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zinycor
2019-04-12, 05:15 PM
So, what even is considered metagaming? Is it acceptable? , and if so, to what degree?

What would be the definition of it?

On this forum I have read people arguing that the players finding out things like the AC of an
opponent and acting accordingly, constitutes metagaming and is somehow wrong.

What do you all think?

Galithar
2019-04-12, 05:36 PM
To me metagaming is using out of game knowledge to influence your in character actions. I believe that knowing a rough AC by either A. Trial and error or B. Based upon appearance (The orc approaches and draws his sword as he readies his shield to charge. His plate armor clangs as he moves forward, roll initiative. I'm going into that combat with the assumption of AC 20+) is not Metagaming. Your character knows the information as well as you. However having a creature described and saying "Hey that's a blah blah it's got high AC because it's Dex modifier is through the roof" without any in game context is.

For me that level of Metagaming is acceptable. What I don't find acceptable is the party splits for whatever reason. The rogue determines that the only way to kill X enemy is with fire. The rest of the is encounters enemy X BEFORE the rogue returns and your Wizard that typically uses exclusively ice spells suddenly uses chromatic orb to attack with fire. They used knowledge they shouldn't have had with no in game justification.

The amount of Metagaming that is acceptable varies based on the table, as does the definition since it is such a poorly defined concept. It's a session 0 topic in my mind.

At my table I have a few players that I talk to about my Homebrew world out of session. It would be unacceptable to me if they acted in this knowledge in game. (I only talk to them about it because I know they don't use it and it's an awesome tool for me to get feedback from them about my ideas)

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-12, 05:52 PM
Well it is simple enough:

Metagaming is Cheating.

A bit more is:

Metagaming is the player of a game, using the knowladge of the game rules and the game fictional reality, for personal advatage in the game play.

A classic example would be module 'The Dark Dungeon' has a fire lizard in room five. The player reads the module before the game, then when playing the game uses that information in the game: casting protection from fire just before going into room five.


As a RPG IS a game, and the players KNOW it's a game they are playing. So this alone does mean the players will always be metagaming a tiny bit. Simply put: the game world is not real, and even more so the whole game world is made only FOR the players of the game. So, the game will always revolove around the players, by desigin. Everything that ''can'' happen to the player characters....will most likely happen: it's part of the game. For the 'adventure' parts things will be a bit obvious: of course the king/lord/baron/whatever betrays the group; or the dragon is not in fact the bag monster; or the old man is not the victum. And so on. The most unbelveiable, fictional, amazing things will always happen to a player character. It IS part of the game.

A great example is any type of fiction...but TV shows are a great example. Take any 'action/adventure' show: you might notice how down right Amazingly, every week, the most increadible unbeleiavable things happen to just a small number of...ahem, main characters, all the time.

A good player is aware of metagaming, and very much so imersers themselves in their player character so much that they don't know or act on the metagaming knowladge at all. Even to the point where the player will know 'secrets' the character does not, and they will not use that information to cheat or gain any advantage whatso ever.

The bad player will cheat all day long. Whatever the players knows: the character knows. And they will use it.

There really is no degree of acceptable metagaming. When the characters travel from place to place they WILL get attacked: random encounters and combat are both set parts of the game. The good player will just accept this, and allow the game to roll on. The bad player complains and cheats.

OldTrees1
2019-04-12, 06:25 PM
There are 2 primary high-level definitions of metagaming although the term is frequently used for more concrete definitions (see "the metagame" in MtG as an example).

Context 1: All games are nested games. The game sits inside a context of another game.
Definition 1: Metagaming is making decisions at a level based upon context from a level above that.
Definition 2: Metagaming is Definition 1 but only when it is a bad thing.

For example: I go to Adventure's League once a week. I have a regular group of friends I play with there. We rotate DMing to give everyone a chance to play. I am about to run a horror game. The horror campaign is from the Curse of Strahd hardcover module. Inside that module there are various chapters and inside each chapter there are various situations the PCs can find themselves within.

1) Since there are players playing this horror module, I will make in-game decisions based upon how it will affect those players. There are some topics I will minimize/remove and others that I will emphasize. (In game decision based upon context from the social group level)
2) Since it is a horror game, I will make Session 0 suggestions about character creation to make there be more opportunities for horror. (In game decisions based upon context from the genre of module)
3) When I am running the module, I will be omitting some details as instructed by the Adventure League rules. (In game decision based upon organized play context)
4) I chose to DM a hardcover because they last longer and thus give other DMs more time to play. (Making a campaign choice based upon logistical context)
5) When the players create characters they will also be coordinating with the other players during session 0. (Making a character creation choice based upon the context of everyone making character creation choices)

As you can see from my example, I default to definition 1. Metagaming is a descriptive term for when a choice at one level is made based upon context from a higher level. Whether a particular instance is good/bad/neither depends on the particulars of that instance. And the specifics are subjective. What is acceptable for some groups might not be for others.

Xuc Xac
2019-04-12, 06:33 PM
Metagaming is the player of a game, using the knowladge of the game rules and the game fictional reality, for personal advatage in the game play.


That's not metagaming. That's just gaming. Metagaming is using knowledge that the character doesn't have.

Casting a fire resistance spell before going into room 5 with the fire lizard because you read the module already so you know what's in there? Metagaming. Doing it because you walked over 5 freshly charred corpses on the way to room 5 and you can smell sulfur and there's smoke coming through the cracks in the door? Not metagaming.

zinycor
2019-04-12, 06:48 PM
Well it is simple enough:

Metagaming is Cheating.


Ok, That makes some sense.



A bit more is:

Metagaming is the player of a game, using the knowladge of the game rules and the game fictional reality, for personal advatage in the game play.

What?... That doesn't make any sense....


A classic example would be module 'The Dark Dungeon' has a fire lizard in room five. The player reads the module before the game, then when playing the game uses that information in the game: casting protection from fire just before going into room five.

Now, that would be cheating, but has no relation to the definition you just gave.


As a RPG IS a game, and the players KNOW it's a game they are playing. So this alone does mean the players will always be metagaming a tiny bit.

(...)

There really is no degree of acceptable metagaming. When the characters travel from place to place they WILL get attacked: random encounters and combat are both set parts of the game. The good player will just accept this, and allow the game to roll on. The bad player complains and cheats.

So... Is there or not an acceptable degree of metagaming... You are giving too much conflicting information...

JNAProductions
2019-04-12, 07:18 PM
I would say that there's no universal level of metagaming that's acceptable.

As in, at Bob's table, where we drink beer, eat pretzels, and have a grand ol' time just faffing about, I can probably metagame my pants off and no one will mind, because it's kick the door in, fight the bad guy, and get loot, with nothing more complicated than that.

At Dave's table, though, it's much more roleplay focused, with the majority of goings-on being determined by what makes sense for the character to do. Metagaming wouldn't be very acceptable there, even in small amounts.

At Bernard's table, finally, it's a big melting pot. You've got lots of elements from a lot of styles, so while you shouldn't cheat by reading ahead in the module, something like popping a fire spell at a troll even if your character usually doesn't use them is fine. (But using fire spells when your character is ACTIVELY AFRAID of fire is probably a bridge too far.)

In other words... Find out what's acceptable at your games. Who cares about other games?

Edit: Oh, and don't trust anyone who deals in absolutes. This is a very varied game.

Galithar
2019-04-12, 07:19 PM
So... Is there or not an acceptable degree of metagaming... You are giving too much conflicting information...

It depends on your table. Some people don't mind you knowing there are fire lizards in room five and buffing yourself before you encounter them because you KNOW they are there out of character. Others would consider that blatant cheating and warn you, or in extreme cases ask you to leave the game.

You really need to ask these questions of your DM on a per table basis.

You'll never get people on the internet to give you a unified unanimous definition and tolerable level of Metagaming. It simply is impossible for everyone to agree on this subject. Especially since it's impact can vary greatly depending on system and the set up of the game (DMs ability to improvise and throw you off when you think you know what's going on.)

Edit: Shadow Monk'd! I'll type faster next time lol

MeimuHakurei
2019-04-12, 07:53 PM
Here's the in-depth explanation of metagaming, why the term is being overused and why many potentially "plot-ruining" elements just simply don't.

Metagaming is a verbed form of the word metagame, which is described as "the game inside the game". It's usually used in competitive games such as Magic: the Gathering, which often manifests in bringing cards and strategies that are good because they counter popular playstyles. There's even more in-depth thoughts like making plays based on typical decklists or trying to leave your opponent guessing how many copies of a spell you have in the deck.

In Dungeons & Dragons, I don't think there's a single game without any metagame thoughts ever played. Session 0 itself is often a metagame option because you agree on what the campaign is like and PCs can, cannot or (in some cases) have to do. Additionally, things like Ranger favored enemies are picked based on what kind of opponent is frequently encountered in the module. Finally, many players base class choices on the current group composition to round out the capabilities of the party (while I agree that you don't have to do this, it's likely your players will).

But that's not what the average DM considers metagaming - it usually pertains to matters in-game, generally for knowing things the DM believes the character shouldn't. I'll go over two examples of common situations cited as examples of metagaming - knowing about a troll's regeneration and how it is neutralized by fire or acid damage and avoiding a trap based on prior knowledge of the module it's in.

First of all, a susceptibility to fire of all things is something a party could stumble upon subconciously - by the time the party encounters one or more trolls, it's likely there's a caster among them who happens to carry Scorching Ray or Fireball - is it really using player knowledge to attack a troll with one of those spells just for its damage that just happens to disable regeneration the player possibly didn't know about? Many DMs will then go through a rainbow of trolls to shift around the regeneration so there's always a chance they'll recover from a beating... until the party Cleric starts hitting trolls with Chill Touch, annulling their regeneration under any circumstance (necrotic immunity does not negate its rider effect). It also raises the question: What are you gaining out of a monster that heals off lethal damage and straight-up forbidding players from countering that ability?

If you keep going with stat alterations to prevent players from knowing what a monster can do, all they'll ever do is first-order DPR tactics as trying to play around anything becomes a hopeless endeavor. If your players know the troll is susceptible to fire/acid, you make them think about what sources of fire/acid damage they have, how they land it and how to keep the troll from taking out the person having that damage type. It most definitely does not make for a solved encounter.

The other situation - knowing about a trap in a module - is slightly different because the nature of premade modules is that players have possibly considered running it at some point or seen the moment in play before (this especially goes for famous adventures like Tomb of Horrors). Traps are also by nature meant to be surprises as they spring instantly onto unwary adventurers and resolve their harm in a moment's notice. However, while you can talk about metagaming in knowing what's coming, it's not much different from checking every tile for traps out of paranoia aka it's a different kind of design problem to tackle than monster stats.

While only tangentially related to the above, it's also possible for a DM to be predictable in how they place what kind of traps and twists. In that case, it's hard to argue that being the player's fault if the DM can't properly be unpredictable.

All in all I usually don't feel inclined to do anything about metagaming as it is far more trouble than it is worth.

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-12, 10:09 PM
What?... That doesn't make any sense....

Well, basic rule metagming would be like counting the damage from something like a fireball: if the damage was 6d6, you know the caster was 6th level (ish). Or knowing the by-the-book HP of a monster.

Game reality metagaming is knowing your in an action/adventure game and taking actions in the game to your advantage. Like ''I ready an attack for the next 12 hours of travel as I KNOW the DM will have at least one random combat encounter as we travel".



Now, that would be cheating, but has no relation to the definition you just gave.

Well, it's using game infromation the character would not have.

The player has likely read the rule book cover to cover, but the character will not know all that infromation. The player might know say all about magic and spells, but the character Zot the orc fighter would not know all of that.




So... Is there or not an acceptable degree of metagaming... You are giving too much conflicting information...

No. There is no acceptable degree of metagaming. For a good game, anyway.

Good players will make a huge effort to never metagame, so it won't even happen.



A lot of players know a lot about the game, rules, game world and related topics. Though it's a bit of a sliding scale of what each DM would call Metagamig.

1.The character knows nothing that the player knows. The ONLY things the character knows is what the DM says, or what the character rolls to know using the offical rules.

This type is very popular. Characters know very little...unless the player makes a roll to know it.

2.The DM sets some type of 'common knowladge' limit the characters can know...and then they have to roll.

3.The characters know all the lore the players do, but no game infromation.

So to take the Trolls are harmed by fire:

1.The character is clueless.....unless they have knowladge/monster lore/whatever skill/ability and roll to know about trolls and fire.

2.The DM decides on if the trolls and fire is 'commonly known', like if the character lives next to the troll filled Troll Hills or their father was Sokaz the Troll Slayer. If not, the player must roll for the character to know anything.

3.Do you the player know the lore that fire harms trolls? Then so does your character.

AMFV
2019-04-12, 10:47 PM
Well, it's using game infromation the character would not have.

The player has likely read the rule book cover to cover, but the character will not know all that infromation. The player might know say all about magic and spells, but the character Zot the orc fighter would not know all of that.

Actually, Zot the Orc Fighter might know quite a bit about magic and spells. If they have even 4 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) in 3.5 they would have more knowledge than players would have, since that's the same amount of knowledge that an educated expert would have. The thing is that this needs to cut both ways. The Players should be given knowledge when their characters are, if they aren't, they should be given some leeway to metagame to make up for the fact that they are going to not know things their players do as well.

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-13, 09:10 AM
Actually, Zot the Orc Fighter might know quite a bit about magic and spells. If they have even 4 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) in 3.5 they would have more knowledge than players would have, since that's the same amount of knowledge that an educated expert would have. The thing is that this needs to cut both ways. The Players should be given knowledge when their characters are, if they aren't, they should be given some leeway to metagame to make up for the fact that they are going to not know things their players do as well.

This depends a lot on the DM. Some DMs like clueless players, some DMs only want the players to know what the charcter knows, and some are fine with both knowing all.

The problem is a ''real" fantasy character in a ''real" fantasy world will know like a book worth of things......but the player will never know much more then a couple paragraphs, at best. So how do you simulate the character knowing all that stuff vs. the clueless player.

Most games go for the boring roll to know: The player gets to roll to see if their character knows about something. Then the DM just tells the player whatever. It's one of the worst ways to do it, but it's easy, so it's popular.


But to let the players metagame to make up for some sort of imgianed gap, is just letting the players cheat.

Frozen_Feet
2019-04-13, 10:34 AM
Metagaming is the act of using out-of-game knowledge to make decisions in a game. Some acts of metagaming may be banned by rules of a game and are therefore cheating.

For roleplaying games in particular, metagaming means using out-of-character knowledge to make decisions in a game. Since the whole point of roleplaying games is to, you know, play a role of a character, using out-of-character knowledge can be seen as violation of the spirit of the game, and thus be considered cheating.

However, there is no consensus across games and definitely no consensus across player about which pieces and how much of out-of-game and out-of-character knowledge is appropriate.

When GMing, I follow two simple principles:

1) is something a character is trying to do blatantly based on knowledge they couldn't have? BLAM, that move is illegal. It doesn't happen. The player must do something else with their character.

2) however, if there is a way the character could do that without the metagame knowledge? Then the move is legal as long as the player can explain that other way.

Easy example case:

Characters are sitting around a bonfire. All of a sudden, cloaked figures attack. Player A has played through this scenario before and knows they are trolls. However, their character has no way of knowing beforehand who are under the cloaks.

If player A goes "they're trolls, use fire, guys!", that's a foul, an illegal move. The GM asks "how do you know they're trolls?" and if A doesn't offer a plausible explanation, that action is vetoed.

If player A instead goes "my character takes a piece of burning woods from the fire and tries to ward off the attackers!", that's okay, because that neither requires nor demonstrates the character knowing they are trolls.

In either case, nothing physically stops the character from taking a piece of burning wood and using it to fight. That's not the problem. Neither is player A knowing what he knows. Staying in-character and keeping with the spirit of rules is.

Honest Tiefling
2019-04-13, 11:21 AM
Actually, Zot the Orc Fighter might know quite a bit about magic and spells. If they have even 4 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) in 3.5 they would have more knowledge than players would have, since that's the same amount of knowledge that an educated expert would have. The thing is that this needs to cut both ways. The Players should be given knowledge when their characters are, if they aren't, they should be given some leeway to metagame to make up for the fact that they are going to not know things their players do as well.

I see your point, but I think a good DM would make it quite clear what is and isn't acceptable to assume, as well as openly supplying the information. I would be leery of saying players should metagame willy-nilly, even if they are just attempting to make the game go more smoothly. I'd ask the DM first how this should be done.

Metagaming CAN be cheating, but it can also be used to help the game along, such as the example above. The player invested in skills, so the player should probably know a thing or two (or five, given the ranks). The player isn't trying to cheat, they are trying to use their skills.

Another reason to metagame? Party cohesion. If the other party members are going to be lawful neutral people hunting down the orcs who slaughtered their family, I should proooooooooobably work that into my own backstory. This isn't an excuse to read more secretive bits of a backstory, but my choices should be influenced by what I know as a player to inform what the character does and is.

Yora
2019-04-13, 11:51 AM
Metagame is when you aknowledge the fact that you are playing a game.

You can't really not metagame.

It only becomes annoying when players start getting into long arguments about what they think the GM tries to trick them and how to avoid it.

Frozen_Feet
2019-04-13, 12:50 PM
Yeah, approaching a DM in bad faith and trying to game the game is pretty annoying. Doubly so because if you do it openly, the GM can just adjust the game on the fly to pre-empt it.

If you think the GM's your enemy, don't tell your plans to the enemy. :smalltongue:

Boci
2019-04-13, 02:56 PM
There really is no degree of acceptable metagaming.

Metagaming is kinda important for group games, especially when a new character needs to be introduced midgame. I don't RP my suspicions as much for a new PC joining the party than for an NPC, because well, it wouldn't be fun for my character to reject them. Even joked about this before:

"Hello two random strangers we've never met before in a tavern. We're off to save the realms from the Blood God. You two seem like the trustworthy sort. Would you like to come along?"

Quertus
2019-04-13, 05:36 PM
@OldTrees1 - excellent post! Saves me a lot of effort, as I was going to post something similarly full of examples.

So, it's easiest for me to discuss metagaming the way I learned it. "Role-playing" is making choices for the character as the character, based on what they know. Metagaming is making choices based on anything else.

Yes, OoC, player Bob is deathly afraid of spiders. Choosing to summon spiders in a game with Bob "because it's what your character would do" is role-playing, to the point of My Guy. Choosing not to summon spiders out of consideration for Bob is metagaming.


Well, basic rule metagming would be like counting the damage from something like a fireball: if the damage was 6d6, you know the caster was 6th level (ish).

In college, my Psychology 101 class played a game kinda like Jeopardy, with questions worth differing numbers of points attached to a board. Different categories of questions were different colors. My team had a *huge* lead - like, more than double the score of the next closest team. We hit a "Daily Double" - a question that only we got to answer (which maybe all of these questions were like that, I don't remember that detail), worth as many points as we chose to gamble. As the "question" card only said something like "daily double", the teacher pulled the actual question out of a separate, special pile.

I noticed that said "pile" only had two cards total. The card she read from matched the color of our category. The other card matched the color of another category. That second category only had one question left. Conclusion: I know where the other daily double is located. The only* way another team could beat us is if they got that daily double. So, next time we got to choose a question, I called a group huddle, and explained the situation. I explained the metagame, and we selected the last obstacle to our assured victory.

Point is, I love your bean counting example of metagaming.

* Or if we were dumb, and bet too much. But I wasn't going to let that happen.

Particle_Man
2019-04-13, 05:39 PM
For me I had only heard of the "bad" definition, as in the player using knowledge that the character has no right to have to have the character gain an advantage that the character hasn't "earned". This could vary from using in depth hunting knowledge despite your character having 0 ranks in survival or knowledge (nature), breaking out the torches when someone describes a green rubbery giant despite the characters never having seen or heard of a troll's regneration abilities, searching for a secret door in a particular room because you have read the module, etc., trying out words to activate a magic wand "at random" and getting the right word on the first try because you read the module, etc.

Mind you, sometimes experienced players try too hard to go the other way to avoid metagaming, and then play stupider than their characters would.

Xuc Xac
2019-04-13, 06:24 PM
But to let the players metagame to make up for some sort of imgianed (sic) gap, is just letting the players cheat.

What kind of crazy person would ever imagine that there is a gap between how much the characters know about their world and how much their players can know without actually living in that world?

Oh wait...



The problem is a ''real" fantasy character in a ''real" fantasy world will know like a book worth of things......but the player will never know much more then a couple paragraphs, at best.


So... The gap isn't "imagined"?

JNAProductions
2019-04-13, 06:48 PM
Yeah, Pippa clearly has some very, VERY strong opinions on metagaming.

There's probably a reason for that, but that doesn't mean their advice is good for most people.

The Glyphstone
2019-04-13, 08:15 PM
So, what even is considered metagaming? Is it acceptable? , and if so, to what degree?

What would be the definition of it?

On this forum I have read people arguing that the players finding out things like the AC of an
opponent and acting accordingly, constitutes metagaming and is somehow wrong.

What do you all think?

It's good that you started with question 1 - because as you can see, there isn't even a consensus answer to what metagaming is, let alone if/how much is acceptable.

zinycor
2019-04-13, 08:24 PM
It's good that you started with question 1 - because as you can see, there isn't even a consensus answer to what metagaming is, let alone if/how much is acceptable.

I can see that, however most people seem to agree on the basic things... And by most I mean everyone but Pippa , who has a very weird view on the subject.

AMFV
2019-04-14, 12:35 AM
I see your point, but I think a good DM would make it quite clear what is and isn't acceptable to assume, as well as openly supplying the information. I would be leery of saying players should metagame willy-nilly, even if they are just attempting to make the game go more smoothly. I'd ask the DM first how this should be done.

I don't thing they should "metagame willy-nilly" but I think that we can excuse certain uses of player knowledge, because their characters would know more than we perceive. For example, let's say Bob the Fighter has fought a troll before, he sees a monster in the shadows and it smells the same as the troll he'd fought before, that's a detail that a DM is unlikely to think of or mention, but the characters will notice it. If it's gait and movement is similar to something else they've fought, the characters will notice it, but again it's unlikely to be mentioned by the DM.

These examples are important because they don't involve extensive study or skill checks, they're things that the character would just know if they had the relevant experience. And so when you see a monster that you know is a troll, you can probably treat it as such, unless you have some very strong reason to suspect your character has never been exposed to trolls or has heard of them.

Let's put it this way, you might never have seen a bear, but if you meet one in the woods you have a pretty good chance of not only identifying the bear, but guessing correctly at what it's most dangerous aspects are. Now you might not know much about the taxonomy or textbook stuff for a bear, but you probably know what to do to deal with bears if you live in a region with them, and which bears you play dead with and which bears you don't. The problem is when DMs start acting as though characters exercising what ought to be common knowledge in a region with those kind of dangerous monsters, is in fact some kind of metagaming without a major skill check.



Metagaming CAN be cheating, but it can also be used to help the game along, such as the example above. The player invested in skills, so the player should probably know a thing or two (or five, given the ranks). The player isn't trying to cheat, they are trying to use their skills.

Also true, but again, we have to know that characters get a LOT more information that the DM can possibly narrate, and we have to account for that.



Another reason to metagame? Party cohesion. If the other party members are going to be lawful neutral people hunting down the orcs who slaughtered their family, I should proooooooooobably work that into my own backstory. This isn't an excuse to read more secretive bits of a backstory, but my choices should be influenced by what I know as a player to inform what the character does and is.

I wouldn't say that's Metagaming, since all character creation takes place outside of game in most games (except for like Traveller) so it's not really possible to metagame, since all of the decisions are outside of the game, and then are later welded onto the game. The character literally doesn't exist in game until the creation is done.


This depends a lot on the DM. Some DMs like clueless players, some DMs only want the players to know what the charcter knows, and some are fine with both knowing all.

The point I'm making is that the players WILL NEVER know as much as their character does about a given situation. You will never know what the smell a troll has is, or how it sounds when it's moving and making calls, the characters very well might, even without knowledge skills, if they've encountered or heard a troll before.

That's why I like to not crack down on most metagaming, especially when it comes to things like monster lore, unless it's something that's exceedingly rare, or something that's exceedingly beyond the limits.



The problem is a ''real" fantasy character in a ''real" fantasy world will know like a book worth of things......but the player will never know much more then a couple paragraphs, at best. So how do you simulate the character knowing all that stuff vs. the clueless player.

Normally I do this by not accusing the players of "cheating" when they do things like light a troll's corpse on fire. Because I assume that troll's vulnerability to fire is probably common knowledge amongst people who fight trolls for a living. Generally speaking the player will always know less than their character. Now if it's something really esoteric and specific, like shooting a Rakshasa with a blessed crossbow bolt, that might fall into metagaming territory, it's always a judgement call though.



Most games go for the boring roll to know: The player gets to roll to see if their character knows about something. Then the DM just tells the player whatever. It's one of the worst ways to do it, but it's easy, so it's popular.

So how would you do it?



But to let the players metagame to make up for some sort of imgianed gap, is just letting the players cheat.

It isn't an imagined gap though. Here you should read a book about an animal, then go an meet the animal in real life, and see what the difference in your expectation and your perception is. The players can never do more than read the book, and often not that well. The characters have physically met the things in question. That's a real serious gap.

Tanarii
2019-04-14, 12:49 AM
Meta gaming is the DMs fault.

https://theangrygm.com/dear-gms-metagaming-is-your-fault/

OldTrees1
2019-04-14, 03:18 AM
Meta gaming is the DMs fault.

https://theangrygm.com/dear-gms-metagaming-is-your-fault/

In all honest, that article would have been better if it just abruptly ended after describing both definitions. However it does a good job of reiterating my point about Definition 1. I condensed that part of the article in the below 3 quotes.


Meta is a prefix. And it gets attached to lots of words. Metaphysics. Metathesis. Metapod. Metaconcept. Etc. And, as a prefix, meta is something that lies outside of a thing. It lies below a thing. But it gives the thing structure. It’s sort of the hidden rules that underlie a thing. For example, when we talk about metaphysics, we’re talking about the hidden rules of the universe, the rules outside of physics, but on which the rules are built.

A metagame is a set of rules and structures, therefore, that lie outside of the rules of the game but still affect the game. For example, in competitive online player-vs-player games, the players refer to the balance between various characters and their powers as “the metagame.” If a character is recognized as an overpowered choice and therefore becomes popular, skilled players will focus their efforts on finding good choices to counter that character.

But, there’s other aspects to the metagame too. In an RPG, a big part of what SHOULD be called the metagame is the idea of the social contract. Part of the game is a tacit agreement between the players and the GM that the game is a shared, noncompetitive experience. The players work together. The GM presents obstacles but isn’t actively invested in the players’ failure. And so on. The interactions at the table and the social rules that govern them? Those are part of the metagame.

Kaptin Keen
2019-04-14, 04:11 AM
This is what metagaming is: You meet a carrion crawler, and you refrain from charging in - because you the player know it will stun you and gobble you up like lemon macaroons. Even though your character has never met a carrion crawler, you make the tactically sound decision to fight it from range.

So the divide here is: If you don't metagame, you're forced to do things you know are detrimental to your character. You know it's bad, your party members know it's bad, the GM knows it's bad - and frankly, in all likelyhood your GM designs encounters expecting you to make sound choices, so by being willfully suicidal, you're disrupting the game.

Metagaming is not only good, it's generally necessary, expected and sensible in any experienced group.

Lucas Yew
2019-04-14, 05:15 AM
This is what metagaming is: You meet a carrion crawler, and you refrain from charging in - because you the player know it will stun you and gobble you up like lemon macaroons. Even though your character has never met a carrion crawler, you make the tactically sound decision to fight it from range.

So the divide here is: If you don't metagame, you're forced to do things you know are detrimental to your character. You know it's bad, your party members know it's bad, the GM knows it's bad - and frankly, in all likelyhood your GM designs encounters expecting you to make sound choices, so by being willfully suicidal, you're disrupting the game.

Metagaming is not only good, it's generally necessary, expected and sensible in any experienced group.

Somebody took words out of my mouth here... :smallsmile:

That's basically my take on metagaming.
(it's positive, to reiterate)

Boci
2019-04-14, 06:56 AM
This is what metagaming is: You meet a carrion crawler, and you refrain from charging in - because you the player know it will stun you and gobble you up like lemon macaroons. Even though your character has never met a carrion crawler, you make the tactically sound decision to fight it from range.

So the divide here is: If you don't metagame, you're forced to do things you know are detrimental to your character. You know it's bad, your party members know it's bad, the GM knows it's bad - and frankly, in all likelyhood your GM designs encounters expecting you to make sound choices, so by being willfully suicidal, you're disrupting the game.

Huh? Why is charging the carrion crawler bad? Yeah, it can stun you, if it hits you and you fail your fort/constiution save. How are you going to deal with it then? Kite it from range? Okay sure, but then, why is anyone in that party playing a melee character? Sounds like no one should be charging anything, if a carrion crawlers ability to potentially stun a PC makes close combat too risky.

Kaptin Keen
2019-04-14, 09:12 AM
Huh? Why is charging the carrion crawler bad? Yeah, it can stun you, if it hits you and you fail your fort/constiution save. How are you going to deal with it then? Kite it from range? Okay sure, but then, why is anyone in that party playing a melee character? Sounds like no one should be charging anything, if a carrion crawlers ability to potentially stun a PC makes close combat too risky.

Are you saying you don't understand the example?

Boci
2019-04-14, 09:16 AM
Are you saying you don't understand the example?

Yes. Why is charging a carrion crawler "willfully suicidal" and disrupting the game? What is the party meant to do against a carrion crawler? Run away?

AMFV
2019-04-14, 10:19 AM
This is what metagaming is: You meet a carrion crawler, and you refrain from charging in - because you the player know it will stun you and gobble you up like lemon macaroons. Even though your character has never met a carrion crawler, you make the tactically sound decision to fight it from range.

This also goes to my point. When you're sitting around a table drinking beer and eating pretzels, a carrion crawler doesn't seem nearly as frightening as it is. When you're confronted by a ten foot tall monstrosity reeking of death with dead corpses thrust into spikes on it's sides that would be something that you might be like, "I'm going to not charge at this". So that's the thing, a lot of "metagame" decisions make a lot of sense given what the characters are actually experiencing and we are not.

Edit:

Yes. Why is charging a carrion crawler "willfully suicidal" and disrupting the game? What is the party meant to do against a carrion crawler? Run away?

The example states "fight it from range" which is a better idea than engaging a melee monstrosity up close, unless you happen to have somebody who literally only does that.

Boci
2019-04-14, 10:24 AM
The example states "fight it from range" which is a better idea than engaging a melee monstrosity up close, unless you happen to have somebody who literally only does that.

Someone who literally does only that? You mean, a melee guy, a really include in a lot of parties?

If fighting a carrion crawl in melee is too much for a party, maybe they should reconsider theirchoice of careers, because their line of work can lead to fighting far worse enemies than that.


So that's the thing, a lot of "metagame" decisions make a lot of sense given what the characters are actually experiencing and we are not.

Typically that's covered by knowledge checks and/or asking NPCs what they know about the place before setting out.

AMFV
2019-04-14, 10:31 AM
Someone who literally does only that? You mean, a melee guy, a really include in a lot of parties?

If fighting a carrion crawl in melee is too much for a party, maybe they should reconsider theirchoice of careers, because their line of work can lead to fighting far worse enemies than that.

Not necessarily true, depending on edition, and not as many that are literally death for melee when they charge in. There are certain monsters that should be fought intelligently.



Typically that's covered by knowledge checks and/or asking NPCs what they know about the place before setting out.

Not at all. Knowledge checks should not be required to see that it's a giant smelly monstrosity that reeks of death. Those are things that should be like DC 5 perception checks to notice. That's the thing, if a player has ever seen one of those before, he'll know what to expect, knowledge checks or not. And the player may have heard of them even without having to make a knowledge check or talk to an NPC. The PCs are not aliens, or modern humans transported there (unless they are) they've lived in a world where carrion crawlers exist for as long as they've been alive (barring a world where those are new creations). So they may have heard legends about those particular creatures, even without having to have studied them in depth (which is the thing simulated by knowledge rolls).

Boci
2019-04-14, 10:37 AM
Not necessarily true, depending on edition, and not as many that are literally death for melee when they charge in. There are certain monsters that should be fought intelligently.

In which edition is a melee guy charging a carrion crawler literally death?


Not at all. Knowledge checks should not be required to see that it's a giant smelly monstrosity that reeks of death. Those are things that should be like DC 5 perception checks to notice. That's the thing, if a player has ever seen one of those before, he'll know what to expect, knowledge checks or not. And the player may have heard of them even without having to make a knowledge check or talk to an NPC. The PCs are not aliens, or modern humans transported there (unless they are) they've lived in a world where carrion crawlers exist for as long as they've been alive (barring a world where those are new creations). So they may have heard legends about those particular creatures, even without having to have studied them in depth (which is the thing simulated by knowledge rolls).

Ah yes, legends those things groundly in reality that always give accurate information.

"Oh its a carrion crawler, but don't worry, I rubbed salt on myself this morning, it won't want to lick me. AHHHH HELP! I HAVE BEEN GREATLY MISLEAD AS TO THE PROTECTIVE POWER OF SALT"

If players genuinly want to do that, fine, but the above will happen occassionally, and other times the stories will be able to help them. If not and they just want an excuse to metagame without ever facing a negative conseuqence then none of the groups I DM, nor the one I am playing in currently, would be a good fit for them, as the expectation is you won't come up with a reason for why your characters knows what the player does when facing a new monster.

Jay R
2019-04-14, 10:51 AM
So... Is there or not an acceptable degree of metagaming... You are giving too much conflicting information...

That depends on the group and the game and the situation.

Example 1: The D&D group I'm playing with is currently going through a puzzle-based dungeon, and having lots of fum trying to solve the puzzles. Virtually all puzzle-solving is metagaming.

One puzzle was completing a sequence of green and red gems. I eventually figured out that the green one represented prime numbers. Well, I have a math-based Ph.D., but Gwydion does not.

A sphinx asked us a riddle: "Name three successive days without saying Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, ...". I replied, "Yesterday, today, and tomorrow."

This kind of game is enjoyable, challenging, ... and metagaming.

Many people won't want to do it, and that's fine. It depends on the group and the game and the situation.

Similarly, any game that involves solving a mystery, or reaching a conclusion, or even competent melee tactics, requires either throwing dice for each decision, or some degree of meta-gaming. Most people don't think of melee tactics as metagaming, but if you used your intelligence rather than your character's, then it technically is.

On the other hand, when we face a monster, we roll for knowledge. If we make the roll, the DM gives us the exact description. I try not to let Gwystyl use Jay's knowledge unless that happens.

This isn't a simple question with a simple answer. It depends on the group and the game and the situation.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-14, 10:55 AM
So much of the griping about "metagaming" starts off with legitimate complaints about players blatantly using things their characters COULD NOT know to make in-character decisions... and then immediately veers off into bogus complaints about players using things that someone else believes they "shouldn't" know to make in-character decisions.

And a lot of that latter part is rooted in the unspoken assumption that PCs "should" all start out as largely green and ignorant, the classic "farm boy call to adventure" cliche.

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-14, 11:00 AM
Metagaming is not only good, it's generally necessary, expected and sensible in any experienced group.

The flaw here is that you are not even playing a game then. If you will just go around or auto win any encounter or challage or obstical.....why even play the game?

Though I guess you are also saying a DM should use a lot more new/unknown stuff. Then the players simply won't know what to do and won't have to ''act dumb", right?




So that's the thing, a lot of "metagame" decisions make a lot of sense given what the characters are actually experiencing and we are not.


The part that makes it metagaming is the players are ONLY acting that way because they have the game rule knoadge.

They are NOT, for example, doing deep immersion role playing of their characters.

And it's soooooo easy to prove. Just toss something at them not from the ''Core Rules" that they know nothing about. And ''suddenly" they act very diffrent.....why quite often more like five year olds on a sugar rush.

Boci
2019-04-14, 11:08 AM
And a lot of that latter part is rooted in the unspoken assumption that PCs "should" all start out as largely green and ignorant, the classic "farm boy call to adventure" cliche.

For me at least its not that, its just with so many monsters in the game why is should your character know about the one they just happen to encounter? You can be veteran with some real world knowledge and may well have faced the kind of monsters low level PCs have fought before, but how do you determine what those are? Because if its just going to happen to be the first few monsters you run into once the adventure starts then that's a no from me.

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-14, 11:20 AM
For me at least its not that

Me neither.

I use the ancient Dragon advice: just let the characters know all the lore the players know.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-14, 11:20 AM
For me at least its not that, its just with so many monsters in the game why is should your character know about the one they just happen to encounter? You can be veteran with some real world knowledge and may well have faced the kind of monsters low level PCs have fought before, but how do you determine what those are? Because if its just going to happen to be the first few monsters you run into once the adventure starts then that's a no from me.

One, the PCs grew up in a world full of monsters and such, it starts to strain credulity that they're utterly ignorant about all these monsters.

Two, legit concern about where the PCs gained knowledge of some unique monster no one has seen in a millennium so often becomes a malignant series of demanded justifications regarding knowledge of common monsters.. "but you've never seen a short green humanoid before, Farmboy Johnny, how would you know it's a goblin?"

Three, far worse than player "metagaming" is GM "metagaming". See, the GM who starts making trolls who look normal but have different weaknesses... or large chunks of the old monster manuals, with earworms to counter players listening at doors, rust monsters to counter metal armor, etc, etc, etc, etc.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-14, 11:24 AM
A few various responses:

The only kinds of metagaming I get annoyed with are "I read the module" and "I know it's a game so I'm going to use those abstract mechanics in-character [1]". One is a form of cheating (which is impossible at my tables because I don't use modules), the other leans way too hard on the fourth wall.

[1] This includes grinding monsters to level up, "boss music", abusing the rest mechanisms, etc.

As for monster knowledge--avoiding this problem is one of the reasons that all my parties start out as graduates of the Sanctioned Adventurer program, the curriculum of which includes "Basic Monsters 101". If it's not a one-off monster made by some evil genius (or good genius for that matter), they'll know something about it. Maybe not everything, but they can be justified in knowing that trolls and fire generally don't go together.

Overall, I prefer erring on the side of giving more, rather than less, information. "Knowledge" checks are by and large only to determine how much you know, not if you know. I consider actively hiding information that the characters would have available through their senses or prior knowledge from the players to be a form of agency denial. I want the players to engage with the world, which is harder to do if they are totally blind.

Boci
2019-04-14, 11:32 AM
One, the PCs grew up in a world full of monsters and such, it starts to strain credulity that they're utterly ignorant about all these monsters.

That depends on the DM. A lot run their world in that, yes its full of monsters in that go looking for them and you will find them, but most villagers, tradesmen and even guards and soliders haven't met many because monsters tend to be in places where civilization isn't.


Two, legit concern about where the PCs gained knowledge of some unique monster no one has seen in a millennium so often becomes a malignant series of demanded justifications regarding knowledge of common monsters.. "but you've never seen a short green humanoid before, Farmboy Johnny, how would you know it's a goblin?"

In my expirience that's a strawman. No one I know has ever claimed PCs won't recognize goblins. But carrion crawlers? Yeah, they live in dungeons, don't factor in terrible to surface life and civilization and nor are they the kind of monster to feature heavily in legends so yeah, how does your character know about these?


Three, far worse than player "metagaming" is GM "metagaming". See, the GM who starts making trolls who look normal but have different weaknesses...

WotC did that. In 3.5 they made the wartroll, a souped up troll that also lost fire as a way to overcome its regeneration.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-14, 11:36 AM
WotC did that. In 3.5 they made the wartroll, a souped up troll that also lost fire as a way to overcome its regeneration.

For me, a DM doing it to specifically counter players or disrupt their knowledge (ie gotcha games) is harmful. Doing it as a setting or campaign-level thing is a whole different (rapidly regenerating, green, rubbery) monstrosity.

Boci
2019-04-14, 11:40 AM
For me, a DM doing it to specifically counter players or disrupt their knowledge (ie gotcha games) is harmful. Doing it as a setting or campaign-level thing is a whole different (rapidly regenerating, green, rubbery) monstrosity.

But surely WotC did it as a gotcha for players too? The wartroll was higher CR than the regular troll, more HP, strength and con, and it was smarter, it wore armour and tended to use metal weapons like greatsword rather than clubs or just claws. That it already a valid monster identity, a solider troll, the only possible reason I can think of also removing fire from its weaknesses is to gotcha players.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-14, 11:48 AM
But surely WotC did it as a gotcha for players too? The wartroll was higher CR than the regular troll, more HP, strength and con, and it was smarter, it wore armour and tended to use metal weapons like greatsword rather than clubs or just claws. That it already a valid monster identity, a solider troll, the only possible reason I can think of also removing fire from its weaknesses is to gotcha players.

Or because fire is really common, so having a soldier with that weakness (and such a well known one) is folly? Although I wouldn't put it past the 3e devs to have done it for gotcha reasons either. It was way too common back in the day. Gygax (in previous editions) was notorious for doing just that.

Boci
2019-04-14, 11:55 AM
Or because fire is really common, so having a soldier with that weakness (and such a well known one) is folly?

That's still a gotcha monster design though isn't it? You've given an IC reason, but the OOC reason remains it was to catch players offguard. Same with a half-red dragon troll. Sure, I can say IC the mother sought out a red dragon deliberatly as a mate so their child could become an nigh unstoppable warrior, but OOC everyone will know I just wanted a troll that was immune to fire.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-14, 12:22 PM
Or because fire is really common, so having a soldier with that weakness (and such a well known one) is folly? Although I wouldn't put it past the 3e devs to have done it for gotcha reasons either. It was way too common back in the day. Gygax (in previous editions) was notorious for doing just that.

Including the things like earworms to counter listening at doors, and rust monsters to counter metal armor I mentioned. It's been a long time, but I used to have a list of monsters in earlier editions that were clearly designed strictly to screw with players for doing what would otherwise be a smart thing, like listening at doors, poking floors, looting unguarded treasure, etc.

Boci
2019-04-14, 12:30 PM
Including the things like earworms to counter listening at doors, and rust monsters to counter metal armor I mentioned. It's been a long time, but I used to have a list of monsters in earlier editions that were clearly designed strictly to screw with players for doing what would otherwise be a smart thing, like listening at doors, poking floors, looting unguarded treasure, etc.

That's not really the DM metagaming then. You can argue they shouldn't, but if they are just using monsters printed in offficial books its not the DM whose doing it, it was the designers.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-14, 12:33 PM
That depends on the DM. A lot run their world in that, yes its full of monsters in that go looking for them and you will find them, but most villagers, tradesmen and even guards and soliders haven't met many because monsters tend to be in places where civilization isn't.


Because adventurers never write books, or get free drinks off recounting their deeds in taverns, or (bards...) write songs about how trolls are dumb and hurt by fire, or retire to their hometown and tell stories to all the kids, I guess.

If a DM really wants to run a setting and campaign that requires the players to be new to gaming or feign ignorance during most encounters, then that DM can find a different player, because feigning ignorance is, for me, the height of unfun, tedious, boring, and aggravating.




In my expirience that's a strawman. No one I know has ever claimed PCs won't recognize goblins. But carrion crawlers? Yeah, they live in dungeons, don't factor in terrible to surface life and civilization and nor are they the kind of monster to feature heavily in legends so yeah, how does your character know about these?


It happened to me back in the day, literally.

And other players have reported similar things on these forums.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-14, 12:35 PM
That's not really the DM metagaming then. You can argue they shouldn't, but if they are just using monsters printed in offficial books its not the DM whose doing it, it was the designers.

It's endorsed, official "metagaming" then -- just because a juvenile gotcha move was put in print, just because the original DM was the original adversarial jerk DM, doesn't make it any less of a jerk move.

"I hate my players listening at doors all the time, I want to make them pay for it, and hey, here's this published monster I can use to do that" doesn't make it any less of a "Gotcha!"

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-14, 12:38 PM
For me, a DM doing it to specifically counter players or disrupt their knowledge (ie gotcha games) is harmful. Doing it as a setting or campaign-level thing is a whole different (rapidly regenerating, green, rubbery) monstrosity.

So it is ok to do if the DM...er....does it right?

But it is wrong if, what, a player whines and complains?


That's still a gotcha monster design though isn't it? You've given an IC reason, but the OOC reason remains it was to catch players offguard. Same with a half-red dragon troll. Sure, I can say IC the mother sought out a red dragon deliberatly as a mate so their child could become an nigh unstoppable warrior, but OOC everyone will know I just wanted a troll that was immune to fire.

So this is the classic hostile player defense.

If a DM does anything the players don't like , the players will whine and cry.

BUT, if the DM has a defense ready to fool the players then it is ok.

So if the DM MAKES a setting and PUTs in the handout ''the Troll Nation is an ally of the Red Dragon Nation and they INTERBREAD ALL THE TIME for the last 100 years...AND writes this on the wall in neon green foot tall letters.

And the DM has a single half red dragon troll encounter...

Then...then...the hostile players will be like ''oh, well, this is OK," and not be hostile.


Including the things like earworms to counter listening at doors, and rust monsters to counter metal armor I mentioned. It's been a long time, but I used to have a list of monsters in earlier editions that were clearly designed strictly to screw with players for doing what would otherwise be a smart thing, like listening at doors, poking floors, looting unguarded treasure, etc.

Of course, in the Lore, a lot of the creatures were made/created in-world to do exactly that thing.

Boci
2019-04-14, 12:39 PM
Because adventurers never write books, or get free drinks off recounting their deeds in taverns, or (bards...) write songs about how trolls are dumb and hurt by fire, or retire to their hometown and tell stories to all the kids, I guess.

As I said, that's fine I don't mind including such elements of world building in a game I run, as long as you accept sometimes the stories are going to be wrong and that you will sometimes run into monsters you simply do not recognize.


If a DM really wants to run a setting and campaign that requires the players to be new to gaming or feign ignorance during most encounters, then that DM can find a different player, because feigning ignorance is, for me, the height of unfun, tedious, boring, and aggravating.

So, the carrion crawler example. Say you are playing a melee character, and underground you you encounter a monster that is almost certainly a carrion crlawler. How do you do you react, knowing its a carrion crawler? Do you not charge it?


It's endorsed, official "metagaming" then -- just because a juvenile gotcha move was put in print, just because the original DM was the original adversarial jerk DM, doesn't make it any less of a jerk move.

"I hate my players listening at doors all the time, I want to make them pay for it, and hey, here's this published monster I can use to do that" doesn't make it any less of a "Gotcha!"

Each to their own. Some players don't mind such gotcha monsters in moderation and maybe even enjoy them, others do. Once of the responsiiblities of the DM is trying to judge that.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-14, 12:57 PM
For me as a player, I draw the line with gotcha situations where the DM (or the developer) has altered a stock creature/situation and then given the players no way of telling the difference. So a wartroll is fine--they're obviously quite different from a stock troll, so anything is fair game. Taking a stock troll and making them heal when hit with fire? Not ok. There should be perceptible differences between the types of creatures.

Things like the earworms, etc. are just obnoxious from my standpoint. They reek of DM/player antagonism and competitive thinking, which is something I strongly do not like in a TTRPG. It's fine if the NPCs are antagonistic toward the PCs (and certainly vice versa), but the DM should never be the antagonist for the players, nor vice versa.

Boci
2019-04-14, 01:02 PM
For me as a player, I draw the line with gotcha situations where the DM (or the developer) has altered a stock creature/situation and then given the players no way of telling the difference. So a wartroll is fine--they're obviously quite different from a stock troll, so anything is fair game. Taking a stock troll and making them heal when hit with fire? Not ok. There should be perceptible differences between the types of creatures.

Even if the perceptable difference has nothing to do with the change? Adding armour and a weapon has little to do with removing fire "vulnerability". Would you be okay if my healed-by-fire trolls were pale blue instead of green? Its a perceptable difference.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-14, 01:21 PM
Even if the perceptable difference has nothing to do with the change? Adding armour and a weapon has little to do with removing fire "vulnerability". Would you be okay if my healed-by-fire trolls were pale blue instead of green? Its a perceptable difference.

If I can tell "these are different, so my previous assumptions may not apply", I'm fine. It's when there is no indication that this one is not the same as the others that I get annoyed.

Boci
2019-04-14, 01:29 PM
If I can tell "these are different, so my previous assumptions may not apply", I'm fine. It's when there is no indication that this one is not the same as the others that I get annoyed.

That's fair. Its also likely why most templates have a visual tell to give the players some warning.

One story I have for metagaming against troll specifically was when two players were attacked by trolls. They immediatly started using fire, which was fair enough, the background for the game mentioned that trolls lived near their settlements, so them knowing to to break out fire and acid was completly fair, no knowledge check required. But, they made a mistake. They assumed that as long as the killing blow was at least partially fire damage, the troll was dead. But this was 3.5 and that was not how it worked then, you needed to deal the troll's entire HP with fire damage, otherwise it felt unconsious but then heal back all non-fire damage it had taken. I didn't tell them this, on the logic that if they were to say there characters would know what their players did, then that would also apply mistakes. Some people say that was harsh of me, others have said it was fair.

Pleh
2019-04-14, 01:46 PM
The Angry DM article makes the critical point.

To paraphrase, most complaints of metagaming are really complaints of PVP Metagaming in a game that presumes a noncompetitive experience between EVERYONE at the table.

In the example of Lawful Stupid Paladin vs Chaotic Stupid Thief, that's clearly a case where fault lies in game setup. Why does the thief's player want to steal from the other players? Why does the paladin's player value the stick in their backend more than party cohesion? Why did the DM allow these clearly dysfunctional party dynamics to begin with? Everyone sucks here.

For the classic Troll scenario, it's just as important for players to include the DM in the fun as much as anyone else at the table. Therefore, it's bad form to just assume your characters know a Troll's weaknesses without some justification (I mean, just make a Knowledge check already). Likewise, a DM should be prepared for their precious plans to unexpectedly fail to a moment of brilliance from the heroes. If their actions are justified, more power to the players.

To be clear, PVP RPGs aren't the problem. Turning a PVE game into PVP without telling the others is the problem. PVP can be a great game when the players know that's the game and are given a fair set of rules to work with. This way the Metagame serves both sides of the contest evenly. It's cheating when they try to make it serve one side exclusively expressly to get the better of the other players.

Xuc Xac
2019-04-14, 03:44 PM
As I said, that's fine I don't mind including such elements of world building in a game I run, as long as you accept sometimes the stories are going to be wrong and that you will sometimes run into monsters you simply do not recognize.

The problem is when "you've never seen this thing before" is equated to "you can't see this thing right in front of you".

The first Europeans to encounter mountain lions or jaguars in the Americas:
A: "It's not exactly identical to the lions, tigers, and leopards of the Old World. Therefore, we have no way of knowing how to handle it and must flail about helplessly."
B: "This is the opposite side of the globe, so it's probably opposite of the Old World big cats. I'm going to hug it like a big kitty."
C: "It might be delicious. I'm going to try licking it to see what it tastes like!"
*Several vicious maulings later *
A: "I really miss my friends, B and C. In hindsight, the sharp teeth and claws and the predatory growling should have been sufficient warning. Well, live and learn..."

Boci
2019-04-14, 03:55 PM
The problem is when "you've never seen this thing before" is equated to "you can't see this thing right in front of you".

That's fair, though've never encountered that problem in an actual game. When I tell my players not to metagame it means that the characters haven't read and memorized the monster manuals, even if they have, not that they cannot make deductions based on what they percieve.

Kaptin Keen
2019-04-14, 04:40 PM
Yes. Why is charging a carrion crawler "willfully suicidal" and disrupting the game? What is the party meant to do against a carrion crawler? Run away?

Look - the correct answer is no. You do not, in actual fact, understand the example.

The example isn't 'charging a carrion crawler'. The example is 'using player knowledge to predict a situation that will be detrimental to the character'.

That propably sounds condescending, but I just cannot come up with a different way to say it - so my honest apologies, but you need to read my post in the way I meant it, or any discussion is futile.

Examples come in two kinds. A sparrow is an example of a bid. And an apple falling from the tree is an example of how gravity works. One is to specify, and the other is more of an analogy.

My example is the latter, and ... going into the specifics of whether charging is suicidal or not is quite simply missing the point.

Kaptin Keen
2019-04-14, 04:48 PM
The flaw here is that you are not even playing a game then. If you will just go around or auto win any encounter or challage or obstical.....why even play the game?

Of course I am. It's totally possible to play the metagame. And two can play at that game - the GM is totally entitled to change up monsters, throwing players off with new spins on stuff they thought they knew.

But it's a different game. Last session, tuesday this week, we fought a dragon turtle. Since it was a published scenario, I knew we'd have a chance of defeating it - otherwise I'd have recommended we run for the hills. But because I knew (metagaming) that we should be able to win, I started looking more closely at the battlefield, spotting all the places the dragon turtle would be squeezing, all the things that could be ignited, or collapsed on it.

But figuring that a published campaign wouldn't have an unwinnable fight in it was purest metagaming. We won too - though I'm fairly sure the GM deliberately cut my character down in the second round of combat. And that's fair =)


Though I guess you are also saying a DM should use a lot more new/unknown stuff. Then the players simply won't know what to do and won't have to ''act dumb", right?

And yes, you're right: The GM should use new stuff - or spice up the old stuff.

Also, apologies for double posting.

Boci
2019-04-14, 04:51 PM
Look - the correct answer is no. You do not, in actual fact, understand the example.

The example isn't 'charging a carrion crawler'. The example is 'using player knowledge to predict a situation that will be detrimental to the character'.

Okay sure, but the specifics of the example you choose isimportant. Maybe next time you should choose a better specific set of details to illustrate your point, rather than placing the burdon on the reader to understand what you meant.

As for your example, I disagree. Maybe you like to play that, wonderful, enjoy playing, but you likely wouldn't enjoy my games, where you are generally not expected to use player knowledge your character doesn't have to avoid a detrimental situation. I guess we aren't sensible and expirienced enough for your liking.

Quertus
2019-04-14, 05:01 PM
So, the umpteen-bajillionth time I was forced to "roleplay" through my character being ignorant of what a werewolf was until the village idiot / wise woman / whatever explained it to the party, I started keeping track of exactly who knew what, who trained whom, etc.


That depends on the group and the game and the situation.

Example 1: The D&D group I'm playing with is currently going through a puzzle-based dungeon, and having lots of fum trying to solve the puzzles. Virtually all puzzle-solving is metagaming.

One puzzle was completing a sequence of green and red gems. I eventually figured out that the green one represented prime numbers. Well, I have a math-based Ph.D., but Gwydion does not.

A sphinx asked us a riddle: "Name three successive days without saying Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, ...". I replied, "Yesterday, today, and tomorrow."

This kind of game is enjoyable, challenging, ... and metagaming.

Similarly, any game that involves solving a mystery, or reaching a conclusion, or even competent melee tactics, requires either throwing dice for each decision, or some degree of meta-gaming. Most people don't think of melee tactics as metagaming, but if you used your intelligence rather than your character's, then it technically is.

... Hmmm... I don't think of "player skills" as "metagaming". Role-playing is "use character's knowledge / skill"; metagaming is using something else instead. But, in the case of player skill, it's not "instead", because "use character knowledge/skill" returned "error: file not found".

Maybe I'm just being naive, but I think that that "instead" matters.


And a lot of that latter part is rooted in the unspoken assumption that PCs "should" all start out as largely green and ignorant, the classic "farm boy call to adventure" cliche.

Dreadfully not interested, personally.

Of course, I *am* thoroughly delighted to be completely ignorant of the setting, both in character and out, and run someone "not from around here", to get to experience the Exploration of the setting.


Because adventurers never write books,

They don't. Academics, like Quertus, my signature academia mage for whom this account is named, write books. :smallwink:


And other players have reported similar things on these forums.

I'll echo the validity of this statement.

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-14, 06:19 PM
Okay sure, but the specifics of the example you choose isimportant. Maybe next time you should choose a better specific set of details to illustrate your point, rather than placing the burdon on the reader to understand what you meant.

Maybe a Rust Monster would be a better example?

The charcters are deep underground in some ruins and see a odd roundish four legged creature with a tail and two long feelers.

The metagaming cheating players will say "Oh, we back up and rempve the metal from our characters and then move forward to attack the rust monster with only wooden weapons".

If it's just going to be Encounter Monster A-> Do metagaming cheat A-> auto win the encounter.....then your not playing much of a game.

Yes, the 2nd time your character encounters such a monster you can act with wisdom....but at this point it's not metagaming: it's simply using known game knowadge.


So, the umpteen-bajillionth time I was forced to "roleplay" through my character being ignorant of what a werewolf was until the village idiot / wise woman / whatever explained it to the party, I started keeping track of exactly who knew what, who trained whom, etc.


I get that some DMs want to have a sort of ''first time" expereince.....but it's just beyond odd to do it with something so common.

Some things, like say a werewolf, are just so common that nearly every geek/gamer/role player/fantasy fan knows what they are....and it least a bit of ''common lore".

So to ask players to stumble around and pretend they don't know what a werewolf is.....that is just silly.

There are, after all, two ways for a DM to get that ''first time" experence:

1.Use new/unique/unknown monsters. Really...this is SO simple. And it's even a thousand times better if you use a real lore monster that does not fit the ''tradational Hollywood/common knowladge. The Kludde is an evil spirt that can take the from of a cat, a snake, a frog, a horse and even as a tree or a shrub.......and also a winged black dog with a blue flame flickering around. Bet there is like a 1% chance anyone has heard of them....

2.Play with new clueless players. Again, this is not so hard.....there plenty of them to pick from.

Boci
2019-04-14, 06:28 PM
I get that some DMs want to have a sort of ''first time" expereince.....but it's just beyond odd to do it with something so common.

Some things, like say a werewolf, are just so common that nearly every geek/gamer/role player/fantasy fan knows what they are....and it least a bit of ''common lore".

So to ask players to stumble around and pretend they don't know what a werewolf is.....that is just silly.

Maybe its because I played WoD which can often involve "pretend your character doesn't know werrewolves/vampires are real", but I wouldn't find the above unreasonable. If a good DM has us fight werewolves but tells us we don't know what they are or their weakness, I can totally feign not knowing to use silver on them.

I get that not everyone wants to do that, and if it wouldn't work for my players I would change something so they don't have to feign ignorance, either by having it known werewolves are vulnerable to silver, or changing the shifter mythology, like borrowing some influence from WoD wereravens or werecoyottees.

Talakeal
2019-04-14, 07:12 PM
It happened to me back in the day, literally.

And other players have reported similar things on these forums.


A few months ago I was running some new characters on their second adventure and I made them roll a knowledge check to tell if the small humanoids they encountered were goblins or kobolds.

zinycor
2019-04-14, 07:15 PM
I guess immersion is the thing which breeds Pippa's argument. Which has never been a priority on my games, that's why am having so much trouble understanding it.

JNAProductions
2019-04-14, 07:15 PM
I guess immersion is the thing which breeds Pippa's argument. Which has never been a priority on my games, that's why am having so much trouble understanding it.

Eh... It goes beyond that, methinks. You can have a good, immersive game that still includes some amount of metagaming.

The biggest one probably being making sure the PCs stick together, for the most part.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-14, 07:33 PM
I guess immersion is the thing which breeds Pippa's argument. Which has never been a priority on my games, that's why am having so much trouble understanding it.

For a long time, all my own PCs have been knowledgable -- that way I don't have to play dumb or feign naive, and I don't have to metagame, neither of which is good for my sense of immersion.

AMFV
2019-04-14, 07:37 PM
That's fair, though've never encountered that problem in an actual game. When I tell my players not to metagame it means that the characters haven't read and memorized the monster manuals, even if they have, not that they cannot make deductions based on what they percieve.

The problem is that there is no way to make the players aware of everything the characters perceive. Sights, smells, general feelings about things, those are very different for something that you are perceiving in person, from something that is being narrated to. Basically there are context clues that would probably inform a particular action that we might not know about, and those I think are fine. There is of course a spectrum, knowing that trolls (which are not uncommon monsters in most settings) are vulnerable to fire or acid is not something I would say even takes a knowledge roll. There are things that would, like knowing what type of nests trolls build, or their taxonomy, or very specific weaknesses, or about specific trolls in specific areas.

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-14, 08:03 PM
I guess immersion is the thing which breeds Pippa's argument. Which has never been a priority on my games, that's why am having so much trouble understanding it.

Maybe examples from other games?

Battleship: if you look at your oppoents board to see where they places thier ships...and then just attck those set locations: this is metagame cheating.

Clue:You read the cards and just solve the 'murder'




The biggest one probably being making sure the PCs stick together, for the most part.

Metagaming is cheating....so it's not really right to call good things that are not cheating ''metagaming".

This needs it's own name....like Social Grouping, or something:

When a couple people sit down to play a game together...they have to play the game together. Even if your ''character" does not like another players ''character". You are both players in a game, and you must work it out.

The above is not metagaming. There is no cheating and no using information to your advantage.

AMFV
2019-04-14, 08:32 PM
Maybe examples from other games?

Battleship: if you look at your oppoents board to see where they places thier ships...and then just attck those set locations: this is metagame cheating.

Clue:You read the cards and just solve the 'murder'


But those games are first and foremost, competitive, do not involve portraying a role, and are far less complex. Also the examples you gave would probably not constitute metagaming, they are rather directly cheating.

Metagaming in Battleship would be something like this: "I know that John always puts a ship on A5, so I'm going to start there." That would be as close to metagaming as you can get in Battleship. You can't really use knowledge of the systems or rules to gain any sort of advantage in either game (Battleship or Clue), which is what metagaming is.

What you're describing would be something like deliberately seeking out and reading the module you're playing, or stealing the DM's notes.

Talakeal
2019-04-14, 08:40 PM
For a long time, all my own PCs have been knowledgable -- that way I don't have to play dumb or feign naive, and I don't have to metagame, neither of which is good for my sense of immersion.

This. So much this.

CharonsHelper
2019-04-14, 09:47 PM
Metagaming is kinda important for group games, especially when a new character needs to be introduced midgame. I don't RP my suspicions as much for a new PC joining the party than for an NPC, because well, it wouldn't be fun for my character to reject them. Even joked about this before:

"Hello two random strangers we've never met before in a tavern. We're off to save the realms from the Blood God. You two seem like the trustworthy sort. Would you like to come along?"

Classic scene from The Gamers (the first 30 seconds or so) - "You seem trustworthy!" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaIdv79Xz4)

Pleh
2019-04-14, 10:23 PM
Metagaming is cheating....so it's not really right to call good things that are not cheating ''metagaming".

This needs it's own name....like Social Grouping, or something:

You don't win an argument by redefining the terms unless you can show the alternative definitions to be in some way superior.

Metagame is not defined as cheating, except by you. We all agree it can be, not must be, cheating.

Maybe read that AngryDM article Tanarii shared. That's the definition that your definition is competing with. You have to make a more convincing definition and argument than that to be persuasive.

zinycor
2019-04-14, 11:14 PM
Metagaming is cheating....so it's not really right to call good that are not cheating ''metagaming".


I don'y think most people agree with this, I most certainly don't.

As said by others some forms of metagaming (like reading ahead on the adventure book) is considered cheating. But others (like your character knowing trolls weakness to fire) are not, since they can be easily explained.

Personally, I don't see the appeal on having to play dumb.

Saintheart
2019-04-15, 12:10 AM
Certainly support the suggestions to look at the Angry DM article: it made my life a hell of a lot easier in adjudicating this sort of stuff. That said, a few observations:

First, 3.5 implicitly assumes that players will metagame. The evidence for that is in the first Monster Manual, page 8: "The DM can modify these entries, create advanced or weaker versions, or alter any statistics to play a monster against type and surprise the player characters." Which in short means that the game is expecting at least the characters, i.e. the players themselves to have some knowledge of at least some of the monsters some of the time and what they're capable of. The Monster Manual does not contain any text in it that says "For DM's eyes only" -- indeed there are rules around when a monster itself can be used as a player character, so the suggestion that a player who looks at the monster's statblock is committing some sort of breaking of the rules akin to looking round the other side of the table while playing Battleship is really reaching. Apples against oranges.

Second, monster statblocks have to be understood for what they are. They are primarily intended to tell the DM what a monster can and can't do during combat rounds. That is, they are there primarily to tell the DM when it's time to end an encounter already and do something else. Those stats are not statements of objective truth, they are numbers that tell the DM "This is how often the fighter hits it, this is how often a mage's spell affects it, this is how fast it can close with the cleric, this is whether or not the rogue's weapons do it much damage." That's it.

My point being, the stats are not conditions for victory as such, they ultimately come down to being a guide for when the encounter is getting boring; no DM is bound to run a combat right down to the last opponent's last hitpoint, in fact there's a good argument that if the combat has hit the point where it's going to just be a beatdown on the unfortunate Rust Monster, it's time to end the combat without another roll, give the players the XP, and move on. Because the narrative question, which generates the tension in the encounter -- "Will the party lose any of its metal weapons on top of a few HP?" -- has been answered with a firm 'No'.

Third: an encounter is ultimately about choices. Specifically, the choices the players make. In the case of a combat encounter, the relevant choices are the strategies the players use in order to make the enemy die or flee (or maybe force it to negotiate). Different character classes have different first-order, go-to strategies to make these things happen. The fighter charges and hits, thief circles round and shanks, mage casts spells, cleric buffs and heals. At least in theory, the ideal encounter is one where a no-casualties strategy to defeat the enemy isn't immediately apparent, and the party therefore has to experiment. Ranged attacks don't work - huh, the enemy's got Wind Wall or DR 5/slashing, we're going to have to think of something else. When the party does figure out a solution that works -- especially an unorthodox one that ideally you the DM didn't think of -- that's what generates the main pleasure in the encounter. (There are other forms of pleasure so generated - critical hits are one - but notice that the main thrill one gets out of a critical hit is that it's unexpected, that it possibly changes the strategy you've got a little bit.)

What the metagamer does, in the most obvious cases, is cut the number of possible strategies for dealing with the encounter down to one. "It's a Rust Monster, stow your metal weapons and beat it to death like a baby harp seal!" And

If you run into that situation, you then have two options: you can either concede that strategy and let the encounter play out in accordance with it (and do it quick smart. Pointless combats are death in D&D.)
... or you can make something unexpected happen, i.e. make the characters consider a different strategy to resolve the encounter. (And notice I said resolve the encounter, not resolve the combat. These are very different things.)

Metagaming player: "It's a Rust Monster, stow your metal weapons and beat it to death like a baby harp seal!"
DM: "Surprisingly, the Rust Monster doesn't charge in. It hesitates, its dark insectoid eyes suddenly filled with doubt. Then it turns ... and begins to emit a high-pitched squealing, full of terror, at a nearby cave wall. It backs away, thrashing its feelers at that wall."

Tell me that wouldn't make the previously-confident metagaming players hesitate too. And we changed their focus, changed their strategy: what the hell is scaring the Rust Monster? What are we dealing with here? What do we do now?

That is, we forced them to consider changing their strategy for solving this encounter. At this point, even if they still beat the hell out of the Rust Monster, we've given them agency. We've given them a choice. We have fed them another blue pill and kept them in the Matrix for a few moments longer.

This is why the Monster Manual contains 'permission' for the DM to mess with the monster stats so as to give the player characters a surprise - because if you have to come up with a different strategy for dealing with an encounter, it generates interest. That said, this is best done before the game, when planning the encounter. And I further suggest that you only do it once in the encounter -- because it is very easy for sudden changes in tactics by a monster to be seen as the DM trying to positively shut down the players' strategies for solving an encounter. That is indeed a DM screwjob because you are -- for no good reason, I repeat, for no good reason at all -- trying to keep the players from making choices. You are trying -- at best -- to force them into one strategy for solving an encounter. You know what that's called? Railroading, and that's a failure of DMing far greater than a failure of PCing by a player's metagaming.

Want to no longer be bothered by metagaming? Understand what an encounter really is and design better ones. D&D fails at helping DMs to do this, but that's part of why forums like this exist.

Kaptin Keen
2019-04-15, 01:26 AM
I guess we aren't sensible and expirienced enough for your liking.

Yes - that's very good. Take it personally. Very mature and reasonable. And it's both reassuring and entertaining to know that the carrion crawlers in your groups setting needn't worry about going hungry.

The specifics of the example are not important. I'm telling you a character can tell in advance that he has the choice between two actions (charging an opponent that will gobble him up - or safely kiting it), and that he knows which of those actions will succeed and which is likely to fail, because of player knowledge.

You don't need to even look at the specifics. You just need to realise that option one means a reroll, and option two means xp and loot.

So what you generally do - and several posters have said as much - is you disguise your metagaming. You state that 'well, my barbarian Joe isn't charging that thing, that looks dangerous AF. I'm going to kite it to death with my bow!' Which is something a barbarian can easily do, because he has 40 movement, and the carrion crawler has only 30.

But it's still metagaming.

Boci
2019-04-15, 04:04 AM
Yes - that's very good. Take it personally.

Don't worry, I wasn't taking it personally. I'm just using a little snark to remind you not to pass off your table play style or your own preference as what should bbe expected at every "sensible" and "expirienced" gaming table.


The problem is that there is no way to make the players aware of everything the characters perceive. Sights, smells, general feelings about things, those are very different for something that you are perceiving in person, from something that is being narrated to. Basically there are context clues that would probably inform a particular action that we might not know about, and those I think are fine. There is of course a spectrum, knowing that trolls (which are not uncommon monsters in most settings) are vulnerable to fire or acid is not something I would say even takes a knowledge roll. There are things that would, like knowing what type of nests trolls build, or their taxonomy, or very specific weaknesses, or about specific trolls in specific areas.

The problerm is you seem to be manufactoring problems. I never said players had to make a roll to know fire and acid trolls if they were uncommon in the setting, in fact my one story about it was me allowing players to do that. I just didn't correct them when they made a mistake, because it seemed a mistake one could reasonable make when relying on stories and legends.

LudicSavant
2019-04-15, 05:05 AM
I'll add to the voices recommending to read the Angry DM article.

Kaptin Keen
2019-04-15, 05:18 AM
Don't worry, I wasn't taking it personally. I'm just using a little snark to remind you not to pass off your table play style or your own preference as what should bbe expected at every "sensible" and "expirienced" gaming table.

Well, that's a relief. However, I'm not going to preface every statement I ever make with a IMO, or similar disclaimer that my opinion isn't universally applicable fact.

OldTrees1
2019-04-15, 06:50 AM
Well, that's a relief. However, I'm not going to preface every statement I ever make with a IMO, or similar disclaimer that my opinion isn't universally applicable fact.

RE: Your argument with Boci
Sometimes it is hard to tell whether you know your opinion isn't universally true. This is especially true if you follow up by claiming someone disagreeing with you clearly failed to understand your example (also that is dangerous waters considering the forum rules for this forum). If it was a subjective opinion then clearly merely having a difference of opinion does not make someone incapable of understanding. Such a follow up opinion/claim clearly signals that you meant the former as a claim about objective truth rather than sharing a subjective opinion. Currently you are implying you miscommunicated back there. Obviously you don't have to preface every statement you ever make just as I have not included a preface to this statement. However clearly you failed to communicate (or are trying to retcon the context) so it is wise to be mindful of that in future.


PS: I understand you don't enjoy playing characters less knowledgeable than yourself. So a greater degree of metagaming makes sense when you are surrounded by others that share that opinion. In contrast the Horror genre can often be found more enjoyable when the audience (the players) know just a bit more than the characters (the PCs). So clearly there are times when the exact same metagaming could be either good or bad based upon who is playing.

Boci
2019-04-15, 08:13 AM
Well, that's a relief. However, I'm not going to preface every statement I ever make with a IMO, or similar disclaimer that my opinion isn't universally applicable fact.

As OldTrees1 said, you don't have to preface EVERY statement with an IMO, but some benefit from it, like the opinion that "X is expected and sensible in any experienced group".


So what you generally do - and several posters have said as much - is you disguise your metagaming. You state that 'well, my barbarian Joe isn't charging that thing, that looks dangerous AF. I'm going to kite it to death with my bow!' Which is something a barbarian can easily do, because he has 40 movement, and the carrion crawler has only 30.

When I initially asked for details on the carrion crawler encounter, you said it was unimportant, but you're return to it implying maybe it is. So, what edition of D&D are you playing that a carrion crawler is such a dangerous foe that the barbarian doesn't want to charge it? Or are you assuming its a random encounter against 1st or 2nd level PCs?

Kaptin Keen
2019-04-15, 08:23 AM
Sometimes it is hard to tell whether you know your opinion isn't universally true.

No. However, it is universally true that it's virtually impossible to have a conversation with anyone looking constantly for any excuse to be offended.


This is especially true if you follow up by claiming someone disagreeing with you clearly failed to understand your example.

He clearly didn't, though. I clarified, because if he want's to argue a point I've made - he needs to target the point. My point wasn't what he was targeting, so what, pray tell, would you have me do?


If it was a subjective opinion then clearly merely having a difference of opinion does not make someone incapable of understanding. Such a follow up opinion/claim clearly signals that you meant the former as a claim about objective truth rather than sharing a subjective opinion. Currently you are implying you miscommunicated back there. Obviously you don't have to preface every statement you ever make just as I have not included a preface to this statement. However clearly you failed to communicate (or are trying to retcon the context) so it is wise to be mindful of that in future.

I didn't say he was incapable, but it's clear that he misunderstood. It also seems clear that he understood once I explained. I'm not making any sort of statements about Boci's understanding, I'm clearing up confusion.

I am not going to pad my words for fear someone mistakes my opinions for declarations of universal truth. That is a condensate of utter madness. The expression of opinion is as universal as comments about the weather - and if someone perceives a given opinion as preaching universal truth, the problem is theirs, not mine.


PS: I understand you don't enjoy playing characters less knowledgeable than yourself.

No, you do not. While riding your high horse, kindly refrain from stuffing your assumptions about me down my throat. You know precisely zip of any sort about me.

Quertus
2019-04-15, 09:10 AM
Metagaming is cheating....so it's not really right to call good things that are not cheating ''metagaming".

This needs it's own name....like Social Grouping, or something:

The above is not metagaming. There is no cheating and no using information to your advantage.


You don't win an argument by redefining the terms unless you can show the alternative definitions to be in some way superior.

Metagame is not defined as cheating, except by you. We all agree it can be, not must be, cheating.

Maybe read that AngryDM article Tanarii shared. That's the definition that your definition is competing with. You have to make a more convincing definition and argument than that to be persuasive.

I thoroughly agree that metagaming is not *defined* as cheating. However, the way I was taught to play, all forms of metagaming were vilified - role-playing was the "greater good". It took me quite some time to see that not all metagaming was inherently evil / cheating / whatever.

Kaptin Keen
2019-04-15, 09:33 AM
I thoroughly agree that metagaming is not *defined* as cheating. However, the way I was taught to play, all forms of metagaming were vilified - role-playing was the "greater good". It took me quite some time to see that not all metagaming was inherently evil / cheating / whatever.

I was actually taught the same way. It's only because I'm a mean old cynic that I eventually arrived at the conclusion that this view of metagaming would also serve wonderfully as a crutch for less inventive GM's =)

MoiMagnus
2019-04-15, 09:43 AM
The metagaming is when the players are more important than the characters.

Going to the extreme, having your 8 Int 8 Sag character making tactically sound choices while fighting is metagaming (I mean, a 8 Int 8 Sag character may not remark that its actions will give to its opponents the possibility to flank him). Similarly, solving a puzzle/riddle with your own intelligence rather than with an Int check is metagaming.

Metagaming isn't bad by itself. However, it is true a lot of uses of metagaming are bad and negative to the game. Everything depends on conventions and expectations between players and DMs.

If you're making an exploration or plot centered game, using your personal knowledge of the universe will undermine the fun of the whole group, as you skip the interesting parts. But if you're on a game of "munchkin players vs munchkin DM", you are probably expected to know by heart how to beat the enemies from the Monster Manual that are the most dangerous against your build.

Knaight
2019-04-15, 12:41 PM
This whole discussion focus on knowing the monster manual is ridiculous. If the interest in your game is based on a series of fights that don't even hold up without the players feigning ignorance you need to step up your GMing. Even if it's all about just the combat you can make interesting fights that stay interesting when they're comparatively transparent - there are plenty of tactics games which clearly illustrate this. If it's not just about the combat then all that depth elsewhere can be useful instead.

That's not to say that metagaming can't be done harmfully. We've all heard stories about that player who knows how to make gunpowder, and so their illiterate iron age tribesman does too, every action involved described, regardless of how little sense said tribesman rowing out to some remote desert island to collect guano actually makes in character.

It can also be done very beneficially, in some styles. Deep immersion tends not to particularly benefit, but even there there's some scene management going on, in terms of what does and doesn't get focus, pacing time, switching focus between PCs when parties are split at opportune times, etc. That's just the GM side. Moving away from deep immersion a bit and there are other potential benefits. The actual term "metagaming" doesn't see much use here, but "author stance" and "actor stance" have a lot of words written on them about specifics. Examples include deliberately setting up other players character scenes, making character decisions that are more narratively interesting and that generally lead to a smoother group dynamic (keeping in mind that any given character can generally do multiple things at any given time while still in character unless they're really 1D; Rich Burlew himself even has a pretty decent article on it), and even things like not splitting the party in D&D because leaving half the players to wait for the other half to have a half hour combat scene is considered rude.

Earthwalker
2019-04-16, 10:04 AM
Whelp not going to try to define metagaming as that will just lead to a nice circular argument about how my definition doesn’t cover aspect x or y.

I would like to move the discussion on metagaming into the area of metagame currencies as I believe they are known. It’s an issue that annoys me (mostly because I come up against GMs with conflicting goals set up in the system they are playing)

So the GM..
a) Hates Metagaming
b) Wants to use a system with metagame currencies.

In the example I will go with Pathfinder and Hero Points. Hero Points are a meta game currency that the player has control over, in no way is the character aware of them. It’s a tool used by a player to smooth out some random from the game. They allow you to re-roll a dice, add a value on the result of a die, I think they have an effect that saves a character from dying. (its been a while).
Let’s just deal with the

Give +4 to a action after the dice is rolled
And
Allows you to re-roll the dice.

So Jack McStab the Rogue is in position for his super nashwan power sneak death ninja blow. If he hits he is going to total murderize the NPC.

He rolls and gets a 15 + 9 for 24. The GM tells him it’s a miss.

So Jack’s player asks what AC the bad guy has. He is wondering weather to spend a hero point on bumping up the attack roll by 4 making sure he hits or not. If the bad guys AC is like 29 he may as well not bother re-rolling or raising the dice result.

Of course the GM hates metagaming… so he won’t tell Jacks player the AC.

So there we are. Jacks player has a way to influence the dice but not the knowledge to know if influencing the dice is useful. So why give out the metagame currency?

JeenLeen
2019-04-16, 10:17 AM
The longer I've played, the more I've tried to increase good metagaming and decrease bad metagaming. And sometimes there are edge cases. I'll use some examples.

Good metagaming I try to encourage in myself

make a PC that fits the game's theme and can get along with other PCs
making IC decisions based on what helps the plot or works with other PCs instead of "what the character would do"
not spend extra time on prep-work or research (makes sense IC, but can bug other players as takes time)
trying to find IC reasons not to screw up other PCs' stuff


Bad metagaming I've tried to discourage

using OOC knowledge my character doesn't know (e,g, vamps can brainwash folk)
sharing info between characters OOC (e.g., my PC knows X, and I tell player Y OOC, encouraging him to metagame)


Basically, I see good metagaming as shaping your PC's actions and personalities in a way to keep the game going smoothly and fun for all.
I see bad metagaming as inputing knowledge your PC couldn't have into their actions for a tactical advantage. Though I acknowledge some tables might be more or less okay with this type, so it's more bad for the immersive type of playing we do in my group than something universally bad.

I also think there are edge-cases. One came up in a game I was in recently.
IC, I have reason to suspect an NPC is evil. My PC plans to talk to her and kill her if she turns out to be evil.
OOC, I know she is evil but that she might convert to good. Another PC needs her help for a quest and is considering redeeming her.

It makes perfect sense IC for my guy to go talk to the NPC and (more likely than not) kill her. But that's kinda a jerk move, right?
So what I did was have my PC talk to the other PC about the NPC. It sorta made sense IC, but it was obviously for a concocted reason. I made sure the DM was cool with that level of metagaming to keep from screwing over a fellow PC. He was cool with it.
So my PC was told that, yes, she is evil, but the other PC needed her alive for now. So my guy agreed to trust the other PC and leave the NPC alone (at least temporarily).

Seems a good blend of metagaming and IC roleplaying to keep the game going smooth and everyone happy.
But I can acknowledge that such might be too metagamey in some tables.

Segev
2019-04-16, 10:54 AM
Metagaming is unavoidable.

Let's look at the troll-fire-acid situation for an example.

Now, let's further say I'm playing a wizard. I have an array of spells available to me that do energy damage. Ignoring the possibility that I would take a standard action to roll K:Dungeoneering to figure out that "this is a troll; it regenerates to anything but fire or acid," I, the player, know it's a troll and what it's not strong against. If I assume my PC is ignorant of these facts, I now have to make a metagame choice: do I act on the knowledge I have, or do I deliberately NOT act on the knowledge I have?

My wizard, IC, has acid arrow, scorching ray, chill touch, and magic missile prepared as damaging spells, let's say. If I honestly didn't know what the creature was nor what would be most effective against it, I'd pick whatever spell I thought would be most fun and useful. Probably acid arrow or magic missile, but I can't be sure, because I'm already operating with the meta-knowledge that I'm trying to think around what I'd do if I didn't know what I know. I might use scorching ray if I saw "big thing, probably lots of hit points; do massive damage," but I might also use acid arrow for "start of combat spell; maximize DOT" or magic missile for "no clue how hard it is to hit."

The only one I'm fairly sure I wouldn't use is the one that would require me to run up to melee with what has been described as a towering monster (likely with Reach). Or is knowing a big, tall creature is likely to hit me before I can even get close enough to touch it also metagaming?

At this point, I'm metagaming either to choose to use the spell that I know will work (I'm leaning towards acid arrow, because it's both the right damage type and it's a good opener), or I'm deliberately metagaming to be sub-optimal to feign my character's ignorance. Or I'm trying to kludge together a table of options I can roll randomly on to simulate possible decision-making processes of a hypothetically-ignorant character.

Personally, I dislike it when hit with this kind of dilemma; I prefer it when I do have roughly the same level of knowledge as my characters. When I have more than they do, I have to spend a lot of effort trying to model "what would they do if I didn't know this?" and not allow myself to be influeced to be "cautious" or "cheesy."



Then there are times where metagaming is good for the game, even if it's bad for RP. The mildest example of this is something the Giant in the Playground wrote in an article once: "Choose to act differently."

"It's what my character would do!" is an oft-quoted line before describing how one player ruined a session or otherwise made things unfun. Sometimes, it's clear that it's only what the character would do because it's an excuse for a jerk to be a jerk; others, it's genuine RP-over-all-else, but still ruined a game session, either by costing the party victory, or by killing one or more other PCs, or by ruining party cohesion... it's all bad.

A form of metagaming that says, "Try to find something else that is perhaps less in-character, but still within the bounds of possible choices, which your character could choose to do that would not screw over everybody else's fun," is what the Giant espouses. And it's excellent advice. The goal of a game is to have fun. If your character's highly motivated choice to assassinate the drow matriarch who was about to give the party the alliance they needed to solve the Temple of the Aboletholock would ruin the ability to do the adventure everybody had planned, or otherwise would mean that the game is pretty much wrecked for the session (or worse, for the campaign), no matter how innocently you cam to have that motivation, you should come up with some reason, any reasion, to restrain your character's murderous impulses.

This is metagaming. But it is also good.


Playing a kelptomaniac with chronic backstabbing syndrome can be a perfectly fine character. But you have to be willing to have that character's targets always be something other than the other PCs, no matter how in-character doing otherwise might be, because the game has to come first. This is also metagaming. Even deliberately designing him so that he won't backstab the other PCs due to some personal code or enlightened self-interest or a magical compulsion or what-have-you is metagaming the design of your character. But it's still good.


Now, using knowledge of a module that relies on secrecy and mystery? That's metagaming. Choosing an action because you know the hidden, secret reward? Also metagaming. The first is almost invariably bad. It's no less cheating than rolling trick dice that have nothing below an 18 on the icosahedron, or claiming you have +5 more on all your bonuses than you really do. And is almost as blatant in most cases.

The second is arguably bad. In a lot of cases, it is. But it can also fall into the "yeah, you're technically cheating by knowing what you're getting, but if it's the most fun for you...go ahead" category. In the "storyteller" sense, it's no less fair than the author who writes that his character makes the choice that gets him the hidden reward that defines his story going forward. It does lose the "gamer tales" cred that comes from having legitimately lucked into it, but it doesn't make the story necessarily less interesting. So in that sense, it's only a problem if you're robbing others of their fun in some fashion.


And that's the crux of it: it all comes down to having fun. For everyone. Metagaming happens. Your goal should always be to make sure that any metagaming you're doing is designed to win the biggest metagame of all: making sure the hours you spend gaming are fun for everyone there. Including yourself.

Honest Tiefling
2019-04-16, 10:58 AM
One, the PCs grew up in a world full of monsters and such, it starts to strain credulity that they're utterly ignorant about all these monsters.

I personally dislike this argument, because while yes, a PC is more likely to know of monsters, they never metagame the wrong information. I feel like that at lower levels it is highly unlikely that a player would know of every single damn monster without error.

People today are pretty ignorant of animals, such as those who try to toss tortoises back into the water, pose with baby bears, think rabbits eat only carrots, think that ferrets are rodents, or think that goats can eat tin cans. And those are people with access to modern day information, as opposed to explorers relying on the crazy stuff that people in the ancient world had access to. Imagine trying to learn about monsters when all you have is the DnD equivalent of Herodotus' works.

Quertus
2019-04-16, 11:08 AM
I personally dislike this argument, because while yes, a PC is more likely to know of monsters, they never metagame the wrong information. I feel like that at lower levels it is highly unlikely that a player would know of every single damn monster without error.

People today are pretty ignorant of animals, such as those who try to toss tortoises back into the water, pose with baby bears, think rabbits eat only carrots, think that ferrets are rodents, or think that goats can eat tin cans. And those are people with access to modern day information, as opposed to explorers relying on the crazy stuff that people in the ancient world had access to. Imagine trying to learn about monsters when all you have is the DnD equivalent of Herodotus' works.

Never metagame wrong information? No, I roleplay wrong information whenever my characters have said wrong information.

It is quite the roleplaying conundrum to figure out what all the myths & legends would look like in a world where those monsters are real, and one of them ate uncle Fred. This is part (a small part, granted, but still a part) of why it takes me so long to make a character, and why my character is "not from around here" (so that my version of the myths doesn't have to match anyone else's versions of myths heard).

Also, as I think I stated upthread, I started keeping careful track of who trained whom, who past what information along to whom, etc. I did the same for information I knew, OOC, to be false.

Honest Tiefling
2019-04-16, 11:33 AM
Never metagame wrong information? No, I roleplay wrong information whenever my characters have said wrong information.

Not to be sarcastic, but I really hope your DM appreciates you. I've never had a player take into account the myths of the region. Either they know the creature perfectly or don't, never anything in-between those two extremes. When I hear 'But my character is an adventurer!' it usually means they just want to meta-game everything.

Through to be fair, if a monster did burst in the middle of the night to eat Uncle Fred, chances aren't great that people could get a good look at it since it is presumably moving fast, they need to get out of the way and it'd likely be fairly dark. They'd probably know to avoid the big fuzzy brown thing, but not it's exact diet, habitation needs and religious inclinations.

Quertus
2019-04-16, 11:50 AM
Not to be sarcastic, but I really hope your DM appreciates you. I've never had a player take into account the myths of the region. Either they know the creature perfectly or don't, never anything in-between those two extremes. When I hear 'But my character is an adventurer!' it usually means they just want to meta-game everything.

Through to be fair, if a monster did burst in the middle of the night to eat Uncle Fred, chances aren't great that people could get a good look at it since it is presumably moving fast, they need to get out of the way and it'd likely be fairly dark. They'd probably know to avoid the big fuzzy brown thing, but not it's exact diet, habitation needs and religious inclinations.

Thanks. I feel, if different characters don't know and care about different things, it kinds takes a bit of the "character" out of the character.

The reality of "a monster ate uncle Fred" is simply incentive for the non-modern citizens to seek & share information more aggressively than the modern "nobody I know's been mauled by a lion" attitude may incite.

Boci
2019-04-16, 01:06 PM
He rolls and gets a 15 + 9 for 24. The GM tells him it’s a miss.

So Jack’s player asks what AC the bad guy has. He is wondering weather to spend a hero point on bumping up the attack roll by 4 making sure he hits or not. If the bad guys AC is like 29 he may as well not bother re-rolling or raising the dice result.

Of course the GM hates metagaming… so he won’t tell Jacks player the AC.

To be fair, the ability is "you can add 4 to your attack roll", which is not neccissary "when you miss by 4 or less, you can spend a hero point to turn a miss into a hit". Both of those abilities are useful, though the second is more useful. But theres nothing wrong with an ability that can be wasted, such as adding +4 without knowing the AC. As long as the DM tells you whether or not the attack hit or miss before you need to decide whether or not to use it, its going to be a useful ability even if you don't know the target's precise AC.


Thanks. I feel, if different characters don't know and care about different things, it kinds takes a bit of the "character" out of the character.

I'd be very happy with this from players too, sometimes using their own knowledge and passing it off as legends, but also allowing for legends to have mislead them.

Saintheart
2019-04-16, 09:35 PM
Whelp not going to try to define metagaming as that will just lead to a nice circular argument about how my definition doesn’t cover aspect x or y.

I would like to move the discussion on metagaming into the area of metagame currencies as I believe they are known. It’s an issue that annoys me (mostly because I come up against GMs with conflicting goals set up in the system they are playing)

So the GM..
a) Hates Metagaming
b) Wants to use a system with metagame currencies.

In the example I will go with Pathfinder and Hero Points. Hero Points are a meta game currency that the player has control over, in no way is the character aware of them. It’s a tool used by a player to smooth out some random from the game. They allow you to re-roll a dice, add a value on the result of a die, I think they have an effect that saves a character from dying. (its been a while).
Let’s just deal with the

Give +4 to a action after the dice is rolled
And
Allows you to re-roll the dice.

So Jack McStab the Rogue is in position for his super nashwan power sneak death ninja blow. If he hits he is going to total murderize the NPC.

He rolls and gets a 15 + 9 for 24. The GM tells him it’s a miss.

So Jack’s player asks what AC the bad guy has. He is wondering weather to spend a hero point on bumping up the attack roll by 4 making sure he hits or not. If the bad guys AC is like 29 he may as well not bother re-rolling or raising the dice result.

Of course the GM hates metagaming… so he won’t tell Jacks player the AC.

So there we are. Jacks player has a way to influence the dice but not the knowledge to know if influencing the dice is useful. So why give out the metagame currency?


In part this is because Hero Points were written appallingly badly and threw out good elements of the 3.5 system they stole off. To compare said system under 3.5, i.e. the Action Points variant:



Add to a Roll
When you spend 1 action point to improve a d20 roll, you add the result of a 1d6 to your d20 roll (including attack rolls, saves, checks, or any other roll of a d20) to help you meet or exceed the target number. You can declare the use of 1 action point to alter a d20 roll after the roll is made, but only before the GM reveals the result of that roll.

That rule is meant to limit metagaming of the kind mentioned above. It's meant to cover the scenario of a player seeing a single-digit result and knowing he's screwed, metagaming or not.

By contrast, Hero Points are meant - per the Pathfinder SRD - to be used in a metagaming way, "meant" to be reserved for "major villains" or "truly important characters".

That is, Hero Points under Pathfinder are meant as metagaming tools for the DM. They arise out of the slightly dippy desire to turn D&D into a cooperative narrative or a collaborative storytelling experience; you only have these heavy hints to use Hero Points against major villains because the makers of the system don't want a campaign's "story" to fall over when an uncooperative d20 gives the hero a futzing natural 1 when he's about to strike the blow that cuts the ring from Sour Ron's hand. Hero Points are not metagaming currency for the players, they're tools to keep the characters on the DM's railroad, i.e. a slightly different sort of metagaming sin, only this time committed by the DM.

oxybe
2019-04-16, 11:11 PM
I personally dislike this argument, because while yes, a PC is more likely to know of monsters, they never metagame the wrong information. I feel like that at lower levels it is highly unlikely that a player would know of every single damn monster without error.

People today are pretty ignorant of animals, such as those who try to toss tortoises back into the water, pose with baby bears, think rabbits eat only carrots, think that ferrets are rodents, or think that goats can eat tin cans. And those are people with access to modern day information, as opposed to explorers relying on the crazy stuff that people in the ancient world had access to. Imagine trying to learn about monsters when all you have is the DnD equivalent of Herodotus' works.

Most people don't have jobs that involve regularly interacting with a wide variety of animals though.

The average peasant might not know the ins and out of how to deal with a troll other then "Whelp, time to move to a new province!" But for the high majority of D&D characters, you're not just some schmuck farmer with a rusty sword they found.

I grew up in the countryside IRL: my dad was a fisherman and did light hunting, usually by laying snares for rabbits or birds and he had a few rifles depending on his prey, like when he went across province to hunt deer with a few friends on a lot one of them owns. I learned a little bit through osmosis simply being around him.

Heck, I only watched the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time a few years back, but I understood all the references since I was drowned in nerd culture for my 33 years.

But ask me things related to my job or hobbies? Yeah I can rattle off some pretty specialized knowledge. Same with my dad who does carpentry in his off time now that he's retired and my mum works at the GST and for years was a seamstress.

A D&D character is normally an adventurer and I would imagine while they may not casually bump into trolls they would probably know if trolls are a potential threat, especially in a area they live and adventure in, and likely how to deal (though maybe not the specific) with them since in times of trouble the commoners would look to them or the local militia for help.

And just because you know to aim between the eyes to secure that kill or that the dragon's weak spot is one specific scale, actually landing the blow is a different story.

Just because a troll is weak VS fire and you know as much, doesn't mean a level 1 fighter with a torch is in any way a match for the mean green maulin' machine.

Boci
2019-04-16, 11:22 PM
A D&D character is normally an adventurer and I would imagine while they may not casually bump into trolls they would probably know if trolls are a potential threat, especially in a area they live and adventure in, and likely how to deal (though maybe not the specific) with them since in times of trouble the commoners would look to them or the local militia for help.

They probably could, certainly the acid and fire part, but why do they never learn false imformation about them? Why don't they think trolls are scared of sunlight, after what they heard in a legend? Or they could make the mistake my players did and think you only need to use fire on the killing blow (assuming 3.5)?

oxybe
2019-04-17, 02:31 AM
convenience.

Same metagame reason most D&D characters are of adventurous nature, or the characters everyone plays somehow end up together in a party in one way or another: it's convenient helps move things along.

In this case typical trolls are monsters that are familiar in gamer and fantasy culture, so we find a way to hand wave the likely irritating "hurrdurr how do fite a troll?" step of people pretending that they've wasted enough time with their characterbeing oblivious to knowledge the player has and "experimenting" until they realize fire=good.

If we're going to ask for a narrative reason, at one point the character probably did believe in misinformation or slightly misunderstood the real lore, but I would say most games starts at a point in a character's life where they are past that part of learning to be an adventurer and are ready to act like one.

The standard DnD Trolls, in the grand scheme of things aren't that important of an enemy. They're good as a low-level final bruiser boss or mid-level enforcer, or even a high level foot soldier... but the scope of the average troll's power and influence generally keeps them as a low-level threat.

Yes you can do interesting things with them(as with most sentient creatures), but for the most part trolls are among that cadre of monsters that I find adventurers would be aware of, like orcs and ogres.

People are aware of trolls as they are rare but not entirely unheard of, and have appeared frequently enough through history and done enough damage that learning how to combat them is normally taught to the soldier, mage and adventurer sorts as they are the ones the common folk would rely on. It's information that's taught, but you hope to never have to use.

If you're not going to use bog-standard trolls, if they're significantly different the player expectation, make them aware of this and you'll likely be able to draw a more natural feeling out the weakness of the monster from them as they try to put it down (i would still expect them to try fire and acid though as unless a target clearly looks resistant to those elements, they good killing elements).

Pleh
2019-04-17, 05:14 AM
Most people don't have jobs that involve regularly interacting with a wide variety of animals though.

The average peasant might not know the ins and out of how to deal with a troll other then "Whelp, time to move to a new province!" But for the high majority of D&D characters, you're not just some schmuck farmer with a rusty sword they found.

I grew up in the countryside IRL: my dad was a fisherman and did light hunting, usually by laying snares for rabbits or birds and he had a few rifles depending on his prey, like when he went across province to hunt deer with a few friends on a lot one of them owns. I learned a little bit through osmosis simply being around him.

Heck, I only watched the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time a few years back, but I understood all the references since I was drowned in nerd culture for my 33 years.

But ask me things related to my job or hobbies? Yeah I can rattle off some pretty specialized knowledge. Same with my dad who does carpentry in his off time now that he's retired and my mum works at the GST and for years was a seamstress.

A D&D character is normally an adventurer and I would imagine while they may not casually bump into trolls they would probably know if trolls are a potential threat, especially in a area they live and adventure in, and likely how to deal (though maybe not the specific) with them since in times of trouble the commoners would look to them or the local militia for help.

And just because you know to aim between the eyes to secure that kill or that the dragon's weak spot is one specific scale, actually landing the blow is a different story.

Just because a troll is weak VS fire and you know as much, doesn't mean a level 1 fighter with a torch is in any way a match for the mean green maulin' machine.

This is a pet peeve of mine.

"Adventurer" as an occupation is a bit of a metagame cop out to begin with.

Why is that not a professional title in real life? Because it isn't specific at all. The title has been fabricated by game designers who didn't want to code multiple NPC responses based on specific character information. But it's been reversed metagamed from a nonspecific title into a specific title.

Much better would be to call the character either a Mercenary (someone who accepts jobs battling designated opponents, like Monsters) or an Explorer (someone who delves into dangerous and/or unknown locations) as these titles actually mean something. Most "adventurers" actually have normal job titles and temporarily leave their day job to take care of more pressing concerns.

If you're going to make the thrilling heroics the day job, the DM should create a Mass Effect style Spectre group, or an MCU style Avengers group in the setting itself.

But assuming that Adventurers Always Adventure is just lazy and doesn't make just a whole lot of sense.

aaron819
2019-04-17, 06:14 AM
Metagaming to some extent or another is unavoidable, and therefore accept in my opinion. Goblins have low HP, so don't bother fireballing them. Plate armor gives better AC, so stack up those to-hit bonuses for an enemy wearing plate. any time something is abstracted (hp, ac, etc.), metagaming will happen to some degree

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-17, 06:16 AM
This is a pet peeve of mine.

"Adventurer" as an occupation is a bit of a metagame cop out to begin with.

Why is that not a professional title in real life? Because it isn't specific at all. The title has been fabricated by game designers who didn't want to code multiple NPC responses based on specific character information. But it's been reversed metagamed from a nonspecific title into a specific title.

Much better would be to call the character either a Mercenary (someone who accepts jobs battling designated opponents, like Monsters) or an Explorer (someone who delves into dangerous and/or unknown locations) as these titles actually mean something. Most "adventurers" actually have normal job titles and temporarily leave their day job to take care of more pressing concerns.

If you're going to make the thrilling heroics the day job, the DM should create a Mass Effect style Spectre group, or an MCU style Avengers group in the setting itself.

But assuming that Adventurers Always Adventure is just lazy and doesn't make just a whole lot of sense.

That's very situational and setting dependent. If everything is well settled, then sure. But in a D&D context, that's the exception rather than the rule. D&D does not particularly handle well the "I'm a settled professional who goes out occasionally and adventures" model, because everything's bound up in the class/level paradigm. A level 1 Fighter isn't a guard. He's got much more than what a guard has. A level 1 wizard isn't just a shopkeeper. There's an implicit divide between those who have stable lives and occasionally get caught up in adventures (NPCs) and those for whom adventuring is a lifestyle.

In my setting, here's how I describe the role of an adventurer:


Adventurers are those who seek to explore the unknown, to delve into forgotten ruins, or to fulfill tasks set by others. In this mostly peaceful time, there are many such who crave excitement and the chance of wealth. Most common adventurers are either killed in their first expedition, badly scarred, or only find petty jobs. As such, most of the settled folk consider them nothing more than a nuisance. Sanctioned Adventurers [including the PCs] are those who have been recruited by the Adventurers Guild, acknowledged as having potential, trained, and authorized to work in all of the Federated Nations. They're the para-military arm of the FNC, and as such are given legal privileges. They act in groups, called parties, and are mostly hired by governments or connected individuals or organizations to handle larger matters of concern.

In Earth terms, they're something like a cross between a Special Forces team and a private security contractor or mercenary. Their chains of command are loose and once unleashed on an objective they are free to pick their own methods of resolution. Most of their pay comes from what they acquire in the field--they keep what they loot. Their potential for growth can quickly leave them among the most personally powerful individuals as well as quite wealthy and they tend to retire after a few campaigns. Or die. For the risks they face are great. Abandoned temples to unknown gods, dragons' lairs, demon-summoning cults, hideous monsters, deadly traps. These are the everyday challenges facing a Sanctioned Adventurer. Are you up for the challenge?


This structure lets me build adventures where everyone knows the "hook"/vague goal[1] ahead of time (and so is committed to that goal), where the party is cohesive (because they were trained together and chose to work together professionally), where the PCs have reason to adventure (it's their job), and where the PCs have every expectation of knowing stuff about all the "common" monsters and situations they encounter (because they learned about it during their training, which was focused on keeping them alive).

Any common adventurer gets smoked by the first decent monster they encounter, as you'd expect from a bunch of commoners with basic weapon training. Sanctioned Adventurers have a chance (not 100%, but a chance) to grow to reach their potential. This might be low (equivalent of levels 1-4) or high (levels 5-10), possibly even unbounded (level 20). If they survive, that is.

[1] these hooks are really vague, just excuses to get the party into a location where interesting things will happen once they start meddling/bumbling about. If the party decides to go a different way, that's fine. They're just prods to get the adventure going. An example was "A group of scholars wants an escort and help uncovering the ruins of a lost city." Another was "There are rumors that a small town has gone missing." The players (OOC) choose the hook they're most interested in and we go from there.

Tanarii
2019-04-17, 07:59 AM
"Adventurer" as an occupation is a bit of a metagame cop out to begin with.

Why is that not a professional title in real life?It was. Gentleman Adventurer. (Edit: Of course, that was in the time when "Professional" was an insult, not a compliment. Gentlemen Adventurers were Amateurs, a cut above those grubby Professionals that sell labor for money.)

It still is for a lot of people. Go check out any dating app. Many people will describe themselves as adventurers. Or at least loving adventure.

Pleh
2019-04-17, 08:29 AM
As such, most of the settled folk consider them nothing more than a nuisance. Sanctioned Adventurers [including the PCs] are those who have been recruited by the Adventurers Guild, acknowledged as having potential, trained, and authorized to work in all of the Federated Nations. They're the para-military arm of the FNC, and as such are given legal privileges. They act in groups, called parties, and are mostly hired by governments or connected individuals or organizations to handle larger matters of concern.

This is pretty much identical to my "mass effect spectre" suggestion. These are the Avengers operating through Shield under the Sokovia Accords. You've established a special niche in your world for adventurers that doesn't exist in ours to justify the use of a term that is nonsense in our world.

It's fine to name the niche, "adventurers," but it's a PC faux pas to assume such a niche as a given in any game, especially to the end of exploiting such a societal role for mechanical advantage.

In the physics world, it's called an unjustified assumption.


It was. Gentleman Adventurer. (Edit: Of course, that was in the time when "Professional" was an insult, not a compliment. Gentlemen Adventurers were Amateurs, a cut above those grubby Professionals that sell labor for money.)

It still is for a lot of people. Go check out any dating app. Many people will describe themselves as adventurers. Or at least loving adventure.

I don't value professions placed on dating apps. When we see a significant portion of tax returns filed for, "adventurers," then we'll talk.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-17, 08:42 AM
Adventurer is a catch-all term in a fantasy setting for explorers, freelancers, mercenary specialists, cross-border and wilderness vigilantes, rangers (in an older non-game meaning), etc, both self-financed and paid by others in some form.

It neither needs to be expunged from parlance, nor to be enshrined as an actual thing in settings, across the board, every setting can approach it differently.

Tanarii
2019-04-17, 08:45 AM
I don't value professions placed on dating apps. When we see a significant portion of tax returns filed for, "adventurers," then we'll talk.Clearly I should have put the joke in blue text, so you couldn't ignore the main point. Edit: In case the main point wasn't clear, there was a time period when adventurer was a title for people, and it's a time period that many RPGs, including D&D, are more or less (very) roughly based on.

Earthwalker
2019-04-17, 08:47 AM
To be fair, the ability is "you can add 4 to your attack roll", which is not neccissary "when you miss by 4 or less, you can spend a hero point to turn a miss into a hit". Both of those abilities are useful, though the second is more useful. But theres nothing wrong with an ability that can be wasted, such as adding +4 without knowing the AC. As long as the DM tells you whether or not the attack hit or miss before you need to decide whether or not to use it, its going to be a useful ability even if you don't know the target's precise AC.
I'd be very happy with this from players too, sometimes using their own knowledge and passing it off as legends, but also allowing for legends to have mislead them.


In part this is because Hero Points were written appallingly badly and threw out good elements of the 3.5 system they stole off. To compare said system under 3.5, i.e. the Action Points variant:
That rule is meant to limit metagaming of the kind mentioned above. It's meant to cover the scenario of a player seeing a single-digit result and knowing he's screwed, metagaming or not.
By contrast, Hero Points are meant - per the Pathfinder SRD - to be used in a metagaming way, "meant" to be reserved for "major villains" or "truly important characters".
That is, Hero Points under Pathfinder are meant as metagaming tools for the DM. They arise out of the slightly dippy desire to turn D&D into a cooperative narrative or a collaborative storytelling experience; you only have these heavy hints to use Hero Points against major villains because the makers of the system don't want a campaign's "story" to fall over when an uncooperative d20 gives the hero a futzing natural 1 when he's about to strike the blow that cuts the ring from Sour Ron's hand. Hero Points are not metagaming currency for the players, they're tools to keep the characters on the DM's railroad, i.e. a slightly different sort of metagaming sin, only this time committed by the DM.


My fault entirely for choosing an example from Pathfinder. Also assuming that hero points were for the heroes and not for the villains. I don’t remember seeing anything saying they were a tool for the GM not for the players.

Simplest thing is to go with a different example for Shadowrun. We are Karma (back in the day) and you can spend a point to re-roll a failed roll.

Spending Karma is something that exists that the PLAYER controls and not something the CHARACTER knows about. So you can have a situation where the GM asks for a stealth check as a character tries to slip unnoticed into a compound.

GM: Roll Stealth.

Player: <rolls> 2 success. Did I succeed?

GM: you don’t know.

Player: I know I don’t know which is why I asked you.

GM: No I mean your character Mr Whisper can’t tell. So I am not telling you.

Player: But I may want to spend Karma if I fail so I need to know.

GM: But your character doesn’t know. Your Metagaming !!!

Player: Yes I am metagaming, I need to metagame to spend these currencies the game gave me that exist within the metagame.

Earthwalker
2019-04-17, 08:48 AM
I don't value professions placed on dating apps. When we see a significant portion of tax returns filed for, "adventurers," then we'll talk.

The Silver necklace I bought for my wife is tax deducible yeah ?
I ended up melting it down to make silver arrows in a werewolf hunt.

Pleh
2019-04-17, 09:21 AM
Clearly I should have put the joke in blue text, so you couldn't ignore the main point. Edit: In case the main point wasn't clear, there was a time period when adventurer was a title for people, and it's a time period that many RPGs, including D&D, are more or less (very) roughly based on.

Yet it still doesn't mean what players want it to mean in the game when they say, "this is my job, I should already know this, right?"

It really more means, "I take any job." That rather undercuts the argument that they should have any pertinent knowledge in any given scenario.


The Silver necklace I bought for my wife is tax deducible yeah ?
I ended up melting it down to make silver arrows in a werewolf hunt.

Cool story? I don't see your point.

Earthwalker
2019-04-17, 09:33 AM
Cool story? I don't see your point.

I was trying to be funny. Not make a point.
Sorry if any offense caused I just like the idea of adventurers trying to fill out tax returns.
Then trying to work out what they could get as deductible

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-17, 09:37 AM
Yet it still doesn't mean what players want it to mean in the game when they say, "this is my job, I should already know this, right?"

It really more means, "I take any job." That rather undercuts the argument that they should have any pertinent knowledge in any given scenario.


But it doesn't mean that. Adventurers take adventuring jobs, which is a distinct and relatively well-defined subset of "any job". Especially when dealing with

* Monsters that people have seen before
* well-known spells
* traps in common variations
* normal weather patterns
* outdoor living in general
* situations that they can analyze on the spot (because checks aren't just about how much you already know, but about how much you can figure out by watching)
* local legends
* general history of major figures in the area, including current politics,

they should be presumed competent. Because that's your job. Dealing with those sorts of things. One-off creatures, lost secrets, fantastic figures or esoteric doctrines? Those they won't know off the top. But a goblin? Any professional adventurer should know without a check what the local goblins are like. Unless goblins are unknown in that area.

DMs should establish a base of "common knowledge" (not just about monsters)--things the PCs should just know, no check needed, guaranteed to be true (as far as it goes). Nothing in this pool of knowledge should invoke cries of metagaming.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-17, 10:14 AM
But it doesn't mean that. Adventurers take adventuring jobs, which is a distinct and relatively well-defined subset of "any job". Especially when dealing with

* Monsters that people have seen before
* well-known spells
* traps in common variations
* normal weather patterns
* outdoor living in general
* situations that they can analyze on the spot (because checks aren't just about how much you already know, but about how much you can figure out by watching)
* local legends
* general history of major figures in the area, including current politics,

they should be presumed competent. Because that's your job. Dealing with those sorts of things. One-off creatures, lost secrets, fantastic figures or esoteric doctrines? Those they won't know off the top. But a goblin? Any professional adventurer should know without a check what the local goblins are like. Unless goblins are unknown in that area.

DMs should establish a base of "common knowledge" (not just about monsters)--things the PCs should just know, no check needed, guaranteed to be true (as far as it goes). Nothing in this pool of knowledge should invoke cries of metagaming.

That's more widely true of any setting in any campaign in any system -- unless the specific and agreed-upon point of the campaign is starting with totally green, naive, ignorant PCs.

Quertus
2019-04-17, 10:16 AM
It's fine to name the niche, "adventurers," but it's a PC faux pas to assume such a niche as a given in any game, especially to the end of exploiting such a societal role for mechanical advantage.

In the physics world, it's called an unjustified assumption.

Queue another reason why my characters are "not from around here", so that I can know how much they know without getting a master's in "GM's world".


My fault entirely for choosing an example from Pathfinder. Also assuming that hero points were for the heroes and not for the villains. I don’t remember seeing anything saying they were a tool for the GM not for the players.

Simplest thing is to go with a different example for Shadowrun. We are Karma (back in the day) and you can spend a point to re-roll a failed roll.

Spending Karma is something that exists that the PLAYER controls and not something the CHARACTER knows about. So you can have a situation where the GM asks for a stealth check as a character tries to slip unnoticed into a compound.

GM: Roll Stealth.

Player: <rolls> 2 success. Did I succeed?

GM: you don’t know.

Player: I know I don’t know which is why I asked you.

GM: No I mean your character Mr Whisper can’t tell. So I am not telling you.

Player: But I may want to spend Karma if I fail so I need to know.

GM: But your character doesn’t know. Your Metagaming !!!

Player: Yes I am metagaming, I need to metagame to spend these currencies the game gave me that exist within the metagame.

I hate to say this, but if the game rules do not define how informed you should be when spending metagame currency, then knowing and not knowing are both valid ways to play, and it's up to the group to determine their style. Sadly, most GMs are pretty tyrants, who make such decisions unilaterally "for the group".

Segev
2019-04-17, 10:18 AM
"Adventurer" is high fantasy jargon for "aggressive trouble-shooter." They're mercenaries, wandering strangers, etc. It's a broad term in that a lot of archetypes fall into the category, but they're generally defined by their tendency to intervene in high-risk situations and have significant force and generally-applicable skills to bring to bear on any given obstacle or problem.

Some settings will organize them. Adventurers' Guilds may even post job boards, and most jobs will amount to "kill this monstrous thing I can't handle," making them small-squad mercenary units. But they also are superheroes - especially paladin-types - in that they're the powerful extra-legal (but not necessarily disorderly) forces who show up to save the day.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-17, 10:26 AM
I hate to say this, but if the game rules do not define how informed you should be when spending metagame currency, then knowing and not knowing are both valid ways to play, and it's up to the group to determine their style. Sadly, most GMs are pretty tyrants, who make such decisions unilaterally "for the group".


In my experience, there are those systems which implicitly but clearly require the player to have that "metaknowledge" in order for the metacurrency to function correctly.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-17, 10:32 AM
In my experience, there are those systems which implicitly but clearly require the player to have that "metaknowledge" in order for the metacurrency to function correctly.

I don't play much with metacurrency, but I feel like it would require a lot of metaknowledge just to function decently. It's already meta, so you're already acting outside the character level.

Earthwalker
2019-04-17, 10:44 AM
I hate to say this, but if the game rules do not define how informed you should be when spending metagame currency, then knowing and not knowing are both valid ways to play, and it's up to the group to determine their style. Sadly, most GMs are pretty tyrants, who make such decisions unilaterally "for the group".

Stop saying true things that prove me wrong :)

While what you say is true and a discussion is needed. I would question the sense of playing a game with these currencies in but then not allowing the player to know if its worth using them.

For me it is much more playing a game that does what you want.

I can happily play or GM systems with or without this level of metagaming. If I as a player are handed meta currencies I assume (maybe incorrectly) that I will know enough to make them useful. Saying that its only in the last few years have I even thought what does rolling the dice mean as I was trapped in the head space of "old school" gaming.

MrSandman
2019-04-17, 10:46 AM
I hate to say this, but if the game rules do not define how informed you should be when spending metagame currency, then knowing and not knowing are both valid ways to play, and it's up to the group to determine their style. Sadly, most GMs are pretty tyrants, who make such decisions unilaterally "for the group".

Didn't Earthwalker say that you can spend metagame currency to reroll a failed roll? That sort of requires that you know whether you failed or succeeded.

Incidentally, that's a reason I love Fate and other systems where openly sharing information with players is seen as a gamr enhancer rather than an evil to be avoided.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-17, 11:21 AM
Incidentally, that's a reason I love Fate and other systems where openly sharing information with players is seen as a gamr enhancer rather than an evil to be avoided.

I don't play FATE, but certainly believe more information is better. I care what they do with the information, not how they got the information.

Blind choice isn't much more meaningful (in an agency sense) than no choice at all. Doesn't mean you need perfect information, but you need quite a bit. And that's not even considering that the character, just from having all his senses available in a situation and not just getting a highly compressed (and lossy compression at that, like a low-quality JPEG reincoded a bunch of times) word-only version would have way more information available than the player (who only gets the lossy version) could ever have.

Honest Tiefling
2019-04-17, 11:54 AM
Adventurer is a catch-all term in a fantasy setting for explorers, freelancers, mercenary specialists, cross-border and wilderness vigilantes, rangers (in an older non-game meaning), etc, both self-financed and paid by others in some form.

I assume many settings that have a variety of creatures with both the desire and the ability to eat humans are going to have a higher than average population of monster hunters who occasionally divulge into other jobs, so I agree with this.


Most people don't have jobs that involve regularly interacting with a wide variety of animals though.

The average peasant might not know the ins and out of how to deal with a troll other then "Whelp, time to move to a new province!" But for the high majority of D&D characters, you're not just some schmuck farmer with a rusty sword they found.

I grew up in the countryside IRL: my dad was a fisherman and did light hunting, usually by laying snares for rabbits or birds and he had a few rifles depending on his prey, like when he went across province to hunt deer with a few friends on a lot one of them owns. I learned a little bit through osmosis simply being around him.

And players from Orc Country should know enough about orcs, depending on the setting and their character. That I don't disagree with.

However, I'd be a little suspect of you as a person knowing how to hunt cassowary, elephant or anaconda. (Well, unless you are from one of those regions). An avoidance of metagaming shouldn't make the player characters into complete idiots, no. But on the other hand, it shouldn't be used across the board willy-nilly especially for things that didn't inhabit the region the player character is from.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-17, 12:07 PM
And players from Orc Country should know enough about orcs, depending on the setting and their character. That I don't disagree with.

However, I'd be a little suspect of you as a person knowing how to hunt cassowary, elephant or anaconda. (Well, unless you are from one of those regions). An avoidance of metagaming shouldn't make the player characters into complete idiots, no. But on the other hand, it shouldn't be used across the board willy-nilly especially for things that didn't inhabit the region the player character is from.

I'd suspect that a lot of things can be gleaned just from observing the creature, even if you weren't familiar with them already. And since adventurers deal with lots of just plain unknown things, that's a key life skill for them.

Sure, you wont' get the details of their SU or SL abilities, but you'll be able to tell that an elephant is going to want to charge, gore, and stomp and that they'll probably have a large blind spot and tough skin. You'll be able to tell that an anaconda is going to want to ambush and constrict. Etc.

Pleh
2019-04-17, 12:51 PM
I was trying to be funny. Not make a point.
Sorry if any offense caused I just like the idea of adventurers trying to fill out tax returns.
Then trying to work out what they could get as deductible

I apologize. My mind was in debate mode and I failed to read subtext.


But it doesn't mean that. Adventurers take adventuring jobs, which is a distinct and relatively well-defined subset of "any job". Especially when dealing with

* Monsters that people have seen before
* well-known spells
* traps in common variations
* normal weather patterns
* outdoor living in general
* situations that they can analyze on the spot (because checks aren't just about how much you already know, but about how much you can figure out by watching)
* local legends
* general history of major figures in the area, including current politics,

they should be presumed competent. Because that's your job. Dealing with those sorts of things. One-off creatures, lost secrets, fantastic figures or esoteric doctrines? Those they won't know off the top. But a goblin? Any professional adventurer should know without a check what the local goblins are like. Unless goblins are unknown in that area.

DMs should establish a base of "common knowledge" (not just about monsters)--things the PCs should just know, no check needed, guaranteed to be true (as far as it goes). Nothing in this pool of knowledge should invoke cries of metagaming.

The part of my post you were replying to was made to Tanarii's comment about historical adventuring as a profession, which I was pointing out has no relation to the subject except tangentially as trivial pursuit.

As for your points, part of what I was trying to say is that the idea that ANYONE does what you're suggesting as a living is a special circumstance of a given setting, not a general conclusion of the RPG experience.

One of the biggest inspirations for the D&D experience is LOTR. None of those characters were "professional adventurers." At least they wouldn't describe themselves as such. Aragorn and Gandalf come closest, being the most proactive in heroism. But both are affiliated with special organizations that explain their adventuring focus. Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir were mostly in the business of helping manage their respective realms, mighty warriors to be sure, but not exactly professional adventurers and not part of some guild.

Most of the fellowship was setting aside their typical duties to attend to something more urgent.

Therefore, the differences between PC rules and NPC rules do not imply the PCs are expected to go on quests as a day job. That's one convenient answer to why they lead exceptional lives, but it's only one possible solution.

My point was that this sort of knowledge DOES need to be justified. Just taking a PC class doesn't mean you do this for a living.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-17, 01:06 PM
One of the biggest inspirations for the D&D experience is LOTR. None of those characters were "professional adventurers." At least they wouldn't describe themselves as such. Aragorn and Gandalf come closest, being the most proactive in heroism. But both are affiliated with special organizations that explain their adventuring focus. Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir were mostly in the business of helping manage their respective realms, mighty warriors to be sure, but not exactly professional adventurers and not part of some guild.

Most of the fellowship was setting aside their typical duties to attend to something more urgent.


D&D is not LOTR, especially in modern editions. It takes some inspiration as to tropes and themes, but it is a very different beast. In fact, modern D&D would not do LOTR well at all. So reasoning from LOTR leads you in bad paths.

Take, for example, the introduction to the 5e PHB.


In the Dungeons & Dragons game, each player creates an adventurer (also called a character) and teams up with other adventurers (played by friends). Working together, the group might explore a dark dungeon, a ruined city, a haunted castle, a lost temple deep in the jungle, or a lava-filled cavern beneath a mysterious mountain. The adventurers can solve puzzles, talk with other characters, battle fantastic monsters, and discover fabulous magic items and other treasure.


Player-created characters are referred to as "adventurers" throughout the book. The entire, sole, only focus is on the character as someone engaged in adventures. Whoever they were before is in the past, in their Background.

Turning to the Background section of the PHB:


Every story has a beginning. Your character's background reveals where you came from, how you became an adventurer, and your place in the world....

Choosing a background provides you with important story cues about your character's identity. The most important question to ask about your background is what changed? Why did you stop doing whatever your background describes and start adventuring?...How did you learn the skills of your class? What sets you apart from ordinary people who share your background?


Note the sentence in bold. It's clear that rules-compliant characters stop doing <background> and become adventurers. Adventuring is the fundamental point, the full-time occupation of a D&D 5e character. Everything is built around it.

Themrys
2019-04-17, 04:14 PM
Never metagame wrong information? No, I roleplay wrong information whenever my characters have said wrong information.

It is quite the roleplaying conundrum to figure out what all the myths & legends would look like in a world where those monsters are real, and one of them ate uncle Fred. This is part (a small part, granted, but still a part) of why it takes me so long to make a character, and why my character is "not from around here" (so that my version of the myths doesn't have to match anyone else's versions of myths heard).

Also, as I think I stated upthread, I started keeping careful track of who trained whom, who past what information along to whom, etc. I did the same for information I knew, OOC, to be false.


Indeed. While the average PC may not have been present when that monster ate uncle Fred, they are still at least about as likely to know what it is and how dangerous it is as the average medieval European peasant was to know what a bear is and how dangerous it is.

Peasants did not hunt bears, but they knew quite a bit about how nobles hunted bears, and knew that they'd better stay away from bears. There's still some bits of questionable knowledge on how to act in case of bear attack going around - does playing dead actually help? - but the average peasant would have known that bears can bite, but cannot breathe acid, and that a dagger is probably not a good weapon to fight against a bear.

If trolls are common enough in the area that people you meet regularly encounter them, you would know the most well-known facts about them.


Things like danger level tend to be more well known than the exact right way to kill that monster. (Unless it is something extremely out there, like sunlight for trolls). The average person just needs to know that they have no chance and ought to run if they ever encounter one.

AMFV
2019-04-17, 04:19 PM
Things like danger level tend to be more well known than the exact right way to kill that monster. (Unless it is something extremely out there, like sunlight for trolls). The average person just needs to know that they have no chance and ought to run if they ever encounter one.

The thing is that PCs are NOT average people in almost setting or edition. In 3.5 D&D they are made using PC classes and rolled starts or a point buy far exceeding that of the elite array. In 2.5E and earlier the "average person" is a level zero commoner. In 4E, it is explicitly stated that the PCs are above the average. The PCs are people who confront dangerous monsters as a part of their living (regardless of whether they are mercenaries or professional monster hunters or "adventurers"), this means that unless they are going to be dead adventurers they are going to both have a decent amount of knowledge about how to fight monsters as well as really good instincts on what should be done to fight a monster.

Now there are games where the PCs might be actually average, but I wouldn't enjoy those personally.

Koo Rehtorb
2019-04-17, 04:56 PM
One of the biggest inspirations for the D&D experience is LOTR. None of those characters were "professional adventurers." At least they wouldn't describe themselves as such. Aragorn and Gandalf come closest, being the most proactive in heroism. But both are affiliated with special organizations that explain their adventuring focus. Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir were mostly in the business of helping manage their respective realms, mighty warriors to be sure, but not exactly professional adventurers and not part of some guild.

LotR was never a major D&D inspiration. D&D has always been far more inspired by pulp sword and sorcery like Conan.

Honest Tiefling
2019-04-17, 05:00 PM
If trolls are common enough in the area that people you meet regularly encounter them, you would know the most well-known facts about them.

I'm still unconvinced. I mean, bears still exist and live around people and yet idiots keep trying to pet baby bears. Pelicans were once believed to nurse their chicks with their own blood and that goose grew from trees or that rabbits are actually witches in disguise. Geese, pelicans or rabbits aren't exactly rare and exotic creatures for much of the world.

There is also the matter that many myths and legends have arisen because someone saw something in a weird way...Like the proposed origin of the myth of mermaids, chupacabra, and the greys.

Basically, I still believe that myth and legend surrounding somewhat commonly encountered monsters should probably account for stupidity, drunkeness and people just making up stuff.

Boci
2019-04-17, 05:25 PM
I'm still unconvinced. I mean, bears still exist and live around people and yet idiots keep trying to pet baby bears.

Agreed. I remember a sad story about a snake charmer who died. He was bitten by his snake during a performance, and insisted he was fine, but ended dying from it. No one is sure he misjudged the severity of the bite, maybe he was the victim of a snakeoil merchant and believed he would be protected by some charm, or perhaps he had been bitten before and pulled through and so assumed it would be the same, not realizing the amount of venom injected can vary from bite to bite.

Point is, he was a snake charmer, and still badly misjudged a fairly important detail on the snakes that where literally his job.


Basically, I still believe that myth and legend surrounding somewhat commonly encountered monsters should probably account for stupidity, drunkeness and people just making up stuff.

Don't forget "tweaking details and framing nerratives to make it a better story at the expense of giving sound advice for how to actually defeat those creatures".

Rather than try and justify why legends apply, but only in a positive way, it seems like abetter idea to tell your DM that pretending you don't know the monster's weakness isn;t fun, so that leaves not using monsters whose weakness you know, or letting the character know somehow.

Pleh
2019-04-17, 05:34 PM
D&D is not LOTR, especially in modern editions. It takes some inspiration as to tropes and themes, but it is a very different beast. In fact, modern D&D would not do LOTR well at all. So reasoning from LOTR leads you in bad paths.

What? It would do that sort of story just fine.


Player-created characters are referred to as "adventurers" throughout the book. The entire, sole, only focus is on the character as someone engaged in adventures. Whoever they were before is in the past, in their Background.

Yes, Aragorn was a Ranger from the North and then he joined the Fellowship (the party). Legolas was a prince from the woodland realm, then he joined the Fellowship and began adventuring.

Later, when the war was won and the campaign ended, they retired from their lives of adventuring, as all PCs eventually do.

The PHB uses the term, "adventurers" for the same reason the protagonist of Mass Effect is always referred to as Shepherd: because they didn't want to write every possible name.


Note the sentence in bold. It's clear that rules-compliant characters stop doing <background> and become adventurers. Adventuring is the fundamental point, the full-time occupation of a D&D 5e character. Everything is built around it.

Yes and no. A PC with the background of having been part of a Guard might view their role in the adventure as being an *extension* of their background as a guard. Fate has forced them to become more proactive in their duties.

It's a perfectly valid character concept you could use in any game legally, but it doesn't justify the idea that "this is their profession and therefore they ought to have professional knowledge about things concerning matters of adventuring."

Taking a career path doesn't necessitate having previous work experience in the field.


LotR was never a major D&D inspiration. D&D has always been far more inspired by pulp sword and sorcery like Conan.

You haven't heard of the early disputes between D&D and the Tolkien estate over the use of "Hobbits" and "Ents"? I know there are more sources of inspiration than just LOTR, but saying it wasn't an influence at all is either ignorant or disingenuous.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-17, 06:00 PM
What? It would do that sort of story just fine.


Not really. LOTR is super low magic compared to any edition. There's basically no D&D-style combat, and what there is doesn't work with the system at all. Most of the tropes and story arcs depend entirely on "DM" fiat. As a story, it's not well suited for a D&D campaign. Plus the whole DMPC (gandalf) thing.





Yes, Aragorn was a Ranger from the North and then he joined the Fellowship (the party). Legolas was a prince from the woodland realm, then he joined the Fellowship and began adventuring.

Later, when the war was won and the campaign ended, they retired from their lives of adventuring, as all PCs eventually do.

The PHB uses the term, "adventurers" for the same reason the protagonist of Mass Effect is always referred to as Shepherd: because they didn't want to write every possible name.


But they retired fundamentally transformed. As do PCs. After all, you might go from 1-20, from apprentice level to legendary grandmaster in a matter of months or single-digit years. A PC might think that it's just a temporary disturbance, but except for specialized one-shots, that's a false assumption.

And PCs are completely a cut above normal people already. Starting with the Standard Array (15 14 13 12 10 8), you're looking at someone who is
* in the top 3% (assuming 3d6 + racial stat distributions) in one area
* in the top 5% in a different area
* the top 7% in yet a third area
* the top 10% in a fourth
* average in a 5th
* and slightly below par in the last.

On top of that, a level 1 fighter is way more powerful than a Guard. More skills, more health, a fighting style, action surge, second wind, etc.

Adventurers are inherently special. The passage I quoted even calls that out--you need to find justification for why you have these skills and powers not available to a normal person with your same background.



Yes and no. A PC with the background of having been part of a Guard might view their role in the adventure as being an *extension* of their background as a guard. Fate has forced them to become more proactive in their duties.

It's a perfectly valid character concept you could use in any game legally, but it doesn't justify the idea that "this is their profession and therefore they ought to have professional knowledge about things concerning matters of adventuring."

Taking a career path doesn't necessitate having previous work experience in the field.


But that only applies exactly at session 1. By session 2, they've already had work experience. By the time they're facing trolls, they've been around quite a bit and had direct motivation to learn these sorts of things. Unless they want to die quickly.



You haven't heard of the early disputes between D&D and the Tolkien estate over the use of "Hobbits" and "Ents"? I know there are more sources of inspiration than just LOTR, but saying it wasn't an influence at all is either ignorant or disingenuous.

It was an influence, I have no doubt. But to say that "LOTR did X, so D&D must do X" is the genetic fallacy. It's been 40+ years since then and multiple editions. Inspiration back then has little or no real effect on modern editions, except in thematics and some legacy parts, heavily filtered through prior editions. D&D is D&D. Not more, not less. It's not any of the other things it drew from, nor is "generic". It's it's own beast at this point, and must be understood as such.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-17, 06:02 PM
What? It would do that sort of story just fine.


I don't know, several members of the Fellowship clearly knew what the various kinds of trolls were, and so were obviously "metagaming".

Aragorn even know all about the Ring Wraiths, no doubt he'd been reading the module and couldn't separate player knowledge from character knowledge.

And he power-gamed his background something fierce, too.




Yes, Aragorn was a Ranger from the North and then he joined the Fellowship (the party). Legolas was a prince from the woodland realm, then he joined the Fellowship and began adventuring.


Aragorn, Legolas, and several others got up to quite a bit that would be considered "adventuring" before the events of the Rings trilogy.




The PHB uses the term, "adventurers" for the same reason the protagonist of Mass Effect is always referred to as Shepherd: because they didn't want to write every possible name.


That's an... interesting take.

Or, it could be that there's a broad set of activities that are recognizably "adventuring" in the context of D&D and other games, and characters who spend a good deal of their time engaged in those activities.




You haven't heard of the early disputes between D&D and the Tolkien estate over the use of "Hobbits" and "Ents"? I know there are more sources of inspiration than just LOTR, but saying it wasn't an influence at all is either ignorant or disingenuous.


Good thing no one said that.

Themrys
2019-04-17, 06:17 PM
I'm still unconvinced. I mean, bears still exist and live around people and yet idiots keep trying to pet baby bears. Pelicans were once believed to nurse their chicks with their own blood and that goose grew from trees or that rabbits are actually witches in disguise. Geese, pelicans or rabbits aren't exactly rare and exotic creatures for much of the world.

There is also the matter that many myths and legends have arisen because someone saw something in a weird way...Like the proposed origin of the myth of mermaids, chupacabra, and the greys.

Basically, I still believe that myth and legend surrounding somewhat commonly encountered monsters should probably account for stupidity, drunkeness and people just making up stuff.


I do think people trying to pet baby bears is because modern people are so very removed from nature.
Of course you do get drunken idiots trying to wrestle bears with their bare hands, and you get badass grannies beating up bears with brooms to protect their apple harvest. But I would argue that in both of the latter cases, the people rationally know that bears are bad news, but react more emotionally, and also know how the kind of bear who lives near their home behaves. (Badass granny seems to have been used to relatively peaceful bears who would retreat if challenged)

Bears' behaviours vary from region to region and even from individual to individual, and so can those of DnD monsters - if you are worried about metagaming, why not just change the monster just a little bit? Trolls that aren't vulnerable to sunlight may be cheating, but trolls that have learnt to just carry the captured dwarves to their cave instead of arguing in the open? Perfectly possible.

How animals reproduce or care for their young is not important to hunting them, so the myths regarding that tend to survive contact with reality for a lot longer than others.

Pippa the Pixie
2019-04-17, 07:01 PM
Basically, I still believe that myth and legend surrounding somewhat commonly encountered monsters should probably account for stupidity, drunkeness and people just making up stuff.

It's amazing what most people ''think". Even educated people.


I do think people trying to pet baby bears is because modern people are so very removed from nature.


People are just as clueless as they have always been. Not just about nature...but about everything.

AMFV
2019-04-17, 08:01 PM
I'm still unconvinced. I mean, bears still exist and live around people and yet idiots keep trying to pet baby bears. Pelicans were once believed to nurse their chicks with their own blood and that goose grew from trees or that rabbits are actually witches in disguise. Geese, pelicans or rabbits aren't exactly rare and exotic creatures for much of the world.

Right dumb city people or drunk country people might do stupid things around animals. But their job isn't going to be "animal wrangler", an adventurer's job is to routinely interact with those animals. Also I would bet you a shiny silver penny that very few people who kept geese believed that they grew from trees, and very few people who hunted rabbits believed that they were disguised witches.



There is also the matter that many myths and legends have arisen because someone saw something in a weird way...Like the proposed origin of the myth of mermaids, chupacabra, and the greys.

Again though, you're not necessarily dealing with professionals interacting with the subject of their profession here.



Basically, I still believe that myth and legend surrounding somewhat commonly encountered monsters should probably account for stupidity, drunkeness and people just making up stuff.

Yes, and a level zero commoner is likely to not be familiar with all the details of monster behavior, or is unlikely to know how to make educated guesses about that, but a professional adventurer.


Agreed. I remember a sad story about a snake charmer who died. He was bitten by his snake during a performance, and insisted he was fine, but ended dying from it. No one is sure he misjudged the severity of the bite, maybe he was the victim of a snakeoil merchant and believed he would be protected by some charm, or perhaps he had been bitten before and pulled through and so assumed it would be the same, not realizing the amount of venom injected can vary from bite to bite.

Point is, he was a snake charmer, and still badly misjudged a fairly important detail on the snakes that where literally his job.



And now is a dead snake charmer. Which is the point I was making, there is no reason to force your players to RP as "stupid adventurers who are going to die in their careers because of stupidity." That's likely to happen enough anyways without enforcement of fairly ridiculous rules. I would imagine the most likely thing is that he misjudged the severity of the bite, which probably happens.

Jay R
2019-04-17, 10:10 PM
LotR was never a major D&D inspiration. D&D has always been far more inspired by pulp sword and sorcery like Conan.

I guess we could play word games all day over what the phrase "a major D&D inspiration" means. But in the first three-pamphlet version of D&D, the possible PC races were Men, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits. And in the one paragraph describing the possibility of playing any other race, the example was a Balrog.

That seems kind of inspired by LotR to me.


Not really. LOTR is super low magic compared to any edition. There's basically no D&D-style combat, and what there is doesn't work with the system at all. Most of the tropes and story arcs depend entirely on "DM" fiat. As a story, it's not well suited for a D&D campaign. Plus the whole DMPC (gandalf) thing.

Here is the Lord of the Rings as a D&D setting (https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=612), as written by Shamus Young.

Warning: If you are a Tolkien fan and a D&D fan, budget some time for your first visit. These are hilarious and addictive.

[I've read the whole thing many times before, and I got hooked into re-reading it just now, when I linked to it for this post.]

Boci
2019-04-18, 02:58 AM
And now is a dead snake charmer. Which is the point I was making, there is no reason to force your players to RP as "stupid adventurers who are going to die in their careers because of stupidity."

Which is unrelated to my piont, which is that claiming "oh but legends exist" is a poor justification for your character to know extra stuff if its only ever going to be beneficial. I'm also not sure why "stupid" is relevant here, which you included twice. He made a call about the severity of the snake bite, and was wrong. I wouldn't say it makes him stupid, its just a reminder that even people whose job is to deal with venomous snakes. Now imagine someones "job" is to deal with every monster in the world, and claims "oh, PCs will definitly know this and not be wrong", start to look a little difficult to justify nerrativly, unless the DM explicitly makes them academy graduates, like some in this thread have.

Also the "and now he's dead" aspect, yes he is, but its worth noting that D&D is more forgiving of such slip ups than real life.


Yes, and a level zero commoner is likely to not be familiar with all the details of monster behavior, or is unlikely to know how to make educated guesses about that, but a professional adventurer.

Without skill points in the relevant areas, there's not that much differences between a commoner and an adventurer. Yes sure, background emcompasses some deeds, but not much. Unless you're a very high level, "I'm a professional adventurer" is not going to buy you much in the way of practical expirience with monsters. If commoners don't know it, then its not common knowledge.

Pleh
2019-04-18, 07:29 AM
Not really. LOTR is super low magic compared to any edition. There's basically no D&D-style combat, and what there is doesn't work with the system at all. Most of the tropes and story arcs depend entirely on "DM" fiat. As a story, it's not well suited for a D&D campaign. Plus the whole DMPC (gandalf) thing.

I disagree. You've made some claims, so support them if you want to change my mind.


But they retired fundamentally transformed. As do PCs. After all, you might go from 1-20, from apprentice level to legendary grandmaster in a matter of months or single-digit years. A PC might think that it's just a temporary disturbance, but except for specialized one-shots, that's a false assumption.

This doesn't seem to disprove my point.

Because it could fit your paradigm doesn't mean it must do so, therefore in amy given game the player must needs justify that their character meets your criteria to gain the benefits you wish to take for granted. It's not a wrong way to play, but it's not the only correct way to play, either.


snip

Adventurers are inherently special. The passage I quoted even calls that out--you need to find justification for why you have these skills and powers not available to a normal person with your same background.

Here we are in agreement. You need to find justification for your character's specialness. If that justification doesn't also justify knowledge of monsters, you shouldn't have the knowledge.

I do not accept being an adventurer to justify the knowledge.


But that only applies exactly at session 1. By session 2, they've already had work experience. By the time they're facing trolls, they've been around quite a bit and had direct motivation to learn these sorts of things. Unless they want to die quickly.

You keep referencing 5e. I've noticed the early levels can easily be gained in just a few reasonable encounters in that system. Clearing one beginner dungeon doesn't grant intimate knowledge of the entire monster manual.

You're talking out of your own experience, not what the system provides more generally. It's true for you, and that's fine, but you're projecting it out as if it will be that way for everyone.


It was an influence, I have no doubt. But to say that "LOTR did X, so D&D must do X" is the genetic fallacy. It's been 40+ years since then and multiple editions. Inspiration back then has little or no real effect on modern editions, except in thematics and some legacy parts, heavily filtered through prior editions. D&D is D&D. Not more, not less. It's not any of the other things it drew from, nor is "generic". It's it's own beast at this point, and must be understood as such.

At no point did I imply that D&D be constrained to LOTR. Of course it can and has expand beyond where it started. But it also hasn't outgrown LOTR. If players or DMs wanted to use D&D to play a story set in Middle Earth, it should work reasonably well.

But the real point is that being an adventurer *by trade* is NOT a given in D&D. The game is about your character's adventures, but they don't have to be an adventurer to have adventures. They do BECOME adventurers as they adventure, but there's nothing that requires them to start that way. Bilbo was no kind of adventurer (except in his heart) before the Dwarves showed up. He became many things later, but he didn't instantly gain skills he didn't previously have just because he signed the contract and joined Thorin's company ("I'm level 1 now!").


I don't know, several members of the Fellowship clearly knew what the various kinds of trolls were, and so were obviously "metagaming".

Aragorn even know all about the Ring Wraiths, no doubt he'd been reading the module and couldn't separate player knowledge from character knowledge.

And he power-gamed his background something fierce, too.

Well, this wasn't the first time the armies of Morgoth and Sauron had attacked the people of middle earth. They had some reputation. But of the fellowship, only Gandalf recognized the Balrog. Many players arguing they should know about trolls as a standard adventuring knowledge would have conniptions if they couldn't recognize a Balor stalking them.


Aragorn, Legolas, and several others got up to quite a bit that would be considered "adventuring" before the events of the Rings trilogy.

Yes, some characters had already seen campaign action and were returning to adventuring life. Pretty common in D&D to add new 1st level players to the sequel campaign with returning heroes.


Or, it could be that there's a broad set of activities that are recognizably "adventuring" in the context of D&D and other games, and characters who spend a good deal of their time engaged in those activities.

Six of one, half dozen of the other. The fact is that some adventurers treat it as a job and some don't, therefore, you need to justify to your DM which kind of character you are.

PP's Adventure Guild is an easy solution: disallow heroes who aren't that kind of adventurer. But that's a homebrew answer.


Good thing no one said that.


LotR was never a major D&D inspiration. D&D has always been far more inspired by pulp sword and sorcery like Conan.

Willie the Duck
2019-04-18, 08:25 AM
You haven't heard of the early disputes between D&D and the Tolkien estate over the use of "Hobbits" and "Ents"? I know there are more sources of inspiration than just LOTR, but saying it wasn't an influence at all is either ignorant or disingenuous.

We just got done with a thread where accusations of being disingenuous were thrown around like it was adult behavior. Can we please not have it again so soon?


Aragorn, Legolas, and several others got up to quite a bit that would be considered "adventuring" before the events of the Rings trilogy.
...
Or, it could be that there's a broad set of activities that are recognizably "adventuring" in the context of D&D and other games, and characters who spend a good deal of their time engaged in those activities.

<Not targeting this in particular so much as grabbing part of the broader sub-conversation this is part of.>

My takeaway from all of this is that, even in this thread, there is vast disagreement on what a starting adventurer should know about the world they live in. If we can't agree, certainly anyone sitting down at a new table cannot assume that those across the table (DM or players, depending on perspective) will have the same opinion. Perhaps this needs to be part of session zero, in which case the only correct amount of character knowledge is, 'whatever we've agreed upon.'



I guess we could play word games all day over what the phrase "a major D&D inspiration" means. But in the first three-pamphlet version of D&D, the possible PC races were Men, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits. And in the one paragraph describing the possibility of playing any other race, the example was a Balrog.

It's not like we are living in the bad old days where we had to trade half-remembered rumors read from fellow Usenet participants or the like. There are several well-made histories of D&D, including one (https://www.amazon.com/Playing-at-World-Jon-Peterson/dp/0615642047)that follows primary-source-only guidelines for academic rigor. Gygax is on record with as disfavoring Tolkien, but also included both LotR and the Hobbit in Appendix N, as well clearly included many of the fantasy creatures from the series in both Chainmail, LBB oD&D, and AD&D (excepting, since we are talking about them, Tolkien-esque trolls, D&D trolls being inspired by Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions).

Regarding whether D&D would work for LotR (or the Hobbit) -- well, the incentivization structure (XP) would be an issue. Old-school D&D (with the gp=xp model) would work for The Hobbit, as Smaug's treasure was clearly a/the primary campaign goal. LotR, however, didn't incentivize either treasure (old school), nor combat (Wotc xp structure). Other than that, how well things would fit would be a measure of degree.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-18, 08:58 AM
Emphasis added:



One of the biggest inspirations for the D&D experience is LOTR.



LotR was never a major D&D inspiration. D&D has always been far more inspired by pulp sword and sorcery like Conan.



You haven't heard of the early disputes between D&D and the Tolkien estate over the use of "Hobbits" and "Ents"? I know there are more sources of inspiration than just LOTR, but saying it wasn't an influence at all is either ignorant or disingenuous.



Good thing no one said that.


No one in this thread said that Toklein wasn't an influence/inspiration -- they were disputing the relative importance of that influence/inspiration.

Which only became an important distinction when you accused them of being "ignorant or disingenuous" on the basis of them saying something they never actually said...

:smallconfused:

Pleh
2019-04-18, 09:12 AM
My takeaway from all of this is that, even in this thread, there is vast disagreement on what a starting adventurer should know about the world they live in. If we can't agree, certainly anyone sitting down at a new table cannot assume that those across the table (DM or players, depending on perspective) will have the same opinion. Perhaps this needs to be part of session zero, in which case the only correct amount of character knowledge is, 'whatever we've agreed upon.'

This. The rules presume you'll play as an adventurer. They only limitedly presume what that actually means.

Talakeal
2019-04-18, 09:18 AM
Major influence =/= no influence at all.

Edit: Ninjad.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-18, 09:22 AM
<Not targeting this in particular so much as grabbing part of the broader sub-conversation this is part of.>

My takeaway from all of this is that, even in this thread, there is vast disagreement on what a starting adventurer should know about the world they live in. If we can't agree, certainly anyone sitting down at a new table cannot assume that those across the table (DM or players, depending on perspective) will have the same opinion. Perhaps this needs to be part of session zero, in which case the only correct amount of character knowledge is, 'whatever we've agreed upon.'


It absolutely should be part of the pre-campaign discussion and presentation. I've long made that part of my presentation to players, "This is what all your characters automatically know about the setting" and "this is what your specific character knows in addition to that based on your backstory, skills, etc."

My main point of contention is against the... assertion being tossed around that the PCs not being green and ignorant is somehow a sign of badwronggaming, that PCs actually having some knowledge of their world is "bad metagaming".




It's not like we are living in the bad old days where we had to trade half-remembered rumors read from fellow Usenet participants or the like. There are several well-made histories of D&D, including one (https://www.amazon.com/Playing-at-World-Jon-Peterson/dp/0615642047)that follows primary-source-only guidelines for academic rigor. Gygax is on record with as disfavoring Tolkien, but also included both LotR and the Hobbit in Appendix N, as well clearly included many of the fantasy creatures from the series in both Chainmail, LBB oD&D, and AD&D (excepting, since we are talking about them, Tolkien-esque trolls, D&D trolls being inspired by Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions).


Hey now, I miss Usenet... :smallwink:

But yeah, it's fairly easy now to go back and see that D&D was never simply "Middle Earth, the RPG". Vance, Anderson, Howard, Lovecraft, Moorcock, etc

Florian
2019-04-18, 09:34 AM
As for the original topic:

I think it is fair to say that we have two sets of concurrent metagames in this particular hobby, that don't crop up in other hobbies, so no direct comparison can be made.

1) We have the metagame that happens between the participants. On the positive side, this is stuff like Session Zero and such, on the negative side, this is anticipating your fellow players, not the in-game activities.

2) We have the metagame that happens on the level of the player-character-interface and will likely result in breaking immersion/versimilitude by acting on player knowledge and such.

Further, we have a certain degree of overlap happening between those two, making discussions a bit more difficult. Classic examples would be the talkative guy playing the low-CHA character, but still talking like a pro or the tactical savvy player handling a dumb barbarian with the same tactical skill.

Now the interesting point is looking at what kinds of mechanics some systems can include to handle the topic and how deeply integrated they are. This should help draw conclusion what level of metagaming should be considered to be ok for that system. (D20 has mechanics hard-coded in various ways...)

As for LOTR: Plainly speaking, pacing and scale don't really fit with modern RPG systems. Used as a module, it would be a rather straight forward affair of some dungeon crawling, a bit of wilderness and some set-piece battles and that's it. So maybe a 3-5 sessions mini-campaign.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-18, 09:46 AM
It absolutely should be part of the pre-campaign discussion and presentation. I've long made that part of my presentation to players, "This is what all your characters automatically know about the setting" and "this is what your specific character knows in addition to that based on your backstory, skills, etc."

My main point of contention is against the... assertion being tossed around that the PCs not being green and ignorant is somehow a sign of badwronggaming, that PCs actually having some knowledge of their world is "bad metagaming".


I'm totally fine with a player deciding that their character is ignorant about lots of things. I'm fine with a session 0 which says "ok, we're playing green characters from nowheresville who know nothing" (although I'd probably not play that unless the rest of the hook was fantastic). I'm not fine with a presumption of ignorance. It goes along with a presumption of incompetence (either the system or the DM resolving all ambiguity against the character) as a total turn-off.

If you know you're going to be fighting monsters, the default should be (both for sane characters and ease of play) that they're actively studying local foes and what they may come across. You can deviate, but the default should be more knowledge, not less.

Talakeal
2019-04-18, 09:54 AM
This is a slight tangeant, but the idea that PCs are all adventurers seems to be the default assumption in recent editions of D&D, and it has personally turned me away from the game.

I have heard a lot of people, both online and in person, who use the fact that it is a game about adventurers to justify the game's non-functional skill system as a sort of "its not a bug its a feature."

For example, when I complained that unless I am a rogue I simply cannot get a Heal bonus high enough to not fail at a chalkenging taks a wuarter of the time, and am told that is because my character isn't a doctor, I am an adventurer who just happened to pick up some first aid knowledge along the way to help with her adventuring.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-18, 10:03 AM
This is a slight tangeant, but the idea that PCs are all adventurers seems to be the default assumption in recent editions of D&D, and it has personally turned me away from the game.

I have heard a lot of people, both online and in person, who use the fact that it is a game about adventurers to justify the game's non-functional skill system as a sort of "its not a bug its a feature."

For example, when I complained that unless I am a rogue I simply cannot get a Heal bonus high enough to not fail at a chalkenging taks a wuarter of the time, and am told that is because my character isn't a doctor, I am an adventurer who just happened to pick up some first aid knowledge along the way to help with her adventuring.

That's because the definition of a challenging task is one that highly-skilled people fail at 25% of the time.

And since rogues are rarely maxing Wisdom, even one with expertise in Medicine is only up to normal (plus a bit) on that particular check.

That is, what's needed is a recalibration of your definitions. A surgeon isn't making Wisdom (Medicine) checks for normal things; and if your character was a medical professional, they'll have other ways of doing it. For example the Healer feat.

The Medicine skill in 5e is about diagnosis and first aid, not treatment of complex conditions. This is a change from previous editions.

And no, a 5e character is not a practicing doctor by default. A 1st level character is an apprentice and has proficiency. But they're not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. And a professional doctor would have class features that allow them to auto-succeed (or roll with advantage, or...) on such checks. To truly be good at something in 5e, you need class features, not raw numbers. That's a conscious design; in my opinion it's good design. Classes as bundles of stats and (sometimes) spell lists are pointless and lead to 3e's Fighter vs Wizard, where one is "numbers, the class" and the other is "anything printed on those ever expanding spell lists, the class".

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-18, 10:19 AM
This is a slight tangeant, but the idea that PCs are all adventurers seems to be the default assumption in recent editions of D&D, and it has personally turned me away from the game.

I have heard a lot of people, both online and in person, who use the fact that it is a game about adventurers to justify the game's non-functional skill system as a sort of "its not a bug its a feature."

For example, when I complained that unless I am a rogue I simply cannot get a Heal bonus high enough to not fail at a challenging tasks a quarter of the time, and am told that is because my character isn't a doctor, I am an adventurer who just happened to pick up some first aid knowledge along the way to help with her adventuring.

It's a thing with a lot of more recent game systems -- overtight focus. Some are far far tighter than 5e, even. "This is a game about X, so the system will be stripped down to only ever handle things we think matter to X".

But you're right, there's a lot of "but 5e is about adventurers adventuring" used to fig-leaf hiccups in the system, even when those hiccups affect things that characters in an "adventurers adventuring" campaign might get up to -- and the Skills are where that occurs most often. There's no systemic way to increase your number of Skills, and no way to invest in improving the modifier for a particular Skill (other than leveling). Being highly Skilled is linked to a couple of particular Classes, and not to INT in any way.

And when this is brought up, and not just here, the response is usually something about how the Skills don't represent actual mastery or high-end knowledge, just "the stuff adventurers would know about it". If that's true, and taken literally, then 5e simply has this giant hole where it cannot handle characters who are actual masters of a field of knowledge.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-18, 10:34 AM
And when this is brought up, and not just here, the response is usually something about how the Skills don't represent actual mastery or high-end knowledge, just "the stuff adventurers would know about it". If that's true, and taken literally, then 5e simply has this giant hole where it cannot handle characters who are actual masters of a field of knowledge.

It handles it just fine. If your character legitimately (as in through agreed on backstory or in-play events) should be an actual master, they get to auto-succeed on things they should know about.

Dice rolls only matter for things in doubt. If it's not in doubt, you don't need to roll.

But for the majority of player characters (who start out as apprentices and then spend the rest of their adventuring careers actively adventuring, with only small breaks between adventures), they're never going to be actual masters of a field of knowledge. Because they spent their time learning how to adventure, rather than in a lab/library somewhere.

To me, saying that you want your level 1 character to be an actual master of X is like saying you want to start play as the king of a kingdom with an army. That's not a valid 1st-level character. At higher levels, you can negotiate a backstory that includes such things. But they won't be mechanical markers, because that's a mistaken idea of what the Ability Check system is there for (which is for adventuring tasks). There will be a whole range of things you'll just know, no check needed. There might be a whole set of tasks that you just succeed at, because the risk of failure is minimal and uninteresting. But you won't have higher numbers, because those are adventuring related and ivory-tower knowledge just doesn't do much for that.

Boci
2019-04-18, 10:42 AM
It handles it just fine. If your character legitimately (as in through agreed on backstory or in-play events) should be an actual master, they get to auto-succeed on things they should know about.

Dice rolls only matter for things in doubt. If it's not in doubt, you don't need to roll.

But the DM gets to decide whether your character should legitimately be an actual master an auto succeed.. "It handles just fine, the DM can decide" is true for any system.


To me, saying that you want your level 1 character to be an actual master of X is like saying you want to start play as the king of a kingdom with an army.

That would work a lot better if D&D didn't have a long history of implying/outright saying that the vast majority of NPCs never gain a level, meaning the NPC doctor is likely 1st level. Sure, 4th and 5th abandoned the PCs and NPCs using the same rules, but its still strange I can't play a master surgeon turned adventurer at level 1 if being a master surgeon is apparantly within the bounds of level 1.

The kingdom comparison is also a little strawman-y. A kingdom and an army will change the game, but the DM saying "Okay, since you've had years practising battle field medicine, you can stabalize dying creatures automatically as if you had a healer kits" does not.

Quertus
2019-04-18, 10:51 AM
Stop saying true things that prove me wrong :)

While what you say is true and a discussion is needed. I would question the sense of playing a game with these currencies in but then not allowing the player to know if its worth using them.

For me it is much more playing a game that does what you want.

I can happily play or GM systems with or without this level of metagaming. If I as a player are handed meta currencies I assume (maybe incorrectly) that I will know enough to make them useful. Saying that its only in the last few years have I even thought what does rolling the dice mean as I was trapped in the head space of "old school" gaming.

For the record, I a) really like metacurrency, and b) prefer metacurrency that can be spent with meta-level information, not just character-level information.


Didn't Earthwalker say that you can spend metagame currency to reroll a failed roll? That sort of requires that you know whether you failed or succeeded.


Simplest thing is to go with a different example for Shadowrun. We are Karma (back in the day) and you can spend a point to re-roll a failed roll.

Well, so he did. :smallredface: I read what I expected to hear from my half-forgotten recollections of playing Shadowrun.

If the rules explicitly say, "a failed roll", then, yeah, he kinda needs to know if he failed or not to spend them. If, otoh, they only talk about, I donno, "improving a roll" or something, then it's more ambiguous.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-18, 11:00 AM
The kingdom comparison is also a little strawman-y. A kingdom and an army will change the game, but the DM saying "Okay, since you've had years practising battle field medicine, you can stabalize dying creatures automatically as if you had a healer kits" does not.

I'll do you one better. Take the Healer feat and you can do that and restore 1 HP (bringing them back into the fight).

BTW, a stabilization check is a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check without a healer's kit; with one it's an auto-success. So someone with starting proficiency and a good wisdom score fails on a 4 or below even without a kit. Someone with good proficiency and a good score can never fail.

So that's something the ability check system handles just fine in a bunch of different ways.

Generally, 5e requires that out-of-band (compared to "normal" people) ability requires features, feats, boons, items, or traits. Just piling on "more numbers" really means that unless you specialize, you're incompetent (CF bear lore). Or you blow the roof off the whole scale and can never fail, making that whole sub-system moot.

Talakeal
2019-04-18, 11:04 AM
It handles it just fine. If your character legitimately (as in through agreed on backstory or in-play events) should be an actual master, they get to auto-succeed on things they should know about.

Dice rolls only matter for things in doubt. If it's not in doubt, you don't need to roll.

But for the majority of player characters (who start out as apprentices and then spend the rest of their adventuring careers actively adventuring, with only small breaks between adventures), they're never going to be actual masters of a field of knowledge. Because they spent their time learning how to adventure, rather than in a lab/library somewhere.

To me, saying that you want your level 1 character to be an actual master of X is like saying you want to start play as the king of a kingdom with an army. That's not a valid 1st-level character. At higher levels, you can negotiate a backstory that includes such things. But they won't be mechanical markers, because that's a mistaken idea of what the Ability Check system is there for (which is for adventuring tasks). There will be a whole range of things you'll just know, no check needed. There might be a whole set of tasks that you just succeed at, because the risk of failure is minimal and uninteresting. But you won't have higher numbers, because those are adventuring related and ivory-tower knowledge just doesn't do much for that.

Don't you think that this would sort of annoy the other players at the table though? I know there would be all sorts of whining and name-calling at my table if I let one of the players auto succeed on skill checks because of their background.

Boci
2019-04-18, 11:06 AM
I'll do you one better. Take the Healer feat and you can do that and restore 1 HP (bringing them back into the fight).

You seem to be doing a remarkable good job as disproving your own opinion that a master healer at level one is somehow like having a kingdom and army.

That also locks you into feat varient human, which might not have been how you visualized the character. Or it could be a featless game, since you know, varient rules and all that.


BTW, a stabilization check is a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check without a healer's kit; with one it's an auto-success.

I know, that wasn't meant to be read as "you can stabalize dying creature, unlike other people who need a healerskit" it was "you can always auto stabalize".


Don't you think that this would sort of annoy the other players at the table though? I know there would be all sorts of whining and name-calling at my table if I let one of the players auto succeed on skill checks because of their background.

You, "just" have to do it fairly and make sure everyone gets something apropriate from their backstory. It will work well enough for some groups, whilst others will wonder why they are doing WotC's job for them.

Max_Killjoy
2019-04-18, 11:12 AM
It handles it just fine. If your character legitimately (as in through agreed on backstory or in-play events) should be an actual master, they get to auto-succeed on things they should know about.

Dice rolls only matter for things in doubt. If it's not in doubt, you don't need to roll.


Which just means that the it doesn't scale up to harder or more in-depth instances. There's a different between "you don't need to roll, you know this", and "the system can't handle the difference between what a master knows, what an expert knows, what a dabbler knows, etc". Beyond a certain point, in 5e as you describe it, there's just no way to differentiate other than "because the DM said so".

In other systems, the fact that there's no roll needed can be represented by the fact that the roll can't fail, or by some other more finely granular detail on the character sheet, or by something in the character's background. In this system, it almost looks like a deliberate implementation of the Rule Zero Fallacy -- "the GM can make a fiat ruling that the character knows, so nothing is missing and the scale is not incomplete".




But for the majority of player characters (who start out as apprentices and then spend the rest of their adventuring careers actively adventuring, with only small breaks between adventures), they're never going to be actual masters of a field of knowledge. Because they spent their time learning how to adventure, rather than in a lab/library somewhere.

To me, saying that you want your level 1 character to be an actual master of X is like saying you want to start play as the king of a kingdom with an army. That's not a valid 1st-level character. At higher levels, you can negotiate a backstory that includes such things. But they won't be mechanical markers, because that's a mistaken idea of what the Ability Check system is there for (which is for adventuring tasks). There will be a whole range of things you'll just know, no check needed. There might be a whole set of tasks that you just succeed at, because the risk of failure is minimal and uninteresting. But you won't have higher numbers, because those are adventuring related and ivory-tower knowledge just doesn't do much for that.


Why restrict the issue to level 1 characters? The line you're drawing means that no PC, regardless of their focus or interests or actions, can actually master any field of knowledge or anything else covered by a Skill; that a level 10 Wizard with an 18 INT and proficiency in Arcana, who spends hours every day studying and casting spells, is still just a "dabbler" compared to some NPC who spends his life holed up in a tower. The NPC will always be "better", because it's been predetermined that the PC will always be "a knowledgeable amateur" no matter what, and can't compare to the "academic".


This almost strikes me as an RPG-specific manifestation of the "academic fallacy" that has seized our culture. That is, the self-serving faith and belief within academia, and from there infesting the rest of our culture, that only through academic study and research can one ever truly understand a subject. A broader symptom would be "degree bloat", where positions that only required a bachelors to get in the door for an interview 20 or even 10 years ago, now require a masters at a minimum, even through nothing has fundamentally changed.


AND, there's no way in the rules to represent that the NPC actually knows more, it's just by declaration -- so if the NPC were engaged in a contested roll with the PC, there'd be nothing there to represent the NPC's supposed superior knowledge.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-18, 11:16 AM
You seem to be doing a remarkable good job as disproving your own opinion that a master healer at level one is somehow like having a kingdom and army.

That also locks you into feat varient human, which might not have been how you visualized the character. Or it could be a featless game, since you know, varient rules and all that.


No, someone auto-stabilizing by spending build value is exactly what's supposed to work. A feat is a major resource, so you get a major benefit. Giving that away to someone who says "my concept is that I'm a master healer" is a problem.

And since anyone can do it with the right tools, auto-stabilization is very far from what I'd call "absolute mastery of a topic." Diagnosing a disease that no one has ever seen, based only on limited reports? Finding a subtle, exotic poison that leaves no trace? Those are worthy of the title. Stabilization is just first aid and any common medic can do that with a kit.

And as for other players getting irritated--I do this all the time. Constantly. From the class level down to the individual backstory level, everyone gets "things they just know or can do". I wrote up about 15 pages of things that any adult from various areas of my setting would know automatically. So no, I don't think that anyone not fully immersed in the (toxic, from my viewpoint) 3e mentality that everything needs an explicit roll/Take 10/fixed DC mindset would complain. Because they haven't now for 4+ years.

Boci
2019-04-18, 11:21 AM
No, someone auto-stabilizing by spending build value is exactly what's supposed to work. A feat is a major resource, so you get a major benefit. Giving that away to someone who says "my concept is that I'm a master healer" is a problem.

I'm not sure how that relates to the post of mine you quoted. Feats are still varient rules and may not be part of the game, and even if they are this locks the character concept into human varient only.


And since anyone can do it with the right tools, auto-stabilization is very far from what I'd call "absolute mastery of a topic." Diagnosing a disease that no one has ever seen, based only on limited reports? Finding a subtle, exotic poison that leaves no trace? Those are worthy of the title. Stabilization is just first aid and any common medic can do that with a kit.

You'll note I specified field medicine. Your two examples seem to be of the non-field variety of medicine.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-18, 11:49 AM
You'll note I specified field medicine. Your two examples seem to be of the non-field variety of medicine.

But I was responding in my original post to something that specifically excluded adventuring-related skills. So yours was a bit of mobile goals, to something that the system handles just fine because it's in the core competencies of the system, namely adventures.

Boci
2019-04-18, 11:53 AM
But I was responding in my original post to something that specifically excluded adventuring-related skills. So yours was a bit of mobile goals, to something that the system handles just fine because it's in the core competencies of the system, namely adventures.

Maybe don't quote me then?

Segev
2019-04-18, 11:57 AM
Don't you think that this would sort of annoy the other players at the table though? I know there would be all sorts of whining and name-calling at my table if I let one of the players auto succeed on skill checks because of their background.

I've never had players complain about somebody whose backstory warrented it being competent with something. I've had people get irritated if that same PC then insisted on rolling skills that he only justified by "yeah, I wanted to pick it up" and not by any sort of background to know things that he would have seemingly little business knowing, but that's usually the DM's fault for letting the player build something that doesn't match his background. I usually only run into that in living campaigns, anyway, and there, I haven't actually seen many judges allow players to get away with "but my whole backstory is about doing related things" to just know stuff.

In general, you can get around this by not even asking for rolls and just telling players the one you think is best suited to knowing/doing the thing does it, unless the roll being failed both is potentially interesting (without stopping the game cold) and there's a reasonable chance of failure.

Florian
2019-04-18, 12:02 PM
Don't you think that this would sort of annoy the other players at the table though? I know there would be all sorts of whining and name-calling at my table if I let one of the players auto succeed on skill checks because of their background.

My players would rather wonder why someone with the appropriate background should have to roll for certain tasks.

But, Talakeal, you have some really weird players to start with and should buy a cattle prod and make ample use of it for educational purposes with your players, especially one....

PhoenixPhyre
2019-04-18, 12:12 PM
I've never had players complain about somebody whose backstory warrented it being competent with something. I've had people get irritated if that same PC then insisted on rolling skills that he only justified by "yeah, I wanted to pick it up" and not by any sort of background to know things that he would have seemingly little business knowing, but that's usually the DM's fault for letting the player build something that doesn't match his background. I usually only run into that in living campaigns, anyway, and there, I haven't actually seen many judges allow players to get away with "but my whole backstory is about doing related things" to just know stuff.

In general, you can get around this by not even asking for rolls and just telling players the one you think is best suited to knowing/doing the thing does it, unless the roll being failed both is potentially interesting (without stopping the game cold) and there's a reasonable chance of failure.

I agree with the bold part entirely. Players feel good when they know things, and are more connected to the setting and to the world when the DM, acting as their interface with the world, tells them that they, because of who they are, just know/can do certain things.

It's a freeing moment. If everything requires a mechanical button to push, then everyone is going to go searching for mechanical buttons to push and the character and freedom get pushed aside in favor of increasingly abtruse rules "interpretations" that let them mechanically push buttons. If instead, all the unimportant things just happen because of characterization or background, they feel confident in taking risks because the character feels competent.

DMs hiding information that the character could reasonably have (ie defaulting to "you don't know that" if they can't prove they do) is, to me, the most common form of agency denial. You can't make informed decisions about things where information is hidden. Unfair agency denial by selective revelation of information is a big deal, much bigger in my mind than is meta-gaming.

Tanarii
2019-04-19, 08:21 AM
, unless the roll being failed both is potentially interesting (without stopping the game cold) and there's a reasonable chance of failure.
Not a bad overall rule for if something should be rolled for or not. Although I prefer "both potentially has a game impact, and there's a question of success or failure."

Players tend to be interested in things that have a game impact, so if by "interesting" you mean "interesting to the players", then it's close enough. But unfortunately DMs often interpret "interesting" as "furthers the story I'm running in my head".

Segev
2019-04-19, 09:53 AM
Not a bad overall rule for if something should be rolled for or not. Although I prefer "both potentially has a game impact, and there's a question of success or failure."

Players tend to be interested in things that have a game impact, so if by "interesting" you mean "interesting to the players", then it's close enough. But unfortunately DMs often interpret "interesting" as "furthers the story I'm running in my head".

I think we're in agreement in principle, yeah. My meaning here is mostly: Only roll if both failure and success can lead to the game proceeding, and there's a reasonable question as to which would happen under normal-ish circumstances.

Don't bother rolling if the rogue is picking a lock when he has plenty of time and the lock DC is physically possible for him to make the DC on; it's not worth it. (This is why d20 has the "take 20" rule, for example.) Don't bother rolling to see if the party can jump the ravine, even if some might fail on a 5 or less, if the consequences of them failing are going to cause an unfun challenge in getting the party back together which must happen before the game can continue.

I suppose you can take it the other way: Don't let the party succeed in jumping the ravine, even if some of them could do so on a 15+, if it would mean there's nothing left to do for the plot arc, but generally that kind of fiat "challenge" isn't worth the loss of sense of meaningful participation by the players. This way does like railroading. You really should have a plan for "what if they get away?" if that's the kind of scenario you're setting up.

Tanarii
2019-04-19, 11:41 AM
I suppose you can take it the other way: Don't let the party succeed in jumping the ravine, even if some of them could do so on a 15+, if it would mean there's nothing left to do for the plot arc, but generally that kind of fiat "challenge" isn't worth the loss of sense of meaningful participation by the players. This way does like railroading. You really should have a plan for "what if they get away?" if that's the kind of scenario you're setting up.
One of the more common 'railroading' reasons I've seen as a player is a DM determined to keep the party together, when the players don't care for the maxim 'never split the party'.

Of course, 'never split the party' can be either a metagame or a in-universe thing itself. Or both.

Jay R
2019-04-19, 12:44 PM
Don't you think that this would sort of annoy the other players at the table though? I know there would be all sorts of whining and name-calling at my table if I let one of the players auto succeed on skill checks because of their background.

Yes, if you change the rules to favor one player, people might complain. So if you change the rules, change them evenly. At the start of character creation, say, "Each of you can have one skill that has an auto-succeed option. Here are a list of skills that can do that; everybody can pick one."

[For my part, I don't see the problem. It gives another party member a free skill that can help me in combat when I'm unconscious, but can't help him when he's unconscious. Why would that annoy me? But some people don't think things through.]

Morgana
2019-04-20, 09:53 AM
I certainly think metagaming isn´t always all bad, I mean your character probably doesn´t understand how leveling works, so character decisions that will only make sense when you level up more and your build is more realized aren´t character knowledge. But making decisions for your character progression as if you didn´t knew how it would play at higher levels would kill a lot of the fun of making up a character.

The Glyphstone
2019-04-20, 10:01 AM
Yes, if you change the rules to favor one player, people might complain. So if you change the rules, change them evenly. At the start of character creation, say, "Each of you can have one skill that has an auto-succeed option. Here are a list of skills that can do that; everybody can pick one."

[For my part, I don't see the problem. It gives another party member a free skill that can help me in combat when I'm unconscious, but can't help him when he's unconscious. Why would that annoy me? But some people don't think things through.]

*Player choose Bluff*

*Inevitable consequences ensue*

Boci
2019-04-20, 10:06 AM
*Player choose Bluff*

*Inevitable consequences ensue*

Given that the "you can auto-pass skills checks if it makes sense from your background story" started with a discussion about 5th edition specifically, I see no reason why this would be bad. The player might get upset they never get to use their ability, but it certainly won't break the game.

HamsterKun
2019-04-20, 05:17 PM
https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/r1W13hYPFZ

The "I've Read the Handbook!" paragraph of it is what I'd like to draw attention to. It'd make for some interesting RP scenarios.

Morgana
2019-04-20, 07:27 PM
I think a problem here is that people are saying something that´s technically right, but drawing the wrong conclusions from it. Yes you can´t say every adventurer will know information about whatever monster they encounter, but that doesn´t make assuming your character does knows those things wrong. Cause every adventurer is the exception to the rule in a lot of regards, if you want to play an average person than honestly DnD is just not the right system to do so, even at low level. Then why is it so wrong to assume these people that are far above the ordinary could know those things? You could say maybe your particular adventurer doesn´t know it and play it like that, but that doesn´t make any other approach invalid.

Most of my latest characters know a whole lot about how their world works, honestly some arguably know even more than I do. My wizard with 20 intelligence has read pretty much every book on the shelf, and also has enough miles on his shoes that he has discovered even more than that. Even if your dump stat was intelligence that doesn´t mean there aren´t certain things you know a lot about, just that you probably didn´t learn those stuff through books and such.

But hey, that´s also not to say you can´t play an adventurer that doesn´t know these things, or hell, you could always ask your DM if you could roll to determine if they do know, but what you shouldn´t do is call the perfectly reasonable assumption that your level 8 ranger that has been travelling for years knows that trolls are weak to fire unreasonable and metagaming.

Bohandas
2019-04-20, 07:45 PM
To me metagaming is using out of game knowledge to influence your in character actions. I believe that knowing a rough AC by either A. Trial and error or B. Based upon appearance (The orc approaches and draws his sword as he readies his shield to charge. His plate armor clangs as he moves forward, roll initiative. I'm going into that combat with the assumption of AC 20+) is not Metagaming. Your character knows the information as well as you. However having a creature described and saying "Hey that's a blah blah it's got high AC because it's Dex modifier is through the roof" without any in game context is.

I disagree with that second part unless the either the characters or the monster are far from their homeland. If its around people are going to have heard about it, provided that its schtick isn't either stealth or mediocrity

OldTrees1
2019-04-20, 09:48 PM
https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/r1W13hYPFZ

The "I've Read the Handbook!" paragraph of it is what I'd like to draw attention to. It'd make for some interesting RP scenarios.

John Smith the Fighter keeps talking about "dye twenties" and "saving throes". I kinda wonder why people are painting 20s and how a death throe can save something.