Who are you people, and why would you make such a thing?
The founder of Adventure Scents is Jennifer Howlett, a former special education teacher, disability support provider, corporate trainer, and instructional designer.
She created Adventure Scents because she wanted to add a new multisensory dimension to an RPG adventure for a group of kids. She’d already set the scent with some cool background images and sound effects, added in some props and miniatures, and made some adventure-related snacks… but she felt that she was neglecting the players’ noses.
Since smell ties into emotions and memory, she really wanted to use it to create the right moods in the game, but none of the scented products available in the marketplace were going to help unless she rewrote the adventure as happening in a field of lilacs, next to a cinnamon roll factory, or under a laundry line. None of those sounded very appealing to the players – they wanted to adventure in a Moldy Crypt, or a Pirate’s Ship, or a Dragon’s Cave. But those kinds of scents just weren’t available.
Jennifer hand-crafts all of the Adventure Scents products with occasional help from friends, family, and a team of indentured gnomes.
What are ‘scentFX orbs’?
At the core of every Adventure Scents product are powerful scentFX orbs. While some might mistake them for scented aroma beads, they are, in truth, obtained by harvesting the olfactory glands of aging gnomes, capturing their most breathtaking and memorable experiences.
The orbs work like potpourri – to use them, you simply expose them to the air. You don’t need to add heat or flame, or spray anything around. This makes them a great choice to use in classrooms, convention halls, stores, or in your own living room. By the time you receive them, the orbs are completely dry and safe to touch. If you spill some beads, cleanup is easy – just sweep or vacuum them right up.
Will the beads leave behind a smell when I put them away?
When creating scent special effects, getting the scent out of the jar and into the air is the easy part. The difficult part is getting it to go away when you’re done. Who wants their house to smell like a Fetid Swamp for the next few days after a game session?
Our scentFX jars are specifically designed to slowly waft their scent around the room when opened, then to clear from the air quickly when closed again. This makes them perfect to use in a series as you progress through an adventure. There are no sprays, liquids, smoke, or dust to settle on nearby surfaces, so you can be assured of no lingering stenches.
Are your products all natural?
Our scents are made from a proprietary blend of fragrance oils, sourced from a number of distributors*. The fragrance oils contain both essential oils, derived from plants, and synthesized chemical fragrances. This is for the best. You wouldn’t want us to seek out an “all natural” source of manure for our Horse Stables scent.
*The gnome-glands that comprise the base of our products are more properly categorized as ‘supernatural’ than ‘natural’.
Do you test on animals?
We bring out our scents to test on anyone who walks through our front door. We suspect that our cats, Bracchius Cattus and Momar Catdoffi, would select our Welcoming Inn scent over any other fragrance in a blind smell test, but we can’t get their little blindfolds to stay in place long enough to give it a shot.
Other than that, we do NOT test our products on animals in any way, nor do any of our suppliers. In addition, our products do not contain any animal products*.
*Please note that gnomes are not technically ‘animals’.
How could I use the beads in an RPG or LARP?
Scents can help set the scene in a game, especially when combined with visuals and sound effects. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- To add atmosphere to your tabletop game, set an open scentFX jar in the middle of the gaming table when traveling to a new location. Your airship has arrived at the capital city.
- Use a hidden open jar to provide subtle hints to players or prompt perception checks. Does anyone else smell smoke? Maybe we should investigate.
- When acting as an NPC, wear a locket or pouch with scentFX beads that match the character. This guy reeks of cheap ale – I don’t think we can trust him.
- Have players wear lockets or pouches filled with scentFX beads to indicate temporary or permanent states (e.g. injured, healing, inebriated, frozen, on-fire, filthy,)
- Store objects in a large ziplock bag with scentFX beads to create scented props. Use scents to reveal the hidden properties of items. This lockbox smells like motor oil and exhaust fumes – maybe we should look for the key in the engineer’s bunk.
- Pass a scent pack or jar around the table when describing a setting to help set the scene and/or prompt actions. As you enter the cave, you notice an odd odor… does anyone want to draw their dragon lance?
- Turn off the lights and use sound, scents, and touch to provide information in an adventure. The room you’re in seems like it hasn’t been entered in a long time. There’s a thick layer of dust over everything.
- When LARPing, use tabletop scent throws to turn a living room into a tavern, convert a shed into a stable stall, or add realism to a staged vignette, like a pile of corpses.
- Let players follow their nose to an encounter by leaving a trail of beads for them to follow. That dragon has got to be in one of these tunnels – can you sniff him out?
How could I use the beads in the classroom?
Scents have a strong tie-in with memory and emotions, and can make history, science, and literature come alive for students. Here are some tips to get your started:
- Open a jar of one of our historical scents to set the scene for an historical study of Classical Rome, the Ancient Mayans, the Ottoman Empire, Feudal Japan, or the California Gold Rush.
- Combine scents with sound effects and visuals as students explore different ecological biomes, from mountain forests to arctic tundras.
- Allow students to earn scent packs as rewards when reading classics like Moby Dick, Dracula, or The Red Badge of Courage.
- Use scents as writing prompts to fire up students’ imaginations.
Do scents really make a difference in the way we think and feel?
We’ll let the experts answer that question.
How can I learn more about Adventure Scents?
Check out some of these reviews and resources:
- We’re featured on GeekDad.
- Geek.com reviews our products.
- Board Game Quest reviews our scents.
- We’re officially Nerd Approved!
- Game Informer weighs in on our products.
- RPG Net does an early access review of our scents.
- One of our Kickstarter Backers provides an in-depth review on reddit.
- Adventure Scents is featured in The Syrin RPG News.
- GreyHawk 4×4 reviews our scents on video.
- The Failed Task Podcast reviews our scents live in their podcast. (NSFW warning)
- The Pretend Wizards use our scents in one of their adventures.
- Pulpgamer checks out our booth at Origins.
- On Board Games covers our products in their review-a-palooza.
- Rolling Dice and Taking Names discusses Adventure scents in their podcast.
- The Caffeine Crew check out some samples.
- Blue Peg Pink Peg discuss our products (Listen to episode 63 on iTunes)