engine
 member, 533 posts
Fri 2 Feb 2018
at 16:12
Re: What is metagaming
C-h Freese:
An actual useful form of metagaming is Players working out together what what the Characters know about each other making long bouts of in game exposition unnecessary.

Yep.

I've played with and heard play sessions with people who absolutely refuse to metagame to any level. On those occassions, it has resulted in the game grinding along as everyone tries to drag that character along with the intended game. Yes, someone who saw weird, dangerous things happening, like people flying or shooting blasts from their hands would be panicked and maybe paranoid, demanding to know what was going on and refusing explanations that defied physics, but in a game in which everyone has agreed to play new, budding superheroes, that really sort of shoots the game in the foot.

Wyrm:
When it was my turn to be "That guy" I actually spoke to the gm ahead of time and he told me he would let me know when my character would be able to act appropriately. He even made sure to write in that I could infer what was going on with a roll. We still almost died, but I think it was a more satisfying resolution and the impression we were being screwed didn't seem apparent. Everyone seemed to actually enjoy it as opposed to the first time I played it.

It sort of sounds like, in both cases, the veteran used player knowledge (with various levels of subtlety) to avoid the TPK. If the fun of the game would seriously have been damaged by a TPK, then I suppose it was all to the good. It does sound like the GM appreciated having an insider in the second case. Possibly that was true in the first case too, because the GM was probably aware of the metagaming, and apparently didn't call it out.

I find that fascinating. PC death in RPGs, and how people deal with it, is a study in all kinds of contradictions, compromises and balancing acts. I would wager that most metagaming (and most frustration with metagaming) arises when death looms. Death inherently evokes out-of-character thinking because once a character dies, there's no more character to be in. And if a player has worked hard to play that character up to the point of the existential crisis, the prospect of having to play a new character is likely to be stressful.

If a GM has a problem with the metagaming their players are doing, then I think they need to look at why they're doing it more than just "they're being jerks." Why are they micromanaging combat? What do they think will happen if they don't? Would they be willing to try a short combat in which they don't do that? Would they do less of it if the stakes of the situation were changed? Would they do less if the situation were easier? Do they only have fun if they win? Is there any kind of failure they would work less hard to avoid? Ask them.
Mr_Qwerty
 member, 32 posts
 Tagmar, D&D, oWoD
 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fri 2 Feb 2018
at 18:25
Re: What is metagaming
Metagaming is more than using dilated time in combat situations to plan party tactics, or use knowledge from previous runs of a module to avoid a TPK (or even to pick an alternative path for novelty's sake); there's also the transferring real life knowledge from player to character I know IRL how to build a reciprocating steam engine, that doesn't mean all of my characters should as well or even doing "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" or other pop culture in-jokes and puns.

In my opinion, as long as all participants agree to it, any and all of the previous examples could be fine. After all, we're all doing this for the fun of it, right?
engine
 member, 534 posts
Fri 2 Feb 2018
at 18:37
Re: What is metagaming
I wonder how one's feelings about metagaming correlate with one's feelings about meta-humor or meta-references in movies and shows.
praguepride
 member, 1230 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 6 Feb 2018
at 17:41
Re: What is metagaming
I tend to be very knowlegeable when it comes to the systems I play as I obessisvely read all materials I can get my hands on well beyond what is necessary for core play.

I LOVE meta humor and I use references to pop culture all the time. In a pirates game the crew picked up the Seven Dwarves (now Six after happy died) and they have rebranded themselves as dwarven slayers. (Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to die we go...)

HOWEVER I really really hate meta gaming. In my group one guy plays a lot of games and he found the book of the main adventure I built my game off of and I can tell almost every other decision he's making is because he has OOC knowledge. If one path takes you to horrible death and the other path takes you to fantastic treasure he just happens to "guess" the right path every. single. time.

Luckily I know this ahead of time and so I randomly  determine stuff behind the scenes and when stuff doesn't go the way he thinks it should he can get kind of pissy.

Knowing what is going to happen is one thing but altering your character's behavior and more importantly ruining surprises and adventure for other players is not acceptable, in my opinion and that is the REAL problem with meta-gaming.

When ONE player knows the solution to every problem and/or has twinked out his character to the utmost level then it can quickly detract from other player's fun. Few people want to play a game where they are just a warm body along for the ride.


<lengthy supplemental ancedot>
We were playing in a game with that meta-gamer and one of our players got possessed. The GM would speak for the demon while he was speaking for his player when he was able to temporarily take control of his will again. So of COURSE the meta-gamer was like "we can't believe him..." when the GM was speaking but he instantly believed the player when HE was in control so the GM and possessed player actually created a secret signal system like "scratch my nose means blah" so we, specifically the meta-gamer would never know if the GM was the demon or the player and same for the player.

It was awesome because it forced the meta-gamer to actually RP realistically that he DIDN'T KNOW what was going to happen!
horus
 member, 375 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Tue 6 Feb 2018
at 18:48
Re: What is metagaming
praguepride:
I tend to be very knowlegeable when it comes to the systems I play as I obessisvely read all materials I can get my hands on well beyond what is necessary for core play.


That is one of the marks of a good GM.  Being prepared knowledge-wise gives you the flexibility to think on your feet because you actually understand the mechanics of the scenario.

quote:
I LOVE meta humor and I use references to pop culture all the time. In a pirates game the crew picked up the Seven Dwarves (now Six after happy died) and they have rebranded themselves as dwarven slayers. (Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to die we go...)


That's hysterical.  I could dig a campaign like that.  So, who's their leader? (Grumpy, maybe?)  If you've never heard it, look up George Carlin's bit about the dwarves.

quote:
HOWEVER I really really hate meta gaming. In my group one guy plays a lot of games and he found the book of the main adventure I built my game off of and I can tell almost every other decision he's making is because he has OOC knowledge. If one path takes you to horrible death and the other path takes you to fantastic treasure he just happens to "guess" the right path every. single. time.


Your solution to it:  has it proven to be effective?  Every player in the game should get rule no. 1 (The GM is never wrong.  If the GM is wrong, see rule no. 1.)

That he gets bent out of shape when you throw him a curve marks him as rather a childish gamer.  Most gamers worth their salt enjoy a challenge.

quote:
<lengthy supplemental ancedot>
We were playing in a game with that meta-gamer and one of our players got possessed. The GM would speak for the demon while he was speaking for his player when he was able to temporarily take control of his will again. So of COURSE the meta-gamer was like "we can't believe him..." when the GM was speaking but he instantly believed the player when HE was in control so the GM and possessed player actually created a secret signal system like "scratch my nose means blah" so we, specifically the meta-gamer would never know if the GM was the demon or the player and same for the player.


Good that you had a cooperative player in that instance.  Otherwise you may have been tempted to smack your metagamer down hard as an object lesson.  Do you, perhaps, have any familiarity with Knights of The Dinner Table? You might read some for a bit of comic relief on this.

quote:
It was awesome because it forced the meta-gamer to actually RP realistically that he DIDN'T KNOW what was going to happen!


Yup.  Sounds like creativity and cunning won the day.  Way to go.
engine
 member, 538 posts
Tue 6 Feb 2018
at 19:10
Re: What is metagaming
praguepride:
HOWEVER I really really hate meta gaming. In my group one guy plays a lot of games and he found the book of the main adventure I built my game off of and I can tell almost every other decision he's making is because he has OOC knowledge. If one path takes you to horrible death and the other path takes you to fantastic treasure he just happens to "guess" the right path every. single. time.

I assume your exaggerating about the consequences of those choices and that it's more like easy outcomes vs. hard outcomes.

Some games, though, set themselves up to be metagamed in this way, where it's really just a matter of getting something right or wrong ahead of time. The situation is one that can be solved.

What if the situation is one in which there were difference dangers and different treasures, but every treasure is behind a danger? In that case, it wouldn't seem to matter as much whether or not players knew what their choices would lead to, since there would be trouble and commesurate reward following any choice.

praguepride:
Luckily I know this ahead of time and so I randomly  determine stuff behind the scenes and when stuff doesn't go the way he thinks it should he can get kind of pissy.

A bit of a side issue, but why play with such a person, if they're known to be like that? If one has to play with them (which so often seems to be the case, when a person is a close friend or it's their house, or something) going to lengths to aggravate them seems like it's just going to make things worse. What do they say when asked why they are doing what they're doing? Do they want to play a different game, or an easier game?

praguepride:
Knowing what is going to happen is one thing but altering your character's behavior and more importantly ruining surprises and adventure for other players is not acceptable, in my opinion and that is the REAL problem with meta-gaming.

Surprises I don't care about. The drive to provide those is one of the major problems with this hobby. Different topic.

How does he ruin the adventure for them, though?

praguepride:
When ONE player knows the solution to every problem and/or has twinked out his character to the utmost level then it can quickly detract from other player's fun. Few people want to play a game where they are just a warm body along for the ride.

Why are they just along for the ride? I presume they have a say in the matter, and could overrule this person if they wanted. If they don't, then they're somewhat responsible for ruining their own adventure, in which case one wonders if they might also want to play a different game or an easier game.

I like to play cooperative boardgames. It's usually not easy to know exactly what's going to happen, but skilled and experienced gamers can have a tendency to take control of such games and basically play them solo, just instructing the others what to do. That can be a drag. However, choice is much more constrained in such games, and there are rarely real "roles" to play, and the outcomes are either a win, a loss or (at best) a close game. In a roleplaying game, avoiding trouble doesn't need to mean the same thing as a win, if the trouble is fun to get into.

praguepride:
It was awesome because it forced the meta-gamer to actually RP realistically that he DIDN'T KNOW what was going to happen!

Did the meta-gamer enjoy that?

One might presume that you don't care whether or not they enjoyed it, that it was enough for everyone else to enjoy it, and maybe even a bonus to cause the meta-gamer consternation (assuming that was the result).

We're dealing with a key aspect of psychology here: people don't like to play dumb when it's to their detriment. I've played with people who, even if their character doesn't disbelieve something the player knows to be false, will still poke around the edges and try to come up with reasons why their character wouldn't believe something. This behavior intensifies the more it seems like the PCs are being led to their doom.

So, I think it depends a lot on what's at stake. The more a scenario puts a player's or party's enjoyment (whatever that means in a given case) at stake, the more they're going to be pushed into a meta-mindset. GMs often set themselves up to be metagamed, and often not for a heck of a lot potential benefit. It's worth asking oneself if people are likely to metagame a particular situation, and then, if they are, altering things not to foil the metagaming, but to make metagaming unnecessary.

horus:
Every player in the game should get rule no. 1 (The GM is never wrong.  If the GM is wrong, see rule no. 1.)

Goodness, GMs are wrong all the time.

horus:
That he gets bent out of shape when you throw him a curve marks him as rather a childish gamer.  Most gamers worth their salt enjoy a challenge.

Of course, but not every challenge is enjoyable to every person. This is one of the key things GMs get wrong: just because something is a challenge doesn't mean anyone is going to enjoy dealing with it.

This guy might be immature, but it's risky to dismiss it as that entirely. Maybe he just wants a different challenge. I hope he has been asked.
Eur512
 member, 777 posts
Wed 7 Feb 2018
at 01:48
Re: What is metagaming


"I can let the Snarled Grugsnuck attack me for one round because the maximum damage it can cause is 37 and I can survive 41."
engine
 member, 539 posts
Wed 7 Feb 2018
at 03:10
Re: What is metagaming
Eur512:
"I can let the Snarled Grugsnuck attack me for one round because the maximum damage it can cause is 37 and I can survive 41."

A great example.

I can see some ways to interpret that such that I have no problem with a player making such as statement, and that the the subsequent in-game actions of the character are perfectly in character.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 419 posts
Wed 7 Feb 2018
at 03:22
Re: What is metagaming
Eur512:
"I can let the Snarled Grugsnuck attack me for one round because the maximum damage it can cause is 37 and I can survive 41."



Doesn't sound meta gaming to me, I assume the person making such a statement A) is something of a veteran fighter, knows how much damage he can take.  So no problem there, B) probably has fought this monster many times before so, has a reasonable expectation to know how much damage it can do.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1272 posts
Wed 7 Feb 2018
at 04:04
Re: What is metagaming
quote:
I've played with people who, even if their character doesn't disbelieve something the player knows to be false, will still poke around the edges and try to come up with reasons why their character wouldn't believe something.


On the other hand, there are situations in which different opinions about what "disbelief" actually means. For example, illusions, a character might believe an illusion to be false even when they can't see any mistake with the illusion itself, based purely on what the illusion depicts. Some players, such as myself, see this as believing an illusion is not real despite failing the will save to disbelieve it, with a successful save meaning that one could see a problem with illusion, such as clipping issues, or iron armor pieces that are bending like leather, etc.

Same with bluff/sense motive. The other guy might say it very convincingly, maybe even make me think he be;ieves it, but I won't believe it true because the lie is full of logical gaps and fallacies.
Alex Vriairu
 member, 420 posts
Wed 7 Feb 2018
at 05:01
Re: What is metagaming
On the other hand, there are situations in which different opinions about what "disbelief" actually means. For example, illusions, a character might believe an illusion to be false even when they can't see any mistake with the illusion itself, based purely on what the illusion depicts. Some players, such as myself, see this as believing an illusion is not real despite failing the will save to disbelieve it, with a successful save meaning that one could see a problem with illusion, such as clipping issues, or iron armor pieces that are bending like leather, etc.

Same with bluff/sense motive. The other guy might say it very convincingly, maybe even make me think he be;ieves it, but I won't believe it true because the lie is full of logical gaps and fallacies.
</quote>


that also seems reasonable to me, but then I've never really liked dice based rpgs, so that might factor into my thinking.
engine
 member, 540 posts
Wed 7 Feb 2018
at 18:00
Re: What is metagaming
DarkLightHitomi:
Some players, such as myself, see this as believing an illusion is not real despite failing the will save to disbelieve it, with a successful save meaning that one could see a problem with illusion, such as clipping issues, or iron armor pieces that are bending like leather, etc.

That makes sense to me, but I could see how it could cause issues for groups who are policing metagaming. If there's nothing to distinguish the illusion from reality, then what is the character basing their disbelief on? Why wouldn't they have a problematic tendency to "disbelieve" other things that do turn out to be real?

In short, what does the character gain (if anything) from the in-character (as opposed to mechanics-based) disbelief?

(A similar problem exists with hidden traps or ambushes. The classic GM response is "Well, you don't think there's anything amiss." Does that mean that a player committed to not metagaming has to treat the situation as though it's no different than any other non-trapped door, or non-brigand-hiding path? Or are they allowed to be irrationally suspicious? Can/must they resist the urge to be influenced by what they saw on the dice, or detected from the GM?)

DarkLightHitomi:
Same with bluff/sense motive. The other guy might say it very convincingly, maybe even make me think he believes it, but I won't believe it true because the lie is full of logical gaps and fallacies.

I like that. Often GM's will respond to an Insight-like check with "Well, you don't think he's lying" which is just begging to be metagamed. If instead the response was something like:

"He believes what he's saying." or
"He doesn't believe what he's saying, and he seems embarrassed/guilty/devious." or
"He believes what he's saying, but his words could have two meanings." or
"He believes what he's saying, but he seems like he's under some sort of compulsion." or
"He doesn't seem to care if what he says is true or not."

then the player and character wouldn't necessarily know if they were being lied to, but could still be rationally suspicious.

But feeling that an NPC's statement being full of logical gaps and fallacies might set off some people's metagaming alarms. Does the character notice those, or only the player? Are they real holes in the argument, or is the GM just not a rocksolid storyteller and mystery weaver? Plenty of otherwise good mystery stories have holes the characters should have wondered about, even if they're not key to the story. What if the GM doesn't relate the NPC's words in detail, but just narrates generalities? What if the PC succeeds on the Insight roll, and detect something amiss, but the player doesn't see any logical gaps or fallacies?
horus
 member, 378 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Thu 8 Feb 2018
at 05:36
Re: What is metagaming
engine:
{snippage of previous from DarkLightHitomi - horus}

In short, what does the character gain (if anything) from the in-character (as opposed to mechanics-based) disbelief?


Verisimilitude (that semblance of "reality" we chase like a will-o-the-wisp) is about the only thing to be gained from such play.  The mechanics of disbelief are drier than Heck on a Hot August Night(TM), while role-playing disbelief may lead to plausible reasons why the GM should allow it.

quote:
(A similar problem exists with hidden traps or ambushes. The classic GM response is "Well, you don't think there's anything amiss... {snippage mine - horus}


I always hated that shazazzle when I was playing fantasy (D&D, Hackmaster, Arduin, EPT, etc.).  I like how you outlined further on some nice alternatives. That whole "you don't think..." thing always felt like the DM was metagaming in some twisted way.  How the heck would the DM know what a character might think about something?  That always felt like a bit of a stretch.  It might be a fine point, but saying, "Nothing seems amiss that you can tell..." might be better.

The only thing worse is when a player is asking for detail or information they should reasonably have or be able to obtain and are met with gnomic silence from the DM.  Kinda makes ya feel like your playing contribution to the game doesn't matter.


{snippage - previous about bluffing, etc. - horus}

quote:
I like that. Often GM's will respond to an Insight-like check with "Well, you don't think he's lying" which is just begging to be metagamed. If instead the response was something like:

"He believes what he's saying." or
"He doesn't believe what he's saying, and he seems embarrassed/guilty/devious." or
"He believes what he's saying, but his words could have two meanings." or
"He believes what he's saying, but he seems like he's under some sort of compulsion." or
"He doesn't seem to care if what he says is true or not."

then the player and character wouldn't necessarily know if they were being lied to, but could still be rationally suspicious.


Exactly.  This is how to do it in my view.  Open-ended enough to promote role-play, but not so ambiguous as to be worthless to the players.  It gives both the DM and the player room to wriggle around a bit.

quote:
But feeling that an NPC's statement being full of logical gaps and fallacies might set off some people's metagaming alarms. Does the character notice those, or only the player? Are they real holes in the argument, or is the GM just not a rocksolid storyteller and mystery weaver? Plenty of otherwise good mystery stories have holes the characters should have wondered about, even if they're not key to the story. What if the GM doesn't relate the NPC's words in detail, but just narrates generalities? What if the PC succeeds on the Insight roll, and detect something amiss, but the player doesn't see any logical gaps or fallacies?


Those are opportunities for a good player to dig deeper (within the limits of reason) for more about what was going on in the scene.  Yeah, different DMs will have different styles, and some styles work better than others depending on the scene itself, and the action within it.  It doesn't have to be confrontational, and it seems to work better for me if my questons are not out-of-character, but are done in-character, with the character's limited knowledge, extrapolating from the known to apprehend the unknown.
engine
 member, 541 posts
Thu 8 Feb 2018
at 15:28
Re: What is metagaming
horus:
Verisimilitude (that semblance of "reality" we chase like a will-o-the-wisp) is about the only thing to be gained from such play.  The mechanics of disbelief are drier than Heck on a Hot August Night(TM), while role-playing disbelief may lead to plausible reasons why the GM should allow it.

So it is about in-game advantage?

But my other question stands: why would a character disbelieve something they don't (mechanically) see any issue with, unless they were in the habit of just disbelieving plenty of perfectly real stuff around them?

I ask because I've never been able to come up with a good reason. My current state of thinking is that if a player thinks something is an illusion, or that a door without indication of being trapped is in fact trapped, or any other thing that the character has no evidence for but the player feels strongly about, then they're free to let their character in on that feeling. Why are they not walking across the perfectly-safe-looking bridge? Why are they not blithely opening that trap-free door? I don't know, nor do I care. I am happy to assume they have a valid reason, rather than challenge them on it.

(I find it also helps immensely simply not to have "gotcha" situations like that in games. Those are just asking to be metagamed.)
horus
 member, 379 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Thu 8 Feb 2018
at 16:33
Re: What is metagaming
engine:
{snippage:  my previous - horus}
So it is about in-game advantage?


Not as such:  it's about creating a more believable reason why the character(s) might be able to disbelieve.  It's also more about creating a more credible scene as a whole.  I don't ascribe to the adversarial role for the DM/GM/Referee/etc.  Everybody's there to have fun, non?

quote:
But my other question stands: why would a character disbelieve something they don't (mechanically) see any issue with, unless they were in the habit of just disbelieving plenty of perfectly real stuff around them?


We're in agreement here.  Why would a character disbelieve?  I feel that roleplay, as opposed to roll-play, is the way forward.  The players have to act based on the cues fed them by their environment (by the DM) and sell their character's position as a plausible one for being able to penetrate an illusion (a veridical hallucination) in the first place.

quote:
I ask because I've never been able to come up with a good reason. My current state of thinking is that if a player thinks something is an illusion, or that a door without indication of being trapped is in fact trapped, or any other thing that the character has no evidence for but the player feels strongly about, then they're free to let their character in on that feeling. Why are they not walking across the perfectly-safe-looking bridge? Why are they not blithely opening that trap-free door? I don't know, nor do I care. I am happy to assume they have a valid reason, rather than challenge them on it.


This is where the DM has the responsibility to ensure, that if an illusion or some such is in play, the characters should have at least some clue concerning its existence.  Now, if the illusion was cast by a sufficiently powerful mage/illusionist/etc., it becomes a matter of the extent of detect-ability.  There may not, in that case, be a plausible reason why the characters would detect it until much later, if at all.  It gets back to how the DM tells the story and unfolds the scene.

quote:
(I find it also helps immensely simply not to have "gotcha" situations like that in games. Those are just asking to be metagamed.)


Agreed.  If the DM really must use a scene like that in a game, the best way is to give it a Metric-*fruit*-tonne of thought, development work, and testing before ever deploying it.  It really helps for something like this if one of the players is mature enough to take into confidence and help play-test it beforehand.

engine
 member, 543 posts
Thu 8 Feb 2018
at 17:37
Re: What is metagaming
horus:
Not as such:  it's about creating a more believable reason why the character(s) might be able to disbelieve.  It's also more about creating a more credible scene as a whole.  I don't ascribe to the adversarial role for the DM/GM/Referee/etc.  Everybody's there to have fun, non?

Fun means different things to different people. That's the whole reason why there's even a question about metagaming.

horus:
I feel that roleplay, as opposed to roll-play, is the way forward.

Oh dear. Not very pleasant implications there.

horus:
The players have to act based on the cues fed them by their environment (by the DM) and sell their character's position as a plausible one for being able to penetrate an illusion (a veridical hallucination) in the first place.

Why is the character trying to penetrate the illusion? Why is the player playing in such a way as to give the character reasons to want to penetrate the illusion that the character doesn't realize is there?

These kinds of situations bug me a lot more than people just blatantly using out-of-game knowledge about it. The player trying to roleplay their way to penetrating the illusion is still metagaming, but they're trying (so often with a painful lack of success) to be cagey about it. I admit to being focused on the worst case. Probably there are people who do this well and entertainingly.

I think my ideal when a player knows something and a character doesn't/can't is for the player to get ironic about it, not in an attempt to figure it out, but to make the scene amusing. This can be done badly too, of course, but I usually have fun with it.

Cinematic example:
In "The Emperor's New Groove," a character seems to tumble to a disguise he saw earlier. He snaps wakes in sudden realization. "The peasant at the diner!" he shouts. "He didn't pay his check!" This irrelevant fact realized, he drifts back to gentle sleep.

horus:
This is where the DM has the responsibility to ensure, that if an illusion or some such is in play, the characters should have at least some clue concerning its existence.

I'm not sure I agree, but maybe I'm just having a kneejerk reaction to the phrase "the DM has the responsibility to ensure."
Mr_Qwerty
 member, 33 posts
 Tagmar, D&D, oWoD
 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Thu 8 Feb 2018
at 19:16
Re: What is metagaming
In reply to engine (msg # 38):

Indeed, the true Golden Rule is that everybody in the table (forum?) should be having fun, preferably as homogeneously as possible. Whether that's through rigorous adherence to improv theater rules or by gaming a system so the characters are able to roll 1d20+(way too much) on a skill check, that doesn't make any difference. Both methods are valid.

Having said that, if the player feels that the GM's choice of words is indicative of shenanigans, he should be able to try to justify his character to look twice at whatever it is that he thinks the source of shenanigans is. I know that I, as a GM, always make sure to imply the possibility of things that escape any given character's perception skills unless they rolled really well; if a character searches through a room for secret doors and there aren't any and he rolled a middling result, I'll reply with something like "OK, you spend ten minutes canvassing the room but don't manage to find any secrets this time... What will you do next?"

After wasting time trying to find nonexistent secrets five or six times, they usually cotton on to the fact that they are looking at that world through the senses and sensibilities of their characters, and they shouldn't (usually) take my words to be the objective truth.
OceanLake
 member, 1024 posts
Thu 8 Feb 2018
at 19:38
Re: What is metagaming
When in doubt as to applying OOC knowledge to your PC's actions, PM the GM. A main object here, after all, usually is collaborative saga creation.
engine
 member, 545 posts
Thu 8 Feb 2018
at 19:46
Re: What is metagaming
Mr_Qwerty:
Both methods are valid.

Yes, and I find that not only are the reviled extremes of those very rare, but that many people seem to use a method that is somewhere in between.

Mr_Qwerty:
I know that I, as a GM, always make sure to imply the possibility of things that escape any given character's perception skills unless they rolled really well;

I get the impression that many GMs are of the view that every thing hidden thing in games is there with the intention of being found. Under what circumstances would you leave absolutely no intentional clue about something? Under what circumstances would you be completely neutral about whether the PCs found a hidden thing or not? I have a concrete example I'd like to discuss, but I'm worried I might be dinged for talking about a specific game here.

Mr_Qwerty:
if a character searches through a room for secret doors and there aren't any and he rolled a middling result, I'll reply with something like "OK, you spend ten minutes canvassing the room but don't manage to find any secrets this time... What will you do next?"

I've greatly enjoyed (and been a bit dismayed by) seeing the "tech" in this arena evolve. I know some people don't like to handle searches and the like with dice at all, requiring the players to state in detail where they're looking and what they're doing, but I like that D&D (as one example) has gone from no/vague skills for "finding" things, to more detailed skills, to the "take 10" and "take 20" options, to "passive" skill checks all as ways to handle the player/character knowledge conundrum.
Mr_Qwerty
 member, 34 posts
 Tagmar, D&D, oWoD
 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fri 9 Feb 2018
at 00:42
Re: What is metagaming
engine:
Under what circumstances would you leave absolutely no intentional clue about something? Under what circumstances would you be completely neutral about whether the PCs found a hidden thing or not? I have a concrete example I'd like to discuss, but I'm worried I might be dinged for talking about a specific game here.

I like including "bonus" content hidden away somewhere in most of my maps. I make sure it makes sense in-story, so no hidden sports cars in the sewers, but it's always something above what one would call "level-appropriate", whatever that may mean in a specific game. If the PCs find it, it should always be memorable but if they find it every time, the game devolves into monty-haul and it becomes impossible to manage expectations. This may actually cause metagaming in my players, because they'd rightly assume that the goods are out there somewhere, but odds are that they won't find it, so it's better to concentrate on the game rather than the fantasy lottery.

engine:
I've greatly enjoyed (and been a bit dismayed by) seeing the "tech" in this arena evolve. I know some people don't like to handle searches and the like with dice at all, requiring the players to state in detail where they're looking and what they're doing, but I like that D&D (as one example) has gone from no/vague skills for "finding" things, to more detailed skills, to the "take 10" and "take 20" options, to "passive" skill checks all as ways to handle the player/character knowledge conundrum.

Passive perception checks are common sense, IMHO; "Taking 10" and "Taking 20" worked on D&D 3.5 the same way that not rolling checks where your Dice Pool exceeded the Difficulty in old "World of Darkness" games. It's a tool to keep the game from bogging down from infinite rolls and re-rolls of re-rolled rolls. If time and resources don't matter, you should be able to keep trying until you manage the optimum result. If a failure in a roll carries consequences or depletes precious resources, automatic success becomes much more dicey, if you'll pardon the pun.

As for searching in specific places, if there's, say, a trapdoor under a rug and the player happens to describe searching for stuff under the rug, no matter how well or how badly she rolled she will find the trapdoor. Unless the trap door itself was built to blend in with the floor or some such nonsense and the rug is only there as an additional layer of concealment, in which case she'll have a sizable bonus for finding it due to focusing on looking in the right places.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1273 posts
Mon 12 Feb 2018
at 00:28
Re: What is metagaming
OceanLake:
... A main object here, after all, usually is collaborative saga creation.


Not always true. There is a three pointed spectrum there. Collaborative story creation is just one of the points, the other two being squad-based tactical wargaming with narrative backdrop, and roleplaying in the truest sense of the word (as opposed to how the word is commonly used now-a-days. I.E. interacting with the narrative purely as the character, discovering only what the character discovers, and making only choices that the character makes.).

Utilizing and even sharing OOC knowledge has a different place dependjng on where in that spectrum you are. In Collaborative storytelling, sharing a character's thoughts or internal monologue can add to the story and be fun even though none of the other characters know about it, or even for thd gm to establish scene transitions with a bit of exposition on what the antagonist is doing right then, similar to the movies or books.

And the gaming can utilize disassociated mechanics with less problem because the point is the winning and using the mechanics and feeling awesome via numbers, and not so much in immersion in the narrative. (Example disassociated mechanic, dnd 4e's minions, which operate differently than non-minions, which means aoe spells, among other things, act differently based on whether an enemy is a minion or not for that particular encohnter [it is a fluid trait that can change from one encounter to the next], a distinction that does not exist in the narrative.)

In the more "pure" roleplaying (for lack of better term at the moment), most any kind of metagaming can be bad, as even knowing something the character doesn't can impart conflict within the player trying to keep that info separate. This style is the sort that really needs the gm to roll things like perception, search, surprise, etc.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1274 posts
Mon 12 Feb 2018
at 00:45
Re: What is metagaming
engine:
But my other question stands: why would a character disbelieve something they don't (mechanically) see any issue with, unless they were in the habit of just disbelieving plenty of perfectly real stuff around them?

I ask because I've never been able to come up with a good reason. My current state of thinking is that if a player thinks something is an illusion, or that a door without indication of being trapped is in fact trapped, or any other thing that the character has no evidence for but the player feels strongly about, then they're free to let their character in on that feeling. Why are they not walking across the perfectly-safe-looking bridge? Why are they not blithely opening that trap-free door? I don't know, nor do I care. I am happy to assume they have a valid reason, rather than challenge them on it.

(I find it also helps immensely simply not to have "gotcha" situations like that in games. Those are just asking to be metagamed.)


The answer is often simple but usually contextual, thougb it does depend greatly on how you define the mechanical result of "disbelief."

For example, if my character is convinced an item is cursed to affect the mind of the wearer with an obsession for the object, then that party refusing to part with the item is only supporting my character's belief regardless of how well they roll on any sort of bluff/diplomacy/social-something check.

Additionally, these characters live in a world where mages cast illusions. In the real world, such illusions don't exist so we don't generally expect them, but in a fantasy world with illusions, characters know they exist and while they might not expect a particular wall to be an illusion, they won't be suprised that a wall is illusionary.

And just like how in the real world, we have ideas about where to expect certain things we have experience with, such as light switches, stop signs, refridgerators, etc, so to would a fantasy character have expectations about where to find illusions if they have experience with that sort of thing.

Thus, even if they don't see something about the illusion itself that gives it away, they may believe it an illusion anyway because of the context of the situation, the where, why, and when, of the thing encountered.

And yes, I do indeed have my character assume such possibilities even when there has been no indication of an illusion for me the player at the gaming table.
engine
 member, 551 posts
Mon 12 Feb 2018
at 01:31
Re: What is metagaming
DarkLightHitomi:
And the gaming can utilize disassociated mechanics with less problem because the point is the winning and using the mechanics and feeling awesome via numbers, and not so much in immersion in the narrative.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Dissociated mechanics can be very much about immersion, in that they allow stories to be told in ways that mesh (rather than clash) with expectations. For example, the minion rules you reference can act as a way to understand why one's NPC allies are falling so quickly to an enemy onslaught, leaving the PCs as the focus of the situation. They probably do end up feeling awesome, which is going to help them feel engaged and immersed, but it's not really about mechanics or numbers, just the narrative the game is trying to tell, one the players are bought into.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1276 posts
Tue 13 Feb 2018
at 01:50
Re: What is metagaming
A dissociated mechanic is one where the player's choice does not match up with a character's choice.

That is not immersion. Immersion is when you can "forget" for a moment that you're playing a game. Making players feel like they are playing powerful characters is not immersion. It can shape a narrative perhaps (which is not the same thing as helping nor improving).

Explaining a result after the fact does not change anything about the process that gave that result.

The problem here is that players must change tactics specifically because of something that the players know but that has no equivelent knowledge by the characters. Quite literally you can have a player fight the same monster but the player will refuse to use the same powers and abilities simply because on one occasion the monster was a minion. That isn't even helpful for narrative.
engine
 member, 554 posts
Tue 13 Feb 2018
at 14:43
Re: What is metagaming
DarkLightHitomi:
A dissociated mechanic is one where the player's choice does not match up with a character's choice.

I tend to find that that's rectified by interpreting character choice in a different way, or by not worrying about interpreting it at all.

DarkLightHitomi:
That is not immersion. Immersion is when you can "forget" for a moment that you're playing a game. Making players feel like they are playing powerful characters is not immersion. It can shape a narrative perhaps (which is not the same thing as helping nor improving).

You have a narrow focus on one aspect of one rule, and you appear to be defining terms in such a way as to negate the possibility of a given game or type of game being immersive.

Immersion in a general sense, outside of just games, primarily hinges on the player or reader or viewer wanting to be immersed. It can't be forced, and reasons for wanting to be immersed vary. Some people are immersed in Harry Potter, others find it unrealistic. Same with Star Trek.

If a mechanic in a game makes the game more enjoyable, that goes a long way toward making that mechanic have a less significant impact on a player's immersion. That might have to do with the player feel like the character is appropriately powerful, or it might have to do with a scene being played out more quickly and easily than it could be with different rules.

DarkLightHitomi:
Explaining a result after the fact does not change anything about the process that gave that result.

No, it just changes one's perspective on it, which matters, and helps with similar future situations.

DarkLightHitomi:
The problem here is that players must change tactics specifically because of something that the players know but that has no equivelent knowledge by the characters. Quite literally you can have a player fight the same monster but the player will refuse to use the same powers and abilities simply because on one occasion the monster was a minion. That isn't even helpful for narrative.

Huh. What if a mage only ever tries to cast sleep and lightning bolt but hasn't mastered those spells quite yet, and so what results is usually more like beguiling strands and arc lightning. He's not changing tactics; he and the player see it that way. Some small part of the player's mind applies the correct rules, but the player is quite familiar with them, so it's a minimal as with any other rule. Sometimes the spells go off really well, knocking out a pack of monsters, or blazing through two enemies. It worked that time! Awesome!

That wouldn't work for some people, either as the player of that character or as the other people around the table, but some folks it works just fine for as a way to smooth over and explain away (before or after) feelings about any rough edges in the game. Other people would go with different rationalizations. Someone who really didn't want the game to work in a particular way might have trouble rationalizing, but that's really on them.

A lot of this seems to have to do with forcing others not to metagame, and people need to get over that. No one forces you to use different tactics when faced with minions, or in any other circumstance, though you might find that failing to rationalize a little bit of metagame for the sake of the enjoyment of others at the table is going to ruin their immersion, which is going to bring them out of the game to focus on issues you might wish they'd relax about.