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As a player, how would you approach your DM about your character doing something out of session that neither the others players/party wouldn't witness.? (Example, asking to sneak away from the party) The goal would be able to do something without it being described in front of all players to avoid metagaming.

In my situation, one of the players is notorious for meta-gaming and I'm concerned they'll do so if I describe something that their character shouldn't know yet in front of them.

How would you talk to your DM about how to do something like that going forward to avoid this?

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    \$\begingroup\$ it's not clear to me what the problem is. You are mixing what the players know (or you want them to know or not know), and what the player characters know. Do you want their characters to find out what your character is experiencing? Or do you not? If you do want them to find out, why are you make your character sneak away and doing stealth checks to not be discovered? Is it because you think the character would do so? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2022 at 12:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I edited my question to have a more clear question and point out the real issue I was having after considering some of the answers/comments I received to help me. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – user75679
    Mar 1, 2022 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Relevant meta: What kind of edits are acceptable to a question after an answer has been posted?, When a Question Changes Completely, Should it be a New Question? In general, you should avoid substantially changing the question you've asked after answers have come in, in order to avoid invalidating the existing answers. Also... Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 2, 2022 at 0:20

2 Answers 2

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Not all metagaming is bad - be open with your DM and fellow players about that.

A.K.A. You don't normally want keep things from other players; you want to keep things from the characters. If somebody struggles to make that distinction be open about it without being accusatory.

It's good you spoke to the GM in advance, but the other players deserve to know what you as a player are doing, even if their characters do not know. Declare your intent, and get everybody on board with that. For Ex:

CarefulCleric: I want my character to be able to sneak away from the group so that I can do some roleplay that the GM and I have been setting up. Is everybody ok with that?

Just as you are not your characters, the other players aren't their characters either. You may need to remind players of this. You shouldn't have to keep a secret from the players. You can essentially do the same thing that you did with the DM, let them in on it.

This way, if after agreeing on this 'soft social contract', the problematic metagamer need to explain why they went against it, or at least you can speak to the GM about it.

It's vital that you get agreement to this 'soft social contract' and player buy-in before you take the action, otherwise you risk bad feelings - they're excluded from your RP moment, AND end up with the confusing situation you just described. Or the problematic metagamer has no reason not to metagame - metagaming is not inherently bad, only when it works against the goals of one or more players.

It's entirely possible that your fellow players will be excited about it, and you might not even need to roll stealth if all players agree that it's cooler that your character sneaks out! If not, you may need to bring it up more gently and suggest it for a moment further in the future, maybe offering one of them to try it out first.

n.b. Bear in mind how you introduce this idea - circumventing some rules to enable roleplaying - as players may try to follow your example, possibly missing some of the above steps. You're setting an example for others to follow by teaching them that metagaming can be fun for everyone, if it's agreed on. You can even reciprocate the offer though, leading them on how to request this; if nobody else does this play can become too focused on one player.


This advice comes from me trying the exact sort of thing you've described, plus more recent experience with my current RPG group in being open about my characters actions.

For instance, my current character has the spell Detect Thoughts, but I didn't want my roleplay ideas to impose on others unfairly - I forewarned them about it, and they were better able to roleplay their characters reactions.

How to focus roleplay on one player's character

I see you having two options for suggesting this sort of action to the group. It's important you the group are comfortable with whatever the option is picked. Especially any problematic metagamers you have - the impulse to metagame might be satisfied in other ways if they are on board with it.

  1. Troupe Play: Temporarily switching to everybody, except for the player(s) focused on, roleplaying as 'NPCs' (for lack of a better term). This gives them the freedom to play what is essentially a throw-away character they control but with motivations and goals set by you, the DM and the group potentially. I first came across this described in a different system entirely (Vampire: the Requiem), and while I've not yet been able to run it in a game, I think it could easily work. The problematic metagamer might feel involved enough not to want to metagame when they switch back. For example, play could go like so:

    GM: Ok, Alex you'll play one of the patrons of the tavern who happens to bump into CarefulCleric's character. Max, you can be a hermit in the woods.
    Max: Can I play a burley woodcutter instead?
    GM: What do you think, CarefulCleric?
    CC: Works for me!

  2. Describe everything after the fact: This might not be as fun, but you can start the session after your character has blown off steam, or gotten their individual roleplaying done (i.e. before the game starts). Start the session when the other players find your character in the woods. Ask the group if you can tell the players what happened, and recount events. The problematic roleplayer is again involved, and you are explicitly giving the players the information the characters can know. Let other players chip in so they stay involved. If anybody starts using player knowledge that their character wouldn't know, you can call them up on it because you were explicit before. For example:

    GM: CarefulCleric, do you want to describe what everybody sees when they find you and where your character went to after your nightmare?
    CC: You find my character about 100 foot from the tavern. There're crossbow bolts embedded in the tree all around my character like they were fired at random. None of the character know about my character's dreams yet.
    Alex: Oh, can I grab one of the bolts?
    GM: Sure
    Max: My character's going to say to CC, "What happened here? Are you ok? Was it one of your dreams?"
    CC: Hang on, can we back track? I thought I said none of the characters knew about the dreams yet?
    Max: Oops. Imagine my character didn't say that last part.
    CC: My character will say "I'm fine! I just had to blow off some steam!"
    Alex: My character will show CC the bolt they picked up "You call this blowing off steam?"
    CC: This is going well, ok, so I'll have my character say "Yeah... I've been having nightmares. The one last night was so bad... I had to sneak out and figure out what to make of it"
    Max and Alex in unison: "Tell us about it!"

    And then you're free to have your moment roleplaying, both how they find you and also in explaining what happened in your own terms. You explicitly agree on what is players knowledge and what is character knowledge beforehand


In short, let the players in on this fun idea, and trust them to either (a) run with it or (b) be honest that they aren't comfortable with it – and respect their choices. If you find it hard to implicitly trust them, be explicit about what you are expecting and then agree to both stick to those expectations.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good point about buy-in. For me, even the idea of rolling Stealth against party members starts to verge on PvP and raises some flags. If everyone's on board with the idea, you don't need to roll; and if they're not, you shouldn't be actively going against party members' wishes. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2022 at 13:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! This was very helpful. I reworded my original question to be a bit more broad but I appreciate your specific examples. I guess my main issue is there is a player who metagames a bit too much and I was trying to avoid that, but I went about it the wrong way and maybe got confused with my DMs intentions (it is both of our first campaigns.) Thank you, again, I like the idea of Troupe Play! \$\endgroup\$
    – user75679
    Mar 1, 2022 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @CarefulCleric thanked glad you like! Feel free to post a new more specific question though. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2022 at 21:25
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D&D is a group game.

If I were in a position like yours, I wouldn't have felt the need to hide what my character was doing from the other players. Sure, their characters wouldn't have known, but that's definitely not a good reason in itself to try to keep part of your "screen time" secret from the other people at the table.

Especially if, as you say, you were trying to set up a good roleplaying situation. Chances are that the others would happily have gone along with it, and quite possibly would have added to the depth of the situation through their characters actions (given that they know what you're trying to achieve).

I appreciate your desire to create "a good RP moment", but in my view excluding the other players is likely to have the opposite effect. Either you feel rushed and restricted in your descriptions (as you did); or you end up leaving the other players with nothing to do for extended periods of time, which is arguably rude and unfair. In either case, the other players are likely to be annoyed at your diversion and unlikely to look favourably on it.

At the end of the day, if you invite everyone to contribute to a scene (even indirectly), it's much more likely to be something you can smile and laugh about together.

But the other players don't go along with my idea if they know about it!

See above. If the "team" has different ideas about the type of game you're playing - or they're just the kind of people that enjoy destroying others' fun - then that's a much wider problem than just this one situation. You'll need to find common agreement on the way you all interact with the game in order to play it happily.

(And sometimes that can mean curbing your impulses, to make everyone else happy. If the rest of the group sees this kind of RPing as a self-indulgent waste of monster-slaying time - then it's going to be difficult to fit in at that table. You'd have to talk to them to see if there's common ground, a way you can all enjoy it, though it's not guaranteed such a thing is possible.)

But I have a really cool secret/sideplot that I'm working on with the DM!

This can be a good reason to keep things secret from other players, for the excitement that the dramatic reveal will give. But you absolutely should be working with the DM on this; and if so, you probably won't run into the problem mentioned. The DM will know to keep secret things secret, so won't ask you about sideplot-related activities in front of other players.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good answer! I like your use of the term 'screen time'. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2022 at 13:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Super cool secrets rarely play the way you think they will. Generally the rest of the party will either be like "Oh, okay..." or upset, depending on how badly the secret impacts them. There's not much worse than revealing your big secret and getting a yawn in response. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2022 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym: Indeed. If anything, the right group can help you make your characters' dramatic reveal more interesting/fun by having their characters play along to set that moment up. Something can be secret from the other characters, even if the other players know – and sometimes that makes the moment even better. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 1, 2022 at 20:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! I edited my question, but I appreciate your response. :) I guess the main issue I was actually trying to avoid was metagaming from one of the players who has been pretty guilty of it. I thought since our characters stayed in separate rooms that those not in my room would ask where my character was and the one staying would let them know I didn't sleep well/left/etc, but I agree I went about it the wrong way and was maybe confused by the dm's intentions. \$\endgroup\$
    – user75679
    Mar 1, 2022 at 21:21

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