View Full Version : Roleplaying Encouraging roleplaying in the DM?

2015-12-24, 05:27 PM
There's a lot of advice around for encouraging roleplaying in the players, but I'm in a bit of a different situation. My current DM is a bit of... dry. He's not a bad DM, he just rarely describes anything past the bare facts ("it's a large room with a pit in the middle, here is the map), and rarely if ever roleplays for any extended amount of time.

We generally have one scene in 3 sessions or so when he'll talk in-character with us as an NPC, but usually it doesn't last long. All other time he will just narrate stuff ("you found out that your servant is informing on you. when questioned, he said the money was too good"). I understand differing DM strengths, comfort levels and all that, but it's hard to feel invested in the plot when it's getting to you third-hand.

Do you have any tips for nudging the DM in the direction of more show, less tell? The only thing I can come up with is leading by example.

2015-12-24, 05:59 PM
Probe for details. Ok, theres a pit in the room. Is the floor made of bricks or dirt? Does the pit look like something dug it out, or is it a sink hole? Or perhaps a giant worm made the tunnel? What else is in the room?

If he's just flat out telling you stuff like "You interrogate the servant, and he reveals X information." though, he really should stop doing that and let you guys actually ask your own questions.

2015-12-24, 06:17 PM
Lead by example, be flavourful in describing what your character does, do things for no mechanical reason to build out your character's personality. Also try to interact with things on a detailed level, saying exactly what words you use to ask questions. Hopefully this will encourage people to respond in kind, including the DM.

You might also be able to just ask.

2015-12-25, 12:16 AM
I second leading by example. Describe your actions in detail-don't just attack the bandit, lunge at them with your sword, aiming for the center of their chest. Don't just say "I cast fireball",instead say something like "I move my hands and chant in draconic,as a ball of fire forms in my palm I toss it towards the ogre"

Always ask for details- texture is one of the key factors in immersion. Eventually if you ask enough,

One thing I hesitate suggesting is major roleplaying during minor exchanges. While it is certainly immersive to roleplay banter with the barkeep when you get a ale, or talk out the details of buying something common like a dagger, it really eats away at table time, particularly in a large group. It is fine to narrate these mundane things, or to have simple rolls determine bartering, if they know anything, etc. You can still ask these things in character, but allow your DM some room to handwave and summarize.

2015-12-25, 06:06 AM
Probe for details. Ok, theres a pit in the room. Is the floor made of bricks or dirt? Does the pit look like something dug it out, or is it a sink hole? Or perhaps a giant worm made the tunnel? What else is in the room?

Yeah, you could try that. I know it works on me : when players do that, it prompts me to make up the answers on the spot and it's fun. However, if he doesn't like improvising, that might be too far out of his comfort zone and make him grumpy or nervous, so be careful with that approach.

2015-12-25, 09:03 PM
You might also be able to just ask.

I'd say you should ask regardless of what else you might do. Ever since the first time one of my players came to me with a concern, I ask for feedback regularly. I may not follow up on all of it directly or immediately, but I do try as often as I can to talk to my players about what they want out of the game so we can all have fun.

Your DM may not even realize that he's not giving you all the information he has - it's very easy to forget in the moment, while you've got a whole party to mind and a set of monsters/traps/etc. to keep track of, that not everyone can see what you see in your head. You talking to him about it may be what makes him realize he's being a bit bland - I know I'm thinking about how to spice up my lackluster narration and roleplaying as I read this thread.

Leading by example might work, but it depends on the dynamic of the rest of the group and it can easily go too far. DM description of a scene to heighten the atmosphere helps everyone; one player's elaborate and long-winded description of his attacks gets tedious if it's happening every round, especially if he's the only one doing it.