Player Tips: Adding stuff to a scene

Player tips articles offer a short series of tips to help you brush up your skills in certain areas, the lists aren’t exhaustive but keeping them in mind should help you develop your playing style.

In this player tips article we give some advice on how you can add stuff to a scene to make the game more fun for yourself, your fellow players and the GM, it can also help you succeed on your rolls by tying them into the story.

1. Check with your GM first

First things first, check with your GM that you are okay to make additions to the scene, it may not always be appropriate. If you phrase your addition as a question then you are more likely to get a positive response.

Okay so we’re in the stable out the back of the tavern, are their any water troughs and tack for the animals around here?

2. Make sure that your additions don’t contradict established facts

If the GM has already established a number of facts in the scene, don’t try to contradict them or work around them, try building them into your additions, the GM is more likely to reward you for working with the narrative rather than struggling against it.

Okay so the four guards are approaching the stable, perhaps they’ve been on patrol all night? They’re cold and tired meaning that they don’t spot us straight away in the darkness of the stables.

3. Ensure that your additions are consistent with the current environment/situation

If you are in a stable in a fantasy game, don’t ask whether or not their is a weapon lying around or a convenient firearm, think of things that might be found in your environment that can serve the purpose you want them for.

If there’s hay in the stables to feed the animals is there maybe a pitchfork or something that they use to move the hay around propped up against a wall?

4. Use your additions in your actions

Once you’ve gone to the trouble of adding to a scene and enhancing the description, don’t simply let it remain in the background, use those elements when you are engaged in combat or when you take action in the scene.

As the guards move towards the stables I grab hold of the pitchfork and hunker down behind the water trough, hiding myself from view.

5. Ask the GM whether you can get a bonus for doing so

Okay, so you’ve used your scene elements, don’t be afraid to ask the GM whether or not you can receive a bonus for doing so, at worst the GM will say no and you’ve still added a cool descriptive element to the game, however, if you’re enhancing their game then the GM is more likely to give you a bonus of some sort.

As the guard move around the water trough I stand up, kicking the trough over, spilling water on the ground at their feet and attack with the pitchfork, would I get a bonus since I’m attacking from surprise and they might be slipping about on the damp cobbles?

 

Ship picture is a free vector graphic designated CC0 Public Domain, the original image can be found here.

Matters of Fate: Viewer Request – Aspects, narrative permission/justification

James Branch asked whether I could do a video on aspects granting narrative permission or justification for certain actions, here’s my take on it.