RPGaDay 2020 Day 12 – “Message” #RPGADAY2020

The prompt for day 12 is “Message”.

One of the most common problems that plague RPG groups is that of metagaming… acting on information that your character doesn’t possess, but you as a player do.  This can cause out of character action to avoid catastrophe, or the leader of the group leaping in to save the quiet player from whatever fate they just noticed.  This can disrupt the action in a combat sequence or derail the narrative.  Naturally, wanting to save the day or protect a comrade is a pretty compelling reason to leap into the fray, but often this happens before considering that the information is public knowledge or that a more shy player hasn’t seen an opportunity to shine in the session and this moment was provided for them.

This is where being able to send a “message” (finally got there) to a single player comes in very handy.  As simple as passing a note, texting their phone or sending a private Discord message in an online session, this allows the intended recipient to learn the facts of the situation without other players learning in advance that danger is lurking.  It can create inter-party dynamics if a player is provided information that the others missed and they opt to not disclose that information, or allows that quiet player to climb out of their shell in order to warn the team about that detail they spotted that others didn’t.

While a GM often has to paint a broad canvas that puts the entire world on display for the players to see, the ability to speak directly to a single player rather than broadcast a detail that shouldn’t be obvious is powerful.  With modern technology, there are many subtle ways to handle this with minimal distraction from the main narrative.  It provides layers to your world and you should embrace it sparingly, so it doesn’t lose its impact.  Message your players to keep them on their toes and show that their unique skills yield to them secrets others would have missed.

~ by 1nsomniac on August 12, 2020.

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