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20

A few thoughts: For most folks lower on the pecking order, especially in the 'Plex, everything is ersatz. A burger isn't beef, it's soy. Your coffee is soy. You don't want to know how that beer was made. Fruit? What's that? The shirt you bought a year ago is already tattered, because it was made to only last a year. Something hand-made of wood is a rarity, ...


18

Some Strategies for 'Descriptive' descriptions: Write down the colors/textures/scents that would be seen/felt/smelt: The Crimson blood drips from the ceiling turning black as it splatters on the ground. The coarse rock cavern echoed your smallest whispers, distorting them as the sounds return to you amplified. The putrid decay assaults your nose, ...


12

The Medieval Mindset The medieval life may not have been "nasty, brutish and short"... but it was "ignorant, superstitious, violent, and pretty routine." Everyone worked in the fields in the spring and fall, and part time in the summer. Creating the Medieval Mindset in Play The best way, in my experience, to have the medieval feel is to have magic be ...


10

For background material, everybody so far has had good ideas about films to watch (Blade Runner & Ghost in the Shell particularly). I'd add The Matrix, only because you've already seen it. But Cyberpunk was born in the written word. Early William Gibson is probably the definitive thing to read, particularly: ...


10

You can go two ways with this, depending on how "leaky" you want the mystical elements to be. Is it sunshine, pink bunnies, and technicolour in the Fairy Woods even before you meet a fairy, or is the world mundane with the fantastical elements playing more of a "This can't be real, I don't believe my eyes" kind of role in decisively mundane surroundings? ...


8

Visuals are very important. Watch Blade Runner, Ghost In The Shell, and Hardware. All have very different but very cyberpunk settings. You should find DVDs of those without any problems and with a few pizza it makes a great pre-session evening. So, now the players should know how the world looks like. Start with small scale adventures: an escort of ...


7

Treat places like characters, and word your descriptions with that in mind. Have them act and do things, things that matter to and concern the PCs. Use verbs. When stuff gets animate(d), it becomes interesting, more meaningful, and usually also more open to engagement, be that positive (helping) or negative (an obstacle to overcome by the PCs.) Examples: ...


6

It's quite hard for me to parse exactly what you are looking for here. I think this will fit. In most RPGs, the random factor is used to create results that you wouldn't pick for the characters. GMs and players are encouraged to make success and failure both interesting situations. For example, a great thief is trying to get access to blackmail material ...


6

Combat can be slow as it is, don't bog it down with flowery language Your impulse to impart descriptive interest to your actions and attacks is well-placed, but you most approach it with the right mindset. When your DM is accurately describing the locals, an important and interesting NPC, or a new race of creatures you stumble upon for the first time they ...


5

My quick and dirty rules on in-game description. Use all five senses Don't just "describe a picture." Not every time - but remembering to toss in sound, a smell, a taste, a feeling, adds a lot more. You want the players to feel like they are there, and "the sun is bright in the sky above a sandy beach" is less immersive than "the sun beats down on you as ...


5

How you introduce the mystical into your mundane setting depends on how much the common man is aware of and believes in those mystical elements. Given that magic is, in fact, real in your setting, you basically have two options for how to play it. Old Dead Magic, or "Those Silly Warlocks" While my comment about the shadow monster was partly in jest, you're ...


5

If you have a good baseline established of what is "the norm" your best bet for introducing fantasy elements smoothly is to introduce their effects (which are obviously not "the norm") before what is causing them. Rather than effect A happening and someone immediately being able to say "oh, that's from mystical thing B", let them know what they perceive and ...


4

The Ars Magica setting is exactly this sort of environment. The sourcebooks--all the ones that I have read, anyway--have a section on how to handle magic in historical Europe, and I daresay you'll come up with a fair few ideas by looking elsewhere in the books and source material as well. That said, the most recent book I have seems to cover the topic less ...


4

Light preparation is the better choice in my experience. The more overly detailed your notes are, the greater the chance you'll be disappointed when your players skip all that nifty material in favor of something you didn't detail at all. In my opinion, it's better to have a little information about everything than to have lots of information on that one ...


3

In my opinion, storyline goes first; so you have to make sure that you know your story well. Decide on what the major events will be beforehand, and have some minor ones ready to throw in for flavour. Next most important is having a map of your players' surroundings. At least know where things are, and how many days of travel (e.g. on foot, horseback, ship) ...


2

Do you have any suggestions on how to convey this through game mechanics or story techniques? Before I begin let me say three things: I do love to talk about quantum mechanics, that does not mean I'm good at it. My understanding is that of a layman. I love to eat tasty pastries too but can't bake for crap. While my answer is somewhat similar to ...


2

As with Sardathrion's answer, I definitely think there should be a movie night to get your people in the right mindset. But if what you normally do is a medieval setting, here's the skinny: You're still in that medieval setting for the most part. The races are there, the magic is there, the tricked out powers are there. The primary exception is the ...


2

I recommend looking up the old PC game Darklands, where all this is very beautifully achieved. The game is set in the real 15th century Europe, but the setting is what the common people of that time believed their world really is (based on folk tales and legends). This means, there are no wizards riding dragons and shooting fireballs, but there is working ...


2

Locations When I am preparing descriptions for locations I usually start with a mental image of the scene where the PCs first see that location. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, once I have that scene firmly in mind it becomes a lot easier to describe. "A low wind whispers through the cemetery, bringing the dry rustle of dead leaves to your ...


2

Not to experienced with this myself, but what I try to do is close my eyes, picture the environment, and then describe it in under a minute. This should be enough to give a good setting for the PCs, I usually relegate 10-15 seconds for an npc and 45 for an npc of importance.


1

The rules that I write here are my guidelines when I describe things in my games, they are by no mean the definitive rules or the ultimate guidelines. I do hope that they will help you, though, so without much more ado let's dive in. The first thing that one should consider is the different types of things to describe. Each one of them carries a different ...


1

Description is one of my weaknesses too. I have no problem imagining how things look, but fail to pass that info to the players. Here's how I dealt with it. I actually did this for all my description, not just action scenes. Write it out in your notes. That's all. Basically what I realized is that description is not something I improvise well. But ...



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