Thinking about more questions to ask my players tonight, because I don’t think enough have been asked to link them…

Thinking about more questions to ask my players tonight, because I don’t think enough have been asked to link them…

Thinking about more questions to ask my players tonight, because I don’t think enough have been asked to link them to the world yet.

Am I crossing a line if I ask the human druid “What happened back home when you failed to control your powers?” (My concern being, I’m explicitly stating he lost control of his powers one time.) Am I worried about nothing – or any suggestions on rewording or asking different questions?

9 thoughts on “Thinking about more questions to ask my players tonight, because I don’t think enough have been asked to link them…”

  1. [edit] I just saw the “Read More”, hah! I don’t think that idea crosses a line at all. I think there are suggestions that recommend such questions (I mention some “leading” questions below as well) [/edit]

    Are you looking for some suggestions? You might start with their classes, and think about how (typically) their roles are tied to a world.

    Some quick examples…

    Fighters are sometimes former soldiers.

    @Fighter-“Have you served in the military before? Why/Why Not?”

    Wizards have various ways they could have come to know magic.

    @Wizard-“When did you know magic would be something you would wield? What were the circumstances of you learning it?”

    Again, these are two generic (and quickly drummed up) examples.

    Additionally, your questions could be more leading if you want to focus on knowing something more specific about your world by drawing details out of your players…

    @Cleric-“The god you worship has been in decline over the years. What have you promised to do in order to help reverse this trend?”

    @Thief-“The King’s Palace is the resting place for 3 items of power, one of which was stolen recently. Who have you heard could be involved and what is your relation to them?”

    Anyway, just some quick suggestions, in case you were looking for some!

  2. No. That is totally fine. Especially in the beginning you have a lot of control over the characters. You SHOULD be asking leading questions like this. 

    The players can do whatever they want with this but that is especially your work. What you bring into the first session. 

    In a way it is a really lazy job for the GM because they just have to ask questions and let the players do all the work.


    Asking the right questions, questions that can be used to create something and add richness and diversity to the game are work. 

    Through the way you phrase your question you are creating stuff about the world too, the players do just fill it out. 

    Things like

    “So who did train you” are not as good as “So who was the master you had the big falling out with and why was it?” (not the best example)

    But every question should bring something into the game in itself and then get added on by the players. 

    Through the kinds of questions you ask you are also setting a lot of the tone of the game. So in your game primal magic is dangerous in a way and not something easily controlled. That is totally something you can do. 

    Just follow the principles, don’t betray them. And when the players says something that totally kicks your game in a new direction? Run with it. Aks follow up questions.

    We actually talked about this in 

    GM’ing the World 

    sorry, got a bit meandering in the end

  3. As Tim Franzke and Mike Weem have stated, you should be asking questions like this. You should be asking questions that have assumptions built into them, but also allow the players some creative control.

    The assumptions are what you want to establish and the answers are what the player wants to establish. You have a bit of additional control because you get to phrase the question. Here are some examples of the phrasing getting out of control in one direction or another.

    Too much GM control: “When you were attacked, imprisoned, and sold into slavery, what color was the hair of your slave master?”

    Too much player control: “Who is the most powerful being on the planet and what is your relationship with them?”

    As you can see, it’s a sliding scale. It can go too far in one direction or another and I think balance is key. Something that the game Fiasco uses is like this: You can set the stage or determine the outcome, but not both.

    Your question about the druid determines the outcome but gives him the freedom to set the stage. 

    In my mind, that makes it a “fair” question.

  4. To clarify my earlier post: I tend to ask general questions as they naturally occur to me… “So, you say you are an apprentice to [name]? For how long now?”. The answers can inspire more leading questions later (sometimes immediately, sometimes another session) which is good. I mention this because I feel like these kinds of (general) questions are okay and wouldn’t want you to think your questions can ONLY be the well thought out, constructed questions.

    The more pointed/leading questions are the ones I actually think about in advance (while the players work up their characters and I know their classes, or between sessions or sometimes when they come to me immediately, etc).

  5. Thanks for the feedback guys, that’s exactly what I was hoping for – glad I’m on the right track. We’ve had some questions come up naturally already (like how the Druid became a Druid, for example) but I really want to link the players into the world more (and set the tone of the game – thanks Tim!)

  6. If you want to do this without feeling like you’re directing your players too much, you can let them know they’re allowed to answer by negating your question.  

    So the answer to “What happened back home when you failed to control your powers?” could be “I’ve never lost control of my powers.”  

    That might seem like a cop-out, but the GM can actually use that to raise more questions, like “What allows you to maintain such complete control?” 

    Or you can use that answer to later on reveal that the tight lid the druid keeps on his power is actually creating a ticking time-bomb, showing itself as visions or nightmares.  

  7. I’m going to disagree with Dave Tarr. “Yes and…” is a huge part of the mindset behind Dungeon World (I think). 

    It’s funny that I had to negate the idea of negating 🙂

    Negating things in the game creates dead ends. Dead ends are boring.

    But I do like the idea of follow up questions.

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