[RPG] How much do players need to know before a campaign


My friends and I are soon going to start a short campaign. The DM is wondering how much information he should give us at the start. Any tips? We are pretty new to DnD.

Best Answer

Due to how tabletop RPG campaigns are organized, the only way for the player to know anything about the setting of the campaign is for the referee to verbally describe something, visually show something, or provide something for the players to read. Otherwise the players will be reduced to playing the game of twenty questions to do anything -- in my experience, and from what others have told me, that doesn't lead to an entertaining campaign.

Part of the appeal of a tabletop RPG campaign is being able to make choices about the destiny of your character both in the immediate future of the session and the long term future of the campaign.

The less information that the players have, the more their choices become like throwing a dart at a target blindfolded. They might as well roll dice on a random table for all the meaning their choices have.

Since you are starting a campaign your referee should consider the following in order for your group be able to feel that they can make some informed choices.

  • What would the average person know about the setting of my campaign? Describe in one or two paragraphs.
  • What do the players know about the current situation that surrounds them? Describe in one paragraph.
  • What does each individual player know about their personal circumstances? Describe in one paragraph for each character.
  • Are there any specific details about the character's profession/class, the place they are starting out in, people they know that would be useful. Decribe this in one paragraph.

The result should be a short one or two page handout for each player. It will also help your referee, in that he can focus his limited prep time on the items he listed.

The referee should talk with the group and with each individual player about their general goal for playing their character(s) to get a sense of what they are interested in. For example, a campaign centered around the intrigues of a noble court may not be appreciated by a group hell bent on killing monsters and taking their stuff. And vice versa.

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