[RPG] How to manage a player who is handling traps by metagaming


I have a high-hitpoint character who barges down hallways without regard to traps because that's what His Guy would do. In reality, he's metagaming: doing this because he knows he has the HPs to soak up the damage.

I call it metagaming because he's using his knowledge of trap damage (from a mechanics perspective) and history from other games (where traps are often "props" that do trivial damage) to make decisions for his character.

Of course I could make them spectacularly painful/deadly but the underlying problem is he's taking away from other characters who enjoy finding and disarming traps. If I make them deadly enough to hurt him then it will likely kill the squishier types.

In a perfect world I could discuss this with him privately but there are real life group politics I have to deal with.

Is there an in-game way to curb this behavior and help transition trap handling to those who prefer a more subtle approach?

Best Answer

What's wrong with what he's doing? As far as he can tell, this is a good strategy. He's exceptionally tough, and running through traps has worked for him in the past, so he believes it'll be fine in the future.

If you don't want this strategy to work, you'll need to try a different kind of trap.

A few options come to mind:

  • more damage
  • different damage
  • traps that actually trap you
  • alarms

More Damage

You could always make traps that do more damage, so instead of shooting out arrows, the traps might shoot out massive ballista bolts. But like you said, this would make the traps much more dangerous for the squishier characters.

Different Damage

Instead of dealing out injuries, a trap could harm you in other ways. Maybe that was just a tiny cut, but now you're infected with a horrible disease. Something sprayed your eyes, and now you're blind. That goop you fell into is making all your equipment rust. Whatever got on your skin is attracting insects everywhere you go, and it smells so bad no one will let you into their homes.

Traps that Trap

Imagine a trap that does no damage (or very little), but actually traps anyone who springs it. Think of a pit trap, or a cage with a door that springs shut.

Tripping the trap is worse than disarming it. It leaves you in a position you don't want to be in.


Some "traps" might not do any damage or trap anyone, but they might set off an alarm.

Imagine a trap that does nothing but sound a large gong, reverberating through the tunnels. Now the defenders of the fortress know someone's there, which is exactly what you didn't want to happen.