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40

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 ...


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 ...


22

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 ...


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 ...


15

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, ...


11

Are you familiar with the Same Page Tool? It sounds like you had expectations that you tried to convey subtly to the group in-game, but this wasn't overwhelming enough to overturn their existing expectations or the conflicting messages being sent by your campaign kickoff's dominant tropes, so you weren't on the same page. Getting on the same page is the ...


11

Be unpredictable The reason that the player can do this is that the rules are well-known. In order to avoid this problem, introduce some mystery. When the player rolls a skill check where the quality of the result shouldn't be known by the character, you should also roll (in secret of course). If your roll is in the high half of the die range, then treat ...


10

In D&D 4e as well as 3.5, "fumbling" a skill check on a natural 1 is a house rule only - by rules as written a natural 1 on a skill check is not even an automatic failure, much less a fumble. Here's the 3.5 rule - 4e is very similar. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/usingSkills.htm#skillChecks: Unlike with attack rolls and saving throws, a natural ...


9

Character Background Spend more time during character creation before beginning the session, and allow some flexibility to 'evolve' it even after the sessions are underway. When you begin with just a sheet of paper, a name and some stats, they will act accordingly. On the other hand, if you have them take some time to think about family, profession, ...


8

I've played in games like this and often they go off the rails when the GM can't continue to keep up the burden of reflecting the oddness to the PCs. You can get away with jumpstarting understanding with short setting briefings, but for a completely alien world this has to be backed up with continual "and you know that means this" and ...


7

I've run exactly this scenario to extremely good effect (a Star Wars game in which one of the characters was an Imperial double agent). It's possible to surprise the players without cheating, but you've correctly identified a major problem which you must avoid. There are three parts to the solution: If meeting with a player privately, you must meet with ...


7

So, you have player A who is the spy, B and C who are loyals. Call in A for normal information exchange/private time. Call in B and have the Prince tell him that he's heard a rumor that someone may be betraying the cause. He knows that based on the rumor that it is likely either the PCs, or some other little cluster (if it exists). However, have the Prince ...


6

Here's a range of options, suited to different playstyles. Also you can mix-and-match. "You Don't Know": If the player fails a roll, the GM says they don't know. This is probably the simplest approach. What about "botching?" Shouldn't you make it more than just "You don't know." Enh, maybe they still don't know. Even in games that feature special ...


6

The typical way to do this is to roll for the player where only you can see the result (such as behind a screen or your hand). Any time you are rolling for hidden information, you're justified in making the roll yourself. Looking for secret doors? You roll, and tell what they do or don't find. Racking their brains to remember something useful about trolls? ...


4

This can be difficult in many games, since while it's all very well to tell people they have some sort of moral obligation to separate player and character knowledge, feeling obliged to compromise your character's safety or the party's goals in the name of "good play" can be an unfun catch-22 for some players. And of course acquiring all that player ...


4

I know what I would use. Whatsapp. Actually, any other text application on your phone would do, assuming you all have one. If you want to be absolutely certain not to drop hints, turn off your mobile data, type out a message to each of your friends, and then switch on data. They'll all get the messages together so they don't have data like how long you took ...


4

If it's a short information exchange (and not a discussion per say), then I would go with exchanging a paper between you and the player(s). However, it is pretty difficult to manage that kind of situation for a long period of time and I think you should arrange things in the story so that the group will have to join their efforts against a common threat ...


4

Run a one- to three-session prequel session. In this session, use disposable characters and set them up as valid outsiders -- that could be crash-landing astronauts arriving on the alien world, or rural hicks arriving in the big city, or similar. The key is that the characters are very ignorant of their new environment, and the characters can ask the ...


3

Let the players decide how much they want to know about the setting. Broadly define major topics like culture, economics, religion, science, magic etc. Then let the player pick levels of expertise in each category ranging from 1 being complete layman to 10 being world expert. You can assign a maximum number of points each player can spend to limit one ...


2

KEEP AN OPEN MIND Like Brian S, I took your question to be about campaign design. On the surface, you’re asking for advice about helping players integrate into your highly unique campaign world, but your question reveals that your players are struggling. A good campaign world should not be difficult for players to understand. If it were working, your ...


2

What I find to work, moreso for the lazy players but for others as well, is to simply tell them beforehand that it's an alien world, and then go from there. Treat is as though the characters know about it, and drop in the things one at a time, from time to time (ex: a younger person saying "don't the moons look lovely tonight?"). Playing as though their ...


2

Ever think about not holding these gaming sessions in person? Computer aided voice chat, mumble, or a conference call on you're phone can have some serious advantages if you need to do a game with information compartmentalization. I haven't gm'd a gaming a session but with modern communication tech, it occured to me that it might be a solid way to get it ...


2

Writing this in case other people who have the same problem with me are looking for a solution. After combining all the ideas here (and some stuff I thought myself), I decided to use code words to signal other players and give other players code words so they can signal me if they are going to do something secret. Like, say "It's Monday right?" when you ...


2

Lots of great responses. What I do is: 1. Make sure that everyone gets notes. 2. Pregame info with my players, separately 3. Make sure that if I am giving a player info that is top secret, then I will give him info unrelated that is not really a secret. I will write a note of some info and then asking if he is going to tell the party and then tell the party ...


2

The core of the problem is that when this happens, the player has two choices: a) make their character act particularly ignorant about this thing b) connive some way for their character to figure it out Neither of which is fun. Another option, is to use your GM powers, and modify a small aspect about the monster. "Yes, you remember trolls are generally ...


1

Headphones and music! Whoever isn't at the scene puts on headphones for a minute. If you have them do this at random times for no real reason for cover-up (that is when something concerns only some players, but the others actually could just as well know it), then it will be hard to tell when you are really talking about something super secret.


1

I normally run Cthulhu games so my experience is different. My players enjoy actually role playing rather than number crunching and rarely employ strategies that would not be known to the characters. I have only had one player metagame in one of my Buffy games and I explained to him that he had broken our previous agreement over how the game should be ...


1

I've found that sometimes players don't care about that aspect of the game. For example, the group that I play with likes the idea that their characters want to adventure "just because." I try to roll with it. For example, the dungeon crawl may actually cause them to make some real enemies in their hometown. Or perhaps in the process of looting the dungeon, ...


1

Regarding the second question, How can I get my players to care about their own and each others characters? why not reinforce a "No man gets left behind" philosophy by: Rewarding all of the players with significant bonus XP multiplier (x 2?) + Reputation or Honor points if they all successfully complete the adventure alive. Rewarding all of the players ...


1

The group acted like seasoned adventurers and best friends right out of the gate, which is true for the players but not the characters. How do I get my players to play their characters like they are real people. This is all very game-specific, but it sounds like the players are not interested in roleplaying out the awkward introduction aspect of new ...



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