Discern Realities Clarification

Hello humans,

I would love to hear how GMs distinguish between “What is about to happen?” and “What should I be on the lookout for?” These two questions are subtly different, and I am having a hard time wrapping my head around that difference in actual play.

Take, for example, an upcoming game in which the PCs have awakened in a glade, missing their memories. As I’m sure one of them will trigger a DR roll, I have an answer to “what is about to happen” that goes something like, “to the east you notice the treetops swaying, and you hear the creaking and cracking of trunks and branches. Something is on its way toward you.” Something like that. But what to say if they ask “What should I be on the lookout for?” My mind goes to opportunities and dangers, like I could point out that they sense danger and notice two different trails leading out of the glade.

Am I tracking here? Is this how you folks would answer those questions?

Along similar lines, how do you folks handle multiple characters trying to discern a situation? Do you roll just one group DR roll and have them agree on the questions to ask?

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I do feel like these questions are similar, but they’re not necessarily the same. The same, however, can be said for “What should I be on the lookout for?” and “What here is useful or valuable to me?” I think the most important thing about these is that it matters what order they are asked in:

“What is about to happen?” – “There’s some hubub outside, and a commanding voice. You bet the Duke’s men have arrived and are going to start arresting people.”
“What should I be on the lookout for?” – "An escape route, a helpful person, or somewhere to hide.’
“What here is useful or valuable to me?” – “That second floor window opens into the gardens behind the house, the Duke’s Men might not have fully encircled the house yet.”

vs

“What here is useful or valuable to me?” – “Lady Bright’s necklace is probably worth more money than you’ve ever seen in your life, just from the gems alone.”
“What should I be on the lookout for?” – “You can’t be the only person here with questionable motives and an eye on that necklace.”
“What is about to happen?” – “Well, there’s some hubbub outside, and a commanding voice. You suspect the Duke’s men have arrived and are going to start arresting people.”

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Oh, that’s a great way to handle it – thank you so much!

I would answer these questions far more directly. If a player asks “what is about to happen?”, just tell them. “You’re about to be ambushed by a predator. What do you do?” There are descriptive gaps that can be filled in; maybe before you ask “what do you do?”, you ask them what signs let them know or something.
The same goes for “what should I be on the lookout for?” If they’re waking up in the middle of nowhere, “your belongings” is a great answer. “A way home” is, too.

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