Foggy Situation

Thursday, 26. August 2010

From time to time it’s occasionally useful to have a fog or mist over the table for dramatic effect.  Bubbling cauldrons, thick fogs, flying through clouds, enemies dissipating into mist when defeated and so on and so forth.  The question remains how to do this in an timely, cost efficient manner preferably without harming anyone in the room… Breathing fumes isn’t always the wisest idea.

The first is the time honored method of dry ice and water.  This probably scales the best; as you can use a relatively small container with water in it to put the dry ice into.  It’s also potentially one of the most dangerous; as dry ice contacting the body does some damage.  (Modern wart removers now use a similar method.)  Essentially a container is taken full of hot water, and dry ice is dropped into it.  The CO2 is denser than air, so it billows out in a neat fashion.  It also can displace oxygen, so using a lot of it in an enclosed space for a prolonged period of time is probably a bad idea.  Party supply stores should have what you need to make the dry ice.

The other option is to use a commercially available fog machine, such as the ones detailed here. The availability of these has gone up considerably, and the price has gone down within the last few years. A friend of mine acquired one for under $80 and was able to convert his entire basement into a foggy mess for a party a year or 2 ago, so they work rather well. They essentially boil a fogging solution (also cheap now.) and put it out into the air. Larger machines can produce more fog, but be careful that too much volume isn’t produced as players and storytellers still need to see the table. These are also obviously useful for Halloween, parties and the like.

These are just 2 simple, relatively cheap methods of extending the role playing experience. I find them particularly useful in Lovecraftian or similar horror setting to build tension. There is lots of fun having the fog creep in with accompanying background music just to watch players look around and dread whats coming next.

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