Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category

D&D Video Gems: Are Comic Book Characters Like D&D Players?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Favicon-jpgThoughtful and entertaining take on the connections between comics and D&D – and more.

Love the embedded pop and gaming culture art, pics and video clips throughout – funny & brilliant!

I really need to finally get a Marvel Heroic Roleplay game together!


Note: Want just the comics and D&D portion of the video?  Watch only the first 8:00. 

Speak in Tongues: One Tip for Rewarding Languages

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Favicon-jpgBlue_Runes_by_FadedShadow589Imith Anala knows nine languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Draconic, Dwarvish, Elvish, Giant, Orc, Sylvan and Common.

Impressive!  He’s just one of a few “language master” characters in our current D&D Next: Murder in Baldur’s Gate-inspired Forgotten Realms campaign.

Immediately upon seeing that language list, I knew I wanted to do something new as DM – yet simple and elegant – to highlight character languages and make those multilingual choices flavorful and rewarding.

We’ve all seen them or created them – characters with a ridiculously long and eclectic list of languages.  Like me, you’ve probably gone the typical route when an NPC or monster speaks an unusual language – if one of the PCs knows it, you translate the scene aloud right into “Common” on the spot.

Easy, quick and yet – how rewarding is it?  Does it really add any flavor or realism to the campaign?  What about the characters who really wouldn’t understand the full details of a flirtatious exchange of Infernal between the tiefling bard and the tiefling leader of a band of noble estate squatters?  Or when an orc insults or creatively curses out that disgusting elf mage Imith in Orcish – while spitting in his face?


Secret #1 to Great Fantasy Writing and Roleplay

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Favicon-jpgMortal_Wombat_by_The_CamoThe Wombat strikes again!  I’ve been quietly watching (stalking!) this furry creature for some time now, and I couldn’t pass up sharing the Wombat’s latest brilliant post on editing.

Ooo!  Editing!!  Sure, you might asking, what the heck do I need to know about editing? Why would I even care?

Good questions.

Now ask yourself this: how much writing do I do as a player, GM, or both for my games?  Character creation backstories, character journals or in-character posts, NPC creation, world building and power group notes, adventure creation, war cries, taunts, insults, catchphrases… the list goes on.

On top of that, great writing and great roleplaying are closely connected.  Do one well, and you increase your chances of doing the other well by over 9000.  Over 9000!

Ahem.  But seriously, look at the raw editing example right here.  Read the editor’s comments.  Notice the redlines.  What was removed?  Most importantly, why?  Understand the why.  For the love of beholders, displacer beasts and Mortal Kombat fatalities (all awesome, agreed?), understand the why – for each edit.  Study, practice and ask questions until you do.

Now, I’ll also tell you the #1 secret, as I’ve written and edited all kinds of content – gaming to fiction to technical, adventures to short stories to resumes, you name it – for (wait for it…) over 9000 years.


How To Use Story Glue: Cast of Characters & Memorable Moments

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Favicon-jpgStory Glue & Characters - LREver wish you had a quick, easy way to keep your players’ attention between game sessions?  Frustrated by no one (maybe even you!) remembering what they were doing last time, with whom, or why?

Here’s one quick way to fix this common problem every GM and playgroup faces, while keeping your story and characters brilliant and alive: use story glue.


True Holiday Treasures

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

I wasn’t sure what to write today except that I knew it had to include a few things that D&D and gaming have always brought us: joy, laughter, thanks and appreciation.  The stories and characters, our fellow players and our DMs – we create and share a unique and inspiring hobby together, and in that I know I am not alone in feeling so fortunate and thankful.

Passion and Poetry

While I love to write, and have always loved spelling, language and etymology, prose was always my strength.  Poetry never came as easily to me, however.  It was so different from prose.  Sometimes its bizarre look and rhythm was crazy beautiful, and sometimes it was simply nothing more than crazy! 

Yet with a new and exciting year upon us, here is a poetic gem I found to remind us about what really matters when we play – in D&D, in any game we play and in life:


Got Character? Give Them Pain and Suffering

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Ever notice how the pain and suffering of some of your favorite characters in books, TV, movies or campaigns – and how they deal with the unenviable hand they’re dealt – is exactly what draws you into their story?  Frodo, Aragorn, Buffy, Angel, Selene and even Conan. 

There’s something about experiencing their struggles and trials first-hand, from every angle, that leads us to being sympathetic and even identifying with their scars, skeletons and fears.  They leap off the screen or from the pages – or in D&D, they vault right out of the game and gameworld, capturing your imagination. 

You root for them because of what they’ve gone through, who they are because of it and who they become.

In your D&D stories, whether you play or DM, you too can bring your characters to life by getting right to the heart of their pain and suffering.   


12 Ways to Describe Minions: First, Stop Calling Them Minions!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

alt textDo your battles with minions ever sound or feel a bit too gamey

Do you cringe when your DM describes an exciting combat scene and its terrifying monsters, only to punctuate it with a gamey punch the face, finishing setting the scene with “And, oh, these are all minions.”

And back to board game-like non-immersive reality we go! 

No thanks.  Here’s a Leonine 12 primer on better ways to introduce our beloved minions without ever saying the word “minion” – yet still give our brave, treasure-seeking party enough context clues to suggest the all-important minion trademark: the Number One

Use these examples by creature type or theme for inspiration when describing your own minion monsters.


Adding Character to Your Character

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

alt textYou already know your characters are more than the sum of their abilities and statistics.  You already know your characters have a unique look and a style all their own.  You have a sense of how they treat people and how they look at the world.  You have an idea where they’ve been, where they’re going, and most importantly… why!

Now the question is: how do you present and share all this truly awesome characterization in your head? 


How To: Write Great In-Character Posts

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Really looking forward to next session?  Can’t wait to play your character and return to your adventures? 
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One way to keep some of the magic of your last game’s adventures fresh is to make an in-character post between sessions.  The impertinent intrusion of the real world on your campaign is actually a great opportunity to amp up your ever-growing RP and creative writing skills, develop and present your spectacularly cool character’s background and personality, and share your private and keen thoughts on the unfolding adventure and campaign.

Advantages of In-Character Posts

“The creation and convincing representation of fictitious characters” (the very definition of characterization) – adds memorable amounts of mood, atmosphere and storytelling flavor to your campaign.  This encourages other PCs to roleplay with your character – both with their own in-character posts, and, using your cues and clues, “live” in your next session and all sessions beyond.  They also make for a handy and entertaining  journal-like record of your adventures and the campaign. (more…)

What Was Your First Monster?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

The air smelled like poison as the wind whistled through the ruin. My feet ached as I approached a hole in the ground. Dust and pebbles blew by my freshly stained boots.
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Suddenly, out of that black hole burst forth this worm thing. Chunks of green slime plopped onto the rubble around it, and I gagged at the odor that invaded the air, even as I went sprawling face-first to the ground. That’s when I felt prickly feelers slithering their way through my hair. My entire head burned as if on fire.

My palms pushed against the rubble, trying to get my heavy body up. My pounding head tried to get my bloodshot eyes to stare at the thing, to face it. My only thought… This thing needs to die!

But something was wrong… What? My arms, my legs… I can’t…

I used every last bit of my sapping strength to stare up at it.

I roared as I faced my monster.

We’ve all faced monsters in our RPGs, and the first time is something special.

I love Dungeons & Dragons, and that’s where the angelic music sounded for me.  I knew right then I wanted to play in this world forever. 

When did you hear the music? What was your first monster?