A discussion of metagame concepts in game design - Page 10
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  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    You should reward the choices of the form you want players to make. If you want players to make exquisite tactical plans, you should present them with situations where those plans work well, so that they'll win and be rewarded for those plans. If you want them to improvise and shoot from the hip, you should provide them with situations where that's the best approach. If you want them to use diplomacy, you should reward them when they use diplomacy.
    Completely agree. I once gave my players full exp for overcoming an encounter with a bunch of giant crabs in a non-violent way. I even gave them bonus exp, because their solution was really clever (the Druid shape-shifted into a crab to bypass the monsters ).

    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    And, if you want them to display the flaws of a character? Well, you should reward them for that.
    ^ This is perhaps even more important. When players take extra effort to play out their character flaws, it should be rewarded.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
    It's the optimal choice for the player, but it's not necessarily the optimal choice for the character. But it's a role-playing game, so I should be doing what the character wants, rather than what the player wants.
    I have a player in my current group whose character acquired a magic lamp with a genie at some point. He made one wish, to have his ship restored after a costly naval battle, and then he wished the lamp to be far away from him. This was a fantastic role playing moment, that had the other players screaming in astonishment, but I rewarded him exp for it.

    Because it made sense for his character. His character understood the danger of being in the possession of this powerful item that every good and evil person in the world would want to get their hands on. He knew that no wish came without a cost, and so he did the sensible thing, and protected the rest of the party against their greed.

    As he explained it:

    "He was a captain. He already had everything he needed; a ship and the open sea. He had no need for wishes. No good could come from it."

    It probably would have been beneficial to him as a player (and to the rest of the party) to keep making more wishes. But his character chose otherwise.
    Last edited by Imaculata; Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018 at 09:24 AM.
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  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5ekyu View Post
    "And on the latter: I've had situations in my campaign where a player wanted to prepare spells, but as a player he expected undead, while his character did not have any in-game reason to expect those"

    Just curious, can you give any sprcifics on the undead prep case? I am curious as to why a player would want to prep for or expect undead but the character have no in-game sense of it.

    Was it player saw other scenes playing out his character was not at and had no input from and so he knew but character didn't or something less divergent?
    The party was going into the catacombs underneath a local church. As a player, he knew that this just spells out "UNDEAD!!!!", but his character had no reason to presume the catacombs would have undead in them.

    Which is why I said to him: "Bring what ever spells 'you' want to bring. Maybe you're right, or maybe you're wrong. It doesn't matter. But there is no need to handicap yourself because of metagaming."

    And in the end it does indeed not matter. If I want to catch my players off guard, I'll just throw in something that is not an undead. Or maybe I want to reward their preparations, and just have it be a threat that they are prepared to deal with. Either way I will ensure as a DM that their crawl through the catacombs will be fun. Heck, maybe combat with undead isn't even the main focus of the quest? In which case what spells they happen to bring is pretty irrelevant.

  3. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    AD&D (1e) DMG, pg 110: Conducting The Game

    "In many situations it is correct and fun to have the players dice things such as melee hits and saving throws. However, it is your right to control the dice at any time and to roll dice for the players. You might do this to keep them from knowing a specific fact. You might also want to give them an edge in finding a particular clue.... You do have every right to overrule the dice at any time if there is a particular course of events that you would like to have occur."
    Oh, dear. Gary Gygax was a cheater!!! And worse, he was trying to tempt others into cheating, as well! The horror!!!

  4. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    As an additional aside, I do think there is a big disconnect between people who care and those who don't. It's definitely a matter of degrees too. So it's like people fall on a scale from 1 to 10 where 10 is someone like me. A lot of people opposed 4e for some of it's metagame and perhaps those people are 5's or 7's but they accept 5e's similar approaches because they aren't as far along that line as me.

    For those who really aren't bothered at all about it, they seem to have little empathy and how could they. They just don't feel what I feel. Whether it's left brain, right brain or whatever. It might even be that for some people D&D is just like playing any other game. They have no empathy about my concerns. I play other games like that but for me roleplaying provides a far deeper and richer experience. I can lose myself in another world in ways playing a board game or a minis game just doesn't satisfy. And when the rpg becomes more like those other games to me it's a poor version of that sort of fun.

    So that was all just me theorizing. I don't claim to have a Ph.D in anything on such matters. My observation is that people's tastes are different. Shocking. :-). Why they are we may never know. I enjoy talking about it and theorizing about it but not sure that will change anything or anyone.
    On reflection I think that the real difference here is between inclusionists and exclusionists. Inclusionists consider the important part to be that they are able to make decisions that are as similar as possible to their character, and if that leaves them able to make other decisions too then why worry? They just won't make those decisions because their character wouldn't. Exclusionist consider it vitally important that they be unable to make decisions their character can't and if that cuts off decisions their character could then just too bad.

  5. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    My PCs often have non-adventuring goals like creating a temple or building a fortress. Winning comes down to achieving goals.
    I hope you don't presume here that my PCs don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Given this, I'll ask how careful are you about keeping player knowledge and character knowledge in synch.
    It is inherently a fool's errand. You are correct that "it's easier to play true to character if what you know as a player matches what you know as a character," but this is striving after wind. There is an inherent disconnect and power imbalance between player and character knowledge that @Neonchameleon overviews quite well. So for me this is really a discussion of "which metagaming poison do you pick?"

    -----

    Compels in Fate are not really a mechanism about putting players in the position to "lose," and likewise it would be misguided IMO to view them in opposition to characters "winning." Character compels represent the introduction of character-oriented complications in the drama of the roleplaying experience.

    If your character Trouble is "Most Wanted Outlaw in the Three Territories," then the player presumably wants significant 'screentime' to roleplay this out. And that may mean that during an opportune time the GM slips the player a fate point and says, "While you are trying to lay low on your fact-finding mission, there is a patron at the bar wearing two pistol belts. He occasionally glances in your direction. He seems to recognize your face as dollar signs are starting to glow in his eyes."

    There is nothing inherently involved here about the player losing. The player gets a fate point for accepting this story complication that affects their character, but in-character, it is the player character deciding their wants in this dramatic moment: "Do I buckle-down on laying low so that I can dodge this bounty hunter for the good of the mission or do I live up to my reputation as a wanted outlaw?" The character embracing this potential chaos may even lead to "victory" depending on how this plays out. Maybe this impresses the person they are trying to gather dirt on, and they invite them into their circle. Maybe the other characters use this as a distraction to get the information they need.

    But isn't that metagaming? Sure, but part of Fate's social contract is that a player creates the Troubles that the player wants their character to experience in the game. The player is getting rewarded for roleplaying the character they wanted. This "metagame" is important for Fate as a game. The mechanic engages the player to embrace and think as character. You can spend Fate points when you put yourself into opportunites that lean on your character aspects. You gain Fate points when you put yourselves into opportunities that lean on your character aspects.

    I do not doubt that this process can be immersion-breaking for some, but these transactions most often transpire in-character for most Fate games I have played or run. Not only has @Emerikol raised how this makes him feel like they are playing a chess piece, I had a similar conversation with @Lord Mhoram about this awhile back too. But several of players in my D&D group have said that D&D makes them feel more like minis in a tactical war game than characters, and they find Fate's mechanics more conducive for in-character roleplaying. (Though I wager that most people who game don't care.) My point here being that people have different preferences for mechanics that engender the in-character roleplaying experiences they want, and different games can produce different results depending on those preferences.
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  6. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Those are the words of Gary Gygax. Nothing more "traditional" than that! Clearly, the most traditional tenets of role-playing games are *NOT* of totally impartially adjudicated uncertainty. When a Gygaxian GM wants something to happen a certain way, it happens, action resolution system be darned! Your having action resolution be inviolate is the new-fangled, non-traditional thing, I dare say. As far as Gygax was concerned, the GM most certainly had some say in what way things were going to go.
    Gygax was a war-gamer, and he never pretended otherwise. Actual role-playing - making decisions as though the character was a real person in a living world, rather than a game piece or a narrative construct - didn't come to the fore-front of the hobby until 2E. That shift in tone is a much greater difference between 1E and 2E than the minor changes in the rules.

    I apologize for confusing terms, though. I should have said that it was against all of the traditional tenets of role-playing, rather than the tenets of traditional role-playing games. Traditional role-playing games, of the Gygaxian sort, were never really about role-playing so much as they were about strict book-keeping and providing a challenge to the players.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
    Gygax was a war-gamer, and he never pretended otherwise. Actual role-playing - making decisions as though the character was a real person in a living world, rather than a game piece or a narrative construct - didn't come to the fore-front of the hobby until 2E. That shift in tone is a much greater difference between 1E and 2E than the minor changes in the rules.

    I apologize for confusing terms, though. I should have said that it was against all of the traditional tenets of role-playing, rather than the tenets of traditional role-playing games. Traditional role-playing games, of the Gygaxian sort, were never really about role-playing so much as they were about strict book-keeping and providing a challenge to the players.
    I don't agree Saelorn. D&D became popular to Gygax because it transcended what he could get out of wargaming. Sure day one he went in as a wargamer. He soon discovered far more and shared it with the world. That is why D&D exploded as a hobby.

  8. #98
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    On the metagame and how I view it. Hopefully this will help us to dispense with the debate about what I think it is.

    1. There was little or no metagame in D&D core books from 3e back. (As a rule I never allowed non-core books by default. Each element allowed in had to be examined and approved by me as DM). So if you think of a mechanic that is core to D&D all along, I don't think it is metagame. I did for any given edition ban a few things. My players tended almost universally to play the core 4 + the paladin.

    2. No. I cannot enjoy a game if anyone in the group is playing using metagame constructs. I don't mind at all if the game itself has them and they are easy to remove. I don't care if other groups metagame to their hearts content. I've found that what I offer as a DM is worth either giving up metagaming to get or attractive to people like myself who dislike metagame.

    3. Many non-core books across the years have been metagame. I believe much of 4e was metagame for me. Any martial daily is unquestionably so for me. So saving any sort of potential combat attack energy resource across combats is absolutely not something I believe happens. I believe that inside of an individual combat that the opportunity to deliver an extra big blow is almost never the character's decision alone. It happens because the enemy lets down his guard or is overwhelmed already with lesser attacks, etc.. So critical hits on a 20 are because you rolled a good attack and the defender had a bad day defending. The planets aligned. So I could see special attacks and maneuvers activated by certain die rolls. I don't believe it can be delivered with certainty.

  9. #99
    @Aldarc's post makes an important point - there is no contrast, in general, between enjoys metagame mechanics and does not care about immersion in character. Rather, the metagame mechanics are part of the techniques used to achieve immersion.
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  10. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    There was little or no metagame in D&D core books from 3e back.
    This claim is controversial.

    AD&D saving throws are metagame: Gygax says as much in his discussion of saving throws in his DMG.

    AD&D hit points are metagame: see above.

    Barbarian rage, in 3E, is as metagame as martial dailies in 4e.

    Spell memorisation encourages highly metagame play, and the fact that there is a veneer of an in-fiction rationale doesn't change that.
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