Content of the article: "AITA for planning to trick my openly uninquisitive players?"
First thing first, if your game is currently dealing with a city-spanning zombie plague brought on by an ancient minotaur demigod, stop reading here.
For all the others: my group is not the most proactive. They rarely take the initiative, narratively or otherwise, and they mostly lean on what they perceive as the "main quest". Almost all the elements of the game are seen through a "moving forward as fast as possible" lens, and that OFTEN means cutting short investigation, interactions with NPCs, and such. This is clear to everyone and has been extensively discussed in the session zero, and on a recent pick-up debriefing session when the characters got to the eight level.
I'm more of a sandbox-y kind of DM, as in I like to paint the broad picture and let the players approach it as they see fit. This has backfired pretty bad in the past, but in time we have reached a good balance: I paint the way forward as a bright, yellow brick road, and prepare several branching option that the players might decide to explore for more loot, information, allies, or whatever.
"They don't NEED to explore the eerie and seemingly abandoned tower in the swamp, but if they did they would find some clues and information about the creature that they're hunting and that is corrupting the whole place."
They usually don't bother, but hey, that's ok.
So, here's my current pickle.Up to this point, the campaign has been based on finding and clearing a series of ancient tombs, to destroy the slumbering ancient evils within before they awaken. I'm preparing the next leg of their journey. This time, they have the chance to catch one of the main antagonists plotting the awakening.They have no idea about who that is and what he wants, because they never stopped to investigate and have always proceeded to the following tomb without a second thought. But he knows who they are, and he knows that they have been pretty good at bruteforcing their way to the bottom of the tombs and putting down whatever's in it.Knowing that they're ruthless and efficient, this time he's trying to trick them (through deception, NPCs, and illusions) into opening the tomb for him, and smashing the "security system" of traps and construct so that THEY end up freeing the way for the slumbering evil to get out.
I fully intend to do it fairly, by not overextending what the antagonist knows about them and the ways he can trick them, and also by peppering the tomb with clues on what's inside and the measures that have been set up to keep it there, but I realize that it is entirely possible that the group will just rush to the center of the tomb while annhilating whatever's in their way, down to the last big-boss-fight of a central nexus/golem that is keeping the tomb together (and the evil trapped).
And I'm afraid that, if that's the way it will go, my players will feel tricked and even "punished", regardless of the amount of "These are things that you ignored along the way and that could have easily tipped you off" from my part.To be perfectly honest, I like the idea of the group rushing in unprepared and uncaring and making things worse, only to reedeem themselves later (they're 8th level now, right on the cusp of ACTUALLY being powerful and able to right the wrongs that they have caused), but on the other hand I don't want to give them the impression that I'm holding their playstyle (that, again, we're all very aware of) against them.
What do you think?
Tl;dr: my players rush into situations, and they like to. Should I have a villain try to trick them into doing his bidding, and risk to come out as a DM who punishes his players for having fun in the way they like?
- 2 fo 5 new players dead in 2nd session, felt like a letdown
- How do I deal with a quiet player when other party members are becoming frustrated with him?
- Smashed through Rise of Tomb Raider in three sittings
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