The campaign I’m preparing is designed to give the illusion of choice via side quests and an open world (not really open), but with a main story line that will be pushed into them sooner or later. The campaign is structured in acts and areas, with each area acting as a sandbox space you can’t really leave, but with an expectation the players will move on to the main plot.
Now, on one side, the campaign will be a lot more fun if the players are not completely aware of this fact and they feel they are free to do whatever they want until certain “events” just push them to go in a given direction. On the other hand, if they behave randomly or fight against the main story line it will ruin the campaign as it is not supposed to be really Sandbox play.
Should I explicitly state to them the type of campaign I’m designing or should I “demonstrate” the type of campaign and hope they’re on board with it?
It’s not a question of etiquette but more trying to decide if I’ll break the suspense by letting them know the general story arc is already on my mind... even if they intuitively already know or suspect it.