I have been tossing this idea around in my head haphazardly for some time now. It finally hit me tonight as an actual workable tool that I and other DMs can use to improve many aspects of their campaigns. I have decided to give this idea the name “Flavor Questions” as they are simply pre conceived questions with the goal of adding flavor and story to many things in your campaign world.
A flavor question is nothing more than asking the players indirectly to contribute something to your campaign. A good flavor question should allow a player to come up with a creative and sometimes surprising answer. I feel the best way to explain would be through example.
During a battle one of your players sustains an injury to their leg, a simple flavor question would be “That monster really put a deep gash in your leg, do you think you will develop a limp?” On the surface this question seems plain but underneath it can have many implications. For one it gives your player a chance to develop his personality and appearance beyond his initial concept at creation. It also allows the other players a chance to role-play and further develop relationships with the character.
Let us explore another example. When players design their backgrounds and personalities you should ask for a copy. Many times it will be up to you to find way to introduce this information to the other players. If you plan it right the effect can be wondrous. Let us say one player mentions in his background that he often spent time with his friends cutting the purses of wealthy citizens in the market. A good flavor question might be: “What nickname did your friends give you in your childhood”. This gives the player an opportunity to perhaps explain that part of his background and come up with a funny or amusing nickname, the other players might also jump in at the opportunity to create a nickname.
Asking players to name their objects such as swords and shields can be good flavor questions. Again it allows the player to further develop their personalities and can have an exponential effect on role-playing opportunities.
Say the players are arriving at a new town, or perhaps even a home town of one of the players. Ask the flavor question “You arrive at your home town of XXX for the first time in many years. Your uncle owns one of the local taverns; do you recall its name?” This allows the players to directly participate in the construction of the very world they wander. That tavern will become much more than any other tavern they visit and will feel more like their own.
I could really go on and on with the idea but I think you get the idea. Sit for a moment a think of some flavor questions you could ask your players and then share them in the comments below. Till next time, here’s hoping your games are full of fun!