Hello all

Hello all

Hello all,

I am looking for tips and/or resources regarding how to describe the are that my PCs may find themselves in. For example, a forest glade, a cave, bustling city etc.

I really struggle with this as I want them be able to picture the world. But I know that these things can often times be over done where there is too much irrelevant information or under done where there isn’t enough for them to spark their imagination

Thanks 🙂

9 thoughts on “Hello all”

  1. You need become acquainted with Dungeon Starters, my friend. Their “impressions” sections are a goldmine (and a solid model to follow for your own notes). Mark Tygart​?

  2. Go out for a walk. Go someplace unfamiliar, but interesting. Look at it. Really look at it. What details jumps out at you? Keep looking. What becomes apparent after a few minutes that you didn’t notice at first? What surprises you about the place. Walk around. What becomes apparent from a different angle?

    Stop looking with your eyes. Listen: what do you hear? Birds? Water? Wind? What does it sound like as you walk around? Is there an echo? Is sound muffled? Is it lost in the open space? Drowned out by something else?

    Taste the air: what do you smell? What do you smell under that? What does the smell make you remember? Or think about?

    How does it feel? Is the air cold? Warm? Humid? Dry? Still? Is there a breeze? How does it feel on your skin? Is the sun beating down on you? Are you in a shadow? If you step from sun to shadow, what’s that like? What does the ground feel like under your feet, under your shoes? What do the walls feel like to your fingers? The ground? The trees? The grass? How does your body feel? Is it sweating under your shirt? Do you have a chill? Are you breathing heavy? Flush? Lay down. What’s the ground feel like under you?

    Consider the space, the position of one thing to another. How far away is this from that? How many steps? What’s within lunging distance? Diving? How could you get from here to there?

    Keep all this in your mind, as much as you can! At least process it, let it wash over you.

    Now go home. Try to keep this place in your mind.

    Now grab a journal, or open up blank Word doc. Start describing. Not for poetry, or for beauty, but to capture. What did you see? What did you hear? What did you smell, and feel? What was the place like? Simple words, simple phrases. Don’t edit yourself, don’t second guess anything. And for god’s sake, don’t show this to anyone else.

    Maybe tomorrow, read it again. Highlight the words and phrases that really make that place jump back into your mind.

    Go for another walk. Do it again. And again. And again.

    Go more interesting places, places you don’t normally go. Into the woods. Into the swamp. Up a mountain. Into an empty building. Into an old attic. Into a cave. Go where are there are people: streets, bars, schools, stores, museums. Travel. Keep your eyes open for unusual places, places you have no reason to explore. Explore them. Take these places in. Go home and write them down.

    You’re building muscles here, building skills: how to pay attention, how to perceive a place, how to paint a scene. You’re filling a well with imagery and sensations, and practicing the skill of drawing fish from that well as you need them.

  3. To be honest i go with not much most time, long florid descriptions are not really useful in roleplaying because they confuse the players.

    Just think that descriptions are really there so the players can understand what they are doing in the scene.

    So have a few bullet points for atmosphere, what is this forest like is it creepy or is it magical and write down and then write down a few of the more important things to do.

  4. Vincent Baker wrote somewhere, multiple somewheres I think, that there’s power in describing two complimentary elements and one seemingly contradictory one. Consider three vibrant sensory details that hit those marks. “The dense conifer forest bursts with every imaginable shade of green, the smell of pine and fresh hummus soil filling your lungs. It’s deathly silent, not a single insect chirp or birdsong.” “The tomb still tunnel descends into the earth, consuming your lantern light almost before it can piece a half dozen arms lengths. It’s damp and mouldy smelling, like a book a child lost months ago while playing in the woods. The wind blowing out is cold, yet somehow more like the cold of a brisk morning shower than the chill of the grave.” “The tavern is lively, a dozen oil lamps flickering gaily and a bawdy song shaking the roof. Opening the doors to enter, though, you see that all the occupants, tipsy and smiling, are wearing robes of The Quiet Order”

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