I’m really enjoying running the Rise of the Runelords adventure path for my three players. I feel like I have a really exciting story to tell and I can’t wait to share it with them. Which also leads me to what I learnt from this week’s session.
The adventure path book contains a wealth of information, history, interesting characters and much more. But all that information is intended to help me, the game master, tell the story. My players may never know most of what is contained in the book. While it is great for me to have all this information at my fingertips, I’ve come to realise that it is also important to remember what the player characters can or should actually know. So although I know exactly what a given statue represents, I can only impart the little bit that a character in that situation could reasonably know from his studies or learn from examining the statue.
There’s also another problem associated with this gap between my knowledge and the characters’ knowledge: the players themselves. Where I, as game master, feel I have given all the relevant information and clues to lead the PCs to their next quest, the players themselves may have forgotten some pertinent information, or not realised that it was important. And this is where I found my players this week, as it became obvious that they didn’t know where to go next, even though I thought I had laid out the clues clearly (or so I thought).
Fortunately in this case I was able to bring in some NPCs to put my players back on track, but it was an interesting learning exercise for me. My desire to share all the exciting information I have is at times almost overwhelming, but it is helping me learn about storytelling – keeping the players engaged without spoiling all the cool things to come.