“… Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive―it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it?”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
In what I consider to be the very best types of roleplaying adventures and campaigns, both characters and players face situations where they don’t understand what’s happening and they’re being pushed to make decisions without crucial information. Sometimes they’re faced with a mystery, and filling in the missing information is the point of the adventure. Your opinion on that type of play might be different from mine; certainly there are players who like to feel as if they’re in control of the situation all the time. I don’t begrudge them their preference, but I do believe that they’re missing out on a huge quotient of enjoyment.
Most RPG settings are worlds of wonder. Whether you’re playing a fantasy game with magic and mythical beasts, a science fiction game with starships and aliens, a steampunk game with super-science and dinosaurs, or a post-modern game with vampires and murderous cults, the setting is rife with amazing things that don’t exist in real life. Experiencing the “wonders of the world” and uncovering its hidden truths can be a major thrust of the campaign, or it might be a sidelight. Either way, if players understand everything there is to know about the setting and the story they’re involved in, then I’d argue that the GM has made the world too small and too familiar.
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