View Full Version : Gaming Atmosphere

2007-02-26, 10:46 AM
Here is a question for any gaming group, Do you think atmosphere is really important for a game or just a passing consideration. do you play horror missions in a dark candle lit basement, with creepy music for effect. Or is anywhere good, as long as you have a table to play on

2007-02-26, 10:52 AM
Not for DnD. It's not as important. For V:tM we like holding black tie parties complete with cocktails and Neo-Gothic music like Yuki Kajiura or Maxim. The you walk around with your pinky in the air commenting about other people's clothes or how stocks are faring. Then you stifle a high pitched laugh. DnD is all less dependent on social niceties (or meanness) and more geared for combat. A humiliated mage is still powerful. A humiliated vampire loses standing.

2007-02-26, 10:58 AM
Yes, I try to.

Usually, we are so hyped on caffine and sleep depravation (college students) that it doesn't come off too well.

2007-02-26, 11:05 AM
It's absolutely critical to the way I DM. I spend a significant amount of time thoroughly describing every scene to my players, using every trick I've picked up on as an amateur writer. And, to a large extent (or so I like to think) it's what helps my players to enjoy themselves around the table, whether they're experienced at D&D or new to it.

(Well, they say they like it, and you know I've got to constantly ask to satisfy my voracious ego.)

2007-02-26, 11:31 AM
Yeah, why not? I don't use atmosphere too often anyway with my DnD players, but it is a good idea.

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-26, 11:42 AM
I try, but one of my players can't concentrate at all if there's music, so it's kind of futile. Of course, that player hardly does anything useful when he is concentrating, so maybe I shouldn't worry about it so much. :smallamused:

2007-02-26, 11:43 AM
I believe atmosphere is very important to the versimilitude of the game. Since I play at college, sometimes it can be a challenge but I do what I can. I like running horror/mystery campaigns and for that to be successful, you really need to draw the players into the game.

2007-02-26, 02:03 PM
Atmosphere is very important in any game. If people are not ready or in the mood to play and use their imaginations, the game will suffer.

2007-02-26, 02:16 PM
do you play horror missions in a dark candle lit basement, with creepy music for effect.

We play in a basement anyway, and whenever we play Call of Cthulhu, the players have traditionally demanded candle-light (with my, the Keeper's, face lit by the eerie glow of the computer screen...). We mostly use the Blair Witch 2 OST on a loop (it's all ambient music, mostly nature ambient).

I just started rehearsing a Dark Corners of the Earth -style Innsmouth voice, too...

For most other games, we don't bother as much. But I think it's telling that our CoC games always have the best immersion...

2007-02-26, 02:31 PM
I have found atmosphere very useful in games running longer than 2 minutes, otherwise the players just seem to fall asleep.

Seriously though, are we talking about atmosphere as in "good details and convincing/consistent aesthetic to game world;" or "the place where we're playing has a good environment?"

My answers would be 1) yes, important; 2) no, not really, although there is such a thing as a really bad environment.

2007-02-26, 02:31 PM
My atmosphere is a clean and halfway orderly table, my laptop usually faintly playing some heroic music,

and my brother playing guitar as his bard player and composing ditties on the spot.:smallbiggrin:

We're a silly lot.

2007-02-26, 02:47 PM
Oh, yeah, we love atmosphere; music and close quarters are very nice. Well lit room, with comfortable chairs, Rammstein on in the background, and lots of soda. Unfortunately, counting the DM, we have 11 people in our group, so atmosphere doesn't seem to factor into it as much anymore. Not to mention half the time we game at our local shop, and it's noisy as hell there; Magic players, Warhammer players, and our group make for a HUGE amount of noise.

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-26, 02:54 PM
Rammstein in the background? Come on; they're great and all, but that's not exactly the kind of music that stays in the background. :smallamused:

PnP Fan
2007-02-26, 04:05 PM
Like? yes
Bother to do so any more: no

Most of my players lost interest in that kind of effort years ago. All that's important now is our friendship, a fun game, a good story, and free flowing soda.
About all we do to create atmosphere at the table is use our voices to create mood. And sometimes that's enough.

2007-02-26, 04:22 PM
Special atmosphere is kinda unneccesary, personally. If you've got a table, a screen, and a group of people you can hang out with for a few hours without vomitting is enough atmosphere to me.

2007-02-26, 04:45 PM
Is beer and pizza considered atmosphere?

2007-02-26, 04:59 PM
Rammstein in the background? Come on; they're great and all, but that's not exactly the kind of music that stays in the background. :smallamused:

;D Jeeze, trying to start another fight, are we? *Giggle*

Yes, I think Beer and Pizza DOES count!

2007-02-26, 11:19 PM
I find atmosphere really helps, of course if your players are not all that interested then even the best atmosphere wont do a thing for you.

Renegade Paladin
2007-02-26, 11:21 PM
;D Jeeze, trying to start another fight, are we? *Giggle*
Pffft. No. :smalltongue: I'm more wondering how Rammstein could be used as background music, given the band's eardrum-splitting nature. :smallbiggrin:

2007-02-27, 01:23 AM
I think that atmosphere is critical to a cool game, especially a horror game, although most of my games tend to have a dark aspect to them anyway. The coolest session I can remember DMing where the atmosphere was critical was in a Ravenloft game, where the very air seemed to pulse with the heartbeat of evil. For some reason a candle was lit, the lights were turned off, and the environment just became ripe with player paranoia. That was the only time in 25+ years of gaming that I can remember that happening, (the candle thing).

In general, I try to have a serious attitude while at the table, and the players are in character.. I think to create a proper atmosphere, it needs to be quiet enough to hear what's being said, and there needs to be limited interruptions. Everyone in my group is married and all save my wife and I have children, so the best atmosphere in our games takes place after the kids go to sleep: Less noise, less interruptions.

To go along with creating a cool gaming atmosphere, we also use scenery and painted minis, and player handouts that have been printed with "fantasy" type fonts and then aged with tea and dried. I even created a whole bound journal to help the players get into the plotline. Yeah, it took a lot of work, but it was pretty cool. I think anything that helps players to "see" what's there helps create a "world," and that's where the atmosphere: heroic, dread, fantastic, or all of the latter, are important.

2007-02-27, 04:03 AM
It depends more on the game I'm running at the time than anything else.
If I'm running something where I want the tension or horror to be at the forefront then yeah, I'll put the time and effort into it, even so far as to organise spur of the moment sessions during a storm.

But if it's something more along the lines of a dungeon crawl, or something where the action and excitment if the main element I'll put no more effort into it than supplying a cheap pizza coupon and a trip to the local Woolies for chips and drinks.

2007-02-27, 05:24 AM
I'd like to, but rarely bother. It's hard to pull that off, and trying to do it for the groups I play with, it'd just come off as cheesy. My groups are an imaginative lot, though, so that's hardly an issue.