There are several things that may be presented to a character when they enter a room:
- The NAME of the room
- The DESCRIPTION of the room
- The COMPLETE description of the room
- All visible DETAILS in the room
- All visible EXITS in the room
- All visible CHARACTERS / PUPPETS and THINGS in the room
The NAME of the room is always read to the PC. It should be specific, descriptive and (if possible) reasonably unique. It should answer the question: "Where are you?"
The Lobby, A Rock, Porch, Grassy Plain
The Lobby of The Stygian Building, The big flat rock on the road to Esaurius, The Porch of the Hatfield Steading, The Donompoc Plain.
The DESCRIPTION of the room is always read to the PC. It should set the scene and provide directions without being verbose. It should answer the question: "What do I see?" in a broad fashion.
- Run-on sentences.
- No spell checking.
- No logical clumping of similar items or features.
- No sense-related clues.
- Excessive use of parenthetical commentary or 'punctuation as rhythm.'
- Huge, dense, undifferentiated blocks of text.
Should be approximately one to six lines long (no more than 500 characters), contain indications of the size of the room, pointers to obvious exits, and major areas or items of interest. Sense cues are appropriate, but should be kept to a minimum. For example:
The large office is sparsely furnished. The entire
east wall is a window framed by curtains. Near the window,
a massive desk of crystal and bronze faces the door. An
area rug near the door sets off that half of the office
as a reception area. The door in the west wall leads to
The COMPLETE description is read to the PC only when they first visit the room. It should contain a complete, detailed description of everything that a PC can see without closely examining each feature or object. It should answer the questions: "What do I see?" in complete detail.
The date of their last visit is recorded and expires if the
PC hasn't been to the room for a long period of time. If the
'last visit' counter is expired, the COMPLETE description is again read to the PC.
A good COMPLETE description should contain all of the specifics about the room; details about the floor or ground covering, what the walls look like, what is on the walls and ceiling, any windows, doors, furnishings (perhaps by area or intent), small objects, sense cues, impressions that the room might convey, etc. For example:
The room has a clean, polished hardwood floor in a dense,
dark brown wood. There is a large area rug near the door on the
west wall that covers nearly half of the room. The subtle cream
and pale green pattern of the rug compliments the ash-blonde
hardwood paneling that rises to shoulder height. The walls
above the paneling are a pale aqua. Spaced around the room on
the walls are small bronze and milk-glass lamps, reminiscent of
orchids, that accent the desk.
The ceiling is high, rising away from the walls in three
shallow steps. The recessed central area is filled with light
and suffuses the room with a bright, even glow that casts no
The window in the east wall goes from floor to ceiling,
wall to wall and is so clean you can almost feel the breeze
outside. Tall, straight curtains frame the window like deep
green columns. The window gives a lovely view of Pantheon
Station and the train yard beyond.
On the north side of the area rug is a small couch and
cocktail table. On the table is a statuette of a streamlined
black panther with flickering emerald green eyes. To the south
is a small, waist-high table under a very abstract print signed
by Arthur Decco. On the table in a small pool of light is a
small replica of Lantz's /Man Controlling Trade/ in unblemished
...and so on...
The DETAILS in the room are not always read to the PC. These are descriptions of items in the room that are not THINGS in the database. These DETAILS are interesting features, but not separate from the room. Each DETAIL description should answer the question: "What do I see when I examine this item more closely?"
Since there is only one (defined) description for a DETAIL, it can be as complete as necessary. Also, the description of a DETAIL can lead players to examine other details: