Have you ever asked yourself how much surroundings play a part in getting players and GMs alike even more into the games they’re already in love with?
'Course you have, we’ve taught you well after all!
I still remember feeling the urge to whip up a quick game of Suicidal Surgeons Surround You *Copyright* the last time I went to the hospital to have my violent tendencies checked.
They’re working fine, thank you for axing.
Point is, the more you go out of your way in setting up a scene, even so much so that you can only run a game once in a red moon we all know how rare those are, but dammit, no more World of Darkness before the next one!
I know I'll personally wait in starting my horror campaign until I can get all of my friends together at this old, abandoned ranch just over the hill from my grandparents house Creaky metal chains and weird, windy circumstances incoming!
Before my wandering thoughts get the best of me and I fall into daydreaming again, here are a few more places that would definitely spice up a RPG get-together
1 Office Building
Starting with an easier one for most of us corporate UAVs, this ones preferably done after closing hours for the full effect: just a few lights left on, nobody else around, its the perfect spot to start planning that big heist your party’s attempting next.
Obviously, modern times work best for this one, but if your office is located in a 150-year-old former dukes' retreat or something in which case you’re a lucky bastard and you should be ashamed of hating your job, there could be a treasure buried underneath that thing! - you can get away with time lines slightly more on the yore side of things.
You’d easily get away with role-playing evil corporation-level shenanigans in here.
Pay cuts, personnel reductions, unpaid overtime Ugh, just the thought of it sends shivers of joy down to my shriveled, black heart....
2 In the woods. At night.
Got a forest trek planned out for your players next?
Do it. Do it now! For real, though.
Get your camping gear, find yourself a cozy spot, don’t forget your dice, don't burn down the forest, and really get into that rustling leaves and unknown animal noises creeping about just out of sight. That’ll get the blood a-flowin!
The effect might be even greater if one of you is actively afraid of the woods, more so at night, that’s bound to give his character some new and exciting personal curled-up positions to explore. Might even make for personal growth, make them quit their desk job and become a ranger.
The other side of that coin would be them going insane, quitting their desk job and becoming a berserker, but your mileage may vary. Tranquilizer guns might come in handy.
But you didn’t get that from us.
3 Decrepit old dungeon/basement/mezanine-style place.
Yes, yes, we keep coming back to that old trope: the geek squad, cooped up in their basement, Mountain Dews galore and spells galosh or something.
But have you ever been to one of those old, brick-wall, arced-ceiling basements?
My parents place used to have that, old house cca. 1930s or so, the floor was just compacted dirt which really gave it a creepy vibe since it was uneven and the one flickering light we had down there seemed to never light up the entire place and always go out way faster than expected. It really felt way older than it really was, and the fact that the ceiling was high and the room itself was long gave it a bit of an echo that always freaked me out as a kid.
Dank, cold, dark What more could you ask for?
Years later and before the A/C days - Id take refuge in there during hot summer days. Good place to reflect on the frailness of the human condition as well as spectral apparitions left without an explanation to this day.
Just food for thought.
4 WWII-era bunker.
While most of these might be out of reach for our purposes, I think youll find plenty of these in all sorts of places- or so a quick Google search says (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/pictures-memorial-day-world-war-2-atlantic-wall-bunkers/#/6-WW2-Bunkers.ngsversion.1464298202948.jpg) still alive, well, and lacking any Danger or Keep out signs plastered all over them. We don’t condone trespassing or putting your lives in too much peril if you choose to take these as a travel itinerary.
Heck, even a thematic old French cottage/museum could work for this one, just to get you sucked into those days. Cue spy plots, fake IDs, hidden compartments and really bad French and German accents. Although we do do most of those regularly. Especially the accents. Even if they’ve got nothing to do with the situation at hand.
We alrready ave one!
Enough wandering, back to the plot...
Electrical lighting optional, thematic clothing mandatory.
This would go hand-in-hand with some LARP-ing as well now that I think of it. Just remember never to take things too seriously, as is the case with all RPGs.
No matter how loud your GM gets over the sound of gunfire, those Fockers aren’t really bearing in on your position, Jumbo GI, stop begging for a LMG, sit down and roll some dice, for the love of the game!
In the end, and I'll never stop saying this, your sessions are only as good as your GM and their chemistry with the group as a whole, but going all in as per the above may well help with at least the atmosphere side of things.
As always, not in the least an exhaustive list, I eagerly await further ideas to add to this primer.
Maybe we can come up with a High Level Games 100 RPG locations you need to see in a lifetime How high is too high? Special Himalayan Edition, 2nd printing, forewords by Reinhold Messner and the Abominable Snowman.
Alright, I'll stop now
Writer, gamer, and - provided he's got the time for it - loving husband, Costin does not rule out sacrifices to the Great Old Ones in order to get into the gaming industry. He's been role-playing for the better part of 6 years, but has been a joker, gamer and storyteller for as long as he can remember.
His greatest pride is once improvising a 4-way argument between a grave digger, a dyslexic man, an adopted child and a sheep, all by himself. That moment is also the closest he's ever come to giving himself a role-playing aneurysm... thus far.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.