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Saint Jimmy
2016-10-10, 09:33 AM
I am a DM for my little group of friends, and we all enjoy playing a lot. However, I am not very good at describing scenes, or fights, especially how it looks when damage is dealt. I find myself often resorting to saying that they decapicated an enemy because I can't think of anything else, and I have actually have had people leave my group because of my lack of creativity/ability to describe the things in the game. Does anyone have any ideas on how to become better at this?
Thanks in advance.

ComradeBear
2016-10-10, 11:58 AM
Watch a bunch of fantasy/medieval movies and take notes about what happens.

Read a bunch of fantasy novels and ruthlessly steal their descriptions.

As you continue to do so, you'll acquire the words and phrases to describe a wide array of combat happenings.

Koo Rehtorb
2016-10-10, 12:36 PM
http://wfrp1e.wikia.com/wiki/Critical_Hits

PinkSpray
2016-10-10, 01:00 PM
Watch a bunch of fantasy/medieval movies and take notes about what happens.

Read a bunch of fantasy novels and ruthlessly steal their descriptions.

As you continue to do so, you'll acquire the words and phrases to describe a wide array of combat happenings.

This post explains it best. Watching the fiction. That makes you a better cinematic GM.

Saint Jimmy
2016-10-10, 01:14 PM
Thanks for the tips. I have read a bunch of fantasy literature, that should be pretty easy. I will check out the link when I get ho e from school.

Bohandas
2016-10-11, 01:32 AM
Watch a bunch of fantasy/medieval movies and take notes about what happens.

Read a bunch of fantasy novels and ruthlessly steal their descriptions.

As you continue to do so, you'll acquire the words and phrases to describe a wide array of combat happenings.

Also police procedurals. They've always got a scene where someone describes a fight in detail.

ComradeBear
2016-10-11, 10:12 AM
Thanks for the tips. I have read a bunch of fantasy literature, that should be pretty easy. I will check out the link when I get ho e from school.

I will restate the key difference here:
Don't READ the books. STUDY them. There is a difference.

Find fight scenes. Take notes. See if you can recreate the scene in your head. Could you act out this scene if you needed to, based on the description of the combat?

Take notes, take notes, take notes!
Steal those descriptions and spin them around.

"The bandit makes a quiet gurgling noise as your sword punches through his lung, then he slides off your blade and lands with a dull thud."

---

OPTION 2

Make THEM describe it. This is a perfectly valid thing to sprinkle in occassionally. Especially one-hit kills or on critical-hit kills and etc.
Just turn to them and say "Alright, describe what it looks like when Huariim kills this orc." Then write down THOSE descriptions for later use.

WarKitty
2016-10-11, 11:43 AM
Make up descriptions in advance. Have notecards. Pull descriptions as appropriate.

Saint Jimmy
2016-10-11, 11:59 AM
Cool! Thanks for talking about reading vs taking notes, that's really helpful. The thing about having players describe it is great, and I will mention it to a brand new GM who's game I am playing in. (Different from my d&d group I DM) However, it may not work with my players as they are less creative then me about this stuff... prewriting them is also great, I am going to do that as well, possibly copying some from fantasy works. Thanks again, this is super helpful!:biggrin:

Aembrosia
2016-10-11, 01:56 PM
All of the atoms in his body spontaniously seperate leaving only the appearance of a fine pink mist.

Joe the Rat
2016-10-11, 02:25 PM
OPTION 2

Make THEM describe it. This is a perfectly valid thing to sprinkle in occassionally. Especially one-hit kills or on critical-hit kills and etc.
Just turn to them and say "Alright, describe what it looks like when Huariim kills this orc." Then write down THOSE descriptions for later use.I was coming in to say this. It also gives the players a little more control of the narrative of the fight (you make a kill, you're in control of how it plays out). It moves the story of the combat from focused on you to focused on the "table," everybody adding a piece to the narrative. Sometimes you just need a little momentum to get the narrative working.

On general description: When you are presenting an environment, make sure you check off the S's
Space: How large is this space? High or low ceiling? open or cluttered?
Sights: Before content, what's the light like? What are the major features? Start at the player's end, then work across, start at the far end then work back, or start with the biggest thing, then work down in detail.
Sounds: What noises are there? faint dripping, murmurs of conversation, music, the hammering of tools, the clash of battle?
Smells: Musty, dusty, cooking meat, cooking something decidedly not meat, acrid chemical fumes, damp and moldy, trees and flowers, fresh breeze, the dry smell of an arctic wind.
Special: Anything of particular note - specify things the party recognizes, or should draw their immediate attention. This also gives you a chance to touch on forgotten details and important clues (which I do quite often). The rug the party had gifted the local Baron is in his study, complete with the bloodstains. It adds to the intimidation factor. The smells of particular herbs. Whether or not there's an egg in the nest.

I like to put sounds and smells ahead of sights when introducing a new area - the echoing and wafting cues can precede line of sight.

AnBe
2016-10-11, 11:06 PM
when it comes to kills in combat, I usually let the players describe how they finish their foe. I remember one guy was a fencer and he described how he ran his rapier through a man's chin and up through his head. That sticks in my mind for some reason. Descriptions aren't everything, but if you choose to play it up and put even just a little effort into it, it can make a game much more memorable than just, "oh, I rolled a nat 20. I killed the guy. My turn's done."

As for room descriptions, that's never been my forte. At the very least, describe what's in the room. Start with the basics. First off what, if any, monsters lurk in that dark chamber. What loot? Then describe if there be any environmental effects that might make the fight a little bit more tricky (a slippery floor, a room filled with a thick fog, random geysers of doom that spit acid periodically, huge lava pits, etc.)

KnotKnormal
2016-10-12, 07:44 AM
One thing i like to do with my players is allow them to describe what happens. after all its their story. what i do is when the last enemy in a fight falls, ill say something like this. "as raise your weapon for the final time, your acute sense seem to slow time as you..." and then I'll let them finish.

Also, i do the same, but the other way around when a player falls. leaving that player with a permanent scar some where of my choosing. occasionally I'll roll a D8 to determine where and play off that.

1 Head
2 Left Arm
3 Right Arm
4 Left Leg
5 Right Leg
6 Upper Torso
7 Lower Torso
8 Hand/Feet

I usually ad as much detail as i can at the time, sometimes going to far by explaining how the reverberation of a cod piece brought a hero to their knees. but i also ask my players to do the same. and some times you're not expecting the need for added detail and that's ok. change up what you commonly do by adding gruesome twist or comedic change.

"as the orc's head flies free of its body, its unnaturally long hair catches in the chandelier above you causing it to spin, and soak the surrounding area in a circle of thick blood"

tried to work both in there.

Take you time when adding detail. your players won't mind if they become more immersed in your world.

hope i helped.

Saint Jimmy
2016-10-12, 08:14 AM
Wow. Overwhelming approval for having PCs describe stuff themselves. I will try that, and use those S's. Thanks a lot for the help!