Brainstorming effective ways of using campaign secrets

Frak_Lou_Elmo
Frak_Lou_Elmo

Hi all, I want to get the players to use the portal more and add stuff themselves. I have been told that there is a 37% more chance of players with secrets to be active so I would like to brainstorm with you ways to use the player secrets in game.



Until now I have just played with secret stuff openly, trusting my players to roleplay appropriately or the player to share the secret with the team relatively quickly. For example, one player has a mask that talks to his mind urging him to put it on in battle (it is a somewhat bloodthirsty mask). I just do this openly. Should I just text the player in game and then put the info in the secrets? I kinda already have my hands full DMing than to go and text players individually all the time. (we play over google hangouts)



I have another player that lost his arm sacrificing it to gain a warlock patron, and now the arm is regrowing back, but differently. I am using the player secrets to keep the player informed on the growth before games. 



I still find it a bit hard to envision how I can use this best, it seems I am putting stuff in for them they could well be public or just told to them. What have you guys used it for and how have you guys gotten players to add more? I would love to hear any and all ideas on creative use of the player secrets box.



Cheers,

Frak

Comments

  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,731

    In our Mysteria campaign, I do use it for some things that the players or I wish to keep secret, but the main benefit for me is that I use it as a platform for Divine Dreams, where I am able to add clues to characters to help with puzzle solving, steer direction when the group may be faltering, or even just to add spice to the character of each of the PCs.  I find it is very effective, especially if dealt with just before a gaming session.  It always enhances the actual game around the table.

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • Frak_Lou_Elmo
    Frak_Lou_Elmo
    Posts: 55

    that sounds like a great idea! putting their dreams before the game. I'm going to try that, thanks.



    your game page looks awesome by the way. 

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 362

    Dreams is a good option. 

    You could also use things that happen in the game "offscreen" between sessions.  And the "things" don't even have to be "big" secrets.  They can be things that the other PCs don't know about and the PC with the Secret has to decide if they are going to share it or not.  Many could be "red herrings".

    For example:

    - Someone wants to sell information to one of the PCs...and the information may be true, not true, or partially true (for various reasons/motives).

    - A PC has an anonymous note delivered to them.

    - Overheard a rumor in a tavern/shop/stable/other.

    - The PC notices a notable new face in town.

    - The PC notices a familiar face is missing from town.  Maybe a barkeeper, favorite barmaid, blacksmith, washerwoman, etc.

    - Increased guards in a certain area, or decreased guards.  Or other groups like guild members, or urchins, or adventurers, or mercenaries.

    - Conspicuous purchasing or shortages.  All of the X are bought up as soon as they come into town, or no new shipments of X are coming into town.

    - Wanted posters or announcement leaflets.

    - Weird sounds at night.

    - Odd items turning up in places where they usually aren't.  Maybe an abandoned wagon or barrel.

    - Someone looking to sell a particular item or map to get to a particular place.  Maybe it's related to a personal/side quest one of the other PCs wants to do.

    - Real estate changing hands.

    - Ships changing hands.

    - Particular people suddenly spending very richly/freely, like mercenaries or recently docked ships' crews.

    - Particular people buying supplies that indicate they are going some where special that the PCs might want to know about.  Perhaps there is a certain ointment that is only needed if you're going to go to a particular area.

    - Particular people looking to hire support staff (guards, guides, workers, wagon drivers, etc) for a trip to an area the PCs are interested in.

    - A trader coming into town with some items sourced specifically from an area the PCs are interested in.  Maybe spices, foods, or crafts.

    - Fresh/New graves in the graveyard.

    - Being on the opposite side of a "gather information" request.  Maybe an armorer asks if they know anyone selling particular metals or ingredients or looking for someone that can enchant.

    - Messengers seen going between particular places.  And the facial expressions of those receiving the messages.

    - Overhearing the name of a particular someone being looked for multiple times in different places.

    - For a Lawful Good PC, overhearing that the law is looking for, or wants to question, an associate of theirs, but the law hasn't said why.  Maybe just an NPC friend, or one of the other PCs.  Does LG PC assist the law, or assist the friend?

    - Unexplained wounded people or person.

    - Shops going out of business or opening for business.

    - Rumors for all of the senses.  Odd sounds.  Odd smells.  Funny tastes in food/ale/water.  Unexpected temperature changes in particular areas.

    - Hearing about surprising/unexpected deals.  "I bought this horse for just 1sp!"  But didn't get more details on why it was so cheap.

     

    Ideally, you would want "double edged" secrets.  Something the PC might not want to share with the other PCs. 

    - Maybe the secret reflects poorly on the PC (a rumor about others of their race or associates of theirs). 

    - Or the example above about alignment (LG) vs friendship. 

    - Or a concealing a risk to others vs a personal gain. 

    - Or even a rumor that would put two of the other PCs in conflict.  (The rogue's guild is planning to rob the cleric's church.)

    - Or learning a secret about a friend, and not their secret to share, but could be important to the other PCs.

    - Or just knowing the secret makes the PC a target of others, and if the PC shares that secret with the other PCs, then the other PCs would be targets too.  Maybe "lie detection" spells will be used and the other PCs need plausible deniability.

     

    That's all that comes to mind for the moment.  Hopefully there's something useful there.

     

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • Frak_Lou_Elmo
    Frak_Lou_Elmo
    Posts: 55

    I just thought of another cool way. One of my players is playing a divination wizard with a bit of a playing card / tarot card gimmick. We figured every morning he does a tarot card reading for himself. I can put a new reading in the player secret at the start of every game to give clues or foreboding of the session. 

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 362

    The tarot card reading idea is great!

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,731

    I love that Tarot Card idea, @Frak_Lou_Elmo!   And thanks for your compliment!

    twigs

    P.S:  @thaen - such a KILLER LIST of Player Secret examples.  My poor wee Scottish mind boggles!

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 362

    @twiggyleaf, haha!  I didn't realize it was going to be so long.  I'd squirreled away some different ideas as they occurred to me, and then just compiled them all here when the opportunity presented itself.

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,731

    @thaen  Megasquirrel!

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,877

    Ooooohhhh- I have a future NPC- Thaen the Megasquirrel

     

    Just trying to help out.  Changed name from killervp to Gaming Megaverse to match other sites.

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 362

    Hahaha!  Love it!

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,731

    smiley

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

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