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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.

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

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