Meta-Gaming: Definition




What's on your mind?

+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Novice (Lvl 1)

    Occhronustinrist's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Boulder Colorado
    Posts
    11

    Ignore Occhronustinrist

    Meta-Gaming: Definition

    Greetings,

    Long time reader, first time poster...blah, blah,

    Anyway, I am having issues with a few of my players on the proper definition of Meta-Gaming and I would like to solicit some definitions from the forum on what exactly constitutes meta-Gaming. I will withhold my opinion on the matter for now, but suffice it to say that I feel that this player Meta-Games constantly, ruining the flavor of the game for myself and others. He sincerely believes that he is not doing this.

    Please, I could use your thoughts on this...
    -Occhronustinrist

    "[National] myth draws from doctrines that are independantly respected in society and reinterprets such doctrines so that they will tend to mobilize popular imagination in support of a national government"

    "In God We Trust"

 

  • #2
    Registered User
    Novice (Lvl 1)

    Snowy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Posts
    188

    Ignore Snowy
    meta gaming is using ooc knowledge to make ic decisions.

    its not necessarily bad. Designing a character is metagaming (you can argue), you look at what feats and classes etc there are and the characters choice of his next training (level) gets decided.

    Metagaming - often confused with cheating, just knowing that trolls regenerate when they are rare is metagaming AND cheating.

    Another sometimes beneficial metagaming that comes up often in our sessions is accepting the disappearance of characters to mage school, druids council etc because their player is absent. It means that we can not spend hours searching the city for them and get on to the fun and interestign adventures I hopefully have planned .


    sorry slightly ranty, I LARP and this comes up often with people arguing all over the shop about it.

  • #3
    Registered User
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    amethal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Guernsey
    Posts
    1,536
    Blog Entries
    14

    Ignore amethal
    My communities:

    Quote Originally Posted by Occhronustinrist
    suffice it to say that I feel that this player Meta-Games constantly, ruining the flavor of the game for myself and others. He sincerely believes that he is not doing this.
    What sort of stuff does he do? It can be a grey area (but it normally isn't!).

    For example, in a 1 shot game I was in one of the other players advised everyone to charge the dragon as he saw the DM had rolled a 1 for the dragon's initiative, so "we could kill it before it gets a chance to act". That I feel is totally unacceptable.

    In another game, the DM suggested to the player of the good cleric that he might want to heal my sorcerer (given that he was unconscious and bleeding to death). That's an out of character hint fom the DM to an inexperienced player, which to my mind is to be encouraged.

    The player then responded that he was out of healing spells. I explained that he could spontaneously convert one of his 0 level spells into a cure minor wounds. This was our characters' first adventure together, my level 1 sorcerer probably didn't know good clerics could convert prepared spells into healing, and in any event he was unconscious so couldn't have told him.

    That was an out of character conversation where one player tries to get another to do something he otherwise wouldn't have. That's metagaming, but it takes a better person than me to calmly watch his first roleplaying character for 10 years bleed to death because one of the other players doesn't know his character's abilities properly!

  • #4
    Registered User
    Guide (Lvl 11)

    WizarDru's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Downingtown, PA
    Posts
    5,609

    Ignore WizarDru
    My communities:

    Meta-gaming means different things to different people, and more importantly, the line where it becomes odious or a problem is specific to the individual. Snowy's definition is pretty much spot-oin, though. In essence, meta-gaming is the idea of viewing the game from outside the game, the 'meta-game', which is where the player resides, not the character. Everyone, by definition, does this. It is quite simply impossible not to...the question is where the line is drawn for such behavior.

    For example: if my players attack a monster, and hit it when they hit an AC of 35 but miss it when they hit an AC of 37, they're going to use metagame knowledge to reason out the AC of the creature. Certain characters then may decide not to attack, as they know that short of a natural 20, they won't successfully hit, potentially wasting the action (when they could aid to attack or something else).

    On the one hand, much metagame behavior is pure gamist theory, similar to playing monopoly or chess and knowing the options available to you. On the other hand, the D&D system doesn't model certain details that strongly, and metagame knowledge may be a reflection of ingame knowledge. If I rephrase the above situation as the party watching as their most competent warrior finds himself hard-pressed to get past the creatures swift reflexes and natural armor-plating, it isn't wrong to believe that the rogue will try something other than a head-on assualt....especially considering that adventurers have knowledge and skills that the player does not.

    Amethal's example is another good one: the character certainly would know he could substitute spells, even though the player didn't. It's up to the individual DM how to handle that situation, but I wouldn't penalize one player for helping another player with a new system, myself. D&D is a big game...no one remembers all the rules all the time, unless maybe you're Hypersmurf.

    Another example: a character sees a combat in progress, and a monster takes its AoO on a character. Player 2 says "Oh, he's taken his AoO for the turn, so I run past him and attack him from behind!" Is this metagaming? Yes. Is it inappropriate? That's up to the individual group. In my game, it's not invalid, as I view this to be the purview of professional adventurers.

    Of course, my group takes nothing for granted, and hasn't since I warned them (several years ago, now) that monsters and enemies could be considerably different than the base MM creature. Does that Ogre have Combat Reflexes? Only one way to find out. A Painful Way, at that.

    What sort of behavior is the player engaging in that you find questionable?
    "I'd say it's more appropriate to say that videogames are RPG-ish, wouldn't you?"

    Have you read our current Zad/Wizardru's New Story Hour (Updated 9/8)

    or our older WizarDru's Story Hour?
    You Should.
    I ain't linking to Piratecat's story hour...no sir, I just won't do it. He can just get the next half-million reads on his own.

    Did I mention that I have a Livejournal? It's possible that I have.

  • #5
    Registered User




    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    1,211

    Ignore Shallown
    I would define metagaming as using the knowledge that it is a game to make your decisions.

    This can take several forms. Using out of character knowledge, saying "that won't happen cause the GM wouldn't due that" versus saying maybe the villian or whatever wouldn't do that.

    I don't think of character creation and choosing certain feats only to qualify for classes as metagaming neccessarily. Using the rules to define the world is what has to be done otherwise don'y use the rules. If the player knows I need X feat to qualify for X Presitge class then so should the character. The character knows I need to know how to X to join X guild and learn thier skills and abilities.

    Metagaming is not always wrong or against the spirit of the game in my mind. Overdoing it and always thinking Metagame thoughts first ruins the fun to me but never accepting Meta game ideas is also bad.

    Example - If You know A fellow PC is in trouble OOC you might find a reasonable reason to be where you can help them. This doesn't mean suddenly running across town for no reason but instead finding an in character reason for heading that way that may lead to helping them. Using Metagame knowledge but justifying it in game. Now doing this once or twice in a campaign is okay with me doing it weekly is not.

    later
    If characters don't go out of their way to keep themselves alive... why should I?

  • #6
    Registered User
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)

    Majoru Oakheart's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    3,019

    Ignore Majoru Oakheart
    My communities:

    By pure definition, Metagaming is making decisions on the game based on the fact that it is a game rather than a real world where people live. You can make the exact same decision in a metagaming way and in a roleplaying way.

    For instance:

    Metagaming: This door will likely be trapped as the DM said he wanted to put more traps in his game during our conversation last week. I'm going to search it for traps.

    Roleplaying: This is a dungeon created by a powerful wizard to guard his valuables. If I was a powerful wizard, I would place magical traps on the doors to ensure no one could take my valuables. I search the door for traps.

    Metagaming: The DM wouldn't throw an enemy against us that was too powerful for us to defeat. He wouldn't purposefully try to kill us, he wants us to have fun. It may look overwhelmingly powerful, but I'm sure there is something we aren't seeing.

    Roleplaying: How did the enemy forces get this powerful? We have heard nothing about them having an army this size. The leader of the enemy forces is prone to subterfuge, perhaps there is something we aren't seeing here.

    You'll find that almost any action can be justified both ways. The key in discovering which one is happening is pretty much any out of character comments made before the actions. I've had disagreements with people about this in the past, but I've had characters who put away their weapons when fighting oozes immediately when he saw them figuring that he could see dirt, dust, small objects, etc sizzling and smoking as the ooze came towards me and figure out it might not be a good idea to stick things into it.

    Pretty much it comes down to your level of tolerance for "metagaming". I normally reward smart players by allowing them to come up with ideas their characters might not so that it encourages them thinking. If someone doesn't know the answer, their skills can give them the answer.
    Majoru Oakheart

    Secret Attorney of the Guidelines for the <Sorry, you didn't make the DC 20 Perception check, and you don't have another minor action to try again. Next time try finding an Elf to stand nearby you.>

  • #7
    Registered User
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)

    diaglo's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Stone Mountain, GA 30087
    Posts
    16,235

    Ignore diaglo
    My communities:

    the example presented in the books look more like this:

    DM: you spy a group of bloodthirsty orcs. they see you. roll init.
    player 1: (thinking to self) We are being attacked. The DM would never throw monsters at us that are too tough and possibly cause a TPK. (outloud) "I attack."



    or with a trap...

    DM: the door is locked and the rogue notices a trap.
    Player 1: (to self) The DM would never have a trap we can't get around. There must be a key in our possession from this dungeon or a secret door. (outloud) "I open up my backpack and look over all the treasure we just got."

    edit: ha...i was too slow typing....
    Story Hour
    http://www.enworld.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=6647
    OMG! The SKY IS FALLING! --JoeGKushner
    Myself, I plan to masturbate less -- der_kluge
    I know that I've never really liked d20. I think it was designed by a bunch of hacks --- Monte Cook
    I am sickened beyond belief. The half-orc wizard is obviously the best possible PC, and I only had to read 10 pages of the book to figure it out. D&D is dead to me! -- Mike Mearls
    FWIW, I'm on the design team and I pretty much find WoW as fun and interesting as banging my head against a brick wall. -- Mike Mearls
    you happen to say that 4E reminds you of the reasons you decided against a career as a special-Ed teacher--noted rpg author Darrin Drader

  • #8
    Registered User
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

    der_kluge's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    7,504

    Ignore der_kluge
    Yea, those definitions have pretty much nailed it. I'm curious what this player is doing, though, to cause you so much grief.
    Curtis__________________

  • #9
    Registered User
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,916

    Ignore gizmo33
    Quote Originally Posted by WizarDru
    Another example: a character sees a combat in progress, and a monster takes its AoO on a character. Player 2 says "Oh, he's taken his AoO for the turn, so I run past him and attack him from behind!" Is this metagaming? Yes. Is it inappropriate? That's up to the individual group. In my game, it's not invalid, as I view this to be the purview of professional adventurers.
    I'm ok with this kind of meta-gaming. As a DM I interpret it as the character's experience in combat and an instinct about what the enemy is capable of. From the game perspective it keeps people involved in the game's tactical side (which admittedly, isn't for everyone).

    I sometimes say that DMs metagame, although I probably misuse the word, I don't know. For example, a DM who starts to tailor encounters for PCs specific strengths and weaknesses is metagaming, because he's using his knowledge as a person playing the game to make judgements about the design. Example: I'll have the wizard cast lightning bolt instead of fireball because I know that the PC has a ring of fire resistance.

  • #10
    Registered User
    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)

    Majoru Oakheart's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    3,019

    Ignore Majoru Oakheart
    My communities:

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowy
    Metagaming - often confused with cheating, just knowing that trolls regenerate when they are rare is metagaming AND cheating.
    This is one of those sticky points. Who decides that trolls are rare and no one would know they regenerate? This is a very campaign specific thing.

    IMC, I normally assume that characters have a working knowledge that most people off the street who don't even play D&D in modern day earth could tell you about. If you asked someone what a unicorn is, they'd likely be able to tell you that it was a horse with a horn. I assume these sort of "folk tales" are told in every tavern, play, bard tale, etc.

    Very basic information is "common knowledge" IMC. Red dragons breathe fire, trolls regenerate, fey creatures are small and magical and annoying, etc. Generally, if it's complicated enough that the PLAYERS can't even remember it, even having read the MM, there is no way I'm going to let them use that information in game. On the other hand, if a player says "demons are mostly magically resistant", I don't consider that metagaming.
    Majoru Oakheart

    Secret Attorney of the Guidelines for the <Sorry, you didn't make the DC 20 Perception check, and you don't have another minor action to try again. Next time try finding an Elf to stand nearby you.>

  • + Log in or register to post
    Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

    Similar Threads

    1. Meta-gaming Player
      By Olaf the Stout in forum General RPG Discussion
      Replies: 98
      Last Post: Sunday, 18th June, 2006, 07:42 PM
    2. Gaming Meta Questions (long)
      By Ceresco in forum General RPG Discussion
      Replies: 18
      Last Post: Wednesday, 9th November, 2005, 03:46 PM
    3. What is Meta-gaming anyways?
      By Brown Jenkin in forum General RPG Discussion
      Replies: 50
      Last Post: Friday, 9th May, 2003, 09:57 AM
    4. How to stop players from meta-gaming?
      By Delgar in forum General RPG Discussion
      Replies: 22
      Last Post: Wednesday, 7th May, 2003, 09:53 PM
    5. Character Direction and Meta-gaming
      By Oni in forum General RPG Discussion
      Replies: 14
      Last Post: Saturday, 26th October, 2002, 12:36 AM

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •