Creative Ways to Make Your D&D Session More Interesting
By now, you’re a seasoned Dungeon Master. From the day you started, you’ve continued to learn, grow, and bring elements to your campaigns that heighten the experience of your players. Whether it’s investing in upgraded equipment, staying up to date on the latest literature, or devising new strategies to tell a story, you’ve come a long way.
Perhaps you’ve reached a bit of a plateau though. You enjoy playing the role of storyteller and facilitating an environment where players are free to take on the roles of their characters any way they please. But you want to take things to the next level; enhance the experience on an all-encompassing level. Just how do you go about making these improvements? We’ve got some creative ideas.
Heighten the Senses
Humans are sensory creatures. We react to sound, touch, and our visible surroundings. With that in mind, how can you go about increasing sensory awareness in your campaigns?
Let’s start with light. As your players venture through hostile, wild lands, there’s always a sense of danger and the unknown. To enhance this feeling, try turning down your lights. Maybe add some candles that act as torches dimly lighting the way through musty caves. Low overhead lights add the element of a cold, dreary night.
You’ve probably noticed how movie producers add background music during certain scenes in a film. Like the fast crescendos you hear during a chase scene. Or the melancholic ballads that play when something sad happens.
The same thing can be done during your D&D sessions. As you tell the story, try having some from music playing in the background. When a character dies, try switching it up to something somber. The great thing about music is that you can find just about anything on streaming sources like Spotify or Pandora. If you want to get fancy, try creating your own playlist.
If you’re looking for a place to start, YouTube is a great resource for background music and music that’s fit for a particular theme like traveling, in a tavern, or combat.
If your campaign takes place in a particular setting like the woods or in the mountains, try adding an incense or scented candle that reminds players of their surroundings.
While this might not work as well with campaigns whose environments are rapidly changing, it can be a great addition to those with static settings.
Food and Drink
Campaigns can last a long time. Over the course of many hours, everyone (yourself included) is going to get hungry and thirsty. Having food and drink at the ready will only help keep players’ interest over the long haul.
If you’d like, try having some small bites that are themed toward your campaign. Maybe it’s a hearty stew paired with a stout ale that characters and players alike can indulge in after a hard day or a long journey.
Keep in mind, however, that supplying food and drink for everyone in the game can be expensive. To help mitigate cost, have everyone contribute to a potluck or rotate who pays for food and drink each time you play.
Dress the Part
As a Dungeon Master, it’s up to you to make the campaign as lively as you’d like. Dressing up is a great way to do just that.
Customizing your costume is completely up to you. Maybe it’s a cape, mask, or even face makeup. Whatever you choose to do, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If you aren’t able to source materials from your personal wardrobe, thrift stores are a great place to look.
The best part of dressing up is that once you start doing it, others will likely follow. Before you know it, everyone will be in character.
If you’re looking for some inspiration or a place to get started, check out this video.
Who Are You Talking to?
Another way you can immerse everyone’s senses during a session is by using different voices for different characters. How’s your raspy old wiseman voice? Have you tried to sound like the snarky dishonest thief? By adopting different voices, players know who’s speaking to them. This helps with game flow and is just plain fun.
If you’re not great about using different voices, try practicing on your own. Even if it doesn’t come out perfectly during a session, your players are sure to love it and the moment will bring about levity. This video is a great resource for useful tips and tricks.
Where Do You Play?
Is your campaign taking place in far off enchanted forest or in a valley with a raging river? Go there. While your geographic location might limit the diversity of available landscapes, executing a campaign in natural surroundings brings a lot of fun and excitement.
Traveling to an outdoor location involves some logistics. Before you make this decision, be sure that you’re ok with getting some of your equipment and pieces a little dirty. It might be a good idea to bring a large blanket and make sure your outdoor space is protected from the wind and elements. Always check the forecast before you go.
As a Dungeon Master, the ways in which you can add flavor and flare to your sessions are limitless. You have full creative license to do just about anything you want. That’s one of the many reasons having the job of storyteller is so much fun.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ways to enhance the Dungeons and Dragons experience of everyone involved, try some of the strategies above. Most don’t cost much money and just watch, your players are sure to appreciate your efforts and in turn, have more fun.