breath.
Get the idea? Good, then use it next time!


Character creation does it for me

1 11 2010

We al have aspects of role-playing that are the bits we can’t do without. For me it’s the very beginning.
I’m someone who could spend hours just rolling up new characters. I bought Twilight 2000 just for the character creation. So, which RPG has the best system for the all important aspect of rolling up a new character?
Well I have to admit I don’t have a favourite. It’s like asking a parent which of their children they like best. I like so man and for different reasons.
I love all the random charts of games like Warhammer – although I admit that forcing a player to use a character that doesn’t resonate or work is plain stupid.
I love tweaking the options for dice rolls, considering the way to develop great characters and recreating characters from films and books.
Why do I love character creation? I don’t really know. But then, I don’t care. Is it the best part of role-playing? Again, it matters little to me.
So, to return to the original question, which game has the best character creation?
I can’t pick one from any of the games I own, but I’d be happy to hear of any that I ought to consider.