In today's blog post, our very own Media Producer and self-branded "Branded Nerd", Caitlyn Ingoldsby. takes us through what it means to introduce rumors and strategic misinformation into your games. I constantly use this in my own games to keep the players guessing but also heighten the intrigue of a story. She has some great insight here so without further ado, I present,
"You shouldn't believe everything you hear"
You shouldn't believe everything you hear, so why do players expect everything they get in a lore drop to be the absolute truth? Now, there is nothing wrong with giving players many details to dig into but adding a bit of deception can give the game just a little something extra to get your players excited. Here are a few ways to inject some misinformation into your game.
If you're about to start a new game, consider giving each player additional information in the first session. Create a list of facts and lies the average person in your world might know. Depending on how many you come up with, create some roll tables. For example, if you have twenty statements, you can do a single d20 table or split it into two d10 tables. Mix up the true and false statements, especially if you're doing this with each player in their session zero. Once your table(s) are ready, roll a d4 to determine how many statements each player knows. Then, move that many times on your table(s). If you have multiple tables, look at both and pick the statement that makes the most sense for that character to believe.
If you're already in the middle of your game, try mixing it up the next time your players roll an ability check for information. It's common for players to ask if their character would have additional details about something they encounter. Usually, the DM will have them roll a History check to see what they remember from their past. However, no one's memory is perfect. You don't want to make it too apparent that a low roll is false and a high roll is true, so I recommend sneaking those lies into the middle area. Maybe they roll a 15, so they get the same info as if they moved a 20, but you change one detail or give them an additional element that isn't true. You can also apply this same idea to Investigation checks players make in a library or searching an NPC office.
If you're in the middle of a game, but your players aren't making any History or Investigation checks, don't worry; you can inject that misinformation as an NPC. Maybe it's a tavern keeper who doesn't always hear things correctly, or perhaps it's a minion of your big bad spreading lies to keep adventures off their trail. Whatever character makes sense for your party to interact with, you can use them to give your players facts and lies about the experience. The only downside to this method is the dreaded Insight check, so to keep things fun, I recommend giving them a high Deception.
Whichever method you choose, I hope you enjoy watching as the players slowly realize they shouldn't believe everything they hear.
Incredible. Caitlyn has really taken us on a spellbinding journey into the labyrinthine world of misinformation in D&D. I've applied some of these tactics in my own storytelling, and let me tell you, the layers of complexity they add are nothing short of game-changing. It’s like adding a plot twist to a mystery novel—you can't resist turning the page.
We LOVE hearing what works for your tables, so tell us: What rumor methods and rumors have you found that work well with your own groups?! Comment on our latest Instagram post and let us know!
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