New to Sly Flourish? Start Here or subscribe to the newsletter.


The Kickstarter for my latest book, The City of Arches, begins August 6th! Sign up to be notified on the launch of this high-fantasy city sourcebook for Lazy GMs!


What Does Your Room Look Like?

by Mike on 24 June 2024

Having your players build out parts of the world in which you play can seem daunting. The world's a big place! What if they take off in six different directions? You now have to tie these scattered ideas together and make them true.

There are, however, a few ways to draw on our players' imaginations to build out smaller pieces of the world.

"Describe your killing blow" is an easy way to draw players into the fiction of the game instead of thinking just about their mechanics during combat.

"Describe an interesting physical characteristic of this enemy" gives players agency over a small part of the fiction that also helps manage combat by giving unique ways to identify enemies. See A Troll Named Handbag.

Here's another one:

"What does your room look like?"

When the characters get some sort of home base, be it a room at an inn, a fancy manor, or a flying airship; give each of the characters their own spot in this home base. Then ask them "what does your room look like?"

It's like giving the characters a chance to build out their own dorm room however they want. Do they build a nest? Do they set up a secret passage to the cargo hold below? Do they adorn it with trophies of their defeated foes? Each character's room often matches their personality. Thus, as they describe it, you learn more about the characters.

Write It Down

Write down your players' descriptions of their new domiciles so you can draw upon them in later sessions. Don't put these areas under threat without careful thought. Bring up scenes in their rooms and recall what they described so they remember it and they know you paid attention. When you describe it, it feels that much more real.

Find ways to draw our players into the world – even if it's just one small detail. When you tie those things to the characters, it strengthens the whole game. Players relate better to their own characters. You relate better to their characters. Their characters bond more with each other and the world around them. The whole bond of the game gets stronger.

Next time they're in their home base, ask your players to describe what their characters' room looks like.

More Sly Flourish Stuff

Last week I posted a couple of YouTube videos on The Skull of Memnon – Shadowdark Gloaming Session 33 Lazy GM Prep.

Last Week's Lazy RPG Talk Show Topics

Each week I record an episode of the Lazy RPG Talk Show (also available as a podcast) in which I talk about all things in tabletop RPGs. Here are last week's topics with time stamped links to the YouTube video:

Patreon Questions and Answers

Also on the Talk Show, I answer questions from Sly Flourish Patrons. Here are last week's questions and answers:

RPG Tips

Each week I think about what I learned in my last RPG session and write them up as RPG tips. Here are this week's tips:

Related Articles

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe to the weekly Sly Flourish newsletter and receive a free adventure generator PDF!

More from Sly Flourish

Sly Flourish's Books

Share this article by copying this link: https://slyflourish.com/what_does_your_room_look_like.html

Have a question or want to contact me? Check out Sly Flourish's Frequently Asked Questions.

This work is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license. It allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, for noncommercial purposes only by including the following statement in the new work:

This work includes material taken from SlyFlourish.com by Michael E. Shea available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

This site uses affiliate links to Amazon and DriveThruRPG. Thanks for your support!