We are always looking to enhance our inner sanctums for maximum coolness. The decor of our gaming lairs can range from nicotine-stained walls and a thirty-year old couch to a magnificent collection of deadly weapons proudly displayed among volumes of RPG books.
But what if you want to take your gaming to the next level and build a kick-ass lair and host epic games at the same time? All storytellers should appeal to the five senses in their games and adding to those in real life only enhances immersion. There are many Renaissance faires, local artisans, and fantastic Etsy shops you should explore, but here is a list to get you started.
“You round the corner catching sight of the blackened claymore seconds before it descends…”
Many dungeon masters default to visual as the primary sense described in any scene. Why not take it all the way and deck out your room with actual weapons, shields, banners— hell, even weapon shaped ice cubes?
Visual decor throughout your gaming lounge based on the game you are running helps give passive inspiration and shape imagination for both players and DM alike. In a LARP, costuming is one of the best visual stimuli we have to get into character and the SCA has medieval replica weapons and armor for your costuming or wall mount needs.
Furthermore; custom character art, sigils, or even figurines all provide an important stimuli to set the stage. Lighting, is also a set piece to remember, and cranking up those basement fluorescents is a sure-fire way to kill any mood.
“You feel the crushing impact of the sword as it hits your armor, recoiling, you touch the impact site and work the warm liquid left behind in your fingers…”
Let’s be real— nobody wants to sit on fold-out chairs from your aunts— while rolling dice. Part of tabletops appeal is the tactile sensation that is provided from physically being there. The table, the chairs, and the environment your guests inhabit can be spiced up with some classy furniture these days designed just for gaming. Geek Chic and GeeknSon both make special equipment for any tabletop experience.
Even if furniture isn’t what you are looking for, you can try creating physical props for your guests. Parchment is easy to make and a great way to deliver a set of explosive runes and kill your entire party. Since death is an important moment in their characters life, you might as well dress it up a little.
“A quick sniff of the black ichor, like sweet licorice, reminds you of an assassin you once knew…”
Scent is the one sense many forget to describe in a scene, or pay attention to. Yet it can make any room welcoming, or equally repulsive. If you are truly going for the authentic medieval smell—turn off all the plumbing in your house for a few days, build up a nice skin sheen, and buy a lot of lavender to cover it all up.
Or… you could just get some awesome incense, and look into whole room sprays from places like Black Phoenix Alchemy. Smells trigger memories, and when done properly, it’s one of the most subtle ways possible to set a scene.
“Sliding back onto your knees and flicking a potion off your belt, you down the antidote before paralysis sets in. The cinnamon-scotch flavor burns as it goes down, but it sharpens your senses right when needed…”
Nobody needs to explain food and booze. We all know it rocks. Honey and Bread are two staples that players and characters should be enjoying. But, if you need inspiration for medieval themed recipes, then try here.
“There was a slight clanking sound you heard from your left, in between the footsteps of your ironclad assailant. A hidden door unlatched by your companions. A way out…just in time.”
Music playlists, epic folk metal, pirate metal, or any other form of “the metal” all work to tie your lair and dungeon together. However, sometimes you only need sounds of a subway, or a lively tavern. Tabletop audio and Battle bards have you covered with a variety of sounds and music to set the audible backdrop for any session.
Some people have put all of these tips into play to create their ultimate gaming lounge, like the Game Tavern from Ultanya.
What have you done to deck out your gaming lair? Send us pictures and let us know who makes awesome things (or fine drinks) to make game nights even better!
Featured Image: (Ultanya Game Tavern)
Image Credits: Ultanya Game Tavern, Geek-Chic