On the Shoulders of Dwarves

A Mysterious World (episode 84)

On the Shoulders of Dwarves
A Mysterious World (episode 84)
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## On the nature of Mysteries The “Known Unknowns” (00:50) The nature of mystery explained by United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld concept of the “[known unknowns](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_known_knowns)”. The known Unknowns are what creates a sense of Mystery. For example the monsters in the dungeons. We know there are monsters & traps but their nature is unknown to us. ## In world building: **Open spaces** (02:10) Creating a sense of mystery gives the GM room to add things later, keep something up her sleeve or to postpone important decisions. Because it gives players something to explore, a known unknown. **Slow reveal** - In order to create a sense of mystery - take something unknown and shine a light on it. For running mystery plots, see also [Episode 37 - mystery plots](https://dwarves.podiant.co/e/mystery-plots-episode-37-368b71569c7f92/) **What will be our obstacles?** (04:40) What lies behind the next door, how to open this portal, what will sprint this trap. **Separate [Ontology](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontology) from [Epistemology](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology)** (05:39) **Present sensory information** - not “facts”, so everything is filtered through perception (06:40) **Perception** - Show that no one has absolute knowledge, including NPCs. Everyone can be wrong (08:23) **The speed of slow** - Keep in-world information moving at the speed of slow (09:50) **Magical information** - Keep magical information and communication vague (11:30) (unlike what the [Sending](https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Sending#content) spell does) Eran forgetting how the “[Augury](https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Augury#content)” spell is called ;-) (13:50) **Allow different, mutually conflicting, possibilities** (14:10) - Allow for different interpretations, different causes, because if there’s more than one answer, it’s possible that none of the current explanations are true **Absolute truths** (17:03) - In fiction we can have absolute truths, so It is very tempting to have one single absolute truth. Because in the confines of a game we can have such a thing. And in reality most people will agree that you cannot have such a thing. Differentiate between what is true in the game world and what you’re presenting to the players. ## Some useful mechanic ideas **Variable modifiers** - Consider adding variables to obfuscate the actual mechanical modifiers (17:40) **Rolls don’t provide answers** - they provide clues (20:34) Again, you might want to check out [our episode on Mystery Plots (37)](https://dwarves.podiant.co/e/mystery-plots-episode-37-368b71569c7f92/) **Obfuscate the mechanics** - Use alternate descriptions, additional details, unique monsters or adding templates (22:00) ## Summary (24:40) Remember, the GM is the conduit through which the player understand how their characters perceive the world around them. You can tell them what they perceive not what is true. ## Taking the load off (25:20) **Eran** - Asked what sort of cool scenes you see in movies and TV shows but not in games. **Uri** - Ran a test play for a new adventure “a short standard classical adventure”. Looking for a new adventure? Try Uri’s [Escaping Thalamus’s Lab](https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/294848/Escaping-Thalamuss-Lab?affiliate_id=29668)! \----- Email us at show@dwarfcast.net with questions, topic suggestions, and comments on this episode, and check out \[our Facebook group\](https://www.facebook.com/groups/dwarfpodcast) \[We have a Patreon page\](https://www.patreon.com/dwarfcast), in case you'd like to support us in a monetary fashion. Also, most links to \[DriveThruRPG are affiliate\](http://drivethrurpg.com/?affiliate\_id=29668), which means we get a bit of money if you buy through them, with no added cost to you. Intro and outro based on On the Shoulders of Dwarves by the Cliches Duo. On the Shoulders of Dwarves is shared under \[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International\](https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/)
Brought to you by Eran Aviram of On the Shoulders of Dwarves