Day 6 - Flavour.
I've been roleplaying now for some 40+ years now, and something I've learned during that time is that flavour in rpgs is something that has to be worked on, but there are a few elements to it. For the most part, I consider flavour in roleplaying games to be a mix between genres, the tone of the game, and the game mechanics. All three of these elements need to be chosen with care. When it comes down to it, certain genres and tones of games go well together, but the addition of the wrong set of mechanics can lead to an unoptimized or rather crappy flavour of the game. As they say, mix with care. :)
In some ways, I suspect the flavour in a game can largely be called "flavour text," whether it's about the game world, a specific environment, room descriptions, spells, monsters, magic items, or whatever. These can be a key factor in the enjoyment of the game, as well as for the players (and GM) becoming immersed in the game. When it comes down to it, roleplaying games rely on description for *everything*, and one of the best enhancers of the game flavour is the five senses. While sight/vision tends to be the primary sense that GMs rely on in their descriptions, it's very important to remember and use the other four - taste, touch, smell, and hearing - as well, although some of these (such as taste and touch) may have more limited applications. While it's fine to describe the things the characters see in the tavern, for example, describing an odd noise they hear from the back rooms, the sour odour of human bodies and freshly baked bread, and the sounds of an incompetent minstrel trying to play some music on the taproom's stage all enhance the flavour of the tavern situation, and give the place a flavour and feel all of its own. However, while engaging the senses is important for the flavour, it's equally true that this enhancement should be kept relatively short, but needs to include something that makes the moment interesting. Something to get the players' attentions.
That said, whether a roleplaying game is a company published rpg or a homebrew rpg, adding richness to the game improves its flavour immensely. And this isn't just a case of the GM doing all the work. If the GM has their players interact with the game and setting and add to it as well, this will make the flavour even better and make the game more intense and personal, as well as being enjoyable for all the players (and the GM as well).
Just remember: Flavour needs to be served in small doses, perhaps one thing in a scene, or one phrase in a discussion. To keep to the tavern allusion, flavour is a condiment, not a meal in and of itself.
And there you have it, my thoughts on this sixth day of #RPGaDay for August, 2021.
Comments, thoughts, questions, etc. are all welcome, of course. :)