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Game Information in Game

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So I just wonder how everyone else does this. How do you deal with game information in a role-playing game? How much to you tell the players about everything. I see only two ways it can be done:

1.The players know next to nothing about any game information about the world. Creatures, items and events are described without using game terminology.

2.The DM simply tells the players any and all related game information for every encounter.

Example:The group encounters some gnoll bandits. Type one DM-'the large gnoll in the back waves his staff and a black ray of light shoots out and hits Togh in the chest, [Roll fort Save]. Type two DM-"The gnoll sorcerer casts Ray of Exhaustion on Togh[Roll Fort Save]. At the end of the round, the type one players only know the gnoll is a spell caster, but the type two players know he is a sorcerer with necromancy spells of at least 3rd level.

This gets even more important with mysteries. Game information can make a mystery fade away to nothing.

Example-The group encounters some red frog-like people. The wizard attepts to charm on of them and it fails. Type one-'Your charm spell has no effect on the creature, nothing happens'. Type two-"Your charm spell does not work on the Neraphim as they are Outsiders" As at the end of the round the type one wizard only know the spell had no effect(but it did not make a save), he is in the dark as to why. It could be an immunity, a magic item, spell resistance or any number of things. He has to pick his next action in the dark. The type two player knows exactly why the spell failed, outsiders can't be effected by charm person and casts a dismissal spell to get rid of them.

Example-The group encounters a black door and Togh attempts to open it. Type one-''A black light seeps out of the door [roll wil save, player fails] you take a -6 penalty to your strength.'' The cleric quickly steps up to cast dispel magic on Togh, but it has no effect and the penalty remains. Type two-''The door hits Togh with a Bestowed Curse [Roll save, fails] and he now has a - 6 to STR." The cleric simply takes a step forward and casts Remove Curse on Togh and they continue.

So what way does everyone do it? (Note we are skipping Knowledge checks here and just talking in general, knowledge checks need their own post).

And please no middle of the road answers. It's simple, do you tell the players game information or not? You can't play the middle, you either tell the players the game mechanic details(creature type, spell name, etc) or not.

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  1. Blydden's Avatar
    Type 1.

    Although, I ask why we just can't have more options. Surely tis not impossible.
  2. Blond Gamer Girl's Avatar
    First, anyone new to me as a DM and/or new to a system, I give the "Common sense" merit to for the first three sessions. As in, "your character would know that the DMZ is super deadly."

    Secondly, I never give the info as far as stats. I think that negates role play because folks talk in dots and levels instead of staying my character is very strong. I do NOT like "I have a plus three modifier in strength." Therefore I won't word monster values like that. Also, the only way I give details other than what the characters physically see is if they have the relative knowledge (like monster lore or area knowledge). Lastly, they have to point out that they have monster lore or whatever skill is needed and that they want to roll it. In my games, characters need to know their own character sheets.

    Hope that helps....
  3. russdm's Avatar
    Blood, I do Type 2 myself in most cases. I expect my players to stay ontop of metagaming concerns such as player knowledge vs character knowledge, remembering which apply.

    I try to trust my players to keep what they as the players know from what they as the characters know. Like how Mark's character in my game knows that Alexastraza is on the ship with them and he has not told Adam's character, who Adam has act as he doesn't know.
  4. Otakar's Avatar
    Blood, I mix it up. At the low levels I describe uncommon monsters without naming them but I usually give all the info on a magic item. In 4E I don't expect them to be babes in the world. I like to use my blog to clue them in on the world:
    In 2E I liked to consider the characters new to everything outside of their village. I think that is how I would run it with Vampire as well. So I guess it depends on the system. Which one are you using? 4E or Pathfinder I think the characters would know quite a bit about their world because those systems assume the characters are already heroes. In Cthulhu anything the characters first meet will be off the chart of their knowledge.
  5. SDJThorin's Avatar
    Generally Type I, especially at the lower level, as they gain levels it is dictated by what the players prefer.

    If they've encountered something before and they've named it, I would then use the name.

    As another example: I never tell a player how many hp in damage their PC takes...

    • I do tell them relatively what happened (i.e. the Orc slashes twice into you with a heavy short bladed weapon, staggering you, as blood spurts from the wounds and you start feeling light headed, but
    • The mystery of how much damage and how close they are to death does inspire some good roleplaying but
    • I do have some players that hate the fact that I do this... so I make allowances and give them written notice when they get below 10 hp or so -- which seems to make the gaming better for them

    First and foremost I am a DM that tries to cater to what the group as a whole prefers.

    I've handled everything from hard core combat goons to PC's that have never even touched a weapon.

    Every group, and every player, has needs -- we as DMs, need to make sure that everyone gets a good dose of what they like (obviously not at the expense of all the other players) to play and to keep things balanced and moving

    And yes that does mean that I've DMed in Type II mode but I prefer Type I if at all possible.
  6. Malachi57's Avatar
    I would say I DM in type 1 mode for the most part. This is mainly due to the fact that all of my players are either new to gaming in general, or new to the system we're playing (4E). I don't think they would have a clue that a bestowed curse could be healed by the cleric's powers unless I pointed it out to them, but most likely they would either ask what can be done to get rid of the curse (in which case I could ask for a knowledge check or just let them know to have the cleric handle it), or in the worst case I would have them take whatever damage and just keep making saves against.

    I would say though, that this is one of my greatest weaknesses as a DM myself. I'm still too unfamiliar with running a game to know how to tip players off on how to overcome an obstacle in a way that doesn't give them more knowledge than they need. I don't want them to get killed because I haven't divulged an important piece of info, but I also don't want to give away the path to winning the campaign. So keeping it simple like type 1 means they have enough to get by, but if they make a successful knowledge check, I can hopefully give them more insight into what it is that's happening at the time.