View Full Version : Separate Character Information

2010-08-01, 01:33 AM
I've been seeing this in various places around the forums recently, and I figured that it must certainly be possible, I just never knew exactly how it would work.

If one player (or more) want to take an action that they specifically do not want one or more other players knowing about, how do they go about that? Does it depend on the DM and how they feel? Do they just tell the DM and nobody else? Does everyone find out Out of Character, but only the ones who find out IC are allowed to act on it?

I was just wondering how one might go about such a thing.

2010-08-01, 01:35 AM
Pass notes to the GM. If people have computers handy, send an IM. That way the other players won't even know a note was passed.

2010-08-01, 02:23 PM
Yeah, I figured private interaction would be the best way to go.

2010-08-01, 02:32 PM
Why wouldn't you want another player to know what you're doing?

2010-08-01, 02:46 PM
Why wouldn't you want another player to know what you're doing?
There are all sorts of reasons.

The other player has trouble not acting on information their character shouldn't know about.
Your character is going to do something sneaky (like cast Major Image to project their image, then sneak away to attack an enemy) and you want other PCs to behave normally and not give away the trick.
Your character is going to do something the other player's character would object to, such as because of a Paladin's code of conduct.

2010-08-01, 03:27 PM
The ability to distinguish between player and character knowledge is a primary - perhaps even *the* primary - RPG skill.

2010-08-01, 04:00 PM
While it is an important skill, not everyone is good at it. Besides, no matter how good you are about separating IC and OOC knowledge, it does ruin the surprise. For example:

One of my characters used to work for a major antagonist of the party. When she secretly went to call up old friends and get some inside information, I didn't want the other players to know so I did it by notes to the GM.

If the other players knew that she worked for the antagonist, even if their characters didn't, it wouldn't be as surprising when they found out. Furthermore, if the players know, how do they determine when their characters figure it out? If they don't know, their characters figure it out when they have enough clues that the players figure it out, and you don't have to worry that your OOC knowledge is subconsciously influencing your IC knowledge.

As a player, I'd rather have the other players keep secrets from me, so that I don't have to keep thinking "does my character know the vital piece of information or not?".

As a DM, I often give information to the players secretly, even if it's not critical. I find it's more interesting if a player who goes and investigates something in private relays the information in their own words rather than everyone hearing what I said. First, it can let the player roleplay their character reporting back, and second it can allow the player to focus on what they think is important out of the information I gave them (which I can use later to create storylines and plot hooks that focus on what that character is interested in).