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Subject: RPG Writer Workshop rss

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Caroline Berg
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Aw! It's nice to see so many familiar faces usernames in the group!
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Azukail Games
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Lesson 2 is moodboards and playlists. That's not really my thing. And by not really, I mean not at all. My normal soundtrack is Whirring CPU Fan by The Desktop Tower and I've never managed to get inspired by a bunch of images.

Words. Words are my thing.
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Azukail wrote:
Lesson 2 is moodboards and playlists. That's not really my thing. And by not really, I mean not at all. My normal soundtrack is Whirring CPU Fan by The Desktop Tower and I've never managed to get inspired by a bunch of images.

Words. Words are my thing.


Ditto. I am usually inspired BEFORE I sit to write. But I get the sense that this was to spark imagination from a blank slate. I would think most writers have a queue of ideas waiting to be worked on and not sitting down to write without any idea at all.
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I didn't think I had as many adventure ideas as ideas for other things. Which may be true, but it still looks like more than 20!
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I've never done it either. Usually complete silence. But considering my output lately (almost zero) I'm willing to try it. I was talking with my daughter about it, and she said she always does it on Pinterest.
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Caroline Berg
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Azukail wrote:
Lesson 2 is moodboards and playlists. That's not really my thing. And by not really, I mean not at all. My normal soundtrack is Whirring CPU Fan by The Desktop Tower and I've never managed to get inspired by a bunch of images.

Words. Words are my thing.

As an artist, I don't collect other images for moodboards, I draw my own.

And I can't listen to music and write at the same time. It drowns out the words I hear in my head.

So I feel you.
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Caroline Berg
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It bothers me when people use art unsolicited to build moodboards.

I'd rather they be made with photos I take myself, rather than use someone else's art without their permission, even for this. I don't know why, but it bothers me, like it is a slippery slope to then using the art in the game without permission.
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adularia25 wrote:

And I can't listen to music and write at the same time. It drowns out the words I hear in my head.


Funny that you mention this. When I ran a creative writing seminar in college, I had the students write a short piece based on a picture of two students studying together. The first exercise was in silence. After 10 minutes, we shared our work. Then I had them do it again, but I played romantic music while they were writing. After 10 minutes, we shared our work, which, unsurprisingly had transformed the scene from a work-study story into a stories about love, forlorn love, etc. Then I had them do it again, but this time I played some bitter and angst-laden grunge music. After 10 minutes, the stories turnout out to be about hostile and resentful relationship (post-break-up).
It was a good exercise. It emphasized how the music they were listening to would influence their writing. This was fine as long as the mood of the music was consistent with the intended tone/mood of scene they were writing. If the mood conflicted with the intended tone/mood, then the story they are working on might become disjointed, inconsistent, or unintentionally transformed.
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adularia25 wrote:
It bothers me when people use art unsolicited to build moodboards.

I'd rather they be made with photos I take myself, rather than use someone else's art without their permission, even for this. I don't know why, but it bothers me, like it is a slippery slope to then using the art in the game without permission.


In my case, artwork isn't in my wheelhouse. And I'm not going to pay someone for work that isn't to be published and that I won't use. If you can create your own artwork, then I'm sure that makes the board even more personal. But considering how many can't/don't, I'm not sure that there is another way to do that given the limitation.
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Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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adularia25 wrote:
It bothers me when people use art unsolicited to build moodboards.

I'd rather they be made with photos I take myself, rather than use someone else's art without their permission, even for this. I don't know why, but it bothers me, like it is a slippery slope to then using the art in the game without permission.


Carrie - these mood boards are purely for inspiration purposes. They don't get published, they are simply for you to use when you are working.

It is like collecting your favourite poems and pinning them to a board for you to glance at when you need an inspirational upboost.

So think of the moodboards in the same way - it's a mind-help tool only. If you've gathered together images of strong historical women because that's the sort of rpg you are writing, but while writing you hit a block, you can look at the moodboard and get inspired/past the block.

Give it a try!
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Azukail Games
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In the past, I've tried making private boards on Pinterest of images related to something. Not only do I find it hard to do, once I stop working on such a board, I also stop looking at it. They never really match the images in my head.

My own version is written words on a page. Notes, jottings, ideas, all of which can spark images in my head.

Regarding music, I have heard of studies saying that classical - as in instrumental - music can help inspire creativity. I don't see how music with vocals can help, though; I simply wind up writing down the vocals! Younger generations seem to handle such better.
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Caroline Berg
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Bifford wrote:
Carrie - these mood boards are purely for inspiration purposes. They don't get published, they are simply for you to use when you are working.

It is like collecting your favourite poems and pinning them to a board for you to glance at when you need an inspirational upboost.

So think of the moodboards in the same way - it's a mind-help tool only. If you've gathered together images of strong historical women because that's the sort of rpg you are writing, but while writing you hit a block, you can look at the moodboard and get inspired/past the block.

Give it a try!

I've made something similar to these before, when taking classes for my game design degree. However, that was pulling references to use for art.

My issues are:

1) Art isn't how I build adventures. I build them from written resources. I can provide lists of inspirational books, articles I've read, places I've visited, but I don't pull from other peoples artwork.

2) I'm not going to use other artists art, in a public way, even for something like this. If I was pulling images to use for a private board that isn't shared online I'd be OK with it - it's like remaking a board game with art other than what the game came with for personal use. But in this case, the art you pull isn't just for you. My problem is people posting these on pinterest or other sites. You are publicly using someone else's art... I can't believe people do not see an issue with this? If I was to make a moodboard for this class, I'd use only my own work if posting online.

3) I don't feel like this adds any value to the process I already use.
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Bifford the Youngest (Sam)
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1. Cool. Should you find use in the idea then your moodboard could be words and phrases, snippets and the like. Non-picture moodboards are all good imo.

2. Posting to the discord / pinterest is totally optional. And every part of their workshop is completely optional. If you know if doesn't work for you don't do it. And yes, as a photographer I do have issues with pinterest and other sites - I have a very select set of images on DeviantArt for example.

3. That's the biggest and best argument yet, and I can't/won't argue with that As I said above, everything in this workshop is optional and is just a way to get people's creative juices flowing; but not everyone works in the same way. So skip it
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adularia25 wrote:
1) Art isn't how I build adventures. I build them from written resources. I can provide lists of inspirational books, articles I've read, places I've visited, but I don't pull from other peoples artwork.

2) I'm not going to use other artists art, in a public way, even for something like this. If I was pulling images to use for a private board that isn't shared online I'd be OK with it - it's like remaking a board game with art other than what the game came with for personal use. But in this case, the art you pull isn't just for you. My problem is people posting these on pinterest or other sites. You are publicly using someone else's art... I can't believe people do not see an issue with this? If I was to make a moodboard for this class, I'd use only my own work if posting online.

3) I don't feel like this adds any value to the process I already use.


I am not a visual person. I think audio. When I read, my brain reads the words to be as sounds, not images. If I want the text to evoke anything visual, I have to put mental energy into it. This means I read very slow compared to many others.

I do not know how you work or think, but I can certainly relate to the idea that for you a moodboard is not a useful process. It would be futile exercise wasting my time given how my brain works, or doesn't work.

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Music plays a big part in helping me write. It helps me focus and the imagery created by the songs helps me stay "in the zone."

However, it has to be the right music in terms of composition, theme, mood, etc for what I'm trying to create and the wrong song can snap me out of the process really fast. Because of that, I use hyper-curated playlists when I write. Sometimes songs that are useful at the beginnig of a project become less so as the project progresses, so they're dumped from the playliests. Some times, I include songs I don't necessarily like or wouldn't listen to outside of this particular project if I think they'll help.

Here's a couple examples.

The final playlist I ued when working on Fear's Sharp Little Needles:
The Seventh Seal: Scott Walker
The Man Comes Around: Johnny Cash
Spirit in the Sky: Norman Greenbaum
Sinnerman: Gregory Porter
Bad Moon Rising: CCR
Down in Mexico: The Coasters
House of the Rising Sun: The Animals
Bad Things: Jace Everett
In Peaceful Dreams: Seasick Steve
Full Moon Tonight: Silvastone
Hallelujah: Jeff Buckley's cover
People are Strange: Echo and the Bunnymen cover
The Devil Went Down to Georgia: The Charlie Daniels Band
Hurdy Gurdy Man: Donovan
Clap Hands: Tom Waits
Tupelo: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
The Ballad of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Written in the Water: Gin Wigmore
Riders on the Storm: The Doors

And here's a playlist for my current project. It's very different.

Men With Guns: Tin Star Orphans
Exreme Ways: Moby
Opportunities: Pet Shop Boys
Silent Running: Mike + the Mechanics
Wake Me Up: Avicii
Eve of Destruction: Barry McGuire
Unmarked Helicopters: Mike Doughty
Super Bon Bon: Soul Coughing
Burning Heart: Survivor
One Night in Bangkok: Murray Head
Secret Agent Man: Johnny Rivers
Five Miles Out: Mike Oldfield
Eye of the Tiger: Survivor
Keep Me Waiting: Roxette
We Didn't Start the Fire: Billy Joel
Oliver's Army: Elvis Costello & The Attractions
The Metro: Berlin
Hazy Shade of Winter: Gerard Way cover
Forgotten Years: Midnight Oil
Leitmotiv: Front 242
Lucretia My Reflection: The Sisters of Mercy
This Corrosion: The Sisters of Mercy
God Was Never on Your Side: Motorhead
Time Jesum Transeuntum et Non Riverentum: Dirty 3
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So, how are people getting on? I haven't managed to accomplish very much since Saturday, thanks to the worst bout of hayfever in years!
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Azukail wrote:
So, how are people getting on? I haven't managed to accomplish very much since Saturday, thanks to the worst bout of hayfever in years!


I have the bare bones of a Star Trek:Adventures scenario, but havn't done anything with it yet.




Heyfever tablets, eye-drops and nose-spray, plus air-conditioned car and office is keeping mine bearable atm!
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For years since I moved a lot closer to the coast I haven't been troubled as much. Over the counter medications have worked fine. Yesterday, my one a day stopped working after about 3 hours. Taking two of those causes other problems.

This is partly, I think, due to getting a slipped disc last year (okay, weird connection, but one result of that is a rather overgrown and in-seed lawn).

I haven't even decided on a system to go for yet, although I am considering fleshing out a Hero Kids adventure idea that has been knocking around for a while.
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Azukail wrote:
So, how are people getting on? I haven't managed to accomplish very much since Saturday, thanks to the worst bout of hayfever in years!


Hayfever is decidedly unfun!

I've got a very good outline in place for a D&D 5e adventure for publication. I just need to buckle down and write it, with a bit of help from the next few sections of the course. I'm trying to meet a self-imposed deadline, which given that I was hospitalized for two days last week is going to be challenging.

The big advantage is that I have already run into another Portland-area participant, and there's going to be a gathering for pizza Saturday afternoon that will hopefully be attended by other people in the workshop who live in Portland and the surrounding area.
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Azukail wrote:
So, how are people getting on? I haven't managed to accomplish very much since Saturday, thanks to the worst bout of hayfever in years!


I didn't complete Sunday's lesson yet, so am behind. I've never really outlined or mind mapped, even though I know that I should pre-write. It's a good exercise, but I'm having a bit of a problem completing it.
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Yes, outlining and mind mapping is essentially new to me as well. I am aware of mindmapping; I've just never used it.
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I've installed miMind on my phone. It's proving quite cool to use - even if it's just to get initial ideas down with inter-connectivity. Only longer usage will tell if it's worth using for a longer period though.
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Bifford wrote:
Azukail wrote:
So, how are people getting on? I haven't managed to accomplish very much since Saturday, thanks to the worst bout of hayfever in years!


I have the bare bones of a Star Trek:Adventures scenario, but havn't done anything with it yet.

Heyfever tablets, eye-drops and nose-spray, plus air-conditioned car and office is keeping mine bearable atm!


My allergies are very bad and year round. I used the steroid nose-spays before they became OTC. I had a good 10-yr run with them. They were awesome. I had no idea a person would breathe from both nostrils are the same time (seriously). Then one day there was this whistling noise that would not go away when I breathed through my nose or even partly through my nose. It was so loud. I couldn't sleep because it would wake me up. Not to mention the looks in public of sounding like a train. I ended up breathing through my mouth and stuffing tissue up my nose at night to stop the whistling.

The medication ate through my skin and dissolved the cartilage between my nostrils. I had surgery to fix it. However, that was just the skin. I cannot use the sprays again. The doctor said I could take pills, but I generally avoid them. The reason is that they dry out nasal tissue. I am worried if it dries and cracks I will get a hole again. There is nothing behind the skin to aid in healing.

None of the doctors ever looked in my nose to check to see if there was any damage. So be careful with that medication. Sounding like a train is not fun. Neti-pots work well for my allergies BTW.

P.S. Is anyone writing a "detective" adventure?
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Bifford wrote:
I've installed miMind on my phone. It's proving quite cool to use - even if it's just to get initial ideas down with inter-connectivity. Only longer usage will tell if it's worth using for a longer period though.


I'm using Scapple for the Mindmapping, and Gingko for the outlining.
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SteamCraft wrote:
Bifford wrote:
Azukail wrote:
So, how are people getting on? I haven't managed to accomplish very much since Saturday, thanks to the worst bout of hayfever in years!


I have the bare bones of a Star Trek:Adventures scenario, but havn't done anything with it yet.

Heyfever tablets, eye-drops and nose-spray, plus air-conditioned car and office is keeping mine bearable atm!


My allergies are very bad and year round. I used the steroid nose-spays before they became OTC. I had a good 10-yr run with them. They were awesome. I had no idea a person would breathe from both nostrils are the same time (seriously). Then one day there was this whistling noise that would not go away when I breathed through my nose or even partly through my nose. It was so loud. I couldn't sleep because it would wake me up. Not to mention the looks in public of sounding like a train. I ended up breathing through my mouth and stuffing tissue up my nose at night to stop the whistling.

The medication ate through my skin and dissolved the cartilage between my nostrils. I had surgery to fix it. However, that was just the skin. I cannot use the sprays again. The doctor said I could take pills, but I generally avoid them. The reason is that they dry out nasal tissue. I am worried if it dries and cracks I will get a hole again. There is nothing behind the skin to aid in healing.

None of the doctors ever looked in my nose to check to see if there was any damage. So be careful with that medication. Sounding like a train is not fun. Neti-pots work well for my allergies BTW.


Sounds pretty terrible! Mine are terrible too (my allergist calls me a researcher's dream). I've been on shots for a while now, and though I still have problems, they're nothing compared to what I went through before. I have a bad reaction to the steroids (other than shots or creams) so I've only ever used nasal antihistamines. I've just gotten to the place where around 60% of the time I can breathe through both nostrils.
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