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Roleplay Guide ~ Metagaming

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Roleplay Guide ~ Metagaming

Post by Roxas on Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:40 am


For those unaware of what the term means when applied to a RP context it is used to describe a players' use of assumed characteristics of the game. In particular, metagaming often refers to having a character act on knowledge that only the player has access to.

Here are a few random examples (they are not taken from anywhere on site, this is not an exercise to point out peoples RP skills, which take time to develop after all):

In a Standard RP Context:

  • A character tricking a medusa to stare at a mirror when the character has never even heard of medusas and should not be aware of their petrifying stare

In a Naruto RP Context:

  1. Having your character avoid eye contact with an Uchiha possessing MS when there is no logical in game reason they would know about the abilities and thus know to avoid it.
  2. You find character mourning at the memorial stone and who is currently questioning whether she has what it takes to be a ninja. She lost her mother when she was just two. You character is unaware of this but you have read her character sheet and so know. Your character walks up to her to reassure her she’s a great Ninja and that her mother would be proud of her.
  3. Your character knowing about a secret Anbu mission in progress when he is just a genin.

Metagaming makes the RP less immersive and your characters actions less believable, in extreme cases it can be as bad as god-modding, being used to evade things your character wouldn’t have or acquire things he wouldn’t logically have access too.

It’s not the worse problem out there or even totally unacceptable it’s just nice to be aware of. Most metagaming is incidental and as such completely understandable but its best to try and avoid it wear possible. Here are a few pointers:

  1. It’s always a good idea to read the character sheets of individuals you meet in because people generally work hard to produce them, they tend to be interesting and enjoyable and you will connect with the characters more easily and enjoy the RP all the more. However with regard to what your character knows about them the base assumption is absolutely nothing. Much like when you meet someone in real life for the first time you know next to nothing about them. From this base you take into account your characters rank, country, prior social interaction and what he has learned in RP to form what you know.

  2. Always bare you rank in mind when considering what your character would know of others or on matters. A genin’s knowledge would be limited to some basic jutsu, whatever he has picked up on mission, knowledge on his own clan relative to his rank, non sensitive info on the academy and his country and knowledge of his fellow peers (though not specific). The Hokage on the other hand will know or have access to a great many things on a wide range of matters, from who the cleans the toilets at the hospital to the true nature of Konoha’s Kekkai Genkai and who the present holders of the villages summoning contracts.

  3. Your country/village should likewise be bared in mind. Villages are by nature very secretive and anything more then common knowledge would be hard for outsiders to come by.

  4. Personal histories should nearly always be considered unknown to anyone but the parties involved unless revealed by the character in question during RP. Bare in mind though that anything done in an official capacity is likely to be recorded and known to ones superiors. Also you may have been watched, though this is very unlikely unless there is good grounds for it

  5. Clan knowledge, Jutsu, Special abilities and Kekkai Genkai fall into an interesting category. On the one hand many Clans are quite famous and basic information about the abilities and techs is widely spread. Unless your clan is particularly obscure or has very few members it should be assumed that the chances are that some basics concerning you clan’s tech is known. However at the same time the techs themselves especially high level techs are very closely guarded secrets and their true nature is likely to be known by a few people. A good example would be the Uchiha Clan. Most people in Konoha and even beyond are probably aware of their red eyes and some of its basic functions but MS itself will only be known to a select group of people. Not even an Uchiha Genin is likely to be aware of techniques like Sansuno.

  6. Remember that the RP does not follow Cannon and that none of the Cannon characters are existed with relation to it. What we know about rare techs, kkg and special abilities that came out over it may not be known. Using Deidara as an example if someone was to create an Akatsuki character with his abilities and a similar profile, then any Konoha Nin who encountered him would be unaware of his capabilities even though we know them all. In a RP sense his abilities would be new and unheard of.

  7. Never forget that certain characters may be adopting a cover identity, hiding something or lying to you, be it the Hokage or an Academy student. If your character has been given no reason to suspect this then he/she should act as if he remains ignorant of the fact. A good example of this would be if Hailstorm’s Character Hayate actually introduced himself as Bob to whomever he met. Unless you have recourse to doubt him which unless you know his real name seems unlikely, your character would think of him as Bob and should call him such until the point they know better. Similarly if your superior tells you to meet up one but intends much like Kakashi to turn up 3 hours late a diligent genin will turn up on time. The more skilled the Nin and the more practise they have the more believable the lie. Consider this in light of a Jounin Sensei being deliberately late its highly unbelievable that one of his genin students would expect him to be lying and know to arrive 3 hours late. Keeping something known OOC that is in IC secret requires certain amount forethought. Much like an assumption of ignorance, one should always assume that someone is telling the truth unless you have good reason to suspect otherwise or your character possess a suspicious nature.


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