Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dungeons & Dragons: Dealing With Out Of Character Knowledge

Today’s Dungeons & Dragons gaming post is going to explore out-of-character knowledge from both the perspective of the Dungeon Master and the players.

When you are in front of the Dungeon Master’s screen or behind it. Definition of OOC knowledge: Something that you know as a player, but your character does not know, or would not know, yet you use that OOC knowledge to make decisions. It’s a fine line that can ruin the immersion of the game…

I’m playing a lower level fighter as my character and this is my character’s first time going up against a dragon. He has heard the stories, knows the legends, but this is the first time facing a wyrm with steel in hand…

…but since I’m also a Dungeon Master, and have thrown MANY dragons at the party, I know how many hit points it has, what the AC rating is, breath weapon damage, and treasure type. I might even know what spells it can cast. If I inform the party of what the dragon can do in terms of breath attacks, spells, and tactics, how is that fair, or part of a role playing game?

Now after my fighter has been washed in dragon-flame that is a different story…

As a player, if I know any OOC info, I’ll keep it to myself, and act as my character would normally act based on the roleplay. But what about as a DM? My tabletop gaming groups these days are a mix of new players and experienced players. For the new players everything is new and shiny in the game.

They are exited when they beat down their first orc. Veteran players who have all the books memorized and crunch the numbers, either because they are min/max players or have just been playing D&D for so long, will know the monster manual stats. So change it a bit. The new players don’t know anyway, and the vet players will blink or even wonder how you can do that. Add a few more hit points. Change one of those Beholder eye rays to a different effect.

Change that OOC knowledge that might bleed in.

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