How do you Handle Meta Gamers? - Page 3 - Myth-Weavers


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How do you Handle Meta Gamers?

Originally Posted by Cyber_Goddess View Post
Another issue is less crunch heavy systems. If you're playing something like FATE or the ultimate fluff only system freeform you REALLY need everyone on the same page where things are going to go.

A lot of my games are mostly roleplay with little dice rolling. So keeping my players on the same page as me so I don't make them mad with a twist or they accidentally ruin the plot is...well it's just easier to use open communication I find than hope they don't do the wrong thing that renders the game unwinnable.
As someone who exclusively plays such games I can comment on this. Being on the same page as your players and open communication is definitively more important the less physical rules you have to nail their abilities down. For all my hate of hit points and stats they really do make it easier for everyone involved to know exactly what a character can and can not do.

When it comes to the plot however I both agree and disagree. If your players are invested in their character no plot twist, not even a massive change in tone should drive them away if it is done right. After all, the character they care about just had a tone shift in his life. In my last game I literally had an unannounced 180 degrees tone change and people went with it fine because I made sure they knew their place in all of that.

The key in my view is that it's done right. And what I mean by that is that you plan it out ahead of time and make sure your players have all the tools to handle your change during character creation. In that game I mentioned I set the players up to have high combat skills. I of course lied why they'd need them but I made sure they had them AND that it made sense in the flavor of the first part. That way, when the second part came their reaction would not be "OMG, different game, can't compete!" but "Cool. Now I know why you really wanted me to have that."

Also, as you can tell I am definitively a storyteller in love with surprises and plot twists. Also I am deliberately keeping the details of the last game vague because I am thinking of running it again with different people and don't want to risk spoilers.

Let's put it this way. I once had a player freak out in a very recent game when a boss monster was about to kill a PC that wasn't even their PC.

After I had given an insane amount of warnings that the 'Crimson Court' dungeon encounters were going to be true to their namesake and be VERY hard.

So I'm not entirely sure how I'm supposed to make the players less freak out from such things while making them a surprise.

Oh sure one can say 'don't play with problem players' but that's like saying the way to pass a math test is 'put down the right answers'.

Originally Posted by Cyber_Goddess View Post
Let's put it this way. I once had a player freak out in a very recent game when a boss monster was about to kill a PC that wasn't even their PC.

After I had given an insane amount of warnings that the 'Crimson Court' dungeon encounters were going to be true to their namesake and be VERY hard.

So I'm not entirely sure how I'm supposed to make the players less freak out from such things while making them a surprise.
That's NOT a surprise. It's a player freaking out over the game not going his way.

Oh sure one can say 'don't play with problem players' but that's like saying the way to pass a math test is 'put down the right answers'.
Thing is, that is the only answer you can get. In your example you met a player who can't handle the idea of not wining easily. That has nothing to do with plot surprises and everything to do with him not wanting to lose and refusing to let things happen other than the way he wants them to. For all intents and purposes you might as well have been playing a completely ordinary board game or video game or what ever.

It's a guy that had a temper tantrum over things not going his (and therefore the only right) way.

@hakootoko: I think what you describe as far as the player who wants their character everywhere, and power gaming has one similar issue in common; sharing the spotlight. I think you hit the nail on the head that you don't want to play second string if someone else has optimized their build, so too can it be disappointing if someone tries to steal the show purposefully or accidentally in a more roleplaying way.

For me, I think power gaming isn't one set definition, but it's more on a comparative scale. A group that all agrees on trying to pick optimal combinations isn't a big deal, a group where only one or two go the route, and the GM isn't able to figure out a way to deal with it fairly is more of a problem.

I thought making players freak out was the point of being a DM?

Originally Posted by Arden View Post
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.
I think that's a really bad idea, especially if they don't know.
Get it out in the open and talk about it.
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.
Originally Posted by Actana View Post
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.
Second this.
All of this.

I'd say you need to handle both types of players with satisfying challenges. It's fairly easy as an alternative to tell them something they're doing is making the game a little less fun for you, but when I have more powerful PC's, I just give them monsters and other encounters that let them test their mettle. And if they are trying to be smart from the meta-gaming standpoint, I reward that with background information and glimpses of the bigger perspective they didn't know. That keeps them thinking, and in general, that's great.

I'm sorry I don't understand this problem.

Metaknowlege and power gaming are just discrimination against different personalities.

Fact: regardless of the system you are playing a superhuman character. Even the most basic run of the mill call of Cthulhu character is better at something than everyone else on earth(just for instance).

There is a philosophy to it but it boils down to one simple question. Are the PCs the chosen ones in a world that is doomed without their help? Or are the PCs merely maladjusted and living in a world with plenty of heroes already?

In either philosophical understanding, neither metaknowlege nor power gaming is possible.

There is no metaknowlege when it comes to a chosen one, they have perfect (or sometimes merely very complete) knowledge of their world and what is going on around them. They know these things by virtue of being a chosen one and you the GM have given them carte blanche to meta or power game by virtue of you saying they were special. Just remember they are the only heroes, which means all other power is adversarial at best, hostile often, and nemesis at the worst. Power gaming or optimization is not just encouraged by virtue of their divine mandate, but actually encouraged considering that they as the chosen ones are the strongest force that can be relied upon.

On the other hand, if they are nobodies in a world saturated with heroes you have given them carte blanche for metaknowlege and even encouraged power gaming. Firstly how can metaknowlege not be a thing in a world with such obvious power caps? Simple, do you know Batman's exploits and abilities? Have you read the Ilead? Bullfinch's Mythology? When something becomes iconic, it is turned into pop culture. It wouldn't be out of the ordinary for a modern farmer to know where the wolves in his lands are, and how many they number. Do you think Joe the peasant is less concerned for his farm in a world full of orcs? Second, you encouraged power gaming by creating a power cap. You created a super power and then constantly put your actors into a power vacuum. It is only natural that they amass power on par, and even exceed your most powerful heroes. Not only that, but it's a boring story if they do not. If they cannot fill the same shoes, and even exceed the heroes of old, there is no point for them to exist. Gary Lou the paladin is already 20th level, he could single handedly kill an entire army of orcs. Why isn't he solving everything?

No the only kind of meta knowledge there is, is the discrimination against using out of character knowledge to make a decision. The only one power gaming is a control freak who denies an inconvenient power. The real trick to this situation is simply in giving your players enough rope to hang themselves with and assume they will probably destroy your carefully constructed narrative.

Remember these people are actors doing what they do best. You should direct them, not micromanage them.

I guess I metagame. I use my OOC player knowledge to make choices that make possible interesting things for my characters and hopefully those of others; choices I might not make if I knew nothing beyond what my character did.

I feel like it’s still metagaming if you choose for your character to be harmed or hindered by something you as a player knew about. The distinction comes from how that choice aligns with whatever social contract or expectation is in effect in that particular game. If it doesn’t align, then you get complaints about metagaming or playing suboptimally.


My suggestion is that you deal with it up front. Set expectations:

”I want to tell a great story here, guys, and here’s how I feel like that’s going to happen: (ideas). If I feel like you’re going against that I’ll let you know and give you a chance to adjust / discuss it. If you keep going against these goals, I’ll ask you to step down.”


”Let’s have a proper, old-fashioned dungeon romp guys. Know that I’m not out to get you, but I won’t be pulling punches. I expect you to also not pull any. If I feel like you’re dragging things down I’ll let you know and give you a chance to step your game up. If you persist, I’ll ask you to step down.”


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