Metagaming is simply another term for using out of character (OOC)information rather than just the in character (IC) information your character has learnt whilst you are playing him. The term loosely means 'Game within a Game'; in the case of Avlis this means the game of Neverwinter Nights (NWN) within the game of Avlis.
Avlis is in many ways a game unto itself. It's derived from a long running pen and paper (PnP) D&D Campaign world, with its own set of rules and history. When playing on Avlis things work differently than in standard NWN, like death, treasure, experience gain, etc.
Picking stats, skills, feats, and so on are all examples of metagaming. When you level up, you again are metagaming, because you pick skills, feats, and so on. There can be IC reasons for what you decide, such as muticlassing because of something that happened to your character, say he now lives in the woods so you think he will develop ranger skills. But most character development is done though metagaming. This, however, is not always bad.
It can be a bad thing, if it's done in a way that harms or effects other PCs. The best example of this, being the whole 'floating name' issue, that has been discussed and argued over on the avlis forums many times. The floating name is completely OOC information, and using it to identify someone you don't really know or couldn't identify normally is considered a 'sin' on Avlis.
Some examples of both good and bad Metagaming or OOC behavior; (these aren't hard and fast rules, just examples of the type of behavior so you can judge if what your doing is acceptable or not.)
- Increasing your Int/Wis/Cha score so you can cast higher level spells.
- Taking levels of another class, for IC reasons. (i.e. you had a religious experience and decide to take levels as a cleric.)
- Increasing a stat, that isn?t of primary use for your class, to qualify for feats that are useful to you. (i.e. Increasing Int to 13 so you can get improved knockdown)
- Taking a feat, not for the sake of the feat, but for other feats you can now qualify for.
- Using the floating name to identify someone you know well, but whose avatar looks like other PC?s.
- Using the Player list, to see if a friend is online at the time.
- Using the examine option to read the bio someone has put in there.
- Taking levels of another class with no logical IC reason for doing so.(i.e. Your PC isn't religious, but want to be able to cast buffs (protective spells like Death Ward) so you take levels as a cleric.)
- Cancelling out of a level up process to get a better HP roll.
- Using the floating name to identify someone you've never met before.
- Using the Player list, to see if PC you want to attack is online at the time.
- Using the examine option, to see what buffs someone has or what level they are.
The floating name above a character's head DOES NOT actually exist IC. It cannot be used to reveal a character's name if the said character has not told you his/her name.
- Example: Joe meets Sarah for the first time. Joe's player sees the name "Sarah" above Sarah's head. Joe (the character) DOES NOT. Joe cannot say "Hi Sarah"
- Example 2: Joe meets Tara for the first time. Joe says "Hi, my name is Joe". Tara says "Hi, my name is Jennifer". As far as Joe is concerned, Tara's name is Jennifer. He does not know that she is lying.
The floating name can be used if your character already knows the other character (as long as the other character has told you their real name).
- Example: Joe and Chris know each other. They've also told each other their real names. Joe and Chris then see each other and say "Hi Chris" and "Hi Joe" respectively. This is fine.
- Example 2: Joe meets the same Tara he met in "Example 2 of Rule 1" again. If Joe says "Hi Tara" I will personally send a dragon to eat him. If Joe says" Hi Jennifer" he gets to avoid dragons for a little bit.
Exception to Rule 2:
A person you know under the effects of "Invisibilty" or "Improved invisibilty" cannot be identified by the floating name unless your character is under the effects of "See Invisibility" or "True Seeing".
- Example: Joe and Kelly know each other. Kelly is invisible but Joe "hears" her. Joe DOES NOT have "See Invisibility" or "True Seeing" on him and the floating name above Kelly's character says Kelly. If Joe says "Hi Kelly" Joe will soon feel the blades of a Sereg'wethrin Nwalmaer turning him into mincemeat. If Joe says "Who's there? I can hear you", Joe gets a cookie.
When a changeling uses the Changeling Special Ability, a message is sent to everyone in the area that the ability has been used. This is an OOC message.
When a changeling changes form, everyone in the immediate vicinity gets to make a spellcraft check (DC 16). This check is made automatically by the engine. If they succeed, they receive a message indicating that the user of the power may be a changeling. If they fail, they receive no message. If someone changes in front of your face, you do know that they can change form. However you do not know how they are accomplishing this feat unless you succeed in your spellcraft check.
When a changeling memorizes or purges a form, everyone in the immediate vicinity gets to make a spellcraft check (DC 30). This check is made automatically by the engine. If they succeed, they receive a message indicating that the user of the power may be a changeling. If they fail, they receive no message.
In both of the above cases, the Changeling does not know if someone has made a check, or even if they succeeded at a check. When a Changeling reviews their forms, no one is given the opportunity to make a spellcraft check to identify them as a Changeling.
This means that anyone without ranks in spellcraft will never be able to identify someone as a Changeling. Those with some ranks will be able to identify Changelings with a good degree of accuracy whenever they change shape or revert to their true form. Only characters of at least level 6 will have any chance of identifying Changelings when memorizing or purging forms, and only epics with any degree of regularity.
If you cannot make spellcraft checks, the only other IC way to detect if someone is a Changeling is to have someone who is ICly aware of their identity to tell you that the given person is a Changeling. So unless you succeed at a spellcraft check, you do not know someone is a changeling, even if they change shape in front of your eyes.
An invisible character or creature CANNOT be seen and identified by anyone not under the effects of the spells "True Seeing" and "See Invisibility" as they can only be detected through hearing.
- Example: Joe 'hears' John while John is invisible. Joe has neither "See Invisibility" or "True Seeing" on him. Even though Joe knows John, and John shows up on his screen because Joe's character "hears" John, Joe DOES NOT know that it is John because he cannot identify John solely from John's footsteps.
Creatures and characters under the effects of the spell "Improved Invisibilty" cannot be identified even after they have taken an action to make them "partially visible" unless the perceiving creature has "True Seeing" or "See Invisibility". Characters know that the person/creature is there, but sees only a blurry, semi transparent figure.
- Example: Joe is in the warzone fighting the elves. Karla is in the warzone and has the spell "Improved Invisibility" casted on her. Karla doesn't like Joe killing elves. Karla flames Joe's ass. Joe cannot identify Karla as the sassy lass that killed him unless Joe had "true seeing" or "See Invisibility" on him when Karla attacked.
It has become very clear to the Avlis Staff as a whole, that not everyone playing on Avlis is following the same rules when it comes to disguises. Considering that there are no rules regarding them right now, that seems natural.
So, the first point: If you believe that there are rules regarding disguises, you are wrong. There were none prior to this post.
Ok, the following is the basic rule boiled down to its purest form. Consider this the guiding principle for disguises, or any other form of hiding your identity from someone.
The PC trying to keep his/her identity hidden, is the one who must make all the effort. The less effort put into the disguise, the less likely the disguise is to work.
For example: There are no helms out there that somehow alter someone's voice, and by simply putting one on, no one can recognize your voice. By the same token, stating once at the beginning of an encounter that you are masking your voice or a single emote, is not sufficient.
You must constantly remind people that you are altering your voice somehow. An emote every line is not required, but the person attempting to alter their voice must be the one making the effort to do so. It must be clear to everyone what he or she is doing. If those interacting with the PC cannot clearly tell that they are trying to be disguised, then that PC isn't putting enough effort into it.
This helps the PC as well, as it makes for a constant reminder and makes mistakes much less likely.
By the same token, simply putting on a different outfit is not enough to make you unidentifiable. There are several things that you have left on that may provide clues to who you really are. So if you wish to disguise yourself via clothing/armor, you need to change more than just the torso piece.
The more effort a PC takes to hide their identity, the more likely they are to actually do so. The less effort the PC makes, the easier it will be to Identify them. But it is up to the person wishing to keep his/her identity hidden to make all the effort, and make it very clear to those he/she encounters what exactly he or she is attempting to do.
Of course, the amount of disguise required is all based on how well the PC in question is known by those interacting with him or her. For my PC, trying to fool Kira (his IC wife) would be extremely difficult. Fooling someone he knows fairly well, such as Jorio or Arena, would be less difficult. And someone he hardly knows at all would be much easier.
Also, the simple fact that your PC's In-Game avatar has a hood on, or the hood/mask that can be selected as the head model, does nothing to help mask their identity. This is because they are constantly wearing the same head model; it is as much a disquinshing feature to one's identity than it is to hide their identity.
Any magical item higher then having a +2 enhancement will also be unique, and can be used to identify someone, especially if it's a weapon, or a shield. Provided that of course the PC in question has been seen with it before.
If I want to disguise my PC, I would need to do all of the following to make the disguise 98% foolproof, as there is no 100% foolproof disguise:
I would need to put on armor or clothing that is unlike anything I've ever worn before. I would need to wear a helm unlike that which I normally wear. I would need to begin every other or perhaps every third line of speech with an emote of some sort, stating that I am disguising my voice. I would need to put on different boots, and maybe a different pair of gloves. If I have a holy symbol or some other jewelry that is unique, I would need to change that as well.
So, to sum up: If you wish to hide your identity from those around you, then you will need to make your intent clear to everyone. Tells or OOC statements that you are in disguise, and no further effort on the PC's part, is not enough. Simply putting on a different outfit and holding a different weapon is not enough. Simply putting on a helmet is not enough.
This works in favor of everyone. For those who wish to remain unidentified, they can show the DMs what effort they made in remaining so ICly. It also serves as a nearly constant reminder to those involved what the PC is attempting to do, so a mistake is less likely to occur.
I would like to clarify the Avlis crafting recipe restrictions that have been brought up in the proposal for a free crafting guild in Avlis. A while back the team ruled that guilds could not post master recipe lists in the forums for all members to see and learn from. For the most part, all guilds pass their information In Character, which is how it should be. We have further clarified this rule.
All Avlis crafting recipes must be learned/discovered in game.
Distributing a master list of all known recipes is a flagrant violation of this. I don't care who you share your knowledge with, as long as you do it In Game. If you want to reveal secrets for nothing in return, that's your business. But there will be no listserv of crafting recipes.
This is a roleplaying server, and while we can't enforce certain aspects of crafting as we'd like to, we can certainly set OOC guidelines that you should follow. Yes, there are ways you can get around this, but you are violating the spirit of Avlis and this server's atmosphere. Because of limiting game mechanics, I cannot create a realistic crafting experience. All recipes are boiled down to a list of ingredients and quantities. ICly, this is not so simple. Being a master alchemist is much more than slapping down half a dozen ingredients and choosing your recipe. There's skill involved in mixing certain ingredients, under certain conditions (heat, pressure, friction, etc), and observing the changes. This is why you have to have a certain level in a craft to even attempt a certain recipe. All trades are handled this way ICly. If I could enforce it I'd require you to either experiment to discover your own recipes -OR- get a mentor to teach it to you.
Sharing Inn Rooms
We have noticed that some players are sharing an Inn Room between two (or more) of their own characters. (ie One player and multiple characters)
This is NOT allowed, because of the ability to easily share items/gold between these characters...basically, what one character has, either of the characters have.
As these characters can never know each other IG and can never meet, it is considered Metagaming to share items between them.
If you are doing this, stop.
If you are thinking about it, dont do it.
This type of metagaming will be handled in the following manner: 1) Warning (What you are reading now constitutes this warning) 2) If you continue to do so after the warning, all characters will be placed in Vault Jail for 5 days, and the DB entries for that Inn room chest will be deleted without chance for restoration. 3) You will be banned.
All wiki information should be considered OOC, except for the PCs: and Guild pages, as written in the IC wiki policy. The wiki is provided as a knowledgebase where players and team members can easily provide information about the game. Because anyone can edit the wiki, no information on the wiki can be use ICly. The wiki can and should be used to help in character creation and learning how to interact with Avlis. Because of this, there are a few sections that can be used to help in character creation, and translate into IC charatcer knowledge. These include and are limited to race and language information for your character's race, as well as religious information and deities.
When in doubt, use the common sense rule. If you're not sure if your character would know information found on the wiki, play it safe and assume they do not. All personal character details and player guild information should always be treated as OOC information unless you have the express IC permission of the character or guild in question. Passing on OOC information from the wiki ICly will be considered griefing. Wiki griefing complaints will be dealt with the same way as any other griefing complaint. Even if you are not banned from the game, wiki abuse will get you banned from the wiki. The wiki is a privilage, not a right.