Content of the article: "Get to know your world to save a world of pain"
After making a comment on a post about improvisation and realizing that this concept might seem obvious to me but not to others, here we go.
Get to know your world well early on, before starting is even better, whether it is your own homebrew world or an existing pre-written setting that you are running. By understanding the cultures, economy, attitudes, and limitations of the world setting it will make it easier to improvise content when players might ask questions about things or start to head away from your well fleshed-out route.
Example: A player might ask about the mood of a settlement when they enter it for the first time and its likely this 'mood' is contextual to the ongoing storytelling of the current scenario but perhaps being able to give them some context to what the locale is like can help create a more vivid image or aid players in beginning to understand what's going on around them. "The town of Habitus is a large sprawling coastal city, it's known for having one of the largest and busiest fishing fleets in the region and its people are often content with their lives due to the prosperity reaped by the port. As you walk down the main road towards the market place you don't appear to hear the usual hubbub of people, most are keeping to themselves and acknowledge you with looks of disdain."
A lot of people would only mention the 2nd part of that introduction which would lead a lot of players to assume that the town is always rather depressing and the locals hate outsiders when you as the DM know that isn't the case. No matter how obvious things may seem to you as the DM remember that it's only that way as we have the full picture in our heads, players don't. (that in itself is always excellent advice to remember)
When running your sessions you may come across inquisitive players that just want to know more about things going on around the place as well, I find that almost every time my players enter a tavern they ask to have a seat and listen to idle gossip about what's going on. For a person that knows their world well, it would be easy to list off a few rumors and tidbits of information they hear a person talking about, and sometimes a player might want to investigate one of these mundane pieces of information, knowing the source material you are using it's like clockwork to work something up here. I recently had a situation where this happened and one of the players approached the group to talk about a mundane piece of information since I knew the attitudes of these people, the area, the current affairs of the land, the general regional mood, and the world political situation I hide no issue coming up with a 10 minute or so interaction for the player to have with these random locals.
I hope this helps some DMs out and if it does, please feel free to say so, if I've missed stuff on this topic (I likely have and this would be ironic too) feel free to add to it with the comments. As DMs we should know our settings so that we can immerse our players in it.
Have fun with your sessions and stay safe!
- Immerse Your Players By Creating Information Asymmetry
- Ideas for a quickly thrown together adventure/campaign
- I want to make sure I’m playing NPCs fairly. How would you have them react?
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Get to know your world to save a world of pain" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
- Adventure on Alderaan(Star Wars campaign)
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- NPC Gradually Descending Into Madness
- I tried to die with glory, but the Fates had other plans. (minor Avernus Spoilers)
- Help with hook for a certain type of character.
- Lazy DM Tools for Online Play
- Halfling Hobo Healer Enters the Vampire’s Lair
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