the GMs mouth is a lot like a camera: d20 lenses to color the narration of mundane scenes

some lenses to color narration and scene description with. these are simple and basic enough that they can be used for games but if you try to wring a whole novel out of this stuff by god i'll nut tap u

you can also up the complexity by using more than one of these at once but don't hurt yourself trying

imo these work best when flavoring description in specifically familiar or low weirdness games; modern or historical campaigns, maybe vanilla fantasy. anything where the actual content of the world isn't going to be sufficiently odd to hold inherent interest. also good for providing improv fodder when you don't have much gas left in the tank. 

the ideal GM is a demon full of angels by Kriangkrai Kongkhanun

1. nature vs industry
2. new vs obsolete technologies
3. wealth disparity
4. hopelessness of poverty
5. surreality of wealth
6. growth from decay
7. some things end and never come back
8. everything is advertising for something
9. everything is religion to someone
10. sonder
11. presence of the real sacred
12. actual filth of evil
13. overheard insanity
14. everything hates you
15. the beauty of that which is beneath notice
16. the sky, the sky, the sky
17. wind and the romance of the distant unknown
18. you are a fixed point in a turning world
19. you are the only moving thing in a world of sleep
20. sometimes, and only sometimes, you just win

so whatever, your players turn down some unmapped alley and you're struggling for what to give them beyond "road"

the beauty of that which is beneath notice
pennies between the cobblestones glint and flash in an almost mosaic pattern that is repeated overhead in the wings of sparrows flashing brown and gold in the sun

you are a fixed point in a turning world
all around you, motion; a cat drops from a gutter overhead and rubs against the legs of the old lady sitting on the stoop beside you; one hand pets it absently and scatters fleas while the other holds the collar of a child determined to roll in a mud puddle directly in the path of the wagon that rumbles towards you 

actual filth of evil
sobbing and the sound of breaking glass from a house at the end of the street. a child pounds on the door frantically, pleading to know what's happening to her brother. nobody will look anybody in the eye. 


  1. Very nice. Reminds me of my morning commute.

    1. The lenses, that is.

      Anyway, I like this idea a lot. I feel like the concept lends itself well to customization—one could come up with a brief list of similar but distinct lenses to capture different facets of an attitude they're trying to capture.

      I sort of do the same thing but backwards when I write adventures. I sketch out a couple evocative phrases at the start and then use them as thematic anchors as I build out the scenario. I am motivated now to use those same phrases as descriptive lenses during a session.


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