This quickly changed when I became a DM and had some experienced players.
Metagaming is the use of player knowledge while playing a character.
I've read many sources on handling metagaming, like How to Avoid Metagaming and When is Metagaming acceptable?.
Here is a list of topics that can be metagamed:
|"No puppeteer" by potzuyoko on Flickr|
- Monster knowledge: Some players have monster knowledge.
But they don't have all the monster knowledge, and I create custom-made monsters.
So if they don't make knowledge checks they are unpleasantly surprised.
- Battle map: Sometimes I bring out a map when I expect no combat and vice versa. I'm using metagaming to fight metagaming.
- Miniatures: Similar to the battle map is taking miniatures even though there won't be a fight or reinforcements.
- Skill checks: I roll skill checks hidden. If players know they rolled an 18 on Insight and detect no lies, the PCs trust someone more.
- Story: I hide plot information for both players and PCs.
- Encounter difficulty: Sometimes I throw TPK level encounters at them.
When an adventure starts I tell players they might stumble into hard or unwinnable fights.
I leave hints of that: NPCs warning them, bunch of skeletons, etc.
Just because it's an encounter doesn't mean it should be winnable.
Doing this is a choice: it's also valid to only throw encounters at PCs that they can handle.
- Quest Availability: Players something choose to perform a quest later. They think that it is always available and scales with their level.
Sometimes quests are solved by others, or become redundant after plot-specific events.
Maybe the quests level faster than the players or become even easier.
- Dungeon Master: Sometimes players make remarks like "The DM wouldn't do that" or "I'm sure the DM wants us to go there". They metagame DMs, hoping to influence their decisions.
I counter this by being more unpredictable.
Strategic battle conversions in D&D need metagaming knowledge,
especially if combat mechanics are badly abstracted.
With new players in the group some metagaming is needed to ease them into the group.
Their characters won't be attacked as much as the other characters.
I prefer that other players actively help them in combat situations or when using skills.
If there are ways you discourage or use metagaming, I'd like to hear them.