View Full Version : Any DM Entertainment/Description Tips?

2010-01-18, 07:20 PM
I'm about to start DMing my first major campaign and am somewhat worried that the players will find my descriptions during combat and exploration boring. Would any savvy DM's mind imparting some of the things that have worked for them in their early games? Note formats? Strategies for thinking of cool things on the fly? The last thing I want to do, after putting forth all this effort in creating an entertaining and interesting world, is to bore the PC's.

Also, if you're a PC and have things your DM does that makes it interesting, I'd love to hear what has worked for you from your PC perspective.

2010-01-18, 09:36 PM
Descriptions during combat: Focus on the effects that players' powers have, as though you were describing an action movie to a blind person.

"And then a golden light surrounds your sword as you pummel the evil goblin"

Or you could have your players come up with descriptions of their attacks themselves.

Descriptions outside of combat: Rely on your senses - all of them. What do players see, feel, smell... etc.

Don't make your descriptions more than a few sentences long. An otherwise interesting place can turn boring if it takes too long to describe it.

It's okay to focus more attention and time on locales and NPCS that are important to your story, but if you do this exclusively, some of your more attention deficit prone players could start tuning out in places where you're skimming over detail.

"You enter the crypt. You stand in utter darkness, terrified of what might be lurking in the background. You can hear shrieking in the distance, and you can feel the cold air gripping your skin."

2010-01-18, 09:42 PM
be cryptic, make them want to learn more from a story perspective, give them a reason to care about the BBEG

2010-01-18, 09:43 PM
Don't describe something too much that's not important or people will think it is important.

2010-01-18, 09:45 PM
Don't describe something too much that's not important or people will think it is important.

But also don't try to pass it off like nothing, then the PCs will think you are hiding something from them.

2010-01-18, 09:58 PM
Try envisioning the scene as a movie scene, and describing it as if you were trying to convince your friends why the movie is awesome.

2010-01-18, 10:08 PM
Find a consistent middle ground where you can describe important things with enough detail that, if they're paying attention, they'll realize it's important, but can also gloss over unimportant things without making the important things really stand out. Be aware that until you get the hang of this, you may get the occasional meta-gamey, "he described that thing really well, it must be important," even when the thing is utterly trivial. Some players will really lock onto things like this, even though there is absolutely nothing to justify it.

2010-01-18, 11:29 PM
I find I have the most amount of trouble describing things such as the effects simple weapons have on certain monsters. I was running through a test fight with a wolf vs my sister (playing a test CP) and I kept stuttering when I tried to describe it attacking/dodging her. Also, when I had a second one attack her as she was sitting down, I wanted to use some kind of tackle mechanic, but couldn't think of one on the fly...

Any tips regarding that?

2010-01-18, 11:52 PM
Sounds as if you're going too fast than what you are comfortable with. Get used to it first, then worry about the speed. These things take time and make sure the players understand that.

Also, try and have a few things ready in front of you. And if in doubt, just fudge and make something up.