On the Shoulders of Dwarves

Making the Players Feel Smart (Episode 96)

On the Shoulders of Dwarves
Making the Players Feel Smart (Episode 96)
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We got this short and to the point email from Peter: *Hello,* *I'm not saying that my players are not smart, but... How do you make your players feel smart when you're running a game?* *Thanks for your answers in advance,* *Peter* Good question! ## Uri’s suggestions (02:46) There is a difference between making players feel smart and making players actually act smarter. This of course is also true for any other emotion that you want your players to experience. - **Target characters, not players**: Use the mechanics. Players don’t need to be smart. The characters may be smart. “Smart” usually have mechanical definitions - use them - **NPCs reactions:** making the player character looks good by the reactions of NPCs (“15 minutes of glory”). - **GM praise:** some simple guiding actions like saying “oh, that was a good plan”, or “nice one” - **Describe the results of intelligent actions favorably:** “thanks to your clever distraction, only four guards stand next to the treasure chest and not the full battle squad that is usually stationed there” - **Reward intelligent actions:** humans react to what works. Make sure to reward being smart. In my previous campaign I’d say things like “OK, tell me your battle plan” and if they actually had a plan I’d give them all a +1 for the battle or for the first round ## Eran’s ideas (08:26): - **Lower the base assumption**: it makes PCs’ abilities seem more powerful. Roll Insight to simply understand through tone and body language (exactly the same as if they did it through talk) - **No rolling**: Instead of rolling, simply provide information. Add details - **Provide options**: Give many options to roll for “advantage”. Roll Battle to understand where the exits can be (instead of just giving them the locations after some scouting). - **Bennies!:** used to create new details, or notice details - **Gambit powers**: from Fourthcore. Intelligent NPCs - “know” what was going on, what the players planned, what they can do. They “planned” the current situation, can call for ad-hoc reinforcements/traps - **The Scholar Mechanic**: from Adventures in Middle Earth, “News from Afar”, “Hope Unlooked-for” # Summary (25:55) This can be done and you, dear GM, can do it. --- # Taking the load off (28:33) - Uri - alternative for end of combat follow ups. - Eran - Getting ready for the final fight against the three hags. Going to tie up all loose ends with an Interlude-style mechanic. ---- Email us at [show@dwarfcast.net](mailto:show@dwarfcast.net) with questions, topic suggestions, and comments, 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