Player reading ahead in an adventure path


Advice

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I only really get to play at conventions, so I've gotten to play Crypt of the Everflame several times and have read it (almost ran it). People keep running it because it is beginner friendly, and I get stuck with no other PF game to participate in. So I just pretend I don't know where everything is- "I'll just hit that skeleton with my sword. Didn't do much? Never would've expected that..." Of course, I am also forthright with my GM about knowing the AP.


IMHO Pathfinder is a game and what matters most is that everyone has fun. If the PC is reading ahead and not spoiling the game for the GM or the other players then I guess that's fine if he wants to spoil the plot for himself.

However, that doesn't seem to be the case here since the PC is giving out plot points he shouldn't know and has developed tactical plans dependent on reading the module. How I would deal with it would depend on how much you want to keep him at the table.

Scarab Sages

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There are 1e things I have not read because I have not run them or played in them. I will not read anything I may play in one day. This should be the way to play. What fun is playing if you are not surprised by what comes up.


I've read a majority of the APs out as for a time i was trying on the GM hat for another group of friends. I restricted myself to complete ones as I wanted to try to weave characters' personal stories through the AP. As a result I at least have a vague idea of most. Currently I'm playing in kingmaker, one I decided not to run as I came to realize I'd much rather play it than run it, particularly after following some PBPs on this site. I let the GM know ahead of time and made sure they knew i expected to be called out if they felt I was metagaming unintentionally. We've had little issue and I still find it really fun because regardless of knowing the shell, the story we experience with our characters and the side stories we try to build up is wholly different. I'm largely the same with spoilers for game, tv, and movies because I want to make sure I'll actually enjoy spending the time and/or money.

That said talk to them if they seem to be turning their (potential) knowledge to their benefit. There's knowing a trope when you see it and trying to game every encounter by memory. I don't recommend baiting him to get angry, largely because I've never seen passive aggressive tactics in anything achieve a result aside from pissing people off more. Let them know your concerns and give the ultimatum that they stop reading and do not exploit the knowledge they already have or they can leave the game.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Lurk3r wrote:
I only really get to play at conventions, so I've gotten to play Crypt of the Everflame several times and have read it (almost ran it). People keep running it because it is beginner friendly, and I get stuck with no other PF game to participate in. So I just pretend I don't know where everything is- "I'll just hit that skeleton with my sword. Didn't do much? Never would've expected that..." Of course, I am also forthright with my GM about knowing the AP.

I hate when people metagame to not metagame just as much as when people metagame.

Its like "Oh this adventure takes place in a jungle, well I'll take ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to survive a jungle encounter cause i don't want to metagame."


Ævux wrote:
Lurk3r wrote:
I only really get to play at conventions, so I've gotten to play Crypt of the Everflame several times and have read it (almost ran it). People keep running it because it is beginner friendly, and I get stuck with no other PF game to participate in. So I just pretend I don't know where everything is- "I'll just hit that skeleton with my sword. Didn't do much? Never would've expected that..." Of course, I am also forthright with my GM about knowing the AP.

I hate when people metagame to not metagame just as much as when people metagame.

Its like "Oh this adventure takes place in a jungle, well I'll take ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to survive a jungle encounter cause i don't want to metagame."

This is pretty much the big problem for me. Metagaming in one way or another cannot be avoided no matter what that player always has that knowledge in the back of their heads and will be judging the each decision based on how they can use it. The most common manifestations I have seen;

1) The justifier - no matter what this player will come up with an in character reason that they did what they did. This is more common when the character has not mentioned anything about knowing what is going to happen beforehand.
2) The sheep - will rarely help or offer insight/feedback for fear of metagaming or ruining it for other players. This is more common if the players know that the other player knows.


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Warren Specter wrote:

I believe one of my players is reading ahead in the adventure path that i'm running. During the last game this player seemed to know just when the double crossing npc was going to attack and how many other creatures where there to deal with.

how should i handle this? The last time i noticed this behavior and made changes to the adventure he seem upset that things didn't go the way they should have.

I havent read the thread, I'm afraid so presumably this has already been said. Nonetheless - before getting too grumpy or assigning consequences, make sure you've spelled out that you dont think it's ok to read an AP before playing it (presuming that's your view). I for one dont actually mind if someone has read the module I'm running. Perhaps this player is unaware it's something you'd rather not happen.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It is a difficult thing. Its like when you have that cursed item you know is freeking cursed out of character. And you so very much want to avoid activating the curse.. BUT YOU CAN'T cause thats metagaming.. but just blindly putting it on is also metagaming.

The hardest part of me, Is that I've got a series of characters I use who are used to undead and the like. They belong to a family of necromancers after all. They live in a swamp, have have dealings with quite a few of the darker things. And I'd gladly tell the GM it, but I don't get to. It stabs me every time when my characters are completely and utterly clueless to even the most simple of undeads because the GM said so.


One question:
When the alleged cheater pointed out where hidden enemies were, were those the only pieces of cover in the room? Just like it's possible for plots to be transparent it's possible for encounters to be transparent.

Shadow Lodge

I can't see this as coincidence. The hidden thieves just kind of slammed the point in.
I own a module of an adventure I plan on taking part in, and I haven't even glanced at it. It would spoil the air, the surprise, for me personally. But, even if I did so, I would prefer to separate OOC from IC interactions. I don't like the 4th wall breaking.
Apparently this guy doesn't mind doing so, and either is intentionally malicious about it and out to "beat" the GM or he is honestly and truthfully unaware that it is, practically, the same as 'cheating' in any other game.
As the other have said, time and again. Talk to him.


As a side note: when something along this line happens when I GM (taking the vampire and hidden thieves ambush as an example) - I would on the fly extend the encounter adding a suitable monster or/and additional thieves to reinforce the earlier set as appropriate. The idea for me is that a particular encounter is designed to be a particular challenge (say APL+3 CR); "knowing" the encounter beforehand reduces the CR by 1 or 2 in my reckoning. So I'll adlib the encounter up back to full CR.


I'm not sure how talking would help here. Whether you talk to the player or not it doesn't change that the player already knows what he knows. And whether you change things in the adventure or not it has already been established that he will whine when things are changed.

It is also true that there are those who can know what is going on out of character but not react to it in character. This person, however, does not appear to be one of them.

Unfortunately, I think he needs to be removed from the game. It is especially unfortunate if he is a friend. But personally I wouldn't put the enjoyment of that one over the enjoyment of everyone else at the table including you, the DM. Especially the DM, actually because if you lose interest in DMing then no one gets to continue to play.


Straight out change some essential parts of the adventure (I do as a matter of course), telling your players that you have done so. If your suspected cheater complains, tell him why. If he still complains, tell him to take a hike!


Lune wrote:

I'm not sure how talking would help here. Whether you talk to the player or not it doesn't change that the player already knows what he knows. And whether you change things in the adventure or not it has already been established that he will whine when things are changed.

It is also true that there are those who can know what is going on out of character but not react to it in character. This person, however, does not appear to be one of them.

Unfortunately, I think he needs to be removed from the game. It is especially unfortunate if he is a friend. But personally I wouldn't put the enjoyment of that one over the enjoyment of everyone else at the table including you, the DM. Especially the DM, actually because if you lose interest in DMing then no one gets to continue to play.

One of the issues is that we're not sure he was reading ahead.


I had this problem too. I finished running the first adventure in the path, then before the next one started I talked to the group as a whole and said something to the effect of "I shouldn't have to say this, but reading the adventures is NOT acceptable. If anyone does this I will know, and it will be a problem. So don't do it." Since then there hasn't been an issue.


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Lune wrote:

I'm not sure how talking would help here. Whether you talk to the player or not it doesn't change that the player already knows what he knows. And whether you change things in the adventure or not it has already been established that he will whine when things are changed.

It is also true that there are those who can know what is going on out of character but not react to it in character. This person, however, does not appear to be one of them.

Unfortunately, I think he needs to be removed from the game. It is especially unfortunate if he is a friend. But personally I wouldn't put the enjoyment of that one over the enjoyment of everyone else at the table including you, the DM. Especially the DM, actually because if you lose interest in DMing then no one gets to continue to play.

How does talking help?

A) We're not positive the player has read ahead. Admittedly, it seems very, very likely, but everyone deserves a fair trial, so to speak. For that matter, nor do we know how far ahead he's read. Maybe if it can be nipped in the bud now, the rest of the campaign can be a surprise to him.

B) It's at least distantly possible that the player doesn't realize that this sort of thing is a problem. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I prefer to assume the best of others, especially when it comes to a game, as opposed to truly serious matters. Maybe talking can prevent the issue from cropping up in other games.

C) And just in general, I think that airing an issue and having a frank discussion about it is always a better first step in dealing with it than responding with passive-aggression or just plain aggression. Maybe he will have to be removed from the game. I might even venture to say that he probably will, though I hesitate to do so given only second-hand information. But talking can't hurt, and it could certainly help, if only in minor ways.


just change the adventure, perhaps to the opposite, or do your own stuff.

When he kills a traitor before it's obvious, let him become evil, and tell him that it was no traitor.


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Revan wrote:

B) It's at least distantly possible that the player doesn't realize that this sort of thing is a problem. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I prefer to assume the best of others, especially when it comes to a game, as opposed to truly serious matters. Maybe talking can prevent the issue from cropping up in other games.

C) And just in general, I think that airing an issue and having a frank discussion about it is always a better first step in dealing with it than responding with passive-aggression or just plain aggression. Maybe he will have to be removed from the game. I might even venture to say that he probably will, though I hesitate to do so given only second-hand information. But talking can't hurt, and it could certainly help, if only in minor ways.

I agree with these points very strongly - in my gaming group the described behaviour just wouldnt be a problem. If a player wants to read ahead and spoil the mystery for themselves I'm not going to be very concerned - even if they're metagaming like crazy and solving all the problems of the AP as soon as they come up. The players I DM for aren't generally going to care either, so who am I to tell him how he should be having fun?

.
I'm obviously not trying to tell you it isnt a problem - you set the rules of your own game, after all. Nonetheless, it is entirely possible that he would be genuinely surprised to find that it was out of line. Proceeding to levy a punishment or to try and "catch him in the act" seems to me to be steps to take after confirming that he understands that it's not on.


Revan wrote:

How does talking help?

A) We're not positive the player has read ahead. Admittedly, it seems very, very likely, but everyone deserves a fair trial, so to speak. For that matter, nor do we know how far ahead he's read. Maybe if it can be nipped in the bud now, the rest of the campaign can be a surprise to him.

B) It's at least distantly possible that the player doesn't realize that this sort of thing is a problem. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I prefer to assume the best of others, especially when it comes to a game, as opposed to truly serious matters. Maybe talking can prevent the issue from cropping up in other games.

C) And just in general, I think that airing an issue and having a frank discussion about it is always a better first step in dealing with it than responding with passive-aggression or just plain aggression. Maybe he will have to be removed from the game. I might even venture to say that he probably will, though I hesitate to do so given only second-hand information. But talking can't hurt, and it could certainly help, if only in minor ways.

Right and

D- he may have come by the knowledge as he has played the module before, with a different group. Or he was planning on DMing it so bought and read it. Who knows?

Dark Archive

DrDeth wrote:

Right and

D- he may have come by the knowledge as he has played the module before, with a different group. Or he was planning on DMing it so bought and read it. Who knows?

and then there's

E) He is reading ahead.

I've got one that most certainly does, and the group has been told since that time that it ruins my enjoyment since half the fun for me is seeing how people react, and playing off the players' actions.

This player acts in a *much* different way when they're presented with material they've never read. It doesn't make the game necessarily "harder" for them, they act appropriately and with an understanding of their class capabilities.

You can actually see how much more interested he is when he has no idea what's going on and he has to find out on his own. When he knows what's going on, he buries his head in a book and more or less waits for combat or for a particular knowledge check or perception roll that's required to gain some advantage.

So not only is he (apparently) unknowingly reducing his own fun, but he's definitely ruining mine if I'm running stuff as written.

Quick example for the Everflame/Masks/Golden Death trilogy I used to introduce them to Pathfinder from 3.5:

Spoiler:
In Crypt, a deep, dark, pool completely devoid of monsters and traps had them all kinds of creeped out and cautious. Safety ropes were tied, preparations were made, everyone was at attention as Mr. Read-Ahead was lowered into the pool. They'd already run into a shadow which had really made a mess of the group, so they were on edge and expecting anything. VERY fun to spend that much time on an empty room and see where their paranoia would take them.

In Masks, the party took a frontal assault approach, and pretty much bypassed any roleplaying opportunities after just a little infiltration. It was a very early jailbreak, spending almost no time in the temple proper.

Then he (probably just good metagaming right?) used a level 1 wand of MM to "test" the mini-BBEG out for his brooch of shielding, a tactic he didn't use before or since.

Then he guessed exactly a password to bypass a golem trap, without any way to have overheard it, and still nearly impossible to guess even if you had a complete understanding of the cult of Razmir.

In Golden Death:

Crafted gloves of arrow snatching immediately prior to a trip to an island where one of the published encounters is a bunch of lizard men with poisoned range attacks. (Has never equipped any other sorcerer or other character like that since)

Actually raised his eyebrow and asked "really?" when a random group of trolls weren't healed by negative energy blasts because I didn't apply a module specific npc template (I thought four trolls were hard enough as a random encounter).

As an air elemental sorcerer ("lightning" burning hands and "lightning" rays being his usual attack mode) he spent FIVE rounds casting mage armor on everyone in the party, rather than risk hasting the elemental.

Of course, he could have been metagaming and thinking this isn't an iron golem, so the "surprise" will be that it will be hasted rather than slowed. No real concrete proof right? Yeah, I tried giving the benefit of the doubt too, til he called it by NAME -- it's a monster introduced in the module's bestiary.

..and so on.

Once I put all those together, then spent another few sessions seeing how much more engaged he is during random encounters or modified events, I just kept switching it up.

Everyone else has a laugh at his expense when he looks up and says "really?" after some action of his doesn't have the expected result, and he winds up being much more interested in encounters.


Regarding A-E and soforth...

Quote:
A) We're not positive the player has read ahead.

And you never will be. If if asked point blank do you truely think that this player would tell the truth from the description you have?

Quote:
B) It's at least distantly possible that the player doesn't realize that this sort of thing is a problem.

I agree. This does not, however, change that it is a problem. From what the OP says it sounds like this has already been pointed out to him and he has had the opportunity to change. I prefer to think the best of others as well until given information otherwise. This is one of those times where I would be convinced that this is a person I'd rather not game with. If it is ruining it for myself and the other players then it is not worth it.

Quote:
C) And just in general, I think that airing an issue and having a frank discussion about it is always a better first step in dealing with it than responding with passive-aggression or just plain aggression.

I did not advocate passive-aggression or aggression. It is fairly easy to remove a player from a game without aggression of any sort. Also, talking can hurt. Sometimes it is better to resolve a problem without talking about it. If you do not think that talking will change the person then it definately will not help. If it isn't helping and only causing an arguement with neither side changing their opinion then it isn't worth doing. In the circumstance presented it would likely be better to remove the player from the game while avoiding the arguement.

Quote:
D- he may have come by the knowledge as he has played the module before, with a different group.

That is true. And there are players that can handle that information maturely and not metagame. This is clearly not one of those players. Whether this is true or not the player in question is ruining the game for the other players and the DM. It is far more important to preserve the fun of the game for them than it is to make sure the one player is having a good time at the cost of the rest of the table.

I'll admit that my opinions are based on the limited knowledge that I have about the player, the game and the opinions of the DM who posted here. But being that is all I have to go on those are my conclusions. Just an opinion though, afterall. ;)


Just talk to him.

Tell him you thought that he may have read ahead and that if he did you feel like it is ruining the fun for you.

If he didn't ask him what tells you have. Is there something you are doing as a Dm that let him know when you are trying to double cross the group.

I personally make so many changes to the adventure paths I pity any of my players that might read ahead.


Ævux wrote:

It is a difficult thing. Its like when you have that cursed item you know is freeking cursed out of character. And you so very much want to avoid activating the curse.. BUT YOU CAN'T cause thats metagaming.. but just blindly putting it on is also metagaming.

The hardest part of me, Is that I've got a series of characters I use who are used to undead and the like. They belong to a family of necromancers after all. They live in a swamp, have have dealings with quite a few of the darker things. And I'd gladly tell the GM it, but I don't get to. It stabs me every time when my characters are completely and utterly clueless to even the most simple of undeads because the GM said so.

Then max your ranks in Knowledge (religion)... take feats and class things that gives your character a reason to mechanically. Backstory is great and all, but if you dont build something that supports it, it doesn't mean much gameplay wise.

Sorry for the necromancy btw.

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