Shared language for roleplaying

I found this article to be quite interesting and helpful.

One of the problems that I see a lot of folks struggling to come up with description at the table having is that they don’t have a media focus to hang their description about. I mean, they may have character attributes, tags, and rules of three — and those always help — but when it comes time to put those things in motion there is often a lot of stuttering as we try to get our cool cliffhanging moment to come off just so. Very often this is because while the person knows what they are trying to describe, they get caught by not have definite and clear ideas of how they should describe it….

I have had great success in getting past this, and helping others get past it, by co-opting conventions for various other media in order to give a focus to the descriptions in an RPG. Before each game starts up I’ll say, “This game is a graphic novel� or “this game is a movie� or “this game is a western novel.� From then on in the game all the players focus their descriptions through the lens of that medium of presentation. The results are that people have a better, more tangible ability to focus the contents of their minds eye and to develop a shared language to convey the meaning behind the description by using tropes we all already know.

Of course, it has prompted some questions regarding Dirty Secrets. How can I help encourage a shared communicative approach through my design work, especially in a genre that often revolves around the clever use of language?

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