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Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / General Advice / Improvisation

False Information

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 8
A critical failure to Recall Knowledge can result in you needing to convey false information, requiring some improvisation. If you aren’t careful, this information can be perceived by the PCs as too silly, or could derail the game. For example, if a PC misinterpreted text about the god of commerce, Abadar, saying they believe the god is an incompetent chaotic spendthrift who’s bad with money is absurd. Similarly, if they incorrectly believe Abadar will reward them with great wealth if they ring bells in four different temple corners, this could send them on a tangent.

Providing false information can cause the PCs to make mistakes, but the consequences should typically be immediate rather than continual or far in the future. Avoid dispensing false information that might not be used for hours or entire sessions, after the check is forgotten. If you’re unsure, the safest form of false information is information that’s wrong but not in a way that causes major consequences. Remember that a critical failure says you get incorrect information, not that you get important-seeming false information. Erroneously believing Abadar’s symbol is a set of scales instead of a key might lead to a miscommunication, but one that’s not dangerous, pretty easy to clear up, and only a little embarrassing for the PC.