Challenging assumptions/tactics while giving hints - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhaleskra View Post
    The troll who got hit turns to his buddy, nods, smiles, or says something. Troll two does something that seems like approval.
    There's an important consideration here, at least for the characters who aren't complete idiots: trolls that are capable of speech are probably smart enough to know that fire-prevention is a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhaleskra View Post
    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.
    Are you defending metagaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    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. . .

    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!
    That's not assuming that adventurers are complete idiots. That's assuming that adventurers don't exist. Because, really, what's the life expectancy of someone who intentionally goes into lairs with the intent to kill magical creatures, steal someone's treasure, or both?

    From a different perspective, it is a "role-playing game." Using player knowledge is the breakdown of role-playing. Maybe the DM was assuming role-players would role-play? But yes, if you're any type of D&D druid or ranger who wasn't raised by wolves, you probably know that some trolls have a bit of a fire-aversion. Oddly, so do animals and humans. Tieflings, not so much...
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    There's an important consideration here, at least for the characters who aren't complete idiots: trolls that are capable of speech are probably smart enough to know that fire-prevention is a good idea.


    Are you defending metagaming?


    That's not assuming that adventurers are complete idiots. That's assuming that adventurers don't exist. Because, really, what's the life expectancy of someone who intentionally goes into lairs with the intent to kill magical creatures, steal someone's treasure, or both?

    From a different perspective, it is a "role-playing game." Using player knowledge is the breakdown of role-playing. Maybe the DM was assuming role-players would role-play? But yes, if you're any type of D&D druid or ranger who wasn't raised by wolves, you probably know that some trolls have a bit of a fire-aversion. Oddly, so do animals and humans. Tieflings, not so much...
    Who says what a character knows? So long as the play involves the PC, I don't care if they heard it at the tavern or from old Uncle Bob. If the game depends on players pretending they don't know, I consider that a GM failure, not a player one.

    I used to be really big about "metagaming" until I realized my job as GM isn't to play thought police, it's to present interesting situations.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    Who says what a character knows? So long as the play involves the PC, I don't care if they heard it at the tavern or from old Uncle Bob. If the game depends on players pretending they don't know, I consider that a GM failure, not a player one.
    There's this large swath of territory between, "this has no impact" and "the game depends on". Maybe we can consider what happens in that in-between, rather than driving to extreme strawmen used to assign "failure" to a GM, hey what?
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhaleskra View Post
    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.
    I'm going to ignore the whole metagaming conversation, because I've been in others before, and I know how they go . . . I'm metaforuming, you could say.

    I just want to say that I love the idea of trolls using fire repellent. For my own use, I think it's going to be fire repellent deodorant with a distinctive scent . . . and I'm sure I'll have the can reference Axe Body Spray.
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satyrn View Post
    I just want to say that I love the idea of trolls using fire repellent. For my own use, I think it's going to be fire repellent deodorant with a distinctive scent . . . and I'm sure I'll have the can reference Axe Body Spray.
    I have run a few scenarios where the trolls have figured out that if they build their lairs in water, the threats of both fire and acid are reduced. The first time a group of experienced players encounters a group of trolls in a half-submerged room with waterfalls pouring in and a drain going out is always exciting (first as they quickly figure out that their fires aren't going to work and the acid is going to wash right down the drain - then as the lightbulbs light up over their heads as they realize they're fighting smart trolls and not the dumb ones I've hit them with in the past).

    I honestly have no problems with the players using their knowledge of D&D-isms in the worlds I run - I figure if the characters know it then it's common knowledge in the world. And it gives me license to play with their expectations - once they've defeated a few trolls with fire or acid, throwing a new breed of troll at them that is immune to fire and acid (but has some other weakness) is a whole different kind of fun.
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    There's this large swath of territory between, "this has no impact" and "the game depends on". Maybe we can consider what happens in that in-between, rather than driving to extreme strawmen used to assign "failure" to a GM, hey what?
    Then, by all means, explore it. It's fine to drop by and say that there's a lot of territory, but that's a bit easy. Are you advocating for an encounter where, say, half the players pretending they know you use fire against trolls and the other half doesn't, and this makes the pretending have impact between 'no' and 'I, as GM, built my encounter based on players pretending they don't know about trolls and fire?' I'm curious as to where in my premises you actually have a dispute, or is it just rhetoric about rhetoric?

    Let's be frank. Most people that complain about metagaming are talking about players using knowledge of monster mechanics to secure success in encounters, to which my complaint stands fully on it's own and I disagree there's any middle ground. If, however, you're talking about something else, then I may moderate depending on your points. I can see an argument for acting on information given only to one players, but, again, those situations can usually be engineered such that the information flow isn't that way. Most of the pain points that are usually sited in metagaming discussions are easily alleviated by altering the crux of the situation to not depend on pretending you don't know information. And, as the GM has exclusive authority over the scene framing (in D&D, at least), then this kind of problem rests on the GM's shoulders. Either the GM is engaging in thought policing his players for unapproved knowledge leaks or they just build scenes and encounters that do not rely on such knowledge being pretended away. If you build situations such that they require the players to pretend to not have knowledge they do have, then that's on you.
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  8. #18
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    People always complain about the difficulty in getting players to a world knowledge level even approaching what a PC would have. Then, in some instances when that does happen, their knees jerk so hard they're a danger to themselves and others. So long as the players are being moderate and in character, there's nothing wrong with a PC knowing about trolls and fire. Now, there's a line there, obviously, but that line is not all or nothing.

    Hands up how many people here know about, say, vampires and crosses, werewolves and silver, and, say faeries and iron from sources outside gaming? I bet it's a lot of hands. And those monsters aren't even real. People tell stories about monsters and lots of people know 'stuff' about their habits, appearance, diet, and vulnerabilities. Adventurers can very reasonably be expected to know 'stuff+' regardless of stats, skills, class or anything else.
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  9. #19
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    Hands up how many people here know about, say, vampires and crosses, werewolves and silver, and, say faeries and iron from sources outside gaming? I bet it's a lot of hands. And those monsters aren't even real. People tell stories about monsters and lots of people know 'stuff' about their habits, appearance, diet, and vulnerabilities. Adventurers can very reasonably be expected to know 'stuff+' regardless of stats, skills, class or anything else.
    Of course, sometimes what “everybody knows” is wrong or missing a few details. And, IMHO, it’s perfectly fine to alter a critter from its published version to make things more challenging for the players...so the world’s mythologies- and thus, the PCs- can be just as wrong.

    Take Being Human for example. Mitchell (and all the other vampires) can walk around in broad daylight. And the only time he cringed from the presentation of a cross in his whole existence was when it was brandished by someone whose faith was actually genuine. Nonbelievers got no protection.

    In another piece of modern vampire fiction (a movie whose name escapes me), the protagonists had done their homework and found an old legend about how vampires had to count grains of rice or seed that had been scattered* before doing anything else. To this end, they had equipped their vampire capture facility with huge drop bags of rice: hit the alarm button, and the bags would empty, scattering thousands of pounds of rice everywhere. When the vampire they captured began to bust out of his shackles, someone hit the button, and the system worked as intended.

    The vampire paused for a brief moment as he looked around, then uttered a line like (I paraphrase), “2,475,032,632 grains of rice.”

    The legend was right, but it lacked the detail of how fast a vampire could actually count...






    * Probably part of the inspiration behind Sesame Street’s The Count.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    Who says what a character knows?
    The player, until she makes the game less fun for other players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    So long as the play involves the PC, I don't care if they heard it at the tavern or from old Uncle Bob. If the game depends on players pretending they don't know, I consider that a GM failure, not a player one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ovinomancer View Post
    Then, by all means, explore it. It's fine to drop by and say that there's a lot of territory, but that's a bit easy. Are you advocating for an encounter where, say, half the players pretending they know you use fire against trolls and the other half doesn't, and this makes the pretending have impact between 'no' and 'I, as GM, built my encounter based on players pretending they don't know about trolls and fire?'
    The point was that I didn't refer to player failure, and I didn't say that the game depends on players pretending that they don't know.

    I'm sure part of the point was that some of these posts use extreme examples, unnecessarily. Although I did enjoy recycling "complete idiot" to more useful ends.
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