There’s this weird notion that I have, one that a lot of people disagree with. I think players can separate what they know from what their characters know. They’re able to roleplay their characters without “cheating” and using setting and plot information to their advantage. I know that when I’m running a game, this sort of trust means that I don’t need to worry about what to share with players.
What to Share with Players
If we’re going to be completely honest, we know that character decisions are made using “player knowledge” all the time. When a player looks at their character sheet chooses to do this instead of that, because this has a better chance of success, is it cheating? Say their current character has never fought a specific monster before, but a previous character has. Does that not influence the player?
We’re all sitting around collaborating on a story, not competing against one another. If the point is to entertain one another, then doesn’t it make sense to have a full range of information to work with in order to do that? I’m not saying that the guide can’t have some secrets. There have to be some surprises, so there are spoilers that should be avoided. Yet isn’t it more fun when the players can throw in a plot twist now and again?
I have this crazy idea that the group is in this together. “Cheating” only matters if it benefits one person to the detriment of the group. It only has an impact if it breaks the story somehow, because there’s no logical explanation for how that character would have the information they just leveraged. If it fits, the story and the character, though, go with it. As long as everyone is having fun, why be uptight about things like hiding information from one another?
About Dancing Lights Press
Dancing Lights Press publishes story games that embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation. Our print books are affordable, at $10 or less. The 6×9 digest format makes them convenient to carry around. The spotlight belongs on the creativity of the players as they converse and collaborate on plot, worldbuilding, and character development. Roleplaying is an activity, not a book. Our titles are merely part of the delivery system.