D&D General My Metagame Rule

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So, on the list of house rules many players hate is my metagame rules. so, I'm tossing it out there.

The basic rule is: Whatever you the player knows the character knows. With the only real exception game mechanical rules. It's simple. But a lot of players dislike it.
Taken to its logical conclusion, and as there's no mention as to how this player knowledge is acquired, this would suggest you're fine with players reading the adventure before or as they play through it, or reading up on monsters at the table.

I'll go out on a limb and guess that's not the case...which forces the question: where does the boundary lie?

Also, how do you reconcile this rule with in-game situations where the party is split up; in character neither group could possibly know what the others are doing yet at the table the players know this because you've played each group through? Do characters in group A suddenly realize the two in group B have fallen down a pit in the castle basement and can't get out, even though group A is hiding in the woods outside and isn't expecting group B back for hours?
 

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Mort

Legend
Supporter
Taken to its logical conclusion, and as there's no mention as to how this player knowledge is acquired, this would suggest you're fine with players reading the adventure before or as they play through it, or reading up on monsters at the table.

Sure, as long as the players are fine with me changing things around enough that relying solely on what they read is not a great (and is usually a terrible) idea.

I'll go out on a limb and guess that's not the case...which forces the question: where does the boundary lie?
It lies with everyone not being jerks. If the player is taking advantage of a new/inexperienced DM (who just wants to run the module straight) - that player is likely being a jerk by doing what they are doing. As long as everyone remembers to not be a jerk, that's usually enough.

Also, how do you reconcile this rule with in-game situations where the party is split up; in character neither group could possibly know what the others are doing yet at the table the players know this because you've played each group through? Do characters in group A suddenly realize the two in group B have fallen down a pit in the castle basement and can't get out, even though group A is hiding in the woods outside and isn't expecting group B back for hours?

A good reason to not split up the party which generally leads to other issues (such as bored players).

If a situation TRULY depends on players not knowing what other players are doing then it's best to actually segregate. Otherwise you tend to get extremes where players either act like they're in the room OR they act like complete rubes to avoid appearing like they know anything.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Taken to its logical conclusion, and as there's no mention as to how this player knowledge is acquired, this would suggest you're fine with players reading the adventure before or as they play through it, or reading up on monsters at the table.
I'm fine with it. I play online, so they can do it without me even noticing, so I can't be given to care. What they don't know is if I changed elements of the adventure or monsters and how much. So yeah, go right ahead and look up those monsters and rely on what could be bad information. That's your risk to take, player!

Also, how do you reconcile this rule with in-game situations where the party is split up; in character neither group could possibly know what the others are doing yet at the table the players know this because you've played each group through? Do characters in group A suddenly realize the two in group B have fallen down a pit in the castle basement and can't get out, even though group A is hiding in the woods outside and isn't expecting group B back for hours?
It's none of my business as DM what reasoning underpins the decision to do a thing. I just need to know their goal and approach so I can adjudicate the action. Someone in Group A could want to take that action for any number of reasons that don't have to be because the player knows what's happening with Group B. "I got a bad feeling for some reason - I need to make sure they are okay."
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
After 40 years, we still struggle with this, although there is only one player I know who will actually use all the meta knowledge, or pull up the monster stat block while we're playing...

I handle it in a few ways:
1) In my Greyhawk campaign, the players are in Sterich. Anything that ends up on the "random encounter" charts for that area is "known" to the players - whether through rumor, information passed along, things talked about around the fire, folklore. Iconic monsters likewise - vampires, will o the wisps, dragons (though mine aren't color coded), werewolves, mummies (rot), etc.
2) Monsters they may encounter that are super rare, or not common to the area, I usually change things around on the stat block - changing immunities, changing/adding/removing abilities to the monster, so they don't automatically know what it does - or at least they might think they do.
3) I'll always describe the monster, but not name it. This can leave the players guessing, even though it might be 'just' a zombie, or a ghoul, or whatever. Sometimes they'll figure it out in a couple of rounds, or I'll slip and name it. I freaked a party out in a 5e game with a hellhound (it was well within the 'easy' realm for them at the time), but the description, and it rolling well and taking down a player when he got overly confident made the rest of the party panic.

I also try to make sure session zero is clear that the point is not to "win DnD", its to have fun playing the game. Our one player mentioned above is always out to "win" (and that is his fun), but we all know that going in.
 

So started a new 5E game with some younger players. As said, they all hated my metagame rule. And they refused to use it. 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". And, yea, that's what they did...until the characters "learned" a red dragon breathes fire, when it breathed on them.
I've never bought into that myself. if dragons are known to be in the world, then myths and stories of dragons exist.

Just like most people on this forum have probably never eaten haggis, they probably know it exists and tastes horrible :O
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
If one has to resort to the extreme case (e.g. buying the adventure and reading it) in order to argue why metagaming is bad, then the argument is already lost.

"How do you feel about people bringing their own dice to the table?"
"Taken to its logical conclusion, if the entire table is covered with dice there's no room for the minis."
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
A good reason to not split up the party which generally leads to other issues (such as bored players).
It happens - if it's what the characters would do... I've run some parties where keeping them together really is like herding cats. :)
If a situation TRULY depends on players not knowing what other players are doing then it's best to actually segregate.
Completely agree; or do things by note. Happens all the time.
Otherwise you tend to get extremes where players either act like they're in the room OR they act like complete rubes to avoid appearing like they know anything.
The former is IMO far more common.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
"How do you feel about people bringing their own dice to the table?"
"Taken to its logical conclusion, if the entire table is covered with dice there's no room for the minis."
What's scary is that, provided I'm at home, within five minutes I could achieve that condition.

I have way too many dice... :)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I've never bought into that myself. if dragons are known to be in the world, then myths and stories of dragons exist.

Just like most people on this forum have probably never eaten haggis, they probably know it exists and tastes horrible :O
It tastes fine; it’s basically just sausage. It’s just knowing what it’s made of that makes it hard to eat. Much like with sausage.
 


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