Dennis Laffey has a post on his blog where he responds to a video discussion about metagaming. I’m not going to discuss the video itself, because Dennis has that covered. But the discussion itself got me thinking about that definition given for metagaming: “Using any knowledge the player has instead of knowledge that the character has available.”
I’m surprised Dennis didn’t take exception to that definition, since it seems to depend a lot on the definition of roleplaying as “acting in character” or being an amateur thespian. If you believe the true purpose of an RPG is to pretend to be another person, expressing their feelings and motivations rather than your own, then naturally anything that breaks character is going to seem like a step beyond the game’s intentions.
But what gets me is that people into that kind of roleplaying never seem to see the game rules themselves as a violation of roleplaying. Instead, they frequently try to use game rules to enforce acting in character: dice rolls to see what a character knows, XP awards or penalties for how the player plays their character.
It seems clear to me that a focus on rules is what ruins roleplaying. But maybe that’s just me.
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