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Amusing Conundrum ...


CrosshairCollie
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I'm certain we all agree that metagaming (using player knowledge to influence character actions) to gain an advantage is a bad thing. My question now is ... is metagaming to gain a disadvantage a bad thing?

 

Last night, my wife fired up her old Champions game (HAPPYDANCE!), and we ran into (and over) Black Paladin. As a player, I was aware that BP had a 2xSTUN from Electricity Vulnerability. Additionally, in my character's little 'powers/tactics' section, I state that he usually opens with his Volt Blast, because he has a Code vs Killing and it's Stun Only. So, it would have been completely in-character for Blues to open up with his Volt Blast.

 

But I didn't. Because I didn't want to dole out that kind of damage. The fight was mercifully short anyway (After BP went on 3, he got Entangled, then Ego Blasted, then AP whipped ... I was Haymakering a laser and it was ruled that I couldn't stop once I'd started the move, so I blasted him while he was at -9 for 43 stun doubled to 86).

 

Anyway ... is it a bad thing that I metagamed, even though I wasn't using it to get a tactical advantage?

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

I don't think it's a bad thing. If I was the GM, I would have encouraged you NOT to us OOC info though - even if it meant you dropped the villain in one hit. Maybe I want you to drop the villain in one hit. Maybe it's part of my evil plan. :sneaky: Surely, I know that you use that often and that my villain is especially vulnerable to that attack.

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

Well...it could be.

 

One, I think it's a reasonable assumption that an electical attack might work well on the guy in the suit of metal armor. :) Like trying to extinguish the fire guy with a fire hydrant, I would not consider that "unfair knowledge".

 

Two - the GM knows about BP's disad. She knows your character has a Volt Blast and normally opens up with it. Perhaps she EXPECTED you to do so, and make BP a one-hit villain that session, who would come back later with a grudge. :eg:

 

I've had more problems in games dealing with players NOT doing the normal/obvious thing, than I ever had with them trying to exploit a disad - which, c'mon, is on the sheet TO BE USED against the villain.

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

It has the potential to be. In this instance, I would say it was bad since you deliberately used a different attack from what you normally do.

 

Something I like to do when players know the basics of NPCs is change them up. Your wife may have changed BP so that not only does he *not* have the vulnerability, but maybe he absorbs that instead.

 

An example is Bulldozer. In 4th Ed he had a vulnerability to females who hit him (a psychological thing). One of our players tended to play female PCs (because he was used to it as GM and we only had one female in the group, the rest of the guys played males). When Bulldozer showed up, he did his typical attack after Bulldozer did his typical bragging. The differences I gave Bulldozer was 1) no longer had arachnophobia (not that it mattered here) and 2) I gave him an Enraged when hit by females, as opposed to a vulnerability. That was a bit of a shocker for the player, but he liked it.

 

Another bit I used is that so many people know the NPC Ogre, that I change him. While people think he only has a 5 INT, I bump up his mental defense and actually give him an INT anywhere from 15-25, though he still plays dumb. After about a campaign year, it generally comes out that Ogre is a small mastermind and has been planning things where his "dumbness" hides his true goals. (For example, he's usually encountered with other villains. After being captured, some villains will say that their leader is known as "The Benefactor" who communicates indirectly with the group, though usually gives his messages to Ogre, because he's trustworthy not to spill the beans to "bullies." Eventually it becomes known that Ogre IS the benefactor (using a voice modulator on any audio communications) and the whole "hates bullies" is a ploy to make heroes feel sympathetic to him.)

 

On the other hand, it can sometimes help others to roleplay properly. In a D&D Birthright game, I played a Paladin (Cavalier kit) who always charged the biggest foe on the field. As the player, I knew that our next major foe was going specifically after the noble/blooded characters to steal our blood abilities. When the confrontation came with the major foes and his followers, I still charged on my horse towards him, even though it nearly cost me my life, and blood. But it helped some of the weaker role players and decision makers (luckily, one came to my aid).

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

Maybe shoehorn it into IC - perhaps your character was concerned that the metal armor wuld result in his volt attack potentially becoming fatal where normally it would not be. He can't read his own character sheet, so knowing each precise limit and nuance of his powers is actually a use of OOG knowledge.

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

This is a good topic. My take is that metagaming to affect the outcome as such, for any "materially gainful" goal (in or out of game - whether to impress the GM or to progress the plot or help the PC) is bad. It's also bad if done surreptitiously in general most of the time, as that just, well, "feels" wrong, except for perhaps humor on certain occassion.

 

However, I do think there's a role for metagaming in terms of simply making the story more interesting and particularly adding color if all are pretty up front about it, as well as it's very good for a humorous toss-in on occassion.

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

To take this ojne step further' date=' if your character is supposed to be tacctically unwise, is it metagaming to deliverately select what you know to be a poor power choice, or is it metagaming to make a good choice, even after considerable trial and error?[/quote']

Regarding the latter of the two choices, I don't think so, even the tactically unwise, I would think, would learn about at least specific choices in specific situations, so long as they weren't otherwise learning-challenged.

 

Regarding the former choice, do you mean in character creation or in selecting a power to use in a situation? PS - if in character creation, yes, unless perhaps it's a weapon/real-world-based power and you want to really demonstrate how his initial choices are unwise and you intend to alter this as gameplay goes on. If in selecting a power to use in a situation, I think that's just appropriate RPing (which is why I'm not sure if I got your point here).

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

I have always had a different definition of Meta-Game. I don't recall which book exactly I read which made me develop this ideal (it was in some psych book). I see the meta-game as an important part of a game. It is the sub game. Sure everyone is on their way to attack so and so, or rescue the mayor of XYZ city. But what goes on while that is happening. The mental positioning, the player interaction, the lighting in the room... I think that everything which influences the psychic state of the group and the little subtle exchanges that form a socially cohesive group is part of the meta-game. Role-playing is ABOUT meta-gaming in my view. Becoming more aware of those subtle games and interactions between humans is one of the wonderful side effects of role-playing games (or for that matter reading and socializing).

 

Anyway, OOC game knowledge should not be used. Personally...If I know something from OOC I think real hard about what my characters normal actions would be in any given situation. If it is widely known that my enemy has a vulnerability I might ask the GM to let me make a roll to see if I know about this vulnerability before I "break my code against killing".

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

Regarding the former choice, do you mean in character creation or in selecting a power to use in a situation?

*******************************************************

If in selecting a power to use in a situation, I think that's just appropriate RPing (which is why I'm not sure if I got your point here).

 

Situational - "I have these five attacks to select from - which shall I select?" The issue comes down to whether I roll randomly to assess which power I use (having a 20% chance, in that example, of getting it right), or deliberately select, say, Flash because I (player) know this character has a compensatory Enhanced Sense. Kind of the variance on the thread-starter: I know this is the worst possible choice OOC, so IC it's the choice he makes.

 

[i'm running a character with "Impulsive and Impatient", which means I generally take the first action that comes to mind, and don't delay a phase without "teammate advice" to do so. It tends to have some similar results.

 

One example: A large battle with a lot of little opponents - first thought is fire an explosion. So he does. Second thought was "hmmm...the flier's only 4 hexes away. Her efenses were plenty, but there was a bit of knockback...

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

I understand your predicament, but I think if there's an established M.O. I'd point that out before I attack.

 

Besides, if I were the GM, reviewed the enemy and thought the electrcity would be a problem, I'd change BP before the game. So the fact that he came into the game that way makes him fair game.

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

I have always had a different definition of Meta-Game. I don't recall which book exactly I read which made me develop this ideal (it was in some psych book). I see the meta-game as an important part of a game. It is the sub game. Sure everyone is on their way to attack so and so, or rescue the mayor of XYZ city. But what goes on while that is happening. The mental positioning, the player interaction, the lighting in the room... I think that everything which influences the psychic state of the group and the little subtle exchanges that form a socially cohesive group is part of the meta-game. Role-playing is ABOUT meta-gaming in my view. Becoming more aware of those subtle games and interactions between humans is one of the wonderful side effects of role-playing games (or for that matter reading and socializing).

 

Anyway, OOC game knowledge should not be used. Personally...If I know something from OOC I think real hard about what my characters normal actions would be in any given situation. If it is widely known that my enemy has a vulnerability I might ask the GM to let me make a roll to see if I know about this vulnerability before I "break my code against killing".

You're right in identifying that as metagaming and calling it out as positive and/or simply part of the process no matter what. It points out we too often use the word "metagaming" for its overt/negative connotations.

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Re: Amusing Conundrum ...

 

Situational - "I have these five attacks to select from - which shall I select?" The issue comes down to whether I roll randomly to assess which power I use (having a 20% chance, in that example, of getting it right), or deliberately select, say, Flash because I (player) know this character has a compensatory Enhanced Sense. Kind of the variance on the thread-starter: I know this is the worst possible choice OOC, so IC it's the choice he makes.

 

[i'm running a character with "Impulsive and Impatient", which means I generally take the first action that comes to mind, and don't delay a phase without "teammate advice" to do so. It tends to have some similar results.

 

One example: A large battle with a lot of little opponents - first thought is fire an explosion. So he does. Second thought was "hmmm...the flier's only 4 hexes away. Her efenses were plenty, but there was a bit of knockback...

That's difficult, I think it's just trying to emulate the intelligence. GENERALLY, I think though that in heroic fiction a hero who isn't tactically smart gets lucky and/or the value of "common sense" in heroic fiction is elevated so high that I wouldn't argue with a player who had poor tactical sense using any sort of clearly non-tricky, straightforward power they had, i.e., I wouldn't say they blundered or metagamed in that. I would draw the line at being tricky, as mentioned, and for reacting to situations with detailed planning or asking lots of questions that betray too much tactical sense.

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