Posts Tagged ‘ design theory ’

Psychotic Constellations

May 8th, 2013 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

This week has been chaotic and exciting on multiple levels. The new computer. The new OS. Revealing the tremulus proofs. Getting Ravaged Earth (electronically) out the door. But there is always more to be done. And other parts of life get in the way. We often say REAL LIFE gets in the way, but let’s face it. For myself, and other creative types, this is our real life. It’s glorious, and ugly, and fascinating. And a dozen (or more) words cannot even hope to capture a fraction of who any of us really are. As someone who works largely in […]



Doling Out Information in RPGs: What Works for You?

Apr 26th, 2012 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

There are numerous ways to get information into the hands of your players and every one of them is right. However, some ways are more right than others. One thing I’d really wave off doing is putting another layer of complexity onto Savage Worlds to emulate successes. If things don’t matter dramatically, you should know the characters in your group well enough that, as GM. You can use a little narrative control and common sense to let things play out as they should. If someone is the techie, he’ll be the one most likely to take note of one thing […]



Designer’s Diary up at Roleplayers Chronicle

May 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: The Dirt

Roleplayers Chronicle recently asked my insights on the development of Iron Dynasty and I was more than happy to oblige! This is a lengthy article and reveals a lot into my process. I hope you enjoy it. Click here to check it out.



Done. Done. On to the Next One.

Feb 15th, 2011 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

In addition to being a rockin’ tune by the Foo Fighters, this is a good philosophy for the working writer. No matter how amazingly amazing your last work was, it does not pay to rest upon one’s laurels nor to get too introspective with one’s works. You finish something. You pass it on to the editors or whatnot, but you let it go, and focus your attentions upon the next bit of sweetness upon your plate. There are these meditations, called koans, which challenge one to perceive things in different ways. There is one in particular I can recall in […]



A Wintry Wednesday and Birthday Wishes!

Feb 9th, 2011 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

It seems as though the singularity of snow has made itself more common, like a distant relative you care for, in small doses, has come to stay and the special is becoming the ordinary. Not quite. I refuse to let the pleasant shade of jade invade my spirit. I resist. I desist from thinking in those patterns, and I pause to let myself be swept away in the splendor of a snowflake. They are so calming to look at as they float down in a magical, ethereal fashion. If only they could put them into globes, maybe with a little […]



House Rules and One Ring

Nov 21st, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

A number of folks make up house rules and apply tweaks to their games. Some folks say there is no right or wrong way. Sadly, those folks are trying to be nice. I’m going to set you straight here. You may not like what you hear, but think of it as tough love or a rules boot camp, or a wake up call. Or delude yourself into thinking I don’t know what I’m talking about and revel in your mediocrity. House Rules: You want house rules. Fine. Go for it. I’ll tell you, as a designer, rules are a base […]



Simple Tips for Making Memorable Characters

Nov 20th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Memphis as I write this. My daughter and I have been watching some shows on Netflix and enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon, but my mind has drifted to the blog, to the daily task at hand, so we take a brief break for me to share my tip for the day. Today, we’re going to talk about making a memorable character–these tips apply equally well to fiction and gaming, so get your clipboard ready, as we whip through this, and I get back to the lazing. Every character needs a name, so choose something […]



Watchmaking versus Time Telling

Nov 9th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

There is a lot to be said for show don’t tell, and that works fine for novels, but for RPGs there are times you are gonna want to tell. The GM is a busy guy, and it’s fine to have some nice, succinct descriptors for him to use, but it’s no time to box clever with words and bury what he needs to know in shadowplay and prose. It’s his job to get on with running his game, and the best an RPG writer can do at times is to give him the paints and let him get on with […]



A Loss for Words: Avoiding Burnout in the 21st Century

Nov 6th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

Writers should never be at a loss for words, but there are times when the words rush like a mighty river, spilling over the banks, and other times when there is little more than a trickle of thought trying to wend its way down a bed of ideas. If you’re writing strictly for the fun of it, you can wander off and do other things–you don’t depend on word count to make or break you. What about those who need to get the words out, but don’t want them to be forced? That, my friends is a sticky wicket and there […]



Rough and Ugly Design Theory

Nov 5th, 2010 | By | Category: The Razorwise Report

From time to time, folks inquire about my design philosophy. Discussing design is something I greatly enjoy doing, just  like sports enthusiasts like to dissect things and play Monday morning quarterback on Sunday’s game.  I take the opportunity to refine my thoughts as bantering about theory versus practical application is something I enjoy tremendously. Such discussions serve as a whetstone to my approach, sharpening it so I can hack through the tangled process. Unfortunately, for some, the demystification of something they find truly magical makes it lose the very thing drawing them to it to begin with. In otherwords, if […]