In the real world, it’s a forgone conclusion that no person knows everything. It’s a day to day frustration that every person carries for their entire life. This is why it is, in writing, a tempting trap to use the information you are reading in other sims to guide your character’s actions. If writing is your fun escape from reality, what’s so wrong with having a character who is always right all the time?
This is a problem that is common between all role-playing games for the exact same reason. It feels good to be right and we feel good portraying our characters so we want to use all the information at our disposal to make the best decisions, even if our characters wouldn’t know that information in their situation. This could be called metagaming, power-simming or god-modding depending on your role-playing platform. But whatever you choose to call it, using information that you know as a writer but your character would not know in the story is a habit we can all work to break ourselves out of.
We have in previous articles discussed why metagaming or power-simming damages the narrative and hurts your collaboration with fellow players. But in this episode of writer’s workshop we’re going to explore why doing the opposite – purposely having your character overhear something and interpreting it wrong can be a fantastic source of entertainment and drama, as well as a stepping stone to breaking the habit of metagaming and enjoying using your characters in-scene knowledge more consistently.