your arsenal

Interstellar Cultural Exchange

A problem that we might have is the importance of food. There are certain things that I’m quite certain will be constant from culture to culture, and, barring the possibility of aliens taking control of  their evolution in such a way that they no longer need to eat, I think food would be one of them.

People would be careful in the beginning, but eventually some people would break more and more quarantine and contraband laws, resulting in unusual fusion which we might not be able to predict.


“What’s this apple-looking thing I’m eating?” 

“It’s actually an animal that sucks sap out of trees. Think of it as a vegetarian tick.”


“What is that?”

“It’s called chocolate, want some?”

***Two Hours Later***

“I see colors!”

“Chocolate is space cocaine. Got it.”


“Human, I have made gumbo using ingredients from my planet. Would you like some?”

“Isn’t your biome arsenic-based?”

“Your point?”


“Want some chips?”

“Are you insane human!? That has SALT in it! Are you trying to kill me!?”

On lists of “words to replace ‘said’”

stop. 

Replacing “said” is this trend apparently, either Snobby Writers or misled schoolteachers are telling you that using this word is bad. Using it improperly is bad, i.e.: 


“I’m going to work,” John said. 

“Okay,” Maria said. “See you later.” 

“Bye,” John said.

That is bad writing, But it’s bad writing for a number of reasons, and if you replace every instance of “said” with “hopped angrily”, it’s still bad writing. Using the word said, or any replacement thereof, is supposed to be done sparingly, i.e.: 

“I’m going to work,” John said, reaching for his coat.

Maria didn’t look at him. Instead, she kept her eyes focused on her bowl of cereal, shifting the spoon aimlessly. “Okay.” 

He sighed, shaking his head, shrugging the coat on and opening the door. He paused, turning his head over his shoulder. 

“Bye.” 

Silence. 

Relying on said, or any other verb, is bad writing when you’re relying on it to tell the story happening around it. But I argue that when you must use an descriptive verb like that, 75% of the time you should use ‘said’. Do you know why? 

When it isn’t every other word, you don’t even notice ‘said’. 

I find that most of the time, a ‘more creative’ synonym for that word jars the reader and breaks suspension of disbelief. Instead of thinking about what’s happening ,they’re thinking “oh, that’s different”. 

And while it might be novel for a second, I don’t care about being novel. I care about suspension of disbelief. 

So there, that’s why the endless river of tumblr posts decrying the use of the word said really irritate me, because high school English teachers and snotty English students have decided to tell the unwashed masses that using a perfectly useful tool in your writing arsenal is bad just because They Say So. 

b.a.p really did a rock song about surviving in an imperfect world… a song about overcoming society and persevering… a genuinely romantic, profound and sexy song… two special solo comeback songs that were catchy and well-written… a song about how beautiful life is and how they’ve defeated their fears… an uplifting song that doesn’t get boring midway through… and a beautiful, creative, and heartbreaking ballad with phenomenal vocals… all of which had amazing composition, lyrics, and use of each member’s voice…

and they didn’t get fucking nominated for anything. b.a.p did THAT and are getting NOTHING. what the fuck.

Listen up fellow DMs

do yourself a favor and get yourself a cloak. I don’t care if you pick it up for cheap at a halloween clearance sale, i don’t care if you pawn it off one of your larping buddies, just lay your hands on a damn cloak, cowl or some other shroud like garment. 

The reason? It’s the same reason that priests wear vestments and doctors wear labcoats, and that reason is LOOKING THE PART. When you’re wearing something extra to the game you’re signaling that you’re invested, that your words hold a special meaning because you are the person who gets to dress special for the occasion while everyone else is dressed like their normal old plebeian selves. 

Cloaks can also be a useful tool in your roleplay arsenal. Hide your face to conceal all intention, pull it back to give prominence to an important scene. Put it on to signal to your players “table talk later, this time is game time”. Cloaks contain so much expressive potential that they might as well be another set of eyebrows. 

Yes, you will look ridiculous, but you’re already speaking in funny voices and spending valuable time playing a game of heroism and imagination. WE ARE ALL RIDICULOUS, and the sooner you accept that the sooner you can go on to enjoying the game.