Death by Metagaming

Pathfinder Society

Grand Lodge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Death by Metagaming is a death caused by the Players making bad decision based on false assumptions about the gaming environment rather than what their PCs actually know. It is probably the most ignominious of deaths because you didn't just make a bad decision, you made a bad decision for all the wrong reasons.

I recently had a death at one of my tables for exactly this reason. The party tank got paralyzed by a life-hating undead monster. The PCs did nothing about this because they made the metagaming assumption that the monster would move on to the next target having nullified one of the PCs. Unfortunately, its tactics were to continue to attack a single target until it killed it because it would immediately create a spawn that would fight for it. I didn't Coupe de Gras the PC because the tactics did not specify it would do that, so I just had it keep attacking. This was the party tank so it took two more rounds to actually drop him with full attacks. And the party still did nothing to save him because they made the metagaming assumption that the monster would stop attacking after it had dropped the tank. Next round the monster finished him off and so I let the player roll the attacks for the spawn he became to give him at least some sense of revenge against his metagaming teammates.

So does anyone else have any other good examples of Death by Metagaming?

Silver Crusade

That's a *really* horrible metagaming decision. The first task when someone is paralyzed is to get them unparalyzed or get them out of harm's way, since you never know what's coming next.

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Famous Last Words: "Don't worry, there's no way that things intelligent!"

Silver Crusade

Maybe it's just hungry to the exclusion of battle tactics. Who the hell knows? Paralysis is an extremely dangerous condition and my cleric usually has freedom of movement as well as remove paralysis ready for every scenario.

Grand Lodge

Those players are ridiculous.

Here's my (Near) Death by Metagaming story.

Perils of the Pirate Pact:

I was playing a cleric who prides himself on no one dying (not counting bad guys) while he is around.I had already GMed this scenario once, though it had been at least a year back, but I still remembered a few of the major happenings of the story.
We got to the part of the story where you get off the boat and hear a cry for help. I knew what was coming, but I rushed in anyway, trying to save the helpless individual, and got hosed for it.
Fortunately my party bailed me out, lol, but I really thought I was going to end up dead just because I roleplayed my character , despite my metagame knowledge. :P
"Uhhhh, I dont want to do this...*sigh*...I rush in to help..."

I had a player start getting worried when it took the party more than a few rounds to kill a certain goblin chief in Rise of the Runelords, then looked shocked after the fight when I told her I'd maxed his HP just so he could be a challenge...

She nearly died. :)


I had a couple experiences that didn't end up with death...but some serious worries due to metagaming the same creature in 2 different modules, that lowly Shadow.

First one, going through a level one module a character decided to move through the shadow to get on the far side of it figuring he could take the AoO, no problem. A crit with near max damage later, and the oracle was glad he put a couple of points into STR at creation, as he was down to 2...

Second one, I hit a level 4 character with a shadow for max 6 pts STR damage. After thinking about what it was I rolled to hit her with, and seeing the damage results, the player asked to use her folio reroll to have me reroll the attack. I said sure, even though it was a bit after the fact...nat 20. Confirm, nat 20. After taking 10 pts of STR damage instead of the 6, the player said she was never going to tempt the dice gods again =) It was a fighter, so still had a few points left, but that one took a big chunk of her starting STR.

Fun times...

Sovereign Court

I am not sure if this fits the definition of metagaming, or if it had much effect on whether we died or not, but I've gote one.

In Wrath's Shadow:
So we were just outside of the bosses room and we were able to detect the secret door that opened the narrow path into the boss room. I won't say all of us, but I, and at least a consensus of the party, decided that the secret way in was obviously going to be the better way in. I mean, if you have to find a secret door to access it, it has to be better. Well, all we did was force our party to be stuck single-file just outside of the boss room as he channeled again and again. He's a hard boss and we were a weak party, but at least being able to move around a room and not get outflanked by his Ghoul minions would have helped.

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