I am someone with no formal writing background, who has come to love writing for the fantasy adventure role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons (fifth edition) during my free time.
I am currently running the adventure that accompanies the Starter Set for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, titled Lost Mine of Phandelver, and my players are about to reach a location in the adventure that has very little written for it, narratively.
They are about to reach Conyberry, not far from the residency of a powerful and knowledgable banshee
I felt like this would be a good place to try my hand at writing content. For those not in the know, Dungeons and Dragons can lean very heavily on the second-person point-of-view narration technique. Sometimes it leans so far into it, that it can feel like each sentence is poured of the same mold, so to speak.
You have a feeling of immense dread as you take in the macabre sight
You are reminded of your own mortaility as you witness the gruesome murder of Sir Important from Storyston
You feel delerious as the maddening desert sun beats down on you
The "you do x" format is pervasive, and for moments when a certain tone or theme is desired, such as when setting the scene for the first time, it removes a player's agency in at least a couple ways.
By declaritively stating "you feel x" the character is being given to action before the player knows why (think "you enter the haunted house and immediately feel a dreaded and ominous presence")
the player isn't given time to react, because if the GM is just setting up the scene, they don't know how to react yet
That said, my question is:
What sentence formats can replace second-person POV for the purposes of rpg / choose-your-own-adventure style narration?
I initially had my question on rpg.stackexchange.com here, but was directed to the writing stack exchange because my question has much to do with sentence structure.
I don't know what the formal names of these are, but I know that there are drop in replacements such as passive voice (replace "you see" with "there is") as well as third person narration ("Ambros is launched skywards 70ft before ultimately landing with a crunch"), but I'm sure that there are more formats and examples that could fit in just as well.
My reasoning for not simply using declarative "there is" or strictly third person narration is that I would like to establish tone specifically, and sometimes tone can be visceral, personal, and emotional. The format of strictly third person or declaration feels sterile and impersonal in a situation where I am trying to telegraph to the role players what kind of place this is, tonally. Having "there is" as a layer of abstraction between the players and the pretend world makes it difficult for myself and them to invest in and enjoy the scene.
Moreover, I am trying to grow as a writer, and replacing one writing formula for a singular other writing formula won't help me grow in any meaningful way. I will be more inclined to accept an answer that has more than one reccomendation, and effective examples.
Here are some samples of dialog that I have made in preparation for this adventure, so you can see what I'm trying to do:
Continuing further along the trail, past the willow vines and into the quickly darkening forest, barely visible are the flickering forms of pale blue fire. They dance around the trees as if chasing one another, living out mischievous and playful past lives. The air here feels freezing and seems to clutch desperately onto warm skin. The trees seem oblivious of the harsh chill, and the branches in direct sunlight have begun to bud. Toads stare apathetically as the trail winds deeper into the darker parts of the woods.
Slightly obscuring the view into this primitive abode are thin strands of black filament that hang like a beaded curtain. The strands are still in the air, and each exhale comes out in lush plumes of fog. An intense feeling of dread muffles every sense. After all, anyone with any sense would have avoided this place. It is a place where no living being belongs.
Plain to see is a modestly furnished living quarters. Thinly coating the room and its furnishings is a veil of dust that leaves the room looking like it hasn’t been lived in for several centuries. Strangely, a pearl necklace with gold fastenings gleam in the dim blue-green light of the abode as though meticulously polished. A deathly silence hangs in the air.
My hope is that I can find more sentence formats to flesh out scene setting moments, ie, the moments right when characters collide with a different setting and a tone needs to be established immediately, and therefore I can find more enjoyment in narrating those moment-to-moment, because I will have more variety.
Please let me know how this question can be improved upon.