I know a lot of DMs and adventure writers take seriously the commandment to engage as many of the reader/listener's senses as possible. Thus, in addition to seeing walls and ceilings with precise measurements in feet, the players should be led to hear the whistle of the dungeon wind, feel the dungeon sands underfoot, smell the dungeon dung and taste the dungeon luncheon.
Well, sensations are feelings, right? And feelings are emotions, right? So why shouldn't we describe the characters' rising gorge, crawling skin, or sense of peace and serenity? Why shouldn't it be OK to chase a short description of disgusting stuff with "A feeling of revulsion fills you as you view the scene"? To specify that you feel the malevolence of an area "deep down in your bones"? Or just write something like "this room smells foul and repulses you with its slimy aspect"? (All examples from Wheel of Evil, by the way.)
I'll tell you why not.
|This has so many other uses than telling players how they feel.
Secondly ... As Craig Heir forcefully and concisely argued here, second person presumes the sort of emotional, bodily or sensory reaction the addressed person is going to take. This violates the mind and soul of your player-listeners, and doesn't respect their characters' special senses or reactions.
Shawn Merwin's excellent advice: use third person when writing descriptive text. This leaves it to the DM to translate this into second person, which is great in many ways. It lets the DM adjust for the special abilities, states or knowledge of the characters. And, basic presentation skills only improve when you go from reading text off a page to improvising from notes. Boxed text enables the stereotypical awkward middle-school dungeon master, monotonously reciting from behind the screen without eye contact. It's okay as training wheels, but fatal to any sense of spontaneity.
I don't mean to single out Wheel of Evil, which is otherwise a very cool, varied and inventive adventure. A while back I bought a CD including Bits of Darkness: Caverns, a play aid filled with creative and well-researched ideas about natural underground caverns. But then there's that encounter ... the one where your players are reminded of the horror of being so deep underground and the horror then invades the characters' minds (no magic, just spontaneous claustrophobia and boxed text) ... and they actually have to make a Will save to avoid running around like decapitated chickens.
What a blemish on an otherwise fine product! Make the players scared, I say. Have them lose their way, blow out their light, make them think the ceiling is about to cave in. Do anything, but leave alone the inviolable fortress of their minds!