Friday, February 13, 2015

The Evil GM - Background Scenery - Do players care?

Was sitting down last night with all my books out on the table, planning for my D&D game.. I was at the part where I was thinking about designing up the town the PCs will be spending some time, How much time that was, depended on them. 

We all know you plan for things a certain way and either, its never used or its barely touched upon in the game. Good news is maybe your efforts can still be salvaged in a later attempt as you can always use in another session or two.

Do players really care, if you have set up the background, such putting in colorful NPCs, give details such as you hear the wind-chimes of the general store, while every once in a while you get the smell of a wet dog as you pass the watering hole area through your nose.

Sure that is all set up and mood setting, but should you continue to make the background colorful and alive, or just say MEH! moving on to the next thing as they really don't care?

I know I enjoy designing up the background stuff just as much as planning the entire adventure for the night. 

Its fun to see a town come to life on paper, and its even more fun to play it all out, but... 

Sometimes I get the feeling players don't give a crap.

Sure, I know, it all depends on the players and their personalities... blah blah blah. Yeah, I've heard it before and I know this.

What do you think?


  1. It's hard knowing what players will care about. Sometimes they don't care, sometimes they get an idea in their heads and ask lots of questions about something that's only roughly sketched out. Or, maybe that's more to do with my failures as a DM.

  2. I have to start with blah-blah-blah because indeed, it is. But with so many things: romance, parties, road trips, vacations, etc., it really comes down to the dynamics of the members involved (that is not a romance pun!).

    I skipped a great offer from a long-term friend today to watch the Daytona 500. He's an awesome guy, has a killer venue, and drink and smoke (smoke: Bolivar 52's like the one stuck in Bert Sugar's mouth all the time) and great jokes for miles. But, he's gotten addicted to YouTube. So I want to watch cars drive in circles (marriage allegory) but he wants to show me some YouTube shit from an Allman Bros Tour in 1972.

    Over time we all learn what the other people want. Or, we simply ask what they DON'T want!

    Seems like a good topic for BSTT.


  3. Random D&D Player:
    So I know what your getting at with the whole "players don't care" crap. I just happen to be a person who puts a great deal of research and thought into every character of mine. I always listen to the details of where ever I go in case I need something from the town. Like.. the tavern, the blacksmith, etc.
    And if you noticed as a DM, the players are focused on "What am I going to do next?" Or "What is going to happen next?" When yours listing off the setting, a player mine be in the mind set of "What am I going to do next?" So they will either explore the setting you have laid before them, or go fling themselves into the nearest pole that you didn't give consent was there in the first place.
    Now when they are in the mind set of "What is going to happen next?" They will probably try and avoid your settings so nothing bad will happen; or they will turn into a detective and figure out why you mentioned the "smell of a wet dog."
    And if you noticed, some players will actually use what you have given them later on in the game. Because some people keep information given from the DM tab'd so they can role play off it.
    But in the end. Not everyone cares. I was just shading some light on the subject.