Questions tagged [narration]

For questions primarily about narration, the act of describing the events that unfold in the game world, either as player or gamemaster.

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7
votes
3answers
960 views

What does leveling up feel like as a character? [closed]

I am trying to grasp the narrative feeling of leveling up as a character in D&D 5e. Suppose at the end of a session a Sorcerer has enough experience points to level up. I am using the Sorcerer ...
10
votes
1answer
245 views

What was the first adventure to use boxed text?

James Introcaso recently wrote a blog post titled, "We Can Do Better Than Boxed Text", where he outlines the benefits and drawbacks of boxed text. This has raised the question, who started it and how ...
6
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2answers
177 views

Is it ok to tell players how their character feels in this situation?

I know it's generally considered poor form to tell a player how their character feels. I should show, not tell. Show them the orphans and widows, not tell them they feel bad for murdering those guys,...
8
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2answers
220 views

How do I subtly convey that the PCs’ reality is fake?

I am currently planning a campaign for two players (more would very likely not work in this scenario) in the Dark Eye. The idea is that a demon got hold of their minds and they are now being shown 5 ...
37
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6answers
6k views

How can I communicate feelings to players without impacting their agency?

As a Game Master I'd occasionally like to communicate premonitions or sensation to my characters, as a benefit of their backstory, or as a means to give them opportunity to be deeper tied into the ...
14
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4answers
520 views

How to flavor my narration of a fight in a creatively plausible way without affecting mechanics?

I'm DMing a recently-started campaign with 5 new players. They are completely new to RPGs and roleplay. In a combat, they often phrased their attacks in ways such as "I aim at the eyes in order to ...
27
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5answers
4k views

How can I describe hit point damage without talking about wounds?

The PHB's description of hit points (p. 196) says: Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck. Creatures with more hit points are more ...
18
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3answers
488 views

How can I limit my second-person POV narration?

I have come to the conclusion that in materials I am preparing myself, I want to add more variety to narration by introducing information to the players without using second person point-of-view ...
12
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1answer
3k views

Are there specific descriptions of what each of the racial languages sound like?

Running adventures with varied races of NPC, I run into a lot of times where I simply say "It sounds like they're speaking Elvish/Orcish/etc etc". I'd like to know if perhaps there are descriptions of ...
38
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8answers
6k views

How do I narratively explain how in-game circumstances do not mechanically allow a PC to instantly kill an NPC?

Inspired by this question, in particular this aspect: . . . how do I handle realism and one-shotting bosses out of combat? My understanding is that any creature, even a "normal person", cannot be ...
9
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4answers
661 views

How can I avoid “railroading” my players by giving them a limited set of choices with only basic descriptions?

I play Dungeons and Dragons 5e. I have a habit of highlighting certain choices, without realizing I'm doing it, because what I feel like I'm doing, is telling not showing. I have a problem with my ...
3
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7answers
2k views

How big is a gemstone in the DMG gemstone table?

Context The DMG treasure tables (DMG p134) describe six categories of gemstone: 10gp, 50gp, 100gp, 500gp, 1000gp, and 5000gp. What does this mean? An agate can be worth anywhere between 10gp and ...
7
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3answers
226 views

How to add descriptive role-playing flair if I'm not good at improvising?

This question is inspired by an answer to another question here. I originally tagged this with system-agnostic but was informed that some systems actually have ...
14
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3answers
915 views

How can a GM control their use of specific words?

Often times when I am running a game, I find that plot points, characters, and setting features require the use of specific wording to be properly explained, develop identifiable characteristics, or ...
7
votes
2answers
507 views

How can I best narrate the position of an unhidden invisible skeleton?

While fighting through a wizard's tower, the party breaks into an unexplored storeroom to take cover from enemies down the corridor outside the room. Unbeknownst to them, there is an invisible ...
7
votes
1answer
603 views

How do I get better at describing things? [closed]

Inspired by this question and the fact that I keep saying 'washing machine' when my brain goes blank (Seriously, I forgot the word stone the other day when describing cave walls) I figured I would ask ...
0
votes
1answer
110 views

What resources are available to help describe spell effects? [closed]

Are there any resources out there (tables, examples) to help describe spell effects to increase cinematic narrative? Most spells in D&D 5e do not have much description as to specific somatic or ...
31
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5answers
4k views

Is D&D a suitable tool for fleshing out my own fictional world?

So I've gone around on the web, trying to figure out exactly how D&D works, and still I'm befuddled. Let me first start by stating what exactly it is I'm trying to achieve. So, I'm an aspiring ...
16
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4answers
3k views

NPC-only interactions by player request

So, my players want the NPCs to communicate with one another more, and I don't know how to handle that without taking spotlight away from the PCs... Anything I can do to compromise?
9
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3answers
362 views

From a narrative standpoint, how can I justify that a character learns trained-only skills while adventuring? [closed]

Mechanically, if the level-up happens while the party is out adventuring, nothing prevents any character from advancing any of the existing skills by a number of ranks. That means that the low-...
4
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4answers
1k views

How to describe a vampire without immediately reveal its true nature

The last time we played, I left my players in the current situation: The players have just defeated some zombies. Suddenly a big dark cloud is materializing above them, hiding the sun. Right after, ...
12
votes
1answer
343 views

How do I make my hacking narration more interesting?

I'm GMing Eclipse Phase. I can describe most scenes and put my player in the mood, but when it come to hacking I'm at a loss for words. I try to concentrate on the impact of the outcome, but my ...
1
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3answers
4k views

How can you describe a character with low Constitution but high Dexterity and Strength? [closed]

I just rolled up stats for a new campaign, and ended up with the following: 15 Strength 13 Dexterity 6 Constitution 18 Intelligence 8 Wisdom 6 Charisma I'm going to be playing a wizard, but I'm ...
22
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5answers
4k views

How do I reveal the Big Bad only by foreshadowing, without the reveal being too early or late?

What I plan for my campaign is to drop hints about some greater evil, and whenever my players reach the natural point of realization, have them go off on a search to stop it. I wanna do it naturally, ...
8
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4answers
1k views

What does a negative level feel like to the character?

When a character gains a negative level from any source, what is the narrative effect of that negative level? How does the character (re)act, how do they feel? Does that differ for various ways of ...
32
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5answers
3k views

How can I narrate Charm/Fear/Rage/etc effects in a liberating manner?

Or, How can I implement behavior-centric status effects without giving the players a sense of having lost their autonomy? It's something I have found to be a personal agitant as a roleplayer, and ...
15
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4answers
2k views

How do I communicate to players that a room is unimportant? [duplicate]

Recently, I DM'd the "Death House" one-shot from Curse of Strahd where the players explore a haunted mansion. A lot of the rooms have great descriptions about their contents (e.g. a dining room with ...
5
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3answers
431 views

How do I narrate non-physical strain?

I'm sort of baffled about strain "injuries" in Edge of the Empire. As an example: EV-8D3 in the Debts to Pay book that is part of the GM screen has an abilitiy called Improved Scathing Tirade, letting ...
28
votes
10answers
2k views

How do I telegraph the difference between life-hating and faithful-guardian undead at a distance? [closed]

(In my world...) Some undead are raised for evil purposes, and are motivated to extinguish any life they encounter. But some undead were so dedicated/faithful in life that they do not leave their ...
57
votes
8answers
11k views

How do I rein in a player who talks over my descriptions?

I am a new DM (although I have played D&D before), and I was very excited to play with my friends, but as we started playing I realized there would be a problem. As I would describe either ...
3
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4answers
2k views

Should I immediately tell players when a monster dies?

I have noticed that my PCs can dispatch a hoard of high health things pretty quickly, and as soon as they have put enough arrows/swords at one thing, they move onto the next. That makes me think, ...
20
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5answers
3k views

How to design and run cinematic combats that move between zones?

I've been running D&D for a few years now, and I just want a little more from my combats. I've already got a very solid handle on designing environments to make combat more dynamic, but what I can'...
22
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10answers
4k views

Am I allowed to cut away from the player characters to show things happening elsewhere?

Instead of focusing solely on the protagonists (aka the players), would it be permissible to cut away from what they're doing to show (out of character) what else is going on in the world, ...
12
votes
1answer
743 views

Are there guidelines for how to narrate different degrees of success/failure?

I find myself getting caught up in a story and sometimes when players roll skill checks I give them the information or allow for a success depending on several factors(their description, their ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

Searching for adjectives about weights [closed]

I'm making a small RPG game and I'd like to not put the precise weight up for display, at least for non identified objects. The problem is I know of only two words, light and heavy, that describe ...
3
votes
2answers
585 views

How would you describe a character in heavy armor taking damage? [closed]

In order to properly describe combat Id like a clearer understanding of what it look like when a player in plate armor takes damage. PHB 5e. Plate consists of shaped, interlocking metal plates to ...
5
votes
3answers
557 views

How can I efficiently convey different perceptions of the same thing to different players? [duplicate]

I'm building an encounter around illusions, but this works for other similar situations. The party moves along the narrow corridor. As they turn the corner, they see just another regular corridor. ...
37
votes
9answers
10k views

How to improve my descriptions of the health status of monsters

A bit of background; I'm a new GM to two players, one of whom played a bit of 3.5e and 4e while the other is a complete newbie. The veteran is used to knowing when creatures are "bloodied", as per 4e, ...
3
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2answers
467 views

How should Monk's Slow Fall class feature be narrated?

Visualization of feats, effects, spells and abilities in D&D is generally somewhat straightforward: Paladin's Smite Evil - your weapon glows with holy energy and is unleashed when you hit Evil™ ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What information does the GM provide players when dealing with a monster? What do they have to roll for?

A monster may have similar stats to a PC, e.g., Armour Class 10, Spear as a ranged weapon, etc. When an encounter occurs, what part does the GM actually tell to the players? I suppose something like "...
8
votes
3answers
394 views

How do I narrate a failed damage roll?

When you hit someone and then roll for damage, you cause damage, which should be narrated, such as "You cut him in two with a single strike! He falls down and is going to die soon!", "You chop his arm ...
74
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13answers
8k views

How do I narrate a player's PC's actions without causing unintended consequences for the PC?

Daxius: "I'd like to roll an investigate check on Statue 1." Rolls. "Solid... 19." DM: "You walk around the statue, gliding your fingers along the rough outlines of it's crisp, defined ...
4
votes
1answer
561 views

Narrative Explanation of Wand Creation Cost [Pathfinder] [closed]

I am a GM looking for a narrative explanation for the wand creation costs (and by extension other simple magic items: Potions, Scrolls, etc). I know the RAW formula (375 gp × the level of the spell ×...
5
votes
2answers
268 views

Narrating a lopsided combat vs. rolling it out

If the PCs are so overwhelmingly more powerful than their foes and it wouldn't make sense for there to be backup / higher level foes around from a story standpoint (no "deus ex machina" for the ...
6
votes
2answers
285 views

How do I encourage more character movement as part of the narrative during combat?

For a long time I've been having a problem with most Tabletop RPGs: They feel way too static during combat, and it gets reduced into an exchange of who hits harder until everything is dead. Recently, ...
1
vote
0answers
72 views

How to Add Lore while Engaing the Senses to my Narritive? [closed]

How do I engage my player's senses as a GM, so as to provide an immersive experience for my players, without going into too much detail? How do I add a sense of lore to my world during prep, and ...
9
votes
2answers
555 views

What type of speech do I use when GMing?

I remember that there are three types of speech. I will quote Wikipedia on this one: Direct speech: He laid down his bundle and thought of his misfortune. "And just what pleasure have I found, ...
40
votes
7answers
7k views

As a GM, how to react to players challenging contradictions in your narration?

As with any position of power, responsibility is bestowed onto a GM when running a game. Because good GMing has a lot of impact on overall enjoyment, the GM carries a certain amount of weight behind ...
5
votes
1answer
388 views

How can I deal with PC access to myriad sources of subtly conflicting information in a game where those conflicts matter? [closed]

I have been running a solo game for a friend in a system I created several years ago. I have encountered a GMing problem that I have not previously had to deal with, because real-life time ...
19
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7answers
2k views

How to deal with the differences in perception between group characters?

I struggle with the following : You enter the room and a dark, old man dressed with a humble and threadbare mantle is prattling in a corner. When he sees you, he stands up and comes forward, ...