On Presentation, Performance, and Style- Players and DMs

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Grease the musical cast.
Dungeon lovin' had me a blast
Dungeon lovin' happened so fast
I met a magel crazy for me
Met a zombie cute as can be
Adventuring days driftin' away
To ah, oh, those adventuring nights
Tell me more, tell me more!
(Did you get very far?)
Tell me more, tell me more!
(Does you fighter have a scar?)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I mean, come on - bagpipes? :)
Go ahead. Argue with the orc with the 18 Str, heavy armor, a battleaxe, *and* your party's healing magic, about his musical tastes. I'm sure you'll enjoy the fruits of that discussion.
 
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?
I guess I am guilty of all the above?

I do voices, diction, expressive language, facial expressions, and body language as needed. For example, when portraying an eblis I adopted a zany silly voice, whereas for having the Hand of Vecna whispering to a PC, I spoke with my shirt pulled up over my mouth.

I pre-write area descriptions as needed (usually no more than 1 per session), use illustrations to help explain complex areas or simply to evoke a mood, use handouts, and on occasion do some sketch art to support the game.

I use lots of maps (most are drawn on a Chessex mat, others printed, others purchased), on rare occasions I've crafted crude terrain, and I've gotten back into painting minis for our current campaign.

I also use atmospheric/ambient music.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
whereas for having the Hand of Vecna whispering to a PC, I spoke with my shirt pulled up over my mouth.
For some reason, I read that wrong the first time, and I thought you were saying that you were using a hand puppet for the Hand of Vecna.

I don't know if I am relieved, or intrigued.
 

Enkhidu

Explorer
I’ve started using envelopes and index cards for the contents of chests, bag, and other containers. If a player opens the envelope, then that PC is the one who gets the first peek at the contents.

Also, it allows me to put in things like a card that says “a swarm of clockwork spiders - roll for initiative” to spring on the group.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Go ahead. Argue with the orc with the 18 Str, heavy armor, a battleaxe, *and* your party's healing magic, about his musical tastes. I'm sure you'll enjoy the fruits of that discussion.
This guy's a War Cleric, then?

And yeah, I'll argue. :) Shame to lose his Cleric side, but replacement Fighters are dime-a-dozen in any town...
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
I’ve started using envelopes and index cards for the contents of chests, bag, and other containers. If a player opens the envelope, then that PC is the one who gets the first peek at the contents.

Also, it allows me to put in things like a card that says “a swarm of clockwork spiders - roll for initiative” to spring on the group.
Love this idea!
 

Satyrn

Villager
I’ve started using envelopes and index cards for the contents of chests, bag, and other containers. If a player opens the envelope, then that PC is the one who gets the first peek at the contents.

Also, it allows me to put in things like a card that says “a swarm of clockwork spiders - roll for initiative” to spring on the group.
I used to be intrigued by all the fancy item cards that are available to buy or print, and I used the 4e style item layout with a pretty picture for the magic weapon cards I made for my 3e game. I've been intending to do the same thing for a while, but next time, I'm intending to make them dirt simple. Like, just an unadorned paragraph printed in plain type.

How much work are you putting into the index cards?
 

Enkhidu

Explorer
I used to be intrigued by all the fancy item cards that are available to buy or print, and I used the 4e style item layout with a pretty picture for the magic weapon cards I made for my 3e game. I've been intending to do the same thing for a while, but next time, I'm intending to make them dirt simple. Like, just an unadorned paragraph printed in plain type.

How much work are you putting into the index cards?
Very little. With 5e’s ease of magic item identification, it’s fairly easy to put the description in one side, fold the card in half, and put the mechanics in the inside (and tape the edge). You can also do things like put little checkboxes for permanent charges, or cut little strips/tabs into the card which can be torn off for things like potions.

My rule of thumb is to spend less than 5 minutes on a “chest”.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Very little. With 5e’s ease of magic item identification, it’s fairly easy to put the description in one side, fold the card in half, and put the mechanics in the inside (and tape the edge). You can also do things like put little checkboxes for permanent charges, or cut little strips/tabs into the card which can be torn off for things like potions.

My rule of thumb is to spend less than 5 minutes on a “chest”.
I'm so glad I asked you that question.

Folding/taping the card is an excellent idea. So is the the tear-strip thing.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This guy's a War Cleric, then?
The character is from several editions back.

And yeah, I'll argue. :) Shame to lose his Cleric side, but replacement Fighters are dime-a-dozen in any town...
Wow. Your clerics must not use their Wisdom much. When you cheese off the party tank and cleric, they don't need to fight you. They need to just stand aside at the right time.
 
For some reason, I read that wrong the first time, and I thought you were saying that you were using a hand puppet for the Hand of Vecna.

I don't know if I am relieved, or intrigued.
Hah. That would have been brilliant. :) No, this was Vecna telepathically contacting a PC who was carrying the Hand in her backpack but hadn't yet realized its true nature.

I kind of was channeling my inner Dave Arneson – at least I've heard stories he'd DM behind a full-body DM screen. My intention was to model a disembodied voice which the player couldn't attempt to "discern if it's telling the truth or not" (i.e. no Insight check was possible). The player caught on right away, so I guess it worked!
 

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