My point is this. I am a character in your world, and you have just had my village decimated (though that doesn’t mean what people think it means), eradicated, eviscerated or expurgated ... why should I care? I didn’t grow up with any of these people as my parents, I don’t have memories of being picked up and soothed after stabbing myself in the foot with a sharp stick, none of them taught me anything about the Gods.Makes sense to me. In the comments (which became unfortunately vitriolic) someone else strongly disagreed. This was surprising to me, not only because it seemed so alien to how I play, but I'd encountered this same idea just last night!
If you read my two Into the Maw posts you know that I had a party go into a dungeon resulting in a near TPK and a party going into the same dungeon the next day. The second party had a player from the first (who was rolling up a new character).
I was worried about this and told my friend the 3.5e player as much. "I wonder how that will work?" He said "He'll have to roleplay, that's what you do!"
In a sense I understand my friend's position. I think he was making such a strong statement because he was against the idea of metagaming-- like memorizing all the monsters in the Monster Manual and using that knowledge to have you first level peasant defeat black pudding or something. But he didn't seem to understand I was worried about player X feeling any sense of tension or discovery.
Even if player X roleplayed perfectly, he knew the exact layout of the monastery and would not have any sense of venturing into the unknown. How could that be fun?
Sure enough, player X gently led the second party to the last stand of his former ill-fated party. (How could you not? He knew there was 390 sp waiting in a backpack there). But I wanted to give him back that sense of the dungeon as an underworld and so . . . when the party got where he led them there was nothing but blood stains. He was thoroughly perplexed . . . where did 9 bodies disappear to!?
Two final thoughts:
- Thinking in-character and making decisions based on what your character would do are only interesting to me if they cause tension in the game. I have no illusions that you'll really love your cleric's religion or feel strongly for her childhood dolphin.
- Metagaming can not be avoided. That's one reason why I have never had any iconic D&D monsters appear in my sessions so far and probably won't ever. Hell, I called the Monastery of St. Eudo "Goblin Monastery" on my notes, but the creatures they encountered had stats based on kobolds and varied in size from 4 ft to 6 inches. I didn't tell them the creepy white dudes were just zombies. And they always seem to be off their feet, "What was that little dude riding the pug?" so I'll continue with that.