Fireside Chat: Using a Pre-existing IP with Kaelas

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. As you know, I recently published a blog post here on Literati about worldbuilding – both canon and new worlds. Here with me tonight to discuss the difficulties of using other people?s intellectual property for the setting for a roleplay is my good friend Kaelas. Kaelas runs a Harry Potter based game called Potterless on my forums, of which I am a member, and has done a Buffy/Dresden Files crossover with me in the past, which we call TK.

Kaelas: Greetings readers… should I have port? I feel like I should have some kind of port… anyway. Hopefully we don?t bore you too much and maybe we?ll even pass on a trick or two. At the worst, maybe you?ll avoid a pitfall I?ve stumbled into. Regardless, thanks for taking the time to read our little chat.

Yami: One of the things that nagged me when I was writing that article was that I was making worldbuilding sound way too much work, or rather, that I was making using an existing IP too attractive. It?s just so easy to do it badly, and I really want to give the readers some idea how to avoid that. Thoughts?
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How to start a game: Setting concerns

There are two types of GMs in this world: Those that enjoy world-building and would happily spend hours detailing a setting nobody will use, and those who hate world-building and just want to get on with the game.

Alright, I’m exaggerating. There’s actually a continuum from one extreme to the other. Regardless, when starting a new game, you’re going to want to consider the setting very carefully. Continue reading

How To Start A Game: Technical Considerations

There are many different types of games, which can be organized in many different ways. Within these major types, of course, there is endless variation – no two games are ever going to be exactly alike, and even a rerun of the exact same storyline in the exact same world is likely to play out differently. Nevertheless, broad categories can be defined onseveral basis, and each one requires care and tailoring to make it work. Continue reading

Roleplaying: A personal perspective / definition

Note: This post was written for an MMORPG community backdrop, where this perspective tends to be rare. It’s also applicable to freeform roleplaying (though the common MMORPG pitfalls that are being expressly addressed in this post usually don’t apply there), but will probably have very little applicability to dice- and/or stat-based roleplay. Continue reading

Tips for Playing Shapeshifters

Everyone seems to lean towards playing certain characters. Some people are well known for their descriptions of swordplay, others are brilliant at playing magical characters. I seem to speciallise in playing shapeshifters, so I’m writing this to share a little of what I’ve learnt. Why do I think I can do this? I seem to range widely for my creatures; I’m equally comfortable with mammals, birds and reptiles. Fish are a pain and I’ve never played an invertibrate or an amphibian, but the principal is the same. Continue reading

Crossing: A definition for MMORPG contexts

Note: This post is very MMORPG-centric, since the topic of crossing in ‘traditional’ roleplaying media such as pen and paper and freeform is fairly clear-cut and hopefully needs not elaboration.

If it’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that crossing is bad.

But what?is?crossing??Not all too surprisingly, given the various opinions on what roleplay even is in MMORPG contexts, the opinions on that differ wildly. In my usual fashion, I’m going to present mine in a tl;dr sort of way. Continue reading

The stigma of the deus ex machina

In less interactive forms of art, the deus ex machina has an understandably poor reputation. Given a single or even a small number of similarly geared authors co-writing a plot, there is no excuse to have to fall back to a metaphysical (or quasi-metaphysical) outside force in times wherein characters are caught in a quagmire. If worst comes to worst, you scrap a chapter, rewind, and try again, avoiding the mistakes you made to get them there.

In roleplaying games, the stigma of the literary device remains… but it doesn’t have to, nor, in my opinion, should it. In fact, if anything, I’d say it’s a fallback a gamemaster should always be pointedly aware of and ready to use, in as much as the setting permits. Continue reading

Exercise for the brave: Sharing characters

This article was originally written for an MMORPG community (though I’ve tweaked it to allow it to be better presented out of context), but holds true for any roleplaying that is reasonably personality-conscious. I want to say ‘everywhere’, but I think in some places, people prefer the environment (quests and plot) to focussing on their own characters. Continue reading