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View Full Version : and then I was a dragon (a little problem with my DM - Pretty much resolved))



Elixia
2011-07-05, 09:59 AM
OK,

First of all a little info. Were playing pathfinder with a WHOLE bunch of homebrewing (gods, religions, planes, regions the works) Some of you may know that PF works primarily off 3.5e. My group has played pen and papers games for now 5 years, from 3.5e to 4e, M&M and now PF.

We started a new campaign and where lvl 3, 3 players and DM NPC. Now our DM like to do BIG storyarc's, normally very dark and chilling, we love'em but when it comes to core game balance, things go exceedingly pear shaped.

a good example is our last session, a finale for the first part of the campaign. we got a warning from a fey creature about a room that dispells ALL magic, arcane and divine ... for reasons the DM knows i was a little shocked at this and wondered if he thought it through. i played on hoping he would know what he was doing. hours passed, we get chased by a zombie and cornered in a dead-end room with only one exit. This leads to the non-magic room. Me playing out my character wont enter the room, so my fellow PC roleplaying back pushes me in. and

POOF!

I'm a dragon. yeah, I know cliche, but for RP my character is a dragon, an actual 215 year old silver dragon walking around as a polymorphed girl. But still a perfectly legal character. its just a lvl 3 human sorceress with the draconic bloodline. And i had already ok'ed this with the DM before hand, as the scene played out he WANTED this to happen, it was part of his plot. I'm cool with that, i like epic plots. but then the villains show up, three green hags. heres where things got more peared shaped. when a PC rolled for a grapple and got a 22 (18 on the dice) and missed we all got a bit scared. only a natural 20 managed to grab these hags and only a dice roll from 18+ would hit they're AC, with no healing magic or arcane spells AND no healing potions, we were gonna get hammered, no where to retreat and surrender meant certain death (by being eaten) .... only I was a dragon!

so i asked for monster manual, if i was NOW a dragon i wanted the dragon stats. The DM was in shock, i dont think he realised what cat he let out the bag and seeing as the DM was fully aware i was a young adult silver before hand i saw that i was within my right. i took down the stats. All in all my ACx3 HPx10 BABx3 ... i 'literally' clawed back the victory. all the other PC's were at below half health by the end, one was on 3 hp.

i will say, it looked cool. but the poor planning could of easliy of gone way wrong if i hadn't of used the the 3.5eMM stats (in hindersight i should of used 'form of the dragon 1,2 or 3 but i was in a panic and trying to turn the tide!)
But when I closely looked at the encounter i noticed something wrong. going back to the hard AC and such i looked at the Green Hag's CR, it was 5. Theres was three of them and using PF encounter building rules theyre would of made a CR 8 encounter. With 3 PC's and 1 NPC at lvl 3 we could of only just about take out a CR 6 max! (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/gamemastering.html heres all the tables and rules)

I bought this up with the DM, he's says it was legal and he did it right or would i rather just fight goblins and kobolds? (in a slightly defensive tone) the problem is this isnt the first time he's done this. he's quite known for doing these stunts. And whenever you confront him to says 'story thumps rules' ... wish we'd never shown him 'Dorkness Rising' ... dont get me wrong, i love the RP, but its hard to get through to him that he needs to balance his games as well as make them exciting. as a group we gel and sometimes to pull off the impossible more times than i can remember, normally via storytelling or a lucky natural 20. But then he uses the fact were lucky or quick thinkers to justify the situation. How would you tackle this issue? I've been trying for 5 years .. I thought he was over this now or am in the wrong?


EDIT
Looking at the response so far i can see that both us the players and the DM are technically at fault. We should give him more respect for the crazy stuff he pulls, its scaring and rather exciting. but i just wish he's seen the BIG DRAGON LADY situation before it landed, even discussed it with me first so that i didn't break the encounter. i did warn him, from convo's i'd had with him over the coming week i gleam what he was planning (though i thought it was gonna be the teens of leveling) and tried to warn him of the hell that would break loose. i think he thought i would use my lvl 3 player stats NOT ask for dragon one after he popped my magical polymorph spell. still, lesson learnt. the dude needs more credit than we give him. still awesome session even if my fat scaly @$$ broken the end-boss :D

Yora
2011-07-05, 10:13 AM
If you feel the party has no chance to win the fight, retreat or surrender.
When things turn out well, there's no need to stick to everything as it's written in some books.

potatocubed
2011-07-05, 10:16 AM
Well, it's not a solution to your immediate problem, but I would suggest playing a non-d20 game. There are plenty of systems out there that encourage great stories without requiring the careful balancing of 3.x.

For starters I'd recommend checking out FATE (or Fatescape, see my sig, cough cough) or Burning Wheel. BW is gritty, FATE is pulpy, so pick the one with the more appropriate feel.

Sipex
2011-07-05, 10:17 AM
This doesn't sound so bad. It sounds like every once in a while the DM throws a really tough encounter at you, yes? This is to be expected and in the end he gave you an advantage you could use.

I could be wrong here though, I'm working off limited info.

Draconi Redfir
2011-07-05, 10:23 AM
im wondering how having the dragon bloodline in a room that dispells all magic turns you into a dragon.

Elixia
2011-07-05, 10:24 AM
If you feel the party has no chance to win the fight, retreat or surrender.
When things turn out well, there's no need to stick to everything as it's written in some books.

... its so odd that i never thought of that ... thanks! I might try in future where i can! (i think i might even throw the DM a little XD)

It the scenerio above, we could of treated the room behind (magic was enabled there) that was my plan B. though we would of been pinned and could go no further (the dungeon was like a M.C.Escher drawing). as for surrender ... the hags in this cases wanted to eat us ...

But i will certainly use those if needs must and i am able!

Yora
2011-07-05, 10:26 AM
Nobody ever thinks of that!

I lead a party through several disastrous fights against rakshasa assassins. It was probably the 5th or 6th attack when we finally decided to run instead of fighting two of them over 30 rounds each.

Elixia
2011-07-05, 10:27 AM
im wondering how having the dragon bloodline in a room that dispells all magic turns you into a dragon.

long story, I mean long.

in short she actually is a dragon, but due to story is transfigured into human form by a much more power dragon.

in effect, she was under a 'alter self' spell, that what got dispelled.

Elixia
2011-07-05, 10:29 AM
Nobody ever thinks of that!

I lead a party through several disastrous fights against rakshasa assassins. It was probably the 5th or 6th attack when we finally decided to run instead of fighting two of them over 30 rounds each.

i think we're forced to think 'fight' due the nature of the game! i tend to play the diplomat but the rest of the group is bit hack and slash

Pink
2011-07-05, 10:30 AM
Yeah, I mean, CRs are guidelines for GMail more than hard rules. You can't fault him for putting you in a difficult battle, especially if the option of retreat was there. Your GM isn't doing anything wrong persay, by definition a GM can't really be wrong (though they can certainly be a jerk, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.), if anything it seems more of a playstyle difference, in which case you should say that, yes, you do want to fight more goblin and kobolds instead of having battles that you win by the skin of your teeth.

If there's actually a good accompanying story, and its at the party's hazard and risk that these fights are fought, and retreat is possible if done intelligently, it sounds like a fun, if a bit off the wall, game.

Elixia
2011-07-05, 10:34 AM
This doesn't sound so bad. It sounds like every once in a while the DM throws a really tough encounter at you, yes? This is to be expected and in the end he gave you an advantage you could use.

I could be wrong here though, I'm working off limited info.

you could be right ... this maybe just a little freak out of mine. funnily enough i don't like combat >.> and the rewards are sometimes worth it. still i kicked @$$

TriForce
2011-07-05, 10:36 AM
i got a dm once that threw encounters at us usually 3 or more CR above us, and i mean he really forced them upon us, including giving us no chance to retreat or surrender. i talked with him about it, then talked with him again since he ignored whatever i said, and finally i stopped talking and made a overpowered character, at wich point he said i wasnt allowed to play that and i kindly informed him to find a new player, since i was done with him :P

Elixia
2011-07-05, 10:51 AM
to potatoecubed:
my fiancee and fellow PC is working on a more simpler system also, it might something that works as a temporary fix

to triforce:
ouch!
it wouldn't be so easy for me, he's a nice guy and creative so i love his stuff its just sometime he overlooks the loopholes and imbalanced stats in favor of story.

MightyTim
2011-07-05, 11:00 AM
I'm still not sure I get what the problem is. The DM gave you a difficult encounter, and admitted to doing so. It fit with the story, and you used some creative thinking to overcome the challenge. It sounds to me like the DM has a very good understanding of what your characters are capable of, and what you as players are capable of and is making the encounters to fit you personally, rather than the guidelines set by the core rule books.

There are a couple things here that could easily have made something like this a problem:
-Should the DM shoot down your attempts at 'outside the box' thinking and instead simply force you to fight a straight up fight with an obvious handicap.
-If he railroaded you into the encounter and didn't give you an escape.

I hate playing "Supposed to lose" fights, but this doesn't look like one of those.

Force
2011-07-05, 11:09 AM
I'm still not sure I get what the problem is. The DM gave you a difficult encounter, and admitted to doing so. It fit with the story, and you used some creative thinking to overcome the challenge. It sounds to me like the DM has a very good understanding of what your characters are capable of, and what you as players are capable of and is making the encounters to fit you personally, rather than the guidelines set by the core rule books.


It's fairly obvious that the DM goofed, though-- a young adult silver is a CR 13 monster and adds +5 caster levels to the player (plus a bunch of other goodies), completely unbalancing the party. Even a young silver is +5 LA as it is!

Elixia
2011-07-05, 11:12 AM
I'm still not sure I get what the problem is. The DM gave you a difficult encounter, and admitted to doing so. It fit with the story, and you used some creative thinking to overcome the challenge. It sounds to me like the DM has a very good understanding of what your characters are capable of, and what you as players are capable of and is making the encounters to fit you personally, rather than the guidelines set by the core rule books.

There are a couple things here that could easily have made something like this a problem:
-Should the DM shoot down your attempts at 'outside the box' thinking and instead simply force you to fight a straight up fight with an obvious handicap.
-If he railroaded you into the encounter and didn't give you an escape.

I hate playing "Supposed to lose" fights, but this doesn't look like one of those.

you know what Tim,
I'm starting to see I'm in the wrong perhaps. sod it i had fun! he just scares the besus out of me as a DM! story and rules wise. did i mention he chased us for 2 hours in a Escher style dungeon with a zombie? with an Evil Dead soundtrack? my god the man has a flare for creepy! it made my stomach turn!
We couldn't turn back and retreat (que zombie) but he played us well

MightyTim
2011-07-05, 11:19 AM
you know what Tim,
I'm starting to see I'm in the wrong perhaps. sod it i had fun! he just scares the besus out of me as a DM! story and rules wise. did i mention he chased us for 2 hours in a Escher style dungeon with a zombie? with an Evil Dead soundtrack? my god the man has a flare for creepy! it made my stomach turn!
We couldn't turn back and retreat (que zombie) but he played us well

That sounds pretty awesome.

Pink
2011-07-05, 11:21 AM
did i mention he chased us for 2 hours in a Escher style dungeon with a zombie? with an Evil Dead soundtrack? my god the man has a flare for creepy! it made my stomach turn!

That sounds like five types of awesome.

Elixia
2011-07-05, 11:22 AM
It's fairly obvious that the DM goofed, though-- a young adult silver is a CR 13 monster and adds +5 caster levels to the player (plus a bunch of other goodies), completely unbalancing the party. Even a young silver is +5 LA as it is!

i so wanted to use that breath weapon (its biological and not magical so wasn't off limits) but the party was in the fray, so I stepped on one hag (after 3 rounds) and bit in half the other (kill stealing from a fellow PC). the third the rest of the party got.

but you should of seen the DM's face when i asked for the MM and out my shiny new stats.

Jay R
2011-07-05, 11:48 AM
I admit that I've never played one of the newer versions with CRs, so I may be a little out of my depth here.

Do I understand that you won the encounter, and then complained that it was too hard for your PCs? It can't be both, surely. If you won the scenario, then it wasn't a no-win scenario.

In the games I've played, we routinely scout out the opposition and either set traps or leave if we don't think we can take them. The assumption is that it's a real world out there, and part of the challenge is avoiding no-win scenarios. I've played in a group of first levels who encountered a dragon. We RAN.

The DM is supposed to scare you. A session in which I never thought my character was about to die is a dull session.

It's certainly possible for the DM to be unfairly too hard. But you haven't given us the data to measure that. How many PCs have died in the last , say, six sessions? If it's much more than one per player, the game is probably too hard (unless you like really tough challenges). If you've had to run away from half the encounters or more, it might be too hard. But if not, it's merely a challenging, dangerous, thrilling game of D&D.

Tech Boy
2011-07-05, 11:58 AM
im wondering how having the dragon bloodline in a room that dispells all magic turns you into a dragon.

I second this notion.

Ozreth
2011-07-05, 12:05 PM
I admit that I've never played one of the newer versions with CRs, so I may be a little out of my depth here.

Do I understand that you won the encounter, and then complained that it was too hard for your PCs? It can't be both, surely. If you won the scenario, then it wasn't a no-win scenario.



His problem is that they WOULDNT have won the scenario if the player hadn't grabbed the monster manual to use dragon stats, which the dm seems a little annoyed by.

Anyways, as people have said already, you've got to learn to run. The art of retreating is something long forgotten in 3e+ D&D.

Also, try not to think of characters, monsters, encounters etc in D&D as being "legal" or not. It's not a competitive game and nobody is there to win. Besides, if you knew that every single thing you fought throughout your years of playing was perfectly balanced with your party where is the fun in that? It's hardly a risk and would certainly kill the immersion for me.

Also, the guy seems to run fun games with enjoyable stories. Just roll with the punches :)

TheThan
2011-07-05, 12:32 PM
I would have totally rolled with the dragon idea. Thatís good plot twist. Sneaking in tough CR encounters is a bit tougher call. See CR is not a set of hard and fast rules. Itís a general power gauge; some parties can easily handle encounters that would kill other parties. Itís just a matter of power level, optimizing.

One skill all DMs have to learn is how to gauge a party, and any given encounter. The point is to be able to judge a party based on what their capabilities are, how well they use their resources and capabilities and how powerful they are stat and gear wise. After all a party with a fighter, ranger, barbarian and rogue is a much different party than one consisting of a wizard, cleric, bard and druid.

One idea is to try to adjust the difficulty on the fly. If something suddenly seems too hard and you think the party might get wiped, try making warrior types suddenly begin to miss, wizards stop and begin cackling madly, as they know theyíve got the party on the ropes. Maybe an NPC shows up and saves the day (or at least chases off the badies). All sorts of things can be done to prevent a party wipe.

There always is going to be the potential for bad luck. A set of critical hits slaughters the party for instance. Well tough luck it happens, its part of rolling the dice. Still Iíd like to point out that you guys did manage to defeat the encounter, despite it being of such a higher difficulty.

Sorcerer Blob
2011-07-05, 12:43 PM
@Elixia

Your DM sounds awesome. Especially the bit of the Escher-style maze while being chased by a zombie. And he is right, many times "story trumps rules," except when it doesn't. Challenging battle? Check, you need those every so often to not go stale. Way to defeat challenging battle? Also check, and hell, being a dragon is just plain cool of him to let you do (back-story-wise and combat-wise.)

@Yora

You're right, no one ever thinks of that. No one. I played a character that had no problem running from battles if it meant saving his own hide and I got a ton of flak for it until they realized that sometimes running is the best option!

Hiro Protagonest
2011-07-05, 12:49 PM
I second this notion.
It was already explained. :smallannoyed:

long story, I mean long.

in short she actually is a dragon, but due to story is transfigured into human form by a much more power dragon.

in effect, she was under a 'alter self' spell, that what got dispelled.

The Glyphstone
2011-07-05, 10:02 PM
I read this thread title and immediately thought:

---
"No, John, you are the monsters."

And then John was a dragon.
---

:smallbiggrin:

nihil8r
2011-07-06, 12:18 AM
a young adult silver is a CR 13 monster and adds +5 caster levels to the player (plus a bunch of other goodies), completely unbalancing the party. Even a young silver is +5 LA as it is!

agreed, you can't be a 3rd level silver dragon.



I read this thread title and immediately thought:

---
"No, John, you are the monsters."

And then John was a dragon.
---

:smallbiggrin:

big laugh at this, thanks :)

Aidan305
2011-07-06, 10:47 AM
agreed, you can't be a 3rd level silver dragon.

There's a savage build for it in Dragon 320.

Elixia
2011-07-06, 11:22 AM
... tell me more about this savage build

Saintheart
2011-07-07, 07:35 AM
agreed, you can't be a 3rd level silver dragon

Hey, I'd settle for being a young adult silver dragon with three class levels in something :smallbiggrin:

Jay R
2011-07-07, 08:48 AM
His problem is that they WOULDNT have won the scenario if the player hadn't grabbed the monster manual to use dragon stats, which the dm seems a little annoyed by.

The only thing here that is less than good, exciting D&D is the DM getting annoyed. Other than that, the situation is the DM offering a hard encounter immediately after providing the right tools to defeat it.

I'm wondering if the DM had intended to capture the party to get them where they needed to be next, and was annoyed that they had been able to prevent his attempts to get them near the treasure / quest object.

In any event, either the encounter is too hard to handle (in which case you should run away), or it isn't, in which case you have no beef. If you succeeded, then it wasn't too hard to handle.

Aidan305
2011-07-07, 10:07 PM
... tell me more about this savage build

Appeared in Dragon, issue 320, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of D&D. Essentially allows you to play using Dragon class levels for progression for 20 levels, though I don't think it gets quite as far as Young Adult, though i could be wrong. I don't have it in front of me at the moment. I played one a few years back, and as you'd expect it's fairly fun, although, as with all Savage progressions, actually getting other classes can get annoying since there's only a couple of points where you can multiclass out.

Rainbownaga
2011-07-09, 01:00 AM
Doesn't the DMG say that 5% of encounters (or 1 per "level up") is supposed to be "overpowered"? Maybe he's actually playing it right.

Elixia
2011-07-09, 07:26 AM
ooooooooooooook

i did MOAR digging on the other encounters in that session in question and found *drum roll please*

All encounters were between CR 7 to 9 (CR 6 is considered epic at our level)

so this REALLY throws me! simply because those other encounters didnt seem that hard (maybe due were playing in a high fantasy setting?).... I mean there was a pack of 8 werewolves, killed leader rest tranformed to human, curse broken encounter ended. and the flesh golem went down ok, tough but mainly because it hits you like a b***h!

it was just that end fight that went pear-shaped, i think primarily due to the NO MAGIC rule with a cleric, paladin, bard and sorceress swung heavily in the DM's direction then POOF big dragon swung it back in ours.

I am curious on if the DM wanted to catch us, it might of been the point since there was NO chance of escape. all exits were sealed as we moved through the dungeon.

still, makes me feel a little chuffed that we beat the crap out of a CR9 encounter and didn't break a sweat!

Pink
2011-07-09, 02:37 PM
See, this is why the CR system is only guidelines. Sometimes even though a CR is high, or a combination of creatures make the EL very high, it's still and average or easy battle.

That being said, I wouldn't make a habit of 'checking the work' on your DM's encounters. Some people might find that a bit annoying and rude. While it may not be as bad as whipping out the monster manual mid battle, it still has the same sort've bad taste. Just trust in your DM's abilities to balance things, and if things are having fun, all is good.