Player reading ahead in an adventure path


Advice

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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.

Dark Archive

Change stuff up.If he bi#@$es tell him to stop reading ahead.

Liberty's Edge

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The same way you deal with any other problem you have with an adult: calmly talk to them about it, explaining your concerns in a non-accusatory manner.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Talk to him.


Make changes. If they gripe, ask, "what? You didn't read ahead did you?"

I view this kind of activity as cheating. Think of it as a jack-hole that keeps telling you what's coming next in the movie...

GNOME

Sovereign Court

Kick him who knows how much he has read. That is my advice but I don't put up with incompatible play styles anymore. I dont think talk is going to help but everybody always says it does so give it a shot.


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So, one time, during a module, fighting the BBEG for the last time, my rogue friend died. He leaned back and pulled out his laptop and left us to our final fight. After we FINALLY disposed of the villain (vampire.. took forever), he starts commenting on how strong he was and referencing the book - stuff like "Man, that guy has a lot of sneak attack dice." He wasn't trying to hide that he was actively reading the module now that we had finished.

The DM got pissed and yelled at him, saying that if he was going to be reading stuff and telling everyone information like this, that he wasn't going to play with him anymore.

This is a good example of how NOT to handle this.

I recommend you talk to him outside of the game, away from the table, just the two of you. Tell him you think he might be doing it, but be willing to accept a denial. If he does deny it, simply continue to change the adventure. Or kick him out. Whatever.

Dark Archive

I agree, just change stuff. Change it all over the place. If he's upset, let him DM instead.


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First, be really sure he's doing it. Sometimes players just get things right. Observe the situation and see if he does it all the time without getting some things very wrong.

If you are sure, talk to him. Tell him to stop. Make up your mind how much slack you want to cut him. That he feels a need to do this probably means he's very insecure and is desperate to "win" or feel important, so you might want to give him another chance. But you can't force him to grow as a person, and a roleplaying group isn't some kind of therapy where you have to work around one individual's problems at the expense of everyone else. And if you want to give him another chance, he first has to admit to it. If he doesn't, if he refuses to change, kick him. It's not worth it to put such a burden on the whole group.

Do not change things. You've got one guy who for whatever reasons feels a need to cheat and potentially ruin the game for the whole group, do not take the submissive approach of doing extra work (and potentially lessening the fun for the whole group or at least you) to work around this. Not that it would help you in the long run, he would find other ways to mess with the game.

Dark Archive

Upset him again changing stuff, for the kicks, to prove that you're the DM and your game is not messed with so easily, and to make sure he's reading ahead. Then talk to him, privately.

If that does not work, change stuff again, upset him once more. The talk to him , in public.

If even that does not work, talk with the rest of the gaming group about having the cheater kicked. Straining the DM patience is not a good thing for anyone.


How do you know he knew how many creatures there were? As for as being double-crossed some people are good at figuring such things out.


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.

This is a great time to have his character start using skills like Sense Motive.

If he really is reading ahead, then you need to let him know that this is unacceptable and if he is going to continue then he needs to find another group. I have only had one player that read ahead and once I let him know that it wouldn't be tolerated he stopped.

I have had a time when I had read ahead, but it was unintentional. Since I was in a position to be a player in one group while GMing another, I had coincidentally chose the same Dungeon adventure and was prepping for my game. Once I realized this, I mentioned it to the GM and we worked together to make sure I didn't accidentally metagame.

Dark Archive

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Once upon a time I did the same thing....

Had a philosophy of "Well i own a copy, why shouldn't I be allowed to read it?"

I was so bad the DM wouldn't read the description of a creature from the book because i would metagame it. He had to "reskin" every monster, change encounters, adapt plots, ect.

A good friend of mine who was DMing sat me down and explained it to me this way;

"You knowing everything that's going to happen ruins the fun for me (running the game) as a DM, and for the rest of the players who want to be surprised and be challenged. If you wanna read ahead you can run the game yourself, or play in a way that doesn't spoil or disrupt the game, but i would really prefer it if you didn't know whats ahead so i don't have to change things. Its hard enough keeping a group of ("disruptive") people focused and entertained without one person trying to be the focus of attention. Don't focus on the goal of winning as much as the experience of having fun."

I had to realize, the DM needs to have a level of interest in the campaign, or the campaign stops.


How are you sure he read ahead? I just finished as a player in a module that had a double-cross from an npc, and honestly, I knew it was going to happen the minute we met her. The moment we jointly killed the enemy we teamed up to defeat, I got behind cover, knowing she was going to unleash hell-from-above on me.

This had nothing to do with reading ahead, but rather had to do with the fact that this npc was completely free to roam in enemy territory, and overly eager to be helpful. There are some situations which the skill Sense Motive is designed for, and then there are times when a character doesn't need to get a read on his enemy, and his own naturally suspicious nature is enough.


If you really do believe he's reading ahead, talk to him.

Alice is right. People think RPG stuff isn't like the real world and you can act however you want. This is just another part of life.

Address your concerns and then see how the game progresses.


Change something important to test if he is reading ahead. If you tell us what AP and where you are, perhaps we can help suggest some changes. Unless you think the player might read it here.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Alice Margatroid wrote:
The same way you deal with any other problem you have with an adult: calmly talk to them about it, explaining your concerns in a non-accusatory manner.

This. This. This. This. This. This. This. This. This. This.

And also this.

Finally, this.

It doesn't hurt to change up some monsters either, but you NEED to talk to this person--find out if it's really happening, then calmly explain why that's not appropriate--Name Violation's post is great to reference for that.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Seriously, ignore the captains of passive aggressive here. Talk to them. It could be intentional reading ahead, it could be intuition, it could be things you let slip by accident at or away from the table (sometimes as dm I am just BURSTING to get to the big reveal and I have made the mistake of revealing too much at times), or he could have accidently heard something on the message boards. For instance, I was posting stuff that was happening in my kingmaker group (writing of the nations constitution) as a player, and unconciously started perusing that section of the forums (foolish I know, didnt really think about it at the time). But I came across an unspoilered spoiler that meant I had more info then I should have had at one of the big events.

What I mean by all this, is obviously if you think there is a problem TALK TO YOUR PLAYERS. All of them. Seriously, these books are all readily available, your player may well have bought the adventure you are running before you told him you were running it. They are fun to read on their own merits. Or he might be one of those people that reads the last chapter of a book first (seriously I know a few people like that and really dont understand it).

Either way, passive aggressively changing things to spite him wont help solve the problem. It might create more tension. Talk to him, talk to your whole group about it. These books are available on amazon now, or on pdfs we can literally get instantly anywhere on earth(on ipads and the like). They are no longer secret tomes hidden away in tiny shops that only THE DM sees. When I was younger and hadn't cut my teeth on dming yet, I would have KILLED to get a look at my DM's notebook with the adventure notes in it. Its really tempting, its fun, its forbidden (and thus exciting). Given how easy that is nowadays when working from published material, its time to talk to your players about it. Dont accuse, just discuss how everyone can have the most fun possible out of the game.

Remember, many of us today grew up with things like video game 'guide books' that lay out the whole game for you, and many had fun with them. If the video game industry can make loads of money off that sort of thing, there has to be a reason for players of games to want to know whats coming. That same impulse will apply to alot of roleplayers. So its worth talking about with your group.

Liberty's Edge

Name Violation wrote:

Once upon a time I did the same thing....

Had a philosophy of "Well i own a copy, why shouldn't I be allowed to read it?"

I was so bad the DM wouldn't read the description of a creature from the book because i would metagame it. He had to "reskin" every monster, change encounters, adapt plots, ect.

A good friend of mine who was DMing sat me down and explained it to me this way;

"You knowing everything that's going to happen ruins the fun for me (running the game) as a DM, and for the rest of the players who want to be surprised and be challenged. If you wanna read ahead you can run the game yourself, or play in a way that doesn't spoil or disrupt the game, but i would really prefer it if you didn't know whats ahead so i don't have to change things. Its hard enough keeping a group of ("disruptive") people focused and entertained without one person trying to be the focus of attention. Don't focus on the goal of winning as much as the experience of having fun."

I had to realize, the DM needs to have a level of interest in the campaign, or the campaign stops.

All so true.

You might also help him realize what will happen if you do not change a single thing : he will have his PC's abilities and actions so optimized to defeating all the obstacles in the scenario that it might as well be a walk in the park for him (the PC, but also the player) : no surprise, no challenge, no mystery.

Now, ask him if what he wants from a RPG session is a guaranteed but boring walk in the park, or surprises, challenges and mysteries.

If he is honest with himself, he will choose the latter and stop reading ahead. Because it will actually kill all his fun.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I have played through adventures that I have played before. My DM actually liked this because I could play as if I knew nothing, but my Dm could confide in me. Some people can pull this off, and some can't. In fact, he would sometimes use my knowledge to push other players if they were going off track. I have even had DMs let me in on some adventures to get some advice on the next step. You may be able to work this in your favor, if done right. If you confront him in this way, he will not feel attacked, and may become an asset. In the end, you need to talk. Anything passive aggressive is suicide for the campaign.


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A lot of people have great points, being passive aggressive is not really the way to handle it...

Stab him with a fork.

If that doesn't work, you should probably talk to him, after calling 911.


Well, I want to combine the advice. Change things up, then if that show he *IS* reading ahead, then talk to him. No use getting accusatory unless you know for sure.

But yes, in general, talking to each other like adults is the best thing.

The Exchange

I have had similar concerns with one of my players, although he's a lot better about not using the knowledge in-game. I can usually tell when he's cruised the net researching whatever adventure, campaign event, or rare item has just popped up in-game.

Name Violation, above, summed up the reasons it's a bad idea for the player. Reading ahead might feel good at the time, but during the games themselves you're rarely as entertained as the players who are using the usual combination of inference and guesswork to decide on their actions.

It's a good motivation to design your own adventures, I guess.


Are you running carrion crown?


Just curious has anyone had problems with a player who has played an AP before with another group.


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.

Life is too short for nonsense.

- Don't bother with change-up tricks to try to prove the cheater out.
- Don't bother with passive-aggressive behaviors to punish the cheater.
- Don't bother with having an adult sit-down chat with the cheater.

Instead:

1. Inform the player that he's no longer welcome at your gaming table.
2. Continue gaming with people you can trust.

If you are suspicious of a player at the table, then it's taking your attention away from your game and the other players. The suspicious player needs to go, and you're the only one who can make it so.

Good luck.


I have done this in the early part of Kingmaker. oaach theThe GM finally mentioned to me that others had spoken to her about my reading ahead and how it frustrated them. I apologized to the group stating that I didn't realize how it upset them. I have not read ahead since then. There was no yelling or cussing, just a decent conversation. I believe that if you approach the person civilly and they don't stop then you might want to ask them to not return.


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How experienced/mature is this person? Even if they are reading ahead, they might not realize that it is such a problem. They might just think they are being clever. Just straight up talk to them.

If they say they aren't reading ahead, but you still have your suspicions, then you are in a tough spot... consider the fork-stabbing suggestion from above.


Mainly it was the fact that no matter how helpful the npc was trying to be he kept stating that he didn't believe him, he never had his character roll a sense motive, he just kept to his guns that the npc was going to lead them into a trap(which in the adventure he does). Once the trap was sprung he kept telling the other players where they should move to to avoid hidden thieves.

this along with other happenings has lead me to this feeling.

I thank you all for your help

The Exchange

Oh, it's that level of 'reading ahead', is it? Well, I bet he didn't read ahead to the part where the end boss shows up early just to bite off his head!

I admit that was the rage talking. Nevertheless, you got a real problem there. Whines when things are changed: cheats when things are left the same. Yeah, it's starting to look like you'll have to uninvite that player.


Warren Specter wrote:

Mainly it was the fact that no matter how helpful the npc was trying to be he kept stating that he didn't believe him, he never had his character roll a sense motive, he just kept to his guns that the npc was going to lead them into a trap(which in the adventure he does). Once the trap was sprung he kept telling the other players where they should move to to avoid hidden thieves.

this along with other happenings has lead me to this feeling.

I thank you all for your help

He did not even try to be sneaky about it.

Dark Archive

Warren Specter wrote:

Mainly it was the fact that no matter how helpful the npc was trying to be he kept stating that he didn't believe him, he never had his character roll a sense motive, he just kept to his guns that the npc was going to lead them into a trap(which in the adventure he does). Once the trap was sprung he kept telling the other players where they should move to to avoid hidden thieves.

this along with other happenings has lead me to this feeling.

I thank you all for your help

Insta-kick.


Warren Specter wrote:

Mainly it was the fact that no matter how helpful the npc was trying to be he kept stating that he didn't believe him, he never had his character roll a sense motive, he just kept to his guns that the npc was going to lead them into a trap(which in the adventure he does). Once the trap was sprung he kept telling the other players where they should move to to avoid hidden thieves.

this along with other happenings has lead me to this feeling.

I thank you all for your help

If he's directing others where to go in combat to avoid hidden NPC's that his character should have no knowledge of...I would have called him on it right then and there. Without some character-specific rationale for dictating where others go on the field of battle I would call him out in front of everyone. It's cheating and it really bugs me.

I expect more out of adults/friends.

Liberty's Edge

I would say definitely talk to them, away from the table and away from the other players, and see how he responds. He may have legitimately guessed (some plots are fairly transparent), or just not realized it was a problem. Then again, he could be a deliberately cheating prick. But talking to them one-on-one would be the way to determine that, and assume it's innocent until proven otherwise.

I will say that I have more than once, without any prior knowledge to a campaign, accidentally guessed what was going on. A player is allowed to do that and act on it, you know. It just represents your character making a guess. Did they fail their sense motive check? Then the character is conflicted: On the one hand they seem sincere, but on the other the patterns emerging are not ones that tend to lead to happiness. They will probably follow along with it but keep a contingency plan.

One time I completely blew a DM out of the water by guessing two of the alternate versions of a session's plot (custom made, so no way of knowing). One of those involved a statue in a park being the actual person it was made to resemble (trapped in some fashion), the other being that the statue actually hid an entrance to an underground complex of some sort. Both are possibilities I had my character check for and (afterward) the DM informed me that he was surprised at how accurately I was able to simply guess. I actually did a couple more fairly accurate guesses like that in that campaign, but forgot what they were. Turns out the statue was just a magical thingamajig.

TL;DR - Talk to them one-on-one. Assume innocence until proven guilty.

EDIT: Reading more of the other replies makes it seem VERY unlikely he's just guessing. I would still approach him with the "assume innocence" attitude, but make sure you make it very clear that reading ahead is NOT okay. If they complain, make it very clear that you will not tolerate it and if they continue their character's "luck" will dry up. Then change the details such that if you tried to use what was originally in the module you'd be putting yourself in the perfect place to be screwed. As long as it's something the characters don't know yet, you can even change it on the fly.

The Exchange

I may have one now but I really don't care. It is annoying to see spells that have never been cast being cast at the perfect time to find some hidden info or the just happening to do the right intricate thing to do something accidently, but honestly I read the adventure and commit important things to memory and then wing most of the rest so none of it really matters in the end. It's just funny to watch the scramble for advantage....


Well, I have been playing for a loooong time, so by now I can almost always tell when a NPC is going to be a backstabber (hint- scantily clad beautiful women chained up in a dungeon are usually succubi)*, so that’s not too suspicious . Maybe you, as the DM, have certain “tells”.

But the rest sounds fishy.

* As Hrun said “"You find chokeapples under a chokeapple tree. You find treasure under altars."


Change the name of one of the new to the party, major NPCs in the AP by one or two sylabbles, and see if he corrects you. If so, then you know.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Why all the "this friend is now your enemy" replies? That kind of behavior will lead to simply having no friends. That is a sad way to live.


Crush him with war suns and dreadnoughts.

Silver Crusade

Warren Specter wrote:

Mainly it was the fact that no matter how helpful the npc was trying to be he kept stating that he didn't believe him, he never had his character roll a sense motive, he just kept to his guns that the npc was going to lead them into a trap(which in the adventure he does). Once the trap was sprung he kept telling the other players where they should move to to avoid hidden thieves.

this along with other happenings has lead me to this feeling.

I thank you all for your help

Some players don't trust NPCs no matter what. The betrayer NPC is a bit of a trope. The rogue/assassin buddies who attack when the NPC betrays them is a bit of a trope too.

I suggest changing one important detail like where a nice pice of treasure is hidden or when an important boss will be or how the boss will act. If he seems to have foreknowledge then you have that talk with him.


I'd usually have a bit of skepticism for something like this but, he knew where to move. So much so that he was able to advise others. Just whatever you do almost anything is better than passive aggressive (rocks fall), even just uninviting him is better than trying to "get even". When I feel somebody is cheating, and I have reasonable cause to believe so, I let my players handle it more often then not. The GM might be the Supreme authority of the table, but even a supreme authority still has advisers.

Grand Lodge

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Make him do the walk of the thousand d4's while the other players pummel and flail at him with dice bags

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I would not play with someone who read ahead. I have a player who read the Heart of the Jungle book when we were getting ready to play Serpent Skull and even though it is not the adventure - it has been annoying the whole adventure path. He knows more than he should and it comes out from time to time.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Mabven the OP healer wrote:

How are you sure he read ahead? I just finished as a player in a module that had a double-cross from an npc, and honestly, I knew it was going to happen the minute we met her. The moment we jointly killed the enemy we teamed up to defeat, I got behind cover, knowing she was going to unleash hell-from-above on me.

This had nothing to do with reading ahead, but rather had to do with the fact that this npc was completely free to roam in enemy territory, and overly eager to be helpful. There are some situations which the skill Sense Motive is designed for, and then there are times when a character doesn't need to get a read on his enemy, and his own naturally suspicious nature is enough.

Did the NPC have a goatee and was voiced by tim curry?

Dark Archive

Cut off his dice-rolling hand.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm not inherently opposed to running an AP with someone who's read it. In fact, I ran both RotRL and CotCT in college with a player (the same one both times) who knew the paths; in the case of CotCT he was actually running it for his home group. It was a great experience both times--and certainly, I'd hate to think that I'll never be able to play in, say, Jade Regent.

There's some key differences between that situation and what the OP describes though. My friend was open and honest with me beforehand about his familiarity. He was a roleplayer par excellence, and never once did I feel like he was abusing metagame knowledge--let alone sharing it with the other players.

As to how to handle it? My advice is to avoid passive aggression or trying to 'catch him up'. Just talk to him, calmly and frankly. Be prepared to bring the ban hammer down, of course. But try to talk it out first.


Ævux wrote:
Mabven the OP healer wrote:

How are you sure he read ahead? I just finished as a player in a module that had a double-cross from an npc, and honestly, I knew it was going to happen the minute we met her. The moment we jointly killed the enemy we teamed up to defeat, I got behind cover, knowing she was going to unleash hell-from-above on me.

This had nothing to do with reading ahead, but rather had to do with the fact that this npc was completely free to roam in enemy territory, and overly eager to be helpful. There are some situations which the skill Sense Motive is designed for, and then there are times when a character doesn't need to get a read on his enemy, and his own naturally suspicious nature is enough.

Did the NPC have a goatee and was voiced by tim curry?

All the npc's are voiced by Tim Curry. He's my DM. Great guy, you should hang out with him sometime.

Dark Archive

Mabven the OP healer wrote:
Ævux wrote:
Mabven the OP healer wrote:

How are you sure he read ahead? I just finished as a player in a module that had a double-cross from an npc, and honestly, I knew it was going to happen the minute we met her. The moment we jointly killed the enemy we teamed up to defeat, I got behind cover, knowing she was going to unleash hell-from-above on me.

This had nothing to do with reading ahead, but rather had to do with the fact that this npc was completely free to roam in enemy territory, and overly eager to be helpful. There are some situations which the skill Sense Motive is designed for, and then there are times when a character doesn't need to get a read on his enemy, and his own naturally suspicious nature is enough.

Did the NPC have a goatee and was voiced by tim curry?
All the npc's are voiced by Tim Curry. He's my DM. Great guy, you should hang out with him sometime.

I have a new greatest fantasy now, and it's this.


Definitely talk with him. Metagaming on this level is NOT cool.

I had one group where a player read ahead and carefully thought out strategies for all the fights. We got to the climactic battle, in which the party had to sacrifice an evil NPC in order to escape a bizarre plane of existence. After we captured the NPC, the metagamer had his character commit suicide. The rest of us got some nasty penalties applied for having sacrificed the dude (even me, despite the fact that my character was not Good aligned), while the metagamer got to make a new character, thereby avoiding all the negative consequences of our actions. It was a major jerk move. The group broke up over it; we never met again.

Sooo ... if you're GM'ing a situation like this, you need to put a stop to it.


just put a trap where thinks there are none and just look at his face if he complains then say reading the adventur is just plain cheating

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