Dungeons, Dragons and Openness in Your Tabletop Adventures

For anyone who follows my Dungeons and Dragons advice, you will know that I am a big fan of openness around my table. Almost all of advice articles mention conversing with your players and making sure that everyone is on the same page going forward. And honestly I believe this is the most important thing you can do as Dungeon Master or as a Player in any D&D or Tabletop RPG game.

But why do I believe this so strongly? Well, there are four main reasons.

1. It Helps the Game Progress

Sometimes a campaign can fall into a bit of a lull, and you can have game after game where the players don't know or haven't decided what they are going to do next. As a Dungeon Master I don't mind a few "Directional Games" as I like to call them, as it gives the players a chance to discuss what has happened in the campaign, and their place in the world as it stands.

However too many of these games will bring your campaign to a grinding halt. So as a Dungeon Master I find it helps to recap the goals of the game and what the players are trying to achieve. Remind them of some of the actors that are involved, and let them know of a few potential consequences. So if you are being chased by Bandits and are currently hiding out in town. Remind the players that the bandits are still outside of the town and angry at them. This gives them a concrete problem to focus on and solve.

As a player, hiding you intentions helps no one. Remember that there is a distinction between player knowledge and character knowledge. Letting the players and DM know what you want to do in game will let them help you achieve that goal. But it's never going to happen if you don't tell anybody.

2. Game Ruiners Become Game Changers

What happens if one of your players wants to radically alter game? Maybe they want kidnap one of the party members. Or perhaps they are interested in slowly becoming a treant. Or Maybe they want to take the entire party back in time to the start of the campaign. Whatever they may want, it is not just going to change the campaign for their characters, it is going radically alter how the games will work going forward.

It is important that everyone is on the same page and knows about the game changing decisions that are coming up. Now sometimes the point is to put players on the spot, but that is more of a right reserved for the Dungeon Master than it is for the players. Since the players are supposed to be on the same team, these sort of game changing decisions can actually ruin the game for some, spoiling their interest.

When Thomas set the party back to the beginning of the Campaign in Game 25 of Arachnophobia, a number of people had some qualms with the idea. Elijah had no interest in playing through the exact same lower level area again, and wanted to get on with the campaign. And who could blame him? It had taken 25 games to get where they were.

So as a group we talked it out, and agreed that given my Butterfly Effect we should be able to have a different enough experience this time around to keep it interesting and that I would change things up if things got a little dull.  It turned out that this second run through the start of the Arachnophobia game couldn't be more different than the first, but the point was that we made sure to talk about it as a group. That way everyone was still in the game and having fun. Because that is what it is all about.

3.  You Get the Info You Need To Plan Ahead

If you keep everything that is going to happen completely close chested then you will miss out on some vital player reactions that will help you as a player and/or DM plan for the future.

For example, in my Age of Heroes campaign the group is getting very close to helping a dethroned nobleman raise an army and retake the city that was once his. However this meant a drastically different direction for the party. And I really needed to make sure that they were aware they were heading towards this, and of course wanted to go there.

So before we started one of the sessions I sat down and talked to them about the Advanced Battle System and other methods for handling large battles, told them that was essentially what they would be doing, and got everyone's opinions. The reactions, thoughts, and ideas that came out of this conversation helped me set up the next part of the game as I knew where the players were interested in going and what issues I needed to address.

Did we decide what we were going to do completely? No. But we did decide to play out their course to it's logical conclusion.

4.  Makes Sure Everyone is Having Fun

I said it before and I will say it again. D&D is about having fun. If people aren't having fun then they should say something, and everyone else should listen. Whether they are not interested in a plot point, having trouble with another character in the party, or simply have no idea what is going on, you should always feel comfortable talking out these sorts of conflicts.

And remember despite what people would have you think, compromise is not a bad word. It is in fact a foundation on which relationship can be built. It this spirit of comradery, and an attempt to work together that makes D&D fun. So apply that same thinking to resolving this sort of out-of-game conflict around your table as well.

So those are the four main reason that i recommend you talk to your players. it will make the games run smoother, make sure the objectives get completed, and make sure first and foremost that everyone is in the game and having a good time.

Written by: Andrew Gregory
Dungeons, Dragons and Openness in Your Tabletop Adventures Dungeons, Dragons and Openness in Your Tabletop Adventures Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 6/21/2019 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5

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