Follow TV Tropes


Hoist By His Own Petard / Tabletop Games

Go To

Inexperienced Tabletop Games players often die by their own foolish choices, and more savvy players can turn a Game Master's oversight to their own advantage.

  • Mishra in Magic: The Gathering relied heavily on his machines and weapons, to the point of falling to the manipulations of a cult of machine worshipers.
    • Then there are redirection spells, meaning that the spell your opponent hurled at your face is suddenly pointed at their own nether regions. Ow.
    • Other effects can change the control of a permanent: temporary for red, permanently (or at least until an enchantment is destroyed) for blue. This can easily lead to giant dragons and hydras eating their summoners.
  • Advertisement:
  • Truly sadistic GMs in just about any game have been known, instead of railroading difficult PCs, to give them just enough leeway to get in over their heads due to their own actions and decisions - even if those decisions had no other flaw than deviating from the GM's plotline.
  • How many D&D mages or characters in other games have fallen victim to their own fireballs, grenades or other highly-lethal AOE attacks?
  • One early 1st Edition AD&D adventure from Role Aids concludes when the hero shows the Big Bad a branch from a tree in which the villain had gotten trapped as a young boy. This triggers a panic attack in which the Big Bad cries aloud: "That tree tried to kill me! Kill me!" Unfortunately for the evil wizard, the obedient Flesh Golem Mook at his side takes its orders very literally, and compliantly snaps its maker's neck.
  • Advertisement:
  • In the Greyhawk D&D setting, the tyrannical mage Tuerny was eventually tricked into getting trapped inside an artifact of his own invention: the Iron Flask that bears his name.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Warhammer 40,000 this is a danger with daemonweapons. Misfire also does this.
    • In 40K the perils of the warp rule does this for psykers - especially if you're a Librarian casting vortex of doom.
    • Large blast weapons with short ranges can fly right back at the thrower or hit nearby troops. It is entirely possible to completely miss whoever you were aiming at, and obliterate your own tank.
    • Several of the Skaven weapons can invoke this when they inevitably go awry. Orks still have some element of this, but is largely toned down in recent editions.
    • High Lord Goge Vandire created the Sisters of Battle as his personal enforcers, but they soon turned against him and killed him when his madness went too far.
  • Advertisement:
  • One Paranoia mission calls for a volunteer to test an experimental "traitorkiller". When activated, it explodes. This is intentional; the idea is that traitors will volunteer to prevent it from being used against them.
  • The Jihad era of BattleTech saw the Clans undergo something known as the Wars of Reaving, due to the massive abuse of Trials of Reaving as political weapons, effectively trimming down the holders of blood heritages among the Clans. A Reaving could be called for almost any reason, and was most blatantly used by Steel Viper Khan Brett Andrews to kill his political opponents in the open. After many long and bloody battles, a Reaving ended up being called on Andrews and his entire Clan, supported by the other remaining Clans, who destroyed Andrews and the Steel Vipers outright.
    • The entirety of the Clan Invasion was basically this as well. The Crusader Clans (who supported the invasion) were so over-eager at the prospect of conquering the Inner Sphere that they ignored all warning signs and assumed they'd be Home by Christmas: As a result the Crusaders were all but decimated and the Clan that had pushed the hardest for the invasion, Clan Smoke Jaguar, was completely annihilated by the Inner Sphere. Ironically, a clan who had been hoisted out of a chance to participate in the invasion because of their tendency for pragmatism and caution (Clan Star Adder) avoided the ensuing mess and ended up winning the Wars of Reaving above as a result.
  • A common theme in Deadlands is the destruction of evil by its own devices. For example, the only way to permanently kill a Hangin' Judge (the damned soul of a judge who wrongfully sentenced multiple people to death for his own gain) is to hang it.
  • In Shadowrun, Richard Villiers set up the Trans-Latvian Enterprises investment bank to act as a shell corporation to protect his assets and he "borrowed" against his stock in Novatech to finance the corporation. Villiers had to cut ties with TLE so his assets couldn't be seized in the event something went wrong during his split from Fuchi. Free from Villiers's off-the-books direction, TLE called in his debts; Villiers defaulted on the loan and TLE confiscated 24% of his stock in Novatech.
  • The Dark World and Lightsworn cards in Yu-Gi-Oh! were specifically designed to turn hand- and deck-control decks against themselves, as Dark World monsters trigger effects when they are discarded, and Lightsworn monsters are powered up by the presence of Lightsworns in the Graveyard. To this end, both deck types include lots of cards whose effects include discarding - which means they themselves fall victim to this trope against a deck built around removing cards from play.
  • Kavok, the Big Bad in the Star Trek: The Next Generation VCR game A Klingon Challenge, will often force the players to "experience Bij," which will somehow handicap them. However, on some occasions this will be accompanied by a computer malfunction, meaning that the Bij cards instead help the player (and thereby hinder Kavok).


Example of: