TTRPG worldbuilding strategies: make something mysterious, but don't make up an explanation to the mystery yet. i can come up with something cool if the players decide to explore it, possibly even something relevant to the story so far

you know what, this is valid for character creation too. why did you leave your homeland? maybe you (the player) don't know yet! some cool idea might come up during gameplay!

@Garrison Even better, half the time my players come up with better solutions when trying to work it out so I just nick them

@ackthrice i LOVE it when my players come up with solutions i or the module didn't think of, and i usually reward them for it

@ackthrice there's a story i've heard penn jillette tell about a card trick he for steven spielburg at a party. penn had laid out a bunch of cards and was going to have steven pick one. penn was going to "force" steven to pick the card that penn wanted him to pick, but steven reached out and grabbed a card early.

it happened to be the card that penn was going to force.

penn didn't bat an eye and ran with it.

that's what i try to do when my players do something unexpected that works. 😂​

@Garrison Just as long as your players enjoy knowing that you’re doing it that way, you’re golden♥ I’ve heard it called the “draw maps, leave blank” style.

I have the absolute 100% 180° opposite philosophy to that♥ But it’s just different styles, depending on what you want to get out of roleplaying.

My take on mysteries specifically:

and on this stuff generally:

@Sandra for sure, every DM has their own style and that's totally valid. i'm very open with my players about what i'm planning on doing, which is basically create characters, situations, conflicts, etc., and seeing where the players want to go.

leaving blanks is partially due to the fact that i think it's a neat way to make the story both organic and relevant to the current situation, but also bc i just don't have time to make up everything, including things my players may not interact with


i’m very open with my players about what I’m planning on doing

This is what makes it valid, imho♥♥♥♥♥♥

@Sandra i'm all about youtouber matt colville's DM philosophy that "if my player's have fun, i have fun"

@Garrison Oh, man, there’s a lot of stuff I disagree with MCDM about… he fudges dice and stacks decks 🎠🎠🎠

I’m more of a pain & suffering kind of DM than a fun DM♥

@Sandra lol valid. i don't fudge dice or anything like that often, but i do sometimes.

that said, in less than two years DMing, i've "allowed" two of play players' characters to die... but they both did really dumb things and deserved it tbh. 😂​

@Garrison We had a level five character die two days ago (Wednesday night) and it was so tragic. It felt really unfair too💔😢

It kind of was another player’s character behaving overconfidently that led to this character’s death.

It’s been really somber and heavy to deal with this over the past few days, I thought the character was cool and I wanted to see what would happen to him. A lot of play over the past twelve sessions or so has been around his quest to resurrect his sister (another former PC). A quest which, I guess, failed. He was also a village priest, with seven NPC students, and on the village council.

A lot of my playstyle is about not being in the position to decide or allow who lives or dies; it’s the system. So the system can introduce some really painful, miserable outcomes and grief that tear and claw at our insides.

It could also produce some glorious, well-deserved victories! Theoretically. I mean, that hasn’t happened yet… but we keep on reaching for that 🌈♥

This is different from MCDM who goes for more of a safe, controlled, curated experience. My style is more “holy shit. Why are we even playing this game…”

@Sandra i would probably enjoy playing a game like that, tbh, i've mostly played with DMs like me who aren't very chaos-tolerant

@Garrison It's really fun! That's one of the core things in PBTA style games, where the rules will fight a GM who plans too precisely. It's still not zero prep, but it means I do this a lot. :3

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