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A Lady's Journal
Musings of Improvement
[Cam] Metagaming 
24th-Feb-2010 09:56 am
Painted Redhead
...and why it is necessary for the health of the global chronicle.

The Camarilla is a huge, multinational club that allows people all over the world to pretend to be supernatural critters together. Here, I will be focusing on the aspect that allows us to all pretend to be vampires together (the Requiem Venue, or just Requiem) as most of the issues are endemic to that particular venue.

Vampires, per Requiem canon, are paranoid, territorial creatures. They band together out of sheer necessity and given half a chance, they would just as soon kill another vampire as look at it. This can make for a difficult social game.

There are a number of mechanics in place to resolve some of the more obvious issues in trying to play a social game with a bunch of bloodthirsty, territorial predators, but they don't solve all of the issues. This is where we, as players and storytellers, have to be aware of the limitations of the game and also need to understand how to create an environment that is welcoming to new players and visitors. Enter metagaming.

Metagaming is most often defined as using out of character knowledge to make in character decisions and is most often used as a euphemism for cheating. This is unfortunate because the only way to create an environment that is welcoming to new players is by engaging in that very action.

Here's are some examples:

Bad Metagaming: The player of Bob Ventrue knows that the character Sue Daeva has a bloodline weakness that makes her vulnerable to blue polyester. Despite having know way of knowing this in game, he nonetheless ensures that his goon squad are all wearing bad suits from the 70s when they jump her.

Good Metagaming: A new player has a brand new character and is wandering around game site looking like he has no idea what to do. Despite having very little reason to approach a strange new vampire, George Gangrel introduces himself, asks a few leading questions about the character, and invites the brand new character to go on a snipe hunt with him and the rest of the clan.

See the difference?

In the Camarilla chronicle, we are frequently in situations where we have people wandering through our games that we've never seen or met before. Sometimes they are new players. Sometimes, they are visiting players from another domain or region. The important thing, however, is that we make sure they feel welcome in our game and go home that night with the knowledge that they've had an awesome time and want to do it again.
4th-Jun-2010 02:39 am (UTC)
Very well said - I'm fairly new to the Cam (though not to gaming in general), and I'm more outgoing than most and am lucky enough to have friends who have been in the Cam for a while and were happy to help me get settled, and even I see the difficulties in "breaking through" at times.

There's another aspect here as well - smart STs can help with this in the stories they craft, and in helping a new character fit in faster. Give the new character a vital piece of information or find a way to make them useful to the "oldies" right off the bat, and a lot of the work of getting involved is done.
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