I had a friend visit my home recently, someone that wasn’t a “gamer” and had never played a roleplaying game before, to the point I had to teach him how to recognize the polyhedral dice. He saw my Mausritter box and was attracted to it, and asked to play—I obliged.
This is not about how that session went, although it went really well. It’s also not about how inspired people that are not involved in hobby-culture can be , although they definitely are.
We were playing the starter module Honey in the Rafters. It’s designed as a “point crawl”, which is a connected graph of important locations. My friend’s mouse adventurer had managed to gain acceptance into the Sugar Cult dwelling in the human-sized furnace, by masquerading as a potential initiate, and thus had gotten the task from Brother Glacé, the leader, to recover cursed honey from the bees so he could receive his rites.
As he was returning from the cursed beehive to the furnace he had to pass through the rafters, where he left some enchanted sunflower seeds that he had gathered earlier in order to make space in his inventory (Mausritter has an inventory made of 6 pack squares, 2 hand, and 2 body squares). When the mouse got back to the furnace, he wanted to heal one of the cult members that helped him and got injured, and I had one of the cult mice inform him that those sunflower seeds could have healing properties. He declared he wanted to feed them to the injured mouse.
Now, we weren’t in a tense or hectic situation where counting turns mattered. So I just said: “alright, the seeds are here, you actually had carried them here all along”. And I didn’t really think much about this, it’s a thing I do often to speed things along when details don’t matter.
But the player, lacking the habit of “GM word is god”, looked at me with a weird face and said: “No. The seeds are in the rafters—I go back up there and take them.”
He was right. There was no point in my statement, other than a habit to rewrite “for the player’s comfort”. I wasn’t really speeding things along, as his statement took as much as mine. I was just undermining the shared fiction for no reason. And a new player, without bad habits and just willing to listen and reincorporate, noticed immediately.
Anyways, I’m a recovering rewriter. Old habits die hard. Are you as well? I hope this helps you notice that.