Catering to your players, "The Curious"
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but the Player Characters are fairly safe, as long as they have the skills, tools, and possibly even magic to find the elusive answers. Now let us keep in mind, this compulsion to discern as much as possible is not restricted to any one, character class. Or for that matter, any one player style. Gamers are an inquisitive lot in general but there are those with a drive to wring the smallest detail from each and every encounter. No matter what the game system or genre being played, the Player is most often looking to advance the Character with newly found skills, items, magic and most importantly experience points. The Curious will often be at the forefront of the quest for character advancement. And if you’re lucky, the rest of the gaming table will follow in kind
There are a variety of classes that will easily fall into this “Curious” category. The Ranger from D&D comes to mind, as they seek out information about a particular monster that is terrorizing the nighttime respite of a nearby hamlet. Trying to discern where the creature is resting during the daytime. How is it travelling to and fro? Are there more than one?
The Rogue or Thief in any campaign setting can be one of the most curious, as they’re trying to find out everything they can about a potential target. What are target’s the habits and common movements. The sponsoring organization for the Thief, has sent her to an establishment that is being cased out for future endeavors. Are guards present and how often are the shifts changed, or do they? What lies behind the fortified walls?
Let's not forget about the several Magic using and spell Caster classes across numerous campaign settings. They need to research Spell components, Magic items, Tomes and Scrolls. Even trying to find a weakness in a power greater than theirs. The questions never seem to cease from these Player Characters.
So how do we keep these particular characters, and more importantly, players engaged in, and questioning what is going on in the game. All the while peaking and nurturing that curious nature.
Let's give our curious adventurers something to look for, and find. Dangling the presence of a mystical weapon or superior implement of protection, proves to be very effective as a hook. The hint of a great treasure with a map or prop that is, ONLY A TRINKET COMPARED TO THE WHOLE draws in the Curious as well. You’re going to want to provide descriptive environments. Let the player characters take in the nuances of all the things they perceive. Now concerning the parties’ surroundings. As the DM I’m sure you have developed a signal or voice that lets all know the scene has begun.
“The door opens. Through the smoke, streaming from the burning brazier that hangs in the center of the room. There is just enough light for you to vaguely make out a bookcase and chest along the wall across the small room”.
“The smell of cinnamon, mixed with smelted metals, leaves an acrid taste on the back of your tongue”. “Sounds of scratching on the floor or gnawing on wood can barely be heard, above the din created by the group entering the enclosed space.” “But from where?”
Descriptions like this could trigger questions, that the curious natured player character, may not have realized they wanted to know.
Be prepared to have a detailed vision YOURSELF. Once YOU have visualized the scene, it will be much easier to describe it to the Players. Then creatively placing the information to be passed on, will be easier to make sure it
fits into the plotline and overall progression of your scenario.
And here comes the fun part. Now that you have sprinkled the scene with the clues, hints or items that the party, or individual actually doing the looking, may need to have. Adding unrelated information or items, is an entertaining way to see if they can puzzle out if they are on the right track. In an urban environment, having an NPC in possession of the clue usually provides ample opportunity for role play. The Curious most often will prefer to glean the desired information during conversation. It is always more fulfilling when they actually speak to an individual in character than just having it described to them. Either way this can be the actual item sought after, or information to conclude the encounter. But in most cases it is just the next link in a carefully strung chain of happenstances and occurrences. Hopefully and eventually leading to the big bad and an epic conclusion.
It all boils down to, the Curious Player Characters are going to have plenty of questions about everything that may influence the Player Character’s decisions and advancement. As you write the encounter, put yourself in the player characters position. What do all my senses tell me. Now start taking notes. A fair amount of preparation, mixed with a touch of foresight should handle the vast majority of inquiries and keep the Curious informed.