On Presentation, Performance, and Style- Players and DMs
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  1. #1
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    On Presentation, Performance, and Style- Players and DMs

    Hola!

    So a recent thread has gotten me thinking, "Self, how do DMs and players ... do it today? You know, it?" Because here, in my stately pleasure palace, I am far removed from the daily hubbub of mainstream TTRPG activity. So I was wondering how different DMs and different players express themselves in TTRPGs, and thought I'd create a thread where people might be able to share the way that they play, and perhaps provide some tips and/or insight.

    So, given that there will be natural questions and the inherent black hole of gravitational attraction of argumentative lemon curry on enworld (I DISAGREE WITH YOUR PREMISE, YOUR DEFINITIONS, AND YOUR FACE!), I thought I'd start by offering up some expansive ideas by what I mean-

    I am looking for examples of play (DMing, playing as a player) in D&D (hence, the D&D thread- please restrict this to D&D so we have a common frame of reference) that you think are enhanced by presentation, performance, or style.

    This can be anything- whether it's in the verbal component (using voices, diction, expressive language, facial expressions), the written component (pre-writing descriptions for certain things, using illustrations or drawing characters or rooms or your favorite sword), or other things (wearing period clothes, making real terrain battles, painting miniatures, collecting and rolling certain dice, and other stuff that I'm too dumb and old to think of).

    So I'm throwing it out there- what do y'all do for presentation, performance, and/or style that works for you as a player and/or DM? Do you have any tips that have worked for you?

  2. #2
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)

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    Visual elements of the game are important to me. I use painted miniatures and terrain and 'wowing' players with my layout. My players tease me if I do not have just the right miniature or terrain prepared.

    In terms of game presentation style - I push the pace. I bring the game to the players - whether it is roleplaying social interactions, exploration, or combat. I throw action at the players with lots of encounters.

    I ask for lots of input from players on what they would like to do next or things they would like to experience in the campaign. However, my style is far from sandbox and more multi-choice style.

    I am definitely a high prep DM. I can handle improvisation pretty well, but designing encounters is a big part of my enjoyment of the game.

    My players love my game, but it certainly would not be for everyone. If you or your players brag about having entire sessions without rolling a die - you probably would be a poor fit at my table.
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  3. #3
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    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)



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    Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post
    Visual elements of the game are important to me. I use painted miniatures and terrain and 'wowing' players with my layout. My players tease me if I do not have just the right miniature or terrain prepared.

    In terms of game presentation style - I push the pace. I bring the game to the players - whether it is roleplaying social interactions, exploration, or combat. I throw action at the players with lots of encounters.

    I ask for lots of input from players on what they would like to do next or things they would like to experience in the campaign. However, my style is far from sandbox and more multi-choice style.

    I am definitely a high prep DM. I can handle improvisation pretty well, but designing encounters is a big part of my enjoyment of the game.

    My players love my game, but it certainly would not be for everyone. If you or your players brag about having entire sessions without rolling a die - you probably would be a poor fit at my table.
    That's awesome! See, that's what I love to hear; your style is completely different than mine (I'm ToTM, lower prep) but when I read about how you do it, and how enthusiastic you are .... man, that sounds fun!

    (PS- you know, if you ever feel like sharing pics of the terrain and minis ... I won't complain!)
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    That's awesome! See, that's what I love to hear; your style is completely different than mine (I'm ToTM, lower prep) but when I read about how you do it, and how enthusiastic you are .... man, that sounds fun!

    (PS- you know, if you ever feel like sharing pics of the terrain and minis ... I won't complain!)
    So, you did ask
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...izard-s-Tower!

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...air-of-Knights
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)



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    I also have a very "bring it to the players" style. Most campaigns start in medias res. Many involve a serious time line of events that are put into motion and require the players to not delay.

    I tend to steal shamelessly from published modules, movies, and books, but put it into a campaign all my own. I've found running modules actually harder than running self prepared stuff - Making sure the module flows and gives a fun experience to the players tends to be just that much more work on my part than doing my own thing! As such, I'll steal from modules gladly, but rarely run any actual cover to cover ones.

    There is fairly high amount of dice getting rolled at the table: my group (a bunch of working professionals, most with school age families) is, as a whole, much more interested in putting ax to orc than trying to wade into a political jungle or morally ambiguous mess.

    We use miniatures and used to use "edible enemies," though that's been frowned on lately as everyone seems to be on a diet (the perils of hitting 40+).

    I've been using more ambient sounds and other mood music - seems to set the tone quite well and players enjoy it.
    Last edited by Mort; Wednesday, 15th May, 2019 at 05:39 PM.
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



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    One simple thing that I have done is remove The DMs Screen (Pee chee Folder, binder, etc.) between me and the players. Its easier to communicate when the players can see body language.
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  7. #7
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    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)



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    To quote Keanu Reeves .... Woah.

    That's really impressive!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mort View Post

    I've been using more ambient sounds and other mood music - seems to set the tone quite well and players enjoy it.
    I've heard about this; honestly, I haven't really used "mood music" since, um, Pyromania in 1983 (shut up! times were different).

    How do you choose the music? What kind?

    Quote Originally Posted by not-so-newguy View Post
    One simple thing that I have done is remove The DMs Screen (Pee chee Folder, binder, etc.) between me and the players. Its easier to communicate when the players can see body language.
    Okay- I've hear of people getting rid of the DM screen for transparency (so everyone sees the die rolls, etc.), but I've never heard of this before. Can you paint me a word picture of why body language helps?

  9. #9
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    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)



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    Paladins. Lots and lots of paladins. Preferably gnomes dual-wielding rapiers. If the game ever drags, all I have to do is "could I have more gnomes? More paladins?" The answer of course is always YES!
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    Titan (Lvl 27)



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    I have a penchant for silly names in my games, both as a player and DM, because I find them funny and, because others find them funny, they are more memorable. Presenting NPC names this way is good for retention. I struggle to remember NPCs with the usual fantasy RPG names, but you don't forget even minor NPCs like the Marguul bugbear gladiator, Dikpik the Unsolicited, who showed up without notice to harass the PCs or one of the players remarking "You're smaller than I expected."
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