Meta-Game (Short-hand term, “Meta.”) is the term referred to mechanics transcending in-universe knowledge with knowledge outside of the universe. It describes out of character information that authors are privy to and mechanics that influences the game beyond what characters know. Meta usually denotes particulars whether trends other players will utilize or exploitable mechanics the game lends itself to. It may carry over a positive connotation such as using this knowledge to enhance an established strategy your character has in the bounds of their awareness, or in development of a character for a specific goal they aim to achieve within the realms allowed.
Mechanical vs Strategy
This wiki will elaborate on the distinct relationship meta has between mechanical operations and player strategies. The former describes functions that are referenced or are called to by a player and usually invoked or triggered by an action. Examples of Play-By Post mechanics are functions like trigger, Block, Registry, Standby, and Permanent that defined behavioral aspects of the game. Other mechanical properties of the game refers to "properties" of a function which determines it attributes whether numerically or not: Properties, Defaults, cost, and argument. When a player's character acts in a particular manner then they usually call upon these functions as they are predefined parameters in the chronological order.
A working example is a Player's character walking through a meadow to see a tree and then seeing another player's character in that tree to fight. The functions in the chronological order will go: Character moves and register other character, skip Main phase and now is in standby. The initial function other than moving was to register the other character, meaning they absorb information of the presence of another character. This function calls for the attention of a character which then activates and resolves subroutine properties and functions such as digesting information. The Main Phase is skipped as a decision on what to do with this information has not been readily taken upon, translation to no further action from either character or player. The last function is standby which denotes a waiting period between end of turn and decision making. The standby phase can carry multiple different functioning parameters, but more on that can be read at Standby.
Mechanical aspects of roleplaying meta can also be used for exploitative purposes and commonly junction with strategies. These includes forced cancellations by an enemy player unto their adversary with the sole intention of having them cancel a committed play, retroactives are used to rollback previous committed actions, and Auto-Defense to bypass certain the properties of time of incoming attacks so the Registry function is not called upon as auto-defense is a continuous function without prior activation or triggering.
Player "strats" or combat strategies are tactical manipulations or plays that intentional call to function mechanical aspects of the game. They are identified as strategies when a player weaponizes play-by post phenomenons in the chronological order and are intended for optimization usually against other players. Strategies are not systemically found nor native to Pbp roleplaying functionally and as such don't exist as internal components but rather external components. Their purpose is to explicitly force technical situations to occur through use of exploitative game mechanics mainly through positioning to leverage and resolve effects favorably. These strategies can be replicated and desirably reproduced in given situations (even situations themselves being recreated), as such these strategies are imitated by competitive players in combat and are adequately refer to as the "meta" as well.
Combat Philosophies are overall and compassing ideas of optimizing particular gradients of related strategies in the meta, and are brought into practice through smaller components of exploitations or workable strategies to legitimatize their related practices. An example is the philosophy of Chance Manipulation that focus on increasing the chance of a desirable outcome to resolve. The idea to intentionally shape or rig probability through actions of both players through a predominant family related meta such as Attack-String Meta, Time Offset, and at times emphasis on attack types like AOE and projectiles to augment the chance of landing hits. Another example is Minimum Maximum that believe in reducing certain amount of actions or properties to produce maximum results. Thezones focuses on a lexicon of "meta" or terminologies for player strategies related to their schools of thought.
Meta are not only exploitative but can carry both negative and positive connotations. Since meta refers to workings and instances beyond the game's mechanics then ideally a player's greater advantage is their knowledge of the intricate system operations. A positive denotation of meta usage may refer to a player's ability to call to function a mechanic using an action, building their character profile around a centralized weapon and/or power scheme, or understanding the mere interaction between characters. Negative connotation of meta is colloquially referred to as "meta gaming" to describe using out of character information in character, especially such information a character will not otherwise by privy to or otherwise be informed about. There are blatant examples of "meta gaming" such as a character replying to an attack from behind without prior knowledge of an imminent threat from that direction or merely knowing the name of someone they are interacting with though no such knowledge was divulge nor expound beforehand.
Justifications are crafted or created for subtle "meta-gaming" with allowance varying from site to site. These implicit exploits as fashioned in forms of technology, knowledge gathering intelligence without roleplaying, or powers and abilities that take advantage of an author's creative liberties. A character with a particular sensory ability may equip or stack an all-encompassing spectrum of sight that enables them to see all changes of "energy" in view. This would allow their character access into slight-precognitive information about a phenomenon that is imminent if the adversarial player is relying on "energy" to attack or defend. A much broader application is registering any and all changes of "energy" outside and inside of the opponent from their invisible or non-stated aura or even thermal shifts of a character's body. Since a character's sensory is innate and their author is respectfully given clearance to reply in anticipation to an action that occurs such exploitative tells become prevalent.
Meta as Abilities
There's a varying degree of unique powers that lend itself to prevailing meta due to generalized characteristics. These certain abilities are not only in builds but can be accomplished through combat-live scenarios. When the fluff of particular character powers are crunched they become 'meta' and general or principle concepts of such feats are thusly coined. Since most powers are adequately fluff and their explanations are merely user created stylization then it is possible to explain-away or crunch actual properties or powers in comparison to others especially numerically, functionally or given value. These abilities share an overlapping attribution to contain both function and property.
There are plenty of working examples of abilities that are part of the meta that share likewise characteristics with other fluff powers in the crunch: auras are a specific example of a terminology that envelop multitudes of similar powers since a projection of energy produced outward from a user is described as such. Homing teeters as a property and power when described adequately by a player. Fast Reaction Time is an actual property given to the sensory function of character as an ability and value, and is allowed to both operate as a fluff and crunch. Mimes are particular character builds and are literal properties as well as powers.
It is also possible to have strategies behave as properties. Working examples may include: Area of Effect, given a property to an local area from an action; barriers, a defensive property given an obstacle used to ward off attacks or characters; FRTs, act as both fluff explained mechanics to how quick a sensory is but itself a power; and Mass-Destruction, a property given to an attack or function to describe immense power as a meta. In this vein character builds are primarily driven by particular archetypes such as classes and especially styles such as gunners or melee fighters, and one can interpreted the character or idea by focus and build.
List of Meta
Below is a list of meta that can be found in roleplaying either by its native name or Thezone's interpretation of said meta. A character or a player's style might fall into one or more of any of these terms, as the more flushed out a character is the more likely chance they share a subset of different styles of meta.
All items (94)