DMing: Making Your Player's Choices Meaningful
Devin here with more thoughts on how to improve your table top gaming experience.
One of my favorite things to do for my players is make their choices meaningful. I don't mean on a large scale, of course deciding to spare an evil dictator or destroy a town you were supposed to save has meaning. But showing your players that the little choices and actions they take have meaning will help increase their immersion into your world and allow them to take ownership of their surroundings.
A big part of this is simply remembering what your players do. Being Players Characters means that your players will affect the world around them with everything they do. Who they talk to and what they do should send ripples through your world. Depending on your campaign and the players level this will take many forms and be on different scales but the core idea is still the same. This doesn't have to change or derail your campaign but it will add greater depth.
For example, lets say that you have your party based in a small city while they go on quests. They decide to get rooms at a cheap inn since they can't afford the nicer inn in town. Fast forward and the party starts to make a name for itself. Why not have the inn receive more business as a result of the party becoming minor celebrities. It wont affect your overarching plot but it will let the party feel that they are having an impact on the world around them.
Having NPCs change in response to the players actions is a simple way to increase immersion. Give names to store keepers, craftsmen, librarians, etc; people that don't matter much in the grand scheme and normally operate in the background. If the players know and have a relationship with these individuals they will be more likely to interact with them. This interaction should in turn affect the NPC.
Another example. The same party has just earned enough money that they want to upgrade their equipment. So they go to a blacksmith or enchanter to do so, since this equipment is relatively easy to make the individual making it is only an apprentice or similarly inexperienced. But the party keeps coming back to get new equipment as time goes on. One day they walk in and the NPC has been promoted or are ready to open their business as a result of working on the party's gear. The players once again see that they are having a tangible effect on the world around them.
Keeping notes is a good rule of thumb for a DM normally but is even more necessary if you want to successfully incorporate this technique into your play style. Notes save you from the trouble of contradicting yourself when it comes to small details. Saying something one day and something else the next will break your player's immersion if they notice it. Use note books, flash cards, sticky notes, or whatever you prefer to keep track of these minor details that may come in handy later.
That's all I have for now, hope you enjoyed reading and found this helpful.
Until next time.