Page 857 - Style Glide

17th Jan 2017, 6:00 AM
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Style Glide
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 17th Jan 2017, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Specifically, dry descriptions of roads and cities and landscapes that have no mechanical or roleplaying value are the toughest of them all. For me, personally.

Though that may be more a sign that, in general, it's important to prioritize useful landmarks and characterizing details in your intros and descriptions, so that you're actually doing something in your monologues. If it's boring the players to death, it's probably boring the DM to death, too.

32 Comments:

Digo Dragon 17th Jan 2017, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
TPK by flavor text is a thing. Only you can prevent adventure death by dry descriptions. ;)

As Spud said, prioritize useful landmarks when describing a city; places the players will certainly use--taverns/inns, blacksmith shops, the eclectic trader's store, and the all-encompassing marketplace are usually central spots for PC activity.
Joe the Rat 17th Jan 2017, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
A line or two to give the general flavor, point out the big details, note the population or notable wildlife. Do not neglect sounds and smells.

Or you can shorthand it.
"Think of New York, only made out of paper and honeycombs. Everyone's still too busy to talk to you."
"It's basically New Orleans in Medieval Drag."
"It's totally not Daggerford. But think Daggerford."
"It's Branson, Missouri, only built underground, and with twice as much Yakoff Smirnoff. You smell fried poultry."

Your players are going to do it anyways.
Digo Dragon 17th Jan 2017, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Haha, beautiful shorthand descriptions. But yes, those actually work well. Throwing a little absurdity in the midst of a legit-sounding comparison will stick in a players mind.

Sounds and smells are really underrated in city descriptions. Describe that waft of morning breakfast downstairs as the PCs awaken, or the late night techno music playing at the seedy bar you're arriving at.
Anvildude 17th Jan 2017, 10:29 AM edit delete reply
Aw man, yeah, smells and sounds. Super important, and probably more likely to stick. Smell, especially, is heavily tied to sense memories.

Describe a city based on the smells of unwashed bodies, horse manure, human waste and the stink of vinegar and week-old piss wafting from the tanneries and dyers, with an occasional salt-breeze blowing it away from the East, carrying with it the creak of rope and tang of fresh tar.

Much better than "You walk into town. There's dye vats by the side of the road. Horses and people bustle about, and you can see the tops of ship masts over some of the buildings."
Winged Cat 17th Jan 2017, 2:30 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
So what would Cloudsdale smell like? Water vapor and rainbows are not noted for intense scents. (Unless some of those clouds are incense, but that seems unlikely.)

Sounds is pretty easy: the occasional bang of thunder in the distance, the ever-present rustles and whistles of winds going this way and that, and the distributed flapping of what could be a city-sized herd of pegasi. It's also probably a bit cold, not quite wintry but seeing white fluffiness all over the ground can trick the eye into thinking it's snowy and should be colder.

Now I'm wondering if cloudball fights are a thing.
Wyvern 17th Jan 2017, 6:45 PM edit delete reply
I am certain cloudball fights are a thing! Can you imagine Rainbow Dash passing up that opportunity?

They'd be missing the sound of hooves on dirt, so it might seem quiet to earth ponies.
Evilbob 17th Jan 2017, 6:56 PM edit delete