July 22, 2011

Dark Sun Days

Like the rest of the US, I am sitting in extreme heat today; we should be around 110 with the Heat Index. Being the rpg geek I am, I immediately thought of how this is close to how it must feel to be in a Dark Sun adventure. Unrelenting heat where you start sweating profusely five minutes after starting to move. Where your shirt clings to you from the sweat and tugs at you. Where that cold bottle of water is warm after only 30 minutes...and has lost all ability to refresh because of this. Where all your energy is sapped from your body before your day's activity has even begun. Where that large ice tea from Dunkin' Donuts tastes like the best thing ever created.

All this is stuff we need to remember as DMs (and players) when describing such a similar experience within a game setting. The feelings we have in a similar situation in real life can be more readily translated into a game experience. By remembering how and why we feel as we do in this heat, it will aid us in describing what is happening to the characters when it happens in game.

This can be applied to other situations. Ever had to try and move through 4 feet of snow on your way to the end of the driveway? Ever sit by a babbling brook on a cloudless summer day as a cool breeze washes over you? Ever been out in the pouring cold rain as it comes down in sheets and turns the ground to a clinging mud? All these experiences that are had by us in real life can be brought into a game setting and used to enhance descriptions and invoke a greater sense of immersion.

This does not have to only apply to weather conditions; it can also apply to other experiences. Ever had to shovel 4 feet of snow in your driveway? This is similar to how it feels to dig out that collapsed tunnel in the dungeon. Ever had as serious injury such as a knife cut or car accident? This is similar to how it feels after a combat. Ever been on a long road trip where you had to drive 24 hours without sleep? This is similar to to how it feels when your character is forced to make an Endurance check on a long journey.

Remember the unique times of real life experience. There is often a correlation to an in-game experience that can be used to enhance your game.
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