The topic for the 10 May 2013 #RPGChat was Travel and Exotic Places.
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Today (tonight for those of us in Europe), we’re talking about travel! Exotic places! New cultures! #RPGchat
what makes something feel exotic?
A sense of age is a key part of place description. Shiny and new? Cracked and ancient? One over the other?
I would argue that you can be familiar without being generic. Exotic then has more to do with the unfamiliar
Exotic could be as simple as different customs or acceptable behavior. E.g., removing all leg coverings before entering a house.
The exotic can be found in our own history. E.g., in parts of early-medieval Europe, only royalty were allowed to wear purple
nothing beats creating the feel of being in a unique place like a exotic meal, unique smells and flavor
Don’t forget to make the location feel exotic to the players, not just the GM:
“Exotic” and “interesting” are in the eye of the beholder. I ask the players what makes a given place seem that way… to THEM.
The recurring NPCs found in a specific place can also be a great way to make it memorable, especially if they’re exotic too
That may be the most important thing to remember when creating new places – always have vague things for *others* to build from
the ‘blank spaces’ on a map can provide the exotic feel and be inspiration:
I like when there are small bits and town names in a campaign book. I fill in between and around those to make places.
some thoughts on travel scenes:
So, your PCs are traveling somewhere far away. How do you handle travel scenes? Are they just dots-on-the-mapping their way there?
I love a world where the geography can provide as much adventure as the big baddies. Make getting there part of the adventure!
Travel scenes only happen if the outcome of the scene matters to the adventure scenario.
For me it is based on the distance travelled. I am a big fan of the Star Wars wipe with flavor text
How to get to a new location in a game will greatly depend on the type of game you’re running.
For a Tolkien style, you really need to play the journey. Spielberg or Lucas-esque? If it’s a travel “scene” there IS trouble
On travel, my parties tend to travel by ship (sailing and star) or via dimensional portal. It’s cheesy, but the parties are big
Tips for bringing the exotic feel to your game:
Also just as important to describe how *creatures* smell. Ex: “The heavy smell of ozone surrounds the blue dragon”
I’m particularly fond of watching Man vs. Wild to have something to draw on when we’re doing wilderness adventures
where are good places to look for exotic feel? I love to watch the Food Network and Travel Channel for ideas and inspiration
#RPGchat: These 2 articles highlight cultural differences, inspiring for exotic locations: http://www.boredpanda.com/where-children-sleep-around-the-world/ … http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/breakfasts-around-the-world …
Randomness can help you think out of the box. Try plugging images into Google “similar images” to see what appears!
I get inspiration from watching people interact day-to-day and then try to amp up the significance.
and lastly this is very much a part of the appeal of the hobby
Part of the reason I play is to explore new worlds without always having to create them.
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