Monday, November 7, 2011

On Random Name Generators

When I write, I tend to pay a great deal of attention to names, whether of places or characters. Sometimes, especially for an important name, I'll try to attach a double-meaning to it, but for most applications if I don't have something in mind from the beginning I'll hit a random name generator or two to get the ideas flowing. Seventh Sanctum is my favorite website to find these, but occasionally I'll venture farther afield.

For example, the other day I was working on a fantasy-setting project and needed a quick NPC name. I knew that I wanted it to sound vaguely Arthurian, but didn't want to crib it directly from the Round Table. Lo and behold, a quick Googling brought me to the Dragon's Mark Name Generator, "Dragon's Mark" evidently being a forum name.

It's quite a slick little gadget - the interface is nice and clean, and whatever mechanism is used for generating the names does a fairly good job at making them sound consistent with various origins, though I doubt they (especially the Tolkien ones) actually mean anything. If I knew more - i.e., any - of the languages in question I'd probably try to deconstruct them for the humor, but since I don't, I'll settle for pointing the way towards what could be a very handy writing tool.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Look! Content!

(With apologies to XKCD.)

Ahem. I've been playing around with the character generation rules in Evil Hat's Dresden Files RPG recently, testing some of the boundaries of who and what can be replicated. In doing so, I found that one particular power seemed to be absent. Naturally, I had to whip up a custom substitute:

Invisibility [-2 Refresh]
Description: You cannot be detected by sight. This ability is always in effect.
Skills Affected: Stealth
Effects: Your body is completely transparent and cannot be perceived by visual means. This does not extend to your clothes, undigested food, or other unabsorbed material, such as anything that might be splattered on you. +2 to Stealth against visual Perception rolls.

I drew from a couple different area of Your Story for this, especially the discussion of veils and the admittedly-similar Cloak of Shadows power (YS169). I bumped the Refresh cost up to reflect the more overwhelming potential, and I suspect you could bump it up even more by adding some variations - perhaps another point would be worth the ability to turn the invisibility on and off? I also tried a couple different ways of phrasing the restrictions on the increase to Stealth before settling on the above.

Anyway, I haven't tested this one out yet, but I thought I'd throw it out there as a preview of something I've (slowly) been working on. Perhaps when I get to the reason why I needed it, I'll work out an example of it in play . . .

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Priming The Pump

And I mean that it two senses.  Firstly in my return to gaming-related blogging after that unplanned hiatus - I have been cooking up some ideas in the meanwhile, which may or may not ever actually get posted.

Second, and much more interestingly, it refers to a document recently made available by Noisms over at his ever-interesting blog Monsters and Manuals. I'll just let him describe it in his own words:

"It's 2200 pages of in-depth analysis and creative brainstorming by a large number of geeks regarding EVERY SINGLE MONSTER IN THE 2nd EDITION ADnD MONSTROUS MANUAL."

I feel fairly certain that this will be old news to just about everyone who reads this, but in case it's not - go read it. Seriously, just the first couple of letters have sparked plenty of inspiration for me, and many of the contributers are quite witty, to boot.