2.26.2012

The Wisdom of Gygax - On Hearing Noise


The following paragraph appears on page 60 of the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide. The punctuation and spacing are exactly as they appear there.

Hearing Noise: When a die roll indicates a noise has been heard, tell the player whose character was listening that he or she heard a clink, footstep, murmuring voices, slithering, laughter or whatever else that is appropriate. (Of course, some of these noises may be magical, e.g., audible glamer spells, not anything which will be encountered at all!) Be imprecise and give only vague hints; never say, "You hear ogres," but you hear rumbling, voice-like sounds." Failure to hear any noise can be due to the fact that nothing which will make noise is beyond the portal, or it might be due to a bad (for the listener) die roll. Always roll the die, even if you know nothing can be heard. Always appear disinterested regardless of the situation.

I love it. The distinctive voice behind the words. Archaic and a bit professor-like in it's way but never cold or impersonal. Also of great import here is the advice given to those looking for it, gems of knowledge strewn throughout for the observant reader.

Pay close attention to these words from the above excerpt, "Be imprecise and give only vague hints" and "Always roll the die, even if you know nothing can be heard. Always appear disinterested regardless of the situation."

These are words all DM's should heed, and not only in regards to hearing noise. All this in less than two inches of the book's column space. Perfect.

 

 

Art by Stefan Poag from the module Barrowmaze by Greg Gillespie

 

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