No, I do not mean I am practicing my sitting technique or staying awake. I am putting a lot of background effort into making the game into a more immersive experience, especially for my first-time players. In order to do that, I am trying a few different things… which I will share here.
If you were an olden days player of RPGA Living Campaigns, you might remember “certs”, certificates given out by modules to indicate magic items and special rewards. Now, I am sure certs were created to discourage cheating, but I always found the physicality of receiving a cert to be really fun. It makes it more real. I went out and purchased cardstock business card templates, which I am going to use as my game certs. This includes things like “Indefinite Madness” and even “Inspiration” which we sometimes forget, along with magic items. I type out descriptions and powers onto the card directly, and players can have them read around their character (instead of searching their character sheet).
The second thing I did (and I stole this from Matt Mercer over at Critical Role) is to download a ton of royalty-free music composed by Kevin MacLeod. (I am not really informed about the music industry, so there is no comment about what royalty-free is or whatnot.) Music is something I always wanted to have as a background when I DM, but I never really got around to it and never researched it enough. Also, there is the pitfall of having your players recognize a particular piece (i.e. The Rock, Braveheart, Gladiator, etc.) and maybe not convey the atmosphere or tone you wanted. After watching the Q&A session with the cast of Critical Role, I went and downloaded a bunch of very impressive music and I am slowly dividing them into categories for when I want to use them.
I hope you will participate in Extra Life 2015 or please donate and follow us at www.extra-life.org/team/visionary on November 7th. Until next time…
But… what do I know…?