Sometimes, creating an dynamic and interesting environment can be difficult. I have found an interesting way to help organize my thoughts to so that I can say “yes” more often when a player decides they want to try thinking outside of the box a little bit. Tags.
This is something that I’ve borrowed from the FATE system. In that system, every scene has certain aspects that can be manipulated to give bonuses called “tags.” For example, a burning warehouse might have the following tags: Fire, Smoke, Crates, Shelves. An inventive player might be able to make use of any of these tags to give them an edge if, say, they were having a shoot out with a group of thugs in the warehouse. Maybe they the smoke obscures an opponent’s vision, or the crates can provide cover from gunshots. And, while this is similar to describing the room, when the dice start rolling and the action gets fast and furious, the tags can provide a quicker and easier reference than rereading the room description.
Tags that are obvious should, of course, be revealed to the players when you describe the room, though they need not be specifically called out as such. Clever players will pick up on these little cues and, hopefully, use them to their advantage, especially after seeing the GM do so.
Exactly how these “tags” can be used is going to depend on the game you’re playing. In D&D 4e, for example, they might give you some ideas of some good terrain powers that can be used. In Exalted, these tags could be used as a basis for stunts. The possibilities are many and varied.
So, try some tags in your game today! You might be surprised at how dynamic it makes the combat!
[tags]Game Mastering,RPGs,Roleplaying games[/tags]