D&D General Should you clarify information to the detriment of the players?


I prefer to be quite clear and generous with giving information. Making informed decisions makes the best roleplaying IMO. And I definitely tell directly if a situation, dungeon, encounter is more dangerous than usual. Because obviously a wizard tower is dangerous, player expect dangers in a D&D game. But most often they expect it to be beatable or manageable. I think its better to do a bit of "metagaming" instead of letting them run into the disintegration ray that they misunderstood as a knife.

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This topic has reminded me of one of my favorite bad GM stories.

The party had entered a maze they had to navigate to get to the other side. The players spent two entire sessions blowing wisdom checks and fighting random encounters, etc.. They finally reach the end of the maze when the GM triumphantly declares, "you dummies never asked about the walls. They were only 3 feet high and you could have just climbed over them..." Needless to say the group disbanded after that session.
that...that's not a maze, then. that's just a series of strangely constructed waist-high walls.

im kind of surprised the group JUST disbanded, honestly.


Same here, but once in a while I'll bust out the legendary line "Are you sure?" as a hint they might have overlooked or ignored something.
I've experienced a DM who would basically troll players with that phrase, and let them talk themselves out of perfectly good and sensible actions that would've worked out fine, so I have an aversion to using it when DMing, or paying it too much mind when playing.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Usually I do neither of those, and instead I tell them openly that what they're about to do is significantly higher than what they can handle at their level.
That approach would take all of us right out of the moment at my table. I'd much rather simply make sure the players have as much info about the situation as their PCs have, including reminders if necessary, and let their actions and the setting determine what happens next.

I not only give them the info that could have significant results (for good or ill) from attending to it, but I also give them (and sometimes playfully remind them about) the relatively meaningless information. "The guy with the garish red outfit" (who just happens to like to dress that way); "Yes, those were the options you were considering last time. Or you could always try to join the circus" (which is clearly a less effective option for getting into an event than the others); "Someone seems to be following you in the crowd" (just a curious kid who could might know some rumors or info that wouldn't be hard to find elsewhere).

I've told them not to put any particular weight on things I bring up or remind them of, and they are pretty good about that, so I rarely have to worry that giving them info is going to unduly influence them. It's harder to do when most of what you describe is significant, so make sure to include a bunch of color so they won't know when something is important, and you can always just remind them of anything with a smile. "And there's also that window that might be a death trap up there."

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
I will present info that the CHARACTERS would know or become aware of. I do sometimes present options to expedite play, because some players will get hung up on decision-making; a bit of time spent debating courses of action is really good- but sometimes folk will just get stuck, or not see obvious things that their characters would, etc. so I don't mind helping out there.

I avoid recommending courses of action, but some players appreciate being told "a typical warrior would probably barge through the door, but a thief might go for the window... Of course the thief might get in trouble by themselves if they slip up."


I would have given the same info as the OP. It is tricky as any info the dm gives can influence player decisions, but if my players are discussing a plan I generally provide them info to make that plan work if it’s info they would have. I think this is especially important considering most parties have int and Wis scores WAY higher than most of us in real life, and so are going to think and see things that normal people aren’t going to. So floating that extra info is a way to reflect that

One thing you can do as well beyond descriptions is simple intuition. The classic “hairs on the back of your neck stand up” if they are wondering into what you consider a dangerous place. It’s a way of letting them know somethings up without descriptions. And it makes sense, such trained professional adventurers are to going to nurture a keenly honed danger sense

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