5E I accidentally revealed all of my campaign plans and secrets to a PC.... what now?
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  1. #1

    I accidentally revealed all of my campaign plans and secrets to a PC.... what now?

    So long story short: I accidentally emailed a brand new player my document which contained all of my antagonist's motivations/plans/backstory and also my major campaign plot twists that would not have been revealed for another year or so most likely. The worst part is I didn't know I emailed him this document until after he warned everyone else in my game not to trust a key NPC because he's probably in cahoots with my main antagonist.

    To be clear, this was 100% my own mistake. I meant to send the new player some documents that would help bring him up to speed on our campaign so far and I accidentally clicked my master file as one of the email's attachments. I even told him that anything on the files I sent him were free game for him to reveal to the party as his PC's own personal knowledge.

    Needless to say, I am completely demoralized. I have been planning this story for over 7 months. Our group only plays once every three weeks so they were only just now really getting into the meat of the over-arching plot. I was finally starting to feel like I could relax on the over arching plot and just focus on fleshing out my world and each individual session. Now I feel like I need to go back to the drawing board and frankly I feel like giving up.

    As it stands, two of my players are mostly done with one shots they want to run just to try DM'ing out, but no one has expressed interest in taking of the DM seat for any substantial amount of time. We are all adults and most of us have families so DM'ing is a huge commitment for us. I asked my players if they were attached to the story we had going so far and they all expressed a desire not to change anything but I really don't know how I'm going to keep up the intrigue at this point.

    I enjoy DM'ing, I really do. I don't want to give it up. I'm just not sure I have the time/energy/and inspiration to figure out how to fix this problem. Has anyone ever done something like this before? What did you decide to do?

    Lastly, if anyone thinks this game is worth salvaging and wants to help me out on patching up the cosmic hole I blew through it last night, let me know. I'll post the story I had planned and explain what my players know and thus what details must be changed.

  2. #2
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    If the players are game, it can go from a mystery to be revealed to something like dramatic irony where the audience knows what's up but the characters do not. Hilarity ensues.

    Otherwise, there's probably nothing preventing you from either changing or adding to your planned storyline. Maybe the dossier the player got was actually in some ways true and other ways fake, so as to throw the party off the plans of a time-traveling wizard villain or whatever to be revealed later.
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  3. #3
    Talk to your player and find out how much they have revealed to the others.

    If they haven't told the others much, see if they're willing to go along with not revealing the plot at every opportunity: - Either playing a character who is "in on it": still willing to work with the party but not tell them everything, or perhaps just a character that simply does not take a hand in the plot-relevant decisions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denalz View Post
    So long story short: I accidentally emailed a brand new player my document which contained all of my antagonist's motivations/plans/backstory and also my major campaign plot twists that would not have been revealed for another year or so most likely. The worst part is I didn't know I emailed him this document until after he warned everyone else in my game not to trust a key NPC because he's probably in cahoots with my main antagonist.

    To be clear, this was 100% my own mistake. I meant to send the new player some documents that would help bring him up to speed on our campaign so far and I accidentally clicked my master file as one of the email's attachments. I even told him that anything on the files I sent him were free game for him to reveal to the party as his PC's own personal knowledge.

    Needless to say, I am completely demoralized. I have been planning this story for over 7 months. Our group only plays once every three weeks so they were only just now really getting into the meat of the over-arching plot. I was finally starting to feel like I could relax on the over arching plot and just focus on fleshing out my world and each individual session. Now I feel like I need to go back to the drawing board and frankly I feel like giving up.

    As it stands, two of my players are mostly done with one shots they want to run just to try DM'ing out, but no one has expressed interest in taking of the DM seat for any substantial amount of time. We are all adults and most of us have families so DM'ing is a huge commitment for us. I asked my players if they were attached to the story we had going so far and they all expressed a desire not to change anything but I really don't know how I'm going to keep up the intrigue at this point.

    I enjoy DM'ing, I really do. I don't want to give it up. I'm just not sure I have the time/energy/and inspiration to figure out how to fix this problem. Has anyone ever done something like this before? What did you decide to do?

    Lastly, if anyone thinks this game is worth salvaging and wants to help me out on patching up the cosmic hole I blew through it last night, let me know. I'll post the story I had planned and explain what my players know and thus what details must be changed.
    Change 1 key detail about halfway through that affects how things play out. You can run most of it as unfolding according to how the players expect and then switch it up big time. Also, the players are most likely going to start disrupting your plot because they know things they weren't suppose to know yet, so they'll force dynamic changes in the plot by that alone. Roll with the punches for a bit, accept that they'll know why and what the villain is acting, and throw obstacles in their way for awhile to prevent them from outright stopping it. Just because the players know doesn't mean they can prove it to anyone else. And prepare the new twist -- doesn't have to be huge, just something unexpected that comes at them cold and starts them doubting what they know. hold off on hitting them with it for a bit -- let them get comfortable thinking they know the outcome -- and roll with it for now.
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    First talk to the newbie about spoilers. Second allow the players to "foil the villains plans". Now you can go this route two ways. Ham it up and this becomes a comedy adventure. Or the plans they foiled are really a distraction, the plans of a unknown justice league group which are now going to do marvel on the pc group, or by foiling the plans the group made things worst.
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    Depends on the player. If they can simply "play dumb" that works - this is something I do when helping my wife come up with plots for her campaign.

    Or ... the PC has had a vision of the future, with things that have not happened yet, events that may yet occur.

    The future is mutable so change details here and there. I never assume my plans are set in stone until they actually happen, and even then sometimes the PCs are simply being mislead. Change some key details enough that they begin to question the validity of the "vision".
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  7. #7
    If that had happened in my campaign, I'm sure the player would have told me and deleted it as soon as they realized what it was. It's really lame that he revealed this mistake to you in-game by changing events based on knowledge he knew he should not have.

    I don't know what the personal relationships involved are, but I think you should take him aside, find out what he's told everyone else and whether he's shared the document with anyone else. Then clearly explain that while you regret accidentally sharing it with him, that was accidental and it was his decision to read through it without informing you of the issue. That not only disrespects the work you've put into your campaign preparation but it could now ruin everyone's enjoyment of the campaign (especially his). State that you are willing and able to make some adjustments to add some surprises back into the story for him, but that would rely on a promise from him to not share any of the information he already knows with anyone else in the party (assuming that is necessary). If he has either already shared the information or is unwilling to keep things to himself, I would politely ask him to find another game and express disappointment in the breach of trust he has already shown.
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    Edit: Big fat reading fail. See where it was quoted to see how wrong I was.
    Last edited by BookBarbarian; Thursday, 30th November, 2017 at 11:11 PM.
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  9. #9
    Thank you all for the ideas and encouragement. At this point I think I'm going to try to salvage the story. Not sure if I'll change anything or not. Most likely I'll just give up on my "mystery" and let the PC's use the information as they will and plan something else as many of you have suggested.

    A few of you have expressed concern over the new player and whether or not he was being honest/fair. I'll spare you the boring details but I genuinely believe it was an honest mistake on both our parts. Just a sheer dumb accident. Nothing to be done.

    Later I'm going to post my story on this thread and see if anyone wants to throw in some ideas to help me recover some element of mystery in this story. Thanks again to everyone for their support!

  10. #10
    You are blessed.
    Some DM end a campain without having transmit their plot and twist, or so little.

    Make the party meet a kind a "master spy" that would confirm mostly of what they should not know.
    Then let the party use this information. Even if they know motivations, plans, goals of the major npc, it doesn't mean they can stop them.
    Let the players use these information at their best.
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