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D&D 3E
question 
20th-Oct-2004 12:16 am
amy
what do you do if one of the players is always using knowledge that their character would have no way of knowing?

personally, i think it takes away from the game when people do that. one of our players used to DM and knows all about lots of the monsters and uses that knowledge in character. if he would make a knowledge check or if we had faced that type of monster before that would be fine, but that's not what i'm referring to. he's done this many times in two different campaigns now.

also, he's been having his character act weird lately for no reason [in character]. he, as a player, just doesn't want to talk to NPCs in the campaign so he has his character get up and leave. twice, when we were in the middle of eating in the inn and NPCs approached us and he just POOF gets up and leaves the table without a word. the first time, he went to the bar and talked to the innkeeper. the second time, he went out to the stables. by the way, he plays a paladin.

that business isn't such a big deal. BUT, for me, it just ruins the flow of the scene in my head and it takes me out of the game. if there was a reason, it'd be perfectly fine thing. but for someone to be that rude, there really should be a reason and/or repercussions.

what do you all think? any suggestions as to how to handle it?
Comments 
19th-Oct-2004 09:30 pm (UTC)
If a player is using out of character knowledge, whatever they know, simply turns out to be wrong. Even basic stuff like red dragons and fire. If they know the monsters weakness from reading the MM, then the monster just got a free upgrade.
19th-Oct-2004 10:19 pm (UTC)
then the monster just got a free upgrade.

that sounds so evil, i love it! eheheeee
19th-Oct-2004 10:34 pm (UTC)
As far as him getting up and leaving and going on his own, I would award everyone else bonus experience and not give him any. I've found that giving players bonus XP to the ones who are doing what they are supposed to is a way to get people to get in line.
19th-Oct-2004 10:43 pm (UTC)
that's a good idea. i think it would work on him especially. thanks for the suggestion!
19th-Oct-2004 10:54 pm (UTC)
what do you do if one of the players is always using knowledge that their character would have no way of knowing?

The modern term for this is called "metagaming", however back in the day we called it "Player Knowledge".

In any case this is probably the worst offense to gaming. It is something that in LARPs can get you kicked out of the LARP. It is something that no player or DM appreciates and the player should be told to cut it out. If they are doing it inadvertintly, tell them that they are and they need to watch out and stop. Its usually not to hard, but those who do it consistantly usually ruin the game for everyone involved. Don't be subtle. tell them to quit it!
20th-Oct-2004 06:27 am (UTC)
I agree. While everyone else's ideas (such as changing stats and docking XP) might work, it's not the same as explaining to the guy that he's screwing up the game.

We have a player kinda like that. We asked him not to metagame (when we came across an odd monster and he just spit out its stats. Then started correcting the DM on his abilities). So now he just kinda gives a smug look and says "Oh, I think I know what this is," but no more.

I then use the othe abilities (such as changing stats) just to try and throw him off, make the game more interesting for him. Cause I'm a nice DM.

But if someone is fucking out out of game, then tell them to stop out of game.


As for the other thing... well he's allowed to do whatever he wants as a player. Try to figure out why, or through some consequences at him (like someone's idea of having a powerful fighter just happen to be there. But something that will affect him more as a specific character).
20th-Oct-2004 07:50 pm (UTC)
it's true. he might not think of what he's doing as taking the fun out of it. i think we owe it to him to at least talk to him about it. and if that doesn't work, the XP and stat changing will solve the problem. oh, he'll pout, no doubt about it, but that's just too bad.

i know he's allowed to do what he wants, but i really think there should be consequences. but yeah, he should be the one experiencing the consequences. the group shouldn't be punished for his bad behavior.
20th-Oct-2004 07:46 pm (UTC)
yeah it definitely ruins the game. i'm pretty sure he does it intentionally but maybe he just needs called out on it. if that doesn't work, we'll have to take more drastic measures. i don't think he would put up with it as DM.
19th-Oct-2004 11:06 pm (UTC)
Invent new monsters that only have vague or no similarities to existing monsters - but which have the game stats of one of the monsters in the Monster Manual.

If he can't identify the monster by their looks, then he won't know their game stats, either - even if you did use existing stats (which saves a lot of work).

Try to get some inspiration from outside d20. There are online sources for beasts and monsters from myth and legends. And there are also "monster books" for other RPGs - I like both GURPS Fantasy Bestiary and GURPS Creatures of the Night (the latter has some really creepy ones). Or if you want to stick to d20, there is allways Call of Cthulhu d20... ;-)

Or make up some new templates. I think Savage Species has a bunch, and adding some new ones should be relatively easy - and suddenly you will have lots of new monsters.

Just make sure they fit into the story. Whether you have an invasion from the Far Realms or a plague of plant-based zombies, he will never again know what to expect...


And as for the weird behavior toward NPCs, give him a reputation for being snooty and arrogant - which will hurt him when he needs something from an NPC...
20th-Oct-2004 07:55 pm (UTC)
that's a good idea. it would be easy to just change the description so he doesn't know what he's facing.

i think i recently looked through the call of cthulhu - unless there's a lot of cthulhu books. i friend of mine showed it to me so i didn't get to look through it in depth but it was definitely interesting.

yes he deserves a reputation like that and since we're based in one town, it will absolutely have repercussions! good idea!!

thanks for all the suggestions!!
20th-Oct-2004 11:31 pm (UTC)
Yes, the critters in that book can get pretty... nasty. Though I wouldn't introduce the SAN stat in the middle of a campaign.

The Cthulhu Mythos in general is a great source for creating an atmosphere of horror in a game world - and the GM advice in Cthulhu d20 is simply brilliant. It might also give you a few ideas if you haven't worked out your game's cosmology in detail yet.

(Note that there are also a large number of books for Call of Cthulhu - but these are written for a different game system, and require some conversion. Sill, the Creature Companion is a good source for new beasties...)
21st-Oct-2004 08:36 pm (UTC)
yeah the book itself looked spooky! ehheheee i'll have to borrow it from my friend so i can look into it more. thanks for the info!
22nd-Oct-2004 02:12 am (UTC)
The "Encyclopedia Cthulhiana" from Chaosium is also a good buy - it helps to explain the Cthulhu Mythos in detail without mentioning any game stats at all.

And for the really creepy ideas, go and buy Delta Green: Countdown. Yes, it is supposedly for modern-day horror campaigns, but don't be fooled - the material in it can be used for many other genres as well. I've used both the reality-shifting alien city and the small, insectoid aliens who mind-control people by flying into their skulls for great effect in fantasy campaigns.

And I haven't even used the castration cult that adopts orphans yet, but one day I will.
19th-Oct-2004 11:19 pm (UTC)
I use a system where role playing well or using your abilities creativly gains you extra xp "character points" at the end of the session. The way I run it, intentionally using out of character knowledge is the ONLY way to LOSE these points. I also run with a general rule of "you can do anything you want, but be prepared for the consiquences." More than one player who stepped into a bar because they didn't like what the rest of the party was doing and challenged a fight suddenly found that the toughest fighter for three counties had mysteriously wandered into the bar... (:
20th-Oct-2004 07:57 pm (UTC)
that's cool! the way you do it, the player is completely at fault for not getting the XP. the other way around the player might feel like everyone else was being rewarded but not him.

i totally agree about the consequences!!

thanks for your input!!
19th-Oct-2004 11:28 pm (UTC)
If they try something that works in real life, make it not work.

It sounds like your player is just being a pain in the ass to get attention.
20th-Oct-2004 07:59 pm (UTC)
oh he definitely is. he's always causing problems just for the hell of it. his attitude is basically "me against the group." it makes the game not fun. everyone complains about him. and the thing is, he's a great guy and a good friend out of the game. i don't know why he has to act like such a dick when we're playing.
20th-Oct-2004 10:57 pm (UTC)
Some people are like that. I have had a few, myself.

As for making things tough, but still fun for the other players, applying templates is fun, as well.

Something immune to fire and acid is a lot harder to come up with than fire...

How about a vampiric troll? Half-dragon troll? Fiendish?

A vampiric one might not be immune to fire but the healing factor on that sucker might be pretty horrible.

I took an idea from the displacer beast. I made a dog-like creature with rusty, mangy fur, long red-tipped fangs, and a feral glint in their eyes. Their bites had a wounding effect due to anti-coagulant saliva. I gave it blur instead of displacement and had it fight as a pack to get flanking. I even made the coughing sound their barks had... My players panicked, even though the blood beasts (as I called them) were only about 4 HD creatures and they were around 12th level. There are so many excellent ways to flummox those who rely on knowledge gleaned from the Monster Manual...
21st-Oct-2004 08:37 pm (UTC)
that's really funny about your monster scaring them so bad!! that's great!! thanks for the ideas!!
20th-Oct-2004 01:48 am (UTC)
Are you the GM in this game or a player?

If you're a player then call him in character about it. Ask, "How did you know to use fire against it? Had you fought one before?" I like this option because you get to be suspicious about what ever paltry answer he gives. Do it every time.

if you're the GM then ask OOCly, "How does your character know to do that?" Take it from there.
20th-Oct-2004 08:04 pm (UTC)
i'm the player in this campaign but we play a couple of them. and i'll definitely have my character call him out about it. i think i'll make her blunt - she only has a charisma of 10 so she's not diplomatic. our group is just tired of playing with him. every campaign we play, he's obnoxious like that. we just can't let him get away with it anymore.

thanks for your advice!!
20th-Oct-2004 02:43 am (UTC)
First of all, ask him to stop. He may not realise he's doing it.

Second, if he pulls out knowledge, ask him to make a Knowledge: whatever check. If he fails (which, as a paladin, he probably will, except maybe for religion, which would include undead), tell him his character doesn't know that.

Third, if he continues to use such knowledge, change the facts. If he yells "Use acid or fire on the troll", make this an acid and fire proof troll, that does not regenerate cold damage. If he yells "Fire regenerates the iron golem, but electricity will slow it", reverse that. If he complains about that, remind him of the zeroth rule. And dock hm XP - in character, every time he makes an incorrect assumption, his character is failing to learn from experience, and is losing the flexibility required to grow more powerful. About 20% less XP gained from any encounter where he tries to use such knowledge should bring the point home pretty soon.
20th-Oct-2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
I think they have a bunch of variant trolls like that in MM3, actually. Crystal troll is only vulnerable to sonic.
20th-Oct-2004 08:08 pm (UTC)
docking XP is another possibility - and you're right, it's good with good reasoning behind it.

thanks for your suggestions!!
20th-Oct-2004 04:19 am (UTC)
huh. Well, I think that a paladin wouldn't be so crude. I think it's time to threaten him with an alignment change. Does he act un-paladiny?

...make him fight a Red dragon that has painted himself blue. They're sart enough to do that.
20th-Oct-2004 05:12 am (UTC)
> I think it's time to threaten him with an alignment change.

That's what I was thinking as well. It is quite easy to become a fallen paladin. They have a code of honor and ethics. As others, I also award XP for creative solutions and RP activity. In-game, you can always have someone take offense. "Where are you going? Don't turn your back to me! I will not be snubbed by the likes of YOU!" =)

As for the in-game knowledge, I agree that altering monsters is a good idea. I do it even when metagaming is not going on. I like to mix it up. He may know that a shambling mound is immune to electricity, but maybe the one he encounters is immune to acid and in fact spits acid. Have fun with it. If you're lacking for ideas, you can always post here and I'm sure people will give alternatives.
20th-Oct-2004 09:40 am (UTC)
Well, in D20, my brother came up with strapping little C4 vests on chickens and training them to kamikaze people.

we laughed, and then felt bad.
20th-Oct-2004 08:14 pm (UTC)
"Where are you going? Don't turn your back to me! I will not be snubbed by the likes of YOU!"

i laughed like crazy when i read that! and that's what should have happened; it would have kept everyone in the game.

that's true. altering monsters every once in awhile anyway would keep players on their toes.

thanks for the ideas!!
20th-Oct-2004 05:15 am (UTC)
I think I'm going to do something like that in my campaign ... I about pissed myself when I read that.
20th-Oct-2004 09:38 am (UTC)
the red dragon? gor it from ADVENTURES!. it's a funneh comic.
20th-Oct-2004 08:11 pm (UTC)
he acts like a paladin in battle situations. he just doesn't want to do any role-playing with this character apparently.

i love your red dragon suggestion!! ehehee thanks!!
20th-Oct-2004 05:32 am (UTC)
How about make it so that he is under a curse, and anything he says becomes untrue, so every time he metagames, it makes things way harder.

For example, if he says "oh trolls, they are vulnerable to acid and fire", make it electricity and water or something.

It can be a quest to lift the curse, and the way to lift it could be not speak for days, or admit that you don't know the answer in every situation.
20th-Oct-2004 08:19 pm (UTC)
i love the curse!! we were talking about putting a curse on him in another campaign we're playing [due to more troubles] but we didn't do it. he conveniently rolls natural 20s several times a session so we wanted to put a curse that he gets a random number added or subtracted to his attack roll every roll. depending on the roll it would either add or subtract but this way, he wouldn't be guaranteed to hit every time like he always "happens" to do.

but yeah, that's a good idea with the quest too. that gives him a chance to decide to behave.

thanks for the suggestions!!
20th-Oct-2004 08:37 pm (UTC)
as for the the knowlege of mosters when he/she shouldnt, it would be understandable if he/she was a knowlegable druid, but since hes/shes a pally i would warn him/her or refuse to give him the exp from the battle.

i also like the idea of a sudden monster upgrade. i play and dm and when one of my players uses knowlege that he shouldnt have i just dont bother telling them that the double damage received from the fire weakness actually went through. if he/she is still doesnt get the hint, take him/her aside and warn her that he/she is ruining the experiance and may be asked to leave. that usually strikes enough fear in them to make them play the character better.
20th-Oct-2004 10:59 pm (UTC)
Alignment change for those odd behaviors. Also, maybe an NPC or two that gives rewards to those who listen?
20th-Oct-2004 11:37 pm (UTC)
I just thought of something new. Perhaps he knows about all these monsters - because he is slowly getting possessed by the spirit of an ancient mage! He has also been causing all these behaviour problems...

Give him a few nightmares for starters - about a strange old guy who is laughing all the time who is whispering things into his ear. Soon he might hear him when he is awake!

Whenever he uses metagame knowledge, let him hear the mage say: "Yes, very good... You remember my lessons. Very good indeed..."

Whenever he is rude to NPCs, let him hear the old man say: "Yes, that's right... you don't want to waste your time with the peasants. You are much too important for that. And I have bigger plans for you..."

This should get the player really worried about his behaviour... ;-)
21st-Oct-2004 08:39 pm (UTC)
i love your idea!! first it made me laugh but it's also creative!! thanks a bunch!!
22nd-Oct-2004 02:13 am (UTC)
Now you only have to think about how to work this element retroactively into your campaign. Did the paladin come into contact with a weird magical artifact or something similar in the course of the campaign?
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