Page 22 - Meta-Roleplaying

27th Sep 2011, 6:00 AM in Friendship is Magic, Part 1
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 27th Sep 2011, 6:00 AM edit delete
Today's comic is about balancing out-of-character and in-character knowledge. Twilight's player is just beginning to learn the finer points of this essential roleplaying practice.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Chris 27th Sep 2011, 8:30 AM edit delete reply
Gah, I hate trying to game with people like Twilight. You have to do everything via DM notes and making the other players leave the room and crap because one player doesn't get the difference between in-character and out-of-character knowledge.

At least Twilight's got the excuse that she's new to this whole 'roleplaying' thing. I've gamed with plenty of people experienced enough to know better who were just as bad about this sort of meta-knowledge tomfoolery. One that leaps to mind was when the party thief found a secret compartment which contained a few diamonds and palmed them before calling the rest of the group over. IMMEDIATELY one of the fighters begins asking if he saw the thief take the diamonds, if the thief is acting suspicious, if his moneypouch is hanging a little lower than it was a minute ago, if he caught a glint of something out of the corner of his eye (said fighter was in another room at the time, mind you), and just generally being an unbelievable dick. When I (the DM) finally got him to realize that I wasn't going to let him act on his OOC knowledge like that, he backed off... until that night during his watch. Then, he announced that he needed some magical healing (which was true), and was going to go through the thief's bags to see if he had any healing potions. And while he was digging around in the thief's stuff, he might as well check the money pouch, just to make sure the thief hadn't been skimming any gems without telling the rest of the party...

Needless to say, fighter didn't get invited to too many more sessions after that.
UnfairAdvantage 7th Dec 2011, 5:47 PM edit delete reply
And THAT is why I require lit/chatroom roleplay experience to be had by new players. That way, they're more likely to understand these things. Apparently, even non-geeks roleplay with their friends online. (not that I would know. Most of my friends are geeks along with me)
Aurabolt 27th Sep 2011, 9:18 AM Metagaming and Roleplaying edit delete reply
To be honest, I do understand why this pisses people off with experienced role-players, but we're not always in the mindset to remember. Twilight's player is just starting, and I'm impressed with her capabilities so far.

And to be honest, this is probably going to be a simple and laid-back game for the most part, to give her time for her and Fluttershy to learn.
MintJelly 27th Sep 2011, 10:55 PM edit delete reply
Its obvious that Twilight's player is newer to the game. All new players have issues with keeping personal knowledge and character knowledge separate. Heck even some vets do too... it just takes practice.
Thud 27th Sep 2011, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
Well ok the fighter was probably being a dick here, but I've always wondered how you discipline players like the rogue who abuse in-character vs. OOC knowledge. How does one solve the problem of a thief like that?
kriss1989 27th Sep 2011, 9:44 AM kriss1989 edit delete reply
Punish them with the same trick. Make your character suspicious of them on the grounds that 'they are a professional thief, of course I'm going to be leery of them.' And if they do get away with it a few times, let them. Then, when they get caught, be justified in not trusting them from then on. After all, just because YOU know they are telling the truth doesn't mean your character does, and your character has plenty of reasons to suspect them. Make your character demand an apology, their cut, etc. Have them insist the rouge turn out their pockets after scouting a place and finding it 'empty'. Even though you as a player know its true, your character has been burned this way before.
Wild Heart 27th Sep 2011, 9:57 AM edit delete reply
Not that simple. For example, what if he lied in the first place? What if your character doesn't know he's a Rogue? What if he thinks he's a Monk or something?

Remember also that game terms aren't always used in-character. After all, not every thief is a Rogue, and a rogue is a title in-character, not a class.
kriss1989 27th Sep 2011, 12:15 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
Yeah I do this myself. Star Pact Warlock? What are you talking about, I am clearly a wizard!
Wild Heart 28th Sep 2011, 9:06 AM edit delete reply
Heck yea. And even then, I remember a campaign I once ran with a Neutral Evil Rogue, A Chaotic Neutral duskblade (Later Chaotic Good), a Neutral Good Monk (long story), and a True Neutral Druid.

The rogue became good friends with the rest of the party, and was such an accepted member of the group that even the players were sad when her character had to leave (Became an assassin for the Empire of the setting). They never found out she was Neutral Evil, and in the end? it didn't matter. They were friends and that's all they cared about.
Escher 28th Sep 2011, 5:21 AM edit delete reply
I can only speak to my own experience, but I usually don't bother with punishing. The player is playing a slightly dickish character, and that's just fine. I have no problem with a sticky-fingered rogue any more than I do with a grouchy wizard or a bloodthirsty fighter. As DM I can make sure any actual money issues balance out in the long run, and once I'm aware that the rogue is going to be doing stuff like that I can write it into the story.

For example, a big obvious gem that he's clearly going to want to take turns out to be much more than a simple gem, and is necessary for some later task, and he's going to have to do some fast talking to explain why he just happens to have a huge emerald in his pocket right when the party needs a huge emerald to open the gate.
Wild Heart 27th Sep 2011, 9:39 AM edit delete reply
You DON'T.

You want to punish him for acting in character? Why? The party may miss out on some diamonds, but a good DM makes it so that the rest of the party gets a little more later to balance things out. A good DM does NOT punish a player for having a greedy character unless it involves traps, social situations, or possible jail-time. That's more the purvey of character development, anyway.
guy 13th May 2014, 6:04 PM edit delete reply
I think that you may underestimate the unbridled opportunism of rouges. However, that is besides the point, because I think the question is "How do you punish someone who is using their class as a shield for being a jerk?"
The answer - at least, in my humble opinion - is to do the same thing you would if they started using their alignment as a shield: Boot them from the party. Life is too short to play with jerks.
Wild Heart 27th Sep 2011, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
I goofed. My bad.
Will 27th Sep 2011, 10:50 AM edit delete reply
Meta gaming is the most annoying thing some one can do, Regardless of what game their playing.
dragonkingofthestars 1st Sep 2016, 3:01 PM edit delete reply
Even Paranoia?
Vegetalss4 27th Sep 2011, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
It's always a dilemma what you do in cases where a PC suspects that another PC is lying.
Personally I favor making the suspect roll bluff whether or not s/he is telling the truth. If the suspecter wins the suspect must truthfully say if what was said was true or not, while if the suspect wins s/he can chose whether to say something was a lie or not.
guy 13th May 2014, 6:00 PM edit delete reply
Not quite, I'm afraid. The most annoying thing is undoubtedly whining. For whatever reason.
guy 13th May 2014, 6:01 PM edit delete reply
Whoops! I meant to reply to will.
terrycloth 27th Sep 2011, 11:56 AM edit delete reply
In-character secrets tend to work better when they're actually kept secret from the players too. Important ones, I mean.

A couple times I've been in games where one of the party was actually evil but none of the other players knew it, until they showed their true colors during the final battle. But meanwhile everything was going wrong for the party because they had a traitor. It was awesome. n.n
kriss1989 27th Sep 2011, 12:20 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
Been there, done that, rule part of dark world with iron fist. No, really, it's an actual iron fist, I lost the real one to the Lawful Stupid paladin.
HopeFox 27th Sep 2011, 2:54 PM edit delete reply
My groups have tended to handle things the other way - big secrets like one member of the party secretly working against the party's main goal tends to be done out in the open. The key factor here is that the *players* aren't so emotionally invested in their character's goals that they get upset if those goals fail. With everything out in the open, there's no sense of conflict between the players, just their characters, and I think it makes for a healthier game.
terrycloth 28th Sep 2011, 10:45 AM edit delete reply
If the GM's in on it (or responsible for it) then the other players can take it as part of the plot and not get too annoyed.
kriss1989 27th Sep 2011, 12:16 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
I thought you could delete your own comments?
Newbiespud 27th Sep 2011, 2:10 PM edit delete reply
I've heard of double-posting, but how do you even...?

Well, the septuple-post has been taken care of now.
Azureink 27th Sep 2011, 3:58 PM Voices edit delete reply
Who else can read the comic in the voices of the show's cast?

Also, I play 4e D&D a lot. It is my most favorite system mostly because it is much easier to DM. So when I was reading the Cast sections character sheets and crunching the numbers I noticed that they only got +2 to a single stat. I assume, like Humans, the three types of ponies have a good amount of extras to make up for the lack of a second +2 to another ability score (which makes sense given what kind of abilities the Mane Six posses in the show).
UnReluctance 27th Sep 2011, 6:44 PM edit delete reply
Well, NOW I am.
Azureink 27th Sep 2011, 4:09 PM Stats edit delete reply
Oh, and AppleJack is missing 3 points to spend for her attributes.

Str 16 (9) +2 = 18
Con 16 (9)
Dex 11 (1)
Int 10
Wis 10
Cha 08

9+9+1=19/22 points to spend. I suggest putting them into Wisdom, for the earthy knowledge Applejack possesses.
Ewyn 28th Sep 2011, 3:30 AM edit delete reply
Haha, lovely, truly nice comic
*next page*

Huh? HEY! Where are the rest 100 pages I could keep reading in one go?! :P
Derpmind 28th Sep 2011, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
The next 100 comics are about 230 days in the future, relative Earth time. Unless you have some alien or future spacecraft, you're going to have to chronologically travel forwards with everyone else.
Guest 28th Sep 2011, 10:59 AM Dr. Hooves edit delete reply
Bronymous 29th Sep 2011, 3:26 PM edit delete reply
^ Agreed
kriss1989 30th Sep 2011, 5:24 AM kriss1989 edit delete reply
Darn it Dr. Hoof!
Watcher 30th Sep 2011, 9:18 PM edit delete reply
These comics are awesome and you should feel awesome. Looking forward to more.
CommandoDude 26th Dec 2011, 9:55 PM edit delete reply
The closest I've ever come to party conflict is with this friggen Bard in our party, who was trying to charm the Monk, Paladin, and (me) the Fighter to stop us from preventing a ritual. He hypnotized me before I could actually attack him though, and I was just about ready to.