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The Laughing God

Making players know as much about the setting as GMs

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I recently did a little quiz on my players. I asked them basic questions about the Dark Heresy universe, such as: what is the Angevin Crusade?
who was Saint Drusus?
what can you tell me about the planet called Dusk?
what is the Chaliced Commissariat?
who are the Pilgrims of Hayte?
what is the Mara Landing Massacre?
what is the capital of Scintilla?

.. and found that they didn't know a lot. Some did. But most were pretty ignorant about the setting and its main themes and background fluff. Most did not even know that Komus is the Tyrant Star!

Now don't assume my players are dumb and uninterested. They are not. But being the GM, I have all the books and spend quite a lot of time reading them, preparing adventures, and linking background fluff (just look at the Haarlock thread :). Most players have the core rulebook and maybe the Inquisitor's Handbook, and that's it. I can't blame them for not knowing more than they do, yet I wish they did, cause I feel the enjoyment of the game would be greater if they knew rightaway the terror of Dusk when that planet is being mentioned ingame, if they could quote Sebastian Thor, and picked up clues about Komus.
 

Familiar problem?
any suggestions how to remedy this?

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Its pretty familar to me. In fact it happens all the time.

One way to help players know is in my experiance handouts, or trying to make/retype some sort of 'essential' knowledge so they dont have to 'read' the books in question. To an extent it is just laziness I feel and can sometimes be frustrating.

 

My players consist of two-three people who play more RP'd characters and a slew of more 'gamist' characters who'll read next to nothing about the setting but know the armory section inside and out. Thus the means I use the most to try and pound setting information into their heads is setting up a wiki so they can read at their own pace or better yet make it a major topic relating to gear and its acquisition. Somehow the gear aspect does wonders.

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 The group I'm playing with online, via Live Messenger, avoids this in a rather fun manner: rotating GMs. We're all quite interested in the background of the setting anyway (we're all regulars on the Blacklibrary Bolthole forum) and we all have decent access to the books.

I think, more than anything, it's avoided because we're all interested and keen on reading up. We've massively varying skills, talents, desires and styles, so we swap around quite frequently to preserve vitality and we're not too secretive about the general background (as we know the order of the GMs, we can liaise appropriately so that our arcs interweave).

Some of us have legs up in different directions. One of us has a focus on phaeonites and hardcore radicalism (his arc led to the Drusus Shrine World seceding because we weren't paying attention to his overly obscure, impenetrable yet amusing arc), I'm a big fan of bashing them through the published adventures, one is exceptionally free form (merging Rogue Trader with taking charge of the post-Haarlock inquisition Civil war; Prol IX was just virus bombed...), one went for a wholly surreal 'our inquisitor wiped our minds' and the other went for a straight-up character-driving investigation.

Altogether, it's pretty eclectic and difficult to organise, but we're bolstered by all having good access to most of the books and the spare time to delve into them.

In terms of encouraging interest in the players: don't go broad. It's handy as a GM, but if you're open about it you can pool your knowledge. If a particular player, for example, has taken 'The Divine Light of Sollex', it might be a good idea to one evening have bookmarked (or photocopied) some of the relevant sections of the IH (Sollexan background, Aegis-Energy Blade, Deathlight, Haddrack, Magnagorsk etc). Disciple of Thule? Get them a look at the sections in "Edge of the Abyss" and so forth.

 

A Newer Idea

It's not a great one, but it might work more usefully. When you introduce new NPCs, you could have little A5/6 'cards' with a few details, a name, some organisation affiliation and a few other pertinent details useful for the campaign. Being able to remember (or at least refer to easily) NPCs without having to memorise all the names themselves is a massive boon. If you can make that easier for the players, getting really in to the rest of the background won't be quite as difficult!

(We're beginning to try out cards like this to keep track of 'plot points, clues, allies, actions, events and revelations' which the group discovers. Something to jog the player's memory easily that they have those dependable allies in the Battlefleet...)

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Well, in the game I'm preparing to run I have a couple of ideas for imparting setting information to my players.  This game isn't Dark Heresey, mind you, or any of the 40k RPGs, as it happens, but the principle is the same.  I have a game universe with rich background information, almost none of which the players know.

The first idea was inspired by the new D&D red box.  Love it or hate it, I'm not trying to start a debate here, but the "player's book" in that box has a kind of "choose your own adventure" story built up around character creation.  So as the players are making up their characters, they're also reading a little story.  I plan to make something similar for my game, and tailor the story to pack in as much background info as I can.  We'll see what sticks.

The other idea is to make little info cards with details about important people, places or events that the characters should know.  Along the same lines as what one of the other posters suggested.  They key to my idea here is that the info on the card is stuff that one player "knows" when he makes a knowledge check.  Let me give you a quick example here:

You're running your game, and one of your NPCs mentions an important planet (like Dusk) just in passing.  None of your players have any idea what Dusk is, but you feel at least one of the characters is in a position to know.  So you ask him to make a knowledge roll, make it as easy DC because you probably want him to succeed.  Then, when he does, toss him a little card with info about Dusk on it and let him read it.  Tell him this is what his character knows about Dusk.  Maybe put a little picture or something if you can find serviceable art.

Then, in the space of about two seconds, you've informed at least one player about this important planet you want them to feel a chill regarding.  In all likelihood (especially if there's a pretty picture) the other players are going to be curious about what he's reading.  Encourage him to tell them in character.  If nobody else is curious or leaning over to see, maybe pause briefly to prompt the player with the info "is there anything there your guy would like to share with  the others?"  He'll probably respond.

The source of your problem, as I see it, is that your players don't really care about getting deep into the fluff.  Maybe they like "sci fi" but aren't that big of 40k.  Whatever.  They don't want to read books or maybe even handouts.  I've been there.  But when you make the info brief, like a little card, and throw it out only when relevant, you make it important to the game.  Now they care, because this is directly relevant to what they're doing.  They don't need to read 500 pages of stuff to get an ounce of information.  They can take what you give them and (ideally) apply it right away to their plans for what to do in game.

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I use the following.

1) Monuments.  One of the benefits of the setting is that it is in love with itself.  The people of Dark Heresy are so in love with their own history that it gets in the way of them dealing with present problems.  Every friggan planet has monuments of important sites and it's not hard to have major setpieces be "where the first battle was fought to liberate this world in the Angevin Crusade", or "The Temple to St. Drusus" etc.

2) NPC references.  NPC's, in particularly noble NPC's, will refer to their family's 'heroism' during events.  They may also make references in curses "By The Tyrant Star!".  Eventually context will win out, players are smart.  The smartness of the players mixed with the ignorance of the general Imperial population (this is a setting where history is forgotten, simplified, or just plain re-written) means that things usually work out.

3) FLASHBACK (My favorite).   If the event is just that important to the adventure, I'll have the party find a data slate depicting the event.  But instead of telling them the description of, say, The Bloody Solstice, I'll give them the character sheets of participants and play a 'mini-adventure' where they get to experience it.   It makes the history seem more alive.

 

 

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The Laughing God said:

I recently did a little quiz on my players. I asked them basic questions about the Dark Heresy universe, such as: what is the Angevin Crusade?
who was Saint Drusus?
what can you tell me about the planet called Dusk?
what is the Chaliced Commissariat?
who are the Pilgrims of Hayte?
what is the Mara Landing Massacre?
what is the capital of Scintilla?

.. and found that they didn't know a lot. Some did. But most were pretty ignorant about the setting and its main themes and background fluff. Most did not even know that Komus is the Tyrant Star!

Most of these facts would be classified information, not known to even low-level Throne Agents, unless their Inquisitor decided that such information was vital to the completion of their current mission. I wouldn't stress about your player's "lack of knowledge" too much: just get them up to speed on the general state of the Imperium and the most relevant details of the Calaxis Sector, and let them learn the other details of the setting organically during play.

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The Laughing God said:

Familiar problem?
any suggestions how to remedy this?

 

Hmm, actually this is not a problem, but more an asset if you ask me. After all, Ignorance is a Blessing!

More often (not in DH though) I had the problem of players having too much information about the setting. This way they knew within seconds what kind of creature they encountered for example and even its strengths and weaknesses (i.e. stats). So an encounter with a slavering Ghoul was nothing dark and frightening for the players, but something very calculated and dominated by numbers (ie. stat values).

So, I am very fond of my players being more or less ignorant of the setting.

Especially the Feral World Guardsman player knowns abot nothing of 40K, apart from the fact that his Lasgun can kill people. After all, his character (together with some others of his tribe) was plucked from a Feral World by the 'sky-ships' of the Departmento Munitorum and later on was plucked from an Imperial Guard battleground in the Periphery by the groups Inquisitor. So, why should he know anything of the Pilgrims of Hayte?

My players know who Saint Drusus is because he mentioned a lot within the setting. They do not know about Dusk, but if it is mentioned in the setting, I would allow a +/-0 Common Lore – Imperium test. Some of my players (especially the Arbitrator) know or have heard of the Chaliced Commissariat, but most do not really know what it is. No one of them knows who the Pilgrims of Hayte are (but they will know in the near future…), but I would allow a Forbidden Lore – Cults (with a bonus if having Malfi as home world) test when confronted by them or hearing of them. No one really knows anything about Mara or the Mara Landing Massacre (-20 Common Lore – Imperium test maybe). They all more or less know what the capital of Scintilla is, even if they cannot all name it at any time.
Most have heard about the Tyrant Star (especially the Psyker), but they do not really know what it is or that it is also known as Komus.

To conclude , I do not see the need to remedy this kind of ignorance, but see it as something of great potential for an intriguing and enigmatic RPG like DH.

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Luthor Harkon said:

 (..) I would allow a +/-0 Common Lore – Imperium test. (...)

(...) I would allow a Forbidden Lore – Cults (with a bonus if having Malfi as home world) test when confronted by them or hearing of them.

 

Aren't those Skills Advanced?  What if the Acolytes don't have 'em?  I've struggled with the same stuff, but deny them access to the info unless they have the relevant Skill.  That way they (the players), get frustrated but get immersed in that ingnorant millenium & probably will think of getting an Adept into the group next time.gui%C3%B1o.gif

 

 

L

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Luthor Harkon said:

More often (not in DH though) I had the problem of players having too much information about the setting. This way they knew within seconds what kind of creature they encountered for example and even its strengths and weaknesses (i.e. stats). So an encounter with a slavering Ghoul was nothing dark and frightening for the players, but something very calculated and dominated by numbers (ie. stat values).

I've had that problem in the past, too.  My usual remedy is to change a few things about the campaign setting explicitly so that the people who know everything don't know everything. =P

Generally I'll only change details that I expect to be relevant to the main plot, but I've found the changes don't even need to be that extreme to be effective.  To use an example from a recent D&D game, I had a plot that used drow as a primary enemy.  I knew my players knew what drow were, and I figured they'd attack on sight if they recognized them, but I wanted to have some "creepy political maneuverings" in there, too.  Drow in this world were not completely unreasonable towards surface dwellers.  So I reasoned that, realistically speaking, creatures that spend their entire lives underground don't usually develop darker skin.  Quite the opposite, they usually go albino.  So I made my drow in this campaign world albinos.  White skin, white hair, those weird red eyes.  I downplayed the spider iconography but didn't remove it entirely.

My players had no goddamned clue what these white-skinned underground elves were.  They spent a good deal of their first encounter just trying to learn as much about these beings as they could - which mostly boiled down to cultural and personal history, since they got over the "elf" thing pretty quickly.

Sometimes, having a loud-mouthed player who memorized the monster manual can work in your favour if you just change the description of the creature they're facing.  "Hey guys, I don't know what this is.  It's not in any book I've read, the DM must've made it up."

Of course, you can't very well do this for every encounter, or the players will quickly cotton on that you're just taking stock monsters and nudging the flavour text.  That's why I save it for plot-relevant stuff.  Let them laugh at the all-too-familiar skeleton minions, but they'll tremble when the creepy, pasty master undead who assembles himself out of a swarm of scarabs makes an appearance (even if it's just a stock vampire or ghoul by the stats.)

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I agree with many of the others on this matter. Lack of player knowledge is not really a problem, especially at low levels. Most knowledge, even trivial knowledge, is forbidden in the setting. Dark Heresy is largely an investigative game. I usually just have players hear about these things in the course of their investigations, and then they must investigate further to learn the details.

My campaign has gone on long enough that we are in Ascention, and by this time the players have a very strong knowledge about the secrets of the Calixis sector. Most of this they have aquired gradually. This has worked well enough that some of the characters are considered leading authorities on they Tyrant Star and certain cults and heresies to the point that inquisitors sometimes come to them for information or advice on certain subjects.

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The Laughing God said:

I recently did a little quiz on my players. I asked them basic questions about the Dark Heresy universe, such as: what is the Angevin Crusade?
who was Saint Drusus?
what can you tell me about the planet called Dusk?
what is the Chaliced Commissariat?
who are the Pilgrims of Hayte?
what is the Mara Landing Massacre?
what is the capital of Scintilla?

.. and found that they didn't know a lot. Some did. But most were pretty ignorant about the setting and its main themes and background fluff. Most did not even know that Komus is the Tyrant Star!

Now don't assume my players are dumb and uninterested. They are not. But being the GM, I have all the books and spend quite a lot of time reading them, preparing adventures, and linking background fluff (just look at the Haarlock thread :). Most players have the core rulebook and maybe the Inquisitor's Handbook, and that's it. I can't blame them for not knowing more than they do, yet I wish they did, cause I feel the enjoyment of the game would be greater if they knew rightaway the terror of Dusk when that planet is being mentioned ingame, if they could quote Sebastian Thor, and picked up clues about Komus.
 

Familiar problem?
any suggestions how to remedy this?

 

Hmm some of this is Common Lore: The Empire, some are Forbidden Lore: Cults or Forbidden Lore: Heresy, some are Common Lore: Imperial Creed, and some Forbidden Lore: Inquisition or maybe Common Lore: War.

None of this is something all acolytes or players should know (except who was St. Drusus which everyone in Calixis should know at least in vague terms ).

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I also mostly use the "Ignorance is a virtue" route, which works well with my newbies, since they gradually learn stuff about the setting. I have also found that it enhances the mood of the game, since a lot of the xenos, like the Slaugth, are a lot scarier when players haven't encountered them before.

I am, however, also slightly mean to my players. Sometimes they encounter mindnumbing stupidity, NPC's that have no idea what they are talking about, in the form of bureaucratic adepts, genocidial commissars, or even the mutants they capture.

The fluff of WH40k encourages that nothing is set in stone. I try and keep my players on their toes, never trusting other people than themselves. And so far it's been going great

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I have to advances to this.

a) At the beginning of a mission (or if they switch location) I give them a "speakers intro" of the world and its place in the world (after all , I am the GM!)
    Afterwards, they get the "Gazeteer" for this world

b) If every player is supposed to know it, I provide a little "fact sheet" to the pc, with bullet points covering the most topics.

c) If I notice that a certain infos might pop into the characters head right then, I either tell them so ("your pc knows that..") or will let them role for a lore skill

 

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There is a very clever fanmade dpf that is called "Imperial Primer" or something similar. It's about a dozen pages and very beautifully layouted in a siilar style as the DH-books. I've handed colour-printed versions of that to every player after a few sessions, and it has done a world of good for their general knowledge of the setting. At the moment I seem to fail at google-fu (or possibly I got the name entirely wrong). Perhaps someone here remembers what it is called and where it can be found?

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Mellon said:

There is a very clever fanmade dpf that is called "Imperial Primer" or something similar. It's about a dozen pages and very beautifully layouted in a siilar style as the DH-books. I've handed colour-printed versions of that to every player after a few sessions, and it has done a world of good for their general knowledge of the setting. At the moment I seem to fail at google-fu (or possibly I got the name entirely wrong). Perhaps someone here remembers what it is called and where it can be found?

Well I know of the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifiting Primer, but that's a small black-and-white handbook for soldiers in the Imperial Guard which says Genestealers have puny claws and Eldar have inferior technology and really functions only as a funny example of Imperial propaganda and brainwashing :)

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The Laughing God said:

 

I recently did a little quiz on my players. I asked them basic questions about the Dark Heresy universe, such as: what is the Angevin Crusade?
who was Saint Drusus?
what can you tell me about the planet called Dusk?
what is the Chaliced Commissariat?
who are the Pilgrims of Hayte?
what is the Mara Landing Massacre?
what is the capital of Scintilla?

.. and found that they didn't know a lot. Some did. But most were pretty ignorant about the setting and its main themes and background fluff. Most did not even know that Komus is the Tyrant Star!

Now don't assume my players are dumb and uninterested. They are not. But being the GM, I have all the books and spend quite a lot of time reading them, preparing adventures, and linking background fluff (just look at the Haarlock thread :). Most players have the core rulebook and maybe the Inquisitor's Handbook, and that's it. I can't blame them for not knowing more than they do, yet I wish they did, cause I feel the enjoyment of the game would be greater if they knew rightaway the terror of Dusk when that planet is being mentioned ingame, if they could quote Sebastian Thor, and picked up clues about Komus.
 

Familiar problem?
any suggestions how to remedy this?

 

 

 

There is a sort of questionnaire both in the Corebook & the Inquisitor's HB.  I bet that's as far as most would know stuff in the Inquisition, when beginning...  I'd say everything else are Advanced Skill advances!

 

 

hth

L

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The Laughing God said:

I recently did a little quiz on my players. I asked them basic questions about the Dark Heresy universe, such as: what is the Angevin Crusade?
who was Saint Drusus?
what can you tell me about the planet called Dusk?
what is the Chaliced Commissariat?
who are the Pilgrims of Hayte?
what is the Mara Landing Massacre?
what is the capital of Scintilla?

 

Aside from some basic info about the Angevin Crusade (roughly when it occured) and same with St. Drusis, I really don't expect my players to know much about the latter topics considering they are specialized knowledge that is often unavailable to most denizens of the Imperium anyways. I do expect players to have a general feel for the 40K universe and am happy to educate them on the basics (xenos bad, Emperor good, don't mess with Space/Chaos Marines should you encounter them, knock out the psyker before combat begins heh). Players generally fear the unknown more than anything; a Plaguebearer of Nurgle might as well be a Great Unclean One if players don't know the difference and they will react with the awe and horror that us GMs would love to see. Obviously I'm going to make it clear that a Great Unclean One is a bit more intimidating than a mere Plaguebearer of course ;)

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To quote Robert Heinlein "You can lead a child to knowledge, but you cannot make him think!"

My take on this is rather simple: don't force it, as most new players simply want to play the game and learn as they go. If they wanted to know these things then they'd play Adepts or Psykers using the scholar tree.

Besides, if they miss something important, then the issues they will have in game, should guide them into working towards learning something of the game, rather than railroading them into knowing things....

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I think Denmar is on the right track here. Let the fist time characters possess no more knowledge than what their players do. Maybe make them illiterate feralworlders with a faith in the Emperor that can be summed up in a few words? Then hand them info using in game channels, make the setting come alive to awaken their curiosity. Try to keep away from punishing the characters for what their players does not know. Carrots are generally a better motivator than whips for fun leisurely activities like roleplaying.

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LETE said:

There is a sort of questionnaire both in the Corebook & the Inquisitor's HB.  I bet that's as far as most would know stuff in the Inquisition, when beginning...  I'd say everything else are Advanced Skill advances!

  

a questionnaire? you mean the questions to flesh out your character?

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The Laughing God said:

 

LETE said:

 

There is a sort of questionnaire both in the Corebook & the Inquisitor's HB.  I bet that's as far as most would know stuff in the Inquisition, when beginning...  I'd say everything else are Advanced Skill advances!

  

 

a questionnaire? you mean the questions to flesh out your character?

 

 

 

Ayup.  Let's play 20 questions about our characters and come up with a little depth for the game.  happy.gif  Most every game I run I require players to fill out something along those lines, especially if they are having problems with concept.

-=Brother Praetus=-

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Mellon said:

I think Denmar is on the right track here. Let the fist time characters possess no more knowledge than what their players do. Maybe make them illiterate feralworlders with a faith in the Emperor that can be summed up in a few words? Then hand them info using in game channels, make the setting come alive to awaken their curiosity. Try to keep away from punishing the characters for what their players does not know. Carrots are generally a better motivator than whips for fun leisurely activities like roleplaying.

I couldn't agree more.  Knowledge is power, right?  So "ignorant" players can be fed only information that's appropriate for their characters to know and the GM gets to hold back on the juicy bits that are deeply embedded into the storyline of his/her campaign.  Having your players be ignorant of the details of things like the Black Ships, the Tyrantine Cabal, what the capitol of such-and-such a planet is, etc. can be used as a powerful tool.  Then, when the campaign is ready for them to know more, the GM can use various techniques like NPCs, handouts, flashbacks, etc. to reveal the appropriate information.  All that's really needed to get started is sufficient familiarity with the genre and the driving themes of the game (technology, fear of the warp, worship of the God-Emperor, the Inquisition, etc.).

Just my 2 cents, of course.

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 Thats actually a BIG problem with my players. Our Cabal has been cut down to a half number of 3 (not including the guy I put in their as a guide that I kill whenever I feel like it or too piss them off when they do crappy) and from the start everyone "knew" about the different races mostly from the boardgame Warhammer 40k. They know NOTHING on the deeper aspects of ANY of the races, imperium, heresies and generally lack logic and deduction when doing anything. The only intelligent one of the group I'm "persuading" to read some fluff albeit hes going through it slowly and to put it bluntly, my good friend who plays as the show-off noble assassin is heading to be the Inquisitor once we reach ascension and wants an intricate web of contacts and to lead everyone when his main concepts of "subtle" are openly saying hes an acolyte, hitting on any female NPC's and generally trying to intimidate anyone and everyone with a display of guns abroad in underhive areas with gangs to trying to intimidate a blood-letter of Khorne charging him with a custom Hellblade...

I see the lack of information in the game as a very crappy thing when Im the only fluff fan and am in the process of making a packet that 1.Summarizes all info on xenos races/motivations/well rumored tactics (not gonna give to much of the game away), 2.Describe a little of the political schemes since were about to hit Ascension Politics with little stories and tidbits of interogators, inquisitors and other cabal members who met their unfortunate end or glorious victory of reasons I will make glaringly obvious so they can mimic and hopefully think on to help themselves, 3.Co-erce them into reading the friggin fluff I have filling bookshelves that would let them get a better picture on "How to deal with the Orks you just shot at" and "Inquisitorial backstabbing etiquette and you" and pray that they can read somewhat quickly so I'm not just spamming PC enemies at them to make it more interesting since they can't follow the plot...I may seem harsh but until you've fallen asleep during your game with a coffee in hand after lunch, you won't know where I'm coming from...

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I agree that players should be in the dark about the depth of some fluff because that fits the setting (ignorant space middle ages). And you can always inform them as they go along. But herein lies my point.

Consider the ice world of Mara. In the fluff it says it's a haunted world, where the veil between our reality and the warp is thin, where people are driven mad by the 'incessant buzzing of insectile wings' just at the edge of your hearing. There has been a mining station, and later a penitentiary, but they were both locked down, and then there's been the Mara Landing Massacre incident in which a freighter with engine problems put down a shuttle with soldiers who were all driven insane or killed.

The players know nothing of this, even though it's been detailed a bit in both the core rulebook and the Inq HB. But when I hand them information cards, tell them about the world, have them make knowledge rolls, they get all that information then and there - and it makes no impact. They will say 'uh okay, haunted ice world, check'. But I want them to gasp when they find out they are going to Mara! I want one of them to roleplay in-character and say 'Mara? I've heard of that! It's a frozen hell! We can't go there!' Only then does the stark horror of the setting come really into play.

Not sure if I've explained it in any understandable manner, but in short I feel the on-the-spot informing of players by the GM makes it hard to convey the depth of the background of the setting. Better to remind them of things they have already read of half-heard or know a little about.

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The Laughing God said:

But I want them to gasp when they find out they are going to Mara! I want one of them to roleplay in-character and say 'Mara? I've heard of that! It's a frozen hell! We can't go there!' Only then does the stark horror of the setting come really into play.

Not sure if I've explained it in any understandable manner, but in short I feel the on-the-spot informing of players by the GM makes it hard to convey the depth of the background of the setting. Better to remind them of things they have already read of half-heard or know a little about.

That's pure role-play territory, my  friend.  Nothing you can do will make the players act that way if they aren't already inclined to do so of their own accord.  Even if everyone at your table were deep into the 40k fluff and had read all the books and knew everything you wanted them to know, they'd still say "Mara.  Frozen haunted planet. Check."  If that's the kind of player they are.  Whether they get the pertinent info on a little stat card or from a knowledge roll, or whether they read it in a book two years ago and actually remembered, it isn't going to change how they act at the table.

You can't force people to role-play; trying to do that will only piss them off.  The best you can do is go whole-hog with role-playing your NPCs and hope they pick up the slack in response.  Lead by example, as it were.  When the Big Boss tells your party they're going to Mara, make sure there's a lowly servant nearby who can gasp and go "Oh no, not Mara!  Sir, you can't send them there!"  Make sure you put your whole heart into acting the parts of the NPCs you control.  Maybe your players will respond in kind, maybe they'll just laugh at the stupid oversensitive servant.

You can lead a horse to water, as they say, but you can't make him drink.

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