The terms “In Game” (abbreviated “IG”) and “Out Of Game” (abbreviated “OOG”) are often used at Knight Realms to distinguish between objects and information that may present some cause for confusion. Roughly defined, “In Game” refers to items, words, or sounds, as they would appear to the characters in KR. “Out Of Game” refers to items, words, or sounds as they exist in reality.
To illustrate, you might enter a cabin and be told by the plot marshal that the cabin is the treasure chamber of a miserly arch-mage. You are standing in a cabin (OOG), but your character is standing in the treasure room (IG). On a deeper level, IG refers to what your characters knows, and OOG refers to what you the player knows. Thus, the cabin that is described as a treasure chamber is known IG as a treasure room and OOG as a cabin. The two properties are exclusive of one another – so that a door in the cabin (OOG) does not necessarily represent a door in the treasure room (IG).
Since the stage of KR is finite in nature, but the adventures of KR are infinite, the conflict between IG and OOG is a common one. The same cabin may represent several different buildings, all separated by many miles, within the same KR event. A clearing in the woods may be used to a very remote woodland setting, rather than the clearing just down the path from the inn. As much as possible, we try to isolate scenes that are meant to be occurring in distant other places, but there will always be the occasional confusion about what is or isn’t visible, audible, or physically alterable by your character.
The distinction between places and objects is typically very clearly drawn. If you see a boffer sword, you will find a card on it that tells you the specific IG properties of it (made from mithril, engraved with a sigil). Likewise, most important game areas have an “Area Note” that describes what your character would see and experience upon arriving at or entering the location. The list goes on, from item cards that represent all manner of other objects to blank books that represent tomes of magical secrets. In this manner, the world of KR is described to the players so that you can understand what your character witnesses and experiences.
The trickiest aspect of the IG vs. OOG distinction is related to words and sounds. There is obviously much less control over what one hears than what one sees and reads. A prop with a card on it can very clearly explain to you the IG properties of the prop, but a sound carries no note to explain what it really is, or whether you even would have heard it. In general, if you hear something while playing your character (not participating as an NPC at the time, or wearing a white headband at the time), you may assume that your character heard it too. If you hear something in the distance and rush to respond to the sound, do not be surprised if you are sent back the way you came once you get there. You may be told, for example, that the characters are actually many miles away in the deep woods, and that you would not have heard them from the steps of the inn.
In all situations, focus on your role-playing first. Just be certain to seek out answers to any confusion you might have before advancing upon information you learn, sights you see, or sounds you hear. For example, if you are stalking through the woods and see a gathering of characters engaged in a ritual, you can continue to stalk up to them and eavesdrop – if this is how your character would respond to seeing such a thing. If you manage to go completely unnoticed, and the group disbands and begins to depart, pull on a white headband and quickly hop into view and ask someone if what you witnessed happened just there, of if there is some reason why your stalking would have been unsuccessful. If you learn that IG they were standing in an underground tomb and that you could not have stumbled upon them while rambling through the woods, then you will be faced with one of the greatest challenges KR has to offer – forgetting what you know.
The bottom line of all this distinction between IG and OOG items and information is that because of the limitations of the settings in which KR is played, and our inability to reproduce all sights, sounds, and objects as they would appear to the characters, you will occasionally find yourself in a position of knowing something OOG that your character possesses no knowledge of IG. If you hear the baleful cry of a werewolf, for example, and rush to its source only to learn that the scene in question is taking place in a dungeon, then you must return to where you were when you heard the sounds, and then pretend that you never heard it. No one said it was easy…