Tires, Tickets, and the Unexpected
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I’m a pretty good driver. Haven’t been in an accident in 13 years. Never gotten a ticket. The only time I’ve even been pulled over was on a bicycle (long story).
Yesterday, I broke my streak.
I was driving my family home from a long theme park day, and we were just about to pass through a small town when the “low tire pressure” dashboard warning lit up and dinged.
I’d just gotten new tires a few months ago, so I knew I had some sort of flat. I started looking around for a place to pull over.
And I missed the 45mph > 30mph speed limit change.
I found a nice little parking lot where I could check the tire. Hopefully I could pump it back up with my portable Ryobi thing enough to get us home. A police officer a few cars back lit up & blipped his siren, but I didn’t even realize I was the one getting pulled over until he pulled into the parking lot behind me.
The unexpected dashboard light & warning completely threw off my usual attention, and I paid for it. Literally.
Your D&D players, especially if you’ve been together a little while, tend to not be surprised or thrown off too often. They get to know you just like you get to know them.
A classic principle of sleight of hand is to draw attention to something that’s not the actual trick so that the real sleight goes unnoticed until it’s too late.
Use that principle to play with your players’ expectations. Give them something that’s “new” right before you unleash the real twist. Every now and again, you might surprise them with something they didn’t see coming.
And hopefully it’s more fun than a speeding ticket.
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Now get out there and tell a story!
P.S. It was a screw in my tire. In the sidewall.