So last week I tried something new. Before we began I told the group the plot. Not just a little here or there. All of it. I sat them down and told them exactly what was going to happen, in what order, and who is doing what. Then the darnedest thing happened. They started adding to the story. One player decided that there would be a statue of them in the middle of the town. No idea it was there. Another player came up with a plant that grows near by that is like poison ivy on steroids. My newest player got into her character. Like really into her character for the first time. It was an interesting experiment to say the least.
When I talked to another player (my wife who is not in this game) and told her how it went she said that the idea of knowing what’s coming would definitely help her to get in the right mindset to role play. She struggles with staying in character and accepting what’s “normal” for the game world, and I can understand that. We’re playing in Eberron which is pretty far removed from Tolkien’s Middle Earth. How would a new player know that magic robots are normal and that not all orcs are mindless savages and there are whole cities of orcs just trying to make a decent living? If you have any people new to the hobby or who struggle with improv and being in character, consider sharing the plot with them before hand. Just as long as they understand that Player Knowledge doesn’t equal Character Knowledge it should be fine.
My more veteran players were able to add to the story easily. I wasn’t blindsided by anything they came up with since we had talked about it before hand. The whole process took maybe 15 minutes so we didn’t lose much game time. Heck we even were able to get more accomplished since we all knew exactly where the story was heading.
Talk to your players about this before just throwing it at them. If the players really like being surprised then maybe you want to hold off. Maybe just try it once to see if it works for your group. You don’t need to tell them every single detail before hand. Just give them a broad over view of the upcoming session. I was still able to surprise the group when the BBEG turned out to be someone they didn’t know instead of the obvious a-hole from town. There is still room for surprises.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you do this or try this with your group.