Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Today's Lesson:

Believe nothing.

As a GM, do you try to trick your players? If so, do you prefer to set up circumstances to deliberately mislead player or to you use NPCs who try to trick the PCs?

While I have done the former, I'm definitely in the latter camp. I prefer to be honest and up front with my players (which doesn't mean I'll go easy on them). PCs, however, are fair game.


jamused said...

As GM it's all I can do to keep the players from tricking themselves to the point where the game becomes unplayable.

Grant Woodward said...

@jamused: Ain't that the truth. My players overthink themselves into knots, no matter the game.

But yeah, I absolutely try to trick my players. Usually I do it through circumstances - the classic "the situation isn't what you thought" sort of setup - and in the Eberron game I run, almost all people of import have their own agendas and tell only as much of the truth as they need to. Unless I plan it out carefully, though, NPCs rarely lie to players - if I (as the GM) slip up somewhere, the surprise can be easily ruined. Not to mention that there's a very thin line between players crying "You magnificent bastard!" as they realize their PCs have been set up, and players asking "Wait, you said this before. Which is it?"

Basically it takes real skill to flat-out lie to players through an NPC, and since I'm not great at that I only do it when I have a clear script to follow that won't let me accidentally reveal too much.

(I'm running an online game using virtual tabletop and voice chat software, so I have an advantage in their inability to read my body language. I'm terrible at poker.)

Noumenon said...

My friends totally try to trick the players. If one player waits behind a door with his club raised over his head, it's a battle of wits whether the next thing to come through that door is going to be the lizardman you're expecting, or a friend.

One of the players would always cheat, peek at the DM's map, and go straight to the room with the most interesting-looking markings. The DM made a fake map for behind the screen, and put the real one in the monster manual... just to trick him.

Tricks are pretty important just for gaining surprise rounds, and for plot twists where the friend becomes the foe. I guess I "keep secrets" from the players more than I trick them.