243

What's wrong with what he's doing? As far as he can tell, this is a good strategy. He's exceptionally tough, and running through traps has worked for him in the past, so he believes it'll be fine in the future. If you don't want this strategy to work, you'll need to try a different kind of trap. A few options come to mind: more damage different damage ...


123

Know the rules while swearing up and down that you don't know the rules. Paranoia 2nd edition has this to say about players and the rules (pg 20): Only gamemasters are cleared to read the Ultraviolet sections. Naturally, it would be silly to sell someone a game and tell him not to read it, but there are two things we'd like you to do: Don't read the ...


109

The roll represents an attempt to do something; the result of that roll, the result of that attempt. (See PHB p.6, "How to Play.") As such, you can't choose not to attempt to open the door: you've already made the attempt. I don't know how to say this without sounding snarky, but I do mean it in a helpful manner: there are plenty of roleplaying games where ...


107

The best advice I have seen on this issue is from Angry GM’s 5 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Skill System (warning: mild, censored swearing of the $^#% variety). That’s written for D&D 4e, but like you say, this is an issue that has perplexed GMs for ages, across a variety of systems. His answer, which is his rule #2, is very simple: Only roll if ...


104

Ask your DM whether it's supposed to be viable to decipher it, or whether you were supposed to find the clues in game. Given that they used a genuine (even if simple) cipher and a proper script hiding an actual message, it seems likely that they meant for cracking it in real life to be an option. But it might just be that they never expected anyone to ...


102

Avoid the DM vs Player trap It looks like you may have fallen into that trap, based on how you presented the problem. This isn't a matter of a "fair fight" between a monster (or a group of monsters) and a PC. It's about the player making choices that have costs. This player gave up more offensive power to be better at defense. Honor that choice. That ...


96

D&D has no world outside of meta-influence Allow me to frame-challenge here: for all intents and purposes, there is no canonical D&D world outside your DM's representation of that world at the table. Your DM may have some information prepared (campaign notes, established facts from the campaign to date) or even official information about the world (...


92

Make their knowledge uncertain Tell them: "This my game and my world. I might change some things that you might have read in the books or the module." Now the player cannot ever be sure that their background knowledge is accurate. It might be and there is a high chance it is, but not 100%. Almost like they just heard a few (possibly tall) tales or myths ...


90

This is not metagaming The only AC increase that is not immediately visible in this case is from the fighting style, and that is a +1. All others are readily apparent in the game world, unless measures are taken to hide them (eg. disguise self). Heavy armor and shields are quite obvious and even low-intelligence beasts recognize that they have a hard time ...


87

The game you want to run is not the game they want to play. Fundamentally, gaming is a consensual activity. You clearly have very strong views about what kind of game you want to play, strong enough to trump your annoyance with the rest of the players not playing that game. While it's not "wrong" to require justification, it will leave you without players ...


81

Explicitly define "What's at stake?" Well, it sounds like part of your problem is that you two don't necessarily see eye to eye on the meaning of that roll. In my experience, the best way to approach this is to actually explicitly define the "stakes" of the check before the roll. That means you spell out the consequences of success and ...


80

They Fail Metagaming, in this context, is a form of cheating, and people only cheat as long as they think it will work. If the cheating doesn't work anymore, then they will probably stop. Examples: For your door situation, you can just let the character commit the entire day to that area and then say that he doesn't find a door. He didn't notice any of the ...


79

Disclaimer: this post is largely a distillation of the excellent advice found in AngryGM's post on metagaming.* All quotes are from that post. (Meta-disclaimer: Angry's posts feature excellent advice seasoned with rude and vulgar language.) 0. Your question To answer your question as posed: yes, there are in-game ways to change this behavior, well-covered by ...


79

So just to be clear, you're looking to pull off a con, and part of the con requires seducing the party. As a DM, you're okay with failure, but you would like a reasonable chance of success. Your conman already has an established identity which prevents them from leaving town on extended forays. And your party tends to believe that any NPC displaying a ...


67

The situation here is complex and hinges on several issues that come up in play, namely player attention, difference in player-character skills, social contract etc. Because of that I'll try to establish a general rule with exceptions, instead of having a huge discussion not suited to RPG.SE format. If a player forgets a story detail the PC knows, remind ...


65

Not really, but that doesn't leave them entirely in the dark The concept of experience points is an abstraction. As said in the 5e basic rules and on dndbeyond (emphasis mine): As your character goes on adventures and overcomes challenges, he or she gains experience, represented by experience points. A character who reaches a specified experience point ...


64

You make the advantage roll in secret In situations where I don't want players to know they have advantage/disadvantage for any reason I simply roll a d20 for them myself and work out the results. This usually works out just fine because the players do not know if I am simply rolling an opposed check, for example. I also make it a habit to roll d20s behind ...


64

No, and the DM can help weave this into the narrative by saying something like this: A: "I stealthily open the door." DM: "Okay, you stealthily open the door. There's an orc in there. Roll Stealth to see if you're stealthy enough that he doesn't notice you." This is a good policy in general: you don't roll to "enter stealth mode", you roll when you'...


61

There are a ton of issues with that. That doesn’t automatically mean it’s the wrong move, just that it’s fraught with problems. Ultimately, most people feel that roleplaying works best when everyone, ya know, plays a role. As in, behaves as their character would, based on what their character knows, rather than how they would, based on what they know. This ...


60

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 ...


59

It depends on what you find to be fun The Alexandrian has an interesting article on Meta-Knowledge and Meta-Skill, in the context of determining whether your fresh faced level 1 adventurer knows that trolls are vulnerable to fire. I recommend you read it in its entirely, but I will paraphrase. Simply put, this sort of meta-knowledge is impossible to put "...


58

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 one ...


58

There are so many ways to enjoy roleplaying games that we sometimes — often, actually — forget that fact and just assume that how we play is the way. Unsurprisingly, this results in unpleasant things when different ways to play collide and nobody notices that hey, maybe these are different and don't mix well! What you (personally or as a group) need to do ...


56

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 have ...


56

I'm going to make one critical assumption about your gaming group. If it's untrue, I don't know if my answer will be helpful: The friendship of the people at the table is more important than the game you're playing. Going forward I'm assuming you're all friends foremost, and you play games as a form of mutual recreation. Now, on to my answer. TL;DR: This is ...


55

At our gaming table, while role playing, the characters would say a +1 sword is of the First Power. A +2 would be of the Second Power, etc. Worked for us, and it sounded pretty epic. Once, we heard of a sword of the FIFTH power. We were like... whoa.


53

As has been said in other posts, traps can do more than just damage. Why are you just running straight damage traps anyways? If he's metagaming, he's gaming you, not the system. Here's a big list of other things traps can do, so you can set him straight: Inflict a condition, such as poison, unconscious, charmed (very funny!), restrained, paralyzed, blind,...


52

In this situation: if you have to ask, it's almost certainly meta-gaming. This sounds flippant, but it is not. This could also be construed to apply to any meta-gaming question, but I do not intend it that way, I intend it for the narrow class of, "Is it meta-gaming to build X?" and closely related questions. Meta-gaming, very tersely defined, is the ...


52

You are describing a DMPC, or Dungeonmaster Player Character. Many groups frown on this practice, and some folks flat out admonish other from even trying. But it can be done, and done well. Our group has run campaigns with rotating GMs (in multiple systems). There are a couple of things to keep in mind. You will never be on an even footing with the regular ...


51

Of course! There is no reason why you would not be allowed to roll in secret. If you suspect your players will metagame when they realize they rolled low and might have missed something, it is reasonable to roll in secret so they do not know if they succeeded or failed. However, even if you roll in secret, players may still get suspicious. You're rolling ...


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