Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tricks to Bring Home Immersion, Fantasy Edition

Yesterdays post was ostensibly about the movie Runaway and how to get its ability (unusual in SF films, especially older hard SF films) of comfortable casualness with the setting into you game.

Here are a few tips.

#1 Call a Cow a Cow and a Horse a Horse .

Weird names for common animals make it harder for people to get into the setting.

#2 Call the a Tharn a Riding Lizard at least till the players are comfy with it

Common names for the weird animals in you game make them easier to accept.

#3 A Picture is worth 1000 words.

Well at least a hundred. A few pics printed off the net can make a big difference and there is no reason we should not take advantage of this technology that we did not have in Ye Olde Days. Its also easier than digging through a library (which we did) and photocopying (which we did)

#4 Props are better than Pics

If you happen to have toy jewelry, Ren-Faire stuff, junk from a New Age store and whatever, use it. Being able to handle things or even eat Iron Rations can make a huge difference in Immersion . I do recommend against real weapons however. Not all gamers are careful and someone could get hurt. Also not recommended costumes, unless your game has LARP elements or y'all are very silly.

#5 Simply Names

Make them easy to pronounce, real sounding and fit. This is especially important for month and day names. Vec Rill of the 7th Blen of Ithlac in the Silm of Gire, may sound cool but its a lot harder to remember than Moon's Day, Month of Harvest.

#6 Concentrate on the Mundane from Time to Time.

Every so often a vivid description of something not related to or hooked into adventure can help, clothes, religious sects, food, tapestries, whatever .. Make the rest of the world real too.


Be flexible in your GMing. Most games are run in a passive down manner "here is the room, here is what you say what do you do." Break out of this mold and let the players help you set the scene. For example let a player run a minor encounter with the traffic cop. If it isn't a big plot point who cares who runs it. Stuck for ideas, don't know what happens next? No problem let the players come up with something. For daring GM's letting players run a monster or reoccurring character is a possibility. Players who abuse the system, no problem, over ride them and start back a little bit.

#8 Change the game room scene a bit

A few candles (careful please) some incense (if no one is allergic) mood music (no vocals) or just a tapestry on the wall can make people forget for a moment they are a bunch of geeks rolling dice.

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