Describe the Scene with E.A.S.E.

May 17, 2019
Storytelling

In the past, I've struggled with giving appropriate amounts of description to my players when they enter a new room, town, dungeon area, etc. I either left things too generic, or overexplained the area. Implementing this memory/guiding device has helped keep my descriptions short but insightful.

Environment. Describe the plants, structures, lighting, and weather. This information may be a bit generic at times, but helps set give a base "template" to layer other description on top of.

Atmosphere. This is less about what is seen and more about what is felt. It is the emotion that is evoked by being in the setting. Be careful here not to tell the players how they feel, but rather focus on how most people would likely feel if they were here.

Senses. Use your description to engage all the senses. Sight is easiest, but use a bit of flowery language to evoke the players' sense of smell, hearing, touch, and even taste (as applicable). This will help to get them engaged in the story and setting more viscerally.

Events. Now that the stage is set, you can talk about what is happening now. Here you will describe creatures, NPCs, or general goings-on. If nothing of note is currently unfolding, talk about what may have happened recently. This is an especially great time to engage your hunter/tracker character, who may pick up on bits of info others may have missed.

Here's an example of the method:

You step out of the dense woods into a small clearing. A soft rain falls, and the clouds block out what remains of the setting sun. There is a stillness in the clearing that is almost too quiet to be serene; white noise seems almost entirely absent. The smell of the wet grass fills your noses, but the air has a sourness to it when you take a deeper breath. Something feels just off. A keen eye (Passive Perception 17+) notices all the blades a grass seems to point towards the center of the clearing, with many laying nearly parallel to the ground.

Content info

Author:
u/kcon1528
https://www.reddit.com/r/DnDBehindTheScreen/
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