Friday, June 28, 2013



I know it was a little bit ago but first and foremost, a huge thank you and hug to Jeff Kurtenacker, who took the time to send me a positive Vine when I was feeling down. You really helped brighten my day <3

This week we have some extra amazing additions to the WSRP Swimsuit edition thread, which if you haven't checked out the crazy, sexy, hilarity that has happened there, you should do so right now!

So to start with, here was my contribution sketch! Agent Hawkens at the beach with the only type of relaxation he understands: laptop, wine, beach chair and an ICI (insert impressive model name here) fully automated turret at his feet.

Turret comes with additional feature of deployable sun shield which doubles for unexpected ordinance protection!

This next picture was an AMAZING piece done by the artist Momo Deary a good friend of WSRP's Kanko! This collaboration of many of our characters was not only fun to watch (she streamed her work!) but also excellent at capturing their personalities! We're hoping to do more seasonal collabs in the future, so keep your eyes posted for more awesome art or give us a shout if you want your character to get in on the fun!

Next we have the brand new patch notes from Carbine for CBT3! This new round of beta testing includes both Exiles and Dominion and added in Neighbors for housing! Good luck out there testers! I personally really appreciate Carbine sharing these notes with the community. It's a nice gesture on their part and lots of fun to look over! Stay awesome guys!

I would also like to do some community shout outs in the future for people. As a community our most powerful tool is networking. Links are excellent, but I like the personal touch now and then as well. If you would like your guild/blog/etc to be featured on the Scowling Cassian, shoot me an email at and make sure you mention the blog in your Subject! Looking forwards to hearing from you guys.

And always, Hawkens and I love getting community suggestions for topics, so don't hold back folks <3

This week's blog topic is a suggestion from WSRP's Patrician. It is a problem that can crop up quite often in roleplaying, sometimes on accident and usually with frustrating results to all parties involved: Metagaming.

Now I'm sure many of you have heard the term used once or twice, if not experienced it firsthand, but what exactly is metagaming?

According to Wikipedia:

    Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.

In simple terms, it is the use of out-of-game information or resources to affect one's in-game decisions.

Originally a military term, metagaming was passed down through politics and now is commonly used to describe similar circumstances within roleplay settings. When players share information together in order to help facilitate roleplay and then one or more act upon it 'in character' without any reason for their character to know/be able to do such things, it can become quite the headache all around.

One of the key aspects of live roleplaying is communication. Rather, it is really the foundation of everything that transpires. Two or more players who agree to enact out their own storyweaving together for the sake of mutual enjoyment. Usually enacted in settings often built by imagination and the suspension of disbelief, this communication is key in making agreements on how some events might proceed or setting the rules of the engagements, or just plain explaining what you are trying to convey in case it is not clear to others. Often times it is enjoyable to go freestyle, just post and/or write back and forth and see what amazing turns the story takes on its own. But sometimes it is also nice to set certain events that would be interesting or perhaps important to the players or characters involved.

It is when you take the time to describe these concepts and/or plot devices that metagaming can worm its way into roleplaying. When you know events or ideas before they happen, it is very tempting to act upon them. For instance, if you knew your character was about to get into a fight, wouldn't you rather them win, or even pull the right moves to avoid it all together? Unfortunately it is this abuse of information that can really hurt roleplay. If someone's character stops yours from something, when they should not have even known about it, it can be really frustrating. Sometimes this might just be an accident, it can be hard to pretend to 'forget' things, especially when that knowledge lends you or your character power. And sadly, sometimes this can be on purpose, when someone cannot stand the idea of being unable to use such information.

What do you MEAN my character isn't PSYCHIC!?

To me, one of the best parts of roleplaying with others is to watch all the exciting and unexpected turns our stories can take. I like it when I cannot always guess how others will react, or what events might unfold. It lends such a powerful sense of realism and excitement to the stories that not only deepen the personality of the characters involved but even of the players themselves! (Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from playing pretend ;) ) This also means that I avoid metagaming if at all possible. It's nice to have a little heads up of what's coming or perhaps some behind-the-scenes workings because it helps to direct the storytelling and keep it focused when needed as well as lend to a wealth of ideas to everyone involved. Creativity sparks creativity!

To turn this knowledge into a personal advantage is very frustrating. I feel like it cheapens the story and can sometimes brew mistrust between players when they cannot feel like they can discuss things with each other. It also can really ruin surprises and interesting twists.

In my opinion, it is important to keep good communication between players. Sure you can hide information or ideas from others for the sake of surprise, but you need to be careful to not go so far that your points get lost. Being able to coordinate and bounce ideas off each other is not only important to keeping roleplay going, but is also just plain fun!

I think one of the best ways to explain metagaming and its effects would be to show some examples:

In one of the storylines I have been writing in, our favorite Cassian agent has found himself accidentally caught by a group of Exiles setting up a secret base on Nexus. In order to secure his good behavior and to not be forced to kill him immediately, one member of the Exile team locked out the UI of the nanites and made pretend that they were rigged to all overheat should she die or he leave her presence.

Now the truth is that, although the nanites UI were locked out from his control, there was nothing else done. It is merely a very creative lie that is keeping him in check, and perhaps his own stubborness. See, in one scene, we find Hawkens glaring angrily as his Exile opposition 'set his coding' to allow him to move a bit more freely around the base to allow him to actually lend some help where needed. In order to make it convincing, the Exile has to make a big show of 'reprogramming' him.

This is where the metagame comes in. The other player informs me in their post that their character is actually playing a handheld videogame and that the complicated concept of his entrapment was found in some silly romance novel their character had read previously.

Now I consider: Hawkens is an agent and a good one at that.

As if there were any doubt...

Well of course not, but now we must take into consideration the aspects of yourself. As a Highborn Cassian to a long and proud bloodline, the chances of you having read “trash” novels or having played a pop culture video game are fairly slim. I could, perhaps, argue that you have heard of at least the game in your travels...but then again you are a very arrogant individual who might find such knowledge 'beneath him.'

I really have far more important things to do than games and silly novels.

Exactly! So, keeping to character, not only does Hawkens not recognize the potential signs of the lie, he actually is so paranoid about the whole affair that he uses his own extensive knowledge on programming to explain to himself why what the Exile is doing makes sense, as he figures how he would do it in his head and simply assumes that has happened.

Amusingly enough, Hawkens traps himself. Now, to be fair, I can at least defend him by pointing out that the fact of what would happen if the lie was actually true. If he tried to escape, or kill his captor, or even run away, he could end up literally boiling alive in his own skin from all the nanites in his blood overloading. Not only would that just plain suck, it isn't a risk he is willing to take if he hopes to return to the service of his people in one piece.

Otherwise I would call their foolish bluff and make them rue the day they ever crossed my path.

So, while I might have been able to make up something that would allow Hawkens to call the bluff of his captors, what would be the point? His position is far more dynamic where he stands and allows for some tense, but genuine interactions with others that are far more interesting than if he were to be “super awesome” and force his way free. I am confident in my own character and I do not need him to 'win' all the time.

In fact, I think a lot of metagaming comes from the desire for one's character to succeed, or 'win' at all opposition. I actually wrote a piece on this for the WSRP forums: “It's Okay to Lose: Why failure may sometimes be the key to success” and I would recommend taking a read if you'd like to see more of my opinion on that! It is important to remember that one does not always have to win to succeed. I have actually been complimented many times on the fact that I often allow Hawkens to fail at something, or be bested. They said it made him more realistic and more relatable to. And in return, they respect him both in and out of character, making sure that I never feel that his tripping up somehow makes him actually incompetent or foolish to others!

Sometimes we just can't help but make mistakes...

Keep in mind that one does not necessarily metagame with only one's own character. Writing for other characters or pushing them to play in a way /you/ are most comfortable with is also metagaming. You would be taking the knowledge of their character, or perhaps even your friendship for granted and using it in ways that could make others uncomfortable. Mind you this doesn't necessarily mean that someone is doing it with rude intent. Sometimes they might think it is okay or that they are just using it to help the story.

The important thing when dealing with metagaming is actually the very same tool that builds it: communication. Be willing to discuss things with others and be respectful if someone asks you to not play their characters (After all, it is their creation!) or be respectful by not using outside knowledge to your advantage. Be mindful of your fellow players, ask if you need clarification and you should be just fine! I find that most players are usually respectful about apologizing and fixing their errors if you treat them with respect when you confront them.

Metagaming can be uncomfortable, ruin stories and trust and is just plain no fun. But if you take the time to think out your actions and talk with your fellow roleplayers, you'll find that you will have so much more fun. And who knows, maybe you'll learn even more about your character and watch them grow in ways you never expected.

That is one of the many joys of roleplaying!

The friends that play together...well, have FUN together!!!


  1. Agent Hawkens, sometimes I wonder about you. On the one hand, of course you can't know EVERYTHING. However, you've grown up surrounded by calumniation, trained in it, in fact. How many things are you only PRETENDING not to know...?

    1. Ser Patrician, if I told you the answer to that, I would have to make you...ahh disappear, if you understand my point?

      Suffice to say, all agents of the ICI are masters of deception. Make of that what you will.


  2. Great article! I've noticed it can be pretty tough to separate in and out of game knowledge. It's worth it though, as using that knowledge really does kill the experience.

    1. It really can, although occasionally if you work it out with others you can figure out some pretty cool stories too!