Dungeons & Dragons Online

Ignored or misunderstood clues/hints/breadcrumbs – my bad communication, or the player’s bad playing? How to work around it?

Content of the article: "Ignored or misunderstood clues/hints/breadcrumbs – my bad communication, or the player’s bad playing? How to work around it?"



As a new DM, there are a lot of times that my players (also new to the game) just don’t act in their best interests, and I’m constantly worried it’s MY fault for somehow not being clear enough. A few examples:

  • 1) Players are loaded with gold, have downtime, and I give them a list of several intriguing shops they found and can check out. “Nah I’m good.” …Have I not broadcasted clearly enough that these shops have very cool and very powerful buffs for their characters?

  • 2) Players are about to embark on a journey across dangerous frozen wastes to reach a ramshackle frontier town in the arctic north. I ask if they want to prep anything: “Nah, I’m sure if there’s anything we need we can buy it in the next town.” …Was I unclear that this is a dangerous, long journey, and the town they’re going to is barebones?



  • 3) Players have been uncovering clues that the family they’re working for is plotting something very sinister. They don't seem to care, and have decided to just inform the mayor and peace out. Did the clues not communicate the high stakes of this plot as well as I thought they did?

Whether it’s my fault for being unclear or my players’ faults for not using the information I give them, I’m sometimes not sure how to handle it. For Example 1, I’d LIKE to tell the players at the table that they are really missing out on some good stuff. At the same time, though, I don’t want to risk railroading them into something they genuinely aren’t interested in.

For Example 2, I think it makes sense to punish their characters for not preparing for that journey. But then again, what if it was my fault for not hammering home the point that their lack of prep would have consequences?

For Example 3, I’m inclined to have an NPC recap all those clues and piece it all together for them so they have a very clear idea of what’s ahead, so they can make a fully informed decision. Then again, explaining clues sounds pretty lame, and a bit railroady in the case that they DID understand the stakes and just weren’t into it anyway.

Any thoughts? Is this a common problem for (new) DMs to have with their (new) players? Exposition/Table discussion/consequences/giving up and moving on — what do you guys do?



Source: reddit.com

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