Sometimes when we get together for a game and are “struggling” to get into it, it’s just because we are overthinking how simple establishing basic immersion can be…
Immersion Exercise: What Exactly Am I Fighting With?
The premise of this roleplaying exercise works with any character. When you have down time or a the game seems to be degenerating to references to last week’s Walking Dead, ask the GM or another character about your weapon (or theirs). Any weapon (or lack their of) can be interesting from plain wood staff to +5 holy avenger:
- Explore the Construction: Does the staff have a grip? Does the sword have a basket guard? A detailed etching on the pommel? What does it look like? Is there are reason for a particular curve of the bow? Maybe the style of cross-guard means that it wasn’t made in this city. That brings up questions about where it came from and who the merchant got it from.
- Explore the Material: Does the metal of the blade denote a particular process of smithing? Does it have a makers mark? If the hide of the grip from a particular animal (it is)? Is the weapon etched, tarnished or decorated in some way? If their is script or runes what do they mean? Each weapons makeup is a story in and of itself.
- Explore the Training: Your character probably has “proficiency” with a weapon they fight with. So where did they learn it? Who taught them? Is it the only style the weapon is used in locally? Oddly, roleplaying explorations like this can inform selections of advancement as feats, styles and even classes come up in coming to understand the weapon.
- Explore the Magic: Your weapon isn’t magical? Great. What would you get it enchanted with if you could? It is magical? Who forged it? Enchanted it? What processes were used or what tradition was the magic from? Is the weapon just a place holder til you find a better one?
- Explore the Absence: You don’t have a weapon. (You are an adventurer right?) Why not? Is your magic all that you need? Is there an oath or promise against using a particular material, weapon or committing violence?
You may struggle to find immersion from time to time in your game but chances are you are already holding a story in your hands (or maybe have it hanging off a belt)… even the sling stones come from somewhere? Taking a moment to draw out the stories of your weapons can really help get you in game.