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So during, but more after a session I argued a few points with GM. Neither of us has convinced the other so I wanted to see what an outside consensus was.

1. How much do your characters know about items in their world. Specifically when taking a prisoner would they know to remove any rings or cloaks that might be magical until they can have someone detect magic on the items.

2. Tactical forethought. If a character with a low Int but average wisdom chased off after an enemy and came to a T junction is it reasonable for them to stop and suspecting a possible flanking ambush wait and set up their own ambush. For this one ignore the “depends on the actual character” as the conversation dealt with mental stats.

3. Expediting game play. For this I had my primary weapon destroyed at the end of a session and knowing about spells that could repair it looked them up to determine that our cleric could indeed do it after resting. Since some other players don’t level up and choose spells in between sessions, eating into gameplay I was hoping to save a 2 minute conversation asking if anyone could fix it, waiting while everyone checks their spell lists and determining that the cleric could. The GM felt that my going straight to the cleric next session and asking if he could magically repair it was too metagamey even after my explanation.

I’m not looking for any kind of “I told you so” out of this I just want to see if there are lots of people who feel that these would be meta gaming, or if they would be reasonable

Either way the friendship is fine we weren’t mad and the game proceeded on.


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All seems reasonable to me. I like to remember that adventurers are proffessionals in a dangerous proffession, and have actually trained for and practiced this stuff.


I'm with Java Man.
"Maximum Paranoia" is (or if it's not it should be) the adventurers maxim. If your explanation falls within that ambit, it's not metagaming IMO. Metagaming (as I understand it) is acting on information your character has no way of knowing. We don't and can't codify everything a player knows, a GM should err on the side of a players reasonable explanation.

If the explanation isn't reasonable or the the action is clearly acting on out of game knowledge all bets are off.

The only action that could be metagaming is the looking up spells as that is codified - arguably you'd need a relatively easy knowledge or spellcraft check to know what spells a particular class has access too. I'd be setting that so low most could take 10 ans pass so largely irrelevant, YMMV.

All this is largely irrelevant though as metagaming is more of a feel and finding the edges of it is pretty much unique to each group of people.


I'm not totally sure about the first, but removing everything out of paranoia would be acceptable. I wouldn't have a problem with 2 or 3.


1. If the players are taking prisoners, listen to what they say and unless they leave a glaring hole (like nobody says anything about the bandoleer of bombs) only things they say get done.

If the players are being taken prisoner, do whatever is best for the story. Don't try to short change the player's skills and items.

2. That shouldn't matter on stats actually. Its more about the personality of the subject. If we're talking about an elite force of warriors that are use to small unit tactics that is one thing. If we're talking about a green behind the ears fighter that clings to stories of honor and justice that is completely different. If you want to tie it to a mechanic, I'd rather tie it to levels since its a measure of experience.

3. Is there a reason the GM wants the item gone? It vaguely sounds like it. While it is slightly meta-gamey sometimes you need this sort of thing. With hundreds of spells a lot of clerics don't really know everything they can do, so just taking a out of character moment to let them know they can helps a lot. That should really be done at the table so it doesn't sound like some sort of conspiracy. I'd probably have my character ask the group first before I tell the player their character can do it if they select the right spells sense that is the proper order of things. Yes, it might take some game time. So?


1: Do the characters have any magic rings or such? If yes, than why wouldn't they suspect that everything the prisoner has might be magical.
2:Have the characters been in combat before? If yes, than again, this is something they may foresee and as such would be fine.
3:It is meta-gamey, but that's quite easily solved by you roleplaying the ask "Hmm, my sword broke, can anyone fix it?" and cleric going "well, I am a cleric of you-know-who, let me pray on it and see if divine blessings can be given for our righteous fight", then resting and praying and next day casting.


There are reasons to remove non-magical rings, too.

Girl Genius: Off to the Palace
LARS: [The ring] unfolds into a lockpick that opens cell doors, okay?

Or it could contain a poison needle.


1. As soon as you have your own magic ring this would definitely be fine. Before that I don't think it would be that unusual either, magic rings aren't exactly un-common (also as Mathmuse pointed out, it doesn't have to be magic to be an escape tool).
2. This is a character decision. That's one of the few things the GM doesn't get to control. Low "INT" can mean many things. In game terms, as long as you don't have any INT-based class abilities it only means you get less skill points and are less good at certain skills. Your character may take longer to learn things, but "this could be a trap" is something you could have learned as a child (having said that, it can be fun to play the oaf, you should try it).
3. This one might really be about verisimilitude. If your GM has a problem with this, maybe just go with what he says and role-play your character asking the question. This is probably something the GM should set up before the game begins: "If you want to ask another character something you should do it in character" - kind of thing. If that hasn't already been established then now is better than later


It is a game and you are roleplaying. It is impossible to get fully into character and perfectly emulate one.

I would think that actively choosing to pick wrong decisions to roleplay correctly could get frustrating. That's story and mechanics working against each other, and players gravitate towards tactics.

That doesn't mean you can't weave the two together though. I believe Rich Burlew wrote an article, and in the example there was a hallway obviously full of traps. His character declared I am going to run through! Damn the traps! Yet another player had a rogue suggesting I'll check it for traps first

So he made a poor decision, but a smarter/wiser character from another player talked him out of it. That way you can stay immersed, and not feel punished for it.


Considering that when we put people in jail on our modern society to make sure they don't have anything hidden on their person that they could somehow use to harm others or escape, I don't think it's too unreasonable that you would do the same in a fantasy setting where there's all sorts of "uknownable" magic items.

Yeah, frankly from the perspective of someone making sure their safe after they've captured someone they suspect (in game) would be lucky to be stripped of all their possession and be given clothes from someone in the party (that we know aren't magical). And also not have their hands broken and legs bound, while being blind folded, encumbered with heavy weights, tied up, and basically anything else we can think of to do to make sure they can't escape, cast spells, or fight in any capacity.

You can never be too safe with potential spell casters.


In my games:
1. I assume that an average intelligent being knows about as much about his world as we do about ours. Unzipping a jacket isn't that much of a challenge, even if the zipper is a bit strange. More complex gadgets will require special knowledge (as determined by the DM)

2. It is very reasonable if he/she has reason to suspect an ambush. Being a good tactician or succeeding a sense motive check to notice that something is off/you're walking into a trap is enough reason.
Being smart and wise is not enough on its own.

3. "Can your mumbo-jumbo fix my weapon? Or does that only work on people?" is a very natural question for anyone in your situation.


2. if you have low Int, mechanically you are penalised by lack of skill, so i'd try to let the player do what they want but then make them roll.

'yeah sure you can double back and prepare an ambush, roll an intelligence check to find a good location’

Rolls 8

‘you look around, there are rocks and caves going off to the side but you can’t seem to work out a good location, it all seems a bit much for you. do you want to continue with the ambush?

yep - i run for the boulder and get into stealth

'you crouch behind a boulder, unfortunately and unbeknownst to you, there's a good chance you'll be in his line of sight if he comes back (-5 circumstance to stealth)'

its no fun being relegated into obscurity out of combat because you're stupid, that being said, dumping Int and then expecting to be a tactical genius seems a bit cheap

Dark Archive

1. Anyone who can use detect magic and spellcraft should know they can do that.

2. It might be fun to actually roleplay your mental stats every once in a while. Also, remind me to make a cavalier who makes heavy use of their tactician ability even though their dump stats are intelligence and wisdom.

3. Any cleric that can cast such spells should know that it's a possibility. There's nothing meta about this.


As a coda, we spoke again a few days later and GM conceded that most of my actions were probably reasonable. To provide context, possible spoilers ahead;

Rise of the Runelords, we were assaulting a goblin stronghold and came across a human mercenary who we overheard was fed up with working there. We rushed him, he surrendered and we offered him a way out, if he helps us clear the place out he gets to live but his gear is forfeit until we say otherwise. He agreed and we gave him his armor and weapon, but he added one more stipulation, he wanted to have the chance to recruit one more to our side. We agreed, and allowed him 1 minute to convince her by himself while we waited in ambush by the door. The one more turned out to be a scantily dressed wizard who was not as eager to leave with him so we rushed her and took her prisoner.

This is where the GM started with the "do you take her cloak?" as the cloak provides most of her covering. She resisted and with some GM prodding some players voiced that we should let her keep it, to which I replied she could if the wizard declared it mundane and it was searched for hidden pockets. The cloak was magical so she didn't get it back and instead of asking for another non-magical cloak the continued arguments became she wanted her spell book, scrolls and cloak back since she was helping us.

Now since the fighter prisoner had taken a front line role in several fights and been very close to death I had decided that he had earned his gear back and felt relatively safe resting with him unguarded. But the wizard had been shooting daggers at us (me mostly) and had been magically compelled to tell the bard that she really wanted to stab us. So we left her chained to a bed while we rested and I refused to give her her stuff back.

The GM seemed to be arguing that we (I) shouldn't be treating her this way and was not buying my counter that one of our prisoners is acting like he wants very much to earn his freedom while the other seems like they want to kill us and run. Since without our intervention these people were about to be part of the massacre of the nearby town my personal take on it was getting to keep their head was already extending mercy.

As far as the spell goes some of the fault may lie with me, perhaps I was less clear at the table with what was OOC and IC, the conversation went something like;

OOC voice: I go up to the cleric (GM controlled as player absent)
IC voice: Oi, dat girl downstairs broke me weapon wit magic, fink you can unbreak it?
OOC voice: Specifically I'll be looking for a Make Whole its a level 2 Cleric spell, I looked up Mending and it wont work for this.

Maybe the delineation between my voices wasn't as pronounced as I thought, or he got offended that I was implying he needed my help. Regardless I was planning on hashing out with him before the next game if he would prefer my asking, then waiting while people look up their spell lists themselves. Either way I will be asking the GM at the table next session to set clear boundaries on what I should and should not have knowledge of if this is a problem


1. Depends on the character. The GM is in no position to say whether your character would think about such things, though. It's your character, after all.
2. Can't. Mental stats have no bearing on this unless they're so low that your character is either nonsentient or unconscious. It depends on the character. The GM is in no position to say whether your character would think about such things.
3. Guess what I'm going to answer here? : )


Also, your GM is doing an awful lot of "you shouldn't play your character like X". I'm not sure your GM understands what a GM's role is in this game.


This is where skills can make a difference. This is one reason I favor the background skill optional rule.

In the first instance a character with appraise, knowledge arcane, spell craft or Use magic device would justified in taking precautions. All of these skills deal with magic items in one way or another so a character with ranks in one of these skills should be aware of different types of items.

In the second instance if the character has ranks in something like professional skill soldier he would have a reason to suspect an ambush.

The last instance is probably more the GM would rather have you roleplay out the scene. A little out of character reminder during the roleplaying should not be too much of a problem. Keep in mind that anyone playing a cleric probably has significantly less wisdom than his character.


A point to make about #2: in real life, common consensus is that wolves are skilled, tactical hunters and that trapdoor spiders have a very good instinct for where their prey will come through to maximize their ambushes. In the PF game, wolves have an Int of 2 and Wis of 13; spiders are Vermin with the quality Mindless.

In short: I don't think Int is always the deciding factor in tactics.

Secondly, low Int PCs starved for Skill ranks can still have some areas of knowledge to maximize their tactics with. Take a lowly fighter who dump stats his Int to 7 but still manages to eke out a 12 Wis. He takes, for one of his 2 skills at level 1, 1 rank in Profession: Soldier. Now he might have a very low intelligence but this skill allows him to answer questions on the topic of soldiering with a +5. A clever player can attempt to exploit that skill, perhaps answering a question like "if my unit needed to hold this T-intersection from breach, how would WE do it?" to justify suspecting an ambush.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

A point to make about #2: in real life, common consensus is that wolves are skilled, tactical hunters and that trapdoor spiders have a very good instinct for where their prey will come through to maximize their ambushes. In the PF game, wolves have an Int of 2 and Wis of 13; spiders are Vermin with the quality Mindless.

In short: I don't think Int is always the deciding factor in tactics.

Secondly, low Int PCs starved for Skill ranks can still have some areas of knowledge to maximize their tactics with. Take a lowly fighter who dump stats his Int to 7 but still manages to eke out a 12 Wis. He takes, for one of his 2 skills at level 1, 1 rank in Profession: Soldier. Now he might have a very low intelligence but this skill allows him to answer questions on the topic of soldiering with a +5. A clever player can attempt to exploit that skill, perhaps answering a question like "if my unit needed to hold this T-intersection from breach, how would WE do it?" to justify suspecting an ambush.

A negative Int mod reduces available skill ranks below baseline ranks per level, to a minimum of one skill ranks per level (a Rogue with 7 Int only gets 6 ranks per level).

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