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The Wall: How to keep your players on the right side of it.

Written by AnneEdmond - Published on September 5, 2013

Rob: Okay, you arrive at the walls of the city. It is dark, and the guards tell you that you can not pass. There is an Inn just outside the city wall where you can rest for the night.
Steve: Screw that dirty inn, I wanna sleep at the finest inn in all the lands! I pull out my grappling kit.
Rob: *cough* you should really sleep at the inn…
Steve: Nope, I rolled pretty good, I think I can climb that wall.
Rob: Fine, you climb the forty-foot wall. Now will you go to sleep?
Steve: no, I climb down the other side.
Rob: why? There’s nothing there.
Steve: what are you talking about? There’s guards outside the gate aren’t there?
Rob: ya, but YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO CLIMB THE WALL!!!!
Does this exchange sound familiar? Don’t worry, I understand your plight and offer my services in rendering those silly numpkins who want to ruin your perfectly placed Inn INN-CAPABLE of doing so (See what I did there?). Sure, you could put a big scary monster there and call it a day, but wouldn’t it be more interesting to have something there that would set them straight? Imagine if silly Steve popped his head over that wall. What would he really see? Well let’s say he happens upon a Vampire mutilating some poor woman. And that Vampire just happens to also be The Duke. No, not Nukem, as in your Royal Night-Ness. (I’m on a roll!)
Rather than panicking at the first sign of disobedience, roll with it. My personal favorite tactic is to drop to a monotone voice.
Rob: you see a village.
Steve: well obviously! Are there taverns?
Rob: Sure. You wanna sleep in one?
Steve: well yea that’s why I climbed the wall!
Rob: okay, you get a free night. You can fold your head now because were gonna get on with the rest of the party.

 

Enough times doing that and the rabble rousers eventually stop exploring outside of your pre-designed world. Because while freedom is nice, its only good when its not abused, and making your DM come up with a whole new plotline, mid plotline, so one character can sleep at a fancy inn is a bit chaotic dont you think? So let the character have at it, but make it bland and boring for him. He’ll find that exploring the story is now more interesting than deviating drastically from it. I’m not talking about your average curiosity-killed-the-fighter characters. I’m talking the ones that wake up in a tower and attempt to conquer it and its inhabitants, even if its empty and only two floors.
For those that are just curious, you do require some finesse. Rather than hard-line a player that wants to check some empty rooms, you can fill the rooms with some rats and skeletons, or maybe a couple goblins to give everyone something fun and challenging. Players like these can actually be beneficial to a campaign, especially when your stuck on a plot hook or still writing up the statistics of your big bad boss. Being able to flip open a page in a monster book allows you some thinking freedom mid adventure.
Or for the more experienced story teller, you can actually fit these side rooms and extra things into your campaign as a reason to add in filler quests, expanded main story details and whatnot. Think of it like a video game that keeps track of your story progress. It might say %50 after beating the game, and while you have a good understanding of the overall story, you still go back and play for the extra content. Mapping out your campaign this way is an easy way to keep track of your side quests. You can do it as a literal map or even a thought bubble with lines coming and going from it. In the end, its all about keeping your players on the steady path, and making sure they know the difference between story and shenanigans.

Written by AnneEdmond

Hi dear visitor. I am Sonya. Vermont is the area I love many.
Doing aerobics is what I do each week. After being out of my job for a long time I became a information processing officer. If you need to learn more check out my website: https://www.rebelmouse.com/capturehisheartreviewed/

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