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Types of Metagaming

Types of Metagaming published on 11 Comments on Types of Metagaming

Honestly? Metagaming can be fun. Give them an intuition modifier, and when they make some weird ass assumption about the world, set a DC for them being at least partially correct. Give the players with history expertise copies of the module’s backstory. As long as it’s not something toxic or that makes everyone uncomfortable, lean into what people are naturally doing to have fun.

The original script was quite different for this one. We ultimately decided that the last two panels were too close to being identical jokes, so we switched it up. I also, you know, looked up the word psychotic and switched to something more appropriate.

Original Script:

The Types of Metagaming
It’s called troll-gouge valley, so everyone get an acid or fire attack ready.
I got a 12. That’s more than enough to hit the slime, so I deal 26 damage.
That zombie bit me!
Reynauldo (panicking):
How long until you turn!?!
Guys, I think I’m turning into a slaad.
Stand still while I cut your throat. Reynauldo, when can you cast a resurrection spell?


Look at that little girl’s eyes! That’s obviously a charm effect. You know you else has dominating gaze? Vampires.

Don’t worry though, there’s an easy way to test for vampires. Stake ’em through the heart, and if they die, they’re a vampire. I myself have used this highly effective test many times, and I’ve never been wrong.

I’ve seen all four types in the wild, at the gaming table, as a GM. There have been a few times when it’s been so ridiculous that I could only laugh. Out loud. Uncontrollably. Nothing bothers Serious Gamer more than the GM falling out of the chair laughing.

I can see a manipulative DM putting a child deep in a dungeon like that because the floor boss has a soft spot for mother/fatherhood and decided to take care of them. This gives a chance to RP away a boss fight if the players are clever… and don’t kill the girl.

Nah. That’s ridiculously touchy feely. Go with the, “she’s the late day snack for a vampire” route. All the guilt if they kill her and no rationalization that she was probably gonna grow up evil because she was raised by the BBEG we killed. Also makes more sense.

Used to be, whenever my group found a beautifull woman held captive in a dungeon, it was always a succubus or a vampire.

In the end I gave them a beautifull woman whose chains held her captive in her teen state.
After all the paranoid examinations and questioning, they decided that she had to be an actual innocent woman, hunted down the jailor and killed him.

When they unlocked her chains, she reverted back into her Lich form.

They never trusted me again

When a GM sets up everything as a trap or a trick, eventually the players are justified in viewing everything as a trap or a trick.

Sadly, I’ve known GMs who accuse players who take the past to heart and adopt that view of “toxic metagaming”, of “using player knowledge instead of playing their character”. It’s as if they expect the players to ignore what they know and walk into each trick and trap anew, as if it’s not part of the obvious pattern, because their new lower-level PCs shouldn’t know better, not having been repeatedly tricked and trapped.

To me, this comes across as the GM abusing the basic assumption of player vs character knowledge separation, and trying to blame the players for their (the GM’s) bad behavior.

Best way around that as a player I’ve found is when your character had a mentor who already encountered these kinds of things. For example, a backstory where a wizard mentor teaches the plucky 1st level to watch for magic traps, therefore giving reasonable belief that the ‘inexperienced’ 1st level would check for them.

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