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Radically transparent DM-ing

nono asked:

I’m not fond of changing an existing map after the PCs have entered the place, even though the changes are purely cosmetic.

How would you handle this kind of situation?

I do tell them about it. Unless the change is super minor, like I was describing a citadel and the first time I mixed up which tower was 30 feet tall and which one was 40. I changed it back and never acknowledged it, and by now they’ve interacted with the citadel so much that they know which is which in a way that does match up with the module. I’m thinking like “On a scale from one to hundred, how big is this issue?” and if it’s bigger than five, I do tell them.

I’ve aspired for radical transparency in how the game is set up. The DM’s job, pretty much my only job in our campaign since I’ve delegated everything else, is to be the secret keeper and revelator. I am the one who knows stuff their characters don’t know, and reveal it to them as they learn it. That is my most important job.

Things I’ve delegated:

Things I’m still doing:

Someone needs to know the secrets (such as “what’s in this treasure chest?”) and reveal them for exploration games to work. (Unless it’s random ior created post-hoc, in which case you don’t need a DM. Some games like that can be awesome, like Ironsworn which I still wanna try or the AD&D DMG appendix system which we’ve had a lot of fun with) but the school of blorb is all about exploring and interacting with prepped spaces and situations as opposed to generated.)

So I do tell them. Last session, one of my players, Halo, said “You know you don’t need to tell us these things?” and maybe he’s right. My thinking, and I said as much at the time, is that I get that it sucks to hear that your DM messed up when she did (or that the module writer did). But that also means that you can rely on that I didn’t make any changes when I don’t say anything.

It’s what’s not there that makes what’s there what it is.

If they know that as soon as there’s anything fudgy or iffy or sus, I’ll bring it up, they’ll have trust that whatever else does happen happens. My idea with this was that this was going to create an intense level of trust in the game, more than we’re maybe consciously aware of. It creates this super addictive, tense loop of dangers, defeats, victories and triumphs.

Also, why should I not tell them? What do I have to lose?

So The Exciters had it right all along. All you’ve got to do is tell them, tell them, tell them, tell them right now!