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Metagaming.. What counts?

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garhkal
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Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#1 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:14 pm

Over many years i've posted here, over on DF and numerous other gaming sites, we've often hit one of my bigger pet peeves. Meta-gaming. Loosely defined as using knowledge for your character, that YOU the player knows, but that your character shouldn't or wouldn't know.

Such things to ME include

A) Monster lore that your character has yet to encounter, but YOU as a player have faced numerous other times with other characters
B) Lore on an adventure you've played in the past, but is new to THIS character
C) knowing what spell/magic item X does, when you've just found it, but your character is not a spell caster
D) knowing what is going on to friend ABC, when they are not there (IE your thief is out scouting 300 meters ahead in the dungeon. You can't see/hear him, when he gets in trouble, but you still go to his aid.. Just because)..
E) instantly trusting a new character who shows up to the group, just because he's a replacement character for a player who either had to make a new one, OR because he's the character of a new player..


What other things can you think of to add??

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Lyrwik
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#2 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:33 pm

Being excessively suspicious of everything and everyone without any in-game basis

Using personal knowledge of the DM to try to predict things which may happen, and/or saying things they think may be possibilities and trying to gauge the DM's expression to see if they're right

Trying to turn magic into unnecessary semantics (eg. trying to take a very specific, but not natural meaning to a geas spell or similar) rather than engaging with the story it can create (perhaps this isn't so much metagaming, but still something i don't like). It's the player version of DM's deliberately and unnecessarily screwing wishes.

Relying on failed dice rolls to know whether what their character knows is right (eg. if the character has bad information or similar as a result of a failed roll, which naturally the player knows they failed)

Drawing on information such as things described to another character about what they feel/see that others don't (eg. maybe the character is cursed and is feeling a compulsion but the other characters don't know this). This can be dealt with by providing information separately, but that still adds a logistical challenge. Related to this, drawing on information such as if I pass a player a note or take a player off to the side to share something with them, the characters then get suspicious without basis and in the worst case have outright acted against that player's character based on that suspicion. In that case, it was a new player and thankfully the other players called them out on it.

garhkal wrote:A) Monster lore that your character has yet to encounter, but YOU as a player have faced numerous other times with other characters
B) Lore on an adventure you've played in the past, but is new to THIS character
C) knowing what spell/magic item X does, when you've just found it, but your character is not a spell caster
D) knowing what is going on to friend ABC, when they are not there (IE your thief is out scouting 300 meters ahead in the dungeon. You can't see/hear him, when he gets in trouble, but you still go to his aid.. Just because)..
E) instantly trusting a new character who shows up to the group, just because he's a replacement character for a player who either had to make a new one, OR because he's the character of a new player..


I agree with these, but I can forgive E in the interest of group cohesion. Having intra-party distrust/conflict etc. can make for a great story if the players are into it, and are mature enough to deal with it. Unfortunately I find the majority of players either aren't, or just prefer a more cooperative game. My players do generally try to come up with some sort of reason for why they trust the new character though (albeit sometimes a weak reason, but still something).

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JadedDM
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#3 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:07 pm

With regards to E), I've actually had the opposite problem before. Where PCs are so suspicious and paranoid about newcomers who just happened to conveniently show up when they were needed, until the new PC is driven from the group or even attacked outright. So given the choice, I'd much prefer they welcome the new character without thought.

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RPG Dinosaur
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#4 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:16 pm

Lyrwik wrote:
garhkal wrote: E) instantly trusting a new character who shows up to the group, just because he's a replacement character for a player who either had to make a new one, OR because he's the character of a new player.



I agree with these, but I can forgive E in the interest of group cohesion. Having intra-party distrust/conflict etc. can make for a great story if the players are into it, and are mature enough to deal with it. Unfortunately I find the majority of players either aren't, or just prefer a more cooperative game.

Yes, that is my point of view also.
Last edited by RPG Dinosaur on Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Halaster-Blackcloak
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#5 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:57 pm

I'd agree with everything mentioned thus far. Some of these things are pet peeves of mine, some not as bad. I'll address them, as well as work-arounds I use.

A) Monster lore that your character has yet to encounter, but YOU as a player have faced numerous other times with other characters


This is a big pet peeve of mine, and one that takes a lot of the excitement out of the game. On the other hand, it's not all that fun for a player who's faced a particular monster before (say a flesh golem) to purposely cast spells at the monster that he (as a player) knows will have no effect. It's sometimes hard to draw that line between player and character knowledge..."Hmmm...I know that my lightning bolt spell, which I really do like using against tough opponents, is going to actually heal the flesh golem, and so do the other players, but my character will probably want to use it anyway, right?". It's almost like you're playing against your own character. My solution? Several things:

1. Throw new monsters at the players
2. Use variants of existing monsters with new powers or different vulnerabilities
3. Use unusual work-arounds. Are the players actually going to automatically notice that ring of fire protection on the finger of the flesh golem?
4. Use the normal monsters in creative new ways. Maybe that flesh golem rolls around in mud or clay to coat itself, thus protecting itself against fire, things like that.

B) Lore on an adventure you've played in the past, but is new to THIS character


This is why I rarely ever run the same adventure for the same group of players. So it really isn't an issue for me. If I do run the "same" adventure for a group of players, it's "the same" only in the sense of perhaps they went through much of Level 1 of Undermountain, now they're going back. Same place, same layout, but enough changes to where it doesn't make a difference and in fact may work against the PCs if they (think) they already know what's there. I think that's the only solution. You really can't run the same players through the same adventure twice and make it fun or challenging without making massive changes to it.

C) knowing what spell/magic item X does, when you've just found it, but your character is not a spell caster


I've never had much problem with this, mainly because I like to create new magic items, or variants, or I give out items that are standard in the DMG but I don't tell the players what it is. This one usually isn't an issue for me.

D) knowing what is going on to friend ABC, when they are not there (IE your thief is out scouting 300 meters ahead in the dungeon. You can't see/hear him, when he gets in trouble, but you still go to his aid.. Just because)..


Yeah, this is a pet peeve but again one that doesn't really come up much. If it does, I simply inform the players: "Your character could not possibly know that, so what are you actually going to do?". Or I'll simply say "Ummm...metagaming?" and they get the hint. Doesn't usually cause problems. The response is usually: "Yeah, you're right, I get it. OK, so I do this instead." Problem solved.

E) instantly trusting a new character who shows up to the group, just because he's a replacement character for a player who either had to make a new one, OR because he's the character of a new player..


This one bugs me, and I've seen both sides of the coin just like JadedDM mentioned - sometimes they simply don't trust the new character at all, to the point of paranoia. I've found that usually if there's some sort of in-game background to the new character, that makes things easier. For example, if a player has his character die permanently and he decides to simply start using a former NPC that already exists and has encountered the PCs before, well...the PCs have already dealt with him so they know he can be trusted and why. Or that he can't be totally trusted and why not. Or that he can be trusted to a certain extent but there are times you have to watch him.

Using personal knowledge of the DM to try to predict things which may happen, and/or saying things they think may be possibilities and trying to gauge the DM's expression to see if they're right


The players know better than to try to "read" me. I always throw unexpected things at them. In our next adventure, we're going into the Underdark. The players don't know this. They're going to end up finding a cavern entrance as part of an investigation into people going missing in an area of small towns and villages near the mountains. There are rumors to be heard about barbarians kidnapping the victims, were-rats doing the dirty deeds, etc. In one of the mining towns they shut down the mines because several miners were eaten by a "dragon" (actually a very large subterranean lizard). So they're going to think they're hunting for a dragon and end up facing a giant lizard. As they investigate further, they're going to realize that intelligent humanoids are doing the kidnapping. When they figure out the kidnappers are emerging from a cavern on the mountains, they have no idea that it's going to take them to the Underdark. They will eventually realize they're traveling deeper into the earth. And they're going to think: "DROW!". They've been itching to have a Drow adventure and they know I love the Drow. But they believe (and I've encouraged that belief) that they're not high enough level or a big enough party (5 PCs) to face off against the Drow. And still, that's what they're going to believe. Until the clues point to the actual kidnappers - the Derro! And eventually, when they breathe that sigh of relief (though the Derro are no push-overs) and they say: "Well thank god! At least it wasn't the Drow!", they're going to be hit with the stone cold truth - the Derro are in fact working with/for the Drow after all! Surprise! :lol: :twisted:

And I've developed a tendency over the years to grin and laugh at any random time about anything. Maybe it's the Halaster name or the fact that some of my players have been hysterically paranoid, but when they see me grin and/or laugh, it can mean anything. Yes, you are in grave danger. No, you're in no danger at all but I'm getting a kick out of seeing your paranoia! Yes, the door is trapped. No, the door is not trapped and I'm laughing my ass off over your incredibly cautious attempts to safely open it. They never have a clue.

Trying to turn magic into unnecessary semantics (eg. trying to take a very specific, but not natural meaning to a geas spell or similar) rather than engaging with the story it can create (perhaps this isn't so much metagaming, but still something i don't like). It's the player version of DM's deliberately and unnecessarily screwing wishes.


I'd have to see an example of that because I'm not sure what you mean. But I don't think that's ever come up for me.

Relying on failed dice rolls to know whether what their character knows is right (eg. if the character has bad information or similar as a result of a failed roll, which naturally the player knows they failed)


Yeah, that one is tricky. I try to secretly roll dice for them when it comes to things like this. That tends to work in most cases.

Drawing on information such as things described to another character about what they feel/see that others don't (eg. maybe the character is cursed and is feeling a compulsion but the other characters don't know this). This can be dealt with by providing information separately, but that still adds a logistical challenge. Related to this, drawing on information such as if I pass a player a note or take a player off to the side to share something with them, the characters then get suspicious without basis and in the worst case have outright acted against that player's character based on that suspicion. In that case, it was a new player and thankfully the other players called them out on it.


I've been known to regularly pass along notes saying: "How are you enjoying the game?" or "What should we get to eat on break?", or lean over and whisper that into the ear of a particular player at random moments (often strategically at a point where it certainly looks like I'm passing along important info) and often. So to them, me passing a note or whispering to one player has at least as good a chance of (and usually a far greater chance of) meaning absolutely nothing than it does something.

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Lyrwik
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#6 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:52 am

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I'd have to see an example of that because I'm not sure what you mean. But I don't think that's ever come up for me.

The most recent example was the use of a Geas spell on the PCs, with an instruction along the lines of "find the amulets and bring them too me". The main story arc of the game was that the PCs were seeking out a collection of amulets with related powers, which had been created by a group of wizards and priests long in the past. In context, it was 100% clear which amulets the instruction related to. However, one of the affected players tried to reinterpret it as though it wasn't specifically referring to the amulets they were seeking, how many were required to be brought, and whether they need to have multiple before they must return and hand them over (rather than immediately handing over the one they already had, as I said 'amulets' in the instruction). While I agree that I didn't write it out with the specificity required in a contract, I simply don't consider that magic works that way. The words are a simple expression of the effect. If the magic is dependent on the words, they should still be interpreted according to the ordinary meaning (including relevant context) and not sought to be twisted into an alternative possible, but dubious interpretation. If the players really want to go down that path, I could write up something much more specific (I have a background in law - I can write something to tie them in knots if I so desire), but I just don't see how that will be fun for anyone. In the end I didn't bother trying to enforce my approach as I'm not that interested in making that effort for players who aren't willing to engage with the story and the challenge. The player in question was also one who could be rather argumentative without basis, so it just wouldn't have been fun. He left a couple of sessions later. I wasn't disappointed.

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Yeah, that one is tricky. I try to secretly roll dice for them when it comes to things like this. That tends to work in most cases.

Yeah, I do that a lot as well. However, I'm often a little torn, because on one hand I like the result of the roll to be secret to avoid this kind of metaknowledge. However, on the other hand, if something comes down to a dice roll, I like the players to succeed or fail on their own (ie through their own dice roll).

Some of the other ways I get around it is to just get everyone to roll a D20 and not tell them what it's for. At least that way, their dice roll is their own (so their failure is their own), they don't know exactly what I'm getting them to roll for, and they don't know who the roll is actually relevant for (eg. I might get everyone to roll and I'll pretend to note down everyone's rolls, but it might be that only one (or even none) actually matters).

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I've been known to regularly pass along notes saying: "How are you enjoying the game?" or "What should we get to eat on break?", or lean over and whisper that into the ear of a particular player at random moments (often strategically at a point where it certainly looks like I'm passing along important info) and often. So to them, me passing a note or whispering to one player has at least as good a chance of (and usually a far greater chance of) meaning absolutely nothing than it does something.

I've done that on occasion too. Some of my favourite decoy notes have been:
"Yes, this is a note. Thank you for reading this note. Please give me the note back now."
"Step 1: Read this note. Step 2: Glance at [other player name]. Step 3: Smirk. Step 4: Hand this card back to me."
Other times I'll include something which is just an outright lie as well, such as the character having seen someone following them (eg. if they fail badly at a perception check or if they've been over-cautious and their paranoia might be getting to them, then maybe they'll start thinking that innocent villager is following them, when they're not).

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garhkal
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#7 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:49 pm

Lyrwik wrote:Being excessively suspicious of everything and everyone without any in-game basis


DOH. If they are that way, make you wonder why they are playing in said group..

Lyrwik wrote:Using personal knowledge of the DM to try to predict things which may happen, and/or saying things they think may be possibilities and trying to gauge the DM's expression to see if they're right


I don't really see that as being metagaming, more than trying to "Play" the dm.

Lyrwik wrote:Trying to turn magic into unnecessary semantics (eg. trying to take a very specific, but not natural meaning to a geas spell or similar) rather than engaging with the story it can create (perhaps this isn't so much metagaming, but still something i don't like). It's the player version of DM's deliberately and unnecessarily screwing wishes.


I just see that more as being annoying..

Lyrwik wrote:Relying on failed dice rolls to know whether what their character knows is right (eg. if the character has bad information or similar as a result of a failed roll, which naturally the player knows they failed)


Which is why there are certain rolls the DM should make in secret, so the player(s) SHOULDN'T know if he made it or failed...

Lyrwik wrote:I agree with these, but I can forgive E in the interest of group cohesion. Having intra-party distrust/conflict etc. can make for a great story if the players are into it, and are mature enough to deal with it. Unfortunately I find the majority of players either aren't, or just prefer a more cooperative game. My players do generally try to come up with some sort of reason for why they trust the new character though (albeit sometimes a weak reason, but still something).


True, it May be more forgiven. But like some others say, different strokes and all..

I'd rather that they TRY to play out getting to know the guy, rather than insta-trusting them..
But that's me.

JadedDM wrote:With regards to E), I've actually had the opposite problem before. Where PCs are so suspicious and paranoid about newcomers who just happened to conveniently show up when they were needed, until the new PC is driven from the group or even attacked outright. So given the choice, I'd much prefer they welcome the new character without thought.


I've seen that before too, but usually after they had a 'trusted ally' betray them too often.. Such as a henchman who turned out to be a tool for the bad guy, or someone who got taken over by a doppleganger/dominated.. They get extremely paranoid about trusting folks.

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Billy_Buttcheese
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#8 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:16 pm

This issue has always been a problem for me and some of my groups of players where we take turns DMing. Sometimes I get burned out DMing and like to take a break and play for awhile. It can be a real challenge to keep your mouth shut when you encounter something that, as a DM, you know what it is, but as a player, no clue. This is especially true concerning monsters and magic items but it also applies to adventure modules. For example, I've run B1 probably more times than I can remember. I know every secret door/trap/monster/pool/etc. as well as I know my own house. A few years ago, one of my long-time players wanted to try his hand at DMing and this was the adventure he chose to run. I told him how well I knew it but he was head up to run it. I played hell trying to keep my knowledge from taking over my PCs. I even went so far as to spring a trap I knew was there just to prove I wasn't going to let my personal knowledge take over the session, in spite of the fact that I might not have actually done that had I not known about it.

I've never really had to deal with the players' paranoia some of you apparently have. While I agree that in R/L, most folks tend to be suspicious and stand-offish/reserved when meeting new folks and that's pretty natural. However, in a gaming situation, sometimes realism has to take a back seat in order to save precious gaming time. So in the unfortunate event that a new PC has to be introduced, we usually kind of blow past that pretty quickly in order to keep the game moving. This doesn't always apply toward, for instance, henchmen. But for main PCs, it's usually a head-nod and press on.

As some others of you have already suggested, I also like to trip up players that have the Monster Manual memorized by encounters with beasties that "look" familiar but have strange or unusual abilities or resistances. There's nothing more satisfying to me than having a well-known, oft encountered critter suddenly develop unknown or unexpected abilities, such as an ogre using a strength bow (OUCH!). The looks of astonishment make me want to keep my phone handy to snap some pics of open mouths, eyes agog, and sagging shoulders.

Magic items can be trickier, especially regarding negative affects, or cursed items. Sometimes I have to remind players that their knowledge is not their PC's knowledge. The more mature ones typically agree quietly and move on but sometimes I get those that insist that somehow their PCs have some kind of heretofore unmentioned knowledge base. Typically I give those the benefit of the doubt once but if it becomes a habit, I take them aside between sessions and we discuss the situation. Usually, we're able to reach some kind of agreeable solution but not always.

If there are any of you that follow Knights of the Dinner Table, you'll know about Brian and his "Lotus" PC family lineage. According to Brian, every PC in the line keeps detailed notes that are somehow passed down to the next character. So, in essence, the newest PC in the "Lotus" line knows everything that every previous PC by that name knew/knows. It's in the same vein as how he always talks one of either Bob or Dave's PCs (or both) into letting him tatoo spells onto their backs in case they are ever captured and he loses his spell books, he still has access to at least one or two spells. :roll:

In my mind, player maturity is a key factor in dealing with meta-gaming. If you have players that insist on using their knowledge that the PC probably wouldn't have, figure out some way to let them know that their methods aren't appreciated and punishment will be swift and ruthless...

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Lyrwik
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#9 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:35 pm

garhkal wrote:
Lyrwik wrote:Using personal knowledge of the DM to try to predict things which may happen, and/or saying things they think may be possibilities and trying to gauge the DM's expression to see if they're right


I don't really see that as being metagaming, more than trying to "Play" the dm.

Yeah, it's a bit different to some of the others, but I guess I still categorise it as metagaming as it's relying on out-of-game information to influence in-game actions.
garhkal wrote:
Lyrwik wrote:Trying to turn magic into unnecessary semantics (eg. trying to take a very specific, but not natural meaning to a geas spell or similar) rather than engaging with the story it can create (perhaps this isn't so much metagaming, but still something i don't like). It's the player version of DM's deliberately and unnecessarily screwing wishes.


I just see that more as being annoying..

Yeah, I agree. It's not really metagaming. Just a bit of a peeve of mine. Possibly stems from the annoyance I get when people try to skew words into a different meaning and claim it's how a lawyer might interpret a contract - which is a complete misunderstanding of how legal interpretation works. The plain ordinary meaning should be preferred unless there is clear reason for why an alternative interpretation should be taken.

garhkal wrote:
Lyrwik wrote:Relying on failed dice rolls to know whether what their character knows is right (eg. if the character has bad information or similar as a result of a failed roll, which naturally the player knows they failed)


Which is why there are certain rolls the DM should make in secret, so the player(s) SHOULDN'T know if he made it or failed...

Agree. See my post above for my other approaches to this.

garhkal wrote:
Lyrwik wrote:I agree with these, but I can forgive E in the interest of group cohesion. Having intra-party distrust/conflict etc. can make for a great story if the players are into it, and are mature enough to deal with it. Unfortunately I find the majority of players either aren't, or just prefer a more cooperative game. My players do generally try to come up with some sort of reason for why they trust the new character though (albeit sometimes a weak reason, but still something).


True, it May be more forgiven. But like some others say, different strokes and all..

I'd rather that they TRY to play out getting to know the guy, rather than insta-trusting them..
But that's me.

Yep, I'm pretty fortunate in this regard these days. My players are pretty keen on coming up with a reason.

garhkal wrote:
JadedDM wrote:With regards to E), I've actually had the opposite problem before. Where PCs are so suspicious and paranoid about newcomers who just happened to conveniently show up when they were needed, until the new PC is driven from the group or even attacked outright. So given the choice, I'd much prefer they welcome the new character without thought.


I've seen that before too, but usually after they had a 'trusted ally' betray them too often.. Such as a henchman who turned out to be a tool for the bad guy, or someone who got taken over by a doppleganger/dominated.. They get extremely paranoid about trusting folks.

I think I've only had this occur once, and it was more to do with a problem player than anything else. The player was bringing in a replacement character and he made no effort to try to get to know the other party members or to have a reason for the other characters to accept him into their group. Meanwhile, the others were doing the right thing and trying to ask him questions to understand his motives, and to allow for the creation of a reason for the character to be accepted (I think of this as the good kind of metagaming). He just ended up following the party around and doing stuff near them, without ever trying to actually greet them. As such, the other players acted as they would to any other random person just following them and acting suspiciously. It also didn't help that the player in question was a bit of a problem player, lacking in the social awareness necessary to know that he was making the game less fun for other players through some of his actions, and then claiming he was being bullied by the other players because they didn't respond positively.

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:This issue has always been a problem for me and some of my groups of players where we take turns DMing. Sometimes I get burned out DMing and like to take a break and play for awhile. It can be a real challenge to keep your mouth shut when you encounter something that, as a DM, you know what it is, but as a player, no clue. This is especially true concerning monsters and magic items but it also applies to adventure modules. For example, I've run B1 probably more times than I can remember. I know every secret door/trap/monster/pool/etc. as well as I know my own house. A few years ago, one of my long-time players wanted to try his hand at DMing and this was the adventure he chose to run. I told him how well I knew it but he was head up to run it. I played hell trying to keep my knowledge from taking over my PCs. I even went so far as to spring a trap I knew was there just to prove I wasn't going to let my personal knowledge take over the session, in spite of the fact that I might not have actually done that had I not known about it.

I think I've only been in this situation once. Thankfully the other players at the table were happy to take the lead, so I was able to just sit back and follow on their decisions. It meant I had to play much more passively than I usually would, and wasn't as enjoyable as playing a game where I don't have that knowledge, but it was still enjoyable enough.

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:I've never really had to deal with the players' paranoia some of you apparently have. While I agree that in R/L, most folks tend to be suspicious and stand-offish/reserved when meeting new folks and that's pretty natural.

I agree that it's natural for people to not just instantly trust others. However where I find it becomes problematic is for example, when they meet an NPC who on all available evidence comes across as trustworthy, but they just assume that they're going to betray them, because it's a game, and that's the kind of thing that happens in a game/story.

I think part of this may be due to many DMs relying on betrayal by previously (apparently) trustworthy NPCs as a plot-line. I'm sure I'm guilty of it in the past as well, but to combat this I now make a point of trying to make more NPCs who can be trusted, particularly if it would be a trope for that class of NPC to betray them (eg. the noble who seems trustworthy but is just using the PCs as a pawn).

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:As some others of you have already suggested, I also like to trip up players that have the Monster Manual memorized by encounters with beasties that "look" familiar but have strange or unusual abilities or resistances. There's nothing more satisfying to me than having a well-known, oft encountered critter suddenly develop unknown or unexpected abilities, such as an ogre using a strength bow (OUCH!). The looks of astonishment make me want to keep my phone handy to snap some pics of open mouths, eyes agog, and sagging shoulders.

I try to do similar. The simplest approach I find is to just rebadge an existing monster by taking it's attributes and giving it a completely different description.

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:In my mind, player maturity is a key factor in dealing with meta-gaming. If you have players that insist on using their knowledge that the PC probably wouldn't have, figure out some way to let them know that their methods aren't appreciated and punishment will be swift and ruthless...


I agree, although I probably don't take as much of a firm approach as I should.

Something else I do (although the players won't see it) is at times I've just changed the enemies/story/etc. when they're metagaming simply to make their metagaming assumptions wrong.

At the end of the day, it's impossible to completely partition metagame knowledge. However, the best players know that they don't need to show off how well they know the game by saying things (even out of character). While an out of character comment may not directly result in in-game action, it should still be avoided as it just encourages a culture of considering metagame knowledge.

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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#10 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:28 pm

As a young DM in the days I didn’t know how to handle metagaming so I started making monsters and items. As a player, I tried to play as the character according to stats and later personality rolls as per the 1e DMG. We had a riot acting in accordance to that. Eventually more than a few of us randomly rolled on what we would play unless the DM had strict guidelines. Tried some weird stuff later into 2e and Hollow World D&D. I never got to run spelljammer fully so not a lot there even if I had it all just about. Most of our stuff was sandbox with me slowly collecting but never fully utilizing. The main reason is they just grew out and away from D&D and it was a small group.

At highscool there were groups who played many RPGs including cyberpunk, rifts, etc. I listened to when they’d chatter about their characters and campaign and I detected a lot of metagaming, min/maxing, and munchkin behavior. The more they showed me the more I knew it. I guess they had fun though.

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garhkal
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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#11 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:25 pm

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:This issue has always been a problem for me and some of my groups of players where we take turns DMing. Sometimes I get burned out DMing and like to take a break and play for awhile. It can be a real challenge to keep your mouth shut when you encounter something that, as a DM, you know what it is, but as a player, no clue. This is especially true concerning monsters and magic items but it also applies to adventure modules. For example, I've run B1 probably more times than I can remember. I know every secret door/trap/monster/pool/etc. as well as I know my own house. A few years ago, one of my long-time players wanted to try his hand at DMing and this was the adventure he chose to run. I told him how well I knew it but he was head up to run it. I played hell trying to keep my knowledge from taking over my PCs. I even went so far as to spring a trap I knew was there just to prove I wasn't going to let my personal knowledge take over the session, in spite of the fact that I might not have actually done that had I not known about it.


Some i know, would call that metagaming the Other way.

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:This doesn't always apply toward, for instance, henchmen. But for main PCs, it's usually a head-nod and press on.


Which is something i find it strange. Why would they treat a PC different than a henchman? BOTH are characters, both are fully fledged adventurers.. Just one's played by the DM (in link with the owning player), the other's just played by a player.

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:As some others of you have already suggested, I also like to trip up players that have the Monster Manual memorized by encounters with beasties that "look" familiar but have strange or unusual abilities or resistances. There's nothing more satisfying to me than having a well-known, oft encountered critter suddenly develop unknown or unexpected abilities, such as an ogre using a strength bow (OUCH!). The looks of astonishment make me want to keep my phone handy to snap some pics of open mouths, eyes agog, and sagging shoulders.


Or monsters who have class skills. Imagine facing a group of gnolls, to find that one of their midst is a 5th level warrior, specialized in the Gnoll's warbow. Or that troglodyte leader is actually a 7th level fighter/thief...

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:Magic items can be trickier, especially regarding negative affects, or cursed items. Sometimes I have to remind players that their knowledge is not their PC's knowledge. The more mature ones typically agree quietly and move on but sometimes I get those that insist that somehow their PCs have some kind of heretofore unmentioned knowledge base. Typically I give those the benefit of the doubt once but if it becomes a habit, I take them aside between sessions and we discuss the situation. Usually, we're able to reach some kind of agreeable solution but not always.


On the curse/negative aspects, i have had a lot of good players who won't ruin things. But there always has to be that one douchebag..

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:If there are any of you that follow Knights of the Dinner Table, you'll know about Brian and his "Lotus" PC family lineage. According to Brian, every PC in the line keeps detailed notes that are somehow passed down to the next character. So, in essence, the newest PC in the "Lotus" line knows everything that every previous PC by that name knew/knows. It's in the same vein as how he always talks one of either Bob or Dave's PCs (or both) into letting him tatoo spells onto their backs in case they are ever captured and he loses his spell books, he still has access to at least one or two spells. :roll:


If i ever had a player do that, the note thing, i would say "FINE, show me your character's notes he's passing on down the bloodline'. OR BETTER YET. Just disallow someone to keep playing that bloodline.

But on the tattoo angle, i actually had a player DO Spell research, to do just that. Allowed him to tattoo some of his spell book, onto his own skin. So even if he did lose the book, he'd still have spells..

Lyrwik wrote: As such, the other players acted as they would to any other random person just following them and acting suspiciously. It also didn't help that the player in question was a bit of a problem player, lacking in the social awareness necessary to know that he was making the game less fun for other players through some of his actions, and then claiming he was being bullied by the other players because they didn't respond positively.


Was his 'social awareness lack' more because he was strange as a person, or because he may have been developmentally challenged?

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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#12 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:47 am

garhkal wrote:Was his 'social awareness lack' more because he was strange as a person, or because he may have been developmentally challenged?

I think it's more of the strange person side. Someone who I'm guessing didn't have a lot of friends growing up/never developed the greatest social skills. To give you an example, there were a few times when he was imposing on other players' agency (eg. restraining a new character 'because I don't trust you' even after the character had been generally accepted into the group) and later attacked that same character because he didn't like something he did. Meanwhile, it was as though he just couldn't understand how that made the game less fun for the other player(s). It was a difficult situation as there are plenty of us who play D&D who don't have the greatest social skills and/or are otherwise social outsiders, and so it's reasonable to cut people a bit of slack. But it was at the point that he was making the game not fun for the others at the table.

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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#13 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:27 pm

Damn. Two maybe even 3 times, i could see overlooking something like that. BUT if he did it often, id not be asking him back.

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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#14 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:32 pm

Keighn wrote:

As a young DM in the days I didn’t know how to handle metagaming so I started making monsters and items. As a player, I tried to play as the character according to stats and later personality rolls as per the 1e DMG. We had a riot acting in accordance to that. Eventually more than a few of us randomly rolled on what we would play unless the DM had strict guidelines.


That can actually be a mercilessly fun way to play! I've run a few games like that and each time they were totally entertaining!

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Re: Metagaming.. What counts?

Post#15 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:06 pm

Garhkal wrote:

Which is something i find it strange. Why would they treat a PC different than a henchman? BOTH are characters, both are fully fledged adventurers.. Just one's played by the DM (in link with the owning player), the other's just played by a player.


In a way, I can see the point though. Usually a PC character is going to be a team member. We rarely run parties where there's an excess level of conflict. Usually the party is at least in the same chapter, if not on the same page. But with henchmen, followers and hirelings, there is the morale issue and the possibility of spies, assassins, traitors, etc. I've used that from time to time when the PCs failed to properly vet a henchman. Makes for some intrigue. So I can see that. Some of my players are a tad bit more wary of a henchman or hireling than another PC. Followers they're usually pretty comfortable with.

Or monsters who have class skills. Imagine facing a group of gnolls, to find that one of their midst is a 5th level warrior, specialized in the Gnoll's warbow. Or that troglodyte leader is actually a 7th level fighter/thief...


I do that all the time! It really adds something to the game, and it makes sense.

If i ever had a player do that, the note thing, i would say "FINE, show me your character's notes he's passing on down the bloodline'. OR BETTER YET. Just disallow someone to keep playing that bloodline.


And I would demand a double-spaced, type-written, completely detailed write-up. Hope the player has the time and energy to write the book, and index/notate in order to make it easy for the DM to reference. And it would be taken literally. Any misspelling, missing name or detail, etc would invalidate the inheritor's ability to know anything about it.

But on the tattoo angle, i actually had a player DO Spell research, to do just that. Allowed him to tattoo some of his spell book, onto his own skin. So even if he did lose the book, he'd still have spells..


Personally, I would not allow that. The DMG outlines how scrolls and spellbooks must be made of fine paper and use special ink. Skin isn't going to be able to retain that magical energy since it's a living, changing cellular structure (minerals and electrolytes going in and out, bio-electrical charges in the mitochondria, etc - it's just not stable enough to hold the energy of the spell. And of course, good luck tattooing someone with wyvern blood and arachnid poison as part of the formula! :twisted:

Damage to a spellbook's pages can render the spell unusable. That should hold the same for skin that gets abraded, cut, bruised, or otherwise damaged during combat. Sweat, grime, blood and other substances that get into the skin during the course of regular adventuring may contaminate the power of the special ink.

If we consider the skin as a scroll, then the spell disappears when cast. So that would mean another tattoo needed as it fades.

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