On Presentation, Performance, and Style- Players and DMs - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    I prefer to give my players the opportunity to use their imaginations. When describing a person or place my goal is to use a single paragraph for important persons, less for a minion.

    Music, I let my players play what they like, though I prefer symphonic music over songs. Several times the lyrics have caused hilariousness. I ask a player to respond to a npc and as they begin to speak the stereo blares "You're going to burn in hell". These times signal break time.

  2. #22
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    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Draegn View Post
    I prefer to give my players the opportunity to use their imaginations. When describing a person or place my goal is to use a single paragraph for important persons, less for a minion.

    Music, I let my players play what they like, though I prefer symphonic music over songs. Several times the lyrics have caused hilariousness. I ask a player to respond to a npc and as they begin to speak the stereo blares "You're going to burn in hell". These times signal break time.
    Judas Priest? Or Twisted Sister???

  3. #23
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    @DM Dave1 I do not know metal, ask me about Siouxsie Sioux or Bauhaus.
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  4. #24
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)



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    To start: I most definitely do not use funny voices for the NPCs. My players mock me mercilessly for my terrible voice work. The only accent I can do passingly well with is "pirate" . . . and I'm running a megadungeon so there's really no call for (more than a handful of) pirates. Oh wait, I can do a gnomish voice okay, too, but you don't want to hear about that.

    So my presentation is more matter-of-fact 3rd person narration.

    I'm also generally a quiet person in everyday life, more interested in listening to other people than talking. By the end of a night DMing, then, my voice is cracking, my throat is sore from overuse.

    So my narration stays short and to the point.

    And I'm always looking for ways to give players more information without opening my mouth. So I've "rigorously" analyzed which of my DMing notes really ought to remain secret and which, in the hands of the players, won't wreck the game. Those latter notes then get scattered on the game table in open view. Monster combat tracking is the prime example of this. I record the damage taken in plain view with a Sharpie, counting down to 0. Never having to describe just how hurt that bugbear is, or answering "hey how do those orcs look, which one is most beaten up?" it's a fantastic voice saver. And really, the players can get a better idea of what their characters see by looking directly at the numbers than they would listening to me translate that exact same numbers into narration.

    So I give my players lots of info directly via game mechanics rather than narrating it. (Though there's still tons of narration, my poor voice begs for your sympathy.)

  5. #25
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    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



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    As a DM and a player, I tend to focus a lot on voices. To me, how a character speaks is the key to cracking their personality.

    At my home games, I always have music going. Generally its some sort of dark ambient, symphonic metal, or soundtrack (videogame and movie).

    Ive really been keying into improvisation more and more of late. My two biggest tools are a fantasy-themed card deck (either Pathfinders Harrow or D&Ds Tarokka Decks) and a d20 campaign coin. When I need to come up with something on the fly, pulling a card really helps inspire me. And when a player has an idea, like hey, is there a wine merchant on this street? I like to then flip the coin 1, there is not, 20, there is!

    One of the players at my table is an amazing doodler while we play. After a session is done, his character sheet has miraculously sprouted all sorts of awesome drawings of his character or stuff from the session. Me, I cant draw to save my life! I do paint minis for use when Im a player and that DM uses minis. When I DM, I do not.

    Ive never done any sort of cosplay at a session, but have occasionally thought of having a dress-up session, with extra rewards for people that do so.
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  6. #26
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    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)



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    Wow!

    It's the comments in this thread that remind my why I love this place so much.

    I've already got a bunch of ideas to try!

  7. #27
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    Hydra (Lvl 25)



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    Oi. I hope you didn't just jinx your own thread.

  8. #28
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    Pit Fiend (Lvl 26)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralif Redhammer View Post
    As a DM and a player, I tend to focus a lot on voices. To me, how a character speaks is the key to cracking their personality.
    Also note - a change in voice can also be key in allowing yoru players to know without having to ask whether it is the NPC speaking, or the GM speaking. So you can have:

    Evil Wizard: "And now, I shall disintegrate you all!"
    GM: Roll for initiative.

    and not

    Evil Wizard: "And now, I shall disintegrate you all! Roll for initiative!"

    The difference is between a combat starting smoothly, and the gnome PC trying to strike up a dice game with the villain in the middle of a tense scene.

    Also note that there's much you can do with voice other than an accent. You can change pitch. You can change speed. You can change word choice. You can be harsh or smooth, and so on.

    Ive never done any sort of cosplay at a session, but have occasionally thought of having a dress-up session, with extra rewards for people that do so.
    Costuming for a tabletop game usually doesn't add a lot of value. You are primarily sitting, so much of your costume is out of sight anyway. And the GM can't do *that many* costume changes and not be called "Barberella" forever after. Costumes are also usually more awkward and uncomfortable than street clothes, which gets to be a distraction. They are more an addition to live-action play, imho.

    A variation on the music theme is the party mixtape. We had a tradition that ran this way: Each player suggests one song that reminds them of or otherwise signifies each of the other characters in the party. Then, from the list of nominations, the player picks one or two that they think matches their character best. These become the mixtape. You may include the GM and the BBEG in this, if you want. You can then have this running in the background during sessions.

    And let me tell you, when your character's battle tune comes up when you're in a major combat scene, it is awesome
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  9. #29
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    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



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    I now play almost exclusively online on Roll20 so I don't know if this will help anyone's game, but I figured I'll share my experiences anyway on the off chance that they're interesting. In the game I'm in as a player there are two DMs that each do a lot of work to draw out detailed maps and tokens. There is very little theater of the mind, only occurring when we venture somewhere that doesn't have a prepared map. Even out of combat most of the action takes place on the maps and through descriptions of things as we view them from a top down angle. Music also plays a big part with the DM's curating a library in the Roll20 game.

    In the game I play I don't prep nearly as much. Anything out of combat takes place in theater of the mind. In towns or during travel I will display some art that I grabbed from Google or a hex map of the surrounding area that I have made. For combat maps I grab as much as I can from the web though will sometimes produce my own battle maps using assets freely available (background textures + tokens). There are plenty of free dungeon maps online and I am starting to find I get more creative in dungeon design when I have a solid starting point. The threads by @Turgenev and @Dyson Logos here on the boards have saved me at the last minute a couple of times in this regard (you both do great work ). I also also have a small collection of music that I've uploaded to Roll20 to have in the background for mood. In general though I run a much lighter game than the one I play in. Jokes and references are common (a lot of them come from me).
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  10. #30
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    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)



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    I think it was one of the Critical Role folks that said their trick to NPCs was the Seven Dwarves method. Pick one of the seven dwarves (dopey, sneezy, grumpy, etc) and then decide whether your voice is pitched low, neutral, or high. Boom, instant NPC with a distinctive voice.

    I dig the idea of letting each PC pick their theme song. That could get quite fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post

    Also note that there's much you can do with voice other than an accent. You can change pitch. You can change speed. You can change word choice. You can be harsh or smooth, and so on.

    A variation on the music theme is the party mixtape. We had a tradition that ran this way: Each player suggests one song that reminds them of or otherwise signifies each of the other characters in the party. Then, from the list of nominations, the player picks one or two that they think matches their character best. These become the mixtape. You may include the GM and the BBEG in this, if you want. You can then have this running in the background during sessions.

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