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Episode 431: Holo Dolly


Often GMs fall back on using only visual descriptions to describe what the PCs can sense. This is a natural tendency, since we are primarily visually oriented and sight provides most of the information we get from the world around us. But what this means is that referring to the other senses can provide additional nuance that players often don't get. This is a good way of building atmosphere into a game. The visual channel is for information, the other senses can be used for little touches that add realism. Describing the sounds and smells of a foreign bazaar can make it feel much more involving.

Of course you can also use the other senses to provide clues and information as well. This can be a subtle way of hinting at something the PCs should be picking up on, but may not notice right away because they are more conerned with what they can see. The sounds of voices down a corridor is a relatively common example, but you can also embed clues in smells - and tastes and touches if you're really clever.

This also goes for any additional senses that PCs might have, be they technological, psychic, or magical. Use them as ways to add atmosphere to the game, and as potential channels for information that may not be readily visible.


[SFX]: Whooom!
[SFX]: Kzrkzk!
GM: That's the last droid.
Obi-Wan: Too easy.
Anakin: I reach out with the force to find Palpatine. 11.
GM: It's no good. You sense fear, anger, and outrage everywhere now. Pain explodes and winks out like pinpricks in your mind.
Obi-Wan: This is big.
Obi-Wan: R2, find out what's happening.
[SFX]: < bop doip bing bak-nik-jang pokip bioo >
Anakin: I turn the translator back on.
[SFX]: < fo-tong doosquee li-bing prow biddle fodooby boop doodle bing zik-pik-jang >
R2-D2: That would actually work if we were back in the ship. Where the translator is. If it didn't break during the landing.
Obi-Wan: The only people are in this observation tower.
Anakin: Never mind translating. We'll go there.
Obi-Wan: Here's a comlink.
R2-D2: What for? It doesn't translate.
Obi-Wan: So you can hear our orders while you stay here and babysit the fighters.
R2-D2: Oh.

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Published: Sunday, 02 January, 2011; 14:36:51 PST.
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