[RPG] How to correct giving the players too many plot details


As a beginning DM, I still have to find my way in telling parts of the plot.

Twice, I've said things about the plot that I later regretted – once because it wouldn't make sense for the PCs to know this (information about the world), once because I realized the NPC that gave them that information would not have never said this in the encounter. The first time, it wasn't a big deal – the PCs now know that there are strange tunnels under a castle, even though nobody else in the world is supposed to know it. The second time though, it was quite valuable plot information.

Do you have any tips for preventing this happening on the one hand, and any tips for "fixing" this after the fact? Do I just tell them to forget that? Do I tell them that the NPC was lying potentially causing them to doubt every NPC?

Best Answer

There is one piece of information that may help, but be careful never to tell your players: the world is flexible.

Just because you've got something written in your notes does not mean it is true. You thought that this NPC was not the sort of person to give out this information, but it seems you were mistaken. Is he perhaps a drunk or a fantasist (so the information is unreliable, and you may have to rewrite the castle plans)? Is he naturally garrulous, so his bosses have had to spread the belief that he is a drunk or a fantasist (the plans remain as they were, but NPC behaviour changes)? The fact that the characters now have information you did not intend them to have will alter the adventure (less time discovering clues, perhaps more time sorting the true from the untrue). It will not, as you seem to suppose, spoil it.

The purpose of an adventure is not "the characters start here, move through this and that, and win the final confrontation"; it is for you and the players to have fun. If you can spin a new and enjoyable adventure from the present situation, you don't need all the notes you prepared. If you can re-align the adventure so that it stays on course despite this change, that's equally good; just be prepared to re-realign it when the players come up with something you hadn't thought of.

But don't let the players know you are making it up as you go along.