D&D General Grammatical mood in D&D adventure writing.

Who wants to ponder some language geekery for a moment?

When you write an adventure, unless you're railroading the players, you don't write in the indicative mood of "X happens." Rather we use a mix of indicative descriptions of the past ("X has happened") and potential statements of the future ("Y is primed to happen barring PC involvement"), with a bit of predictive conditional statements ("if the PCs do Q, then Z happens").

Especially in more complex plots like the murder mystery I wrote Death of the Author, the heavy use of conditional statements can make the plot a bit confusing at first read, because I want the GM to have a clear sense of how various NPCs would act, but everyone's hiding secrets, and different revelations will elicit different reactions. Oh, and then there are the parent moods of deontic ("the party could go investigate the beach, or could stay in the manor for safety") and epistemic ("the party probably will inspect the murder victim").

I suppose one could write adventures in the jussive mood ("the PCs ought to do A"), or perhaps optative if you're trying to steer players to a particular choice ("upon discovering the villain's plan, may they make the heroic choice and oppose him, rather than flee").

I have no real point to this post, other than to revel in realis and irrealis storytelling techniques. Heck, if you were speaking in Hindi, you might use the presumptive mood when introducing a story, to lend it an air of "I know this is fiction, but it's possible that it really is happening."

Language is neat.

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Interesting topic. This is giving me flashbacks to learning arabic. I think mood is something that is pretty intuitive when you speak a language fluently or when it is your first language. I don't think much about using the imperative in English, I just use it. But if I recall I had to be extremely conscious of things like grammatical mood, other verb related concepts, and things like tense when I was learning arabic. A big part of that was conjugation, and I never got to the point where it was intuitive for me like it is in English.

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