Metagaming is a serious offense when it comes to roleplaying, but surprisingly, most of it is done without any malicious intent in mind or even subconscious inent. Nearly every roleplayer has metagamed, even if they didn’t know they were doing it at the time. Far too often have people been ignorant of what is or isn’t metagaming, so this page is here to help you understand the elusive meaning of metagaming. In general, there are three forms of metagaming, though it’s not restricted to just these three. As a rule, metagaming is taking OOC knowledge into IC consideration-- knowledge that your character would have no idea of knowing. So, just make sure that everything your character knows has been found out IC rather than OOC. An extreme some people go to to prevent metagaming is avoiding anything about characters that they haven’t seen IC. This is effective, but it is also cumbersome, as it prevents you from reading people’s character’s applications and other wonderful lore stories that you would be able to enjoy otherwise. The basic forms of metagaming are listed as follows, along with ways to stop them from occurring.
‘Name Knowing’ is essentially walking up to another character you’ve never met before and addressing them by their name, whether it’s their first name, surname, or both. Equate this to real life; do you know stranger’s names before you meet them? Of course not, because in real life, people don’t have floating names above their heads like they do in game. So, the same should be in roleplaying. Here is a classic example of Name Knowing: Bob walks up to Jim, a person he’s never met before. “Hey, Jim! How are you?” Bob exclaims, beckoning Jim over. Player Jim then says in OOC, “How did you know Jim’s name?” Player Bob, vexed at how he just metagamed and didn’t even realize it, apologizes and voids the roleplay, trying again. Bob walks over to Jim, and says, “Greetings, stranger! Why don’t you come over and have a drink with me? Oh and by the way, could I catch your name?” Jim responds in the same friendly tone with his name, and Player Jim and Player Bob both have a great time roleplaying with each other.
Avoiding Name Knowing is fairly easy. Try to ask each character you meet in roleplay for their name first, like Bob did on his second try. If it’s the very first thing you do, you’re sure not to accidentally slip the other person’s name in roleplay when you haven’t heard it.
‘Magical Reinforcements’ is usually only involved in combat roleplaying, and is technically also a form of powergaming. It’s when you call friends over through OOC means (Discord, forums, /msg, etc.) to aid your character in a fight against someone else. This takes the joy out of the other person’s role play because there is no way they can win if they are fighting alone against ten other people that weren’t there before. It’s also unfair, because it means their character has to suffer repercussions from a fight that was supposed to be one-on-one but ended up being ten versus one. Here’s a short example of Magical Reinforcements; Bob walks over to Jim, who had wronged Bob in such a way that Bob wanted revenge. Bob took a swing at Jim’s face, feeling the crunch of his first meeting Jim’s delicate facial features. Player Jim, upon seeing that he was in a losing fight, sends out a message in his group Skype chat that is something along the lines of “Bob finally caught up with Jim and is giving him a beating. I need help! We’re at the XYZ tavern.” Ten of Jim’s friends soon arrive and beat the tar out of Bob before kidnapping him and holding him hostage for the next week. It should be noted that whistles or bells cannot get around this rule. For the sake of fair play, no excuse can be made to bring reinforcements through OOC means in an open, public environment.
An exception to this rule applies only when a player is inside of their designated role play organization base. If you are engaged in a roleplay scenario, you cannot /tp to your base to gain the reinforcements outlined in these rules. This is an example of acceptable Magical Reinforcements; Bob and Jim get into a fight. Bob loses the fight to Jim and wants to get reinforcements. Bob would have to return to his base. If Bob and Jim are still in role play together, Bob would have to emote “Attempts to flee” or something along the lines of that so they do not break roleplay etiquette. If Bob is outside of role play and no one is approaching him IC, then he is permitted to /tp to his groups designated base. Once Bob is inside of his group’s base (Not near, but the player is physically inside of the base.) then he is able to call members of his group over through OOC means (Skype, Teamspeak, Forums, /msg, etc.) It is important to note that Bob can only call members who are specifically in the group. For example, if Bob is in Gang A, then Bob cannot call for Magical Reinforcements from Gang B unless he is at Gang B’s base. This scenario is only allowed for the following:
- Great Gangs in their bases
- Regalian Guard Charters in their HQs
- Noble Families in their Town Estates
The last major form of metagaming is ‘Backstory Knowing.’ This occurs when your character knows something about another character’s backstory, like if they are a criminal or not. Some of the vampire bloodlines are completely indistinguishable from normal humans, so you cannot just say “Oh you’re a vampire I kill you now” just because you read that person’s character sheet beforehand. For example, Bob approaches Jim in the tavern. Bob says, “Listen here buddy. I know you’re a criminal and I know you’ve killed three people in the past. Buck up or I tell your tale to the guards.” PlayerJim then says in OOC chat, “How do you know this? Jim did that twenty years ago in the backstory of his character sheet. There were no witnesses.” PlayerBob then apologizes and restarts the roleplay, and Bob talks to Jim for a few minutes before Jim lets Bob in on his biggest secrets. Avoiding Backstory Knowing is very easy. Since you have to make a conscious decision about confronting the other character about their backstory, you know that the information you have was gleaned from that person’s character sheet.
OOC Espionage is when you listen in to someone’s conversation through a wall OOC under the guise that you are AFK or just running around OOC. If you are AFK in the tavern and someone decides to share their secrets there, you are doing no crime unless you use that information IC. If, however, you see two people roleplaying in a private building and you climb up the building to listen through the wall, you are indulging in this form of metagaming. The roleplayers you are listening to have full authority to tell you to leave the building so they can continue to roleplay, and if you do not, they may make a ticket for a staff member to remove you by force.
Engineered Win Characters
This is usually known as “Win Roleplay.” Win Roleplay effectively ruins the point of roleplay; roleplay is fun because it allows you to throw challenges at your character to see how they react. This means that in conflict situations in roleplay, you may face situations where you or your characters face a situation that they cannot win because the other characters have the right kind of advantage over your. Let’s say you are a group of Black Mages and you get wrecked by a group of White Mages and guards. If half your members suddenly make an Turall Bladesmen whose strengths are exactly the weaknesses of your enemies and then offer a rematch, then this would be metagaming because your new characters not only know your opponent’s weaknesses, but their entire life and upbringing are based on the knowledge of those weaknesses. This is a very serious offense. A more fun and dynamic roleplay would be to imagine how your magic clan could hide or otherwise evade combat from the anti-mages.
Record Keeping and Disclosing
Recording IC info within the structure of an organization (or for personal use) anywhere aside from in-game methods (minecraft books, signs, lore written on items with /lore) such as Google Docs, Discord channels storing information, or other OOC information storages is strictly forbidden, and being in the possession or using such OOC information pools will be judged as Metagaming.
- It is only permitted to store IC information if you can absolutely guarantee that nobody else will receive a copy of, or be able to see into that information (you are, for example, allowed to maintain your own diary or log on Google Docs, as long as nobody else has access to the links). Workarounds and loopholes to this regulation are not accepted.
- There is a minor exception: For example, guards record the amount of arrests on people to help with future punishments, and player run businesses such as taverns also record the amount of drink sales at their bar. It goes under the understanding that if you have (logically speaking) said record right in front of you (like a guard being inside the prison, or a bartender being behind the bar), that such information is legal to be used and accessed from that location. A guard walking in the street and stating "You have been arrested 6 times!" however, would fall under metagaming information from an OOC repository.
- An OOC group announcement that does not disclose otherwise secret information (such as abilities, evidence, permission related information, secret hidden locations etc.) is fully legal. For example, a player may OOCly message their group over Discord to say "XYZ ggroup is now our enemy!." This is not considered an information disclosure. It's an announcement.