Friday, August 12, 2011

Reverse Dungeoneering #5 When is Metagaming acceptable?

Improving your D&D experience. For Dungeons and Dragons Players and DMs.

In the previous Reverse Dungeoneering article (here's the link for your convenience: I alluded to a future post when I mentioned that metagaming doesn’t need to hold a purely negative connotation. Today I’ll finally get around to giving a few examples (just a few because I don't have time to cover all the bases or we'll be here all night) of how metagaming can be helpful or even necessary.

1) Character Stats
Let’s say you’re roleplaying a character with a high intelligence. Let’s go with a number around 20 for this example. You’d be surprised but it’s actually impossible for you to roleplay that character properly or think on that level. Don’t take it personally but that’s beyond a genius level intellect in D&D terms. So what if a puzzle comes along that you can’t solve but your character would find it child’s play? Your DM would obviously need to give you, the player, hints which you would then use in game as your character. This happens to be metagaming and yet it's extremely helpful in this case.

2) Character Creation
You can’t even play D&D without creating a character and yet this very act is actually metagaming. You’re using outside knowledge to build a character that you want to play in game and tailoring the character as you desire. This is something that's completely awesome and yet it's metagaming.

3) Game Mechanics
Game mechanics themselves are a bit too broad so let’s pick a very specific example. How about action points? The fact that you can gain and lose action points that grant different benefits depending on your character is something that you can only keep track of as the player. Can you imagine characters discussing their action points in game? Definitely not. It’s simply a necessary game mechanic that happens to be a metagame concept.

4) Out of Game Relationships
Oh crap! We’re getting into some dangerous territory here but I figured I would bring this up. There are plenty of couples (married, dating, or otherwise) that play D&D together who are able to keep their relationship and their characters in the game completely separate and harbor no jealousy what so ever and you know what? More power to them. The rest of us aren’t able to distance ourselves like that and since the priority of the game is to have FUN above all else, I personally don’t care for this to ever come up. My personal fix for this issue is to allow players to metagame their relationships in game. Yep. I know there will be some who won’t agree with this solution but I find it to be an easy fix that has always worked regardless of relationships or group dynamics.

This is Kylak signing out and I hope your metagaming is always of the awesome variety.


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