Challenging assumptions/tactics while giving hints
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  1. #1
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    Challenging assumptions/tactics while giving hints

    I realize that it is often difficult to pretend your character doesn't know what you as a player know. Even the D&D beat-em up video games lampshade this.

    OK, let's assume that everyone in the game world does know that you have to use fire to prevent trolls from regenerating. Fine, but what if the trolls found something to combat this with? For my example, I'm going to use HARP and assume a science fantasy universe.

    The party finds a couple trolls who attack then. Predictably, one of the characters uses a fire spell, throws flaming oil, whatever and it hits one of the trolls. Instead of immediately resulting in permanent damage, the troll's skin steams for a little bit, and leaves only a 1st degree burn. The troll who got hit turns to his buddy, nods, smiles, or says something. Troll two does something that seems like approval.

    Eventually, each of the trolls runs out of whatever is preventing fire from preventing regeneration, and the party defeats them. In the lair they find empty cans. Assuming they can read the language on the cans, they find out that the cans are Ablative Enhancement sprays.

    How did the trolls come by this product? Where did it come from? Where can I get some? How many layers of this stuff did each troll have?

    This allows players to use their normal tactics and discover mysteries about the world/universe, and maybe even the monsters, while not nullifying their player knowledge.
    Last edited by Zhaleskra; Sunday, 23rd June, 2019 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Department of Redundancy Department
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  2. #2
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    I play with adults (no matter their real age) and if they aren't mature enough to not meta-game they are gone. Pretty simple.
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    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobble View Post
    I play with adults (no matter their real age) and if they aren't mature enough to not meta-game they are gone. Pretty simple.
    I also play with adults, so we don't waste our time pretending we don't know about trolls the 18th time out and instead focus on interesting encounters that don't have a gimmick that only works if we pretend we don't know. YMMV.
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobble View Post
    I play with adults (no matter their real age) and if they aren't mature enough to not meta-game they are gone. Pretty simple.
    Every actual adult Ive ever gamed with was mature enough that theyd laugh at a statement like this.
    Last edited by doctorbadwolf; Monday, 24th June, 2019 at 07:40 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    You can't really help but have this creep in in spots no matter how courageously players try to dampen their game knowledge. Honestly, I'd rather work with it than against it. INT or Arcana checks or whatever can provided a way to have players transfer that knowledge to their character. Those tidbits about what hurts what monster is the kind of professional knowledge one might expect a professional adventurer to collect to accrue just through talking shop during downtime too, so there's lots of wiggle room there.

    I also occasionally change up certain monsters just to keep players honest. "What do you mean it's regenerating after I hit it with my torch?!" Har har.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris-77 View Post
    I also occasionally change up certain monsters just to keep players honest. "What do you mean it's regenerating after I hit it with my torch?!" Har har.
    Yes, but even here, there are those who would accuse such and adjustment of being "badwrongfun".

    Thankfully, in the system I used the example, regeneration isn't fast at all. At absolute best it's 3 HP a minute, not round, so it's not like the trolls are going to regenerate during combat unless it somehow lasts 30+ rounds.

  7. #7
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    They can point all the fingers they like. The need to 'edit' monsters really depends on the players. It's not about how metagamey they are either, just how experienced. When the whole group has a more or less encyclopedic knowledge of the MM then you have to mix things up just to keep it fresh. I would also always be upfront with a group about how I'm using the MM - I'll tell 'em before hand to expect twists if that's what I'm doing. Springing it with no warning would be manky. That said, this approach also has the benefit of slapping the hands of metagamers, so it does double duty.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobble View Post
    I play with adults (no matter their real age) and if they aren't mature enough to not meta-game they are gone. Pretty simple.
    Quote Originally Posted by doctorbadwolf View Post
    Every actual adult Ive ever faked with was mature enough that theyd laugh at a statement like this.
    I love that these posts are right next to each other. I too play with adults, and the snide implication that anyone who metagames is childish is just disgusting on it's face, so lets just put that out there.

    My experience tells me players metagame when it's most convenient to them. As long as "not metgaming" is an effective strategy then people won't. As soon as that stops working, the metagaming flys right in.

    Maturity doesn't mean players won't metagame. It means they'll metagame better. They won't vocalize their metagaming. It means they'll simply see the troll and shoot fire at it. If the DM prompts them as to why they chose fire they'll say something like "I shoot everything with fire!". Or if they use acid they'll say something like "Well I wasn't sure fire would work, so acid!" Maybe fire and acid really are their go-to solutions for everything (which would be fitting for adventurers), or maybe they're not.

    The bad metagamer likes to brag about their metagaming. The good metagamer keeps their mouth shut and metagames in silence.

    And quite frankly, I really wish DMs would stop assuming adventurers are complete idiots. Insane? Goofballs? Murderhobos? But you go out adventuring, money's on you've heard a story once or twice about trolls not liking fire, or maybe you have a druid or a ranger or a class with a skill in the subject who can figure it out on the fly.

    Want to cut down the metagaming? Throw some twists at players! Throw a "Bog troll" covered in peat who's immune to acid and protected from fire, but cold serves the same function on it. Throw a smart kobold at them, throw a dragon who doesn't engage in fisticuffs.

    Players metagame because they know and the DM is expecting them to pretend their characters are idiots. If you don't want your players to know something, throw something new at them! Even a little twist on an old idea can be enough to throw people off. Just don't expect players to throw away their resources on pretending to be stupid. Heck, dragons even come color-coded! No metagaming needed!
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  9. #9
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    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



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    This sounds like it could be fun to play with. Dropping a "Little did they know, this new character would lead to their downfall." Then watch the players squirm to protect themselves without breaking character.

    My players tend to be good about meta-gaming. They even go so far as to narrate: "I know that this is a trap, but my character doesn't, so I walk right in!"

  10. #10
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    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)



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    Don't even get me started on running goblin and kobolds as suicidal idiots. 3.x they had average Int and Wis at base, in HARP both goblins and kobolds are noted as being quite smart.

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