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Post-Traumatic Crawl Disorder

Do you find yourself listening at every door you encounter? Are you constantly checking for traps in unfamiliar buildings? Do you walk everywhere with a 10 ft. pole? Perhaps you mistrust every well-meaning person you meet. If you exhibit any of these behaviors, you may be a gamer.


Our group recently played what I suspected was a portion of an old TSR module I vaguely recalled having played over thirty years ago. We encountered a tied-up prisoner asking for our assistance. I remembered it was set-up by the bad guys. However, nothing in-game should have been cause for the party to be suspicious.


Not wanting my prior experience with the adventure to spoil the fun, I tried to argue Occom’s razor. I argued that a prisoner tied up naked in the bad guy hideout was probably just a prisoner. But our cleric wasn’t buying it. The group eventually asked enough questions and found incongruities in the prisoner’s story, thus identifying him as a baddy. 


It got me thinking about all the little precautions we take while adventuring and how they can become tedious for players and game masters alike. It takes skill when running an adventure not to tip off the players that something may be amiss with an NPC or a trap encounter. One slip in inflection or one facial expression can be a tell, especially if your players know you well.


I suggest fleshing out details for the mundane in your game occasionally. This way average everyday people and occurrences have depth to them. Perhaps it will make your players less paranoid and jaded. Then, once you have them lulled into a false sense of security...



you can drop the hammer on them! Game on.

 

 

 

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