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50

Define the Consequeces of Success and Failure Up Front This answer addresses a very similar question. I think everything I said there applies equally here. In short: if you explicitly define the consequences of success and failure, players are less likely to misunderstand the information and run off doing some nonsense. Let It Ride In your case, there's ...


48

Don't run a World X game. Run an alternate universe World X game. Sure, your players are expecting a World X game. But you don't know enough details to run one. An alternate universe game lets the players enjoy the genre they want while you still retain control of the details. Three basic steps: Introduce some elements that are definitely wrong. When ...


39

Just to add to something others have been saying: If there is any secret information in the game, then Pass notes to every player, constantly! Occasionally scribble random gibberish like "Look at this paper and smile knowingly." and pass it to a random player. Make sure everyone gets used to it as "one of your GM quirks". Mix this up with meaningful ...


33

Kick him out. No, really, kick him out. Just because he says he wants to play doesn't mean he wants to play the same game you all want to. You are being too kind to him. He is doing to three people exactly what you are trying to avoid doing to one person. He is: Preventing your group from enjoying the game. Being selfish and wrecking a game when he ...


32

Run that dungeon with the weird clockwork. If the players like it, treat that dungeon as foreshadowing and continue with your clockwork invasion theme plans. If they don't like it, relegate that dungeon to a one-time "weird old place" and throw that theme away. Trying subtle things and observing how the players react is a valuable skill for a GM who wants ...


26

OK, I don't have time to answer this as I want to. My background is in psychology, and I fell into Roleplaying games when I turned 10 in 1976. So by the time I was in college, understanding where the term Roleplaying game really came from, I understood the critical nature of immersion, how it is the most important ingredient for game success. And to be ...


26

This entirely depends on your game, and your gaming group. What you are referring to (acting as yourself instead of your character) is called "meta-gaming" and involves making decisions that are outside of the purview of your character's personality or knowledge. Whether or not this is an acceptable practice depends in part on your group and in part on the ...


25

Erik Schmidt's answer is probably the better one to go with (as it'll help you find the root cause), but I'll contribute a bit based on what I see from your description. From your description, you have a player who enjoys: Building and optimizing new characters. Participating in combat. And who doesn't enjoy: Long-winded intrigue. And yet, this ...


25

I thought about making up an excuse to talk to all players in the bathroom during stuff like the assassination example above so everyone will be suspicious of each other but it sounds like too much hurdle. Unfortunately, that's your answer. Metagaming in this case isn't going to be deliberate, but it's going to be hard to avoid. If you constantly ...


24

Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rulebook (1981, Gygax & Arneson), pg B60 Your character doesn't know that A player should not allow his or her character to act on information that character has no way of knowing (for example, attacking an NPC because the NPC killed a previous character run by the player, even though the NPC and current character ...


23

Consider Partial Cooperative Storytelling Many DMs engage their players more deeply in setting the story elements for their adventures. See the article Worlds of “OUR” Imagination and GM-less games like Fiasco and Microscope for inspiration. Since they know more about the places, history, and people of the world, ask them why they think your crisis is ...


21

From the player's seat Offer something the other character wants. The player knows what to do here, and she just needs an excuse to do it. Supply one. A little bribe or rationalization is all she needs and you'll be off and running in no time. Get the GM's permission to figure stuff out in-character. That means more than just knowing yourself, but rather ...


21

Alignment Usually Isn't Hard To Determine Alignment often isn't that hard to figure out anyway. Spells that can detect it are readily available, some classes (like Paladins) can detect evil as much as they want, and in certain cases you can discern it from their actions (a Cleric casting a Good spell can't be evil, because a Good type spell can't be cast by ...


20

From the DM's perspective, it mostly comes down to obfuscation and training your player base. Don't force your players to resist metagaming if you can reasonably help it. Going down your list with some concrete examples: Make truly trivial random encounters a regular (but not necessarily frequent) occurrence. If every encounter is non-trivial, then a ...


19

I like to work like this: I give the basic information to the players. One single page of 8.5 x 11 with all the info they certainly know. I tell them everything that is outstanding. How many moons, color of the sky, name of the main constellations if they are relevant. Any info about the basic religion, main genesis myth everything relevant for the first ...


18

Try it out in-game and if it doesn't work then have a back-up plan for the campaign. I grapple with the same ideas as you - inevitable players will implement that knowledge and it would be so worthwhile to surprise them. I'm a fan of the crazy guy in the bar who talks about his days of spelunking or out at war and encountering what I'd ask my players about. ...


17

It sounds like a discussion away from the game table is in order, preferably between just you and him. Some day when there is no gaming going on, ask him what he dislikes about the campaign. Then ask him what can be done to make the game better for him. It's important that he not feel ganged up on or picked on, and that you get his honest opinion. If he has ...


17

As someone who has been GMing primarily since 2001, the answer is "Yes, but not disasterously so." The skill sets for being a player and being a GM in a game such as Pathfinder/D&D/White Wolf are entirely different, which means if you spend a lot of time doing one set of those skills (GMing), then the other set will get rusty, like any set of skills you ...


17

Fast-forward When it becomes obvious that the players are going to spend a lot of time, and do everything they can think of, before it becomes they finally accept that there’s nothing there, and they’re not under any time-pressure that makes it important to keep track of how much time they spend trying, just skip that step. You try everything you can ...


16

First off, it is the responsibility of the player of that character to not kill the plot. It's known as a "no-yes" where they vehemently oppose the progress, but continue to allow the plot to move in that direction. They are the "voice of NO" loudly dragging their feet even as they come with the rest of the party. Its their job to oppose the direction ...


16

Not an easy question! What I try to do to enhance immersion while lessening the effect of metagame considerations includes: Leading from the front. If I hope to make it easier for my players to immerse themselves in their roles, I must also be willing to immerse myself as much as possible in the NPC cast, and provide as much interaction as I can which ...


16

There is no smooth, gentle way to introduce players to a truly alien setting. You have three choices as a GM who wants to successfully run an alien setting: make the players aliens to the setting, and let them explore it. (gentle means of introduction) make them study up prior to play. (smooth play, but heavy handed) Play with people who already know the ...


16

Aside from the Same Page Tool already listed, I'd say two things would be worth considering: 1. Emphasize difference in expectation If the group is used to playing one kind of game style, you have to explicitly point out the differences in what you're trying to do. Something that flags me as a potential problem is this: [T]he party meeting each other ...


16

In addition to the excellent suggestions already given (I'm rather partial to "Let It Ride" myself), here are two more: Roll the checks yourself in secret. Without the knowledge that they rolled poorly, the potential for players to metagame in this way is essentially eliminated. They may continue searching for longer than seems appropriate to you, but it ...


15

To reiterate my answer here, you should conspire with your players against the characters. There are too many ways of passing information through inaction or mechanics use to adequately conceal important aspects of the environment. Instead, focus on an honest player relationship (assuming that everyone is comfortable with this sort of game, of course), ...


14

I think the thing you need to do first and foremost is remind them of the cardinal rule: What the DM says goes. They asked you to be the DM for a reason. If they wanted to run the show, they should've DMed instead. That said, you don't have to make this point in a rude or confrontational way. Just gently remind your players of it and, if they're any ...


14

I've run games with strict information compartmentalization like this, it really aids the immersion. Here's what you can try to do in order to not give away too much. Take other people aside too, not just for "super secrets" but for experiences they have outside the rest of the group. So if someone gets sent to the library to research, take them aside, ...


14

Talk to them So, at the risk of being obvious, consider talking to them directly about the type of game you want to play and also ask what type of game they want to play. You don't have to tell them how you feel they should play, and probably shouldn't. But you absolutely can and should say things like, "I like to present challenges with multiple ...


13

I'm sure everyone who is new to RPGing struggles with this question. The gaming answer is (IMHO) that you should act as you think your character would choose to act, not as you, "the gamer" would act. It is a "role playing" game, after all. The more you manage to play the game in character, the more realistic, dramatic, and enjoyable (not to mention ...


13

A lot of good answers, but I haven't yet seen on point addressed: stance. Some background on stances. There has been a lot of more-or-less academic* study of how RPGs work and how roleplaying works as an activity. One of the concepts that's been defined is stance, which is roughly defined as your (the player's) relationship to the character you're playing. ...



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