I apologize ahead of time for the wall of text, but this is something that I have to let out and would appreciate input on.
I have a friend who has played in our past few campaigns and is going to be in the next one pretty much for certain. However, I have a problem with him, he reverse metagames. What I mean is that he quite often does what isn't best in a situation just out of a want to say that he did so and the group will follow so as to keep things going rather than spend 3 hours on an in character argument that could last for hours without him giving ground and generally being stubborn as a mule. Luckily, it hasn't been too bad in our current campaign of Carrion Crown, I think due to the lack of another group member who it feels wants to get into those drawn out situations. However, our next campaign is going to be Skull and Shackles, and if that campaign gets derailed because of that or I have the campaign ruined because of him doing so, well, let's just say you don't want to see a grown man cry.
It seems to have settled down in Carrion Crown, but I'm not sure if that is due to the game being less sandboxy or if it is due to a different DM. Skulls and Shackles, however, will have the same DM as Kingmaker, which was a where he insisted on charging for the bandit lord even though he knew we would lose that fight, then even when we escaped that with our lives he and the other group member were for
So, I ask what would you do in my situation? I have already talked to him and that gets me nowhere.
Remove him from the group.
Or just remove those situations from the game. My PCs react poorly to super-evil badguys being forced to work with the PCs, so I make the super evil badguys into more morally grey creatures, or more likable creatures. A vampire who kills young boys and keeps their naked corpses as servants wants the party to get back his 'favorite' serf? That vampire turns into a matronly woman who is sheltering the orphans. She's still evil and a vampire, but it's not 'what the hell kill on sight'.
reverse metagames. What I mean is that he quite often does what isn't best in a situation just out of a want to say that he did so
Can you rephrase that? I'm not quite sure what that means. So he does what's wrong because he figures out in-meta-thinking what's right and chooses to do what's wrong because it is the opposite of what he thought would be a good choice?
So he does what's wrong because he figures out in-meta-thinking what's right and chooses to do what's wrong because it is the opposite of what he thought would be a good choice?
That is exactly what I mean, he does things like that seemingly out of some misguided attempt not to metagame and in doing so is metagaming to a worse choice so as to say that he isn't metagaming. I am not the GM so I can't really do anything about it and he is fine in other settings so I really don't want to split the group. I want to try to find ways to more subtly steer him away from doing such things, as I am thinking that it might just be when it seems like a confrontation to him he digs his heels in and gets stubborn about things. As such I am kinda looking for ideas on these more subtle methods to get him turned in the right direction.
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I am gonna go with the old classic of talking to this guy. Subtlety is not the best way because some people just won't take the hint and then you are upset because you think he is ignoring your subtle clues.
Take it even further than he does. Take his choices and try to make them worse. Execute the bandit chief? That's too good for him. Cut off his hands.
You can help him not metagame:
- Take his character sheet away and convert it into a description sheet. Hand him the description sheet. Now he doesn't know his bonuses or HP or anything. Just a layman's, in-character description of what he seems to be able to do.
- Don't let him roll any dice or have any books. Roll for him and tell him any results his character would see. Describe monsters and such instead of saying what it is.
Another idea is to (before game) have a group discussion about character perspective, while considering the character's skill ranks, experience and mental stats.
For example, if I'm playing a Wizard with a high INT, I'm allowed to ask my fellow players for help in collaborating INT-type problems. I mean, I'm smart, but certainly nowhere near an INT 18 wizard. To "simulate" my character's high intellect, our table treats the collective player intelligence as my PC's when I need help. The same thing with WIS and high skill ranks.
The other way to simulate high ranks and mental stats is to make checks. Just remember that checks of DC 10 are for things that "a normal person would come up with half the time". Don't confuse DC 10 with "trivial"... it's not.
DC 1 is "trivial", DC 5 is "easy", DC 10 is "doable with effort", DC 15 is "difficult" and DC 20 is "not bloody likely".
What I'm implying here is that when the character is deciding what to do, offer an ability check or knowledge check to make the "smart" choice.
Why? Is he trying to make some kind of point about the rules, or about metagaming, or about YOUR game? Or is it a perhaps over-compensation rooted in an honest intent to not metagame (advantageously)?
Is it in-character reasonable that the character would do these unoptimal things?
We all know people w/ a propensity to make bad choices IRL, there's no reason the gameworld should be free of such individuals.
Unless he's disrupting the fun of the game or getting other PC's killed when they don't have any in-game reason to go along w/ his dumb ideas, I'd leave it alone.
My interpretation is that he's intentionally doing stupid things so he can feel like a good roleplayer. Doing stupid things for roleplaying does have a place in the game, but if he's just doing it constantly, talk to him. Tell him it's really transparent, is only a substitute for real roleplaying, and makes things less fun for everyone else.
I had a bit of a similar problem with a player who liked to make incompetent city dwellers for characters and have them start adventuring. He would try to RP them not knowing how to use basic tactics and then had the nerve to get mad when I would kill him.
Basically, some gamers believe that because they are the center of the story, they should always win for a more entertaining story. I got them to knock it off by explaining that they were, in real life, the incompetent city dweller and that there was no way they could be as smart or motivated as their characters when it came to fighting, dying, spelunking, or living outside.
To the OP, who cares if he executes the bandits. That is his right as a player. You don't get to play his turn for him. If you are so heavily invested in the outcome, write a book.
Metagaming is still metagaming even if you're using to screw yourselves over. Personally, I wouldn't play with them. I would point out how they're just trying to screw over the game, even doing things that don't make sense in context (a redeemed bandit saying bandits can't be redeemed) and only make things harder for the other players. Maybe they just want to see the 'bad end' or something, maybe they're trying to go for the impossible challenge, but I just wouldn't play with someone who would spend 3 hours of argument on why they should do something that doesn't help the group...
He seems to be confused about what metagaming is. The next time he goes to do something stupid, ask him why his character thinks he should do this thing, and what he is basing that decision on. If he brings up something he figured out himself, point out that using player knowledge to guide character actions is metagaming.
If it's really about metagaming, you should find out why he is so frantically trying to avoid that stigma. Has he been accused of metagaming in the past?
While I'm known for making sub-optimal choices if I think they make for better story, I know the type of player you describe, and they usually push this idea too far.
More often than not it's not about story at all (since it's basically random) but about 'Uh oh, this thing has not been about ME for the better part of half an hour. Better do something that makes my weird action decide the outcome of this thing, and blame it on the quirkyness of my character'. I my experience this type of player can usually not be convinced to drop this behavior.