Unlock Player Creativity With Descriptive Options
We played another session of the WOIN RPG conversion of my Basilica campaign and it went well. We were running Old School Essentials, and the group opted to try a crunchier system. So far, WOIN is ticking all the boxes.
Today’s tip is not about rules though. Instead, it’s about something great one of my players did that I want to call out and recommend as a GM action, too.
Poor King Gralkar
The party was battling King Gralkar, a goblin infected by a cursed smoky crystal. The King managed to flee, and a chase ensued.
At one point, Thuridan’s player, Jared, mused aloud about whether the Goblin King might flee in the wrong direction. I liked this idea as I hadn’t thought of it, and the gobbo’s mind was indeed muddled from the curse.
So King Gralkar reversed direction and that gave the party time to catch up with him. Alas, Gralkar managed to escape the following round anyway, to wheeze, cough, and infect another day. However, the player’s suggestion was helpful, timely, and added to gameplay.
Add Options to Our Descriptions
We GMs can take this approach too. For example, we can end descriptions with an option or two. This helps guide indecisive or hesitant players. And as Thuridan did with me, it can surface new ideas to inspire gameplay.
Johnn: “You see three giants trying to get a saddle strapped onto the back of a carrion crawler.”
Johnn: “You see three giants trying to get a saddle strapped onto the back of a carrion crawler. The giants wave you over to lend a hand. You also notice the carrior crawler waving tentacles in your direction, perhaps as a plea for help.”
The second example introduces the ideas of helping the giants or the crawler. Perhaps aiding others was not top of mind before, but now the party is considering it – potential roleplay busting out!
Add Questions To Our Descriptions
Another approach is to prompt curiosity, or open Curiosity Loops in my lingo. End your descriptions with questions once in awhile. For example, “You see an old, rusted key. I wonder what it might open?” This invites players to consider implications and potential actions.
Finally, you might highlight consequences to further boost roleplay or help the party make more informed decisions.
Johnn: “You see three giants trying to get a saddle strapped onto the back of a carrion crawler. The giants wave you over to lend a hand. You also notice the carrior crawler waving tentacles in your direction, perhaps as a plea for help. If you help the giants, you might gain allies. But aiding the carrion crawler could give you an ally in a tough fight against the giants.”
Try enhancing your descriptions with guiding suggestions, questions, or potential consequences, to help seed players with more options and spur their creativity.