Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Netherlands
    Gender
    Female

    Default How to Introduce Rumours

    For a while now I've been toying with the idea of feeding the party some rumours - some are true, some are false, some have a seed of truth but then grew in another direction. The problem is, it's the middle of the campaign and if I start this now then the party might treat every rumour as a plothook they feel obliged to follow. Which they shouldn't.

    The main reason I want to start rumours is that I'd like them to get some tidbits that seem unimportant now, but will later turn out to be directly related to the main plot. This way I hope to add weight to the events, build up some suspense and slowly make them realise that things are going on in the background. Example: say the BBEG is a tyrant usurper who locked away the rightful king, then I'll want the party to hear about nobles being terrorised, commoners complaining about heavy taxes, groups of knights on the roads that interrogate and frisk everyone they find suspicious, rumours regarding the location where the king is held captive.

    So, what I've done is make a list of rumours and categorise them: related to main plot, ripples of past adventures, unrelated gossip, character-specific events. Just a large batch of different kinds of rumours that I can easily add to as the campaign progresses. The setting is a city-state that the party will have lived in for a few years (with 1 exception), so it's not like they have much incentive to go around and talk with people to learn about the area.

    Since I'm growing weary of getting a d100 table to roll on, I was thinking of writing the rumours on scraps of paper and let them grab one from a bowl like little lottery tickets. Pro is that I can easily add rumours. Also, drawing lots gives a sense of anticipation. Con is that it's difficult to retrieve a specific rumour if necessary. Would you like this way of picking rumours if you were a player? Are there other ways you use or can think of?

    Anyway, I digress. My main issue that I can't figure out: how can the party acquire rumours? There is no longer a Gather Information skill (which wouldn't be suitable for half my rumours anyway), so what could I come up with that allows a player to make an attempt at finding a rumour, say, once a day? I don't think it's something that should be solely based on Charisma, as you can just as easily rule in favour of Perception (eavesdrop on people talking in the tavern) or Investigate (search newspapers or a bin of discarded documents for information) or even Money (pay a streetrat a silver piece for information). And should all 4 players be given an attempt every day, or is it a group effort that can yield x rumours? Is once a day too little, or maybe too much? What if I decide to let a player make a random roll when I think they're in a place that could give them a rumour?
    Just remember... if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Beholder

    Join Date
    Sep 2019

    Default Re: How to Introduce Rumours

    Do the characters normally go out looking for things to do? That seems like a fine time/way for them to pick up rumors. Maybe set up an adventure (maybe a side-adventure) that requires them to go looking for information. You could play that one mostly straight (stick mostly to true rumors) to get them used to the idea, then start adding in a higher proportion of rumors that aren't true (or at least aren't helpfully true) later.

    I'm fortunate, in that I run large parties, and they're willing to split themselves to find different information/paths. If your party isn't so amendable, I'd give them one rumor per group. If you set up your side-adventure so they need more information than one group can plausibly gather, you can possibly also train them to go looking for information separately, if not individually.

    Part of playing fair-ish if the party splits, is not coming down hard on table-talk, and not dropping fights on part of the party unless that part goes looking for trouble, or unless it really makes sense. My opinion, anyway; take with as much salt as your taste requires.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Default Re: How to Introduce Rumours

    As you said

    Random perception checks in town are always tried and true.

    *Bar talk:

    You overhear 2 dwarves arguing about the location of their lost ancestor's tomb, and his magic hammer of awesomeness.

    *Market talk:

    Did you hear about Thomas? I heard from Devin that he was seen consorting with some merfolk in the late hours of the night.

    Other ways would being finding notes in possession of dead baddies that have information that may or may not be true, may or may not have blood covering key facts, etc. The nice things about these are the party won't be able to know if they are the truth or just rumors. A random NPC who hears gossip will probably believe it (unless they are the start of the slander) so insight or investigation will only get them so far. Making contacts not just with thieves guilds or town nobles, but farmers, shopkeepers, any number of "normal" people can have access to good intel...... or bad.

    You should let them gather as much as they want, then throw in some misinformation and make them puzzle the big picture together. If they have a few misadventures off of bad intel, then no big deal. Just don't make those super deadly, and include some silly happenings, and a bit of loot for them being good sports. The best thing about rumors, is that you are playing the telephone game, and you don't get to know how far down the line you are.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Netherlands
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: How to Introduce Rumours

    The party generally don't actively go looking for trouble, they usually stay close to the plot/quest and what they think the best course of action is. I think that sending them off somewhere for information will strengthen the feeling that any rumour they get will be important and has to be followed. I'd rather not risk that, because then I'll make it harder for myself when I want to give them some actual important quest info.

    They sometimes split up, when they retire for the night (the setting is a large city they all live in, so no inns or campsites) or when they want to have some specific tasks done and divide the work. I guess I could drop some hints when they're apart at a certain location, but that wouldn't be much different from when I have the whole group at that same location. Although, having them apart means I can give one of them rumours the others won't know about (yet). Hm, I'll think about this some more.

    I like the idea of giving written notes as loot, but those would have to be specific rumours. I can hardly let a bandit walk around with a note that mentions the old lady that lives in the powder-blue house who everybody says is a witch who turns children into pigeons to run her errands. I can certainly use it for plot hooks, but I think that it's a bit too specific for random rumour tidbits.

    Initially I wanted to rehash the Gather Information skill, ideally to detach it from Charisma, but I just realised that this may give the players too much agency over when and how many rumours will be found. I think I'm making this too hard for myself, that I should just decide when is a good moment to call out for them to roll for a check - Perception if they're somewhere with people talking among each other, Charisma if they're talking to someone that might like them enough to let some information slip.
    Just remember... if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Iowa
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How to Introduce Rumours

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelynn View Post
    I like the idea of giving written notes as loot, but those would have to be specific rumours. I can hardly let a bandit walk around with a note that mentions the old lady that lives in the powder-blue house who everybody says is a witch who turns children into pigeons to run her errands.
    No, but you can certainly sneak one of those pidgeons into an encounter. Give the party a chance at surprise because a few bandits are wondering why in the heck this squab they're about to eat has a note and bits of fabric attached to it.

    Another way is to throw at the adventurers seemingly random Perception checks to have related events go down. If the party is working on a task during the night have the elves, or someone not getting much rest, roll to see if they notice the neighbors dropping hints. I've found players pay more attention if you make the bait a roll.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2016

    Default Re: How to Introduce Rumours

    There's two ways to clearly show that rumors may not be true:

    1) Couch them with phrases like "I heard from this one guy by the docks..."

    2) Introduce conflicting rumors roughly simultaneously. If they know one can't be true, then maybe none of them are?

    2-a) To that end, maybe introduce incorrect rumors about the party. That should really illustrate the potential unreliability of rumors.
    Last edited by HPisBS; 2020-02-26 at 04:11 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    May 2018

    Default Re: How to Introduce Rumours

    The legendary bard Lindsay of Buckingham shows up, and announces, "Lo, as you are to leave this place and strike out for adventure, let me sing you a song before you Go Your Own Way . . ."

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Between SEA and PDX.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How to Introduce Rumours

    I imagine your players don't roleplay every hour in town. Mine often go through time skips. At the end of those time skips, provide a summary list of events that took place over the time skip, like:

    Hearing about a specific rumor they can investigate into
    Earning money by using a skill
    Training a pet
    Witness someone getting their money stolen
    etc.

    And it doesn't have to be a long list. The key thing is to provide them in moments when your players aren't doing much already, when their characters would be able to pay attention to random events going on around them. Like when they're buying stuff at the general store, or when they're traveling to talk to an NPC.
    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    MOG, design a darn RPG system. Seriously, the amount of ideas Iíve gleaned from your posts has been valuable. Youíre a gem of the community here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post

    5th Edition Homebrewery

    Prestige Options, changing primary attributes to open a world of new multiclassing.
    Adrenaline Surge, fitting Short Rests into combat to fix bosses/Short Rest Classes.
    Pain, using Exhaustion to make tactical martial combatants.
    Fate Sorcery, lucky winner of the 5e D&D Subclass Contest VII!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Mjolnirbear's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Default Re: How to Introduce Rumours

    I run modified Giffyglyph's travel rules which partly come from AngryGM.

    You roll to see what kind of encounter you get, which includes discoveries, social encounters, skill challenges, and "questions from characters" like "What famous creature do you think is a myth?" or "When was your first kiss" or "What was the last time you got into a bar fight?"

    I'd simply add "Rumours". If it's not a convenient time (like in a tavern) it's fine; it would become "Hey you just remembered a rumour you overheard recently at ___".
    Avatar by the awesome Linklele!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •