Metagame Like You Like To


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Bill Dunn wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
I view Juran's player as metagaming.

I view what happened in that scenario as cheating.

Calling it "metagaming" just muddies the definition of the phrase and confuses discussions on the matter.

It isn’t necessarily either. Juran is asserting narrative control via his character’s actions in that situation, entirely reasonable for some styles of play - just not the traditional D&D/PF style of play.

I suppose most accurately, Juran's actions are a plot hole. We don't know what Juran was doing while invisible. He could have been invisibily following invisible Kirii step by step with an active See Invisibility spell. He could have wandered invisibly into the jailhouse unable to see Kirii, seen the fuss when four prisoners disappeared, and rushed back to the alley where Kirii had hidden the disguises. He could have invisibly followed Kirii in the city streets until she turned invisible in the alley after hiding the disguises and then waited in the alley until she returned.

If Juran was following Kirii with See Invisibility, then technically the character had full knowledge of her actions. So he was cheating on his Stealth checks, but not metagaming with player knowledge.

If Juran did not see Kirii's actions but was improvising on good guesses about Kirii's actions, then his player was metagaming by using player knowledge to make those good guesses. The jailhouse was sending out guards to search, so why did Juran assume that her jailbreak went off without a hitch? Juran had seen the disguises, but he ignored their importance because they were a small part of Kirii's total narrative. He had not seen Kirii reaching through the bars for Dimension Door, but was eager to repeat it.

If Juran was in a weird Schrödinger's cat mixed state where he was there if Kirii succeeded and not there if Kirii failed, then he was cheating and metagaming.

And, yes, Juran's player did seize narrative control. But he did not seize it from the GM. He seized it from Kirii's player. He tried to share her moment of glory without sharing the risk.


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thenobledrake either:

1) Misread the statements about players assuming something is a Troll, threw fire at it, and were wrong as it was in fact an Ogre that was not weak to fire. Thus were metagaming unsuccessfully as they were incorrect with their assumption.

or

2) Is intentionally baiting and trolling the conversation by intentionally misrepresenting people.

I'd like to think that it was the first and not the second.

Getting back on topic one of the more poignant responses I saw was from Mathmuse. There are many examples of metagaming that is accepted, especially in the case of adventuring parties. Though I tend to be very careful about them both as a player and as a DM.

Mathmuse wrote:
A group of strangers meeting up to form a party is metagaming. The evil characters in that group resolving to never betray their fellow party members is metagaming. The party swallowing the blatant plot hook that begins their first quest is metagaming. All these behaviors help the game.

This statement is true, to a point. Alignments shouldn't be a tell-all about how a character approaches every situation. Short of Champions and Clerics that have specific codes they abide to any character is able to take any action and provided the group of people they met up with do not do anything too extreme they should be able to work together for a common goal.

Session Zero is a very important thing to get all of the players in your group onto the same page about the type of game they are going to be playing in and to give them a chance to sort out potential conflicts ahead of time.

I have retired characters early because they had unreconcileable differences with other characters in the party and they simply wanted to go their own way rather than continue adventuring with them. You can only hand-waive a character's moral opinions so much before it gets to be too much to deal with.

Mathmuse wrote:
Using modern slang and cultural references in the mouths of characters is metagaming, though that is a necessity since none of us know Taldoran idioms.

I have always looked at this one more as a "filter" than anything. When players use slang or don't go into overly flowery examples of roleplay I always automatically adjust it to something that the NPCs would consider setting appropriate language that fits the character who is speaking.

Sometimes I even go further than that by dulling down the speech to match someone with very few social skills or increasing the impact of words by a character that has higher social skills as the words of their character should be based around how skilled that THEY are and not the player.

Mathmuse wrote:
A character learning a foreign technique, such as a Varisian magus learning Dervish Dance from Quadira, without a foreign trainer is metagaming. That magus ditching his rapier to start swinging a scimitar makes the metagaming all the more obvious. Most GMs are okay with this and offer scimitars for sale in the local weapon shop.

This is entirely on the GM and all examples of the GM Metagaming have much more lenient requirements. So long as they are okay with what they are allowing they can come up with in story reasons something is possible. Though IMO it can and often does cheapen the experience if they go too far by not giving in story reasons why something is possible in an established setting.

Mathmuse wrote:

A character automatically knowing that a troll has regenertion deactived by fire and acid, when the GM has ruled that this knowledge requires a successful Recall Knowledge check, is metagaming.

Ironically, the opposite, a character who usually attacks with Produce Flame but uses Ray of Frost against a troll because he failed his Recall Knowledge check (no information rather than false information) is also metagaming. The character selected his action due to the the player's knowledge that he would be criticized for using fire.

The troll situation is actually a weak example of metagaming, because the simplest way to predict what is basic information in a setting is that common knowledge among players is basic information in the setting. I don't buy thenobledrake's argument that a GM is unable to distinguish between typical character behavior and atypical character behavior nor deduce the motivation behind it, but I would buy an argument that a troll's weakness to fire should be basic information. Maybe it was mentioned when a shopkeeper tried to sell the fighter some Alchemist's Fire. Maybe children on a town bordering troll territory recite it in their nursery rhymes. Maybe the fighter deduced how a village of 1st-level goblin firebombers managed to survive in the middle of troll territory.

For me examples of metagaming come down to drastic changes in tactics for a player simply because of the information that is available to them. If a Wizard has been using Produce Flame regularly as their staple cantrip attack spell then it would not be odd when they use it agianst a Troll that appears before them regardless of the recall knowledge results.

However, if they have been using Telekinetic Projectile or Frost Ray as their primary means of attack and have themed themselves around them... but then switch to Produce Flame whenever something that is likely weak against fire pops up on the battlefield that is a solid example of a player metagaming unless they are using the previous experiences of the character or information gained as the result of a recall knowledge check to tell them that something is weak to fire. This is all subjective and both players and the GM can recognize when someone steps over this boundary.

Mathmuse wrote:

In Pathfinder 1st Edition, I gave everyone a free action for a knowledge check to identify a new monster. Thus, they did not need to spend an action. In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, knowledge has a cost and that changes the dynamic.

Sadly, I have more fun when the players know what they are fighting. "We don't know what that monster was, but it died when we stabbed it enough," is a dull story. Thus, my players and I developed houserules to increase the knowledge offered by Recall Knowledge so that the check is worth the action.

This is one way to go with things, however with skill feats such as Automatic Knowledge it can definitely cheapen characters built around being able to make those kinds of checks to showcase their vast experience with monsters.

If you play in a group of characters that has no one who can reliably make knowledge checks for the party then as a GM I would prefer that you consistently get surpirsed and disadvantaged by the strengths and weaknesses of the monsters you fight against. If you do not spend the feats or actions to improve knowledge checks then it's at your own peril.


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Particular Jones wrote:

I truly don't get the idea that an 5th, 10th or even 20th level adventurer must be absolutely clueless as a first level character. That is like saying every day one goes to one job even if it has been for 15-20 years they are completely lacking in any knowledge or experience and each days is like the very first day on the job. Which is simply not true.

No if player XYZ consistently keeps targeting an enemies weakness even if they never fought the creature than I agree it is metagaming. But I'm sorry I see no reason why adventuring party level 10 should pretend not to check for traps, look for secret doors and yes throw Alchemst fire at an enemy especially if they fought or experienced traps before. Sorry I don't play stupid at the table and neither do I want players to do so when I run games.

If a character that is 5th, 10th, or even 20th level has not encountered a situation in the past and they do not invest at all into their knowledge skills then they have no reason to know about certain things.

IMO if something has happened to a character in the past or if they have made a successful recall knowledge check then they should be able to act on that knowledge in the future.

Higher level characters that have even the most basic training in knowledge skills such as Arcana, Nature, Occult, Religion, and Society should be able to make the recall knowledge attempts for things much more easily than lower level characters by utilizing their vast amounts of adventuring experience. All it takes is an action or a feat to reduce the action cost to a Free Action once per round.


Nefreet wrote:

Metagaming, acting in bad faith, cheating. I feel like a good half of these threads are little more than arguing about our personal definitions of what essentially boils down to out-of-character behaviors.

It is bad faith if a player has never encountered the creature, spell, or trap and then proceeds to tell everyone else what it is at the table. It is not bad faith when a higher level party has encountered, creature, spell or trap. If character XYZ almost dies due to being attacked by a trap. Why the hell would he simply keep blundering in to any room without actually searching for traps. If the party fight trolls and made their DC Knowledge check why would they suddenly be absolutely clueless when they next encounter Trolls.

DMs can ask for many things from players expecting their characters to be run as idiots espically at higher levels is not one of them imo.

Silver Crusade

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No one has suggested that in the slightest.


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If you want to have a group of extremely skilled adventures that have a vast amount of experience to draw upon then I would recommend each member of the party take the Assurance and Automatic Knowledge feats in an area of their own expertise.

The Wizard in the party can take those feats for Arcana. The Cleric can take them for Religion. The Rogue or Bard in the group can take them for Society and possibly even Occult. Finally, a Druid or Ranger could easily take it for Nature.

Doing this would allow at least one person in the party once per round to use a knowledge check as a free action to gain more information about the weaknesses and special abilities of an enemy without using any sort of actions to do so and they will easily be able to identify lower level enemies. When this happens they can share their information with the other characters in the group and plan around it accordingly.

This knowledge and experience will stick with each of the characters in the party preventing them from needing to make all of those checks again in the future once they have successfully identified what something they are fighting is.

If you do not take those feats and you haven't encountered a particular enemy or situation in the past then you should not complain about taking an action to do so.


Well if one is saying any kind of metagaming is in bad faith then not providing any examples of what kind of metagaming is truly acting in bad faith then to me it is pretty much ignoring what practical knowledge and experience one has acquired over their years of adventuring.

No one who works at a job approaches every day their work as it being the first day on the job. Why should advenuturers act like every encounter is like their first encounter.

Metagaming for me at least is when a player no matter the level and never having encountered a creature, trap or spell acts like they know 1000% of the information. It is entirely appropriate for say an 10th level character digging into his pack to throw some kind of alchmeical substance at a creature. Not say fire towards a Troll yet why would anyone buy such items to keep them like trading cards. They do not go up in value like such cards.

I on't live my life outside of gaming being completely clueless I don;t see why my characters have to be either.


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Particular Jones wrote:

Well if one is saying any kind of metagaming is in bad faith then not providing any examples of what kind of metagaming is truly acting in bad faith then to me it is pretty much ignoring what practical knowledge and experience one has acquired over their years of adventuring.

No one who works at a job approaches every day their work as it being the first day on the job. Why should advenuturers act like every encounter is like their first encounter.

Metagaming for me at least is when a player no matter the level and never having encountered a creature, trap or spell acts like they know 1000% of the information. It is entirely appropriate for say an 10th level character digging into his pack to throw some kind of alchmeical substance at a creature. Not say fire towards a Troll yet why would anyone buy such items to keep them like trading cards. They do not go up in value like such cards.

I on't live my life outside of gaming being completely clueless I don;t see why my characters have to be either.

Honestly, it seems like you skimmed through this thread if you can say that. Solid examples of metagaming have been shared. The specific example you shared about a player using the past experiences of their character to solve their problem again was specifically called out as an example that is NOT metagaming.


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If you want to address your specific example I'd be happy to break it down for you. You used the example of a 10th level character encountering a troll and suggested that their experience as an adventurer should not be ignored.

I 100% agree here.

1) If your character has encountered a Troll in the past and discovered that Fire is their weakness or if they have been told or read this somewhere during their adventures they could apply that knowledge without having to make any additional checks.

2) If your character has never discovered that Fire is the weakness of a Troll they will still have to make a Recall Knowledge attempt to do so. That would take them a single action to do and a successful Recall Knowledge check to gain the information.

Because a 10th level character has a vast amount of experience they can make their check using the Nature or possibly even the Society skill. If they are trained in either of those skills they would add their Wis or Int Modifier and their Proficiency Bonus which includes their level to represent their adventuring experience.

Assuming a mediocre 14 in their attribute and only having the skill at "Trained" Proficiency they would have a check of +14. Given that a Troll is a common enemy to encounter the DC for the Recall Knowledge check is 18 as it is a "CREATURE 5" and is common. If they are rather notorious in the area and the knowledge is even more common the DC could be as low as 15.

That means at the cost of an action you would succeed on the knowledge check by rolling a 4 or higher... or in an area that they are especially notorious you might even automatically succeed at the check.

Sczarni

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Particular Jones wrote:
It is bad faith if a player has never encountered the creature, spell, or trap and then proceeds to tell everyone else what it is at the table.

If a character has never encountered X/Y/Z, but the player has, then yes it would be in bad faith for the player to have their character react using out-of-character knowledge. If no other players at the table have ever encountered X/Y/Z, then that player is just being a jerk for blurting it out. Pathfinder Society actually bans this behavior, and repeat offenders can be kicked from a table if they don't stop.

I have personally had to kick players from my tables before for this.

Particular Jones wrote:
It is not bad faith when a higher level party has encountered, creature, spell or trap.

I agree. That's literally the definition of "in-character knowledge".

Particular Jones wrote:
If character XYZ almost dies due to being attacked by a trap. Why the hell would he simply keep blundering in to any room without actually searching for traps.

I never suggested anything like this?

Particular Jones wrote:
If the party fight trolls and made their DC Knowledge check why would they suddenly be absolutely clueless when they next encounter Trolls.

I don't know. Why would they?


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Gloom wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:

A character automatically knowing that a troll has regenertion deactived by fire and acid, when the GM has ruled that this knowledge requires a successful Recall Knowledge check, is metagaming.

Ironically, the opposite, a character who usually attacks with Produce Flame but uses Ray of Frost against a troll because he failed his Recall Knowledge check (no information rather than false information) is also metagaming. The character selected his action due to the the player's knowledge that he would be criticized for using fire.

The troll situation is actually a weak example of metagaming, because the simplest way to predict what is basic information in a setting is that common knowledge among players is basic information in the setting. I don't buy thenobledrake's argument that a GM is unable to distinguish between typical character behavior and atypical character behavior nor deduce the motivation behind it, but I would buy an argument that a troll's weakness to fire should be basic information. Maybe it was mentioned when a shopkeeper tried to sell the fighter some Alchemist's Fire. Maybe children on a town bordering troll territory recite it in their nursery rhymes. Maybe the fighter deduced how a village of 1st-level goblin firebombers managed to survive in the middle of troll territory.

For me examples of metagaming come down to drastic changes in tactics for a player simply because of the information that is available to them. If a Wizard has been using Produce Flame regularly as their staple cantrip attack spell then it would not be odd when they use it agianst a Troll that appears before them regardless of the recall knowledge results.

However, if they have been using Telekinetic Projectile or Frost Ray as their primary means of attack and have themed themselves around them... but then switch to Produce Flame whenever something that is likely weak against fire pops up on the battlefield that is a solid example of a player metagaming unless they are using the previous experiences of the character or information gained as the result of a recall knowledge check to tell them that something is weak to fire. This is all subjective and both players and the GM can recognize when someone steps over this boundary.

On the other hand, if a character switches to throwing Holy Water when facing skeletons rather than continuing with a sword as usual, I would accept that the character is using the basic knowledge that Holy Water hurts undead rather than the less-basic knowledge that skeletons resist slashing damage.

Gloom wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:

In Pathfinder 1st Edition, I gave everyone a free action for a knowledge check to identify a new monster. Thus, they did not need to spend an action. In Pathfinder 2nd Edition, knowledge has a cost and that changes the dynamic.

Sadly, I have more fun when the players know what they are fighting. "We don't know what that monster was, but it died when we stabbed it enough," is a dull story. Thus, my players and I developed houserules to increase the knowledge offered by Recall Knowledge so that the check is worth the action.

This is one way to go with things, however with skill feats such as Automatic Knowledge it can definitely cheapen characters built around being able to make those kinds of checks to showcase their vast experience with monsters.

If you play in a group of characters that has no one who can reliably make knowledge checks for the party then as a GM I would prefer that you consistently get surprised and disadvantaged by the strengths and weaknesses of the monsters you fight against. If you do not spend the feats or actions to improve knowledge checks then it's at your own peril.

Automatical Knowledged gives a character one Recall Knowledge check per round as a free action for one skill. Increasing the quality of information from Recall Knowledge does not diminish the feat. Increasing basic knowledge would diminish the feat.

Because I increased the quality of information from Recall Knowledge, my players have put plenty of skill training into Recall Knowledge. The goblin bomber alchemist invested in Fire Lore and I am going to let her reskin some achemical items as fire-based. The elf ranger will probably invest in Monster Hunter ranger feat, which offers a free Recall Knowledge check with a Hunt Prey action.

Gloom wrote:
Because a 10th level character has a vast amount of experience they can make their check using the Nature or possibly even the Society skill. If they are trained in either of those skills they would add their Wis or Int Modifier and their Proficiency Bonus which includes their level to represent their adventuring experience.

The story-based Recall Knowledge houserule, which I illustrated in Recall Knowledge checks encourage metagaming #130, support this. Rolling successful Recall Knowledge Society would give, "At the last Pathfinder Society banquet, you shared stories with a fire sorceerer who described battling a troll, ..." Rolling Succesful Recall Knowledge Nature would give, "When the farmers of Sandland eliminated the ankhrav from their area, trolls became common. It is an oft-shared fable among you druids about ecological disruption. It turns out the acid bite of the ankhrav overcame the trolls' regenertion ability, ..." I can adjust the off-subject skills by giving less information.

I recently allowed a Knowledge Nature roll about hobgoblin tactics in my Ironfang Invasion campaign, because the elf ranger was interpreting marks on the ground.


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Mathmuse wrote:
On the other hand, if a character switches to throwing Holy Water when facing skeletons rather than continuing with a sword as usual, I would accept that the character is using the basic knowledge that Holy Water hurts undead rather than the less-basic knowledge that skeletons resist slashing damage.

I would argue that this is probably a low DC check, something in the realm of an untrained Religion DC 8-10 check. While a higher level character might pass it automatically if they are trained in the skill, someone who is level 1-2 without any experience with the undead should still need to roll for that knowledge.

And higher level characters that are untrained in Religion and have never really seen or heard about Holy Water being used to great effect on Undead would still need to roll for it.

At least, that's how I'd run it.

Mathmuse wrote:

Automatical Knowledged gives a character one Recall Knowledge check per round as a free action for one skill. Increasing the quality of information from Recall Knowledge does not diminish the feat. Increasing basic knowledge would diminish the feat.

Because I increased the quality of information from Recall Knowledge, my players have put plenty of skill training into Recall Knowledge. The goblin bomber alchemist invested in Fire Lore and I am going to let her reskin some achemical items as fire-based. The elf ranger will probably invest in Monster Hunter ranger feat, which offers a free Recall Knowledge check with a Hunt Prey action.

There are also class feats for some characters that increase the amount of information you gain on successful Recall Knowledge checks. This is a core bonus of Bardic Knowledge.

So my only hope here is that you don't cheapen the results to much to the point that a Bard doesn't significantly shine in those same circumstances.


Man this thread advanced fast.

Anyway, I was talking about this,

Quote:
If a player says yeah that is a troll even tho the character has not fought one before and uses a fire source on it then that is metagaming. Regardless of what it is.

The way I read it a large green creature came to attack the party and the first reaction the player/character is to call it a troll and attack it with fire.

It doesnt matter what the creature was, whether it was a Disguise or not, or even if it was actually real. He called it a troll because it was large and green.

Yeah it might be metagaming that fire is bad for troll, but that specific character appear to actively call anything a troll, hence "stereotypes and racism".

*************
As for the "what if it actually was an ogre" question. I meant more something like, "what if he successfully identified the creature as an ogre and still decided to chuck the Alchemist Fire?"

In other words, the question of "is it metagaming to do X attack" (usually seen as the player cheating) only comes up if the GM knows the tactic is good. Otherwise, the character is killing themselves, which also makes for a good story (specially when you want to switch character).

Players have no idea wether anything they do is good, bad, right or wrong until the GM gives them feedback.


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Temperans wrote:

Man this thread advanced fast.

Anyway, I was talking about this,

Quote:
If a player says yeah that is a troll even tho the character has not fought one before and uses a fire source on it then that is metagaming. Regardless of what it is.

The way I read it a large green creature came to attack the party and the first reaction the player/character is to call it a troll and attack it with fire.

It doesnt matter what the creature was, whether it was a Disguise or not, or even if it was actually real. He called it a troll because it was large and green.

Yeah it might be metagaming that fire is bad for troll, but that specific character appear to actively call anything a troll, hence "stereotypes and racism".

No that isn't racist. That is a character not knowing what something is and making a mistake. In the same way, me mistaking a snake for a sloworm isn't racist.


Metagaming is a something I have not had a very good experience with some DMs in that no matter the level they expected the PCs to be completely clueless on everything. So in this instance I was mistaken.

Temperans wrote:

but that specific character appear to actively call anything a troll, hence "stereotypes and racism".

Wait so a player refers to everything they encounter as an non-existent creature and they are racist and steroetyping. So if I refer to every creature I encounter as running water as a player I'm being racist and stereotyping towards running water. That's news to me.


Nah, I'm just bad at talking and sometimes get definitions wrong (bad combo).

In this case I was very very wrong, and crit failed both my knowledge and charisma checks.

Sczarni

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Slight tangent, but related. In my Starfinder AP we all failed the knowledge check to identify an Akata (a blue space lion with tentacles for a mane that injects you with its parasitic larval young).

The space goblin captain took one look at it and shouted "Dog! Kill it!"

We're all alien species, no humans, so we just assumed in-character that the Goblin knew his stuff and we proceeded with the game.

Later on we faced a Ksarik, a quadrupedal plant creature with tentacles that also injects you with its young. We failed to identify it, and so thus of course it was just another dog.

Now whenever we face aliens with tentacles they're always dogs and they're always kill on sight. Kind of the reverse of metagaming.


Bill Dunn wrote:
It isn’t necessarily either. Juran is asserting narrative control via his character’s actions in that situation, entirely reasonable for some styles of play - just not the traditional D&D/PF style of play.

The reason I was calling it cheating is because the actions taken by a character were not revealed to anyone until after they had been resolved. I admit not being entirely familiar with all the play styles out there, but I'm pretty sure that's not the standard order of operations in any of them.

Gloom wrote:

thenobledrake either:

1) Misread the statements about players assuming something is a Troll, threw fire at it, and were wrong as it was in fact an Ogre that was not weak to fire. Thus were metagaming unsuccessfully as they were incorrect with their assumption.

or

2) Is intentionally baiting and trolling the conversation by intentionally misrepresenting people.

I'd like to think that it was the first and not the second.

I didn't misread the it being an ogre thing, I wrote it.

Here are the relevant statements so that you can take a second look and see what you think is going on, starting with a response to my claim that it has to be demonstrated that a player can correctly guess the monster from just the description given by the GM if it is to be believed that the GM can be accurate in assuming what a player thinks they are fighting, which is necessary in order to say that out-of-character knowledge has been used:

Rysky wrote:

LMAO what?

No, just because the player (not the character) misidentified the creature doesn’t mean they weren’t metagaming.

Whatever the monster is is completely irrelevant, what’s relevant is the player relying on out of character knowledge to cheat.

thenobledrake wrote:
You're saying that a player that has identified the monster their character faces as an ogre (and is incorrect) and decides "I'll throw fire at it" is cheating.
Gloom wrote:
Technically they would be cheating, yes. Just because they are wrong does not mean they were not attempting to cheat.

The misread here appears to have been you thinking the player has thought "This is a troll" when it was actually an ogre, when the actual example was the player thought "this is an ogre" when it was actually a troll.

And then the "bonus round"

Temperans wrote:
Would it still be "cheating" if the creature really was an ogre and they still chucked the Alchemist Fire?
Rysky wrote:
Yes because they're operating on zero-previosuly established knowledge that trolls are weak to fire. Doesn't matter that they screwed up.

Now, I'm willing to believe that Rysky wasn't intentionally answering Temperans' question with that post... but that would mean he's responding to my statement, and is still seemingly saying that if a player thinks they are fighting an ogre and wants to throw fire at it, that's cheating (and has something to do with not knowing about trolls, for some reason).

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Not cutting out key parts of what you yourself said seem to help, since this is what Gloom was responding to.

Gloom wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
Rysky wrote:

LMAO what?

No, just because the player (not the character) misidentified the creature doesn’t mean they weren’t metagaming.

Whatever the monster is is completely irrelevant, what’s relevant is the player relying on out of character knowledge to cheat.

You're saying that a player that has identified the monster their character faces as an ogre (and is incorrect) and decides "I'll throw fire at it" is cheating.

Does that actually make sense to you?

What the monster is cannot both be irrelevant and the knowledge being used to cheat.

You seem so focused on the idea that the player knows it's a troll that you aren't even processing the question "But what if that's not what the player is actually thinking?" at all - like it's just impossible, despite that you guessed the wrong monster from my description, that a player ever be wrong about what monster they are facing.

Technically they would be cheating, yes. Just because they are wrong does not mean they were not attempting to cheat.


Then gloom misread, and you did too - because what I'm saying there is not "the player knows it's a troll" it's "the idea the player knows its a troll."

I'm saying the player thinks it's an ogre, and you seem like you can't process that - you think the player thinks it's a troll anyway, even though I have explicitly asked "but what if that's not what the player is actually thinking?"

(bold for emphasis)


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thenobledrake wrote:

Then gloom misread, and you did too - because what I'm saying there is not "the player knows it's a troll" it's "the idea the player knows its a troll."

I'm saying the player thinks it's an ogre, and you seem like you can't process that - you think the player thinks it's a troll anyway, even though I have explicitly asked "but what if that's not what the player is actually thinking?"

(bold for emphasis)

The GM doesn't have to know what a player is thinking.

The GM only needs to know that the character is behaving in a way that is unlikely unless they are using information that the player (but not the character) knows.

Silver Crusade

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We do not have to constantly jump through hoops to entertain your vacuum sealed hypotheticals after your credibility has been worn down to the wire.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Then in this bizarre hyper niche hypothetical I may be wrong in my suspicion because the player made a complete and obvious tactical downgrade for what they "thought" the scenario was that just so happened to be the best tactical upgrade for the scenario at hand.

Also that gm needs to get better at descriptions.


It's not a "vaccum sealed hypothetical" no matter how much you want that to be the case.

I was literally accused of metagaming and called a cheater because I wanted to role-play my character as having been tending a fire when a monster attacked his party's camp one night, and using a burning log as a weapon.

I was also actually in a scenario where the GM of the group called another player a cheater because he chose to use the alchemist's fire that the GM gave out as part of treasure we found two sessions prior.

I'm not asking you to jump through any hoops, I'm just asking you to entertain the thought that maybe this hyper-vigilant "you did something new and it was a good plan, so you must be cheating" thing isn't reasonable. That just maybe because you don't know what the player is thinking you are wrong about the player's motivations in the moment.

Maybe you're right that they aren't just trying to play in good faith - but you could be wrong, couldn't you?

CrystalSeas wrote:

The GM doesn't have to know what a player is thinking.

The GM only needs to know that the character is behaving in a way that is unlikely unless they are using information that the player (but not the character) knows.

How, besides knowing what a player is thinking, does the GM tell the difference between the following?:

Player A: Is using alchemist's fire they got a couple sessions ago because they are sure this creature is weak to fire.

and

Player B: Is using alchemist's fire because they got it a couple sessions ago and noticed it on their sheet when sitting down to play tonight and thought "I should probably use that." and neither knows, nor cares, what this creature is.


Malk_Content wrote:

Then in this bizarre hyper niche hypothetical I may be wrong in my suspicion because the player made a complete and obvious tactical downgrade for what they "thought" the scenario was that just so happened to be the best tactical upgrade for the scenario at hand.

Also that gm needs to get better at descriptions.

Assuming that using fire is a "tactical downgrade" is inaccurate. The damage of a sword and alchemist's fire are actually very comparable (up until they aren't).

In PF2 thanks to alchemical items now having multiple levels, it's actually more of the game in which a character choosing to use the flask instead of their 'usual' weapon is not a "tactical downgrade."

Edit to add: and I would love to see a description of a monster that can't be misidentified by a player that knows their monsters... you know, if anyone wants to take a crack at one.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:

I was literally accused of metagaming and called a cheater because I wanted to role-play my character as having been tending a fire when a monster attacked his party's camp one night, and using a burning log as a weapon.

I was also actually in a scenario where the GM of the group called another player a cheater because he chose to use the alchemist's fire that the GM gave out as part of treasure we found two sessions prior.

What else was occurring and led up to these scenarios, did you only mention tending the fire after the monsters attacked?

Quote:
I'm not asking you to jump through any hoops, I'm just asking you to entertain the thought that maybe this hyper-vigilant "you did something new and it was a good plan, so you must be cheating" thing isn't reasonable.

It is when every instance thus far has been super suspicious with faltering defenses applied to justify them.

Quote:
That just maybe because you don't know what the player is thinking you are wrong about the player's motivations in the moment.

You need to realize that you're making two different argument here. Through accident and happenstance the character did something good is a different argument than being wrong about accusing them about metagaming and they hypothetically might not be. The latter happens a LOT less than the former. Like, near non-existent I'd say.

Can serendipity occur? Of course. But your exammples and hypotheticals you've brought forth to try and justify yourself haven't been that. They're excuses after the fact.

Quote:
Maybe you're right that they aren't just trying to play in good faith - but you could be wrong, couldn't you?

You're not making a rebuttal or defense anymore, you know that right? You're just asking me to admit that I could be wrong just because. That's rather nonsensical.

Quote:
CrystalSeas wrote:

The GM doesn't have to know what a player is thinking.

The GM only needs to know that the character is behaving in a way that is unlikely unless they are using information that the player (but not the character) knows.

How, besides knowing what a player is thinking, does the GM tell the difference between the following?:

Player A: Is using alchemist's fire they got a couple sessions ago because they are sure this creature is weak to fire.

and

Player B: Is using alchemist's fire because they got it a couple sessions ago and noticed it on their sheet when sitting down to play tonight and thought "I should probably use that." and neither knows, nor cares, what this creature is.

That's there's more going on in the scenarios than what you described and that GMs and Players aren't idiots.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

A flaming log is going to be a downgrade in almost all scenarios. It's an improvised weapon afterall. Alchemist fire is likely in par at best unless you are/have an alchemist in your group (at which point we would hope using a chemical items isn't an anomaly) if it is strong enough to be an upgrade then it'll be better but also some of your best treasure, something likely not used on a whim.

Sczarni

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
Edit to add: and I would love to see a description of a monster that can't be misidentified by a player that knows their monsters... you know, if anyone wants to take a crack at one.

I still fail to see why this is relevant.


The entire premise is that the player is metagaming/cheating because they know it's a troll.

Ignoring the fact the player might not know and/or simply wanted to try something different.

***********
As for creature that are difficult to distinguish:

Some giants
Many humanoids
Drakes vs Wyverns vs Dragons (so many different versions with the major difference being the # and type of limbs)
A few slimes
Many fey (mostly fairies)
Many plants
Many undead (there are few visual difference between vampire types or between ghost types).
Some vermin
Many magical version of regular creatures.

And then templates makes things worse by making anything into something else.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Because they think it's a troll. Cheating and screwing up is still cheating.

And the latter would need to actually be proven, as accepted by the assembled players and GMM.


Rysky wrote:
What else was occurring and led up to these scenarios, did you only mention tending the fire after the monsters attacked?

The scenario played like any scenario does: first the GM set the scene that the party had made camp in a small clearing off the path in the forest they were traveling through, then the GM asked each player what they were doing.

Then all the players reported typical actions an adventurer would take just after setting up camp. Someone was seeing to the pack animals, someone was repairing and cleaning gear, someone was studying arcane texts trying to figure out a new spell, and I decided my character would be tending the fire since that's a campsite trope if ever there was one.

Then the GM described a creature, and we know where it went from there.

Rysky wrote:
You need to realize that you're making two different argument here. Through accident and happenstance the character did something good is a different argument than being wrong about accusing them about metagaming and they hypothetically might not be.

I'm not making two different arguments, I'm making one argument - a GM can be wrong in accusing a player of metagaming in the given scenario - and am using what you call "a different argument" as my evidence for that argument. Because there is no argument that it's possible that a player not know what monster they are facing - that's what is called a fact.

Rysky wrote:
They're excuses after the fact.

Not if they aren't lies. You keep treating "The player thought they were facing an ogre" and "The player knew they were facing a troll but is saying they thought it was an ogre" as identical circumstances, which they are not.

Rysky wrote:
You're not making a rebuttal or defense anymore, you know that right? You're just asking me to admit that I could be wrong just because. That's rather nonsensical.

It is "rather nonsensical" that you think that me getting you to admit that you are not infallible isn't a rebuttal to your claim that you're 100% accurate in knowing why a player picked a particular action.

Rysky wrote:
That's there's more going on in the scenarios than what you described and that GMs and Players aren't idiots.

That's not a response, and isn't a rebuttal of anything. You are right that details are missing, but that's because I'm not going to write an entire chapter of a novel to fill them in, not because anything that's absent makes this a trick question. And you're right that the GMs and Players aren't idiots - but no one ever claimed they were.

It doesn't take someone being an idiot for them to be mistaken - whether they're a player or a GM.

Malk_Content wrote:
A flaming log is going to be a downgrade in almost all scenarios. It's an improvised weapon afterall.

It's important to note that in the original scenario of using the log from the fire, it was already in the character's hand since he was tending the fire. So I choosing between using a weapon already in hand, or spending additional time to ready a different weapon, and thought the role-play reasons for going with the log outweighed the mechanical reasons to go for a sword.

Rysky wrote:
Because they think it's a troll. Cheating and screwing up is still cheating.

No, they think it's an ogre. How is thinking a monster is an ogre "cheating and screwing up"? Give it to me step-by-step if you can.


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thenobledrake wrote:
...

Since you are acting this way due to your previous experience of being called out for metagaming... why did your character attack something with a flaming log from a fire rather than simply reaching for their weapon and drawing it? What was going through your head both as the player and the character?


Gloom wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
...
Since you are acting this way due to your previous experience of being called out for metagaming... why did your character attack something with a flaming log from a fire rather than simply reaching for their weapon and drawing it? What was going through your head both as the player and the character?

Character: "Gah! Monster! better defend the party."

Player: "Seems flavorful to use a burning log since my character was just just tending the fire, so I'll do that. Plus then it'll probably attack my fighter rather than the rest of the party."

Y'know, role-playing.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If those were truly your reasons then it wasn't metagaming, but your character might have been a bit of an idiot to not just grab their weapon when trying to fight.

Using a burning log as a weapon for more than a single strike or as a distraction is not the brightest idea.

If at any point during your decision to attack with that log it crossed your mind that you might do more damage to the enemy due to it being weak against fire however, that would have been metagaming no matter how you rationalized it in character.


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Also, I figured I'd toss this out there. Don't act like everything is a call-out post of your behavior. If you've got unresolved issues with the way that your party or DM treated you then you might want to bring it up with them rather than trying to derail a thread.


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Right your treating it as a personal attack on yourself because you loosely described the way it happened to you. However the way you put it read like how honestly they interpreted it. You didn't phrase it in a way that sounded like a RP decision it sounded like a meta-game decision. In fact I originally thought the point you were trying to make was that it is impossible to meta-game because you never know what the player is thinking. Which I may not know what a player is thinking but if there character keeps automatically using all the right answers with no character knowledge of them then I don't need to know what they are thinking.


It's not "unresolved issues" or taking things personal (at least not until they get personal, like when I'm getting accusations of discussing in bad faith, gaslighting, moving the goalposts, and such leveled at me)

It's about putting an idea out there in hopes that as a result less people have bad experiences at the game table which can easily be avoided by a GM having a less intense and immediate reaction to situations like the ones frequently brought up in discussion of metagaming.

And also a secondary thing, where I think it'd be an improvement to the way game play is talked about if the gaming community at large stopped using the word "metagaming" as it is currently defined because it would be a lot clearer if we called all the meta-game stuff that actually has to happen to facilitate game play "playing the game" and all the stuff that is disallowed behavior "cheating."


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Are you saying that less intense gming is what it was about originally or that is what it has turned into for you?
I think what your talking about should be its own thread and not put in under this one. I guess it is kind of a more specific topic still under metagaming. So your just advocating that one should hold off on jumping to conclusions when a player seems like they are meta-gaming? I feel like that is going to vary from table to table.

your making a broad assumption from my perspective that metagaming is always reacted to severely when that is not the case at my tables. It's usually just accompanied with gentle coaxing or civil conversations.

for the second thing I think people have already talked about meta gaming as not cheating and as cheating both ways. I think a debate of is meta-gaming always cheating could be interesting. I would say no/yes it's like expected cheating. You can't always just use your character knowledge it's not possible. you have to meta a little, but then their is a point where one can go to far with it. I think someone mentioned reading a module before it's played to be able to easily solve all the stuff in the dungeon. that I would call cheating.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
your making a broad assumption from my perspective that metagaming is always reacted to severely when that is not the case at my tables. It's usually just accompanied with gentle coaxing or civil conversations.

I'm basing my estimation of how severely this kind of thing is reacted to at tables other than the ones I've been a part of on the posts of people I've discussed the issue with.

Very many folks that have discussed metagaming with me online over the years have made it clear in their word choice and how stubbornly they insist my "...but what if the player didn't do it on purpose?" is just a cheater trying to cover for their cheating.

That aside, I don't do "always." I know that there's tons of variance from one table to the next across this hobby, and I'm aware that even things which are common among the folks that come to a board like this are not necessarily common out in the hobby at large. Any "always" attached to one of my statements was almost definitely put there by someone else.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
So your just advocating that one should hold off on jumping to conclusions when a player seems like they are meta-gaming?

I am indeed advocating that GMs be open-minded enough to see that there's more than one possible explanation for a particular event.


To me that seems more like something that is going to be based on the actual personality of the GM. It doesn't seem like a skill that one can acquire but more of a character trait. Some people are understanding some people are not. some are more paranoid then others some are more authoritarian. It's probably less about meta-gaming and more about the kind of person they are.


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thenobledrake wrote:
Rysky wrote:
What else was occurring and led up to these scenarios, did you only mention tending the fire after the monsters attacked?

The scenario played like any scenario does: first the GM set the scene that the party had made camp in a small clearing off the path in the forest they were traveling through, then the GM asked each player what they were doing.

Then all the players reported typical actions an adventurer would take just after setting up camp. Someone was seeing to the pack animals, someone was repairing and cleaning gear, someone was studying arcane texts trying to figure out a new spell, and I decided my character would be tending the fire since that's a campsite trope if ever there was one.

Then the GM described a creature, and we know where it went from there.

I am trying to envision this scenario with a sensible GM.

GM: What is everyone doing at this very moment?
ABEL: I am taking the packs off the horses.
BAKER: I am repairing my armor.
CHARLEMAGNE: I am studying arcane texts before it grows dark.
DRAKE: I am tending the fire.
GM: Suddenly, a large naked green humanoid with big fangs and claws charges into the campsite. Make your Knowledge Local rolls to identify it. (Everyone fails their knowledge checks. The GM frowns.) Roll for initiative. (Drake rolls highest.)
DRAKE: I grab a burning log from the fire and attack with it. I roll a ...
GM: Wait! That's an improvised weapon. We should define what damage it does: 1d3 bludgeoning damage plus strength bonus and also 1 fire damage, like a torch. And you can't two-hand it. I'm curious, why are you using an improvised weapon instead of your sword?
DRAKE: I'm not wearing my sword. It's in my tent.
GM: You took off your sword? Why? I know that Baker won't have his armor on, since he's repairing it, but why take off your sword in the dangerous forest?
DRAKE: To get comfortable, I guess.
GM: Are you missing anything else, like armor?
DRAKE: No, I still have my armor on.
GM: Beause it's comfortble.
DRAKE: No, because removing armor takes time. Are you suggesting something?
GM: It is weird that when a troll attacks and you don't know about is regeneration, you carelessly leave your +1 greatsword behind and have to attack with fire.
DRAKE: It's a troll?
GM: You don't know that yet.
DRAKE: Attacking with fire was a whim. It seemed thematic to fight with a burning log when attacked while tending a fire.
GM: Fine, roll to hit.
(A few turns later)
GM: Okay, Drake, this time you missed. Charlemagne's turn.
CHARLEMAGNE: Silver Darts.
DRAKE: (using an out-of-character tone) I wish you had used fire or acid. The troll will regenerate this turn.
CHARLEMAGNE: (also out of character) All I have is Elemental Touch. I am not going into arm's reach of that monster.
BAKER: I shoot it with another arrow. I am not going close without armor, either.
ABEL: I'm still in flanking position. I can't sneak attack with fire. I stab it with my shortsword.
GM: The monster regenerates. Now that you have seen it regenerate, you get another knowledge roll.
CHARLEMANGE: I made it.
GM: It is a troll and it has regeneration 5 except when damaged by acid or fire.
DRAKE: Regeneration 5? That's all.
GM: Yes.
DRAKE: So I have been hitting it with an improvised burning log for an average of 7 damage when I could have been using my +1 greatsword for an average of 14 damage and not miss when I roll a 7 in the die, just to prevent regeneration 5?
GM: I thought you were being "thematic." The troll bites Drake for 10 damage. Drake's turn.
DRAKE: Charlemagne, can you cast a spell that let's me withdraw to my tent to grab my greatsword without the troll here getting an attack of opportunity.
BAKER: I'll fetch it and toss it to you.
DRAKE: Thanks.

This is under Pathfinder 1st Edition rules. Trolls regenerate more under 2nd Edition.


Mathmuse wrote:
I am trying to envision this scenario with a sensible GM.

You're not really doing a great job at the "sensible" thing based on the details you just dreamed up.

Great example of what deliberately mischaracterizing someone else's argument looks like, though.


thenobledrake wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
I am trying to envision this scenario with a sensible GM.

You're not really doing a great job at the "sensible" thing based on the details you just dreamed up.

Great example of what deliberately mischaracterizing someone else's argument looks like, though.

Then I am missing something major about how a sensible GM acts. This GM asked for reasons, clarified details, and let the players use the attacks they wanted. I could not present the Drake character as entirely sensible, since he does things on thematic whims. He sensibly changed his tactics when he realized his thematic tactics were clearly suboptimal. (Okay, I will edit it to sound a little more sensible.)

As for characterizing thenobledrake's argument, getting details out of him or her has been as difficult as pulling teeth, so we still have to guess.


Just to make sure: (This is based on the first version of the post)

At first it really looks like a sensible "GM" and "Player". But then you yourself made the "Player" metagame, by both: telling "Them" it's a troll and making "Drake" metagame that fire is the best.

Sure it a possible scenario, but it's also possible that: "Drake"'s player doesnt know it's a troll (until he sees it regenerate); that player spending actions getting his sword, due to seeing little effect of the log (it was improvised after all); that player not telling the party to use fire before seeing it regenerate when he stopped using fire.


To my knowledge the definition of meta gaming making choice's to your benefit that your character would not know or normally do for the sole reason to reach a better outcome for yourself.


Temperans wrote:

Just to make sure: (This is based on the first version of the post)

At first it really looks like a sensible "GM" and "Player". But then you yourself made the "Player" metagame, by both: telling "Them" it's a troll and making "Drake" metagame that fire is the best.

Sure it a possible scenario, but it's also possible that: "Drake"'s player doesnt know it's a troll (until he sees it regenerate); that player spending actions getting his sword, due to seeing little effect of the log (it was improvised after all); that player not telling the party to use fire before seeing it regenerate when he stopped using fire.

I realized that was unfair, so I replaced it with a line that is more clearly out of character. I had also mixed up Abel and Baker's names at one point. Baker was the guy lacking his armor and Abel was the rogue.

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