[RPG] How to be more descriptive about actions and events in the game


Whenever I'm running or playing a game, I consistently run into an issue of setting atmosphere. I've realized the best way to do this is through more effective, engaging descriptions of settings, actions, and objects that the characters see and feel.

As a player, I feel that my actions are generally "I attack the goblin," or some variation thereof, but I'm afraid that I'll stumble over my words and further confuse the other players and I'll resort to "I attack the goblin" as to not drag the game out longer.

As a DM, my issue tends to be more with setting atmosphere with settings, locations, and objects. Effectively, the flavor texts that comes with walking into some amazing location that the characters (not necessarily the players) should be suitably impressed by. My goal here is to engage the players with some degree of spectacle, and be more inquisitive in their environment and whatever lies within it.

How can I create more descriptive, concise flavor text for the games I play in?

Best Answer

Some Strategies for 'Descriptive' descriptions:

Write down the colors/textures/scents that would be seen/felt/smelt:

  1. The Crimson blood drips from the ceiling turning black as it splatters on the ground.
  2. The coarse rock cavern echoed your smallest whispers, distorting them as the sounds return to you amplified.
  3. The putrid decay assaults your nose, penetrating your taste, even making your eyes burn.

Replace 'feelings' with 'facts':

  1. The impressive majestic mountains: => The snow capped ancient and jagged mountains.
  2. The immense city: => The sprawling city's winding roads hint that you'll never explore every street.
  3. The grand view of the ocean: => White caps blow salt spray that shimmers a rainbow blinding as the sun itself.

Replace ANY instance of the word "IT", "THERE", "THEM", etc. with the actual "IT".

Write down the phrases you develop (as above) for the session so you will not forget them.

Another helpful hint is to engage the players to help make the world descriptive when the scene needs development. Be sure to record the players response so they can come back and have another drink there and find a very familiar face.

  1. "You walk into the bar": => "Whats the name of the bar?" => "The laughing dog!"
  2. "Your served by the bartender": => "Whats the bartenders name? => "Randy" => "What does he look like?" => "Fat and battle scared."
  3. "A fight breaks out": "Out of the corner of an eye you spot someone grab a bottle and smashes it over the counter and cuts the persons throat he was having a drink with! What do you do?" => "Turn the table over and pull my sword", "Grab a chair and throw it", "Hide in the booth".

Always be willing to take a 1-5 minute break and gather your thoughts, its better to be a little bit slower and more descriptive then fast and vague.

Hope that helps a bit.

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