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Transparency of Method

Roleplay Rescue quoted Sandy Eisen as saying:

I have decided that when I design and run my own dungeon I will not permit the players (people who do not know about D&D yet) to discover the rules.

I agree with all the benefits of this but what I’ve found is that there’s also a cost. People—not everyone, not all the time, but some of the time—will start to think it’s all made up as you go and lose some of the buy-in, the sense of stake and consequences. That’s something I’ve had happen several times on both sides of the screen and when I shifted to radical transparency of method, being super open to players why I’m saying something or what rule I’m invoking (“it’s from the module”, “it’s from the PHB, this rule is right in there”, “it’s something I had to make up on the spot, I didn’t have a rule for it”, “it’s in our house rule document on our site”, “it’s something I committed to as you entered the area”, “it’s something I wrote down here, let me grab it”)—that created huge levels of buy-in and care about what the players do and decide to do compared to before where I’ve often found myself (as a player) or the players (when I ran the game) get cavalier and non-invested in the outcomes.

They start treating it as a story.

They don’t know that they’re three seconds away from a TPK and when it strikes they’ll blame me.

With radical transparency, that changed.