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How meta is too meta?

Herobizkit

Adventurer
I once pitched a concept to my gaming group.

Modern setting. Players create two characters, a modern and a stereotypical fantasy character.

The premise is that the players are TV actors who are stars of a popular live-action fantasy serial about table top gaming. There will be times when said actors must take on the persona (and mechanics) of their fantasy characters to advance the TV plot (with often hilarious effects, as it's an action/comedy).

In short, the role-players would be playing a game, role-playing the role-players (actors) playing the role-players (characters) in AND out of the context of a role-playing game.

It would be like Gamers - The Game, where the players took on the personae of the actors on and off-set.

Too meta? :D
 

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I tried to do a Play-by-Post where the players' primary characters started off as college students in 1974, playing the original edition of D&D. The campaign was meant to progress through the various editions while following the mundane lives of this group as they played through every D&D and AD&D edition, adventure, and campaign setting.

It didn't quite click, though, so I gave up on the idea. :p
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
I wouldn't play it.

Waaaay too "meta" [in the way I think you're using it] for me. Lil' bit of Victor/Victoria whiplash going on: "A gamer pretending to be a character pretending to be a gamer pretending to be a character"?

My immersion is shattered into itty bitty bits before I've even sat down.

But that's me. That's not really important.

What do your players think?
 

Herobizkit

Adventurer
[MENTION=92511]steeldragons[/MENTION] Pretty much the way you think, which is why I dropped the idea. I still think about it, specifically the "Galaxy Quest" angle where ordinary Joes pretending to be heroes are called upon to BE heroes.
[MENTION=6755061]Kiraya_TiDrekan[/MENTION] you tend to come up with lots of great, complicated ideas that require months of build-up. :)
 

[MENTION=92511]steeldragons[/MENTION] Pretty much the way you think, which is why I dropped the idea. I still think about it, specifically the "Galaxy Quest" angle where ordinary Joes pretending to be heroes are called upon to BE heroes.

[MENTION=6755061]Kiraya_TiDrekan[/MENTION] you tend to come up with lots of great, complicated ideas that require months of build-up. :)
Which is why most of them never get beyond the idea stage. ;)
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
I'd enjoy the in-story/filming segments, and then be bored by the actor/real world segments. The contrast is too much.

Michael Keaton is the only one who could pull this off.
 

Wild Gazebo

Explorer
Your premise is fine...your implementation needs a little work. I would simply present the idea as playing actors in a modern setting...and then let the details unfold in the game. No need for other stats. I think you would be surprised how much players would flush out their own characters, as actors, in game if presented organically.
 

nijineko

First Post
unless you were going for a "characters are aware of how game mechanics function as laws of the universe" sort of fantasy setting, which can have it's own form of humor about that.
 

EzekielRaiden

Explorer
For me, I think it would be too meta for a slightly different reason...

That is, I tend to be (often by choice) the "chronicler" of the group. It's easy to forget important details between sessions, so I often keep notes, or draft a quick summary of the previous session a day or two before a new one. Even then, I make mistakes and confuse minor points at times. Having to keep track of two parallel, yet separate, stories would be twice the burden and twice the confusion. Especially since, being "parallel but separate," you could have issues in one story while the other is running smoothly.

I also...don't quite understand the point of the "mundies in reality" story. I mean, it might be interesting to directly experience an intentional progression of editions. That is, jettison the "mundy frame story" and just be myself, playing a character, experiencing the progression. But what's the point of play-acting another totally real person responding to these things? To insulate myself from expressing my own opinions about those games?? That seems unbelievable to me--and I can't see any other reason for doing it. Why not just give your OWN reactions to playing a game whose rules undergo revolutions (minor or major) every now and then?
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I also...don't quite understand the point of the "mundies in reality" story. I mean, it might be interesting to directly experience an intentional progression of editions. That is, jettison the "mundy frame story" and just be myself, playing a character, experiencing the progression. But what's the point of play-acting another totally real person responding to these things?
That would be the quirk here. What exactly is play at the actor's normal life level going to look like? And can it be sustained? I can see a TV series kind of based around it - a group of actors work in the industry and solve crimes on the side kind of thing - but I think that might be hard to translate into a sustainable game.

As an alternative, there are games in which you are playing actors advancing a movie/show plot. It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show is a favorite of mine. You're playing in a B-grade movie plot as the actor. Two of the best skills are Scream (which can bring your fellow players to your location nearly immediately) and Fame (which allows you to call for a stunt double).
 


Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
This sounds like something "RED DWARF" already did.

Season V: Back To Reality. Where the Red Dwarfers wake up to realized they have been playing an AI RPG computer game for the past four years.

OR

Season IX: Back To Earth. Where the Red Dwarfers find themselves on Earth, and discovers the actors whom play them on TV.

OR

Star Trek; The Next Generation. Anytime the crew uses the Holodeck.

OR

Knights of the Dinner Table. Tis about as close as you can get.
 

howandwhy99

First Post
Metagaming is breaking the rules of a game. It's called cheating in other games.

When you look at the cards of another player in Poker, that's metagaming.

When you read the answers to the Jeopardy questions before being a contestant for Mr. Trebek, that's metagaming.

When as a participating athlete you don't pole vault in the Olympic Games, but tell the judges you did, that's metagaming.

Breaking rules is not bad in and of itself, but it changes the game difficulty.


EDIT: In D&D the most common form of metagaming is listening in on information the DM is parceling out to another player whose character is in a position to learn it when yours is not.
 
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Metagaming is breaking the rules of a game. It's called cheating in other games.

When you look at the cards of another player in Poker, that's metagaming.
No it isn't. Metagaming is in that grey area where unsportsmanlike conduct stands.

When you start card-counting in a game of blackjack that's metagaming - not cheating, but people really don't like you using the information about the game that way. Metagaming jeapody would be to work out who was setting the questions and what sort of questions they as opposed to the other people like to set. When you make a deliberate handball in a game of football (soccer) to prevent the ball going into the back of the net on the grounds a goalkeeper has at least a chance of saving the penalty that's right on the borderline. It's using information you know about the game to give you better odds at winning in the game.

EDIT: In D&D the most common form of metagaming is listening in on information the DM is parceling out to another player whose character is in a position to learn it when yours is not.
Nope. In D&D the most common form of metagaming is to have read the monster manual and to recognise the challenges the DM is throwing at you. The second most common form of metagaming is to be genre-savvy, Scream-style and know the checklist of what not to do in a horror movie.

And there's a reason that any DM I've played with (and I as a DM) leave the room with the player for that sort of info rather than making them compartmentalise.
 

howandwhy99

First Post
Nope. In D&D the most common form of metagaming is to have read the monster manual and to recognise the challenges the DM is throwing at you. The second most common form of metagaming is to be genre-savvy, Scream-style and know the checklist of what not to do in a horror movie.

And there's a reason that any DM I've played with (and I as a DM) leave the room with the player for that sort of info rather than making them compartmentalise.
I think we can agree to disagree on the first point.

As to the reading of the MM, DMG, any adventure being run, etc., I agree. I was totally thinking of stuff happening at the table. I mean, we would need some scientific studies and lots of honest polling data to really get an idea of "which is the most", but gut check? Yeah, I think anything that adds up to peeking behind the screen is more common.

But that is unequivocally breaking the rules of the game. At least the one's we use.

As to the other stuff, games don't really belong to genres. What you're talking about is act of playing a game. Only using expectations from other games to lead you. Of course, there are groups of games with design similarities.

For example. When playing any of the Rails games, e.g. Australian Rails, Martian Rails, it's obvious they are largely similar in experience. But trying to win a game in the line never played before by using strategies successful from another rail game is perilous. Well, that is unless the player also doesn't actually play the current game. IOW, actually engage in the deciphering of the game (required of any gameplay), to spot clues in the different design instead using only another game's design to formulate strategy. Still, due to similarity, if you're good at one, you'll likely have some immediate ability playing the other.
 
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I think we can agree to disagree on the first point.

As to the reading of the MM, DMG, any adventure being run, etc., I agree. I was totally thinking of stuff happening at the table. I mean, we would need some scientific studies and lots of honest polling data to really get an idea of "which is the most", but gut check? Yeah, I think anything that adds up to peeking behind the screen is more common.

But that is unequivocally breaking the rules of the game. At least the one's we use.
The problem with the "Don't let the players get their hands on the DM rules" is that it's a completely unworkable rule. It means that any one group can only ever have one DM, and that DMs can't travel or ever be players. It was dropped with very good reason.

As to the other stuff, games don't really belong to genres. What you're talking about is act of playing a game. Only using expectations from other games to lead you.
Um... no. If I'm playing a game in that setting I absolutely am going to be using expectations for that setting - and I'm going to expect most of them to hold true because of fidelity ot the setting. As well as expectations about the game mechanics and family.
 

Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
My second group, we had nine regular players & four occasional players. Of the nine regulars, six were DM's.

So having someone NOT having read the DMG, MM, MMII, FF, etc. was the exception, not the rule.

We always had to change the monsters and treasures.

Having Dragon magazines for new and unique monsters and items was a big help. Even all the maps they provided was great. We would change maps as well.

Having a nearly complete Monstrous Compendium and the Encyclopedia Magica to changes things up was a great benefit for our games.
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
Metagaming is breaking the rules of a game. It's called cheating in other games.

When you look at the cards of another player in Poker, that's metagaming.

When you read the answers to the Jeopardy questions before being a contestant for Mr. Trebek, that's metagaming.

When as a participating athlete you don't pole vault in the Olympic Games, but tell the judges you did, that's metagaming.

Breaking rules is not bad in and of itself, but it changes the game difficulty.


EDIT: In D&D the most common form of metagaming is listening in on information the DM is parceling out to another player whose character is in a position to learn it when yours is not.
This is just false and combined with awful examples.
 

howandwhy99

First Post
This is just false and combined with awful examples.
Actually, Metagaming as defined in early D&D is part of player cheating. The new definition is different. As early D&D has nothing to do with expressing a personality or telling a story, that definition doesn't apply.

In D&D, a DM is parceling out information rewards to players as they play the game. Players who overhear another player's info, which is not then relayed to the other players by that player, are metagaming.

Yes, players often say they are going to tell everyone and a DM may inform other players on that player's behalf, that can speed up the game. But otherwise the default game is each player is playing separately and choosing when to cooperate (or not) individually, like sharing their experiences.

Metagaming gets in the way of fair play, but there are techniques to avoid its abuse.
 


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