How do you Handle Meta Gamers? - Myth-Weavers

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How do you Handle Meta Gamers?

   
How do you Handle Meta Gamers?

Hello,

Simple question for Fellow DMs who read these threads.

How do you Handle Meta Gamers or power gamers in your settings?

To Clarify:

Meta Gamer: Gamer that uses Outside character knowledge to bend the story to their favor and constantly complains out of character that situations are not fair or have not been balanced properly.

Power Gamer: A Player that makes a unique character idea BUT prefers to use that idea Solely for the over powered MinMax Stats rather than bothering to portray their character appropriately though RP.


In extreme cases both of these types have lead to the loss of several games for me.

How I am currently dealing with this:
I am working on a Karma based idea on where the more Players power or Meta game the harder the CR's of the Encounters and increased skill DCs as a way of saying that "Reality" in the game is developing bad Karma on the characters. I'm still unsure how to implement this appropriately for my next game however. Hence why I am requesting thoughts on the matter.

On a case by case basis. People are all individuals, and do those things you say, even if they're doing it intentionally, each for a different reason. I firmly believe that most games' approaches of metagaming and powergaming are fundamentally flawed, portraying it only as a negative aspect. Excessive and problematic meta/powergaming is not a cause, it's a symptom. Find that symptom and fix it. Talking helps. "Hey dude, your behavior is a bit of a problem because..." and go from there.

Besides, it's an out-of-character problem. Don't try to justify in-character solutions, it won't ever truly work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Actana View Post
On a case by case basis. People are all individuals, and do those things you say, even if they're doing it intentionally, each for a different reason. I firmly believe that most games' approaches of metagaming and powergaming are fundamentally flawed, portraying it only as a negative aspect. Excessive and problematic meta/powergaming is not a cause, it's a symptom. Find that symptom and fix it. Talking helps. "Hey dude, your behavior is a bit of a problem because..." and go from there.

Besides, it's an out-of-character problem. Don't try to justify in-character solutions, it won't ever truly work.
You have a point and I agree with it.

I have on a few occasions discussed this behavior with the players and requested that they sort this out, But previously I have had only to deal with 1 of these players at a time. My next game will have 3, and I don't just want to drop them and not invite them to a game and I have made it clear to them that unlike my usual game structure I would not be as lenient on playing OOC knowledge as in character knowledge. As for the power gaming I don't have much control of that aside from forcibly changing alignments or something as extra mundane when for example a player with a LAWFUL 20 INT MONK plays like an 8 int Chaotic Barbarian for no adequately explained reason.

Or ya know a level 1 character in a scene of DRAGONs attacking a village, decides to jump and ride on one of thier heads. (Funny yes: Survivable no) only to complain when the dragon obviously eats him.


see what I mean?

If what you're saying is happening, then the fault is not at either metagaming nor powergaming. It's a problem of expectations regarding the game. The players in question expect one thing, you expect another. Honest, open communication is key here. Let them know what the game is like, that stuff like that can happen.

If the players don't want that kind of game, then there's another issue that needs to be solved entirely. If it can't be solved, if it's truly something that neither side can compromise on, then you're better off finding a group that suits your purposes more.

And if they know what the expectations for your game are and are trying to intentionally sabotage the game, that too is a different problem that also may not be fixable, but if it is fixable then it will only be fixed by talking with the players and getting them to stop voluntarily.

I roleplay the crap out of them.

I don't look to recruit power gamers, but if I accidentally do then I don't sweat it. I write a lot of engaging description and NPCs. I throw a wide variety of challenges at them. I make social encounters a big deal. In Pathfinder, I hit them with stuff like armor penalties to movement and skill rolls.

What this very reliably does is to get the players involved with their own characters. That is usually the end of power gaming and the beginning of developing a real character.

Here are some specific tips:

1. Give them an NPC to care about. A little sister. A love interest. A superior officer that shows them loyalty. A village that desperately needs the PC and treats him or her like a hero.

2. Give the PC a difficult decision to make. Pull him or her in different directions.

3. Give them something to do that is greater than themselves.

4. If they've got some low stats from optimization, use that. Hit them where they are least prepared to fight. Not all the time, but sometimes. Make them work to shore up their weaknesses but have them do it in-game. How do they learn their missing skills? How do they make up for a lack of talent?

I don't really have a problem with PCs trying to build good characters from a combat perspective. Heck, I even like it. My games have a lot of combat. I just ask more of the player than just combat badassery. Having a badass character does not prevent good role-playing.

I also stick to level-appropriate limits for spells. I know the RAW players like doing stuff like using stoneshape to drop a boulder on the big bad from 1,000 feet but just don't let them do that. Make the max damage on the spell the same as another spell of that level. It's easy to rationalize.

Also, try not to put your big bad underneath a lot of big-boulder sources. I tend to keep my big bads squirreled away for when they are needed. The PCs hear about them, they deal with them indirectly, but I don't give them a clean shot until its the right time.

Quote:
1. Give them an NPC to care about. A little sister. A love interest. A superior officer that shows them loyalty. A village that desperately needs the PC and treats him or her like a hero.
This one is HUGE. As a GM, I always ask for one or more positive NPC contacts and one or more negative contacts for each PC. Having a love interest, sibling, mentor, parent, business partner, or other potential plot hook laying around is a wonderful thing, both to encourage roleplaying and sometimes force the PCs to make difficult decisions.

A negative contact can have a similar impact even if they don't ever come to blows with the PC. Maybe the party's rogue took a monster-hide jacket off of some punk from a different species, only to be confronted years later in a cantina by that same punk. Maybe the wizard has a rivalry with someone who stole his spellbooks (or perhaps he's the thief and they're the ones out for revenge?). Politics, religion, or simple differences of opinion can lead to an antagonist that you can use to further shape the story around your PCs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Actana View Post
It's a problem of expectations regarding the game. The players in question expect one thing, you expect another.
This is quite often the root of most problems like this. There's not necessarily anything wrong with metagaming, powergaming (I'd probably use a slightly different definition of powergaming, actually) etc - in the right kind of game. If everyone is cool with it, cool. If you're not, then it's not so cool.

Metagaming I see more as a sliding scale, actually. It's practically impossible not to do it at all, but there's a difference between a little guilty knowledge and giving your characters ridiculous prescience since you know what's around the next corner even though they have no business doing so.

You could, actually, embrace the metagaming. Have the players help you decide what happens next. This creates more of a "collaborative storytelling" kind of game and personally, I tend to favour the alternative which keeping things secret so that players can't metagame - I find it more immersive and, anyway, who wants the story ruined with spoilers? - but the former isn't necessarily a problem.

Powergaming I'd probably define as not necessarily including a lack of RP (I believe the term is used even in freeform scenarios, in fact, albeit to mean something slightly different) - in this case, there's not necessarily a problem with that either if a) appropriate RP is still there and b) it's not derailing the game in its own right (e.g. overpowered characters upstaging the others, etc), though that's a separate issue. If there's a lack of RP which is causing your game to suffer, I'd say that could easily be a problem even without the powergaming (I'd separate the two, I think) and the challenge there is to try to engage the player(s) with their characters and the story.

Something like jumping on the head of a dragon and then getting eaten doesn't sound like either of those problems - it sounds more like a tone thing. Maybe this character thinks the game is less serious than you meant it to be? Or, perhaps, they overestimate their own abilities. In this case there's probably an expectations thing again, and maybe you need to make clearer to the players the sort of situation they're in (which is a kind of metagaming really ). You can even come out and tell them what will happen. I would actually advise trying to cut them a little slack, though - a DM who shoots down every idea with "yeah, well then the dragon will just eat you" feels like a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, almost like you're trying to railroad the story down a line you've already planned, and eventually people can get bored with this. Maybe they can meet you half-way, so to speak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
You could, actually, embrace the metagaming. Have the players help you decide what happens next. This creates more of a "collaborative storytelling" kind of game and personally, I tend to favour the alternative which keeping things secret so that players can't metagame - I find it more immersive and, anyway, who wants the story ruined with spoilers? - but the former isn't necessarily a problem.
If my story is "ruined with spoilers" then in my opinion I've written a story not worthy of discussion and analysis. Or more likely a black and white tale with a clear "Good" and "Bad" solution, where once you know the "Right" answer, there's zero reason to do the other option unless your character is a petty baby-strangling maniac.

Write a story with multiple philosophies which don't fall into black and white? Or a story that is Grey in general nature? That's where allowing open spoilers is a real boon, where the players can actively debate about what they can do, or what is the 'best' option is, often in a story where there is no truly 'best' option for everyone.

The fact that you know what happens in a story only prevents you from enjoying it if you only plan to read it once, and never look any deeper past that single reading. Never planning to do any kind of deeper analysis or trying to figure it out beyond the bare basics you get on the first read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyber_Goddess View Post
If my story is "ruined with spoilers" then in my opinion I've written a story not worthy of discussion and analysis.
So you always read synopses before you watch films and don't mind knowing about the twist ending? Everyone knowing what is going to happen isn't necessarily a bad thing but it's also not something that everyone wants all the time.







 

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