How to add Flavor to your D&D Game

Posted by Annabelle Collins on


Flavoring is the act of adding a unique description or "spin" to a fundamental game mechanic, usually without changing aspects of how the mechanic works. It gives you the opportunity to create more vivid and memorable descriptions for the game you are running without having to worry about changing the balance.

Flavoring might be as simple as saying that all magic this character casts are shades of green in colour or as involved as completely reskinning a magical item to make it fit better into your world.

A wizard, sorcerer, bard, warlock, cleric or other mage of some kind casting magic with a strong green glow whilst looking serious

Injecting flavor into game mechanics will elevate your D&D sessions (or whatever TTRPG system you are running!) to a whole new creative level.


Why is it important to add flavour your DnD game?

DnD player not looking very excited to eat a D&D game that is bland and without flavor

Adding flavour to your DnD games is like adding flavour to a dish you’re cooking for friends. Whilst it’s not technically necessary, it makes a huge difference to everyone’s enjoyment of the meal!

Flavour makes the world feel more alive and engaging.

It helps your players feel an emotional connection to the world and become even more invested in the story you are telling together.

By flavouring mechanics yourself, it encourages your players to get creative themselves.



How to flavour DnD Actions and Abilities


When a player or character decides to do something, where possible try to describe it.

If a rogue wants to disarm a trap, mention the intricacies of the mechanism as they concentrate on knocking the tumblers just so.

A D&D paladin looking grumpy the rogue sends a poison dart past his ear Dungeond and Dragons DnD 5e

Catching a spring just as it was about to bound back, seeing the needle dripping with poison as it just misses your exposed finger tips …. these little moments really bring the game alive and make class abilities feel more special.

If you want an extra challenge, try to personalize your descriptions to suit the individual characters. Perhaps the rogue has a bit of a rivalry with the paladin - you might choose to describe the poison needle firing out and sailing harmlessly over the Paladin’s shoulder.

These little extra’s make a big difference.

poison dart for dungeons and dragons reflavoring magic items


Adding flavor to Spells and Magic


When flavouring magic it’s always good to consider where that magic is coming from and how that influences the way the magic manifests.

magic missile reflavoured as three darts made of hags blood DnD5e

For example, I had a hag recently cast magic missile at my party. I flavored the spell by describing her cutting open her thumb with her tooth and flinging her arm out, causing droplets of blood to spray forth, sharpening into long needles of blood.

It’s a lot creepier to turn to your other party member in time to see three long needles of blood pierce through their bicep compared to “She casts magic missile, you take 4d4 + 4 damage.”

artificer working on magical item

Encourage your players to come up with their own way of casting magic.

Maybe the Artificer describes their spells as being purely brought about by mechanical means.

A Sorcerer's wild magic may manifest as a headache slowly building with each spell they cast.


Adding character to DnD Combat


As much as possible, use exciting and varied descriptions to portray the ebb and flow of combat.

A great tip is to prepare your combat before hand. Have a think about the fighting styles used. Will a character be making wild untrained swings or fighting with well-trained precision? Are they tactical or reckless?

D&D 5e wolf snarling towards you

Where you can, try pick a few moments in combat to be “cinematic moments” where you can add story in.

A description of one character trying frantically to wake their unconscious friend whilst using a medicine check to stabilise them.

A dire wolf bearing down on a character with low health, drawing back its lips in a snarl just as the fighters sword pierces through its chest in a killing blow.


These are moments that take DnD combat beyond just rolling dice into a memorable story.


Flavoring Class abilities and features to suit the character


D&D player characters get many different skills and abilities. Athletics may come from a farmer background. Image of pitchfork

Where possible, link class abilities to a character’s backstory and personal experiences. This character has proficiency in Arcana because her mother was a woodswitch who taught her the basics

Aspire to have consistency in the theming between characters and their abilities. A druid I played was from arctic mountains so many of her spells were reflavoured to be icy based. Her Flaming Sphere was described as a sphere of raging hail and icy winds that dealt cold damage.

reflavoring spells ball of fire to icy storm for Dungeons and Dragons image of a raging icy storm

Work with your players to develop unique interpretations of their class abilities and features. Don’t be afraid to switch damage types or methods of casting as long as it doesn’t cause you a balancing problem.


Re-skinning Items and equipment


One of my favourite areas to add flavor is when looking at magical items and equipment. It has the power to make something somewhat ordinary feel much more unique and cohesive in the story.

For example, you might change the Boots of Winterland to a cloak made with the fur of the great Yeti King Bitterbleak. A heirloom of the Yeti-slayers house. Maybe your witch doesn't use a Crystal Ball and prefers to grow special tea leaves.


watercoloor image of a teacup and crystal ball for divination magics dnd 5e



In conclusion, adding flavor to your D&D games is not only fun and creative, but can help your players feel more connected to the world you're playing in.

By taking the time to describe actions, spells, and combat with vivid detail, you add to how alive and epic your story feels.

With a little bit of flavor, you can turn an ordinary D&D game into an unforgettable adventure!




I make magnetic modular dnd dungeon tiles to make epic snap-together battlemaps for all your TTRPG needs!

Annabelle Collins, Chief Artificer of Modular Realms and inventor of the auto-snapping magnetic system. She loves playing DnD games with her friends and crafting DnD Scenery


Hi! I'm Annabelle! I'm the author of this blog and a huge nerd!

I also make magnetic, double-sided, modular dungeon tiles!

My DnD terrain contains secret spinning magnets so that each piece snaps instantly to every other. They even come in a box disguised as a spellbook to store away on your bookshelf!

They're really cool, you should totally check them out here!

Modular Realms magnetic dnd terrain, basically a banner with a dungeon tileset I do laid out as different battlemaps and shown with the book box packaging

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