Hot answers tagged

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, ...


18

The narrative technique can work so well in literature, film and video That is because none of those who make decisions are put into the situation abruptly. Those three are passive arts. It's a technique for passive observers of the action. It's only "in medias res" for those who do not need to make any decision. To capture that feeling you need to ...


17

Let the players make up all that stuff! How about letting the players fill the rest of the exposition? So following from your quote: Wilma: (shouts) "I'll cover you. GO!" I turn dive behind the garbage cans in teh alley, drawing my gun. That first goon is going to have a nasty shock. The rest will get suppression fire. Craig: (over comms) "Debbie, ...


13

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 ...


11

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? ...


10

It's important to note that while in literature the two are often synonymous, in media res does not mean "without information" but rather "in the middle of the action". In my experience, this is actually a fairly typical way to start off Action or Mystery games. The key is not to provide a high action situation with no information, but rather to provide ...


9

Here's a similar situation I had to resolve a few months ago. An illusionist wizard was being menaced by a bear, and he wanted to create an illusion of a monster that the bear would be afraid of. What's a bear afraid of? I, as DM, have never studied bears, and have no idea. Me: "Okay, roll Knowledge:Nature to know what a bear is afraid of." Him: ...


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 ...


8

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: ...


8

I've used the in media res start several times, and I've found it works best when player characters have a succinct, easily-described goal in the midst of action that can also be easily delineated. The goal keeps players focused and gives them enough that they're not too frustrated by the relative lack of surrounding information. As the action unfolds, that ...


7

What a GM is picturing in his mind and what players are picturing in theirs can often diverge if the setting isn't properly communicated. I use several tricks that have helped me: audio, visual, encounter. You already have the audio cues down, have you tried a visual cue? Print off an image of a bustling city street or grand central station and post it on ...


7

The biggest and most important part of this advice is the following: Talk to your players! If nothing else about this answer helps, remember that. Before you begin springing improvisation on your players, sit them down- all at the table before you begin your next session- and pose the question. "Hey guys, I think we're all pretty good roleplayers, and ...


6

In general, I would say that starting in media res can work well, and is a useful perspective to consider when starting any game, at least as a contrast to the way you otherwise had in mind to start. That's because, in my experience, one of the greatest obstacles to player involvement in an RPG background, is lack of familiarity and density and remoteness of ...


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 ...


6

Preface: I love the in medias res technique in literature and I am fascinated by its potential uses in gaming. I even named one of my campaigns In Medias Res because that's how it started. Despite that, I am skeptical that it is a general purpose, out-of-the-box tool for everyday use. There are both player management issues and narrative design issues ...


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

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 ...


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

In my experience (from both sides of the screen), 2nd-person narration is fine from a sensory perspective (the "you feel a chill" narration). 2nd-person narration of non-sensory information is where it becomes problematic, unless there's a mechanical effect in play ("you tremble at the sight of the dragon" removes player agency unless they've just become ...


4

In most traditional RPGs, the domain of the player's thoughts and actions ("player agency") is considered to be sacrosanct. Therefore the existing standard in my experience is that it is OK to give people sensory input in whichever person voice, but not to mention their thoughts or reactions. Therefore "A skull on the ground catches your eye" is fine but ...


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) ...


3

A system like Roll for Shoes, where your character develops from their actions, might work well with in medias res. More generally, building a character creation system around in medias res might work. Each player's actions in the game have mechanical impact on the character they are creating. Asking about detail, or narrating that detail, might get you ...


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 ...



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