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5E DMs: How Do You Handle Metagaming?

edutrevi

First Post
Metagame: player knowledge X character knowledge The player is roleplaying a novice fighter in his first adventure; then the character meets a troll for his first time in life. The player already knows the entire MM and knows the weakness of the monsters and uses this to take advantage in the game for his character setting fire in the troll... How the DMs should handle that?
 
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mcbobbo

Explorer
Ask whether the player believes the character would have that knowledge, and if so how. If the character has any plausible link in its back story, let it slide. If not ask for a Knowledge roll or similar. If that fails, simply remind the player that the character doesn't seem to know yet.

Don't interrupt the game at the table beyond this. Let them have their temporary advantage if it comes to it. But outside of the game, set a clear expectation and stick to it.
 

Nebulous

Legend
You could have the character roll an Insight or knowledge Lore check to remember troll weaknesses. OR, you could just say it is common knowledge that trolls need fire to kill them.

I don't have any problem with meta-gaming as long as it is not wildly out of control. In small doses it is humorous and fun.
 


MasterTrancer

First Post
Well, first of all I'd describe the monster, without actually saying it's a troll; after that, if exploiting its weaknesses is likeable ok with that, otherwise I'd ask the player if he thinks his PC would actually know that, for example, the troll is vulnerable to fire. But only if the troll AND his strengths were meant to be a challenge, otherwise just have fun! :)
 

KarinsDad

First Post
It depends on what you are talking about.

If you are talking about one or two players who know the MM inside and out doing this a lot, then as DM, you should feel free to discuss it with your players. If that does not resolve the issue, then change the monsters in the MM.

If you are talking about one or two players who once in a blue moon doing this, then I would suggest blowing it off. There are a lot of metagaming aspects that occur all of the time. For example, a player playing a Wizard PC might move to the side of the room where he is away from the Wights, but near Zombies. Does an arcane low level PC really know that the Wight is more deadly? Probably not. But it's not worth worrying about when players make quasi-informed decisions.
 

GMforPowergamers

First Post
I just go with it 9 out of 10 times... the times I want it to matter I remind the players ahead of time, or just change the monster.

I had a 6 armed goblinoid like race in one world that regen like a troll, except in order to stop it you had to use cold... and all fire attacks where half damage...
 

Wolfskin

First Post
I roll with it unless it's too blatant- I don't mind meta-gaming about monster-specific weaknesses, but I do about the specifics of a setting or adventure a character shouldn't know. Either way, if I'm uncomfortable with meta-gaming, I'd talk to the player after the session instead of interrupting the story.
 

A heavy helping of monsters that are altered or just unknown to the players usually does the trick. A giant lizard that appears to be a basilisk, may actually be a rare Got-chu monitor that has no power to petrify but might vomit forth green slime upon the poor fools stumbling around in front of it with their eyes closed.

Proper caution and fear can only be achieved when the PLAYERS have no idea what's in store for them. Not to say that EVERY monster needs to be unique or unknown, just enough so that the players cannot become complacent just because they know the contents of the MM.
 

Iosue

Adventurer
Depends on the situation, but if the player can metagame knowledge of monster strengths and weaknesses, I can metagame a new set of strengths and weaknesses.

Really, more than that, my main metagame buggaboo is players conferencing during a fight. Stuff that they could reasonably call out in the course of battle ("Go after that guy!") I can roll with. But "Don't move there! Move here so we can get the flanking bonus!" or "Wait, don't attack that guy, I'm going to use a spell that will tie all these guys up. Go after that guy because he's already heavily wounded." Ugh.
 

Astrosicebear

First Post
I usually dont worry about it. Most of the time when I throw things like a troll or such with specific weakness, the challenge isnt in identifying the weakness, its exploiting it. Trolls outside in blustery conditions... lycanthropes without silver etc.

Like [MENTION=6680772]Iosue[/MENTION] the above the board combat talk gets too much sometimes. I let this slide unless someone is taking forever or there is a serious debate raging about abilities or something. "make a decision" usually snaps my players to it.

The issues that frustrate me are when they decide to metagame the adventure. "Well, we obviously need to go here first to get this to go there... so it makes sense that the shopekeep is lying, so we bypass everything and kill him" Keeps a DM on his toes. Makes me wonder sometimes if they read the adventures.
 

Jan van Leyden

Adventurer
I'd let it go through as long as we're talking about some more or less common monster. Regeneration ability and fire vulnerability of a troll, charming gaze of a vampire and stuff like that represent common knowledge in the game world.

Let's put it this way: if the players could get the idea without consulting the monster book, e.g., because it is common "knowledge" in our world (see examples above or the petrification from a medusa), it could be known by people in the game world as well.

The function of a beholder's different eye rays is another matter, though.
 

Mallus

Hero
The player already knows the entire MM and knows the weakness of the monsters and uses this to take advantage in the game for his character setting fire in the troll... How the DMs should handle that?
First I ask myself "Do I want to invalidate all the personal experience my experienced middle-aged players have accumulated over decades of playing D&D?"

If the answer's "no" -- hint: the answer is always "no" -- then I a say to myself, "Hey, D&D is game. Games aren't fun if you can never learn to play them". If that's not satisfying enough, I rationalize it further by saying "even 1st level PCs aren't complete rube-ignoramuses, someone's probably heard about trolls & fire".

Then I remember that "metagaming" is just a derogatory term for "playing the game", which is, in fact, what we're all doing, ie playing a game.

Now if I want to challenge the players with a monster they don't already know how to fight, I create a new, custom-designed monster, and design an encounter with it that provides clues about it's special weaknesses, if it has any.
 
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edutrevi

First Post
Depends on the situation, but if the player can metagame knowledge of monster strengths and weaknesses, I can metagame a new set of strengths and weaknesses.

Really, more than that, my main metagame buggaboo is players conferencing during a fight. Stuff that they could reasonably call out in the course of battle ("Go after that guy!") I can roll with. But "Don't move there! Move here so we can get the flanking bonus!" or "Wait, don't attack that guy, I'm going to use a spell that will tie all these guys up. Go after that guy because he's already heavily wounded." Ugh.
*Ugh* same here...
 

Dausuul

Legend
I don't sweat it. I like having players who are sufficiently engaged to recognize monsters from the MM--I treat it as the in-world knowledge of adventurers who are well versed in the legends and lore of their world. The player gets to feel smart and useful, in a way that doesn't hog anyone else's spotlight (since the entire party can take advantage of the player's knowledge). And since I use plenty of homebrewed monsters, we end up with a nice mix of "Hey, I know what this is!" and "Whoa... what the heck is this?"

Besides, sometimes they guess wrong. And I wouldn't want to deprive myself of the fun when that happens. :cool:
 
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Agamon

Adventurer
I tell my players that what they know is what their PCs have picked up from teachings, rumors, stories, etc. They aren't allowed to look things up, of course, but if they know that trolls can be defeated using fire and/or acid, I ask the player to tell me why his PC knows this. And, of course, if they're wrong, "Copper dragons breath...uh, fire, right?" I don't correct them. The PC was misinformed. :)
 

Haval

First Post
Regarding that particular troll situation, I'll use it as an example for dealing with stuff like that.
It's hard for player to distance between his and his character's knowledge. But you are his DM, and it's fairly easy for you to help him in this regard. Consider this: his character is an unexperienced fighter, so present him the troll as follows:
"You hear a terrible roar and suddenly find yourself under ferocious attack by a large creature. Bulbous flesh, all claws and clashing teeths and it strikes at you relentlessly."
Basically - give as little clues as you can at first, avoid naming it and confuse the player - create a realistic situation for a newbie fighter who doesn't realy have much time for examining the monster he's fighting (trolls ARE fast and ferocious, after all). But let him notice healing wounds, maybe make the troll to step on bonfire embers and roar in pain, something like that.
That way you can let him play his character through a learning experience, like, he remembers granma's tales about trolls, puts two and two together and goes onto killing it with fire.

Sorry for sorta incoherency, English isn't my first lang. But you get the idea.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
First I ask myself "Do I want to invalidate all the personal experience my experienced middle-aged players have accumulated over decades of playing D&D?"

If the answer's "no" -- hint: the answer is always "no" -- then I a say to myself, "Hey, D&D is game. Game's aren't fun if you can never learn to play them". If that's not satisfying enough, I rationalize it further by saying "even 1st level PCs aren't complete rube-ignoramuses, someone's probably heard about trolls & fire".

Then I remember that "metagaming" is just a derogatory term for "playing the game", which is, in fact, what we're all doing, ie playing a game.

Now if I want to challenge the players with a monster they don't already know how to fight, I create a new, custom-designed monster, and design an encounter with it that provides clues about it's special weaknesses, if it has any.
Pretty much this. I don't expect a player who has been playing this game since the early 80's to try and dribble a sphere of annihilation like he had no idea what was going on just to stay in character with Cletus the lvl 1 fighter. That is my table style though. My big metagaming problem is when using a grid having spell casters count squares like they have a laser range finder.
 

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