How to introduce a player to the world of a game when the mc should already know stuff in the world

Pretty much like the title says I’m trying to figure out how to introduce the player to the game world and the lore, except their mc would already know about stuff from the world they live in and it wouldn’t make sense for them to have to get something explained to them.

What are ways of achieving this. I already know of the Amnesia trope and I way I can think of is have the mc explain things to another character who doesn’t know about whatever is being explained.

What are your ways of writing something like this?

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Maybe an internal monologue?
The MC just thinks about stuff

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I agree with @Big_Bird. Short of a 4th wall break, that would be tough to accomplish without potentially making some readers feel uncomfortable, or taken out of the story. :thinking:

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Maybe codex in stat menu with relevant information?

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I find that I’m more engrossed in a story when there’s not a whole lot of world building being thrown at me in the introduction. It’s rather jarring to have somebody explain the lore of their story when I haven’t even met the main characters and I can’t make a connection. A tiny example that I have of bringing a reader into a pre-made world is by having a short conversation with an important npc during dinner, or something.

For example, it could be you and your best friend having a conversation that helps the reader get a little background on your relationship with them without explaining it:

“I suggest that you stay away from the manor when conducting your experiments, Evan. I have suspicions that the Caretaker has bewitched the statues and portraits now that you’re back.’

Evan scoffs. “We were children when I broke that window! That was twelve years ago, and I wasn’t as well-educated at the time. I’m older now. My inventions are rarely as catastrophic in nature.”

“It was far more than just the window. You took out the entire floor and wouldn’t have survived hadn’t it been for your shielding.” Evan let’s out an indignant huff but doesn’t argue the comment, and his darkening cheeks speak volumes. “So please, Evan, for me, you must tinker with your inventions in the old workshop. This place is very special to our families. Even Father swore that nobody had caused such damage to the manor since the Great War ended four centuries ago.

Things like that. Playing it subtle enough for the reader to pick up on the fact that Evan has made an enemy out of somebody who can bewitch inanimate objects, he’s an inventor who you’ve known for at least twelve years, he has the magic to shield himself, the MC has a father who is likely alive and that there was a Great War.

Stuff like that.

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This what I would normally do, bit I want to allow the player to get the relevant information without having to check here and have it feel natural at the same time.

This is a good idea (face palms self for not thinking of it myself). Only concern would be that if not done the right way it could break immersion.

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Maybe have them pick up newspaper/hear announcement or something like that. Then give few thoughts on the matter?
Something like:
Newspaper:The tensions between Kingdomnia and Imagineria grow.
Player: Yeah tensions always were going, people could never get used to magic of theirs.

Or something like that.

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The ‘MC muses about stuff’ can easily be the exact opposite of what you want if applied to things that are everyday stuff for them.

Imagine you’re getting something from the fridge: would you muse lengthy about how it works or how people used to keep things cold before fridges?

No. Unless it is something that is remotely new to you.

And it’s similar with world introductions. An MC living in a magical city won’t bother thinking about how magic is used in everyday life unless there is something out of the ordinary. An MC living in a fishing village won’t be amazed by boats unless there’s something new.
Even with small things, find something that isn’t plain ‘this is how it works’ I’d say.

Details that can’t be handles like are often better off being an aside by the narrator.

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Depending on what type of story it is. You could always put the MC in the mentor role who has to “teach” the new person.

This way you could introduce world building throughout the game.

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Yeah, the MC doesn’t even have to be the mentor. If they’re part of a group–professional, social, or just a group of friends–having one side character in that group who’s new to the area allows any other member of that group to have conversations with them about the area, history, etc. That’s often a really good way to do it, because background conversations aren’t necessarily in-your-face exposition dumps; the MC can just overhear them when passing through a room.

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Make it into a choice! Even players who skim the text before a choice will read the text of the *choice/#options itself. If you want players to remember something, make it a choice.

You could also let the MC overhear a snippet of convo between other characters (perhaps as they are entering or exiting an area) about the thing the MC should know (if stealth is a skillset in your game, this could be an opportunity for the MC to gain some sneaky points/pass a skill check)

Related: MC might hear rumors about something (factions? Goings-on in the world?). How to implement depends on game/setting–an RPG-esque MC might hear rumors when speaking to a tavern keeper, for example.

I also second:

Especially if you give the MC a choice between headlines in a newspaper. Readers might only see the text associated with one of the #options (depending on how you code it), but they’ll see ALL of the headlines.

In general, spread the world-building around. Drop crumbs every once in a while without doing a lore dump.

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When you’re using either internal monologue or conversation to unveil the world, you can make use of synonyms to sneak in a definition or a tiny bit of history.

“He’s sending Gabberjacks?” Jones says in horror.

“Yes,” Smith replies tremulously. The Lord High Huntsman’s nightmare leech-beasts are enough to put fear in anyone’s voice.

That may be less immersion-breaking because it follows a familiar writing convention: you don’t want to repeat the same word or name too many times in quick succession, so you make use of synonyms. In this case, it also tells the reader what a Gabberjack is without having either the MC or another character outright infodump on something that everyone in the world would know already.

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