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Fenixcrest

Things you do to acheive immersion

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What kind of little touches to do you put into your Fantasy campaigns?

I often draw pictures of the magic items that the player characters under my GMing receive, as well as illustrations of the magic glyphs used by npc casters, particularly if it's a piece of the environment, like a room whose floor is one huge necromancy circle.

 

I also sometimes make unusual calendars and number systems. For example, the calendar I'm using now is a 10-month year, each month having 3 weeks of 10 days each. The number system I'm using is base-6, consisting of a simple line pattern which is rotated clockwise to count.

 

Does anybody else do stuff like this?

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

Nope. I'm too lazy.

 

Though, my Fantasy game is 4th Age Middle Earth (shameless plug)... There is a thread in this FORUM! Read and post!

 

So, I do use as many maps and pics from various sources that I can. The mood I try to reach is normally attempted through my method of describing the situation. But, as the game hasn't gone as well as I've liked, I probably should work up something else...

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

In one of my really old campaigns, I sat down with Palladiums Fantasy game book and wrote down all of the verbal components for spells based on the power words in that book. I then required the spell casters in the group to say those words and if they said them incorrectly I ruled the spell casting failed.

 

I also went through and photocopied all of their Circles of Power and would hand them out to the players if they made successful Circle Lore skill rolls.

 

All of this combined into folders the players would haul around that became similar to spell books with all of their pronunciation notes and photocopied spell circles and runes. It was really quite cool. But then, I had a lot more time in highschool.

 

Now I just draw maps and occaisionally find a funky font that I write cryptic notes with and print out to give to the players for translation. I still actively look for cool "primitive" music CD's to use as ambience for certain locations. Thus far, Thunder Drums has been the most used and favored for primitive tropical cultures.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

If I could draw, my games would be better served. I do the basics:

 

- Draft maps and put them on the hex board for ease of movement, change lighting, etc.

 

- I give lengthy, detailed descriptions. For a while I was concerned I was boring everyone, but they're in high demand, so that's good news. That alone actually does a great deal.

 

- I do a lot of research on ships, costuming, weapons, blazons, and what have you. I've found that taking an idea and expanding on it, rather than trying a half dozen ideas, is usually a good plan. Heraldry is a major part of my campaign, as is well-enough constructed ships to pass fantasy muster, without trying to rewrite Master & Commander.

 

- I try to make sure I have my Monster Manual on hand with creature images as necessary. I've considered what mayapuppies did, but that's a bit more work on 'look & feel' than I was willing to put in, when I could be spending that time drafting new plot lines and concocting NPCs.

 

- I strive to make every single NPC different; even the mooks have minor variances in my head, then aren't just cannon fodder, and villains aren't just villains; they generally have motivations, and RPing their reactions based on how they think makes them unique, understandable, and very, very hatable.

 

- Taking a nod from Quentin Tarantino, I also try to match music with environment, that isn't the LOTR soundtrack. For example, when in Aelvish lands I'll play Medieval Babes, because they sing in so many different languages. When in a dockside town, I prefer Great Big Sea or a similar feel, such as Father, Son & Friends for the appropriate setting.

 

- For doing things such as handing out leaflets and what not, I'll usually douse the paper in coffee, then hang it to dry. While you get slightly coffee smelling paper, the effect is perfect. Yellowed, a little crinkled, and with a few tears, comes out exactly as you'd imagine. I drafted an entire document (took me a good three hours) of one man's insanity, using looping circles for his writing. From afar it looked like a series of twisted, flowing lines, similar to the pattern seen in a Van Gogh painting, but when you started reading it, you had to twist your head, twist the paper, and see how far gone dude was. That I got mad props for.

 

And I bust my butt making sure I know everything in advance; each MOBs basic stats, the plot, the names of necessary NPCs and the flow and pacing of the story. Once I've done all that, I do more as necessary. But that's my basic prep.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

I've always found the experience better playing in games with Props....our Fantasy Hero GM always has slightly burned letters (actually burned...) wax sealed scrolls, etc.......He enlists our help creating races, or fleshing them out....he and I created a Draconian Pictographic language........ Friends that put on games at Cons do the same thing. I've played in Shadowrun games where you came in, put your hand on a scanner, got your pic taken then laminated on a "security pass" then had to sit and open up an "Employee" packet complete with application and employment contract all the while the Sader-Krup flag was above the table staring down at you. Fun stuff.....

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

Tea also works for yellowing paper.

 

I do props - the most recent being a book about hell and how to summon demons, which I partially bound (the writer was interrupted before they could finish making the book)-

"Die_Holle.pdf" here http://www.curufea.com/Wikka/wikka.php?wakka=WsCampaignfiles

 

I've done powerpoint for a scifi game.

 

Maps, props, miniatures, models - and music.

 

It the current game I'm running I'm not doing lots of description - this particular genre of high fantasy things happen quickly. I especially don't do research :) I've had problems before as a player in other folks high fantasy games, by mentioning historical things. My game is not realistic medieval, so it took me a while to get into the hang of genre over logic.

 

I do a fair bit of world creation to be familiar with how to simulate the setting for my player's actions. Mostly the plot occurs as a couple of semi-formed ideas on the bus to the place we're gaming :)

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

Due to a complete lack of players in my area, I haven't actually run any games in quite a while. However, that hasn't stopped me from planning them.

 

For every major NPC, I have Googled an appropriate portrait and written stage directions for myself as to how the character should be played, including a well-known voice to emulate. For instance, I have a ranger NPC who is based in the largest swamp in my world. I have chosen to vocalize him as the famous TV Cajun Cook, Justin Wilson.

 

I also Google scenery shots. It's amazing what you can find on Google with the right search words.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

... Generally' date=' I take a shower.... ;)[/quote']

Ah. But if this is a true middle-ages feel you are going for no one should bathe for at least a week before the game. They should just try to cover their odor with layers of clothing and perfumes (if they are wealthy characters). Poor characters should just come in their natural odor.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

Ah. But if this is a true middle-ages feel you are going for no one should bathe for at least a week before the game. They should just try to cover their odor with layers of clothing and perfumes (if they are wealthy characters). Poor characters should just come in their natural odor.

Good God, you mean all those gamers are just being immersive? My entire view of fandom has shifted.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

For the most part, the most I've done is to try and create a few props for the players. Most of the time, I don't do anything at all. Some of my worst games have been laden with cool stuff and some of my best games had only the players' imaginations. I've seen it go both ways to recognize when the players are into the game and when they are not. If they are not, then it's just best to leave it at that and try something else.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

I have a long-standing tradition of casting real magic spells' date=' and committing suicide whenever a character dies.[/quote']

 

I thought only female DMs did that - I read that somewhere...

;-p

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

I created maps for the world and showed the players the parts of the maps that were relevant for them. Leaving some of the world a mystery, even to the most traveled of them.

 

I created an opening scene, something that leaves some mystery of their past but consist of things we had discussed for their character.

 

Perhaps the most relevant thing that I have done so far is break each character off in their own mini-game. During the character creation they help me name the plants and the animals, land marks, ect…. We talk about mythology and I feed them information about the world in which they live. As time goes by the world evolves into something they had a hand in creating and that has created the feeling that the world is real for them. It also allows them to have something that is not party related and gives them some experiences to bring to the table. Not only has it been extremely fun but when they all 3 come together it is going to be a blast watching the pasts that we played out make its way into coloring the world for each of them.

 

The game is still new and im still new at GMing so there is more to come. I have some multimedia stuff that I'm working on and with Garageband I have come up with some soundtrack stuff to play.

 

Emissary

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

I've used maps and illustrations (duh), sound effects, music and special lighting. Two events spring to mind, though.

 

One was a cross-genre game where everybody came in costume. Susan was Power Girl (duh again), someone else was a Dr. Who knockoff, a space pirate, a 12th century knight, a kender and so forth. I was a Tarzan knockoff. (Yes, waaaaay back then I could get away with a loin cloth. Well, at least I wasn't overweight).

 

I also ran a sci fi game which involved a first contact. I created a puppet of the alien race for them to interact with. It only spoke in clicks and buzzes and they had to try to communicate with this spider thing. I also made a video for that one where I simulated a distress call from a damaged ship. I filmed it from an odd angle (shooting upwards and cocked) to simulate zero G. I even had a few items dangling from invisible black threads so that they would slowly spin in mid-air. Those were good games.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

I've used maps and illustrations (duh)' date=' sound effects, music and special lighting. [/quote']

 

That sound clip you did where the barbarian guy was apologizing for something in the middle of the jungle was pretty cool. And that one with the porcupine talking, too.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

Wow. Now that is a level work I haven't gone too, keithcurtis. If I hadn't just repped you, I would. Mind, I really can't imagine doing any of that, since my immersion is the writing and conveying of the story. Highest compliment I've ever been paid by a player:

 

"There are times - usually multiple times a game - when a description is so vivid I think that you're reading it from a script. But then I look at you and your eyes are shut, you're just telling us what you see. That's awesome."

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

Yep. I used to make gimmicks to aid the game, but as often they detracted from it. For me the one key element to immersion - the one thing that's never failed me - is to know your game world initimately. That way you can describe accurately what's there and if someone asks about a detail you haven't plotted in advance you can simply provide it - because you already know what *should* be there.

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

I once created a "lost manuscript" about swords of power for a Highlander game I used to run. I practiced my calligraphy and translated the story to Latin, which I have since largely forgotten.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

For my newest campaign what I've done is taken immersion to a new level (at least for me)

1. three-dimensional renditions of all major villains and heroes (thank you city of heroes modeler)

2. Pre-recorded descriptions of backgrounds of major scenes combining an appropriate soundtrack with a morphed version of my voice (thank you audacity and morphfx)

3. movie and or television sound clips that can be used as generic statements for the appropriate characters for example

stormtroopers -> agents (there he is, blast them)

Darth Vader-> megalomaniac bad guy (your powers are weak)

 

4. A web site to organize all the resources

5. Photographs of artifacts /locations (taken from smallville\Superman\Lord of the rings, etc.)

 

6. My computer connected to a projector so that everybody can see above images (as well as the hero combat simulator that I use)

 

7. Miniatures and three-dimensional maps (thank you heroclix, urban mayhem)

 

I'm basically going for as much multimedia content as I can possibly get into the scenario, not to replace my descriptions which I still have, but to enhance them.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

If we are talking about calendar system, the Magerian Calendar is the main one for my current focus on Vanor.

It is a ceremonial calendar and is based on the religious lore of the fire god Anortren. Since 5 is a sacred number, all month are base on 5x5 matrix- 5 weeks of 5 days.

The calendar is arranged in a two year cycle- one with 14 month, and one with 15. Midsummer is a day not attached to any month. Its an independent day. In leap years (years with 15 months) another day is added to Midsummer.

Therefore, normal 14-month long years have 351 days, and leap years have 377 days.

 

I don't realy preper special stuff for my games. I do it all anyway for my setting's website.

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

For my newest campaign what I've done is taken immersion to a new level (at least for me)

1. three-dimensional renditions of all major villains and heroes (thank you city of heroes modeler)

2. Pre-recorded descriptions of backgrounds of major scenes combining an appropriate soundtrack with a morphed version of my voice (thank you audacity and morphfx)

3. movie and or television sound clips that can be used as generic statements for the appropriate characters for example

stormtroopers -> agents (there he is, blast them)

Darth Vader-> megalomaniac bad guy (your powers are weak)

 

4. A web site to organize all the resources

5. Photographs of artifacts /locations (taken from smallville\Superman\Lord of the rings, etc.)

 

6. My computer connected to a projector so that everybody can see above images (as well as the hero combat simulator that I use)

 

7. Miniatures and three-dimensional maps (thank you heroclix, urban mayhem)

 

I'm basically going for as much multimedia content as I can possibly get into the scenario, not to replace my descriptions which I still have, but to enhance them.

49% of me says "get a life," 51% says "Can I join the game?"

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

Find a cold mountain lake and jump in it.

 

Oh wait, you meant that immersion . . . okay. Hold on.

 

__________________

Get out a copy of National Geographic, point to a bit of scenery, and say "You guys live here. Cool? Now, the adventure for tonight...is finding dinner."

They cannot ignore this. It is not one dice roll and it's over. They just stepped into Survivor: The Roleplaying Game.]

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Re: Things you do to acheive immersion

 

I've made use of pictures of major NPCs (via artwork found on the net since I can't draw) and music in various languages when characters have attended concerts and such.

 

When I was running a Macross game years ago, one of the characters was the resident Minmei clone, and when there was battles at various points she would often sing to try to influence the enemy. The player actually prepped lyrics and proceeded to sing whenever she did this as a way of getting me to give bonuses. He was actually not a very good singer, but the effort was worth the bonuses, and it fit the game. Music is power, after all.

 

 

Heh, that reminds me of a "multimedia moment" many a year ago. In a Champions game the party was pretty much dead, they'd finished off the villians but secondary explosions had gotten them. Only one party member who was elsewhere in the base was left up and around, and he had to reach the rest of the group before the obligatory big bomb went off. I'd set up a clock to show when the bomb would go off, and the clock was counting down fast...

 

Suddenly, on it's own, the CD player in the background set to play random tunes kicked on a new song....the theme from "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

 

I still remember the looks on the player's faces. :D

 

On another note, I always wanted to make up a set of Powerpoint slides to go along with the briefing my heros got. Either that or do a Flash one, but I think the Powerpoint one would be easier. However, since I've been playing mostly Fantasy games for the past few years, it hasn't been appropriate.

 

Rob

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