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No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight. What the players don't know could kill them.

In this case, failing to anticipate threats did get one of them killed, and it sounds like it was well earned through ignoring several warning signs, on top of ignoring the intel they did have. In D&D especially, which is a game of skillful use of the PCs' situation, there's only so much the GM can do to save players from their own blunders without playing the game "for" them.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contractimplied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong."

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign at first, to demonstrate that their assumptions aren't correct. Then later you can introduce threats that aren't obvious, now that they know that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight. What the players don't know could kill them.

In this case, failing to anticipate threats did get one of them killed, and it sounds like it was well earned through ignoring several warning signs, on top of ignoring the intel they did have. In D&D especially, which is a game of skillful use of the PCs' situation, there's only so much the GM can do to save players from their own blunders without playing the game "for" them.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong."

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign at first, to demonstrate that their assumptions aren't correct. Then later you can introduce threats that aren't obvious, now that they know that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight. What the players don't know could kill them.

In this case, failing to anticipate threats did get one of them killed, and it sounds like it was well earned through ignoring several warning signs, on top of ignoring the intel they did have. In D&D especially, which is a game of skillful use of the PCs' situation, there's only so much the GM can do to save players from their own blunders without playing the game "for" them.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong."

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign at first, to demonstrate that their assumptions aren't correct. Then later you can introduce threats that aren't obvious, now that they know that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

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No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight. What the players don't know could kill them.

In this case, failing to anticipate threats did get one of them killed, and it sounds like it was well earned through ignoring several warning signs, on top of ignoring the intel they did have. In D&D especially, which is a game of skillful use of the PCs' situation, there's only so much the GM can do to save players from their own blunders without playing the game "for" them.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong."

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign at first, to demonstrate that their assumptions aren't correct. Then later you can introduce threats that aren't obvious, now that they know that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong."

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign, to demonstrate that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight. What the players don't know could kill them.

In this case, failing to anticipate threats did get one of them killed, and it sounds like it was well earned through ignoring several warning signs, on top of ignoring the intel they did have. In D&D especially, which is a game of skillful use of the PCs' situation, there's only so much the GM can do to save players from their own blunders without playing the game "for" them.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong."

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign at first, to demonstrate that their assumptions aren't correct. Then later you can introduce threats that aren't obvious, now that they know that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

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No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong."

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign, to demonstrate that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong.

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign, to demonstrate that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight.

So this isn't overreach... but that doesn't meant it couldn't have been handled better. If your players were used to having an omniscient view of the battlefield during the "combat mode" of the game, then they may have naturally assumed that, during a fight, all opponents and factors would be on the table, literally and figuratively. This kind of implied social contract can lead to people feeling like the shared agreement for how the game runs has been broken when anything about the game changes.

There are two different ways to handle this so that introducing new dynamics into a game doesn't upset the implicit social contract of the group:

  1. Make the social contract explicit at the beginning. In this case, it sounds like something like this would have been an appropriate conversation starter for your game:

    "I'm going to run this game as if the characters are real people in a real world. Expect NPCs to be as clever as you are. Also expect that if you start getting complacent, or start assuming you know things that your characters couldn't know for sure, that the game world will not be kind about it. An example would be, say, monster stats: if you get into a fight assuming you know the numbers, prepare to be very wrong."

  2. Alternatively, introduce change in ways that are mostly benign, to demonstrate that they are not safe when they make assumptions. Not every group likes having an explicit social contract; this is a way you can lead them toward understanding how you run your game, without immediately punishing them before they have the chance to correct their assumptions.

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