Player's Handbook > Introduction > How to Play > 1. The DM describes the environment.

It's literally the first rule. I enthusiastically support changing the rules, but if you change one of the most fundamental rules of the game without explaining it to your players in advance, it is absolutely your fault if they don't understand.

Expand full comment
Feb 10, 2023·edited Feb 10, 2023Author

That's the thing that got me to think about this, actually--I did explain the environment. Going in, they knew precisely where they were, who the big bad is at the end of it, and what kind of things he'd been experimenting on lately. It was also the second dungeon in this particular system of caverns, and I ever 3d printed the final confrontation chamber previously. They totally knew that area.

Yeah, that is rule 1 in the PBH, which is why I say that it's the D&D system itself that's at fault. The game is designed so the DM describes literally everything "on screen" and that is much a part of the system that it was shocking to the players when I asked for them to be active in crafting the set pieces around them.

I think what shocked me the most about how hard it was for them to get their minds around what I was asking is because this group is incredibly clever and does some really fun things all the time. I expected as quick-witted as they tend to be that their response to "tell me what you see" would have been immediate. Which got me thinking about the system itself and how it facilitates that.

EDIT: I do see where you're coming from though, in that it's my job to prep them for it. I thought I had by leading them there.

Expand full comment