Back in middle school, I was the player in a solo campaign set in the Forgotten Realms. When my character first entered the desert of Anauroch, my friend flipped on his TV and played a short clip from a movie he’d cued up.

It showed the windswept, rock-strewn badlands one often encounters at the edges of true deserts. As it played, he said “I wanted to show you exactly what the edge of Anauroch looks like.”

That was about 16 years ago, and while I’ve forgotten the name of the movie and countless other details from the campaign, I remember that 30 seconds of video with perfect clarity — and the video itself wasn’t even that interesting: all it showed was some featureless desert terrain.

But there was something powerful about the connection between hearing his description, seeing it in motion and combining the two in my head as the game continued. And whatever that power of video is, it’s different than GMing with pictures.

Have you ever used short video clips to enhance your game?