Friday, June 27, 2008

Now You're Speakin' My Language!

Another great article over at ars ludi, this time about the possibilities to communicate through treasure:

Which leads us to the secret weapon most GMs overlook: players pay attention when you describe treasure. Treasure is (if you’ll pardon the phrase) a golden opportunity to reveal information.

There are lots of times during a game when players are half-listening, or thinking about other things, or maybe just wandering into the kitchen to get a soda. But in the magical post-combat pre-treasure window, everyone’s attention is high, their curiosity is piqued, and they are clamoring to hear what you will say next.

You want to show the players something? Put it in the form of treasure. Want to tell them about the history of the elves? Tell it through treasure. Want to tell them about the cult in the area? Tell it through treasure. Want them to give them a clue about the dangers that are three doors down? Tell it through treasure.

I can speak from personal experience, this is a great technique, and it creates really good feedback loops, where the more the players can get through treasure, the more they ask about it. It gets to the point where they simply will not accept another "silver and gemstone necklace worth 120 gp" and must know who made it, what stones are used in it, how they were cut and how they're arranged.

And this, to my mind, is all to the good.

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