Thursday, July 29, 2010

Storyteller: This Is The End, My Friend

So now we’ve come to the end of my rambling. At least on this subject (because I could ramble all day about Dragon Age and the myriad reasons I’d like to kick George Lucas in the ding-ding). For now (let’s face it, I could probably talk gaming and writing forever). To recap…

Magic needs rules. Wizards need limits on their magic. Creatures need rules for what they can and cannot do. Setting the rules for your world can help with everything from plotting the story to choreographing a fight scene. Be aware of how much punch a fireball packs. Don’t be afraid of lighting your hero’s party up with friendly fire.

Maps are your friend. Creating a map of your world can help illustrate everything from trade routes to political relationships. Real world maps can be altered to fit your setting. They’re also made of awesome for reminding you what place names are, so you’re not constantly going back to your manuscript trying to remember what street the hero lives on or what kingdom the heroine ran away from.

Balance your characters. Characters need merits and flaws. They need things they excel in, and things they suck at. For every benefit you give them, take something away. Give them ninjas to fight, external and personal ninjas. As Shrek might say, characters are like onions—they need layers. Don’t be afraid to try out a character questionnaire. You never know when the heroine’s favorite flavor of ice cream might come up in a scene.

Plot happens. Sometimes your story gets away from you. Plot bunnies attack. Burning vans appear. Don’t panic! When in doubt, throw ninjas at your characters, but remember that they need to recover from every ninja attack. Action is like a video game—you proceed through the level, learn something, fight some bad guys, and then move on to the next until you reach the boss battle. After that it’s a little resolution and a happily ever after. Don’t be afraid to plot out fight scenes with whatever you have at hand, whether that be D&D figurines or marshmallow Peeps.

And no matter what you do, always remember Wheaton’s law: Don’t be a dick.

Now, to discuss what we’ve learned from all this, I bring you…the Wheel of Morality!



May your dice always roll well, may your loot always be phat, and may your xbox never suffer from the red ring of death. Good night everybody!

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