DM’s Chair # 4 : Storytelling Skills

When your game session begins, you are in charge.  Your players’ engagement will depend on your command of their interest and their attention.  Be confident.  Be in control.  Take the spotlight and hold it.  Be charismatic and engaging, enjoy what you are doing – more than 90% of communication is nonverbal.  Bring life to the story you are telling and the scene you are describing.  See how your players are reacting to what you are saying, and adjust accordingly.

Understand how to efficiently and effectively describe something, whether a person or a place or a sequence of events.  When possible, relate to real-world examples to describe an NPC’s appearance or personality, the size of a structure or its condition, a distance to travel.  Parse out the information carefully, providing just the right amount.  Don’t omit important details in a scene.  Give due attention to events of importance, go lightly on those that are trivial.

Questions will come from the players.  Be able to think quickly.  Be able to improvise.  Know that sensible and logical is always the safe way to answer a player about something in the story and its environment.  Your portrayal of situations or circumstances in your adventure will create precedent.  Don’t paint yourself into corners.

Outside of your game, practise your storytelling skills.  Observe real-life situations at home, work, school, with friends, and imagine how you would describe the scene to your players if the event were to happen in your RPG.  Think about your adventure from your players’ perspective.  Identify the critical elements of theme and setting and mood that need to be expressed.

Draw the players into the world you have created in your imagination.  Your words shape the images for them, the minor details and nuances adding realism and flavour.  Know when a scene or situation is described enough; don’t starve or over-season your narrative.




About d20horizons

D&D player.
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