Review: Adventure Scents

Hi ConTessans! Today we’re going to be reviewing Adventure Scents! Adventure Scents makes cool little scented beads that you can use to add a little more depth to your tabletop gaming, cosplay or whatever else! You can find their website right here. They were gracious enough to send us some to try out. 

The first thing I can say about these things is that they are super cool. This isn’t even something I’d honestly ever considered, but is totally a very useful thing to have! Because let’s all be honest with ourselves, how often is the smell around your gaming table helping you get immersed into your game? It is so awesome being surrounded by the smells for the world you're already building in your imagination.

The website is really well designed and has a great little tool for figuring out exactly what kind of scent you need. They even had a bunch that are tuned specifically for characters from stuff like Firefly or Harry Potter. You can search by game, aesthetic, universe, or even to match up with a Syrinscape soundset. You can buy them in a number of different sizes and packaging, such as little packs to throw at - I mean hand to - your players, a large jar to fill a larger space, or a locket to wear for a cosplay. And seriously the number of different scents they offer is incredible. 


But of course, number of scents means nothing at all if they don’t smell good! And they do! Sort of. To be entirely fair, some of them just… Aren’t supposed to smell good. My wife is in love with the City Streets scent, but I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the super strong smell of smog, asphalt, and rubber. It is spot on and is totally accurate! It just stings the nostrils. Most of the packs they gave are fairly accurate, giving a pretty good feel for the environment they’re trying to convey. They’re not all perfect, however, and for example I found that - and I can’t believe I’m saying this - Moldy Crypt for example didn’t smell bad enough. I really wanted to get punched in the nose by a mummified hand and it was more like a gentle caress of a zombie’s fingers. Smoky Campfire or Randy Tavern though? Like being transported directly there. 

Being surrounded by the smell really just totally pulls you into the immersion of a scene. One of my favorite new memories in gaming is when my party and I came across a barbed devil and I combined the acrid, stinging smell of the city smog and tar with the fiery campfire smell. It smelled like that infernal thing was right in the room with us, and it lingered on and on and on as that stupid thing would. Not. Die. The memory just stuck all the harder with that potent smell filling the air. 

But all that being said, they’re not entirely perfect. It may not be a problem at all for gamers who sit around an actual table, as my group scatters around the couches in a living room, but I wish the scents were stronger. A few of them seemed to permeate the room if we had a fan going and nothing else competing for nostril space, but more often than not the smell didn’t make it much farther than a couple of feet from where the jar was. Of course, they do come in little packs that you can toss to your players so they can have it right in front of them… But that gets distracting. Most of the time I found myself saying “Oh wait a minute, I think I have something for this,” then digging around for a minute and finally passing out the packs… Which kind of breaks the immersion, especially when you take almost as long to find and pass around the scent pack as it does for the scene to move on. That could probably be mitigated by knowing exactly what scenes are coming… But that involves more planning. Which DMs TOTALLY don’t have enough of, right?

That being said, I highly recommend Adventure Scents. I’m willing to believe that our very particular setup isn’t super conducive to them, but others might! If we were playing around an actual table and not zipping through settings, both of my complaints are probably completely mitigated. I’m going to give them another test later this year at conventions and see if that doesn’t totally fix all my problems. I very highly recommend giving these a shot and seeing if they work out for you and your gaming group! Happy gaming (and sniffing)!