Monthly Archives: March 2011

I Think, Therefore I Roleplay

In 1999, one of the Armageddon MUD coders, Morgenes, put in a command that has no effect on a player at all. It doesn’t get you gold (or obsidian, in our mud’s case), doesn’t raise your skills, doesn’t open the mystic portal to the realm of Waterdeep, or anything at all like that. Yet it was a change that would end up becoming one of the most popular (and most copied) commands ever on the mud, with at least one thread on our discussion board devoted to lavish praise of it from players and staff alike. Continue reading

Posted in Armageddon | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Adjusting to Altitude: Helping New Immortals Acclimate

While finding new immortals for a MUD, MUSH, MOO or MURPE generally isn’t a problem, finding ones who will be a lasting and productive part of the team is. The first couple of weeks for a new staff member on a multiplayer game are the ones where the most mental adjustments are made, and the actions of other staff are often a crucial factor in whether or not those staff stick around. Armageddon MUD provides a good example of how this process can be made as painless as possible for both new and established staff members. Continue reading

Posted in Armageddon | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Clans in a Roleplaying World

My original vision was of an elite mercenary unit, with a lot of ‘high class’ things. Nessalin encouraged me towards a low class, gritty, down-and-dirty vision of the clan, which fit in better with Armageddon’s overall flavor. Continue reading

Posted in Armageddon | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Networking with Purpose and Sincerity

It’s natural for writers to want to spread word of our work. We all realize that, short of hiring a publicist, we’re our own best champions. But if we go too far, or are too single-minded in that pursuit, we can come off as boorish and arrogant. Here’s five pointers on how to avoid this. Continue reading

Posted in career | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Zen and the Art of Spiral-Carved Incense Burners

One of the desires expressed at the very first Armageddon player-staff meeting I ever attended was a yen to move away from “a hack and slash economy,” where players made their income by selling the gear off NPCs (and the occasional PC) that they had killed. How, one immortal noted, could the world be realistic when there was no coded reflection of the material underpinnings of it? How to create this economic reflection was a question that remained in the air for several years, and it was not until discussion of implementing crafting code came up that such a move seemed possible. Continue reading

Posted in Armageddon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Class Notes From Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction

We’re coming up on the end of the Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction class I teach at Bellevue College. Tonight’s the next to last session. In earlier sessions we’ve talked about the writing process, story parts and mechanics, delivering information, characters, description, and worldbuilding. A number of past blog posts have come out of those classes: 5 Things to Do in Your First 3 Paragraphs, Active Verbs, Foreshadowing and Establishing Conflict, Plotting and Re-plotting Stories, Three Strategies for Snaring the Senses, Three Things that End a Story Well, Using Random Tools Like Stumbleupon For Rewriting, and Why Titles Matter. Continue reading

Posted in teaching | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Story Prompt #3

Here’s your story prompt for the day. What if the creature depicted in this picture were sentient? Continue reading

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Blogging on YouTube: Some Basics

Last week I talked about how blogging on Youtube can benefit writers, so I wanted to cover some of the Youtube basics necessary for a writer who wants to learn how to use it for self promotion. If you’re already technically savvy, much of this will already be obvious to you. Continue reading

Posted in blogging | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Pages Breathing Fire: 10 Books About Dragons

Dragons, dragons, dragons – so many writers have written about them in one form or another. Here’s ten books featuring dragons for fellow lovers of the form. Continue reading

Posted in you should read this | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Plotting and Re-Plotting Stories

Here’s another example of using a Stumbleupon-discovered post to spur a rewrite.The story I just finished, whose working title is “Villa Encantada,” is one whose beginning I wrote over a year ago. I picked it up last summer and added a couple of scenes, but something about it has felt wrong and it’s been just lumpy scenes stuffed full of description of a balcony garden. I was pretty sure it didn’t begin where it was supposed to, and also pretty sure that the best thing to do would be to start it again from scratch, write it, then mine the previous efforts to see what should get folded into it. Continue reading

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments