View Full Version : It's the little things...

2007-03-22, 06:42 PM
I was wondering what (if any) methods the local GM population uses to make their games seem just a little bit more alive - to make NPC's less faceless, and the scenery less generic.

An example of what I'm talking about: in the past few games my group has on several occasions sought shelter in various farmsteads and villages dotting the landscape. As they've been rather helpful at times (killing an attacking bear zombie, etc.) the families has extended to them the hospitality due to guests - such as sharing the evening meal.

Another method is a distinct regional accent. Yet another, changing weather. Little things.

What about your games?

Jason Va hater
2007-03-22, 07:24 PM
In the few sessions I ran the the street vendors of different cultures sold different food Items. Bauldars Gate Gyros were the food of choice and in Thay Kabob and rice would run you a few cps. Other than that it was the way the people percived adventurers. Some places they were heros with trading cards and in others they were governemnt hunted vigilantes. I do wish I could do voices though because accents would really make it stand out.

2007-03-27, 09:07 PM
Pretty much just taking generic ideas and refining them so that they become specific. Short blurbs to set the tone, that sort of thing. Detail, really, and a campaign with a history and characters who 'do things' off screen and with virtually no relevance to the plot, unless the Players decide to make it their business.

PnP Fan
2007-03-28, 01:18 AM
I did a little acting in high school (and I mean a little, I claim no proficiency), but I use what I learned then to try and bring npcs to life a little. I take on a different voice for some characters, sometimes goofy accents, sometimes just a change in tone, depending on what the scene calls for. I also change my body language by sitting up straighter, slouching more, distending my belly (for a really fat person), hunching my shoulders for a coward. Facial expressions too are important. Fearful people tend to look around a lot, leader types tend to look the person they are addressing in the eye, women tend to smile more than men (not necessarily flirtatiously either), and so on. Take some time when you're in a public place and watch people and how they act, and their body language. You'd be surprised at what you can pick up on if you pay attention. That's what I do for NPC's.

For locations, I tend to rely on place names. For example, in one campaign the pc's had a benefactor who lived in a palacial manor. After one description, I just started referring to it as The Manor. I also had a club for halflings called "Shorty's". I won't enumerate the sort of sordid things that went on there, but everyone had a pretty good idea of the kind of scummy place it was, and the kind of scummy people you could find there (many Halflings in Sharn are part of the organized crime syndicate, so I just took a cue from the Sopranos and put a lot of business in the back of a "club". Sometimes I also find that a distinctive smell helps, especially an unpleasant one (garbage, refuse, pig farm, etc. . . ) will sometimes get an emotional response from my players, and they'll remember it better, even if they don't remember the name.

Hope that helps (and didn't offend. . .)