Wow, Imp Cleric! That is one conveniently-placed belly flab you’ve got there. I guess that’s the lower-planes version of the cherub’s fig leaf. O_O

On to business then. As longtime readers and Handbook of Heroes megafans, you guys are no doubt already familiar with the “NPC cutscene” technique. You can certainly stage today’s business in a similar fashion, making this little snippet of conversation into a handy intro or outro for the day’s session. While the PCs might not have an in-game way to get this info, the players will no doubt appreciate the dramatic irony as suspicions are confirmed and meta-knowledge casts light on current events.

That’s not necessarily what we’re seeing here though. In today’s comic, it’s more of this scenario that I’m imagining. I wonder how many of you have run into a something similar?

DRUID: I turn into a rat and dash into the Evil Vizier’s chambers. 

GM: Make several Stealth checks. 

DRUID: Passed!

GM: Now survive your inevitable run-in with the Evil Vizier’s Evil Cat. 

DRUID: Survived!

GM: OK. So you’re safely hidden under the wardrobe when you see two pairs of feet wander into the room. You recognize the Evil Vizier’s voice, but the other is unfamiliar. You can almost place it, but the connection eludes you. 

DRUID: Do they say anything suspicious?

GM: In fact they do. Ummm… uh… 

And we’ll leave our poor GM there, stammering and befuddled and checking notes. And that’s because it is REALLY FRIGGIN’ HARD to write this kind of dialogue without sounding trite, much less improvise it. Go too hard and you wind up sounding like Marilith Wizard in today’s comic. Try to keep it vague and your players will inevitably three clue rule themselves and miss the important bits.

So for today’s discussion, why don’t we talk about the dos and don’ts of overheard exposition? When you need your PCs to get important background context from eavesdropping, how do you keep from trotting out Tom Exposition? Have you ever suffered a particularly egregious example of overexplaining? Tell us your tale of exposition gone awry down in the comments!


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