At the school where I teach, we started an after-school Games Club, with tabletop games, chess, video games, etc. A few kids wanted to play D&D so off on an adventure we went.
One student had an idea for a campaign, so he wanted to DM. I’m down for that – less work for me!
It was his first or second time DMing, and, all things considered, he did pretty well for not being very familiar with the game or being behind the screen.
But I realized how important one thing was: eye contact.
He had this hooded cloak that he pulled down over his eyes. He could still kinda see through but we couldn’t really see much of his face. Made things all mysterious and stuff (it was actually pretty cool).
But man. It was hard to really get into conversations with NPCs. Not that conversation was hard, but it was difficult really committing to it and getting into character.
Takeaway for my own game isn’t “don’t wear a cloak.”
Wear a cloak. That’s awesome.
But for NPC conversations, be sure to engage your players. Eye contact is awesome for that, but if you’re going hooded (or audio-only if you play via Discord or something), be sure to make up for that in other ways.
NPC conversations are often the fuel that drives the story of your world. Make sure your players connect with you in that conversation.
Now get out there and tell a story!