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D&D General My Metagame Rule

Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
So the start of the dislike here is so many players, and more often DMs in their own games, don't like the idea that the character might know "secrets" from the rulebooks.
I'll admit, I don't think I would have come to that rule of my own volition, but in thinking about it, I'm struggling to think of any thing from the 5e player facing rulebooks that I would be bothered by a character using knowledge of. You're right, it's simple, and it seems to work better than I would have expected.
 

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For example when they first heard about a red dragon nearby, Ken there normal DM, made sure to tell everyone that "Remember our characters DO NOT know that red dragons breathe fire until our characters learn that in game".

For the love of Bane, surely the fact 'Dragons breathe fire' is common knowledge surely? I'd assume pretty much everyone (in a standard DnD world like Greyhawk or Faerun) knows (at a bare minimum):

1) Dragons have breath weapons.
2) Different dragons have different breath weapons.
3) The color (and appearance) of a dragon, generally determines what that dragons breath weapon is likely to be.

The illiterate commoners of Westeross are more than aware that 'Dragons exist, and they breathe fire'.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
For the love of Bane, surely the fact 'Dragons breathe fire' is common knowledge surely? I'd assume pretty much everyone (in a standard DnD world like Greyhawk or Faerun) knows (at a bare minimum):

1) Dragons have breath weapons.
2) Different dragons have different breath weapons.
3) The color (and appearance) of a dragon, generally determines what that dragons breath weapon is likely to be.

The illiterate commoners of Westeross are more than aware that 'Dragons exist, and they breathe fire'.

I personally love it when somebody argues along the lines of "if I, as DM, say that vampires don't exist in my universe, and then I decide that they suddenly do, there is NO WAY that any character in that universe has prior knowledge of them."

Let's see...what other universe can I think of in which vampires don't actually exist, and yet a surprisingly large number of people know a lot about them? Hmmm.....hmmm......
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
By the way, I was reading the Jaquays classic adventure Caverns of Thracia the other day, and found this gem:

1676611334176.png
 

Clint_L

Legend
I don't like meta gaming; I think it's lame. If it makes sense for your character to know something in the story, then that's fine, and rolling a lore check if you think your character might know is fine, too. But I think the game is more fun when players try to act from the perspective of their characters, not themselves.

I also don't buy the argument that characters would automatically know the complete details of every creature in D&D because that would be necessary to survival. Yeah, they'd know that some dragons breathe fire. But would they really know the exact details of an aboleth or a green slaad, right down to the spell list?

And it leads to the kind of meta gaming that makes me want to just switch to a board game, like when players want to spend 20 minutes before combat gaming out the entire encounter, right down to how to counter each of the special abilities or spells that might be used.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I don't like meta gaming; I think it's lame. If it makes sense for your character to know something in the story, then that's fine, and rolling a lore check if you think your character might know is fine, too. But I think the game is more fun when players try to act from the perspective of their characters, not themselves.

I also don't buy the argument that characters would automatically know the complete details of every creature in D&D because that would be necessary to survival. Yeah, they'd know that some dragons breathe fire. But would they really know the exact details of an aboleth or a green slaad, right down to the spell list?

I can't speak for the OP, but I think the general argument is that although your point is valid, it's simply not worth the energy trying to police where the dividing line is. And if it's really important to you, it's easier to change the green slaad's spell list than to argue with players.

My rule of thumb is that it's impossible to write rules that prevent jerks from being jerks, but easy to avoid playing with jerks more than once.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I don't like meta gaming; I think it's lame. If it makes sense for your character to know something in the story, then that's fine, and rolling a lore check if you think your character might know is fine, too. But I think the game is more fun when players try to act from the perspective of their characters, not themselves.

I also don't buy the argument that characters would automatically know the complete details of every creature in D&D because that would be necessary to survival. Yeah, they'd know that some dragons breathe fire. But would they really know the exact details of an aboleth or a green slaad, right down to the spell list?
They're welcome in my games to say what their character thinks they know, and act on that information, but that's an assumption. Maybe they're right. But maybe they are horribly, disastrously wrong. That's their risk to take, and has the effect of curtailing the behavior without any of the policing.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
Things like trolls being hurt by fire or werewolves being hurt by silver are definitely common knowledge in my games. Trolls being hurt bu acid might be uncommon knowledge but if a player mentions hitting one with melfs acid arrow, I'd say that's a fair comment. Too many DMs seem to want to penalise players making decisions based on what I feel should be common knowledge for the people of the setting.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Things like trolls being hurt by fire or werewolves being hurt by silver are definitely common knowledge in my games. Trolls being hurt bu acid might be uncommon knowledge but if a player mentions hitting one with melfs acid arrow, I'd say that's a fair comment. Too many DMs seem to want to penalise players making decisions based on what I feel should be common knowledge for the people of the setting.
Well the trouble is that stories grow for drama & get confused over time in retelling. Of course everyone knows that you need silver that's been bathed in willowsap or gifted from a blood relation of the werewolf! Don't get people started on if trols need to be standing in a cloud of red oak or bloodthorn smoke when damaged by fire because most people who choose wrongly don't live to report back. Common knowledge is often mixed with good intentions & guesses.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
I encourage metagaming too, but more in the sense that I want characters to get along because their players are IRL friends, not because the characters themselves should naturally get along and stick together. Similarly, I like when players to actively seek ways for their characters to get aboard the adventure even if logically, their characters would likely do otherwise. Otherwise, I prefer when the characters get to discover their world and adventure independently from player knowledge. Heck, I even narrate prologues and epilogues where the bad guys are revealed doing things the PCs have no way to know (yet).

But I think there’s a lot of information that should be relatively well known in the gaming world. Things like killing werewolves requires silver weapons, vampires cannot withstand sunlight, trolls regenerate if not burnt, red dragon breathe fire, etc. These should be present in nursery rhymes and children tales.

As a DM, I also sneak false information from NPC as people are often misinformed or else folklore has deformed truth. Things like dragons acquire different breath weapons with age, vampires are repelled by garlic, mundane prayers will protect you from demons, etc. More often than not, my players are aware of these falsehoods and I leave it up to them to decide whether their characters know it. In doubt, they usually seek someone who would know…

A healthy level of metagaming is required IMO, but I wouldn’t go as far as PC knowledge = player knowledge personally.
 

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