Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Running Exploration

Evocative Environments

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 17
As the PCs explore, convey their surroundings by appealing to the players’ senses. This sets the scene, gives them a better sense of their environment, and can be used to foreshadow what they might find ahead. When determining which details to cover, think about what’s familiar versus novel. A new dungeon might have similar architecture to previous ones but feature ancient structures that set it apart. You can use the PCs’ familiarity as a tool to single out what’s new. When preparing for a game, imagine yourself in the environment and jot down a few notes about what you would sense. Conveying these details keeps the players on the same page about what they sense, even if each character responds to it differently.

Keep in mind that the more you explain something, the more important it seems. This is valuable for you to drive interest, but can also be a mixed blessing, since describing something inconsequential to set the mood can lead players off on a tangent. Sometimes, the best solution is to find a way to make that unimportant thing as important as the players think it is!