So me and my newbie players are slowly getting the hang of ‘fiction first’ DW combat and that’s really nice, but now I wanted to expand our repertoire, so I nudged our last session in a direction that was more about interaction with NPCs in a not immediately threatening environment (for those of you who remember my other questions related to that DW session, it’s lizard priests in a monastery, up to no good, but not right now).
Although the session went well and everybody had fun, overall I thought that the evening felt way too much like one long expositionary infodump. The players kept in character and tried to roleplay, but mostly just endlessly ‘interviewed’ the various NPCs, or carefully checked out the environment. Even though this perfectly fit within the fiction (if I had been in the characters’ place I would also have asked lots of questions, and mapped out the location), and even though I successfully nudged them towards a couple of Discern Realities and Spout Lore rolls to drive the story forward in unforeseen ways, I couldn’t help but feel that they were mostly on the rails of what little backstory I had prepared. I was telling them stuff, they were reacting to it.
So, my question is basically: how do I break that pattern, without just taking the easy way out and fabricating more monsters and sudden dangers? Are there any specific other techniques or approaches you guys use to keep player/NPC interactions inventive and spontaneous?
(I have a sneaky suspicion you guys are going to say “Fronts!”. Yeah, you’re going to say “Fronts!”, aren’t you? 🙂 )
As always, many thanks in advance for your ideas and feedback.