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Odessa333
2017-09-28, 07:02 PM
Hello all! Thanks for stopping in.


I'm having an issue with one of my games, and I'm not sure what to do. I could use some outsider observations.


In this game, we have a party of 6 characters, all level 9, close to 10. Our table has played (out of character) for over a year now, and our DM has had to step down. We've brought in a new DM to continue the story (family member of one of our players) and things looked to be going well. In his first session, he hit us with a time skip to clean the board, as it were. My character is VERY attached to those she considers family nearby, and after learning of the time skip she wanted to go investigate immediately. Family first and all that. The party disagreed strongly, and wanted to investigate the (clearly laid out) plot hook in the other direction. We disagreed, and in the end we decided to go our own ways as my fighter simply wouldn't be in character to abandon her family.


I should point out that out of character, all the players are respectful, and none of us are arguing in real life, just our characters have different priorities. I decided to retire my PC for what I feel is keeping in her character, staying true to her story. As I'm working on a replacement, the DM is starting me at level 8 for rolling a new character. I know others use that, and it is one thing I absolutely hate. He insists it's to motivate players not to retire characters at will, to have death be a real consequence, etc, yet to me it seems like the most idiotic kind of punishment. If my character would sacrifice her life to defend the world, why should I as a player be punished for that kind of role playing decision?


I'm really upset by this. Either I take the (not subtle) hints the DM is given not to retire the character and follow the railroad plot he's set out, or I'm punished for doing what my character would do. If we can't leave the tracks at all, what's the point of playing? If I force the issue to have some say in how I play, I will forever be one level behind everybody else. I don't understand why you would punish a player for trying to do the right thing. I adore the group, yet I've lost what respect I had for the new DM. I was planning to retire the fighter and keep playing in good spirits with the group, and now I'm disgusted enough by this move to just walk away from the group entirely.



This whole affair has left me majorly depressed. What are your thoughts, internet?

Mr Beer
2017-09-28, 07:27 PM
I run GURPS not D&D, which uses a points buy system. I generally start new characters with the same number of points as the character with the lowest point total in the party. Reason being, it's not to 'punish' the player but 'reward' character survival.

When I play, if I had the most consistent attendance and longest surviving character, I'd want them to have the most points (or be highest level in D&D). Why should a brand new character get to walk in at the same power level as me? I've worked for it, they haven't.

All that said, I'm not particularly concerned. If my players all wanted new characters to start at average party power or whatever, I'd go along with it.

At the end of the day, if this bothers you so much, you need to talk it out. If I was the GM and I had a player who was as upset as you are, I'd probably throw it open to the group and if no-one minds, you'd start at level 9.

Potatomade
2017-09-28, 08:01 PM
To me, it's not really something to be upset about. Level 8, when everybody else is level 9? Psh, I'm level 1 in a party that's going on level 8.

Poll the players. Ask what they think. If they are ok with you being level 9, tell the DM to shove it, and make a level 9 character. If he whines, boot him. If you've got the other players on your side, and he's the newbie DM, he should be the vulnerable one, not you.

Of course, be more diplomatic than I am in my internet-tough-guy response. Just talk it out with the group, DM included. But really, it's just one level.

Coventry
2017-09-29, 12:26 AM
Were the other characters played from level 1 all the way up to level 9? Were their characters planned out from the beginning, and levelled perfectly along the way?

My point is that it is easy to optimize a character that springs into existence at level 9, than it is to grow one and reach the same optimization level over time. Is it fair to the other players in your game to let you create someone more powerful than they have?

Coming in at one level lower is not a perfect balance against this (starting at optimal 8th level, you may still end up with a more powerful character than the organically grown 9th level characters).


But I have to ask - is this just a smoke screen for the real problem? Your new GM set up a situation where, to stay in character, your character had to leave the party. It's hard not to have hurt feelings over being exiled, like that.

Odessa333
2017-09-29, 07:24 AM
Losing my fighter stings, but it was my decision to leave the party so I made my peace with that.

Losing JUST a level is annoying, but I wouldn't walk away from the group of friends just because of that.


For myself at least, the loss of the level is an insult. I dared to role play off the tracks, and I'm going to be punished for it. Every week that I get together to play with my friends there's this annoying reminder to stay on the tracks, don't do anything to rock the DM's boat or I'll lose another level. If I get killed and make the DM have to do more work to add a new character, there's another penalty.

I've been in this hobby for decades as both DM and PC, and I have never understood the need to punish players like this. It's bad enough that there IS a railroad (the last DM gave us a sandbox while working within a module, for pity's sake) and yet here I literally could not walk a single day's journey to town before the literal gods intervened to tell my character to go the town the DM wanted me to go to, ignore the whole 'my family is THAT way" thing. I'm trying to be open minded with the new DM, yet in his first week he pulls this stuff? I don't have words for it. Well no, the only words I can think of are 'I'm out' and they are not very helpful.


I apologize if I degrade into pure rant here, I'm quite upset over it all still.

Nifft
2017-09-29, 07:56 AM
There are two general ways you can proceed:


1) It's not really about you. Someone else in the DM's past who did abuse "new character" rules until the DM came up with this compromise, or he read horror stories, or his old DM did this and he internalized this rule as fair. The new DM is carrying around baggage which isn't your fault, and thus it's not really aimed at punishing you, it's a learned behavior that the DM thinks is fair due to a history which you can't see.

Perhaps he's intending to apply that rule to all new PCs, and you're just the first to encounter it. It's not necessarily about your unwillingness to stay on the rails, but just a general way to handle new PCs, which might be intended to help the old PCs remain competitive with new custom-tailored-for-this-arc PCs.

Show trust, and thereby show goodwill, and that is the best route to engendering trust on his part.

He doesn't know you yet. He doesn't have cause to trust you yet.

Earn his trust, and aspire to a better relationship.


2) Revenge is a dish best served rolled. Who cares if there's a good reason? Screw that guy and his desire to exert control over a game he signed up to run. You'll show him who's really in charge.

You've been given a target ECL, but not an XP budget, so screw over his intent by using rules like LA-buyoff and Necropolitan and perhaps item creation feats (plus any other XP-sinks you can imagine) to create a character at the mandated ECL 8, but which has more perks that would otherwise have been available at ECL 9.

He puts your Fighter in the hospital? You bring a Druid and put his plot in the morgue. ("Never bring a Fighter to a Druid fight.")



Note that the forum can help you with passive-aggressive mechanical optimization (#2) far more easily than we can help you with gaining a healthy, generous, and enlightened outlook (#1).

We're here to help, but the kind of help we're good at is the kind that doesn't actually help.

tensai_oni
2017-09-29, 08:41 AM
There are two general ways you can proceed:

Yeah let's try to avoid #2. Last thing OP needs is a war of escalating pettiness.

Did the DM have any experience with your group before being invited? Sounds like there is a mismatch of expectations from a game. The DM and the party (or at least you) are on different pages, and you really need to get on the same page for the game to be enjoyable.

The DM sounds like someone who was playing with groups that are more mechanically/challenge minded. Someone who has had bad experience with people abusing death/making new characters consequence free, perhaps. On the other hand, the players are more of the roleplaying type. For a roleplayer, there is no need to lose a level to have meaningful consequences for dying, because losing a character already is a meaningful consequence. I'm assuming permadeath here, not DnD style cheap resurrection.

Mismatch aside I can't help but feel distaste where I read about a scenario where a player has no choice but to either be grossly OOC or retire/kill their character. Being punished for it sounds like if the DM organized a "paladin must fall" scenario. The question is, does the DM realize it. Sounds like making them realize it is what you must do here - not in an argument, but a polite discussion, where you say what you don't like about their DMing style and what you hope will change. In the end, roleplaying is a collaborative hobby, and all players need to adjust what they're doing to make sure everyone has a good time. This includes the DM too. If he won't understand it, perhaps it'll be time to once again find a new one.

Ratguard
2017-09-29, 08:56 AM
I suppose it really depends upon your viewpoint, he may come from an older style of DMing where when people bring in a new character they start at level 1, and he views himself as being extremely generous for not doing so, it also depnds upon your edition, some editions can work with this setup, others have a harder time, whichever edition though it should only take you a couple of sessions to get to a point where you can be back to having a significant part in the battlefield, Might want to rock the bow or something for that 1st level to keep you away from the front, and invest most of your starting money in armor, unless attack rolls are high enough at level 9 in your edition that armor won't make a difference for what a level 1 can get.

Mark Hall
2017-09-29, 09:14 AM
A lot depends on systems and rules, IMO.

In 2nd edition AD&D, it's not that big of a penalty. The difference between 8th and even 10th level isn't that large, and you'll make it up in relatively short order.

Move to 1st edition, though, and it becomes more difficult, because of training being the norm. The numbers are the same, but you've suddenly got to worry about training time and expenses a few more times, and while I LIKE training as a mechanic, it can really disrupt the flow of the game to have to take two weeks out to take care of it.

Generally, I'd brush it off. The two level dip isn't that grand, and you can approach it from the perspective of relative inexperience, and allowing you to build a character who DIDN'T deal with a time skip. To an extent, what you're upset about is a "decide to react differently" (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html) moment... you chose to retire the character "Because that's what my character would do", rather than moving their story along and trying to reconcile that action with their usual depiction.

Pleh
2017-09-29, 09:23 AM
I'm with you.

It's really the DM's fault for not preparing an adventure to accomodate your character. What I mean is, he didn't have to choose to continue someone else's story. In fact, the time skip rather clearly demonstrates that he isn't really doing so, just tacking his own story on to the end of the other one. He had all the resources he needed to think of ways to incorporate and entice every existing hero to follow his new plot.

He failed to account for your character's motivations. Your character leaving was your choice, but it was in response to an adventure that directly conflicted with your character's basic motivations.

Stacking you with a level loss, "to motivate you to not retire characters" when the retirement came from his own lack of effort to create a compelling call to adventure for your character, seems like poor DMing.

To be fair, he probably doesn't realize so much of this could have been fixed on his own end. If he's literally sending gods to meet you on the road and tell you to turn back, why not go the extra step and say, "no, brave fighter, you are needed with your companions; let me show you a vision of your family to save you the journey."

I mean COME ON. This DM seems to have all the imagination of a turnip. You are using gods to prompt the character to turn back and you can't think of a way to convince the fighter to stay of her own accord? Nevermind that picking up someone else's game ought to take 80% of your prep time familiarizing yourself with the established characters and settings. If you don't intend to do that, don't pretend to continue the story. Lay out your intentions for your story and let the players decide if it is appropriate for their characters, before slapping them with consequences for backing out.

Tinkerer
2017-09-29, 10:04 AM
I'm pretty much on the GMs side here in regards to the level, although since the level 9 characters were almost at level 10 I'd personally probably have started you at an equivalent distance from level 9. It's really due to a combination of many of the factors which others have stated. Plus "1 level fee for new characters" really was a standard for years. Then again I rarely play in systems where that makes a ton of difference. Besides, when a player retires a character in my worlds they generally become an important NPC so that helps alleviate some concerns.

Now the other stuff on the other hand

It's bad enough that there IS a railroad (the last DM gave us a sandbox while working within a module, for pity's sake) and yet here I literally could not walk a single day's journey to town before the literal gods intervened to tell my character to go the town the DM wanted me to go to, ignore the whole 'my family is THAT way" thing. I'm trying to be open minded with the new DM, yet in his first week he pulls this stuff? I don't have words for it. Well no, the only words I can think of are 'I'm out' and they are not very helpful.
That is some poor quality GMing right there. That is a case of not knowing the party and not expecting that they might have some priorities which do not agree with what they had planned. There were a number of better ways of handling that situation.

Long story short I am a firm supporter of replacement characters coming in a level under average but I do agree that the GM sounds dickish.

Odessa333
2017-09-29, 10:13 AM
A lot depends on systems and rules, IMO.

In 2nd edition AD&D, it's not that big of a penalty. The difference between 8th and even 10th level isn't that large, and you'll make it up in relatively short order.

Move to 1st edition, though, and it becomes more difficult, because of training being the norm. The numbers are the same, but you've suddenly got to worry about training time and expenses a few more times, and while I LIKE training as a mechanic, it can really disrupt the flow of the game to have to take two weeks out to take care of it.

Generally, I'd brush it off. The two level dip isn't that grand, and you can approach it from the perspective of relative inexperience, and allowing you to build a character who DIDN'T deal with a time skip. To an extent, what you're upset about is a "decide to react differently" (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html) moment... you chose to retire the character "Because that's what my character would do", rather than moving their story along and trying to reconcile that action with their usual depiction.


First, let me say this is for 5E as I realize I didn't mention that.


I had to look this one up, and feel it needs to be addressed. Yes, I could decide my character would abandon her family for....reasons, I suppose. At that point though, what's her motivation? What's her drive? If I have to abandon everything that makes this character stand out from being numbers on a page, what is the point of having a backstory at all? I agonized on the decision to retire my fighter, yet in the end if I kept her I wouldn't be playing HER anymore. From level 1 she's been entirely devoted to family first, and for her to abandon them because the party wants to go explore a dungeon just doesn't make sense. I'd be playing someone else at that point, and if I have to play someone else, I figure it is better to make a clean break of it and get a new character, and let her stay true to her convictions. I didn't raise a fuss to force them to do what I wanted, and I didn't attack the group out of character; they had their goals, and I had mine. This was supposed to be done in good fun, which is the whole point of playing a game in the first place.

To give another example? This same first session, to do the 'time skip' we were forced through a portal ('oh no, the dungeon we were in is suddenly collapsing because..... reasons! Quick, jump through that random portal!'). Once on the other side, we were in a strange realm that strongly resembled Hades, with a strange river, a skeleton ferryman we had to pay a coin to cross, etc. One of my fighter's core beliefs is she HATES undead (her culture frowns on it strongly, so much that even cleric spells to bring the dead back are taboo). Seeing this whole 'afterlife' thing, I had her FREAKING OUT. The rest of the party hopped on the ferry boat, and my fighter hesitated, terrified. With the party's encouragement, she faced her fears and stepped onto the boat. There was another portal she could have used to avoid this, but she was not willing to abandon the party.

As stated above, this same session, after we left the spooky undead zone, we hit a time skip. My fighter wanted to go on a one day journey north to meet up with her family. The heavy hand of the plot in the form of NPC said 'go west.' The party agreed to go west, and refused to go with my fighter. The same party she would not abandon an hour ago (in real time) would not return the favor for her. Feeling hurt, feeling they didn't value her as she valued them, she decided to go home to her family and stop traveling with the group. My point is that I am not unreasonable here; I am willing to compromise to make the story work. While said fighter would never get on that boat willingly for herself she compromised to help the party. Yet there's a limit to how far one can bend without breaking. And if I have to abandon her family, her core motivation, over a single day delay to the plot, then the character immersion breaks. She's no longer my beloved fighter, she's just numbers on paper.


I hope that clarifies things.


In general, I have no desire to go 'revenge mode' or anything. I like the group of players as friends, and the new DM is family to one of the other players. He seems nice enough as a person (from what little I've talked to him) yet I don't how to resolve this without angering anyone. It seems (to me at least) that speaking up will make him upset, saying nothing makes me upset, and leaving the group makes everyone upset. The whole thing feels like a lose-lose-lose scenario. I need to talk to the DM; I know that much. Yet I don't know how to do so without annoying/angering him, without sounding like I'm just whining over a level. I feel like I'm already on thin ice for even considering retiring the character, so I think I'm going to make things worse no matter what I do. I think the least damaging thing I can do is to leave the group quietly, let everyone else continue on having fun.... yet it hurts to even type.


Oy. Anywho, that's my gamer drama. I should go work on the game I DM for; by player demand I am working on a homebrew world based on the Shining Force video games lol. Focus on the fun, right?

Trebloc
2017-09-29, 10:21 AM
I see the situation as this. You have a good reason to leave the group and roll up a new character. Now lets be fair, it isn't that hard for anyone to do that. So while you may not be doing it, there is certainly room for abuse to simply "have a reason" to leave the group and pop right back in with a brand spanking new PC who is at the same level as those who brought up their characters from level 1.

Also, I see a good deal of the blame being thrown at the DM. Last I checked, DM's aren't psychic and cannot tell you what their players are going to do. Right now, we don't have all the information as to what is happening. However, what I am seeing is that 5 out of 6 players chose option A, while 1 out of 6 is complaining about not being accommodated for for choosing option B. Why is it the DM's fault that the majority of the party chose a certain option? I haven't seen anything yet that says the DM twisted their arms to do so.

Another odd issue I see is that there are 6 almost level 10 PCs. Is teleport not a thing in the game world? If family is so important to your PC, can't a party member teleport you to you family to see them, then port you back? Or if the group has no teleportation at all, fork over some gold and pay someone to cart you there and back. This would be what, 1-2 days time in-game if that?

Also, being 1 level behind isn't a big deal. You will gain additional experience and you should catch up to them within a few sessions.

Anonymouswizard
2017-09-29, 10:32 AM
The short answer to 'is starting at a lower power level bad' is that it depends on the system.

In a game like Anima: Beyond Fantasy it can be the difference between competing and not. In most Cthulhu Mythos games being less skilled doesn't really matter, you'll still go insane and die just as easily because of how difficult it is to raise SAN and maximum hp. In the Laundry RPG so much of your power is dependant on what equipment you're issued, Firearms: Esoteric* means you might even get to use a Basilisk Gun, that missing six months of character improvement might not be a big deal (the exception is anyone who actually uses sorcery, as that skill is near impossible to raise and needs to really be at 50%+ before it's worth the risk).

In this situation it's a punishment for not staying on the rails. It's likely not intended as such, and in a sandbox campaign 'lose a level on death' is much more of a motivation for smart play than it is on a railroad, but here it is still punishing you the player for making a reasonable choice. I'd be much more comfortable docking equipment than docking XP if I need to encourage keeping characters alive.

* Get a rating of 50% in that and you are officially licenced to carry a conventional firearm you don't even know how to use.

Odessa333
2017-09-29, 10:33 AM
I see the situation as this. You have a good reason to leave the group and roll up a new character. Now lets be fair, it isn't that hard for anyone to do that. So while you may not be doing it, there is certainly room for abuse to simply "have a reason" to leave the group and pop right back in with a brand spanking new PC who is at the same level as those who brought up their characters from level 1.

Also, I see a good deal of the blame being thrown at the DM. Last I checked, DM's aren't psychic and cannot tell you what their players are going to do. Right now, we don't have all the information as to what is happening. However, what I am seeing is that 5 out of 6 players chose option A, while 1 out of 6 is complaining about not being accommodated for for choosing option B. Why is it the DM's fault that the majority of the party chose a certain option? I haven't seen anything yet that says the DM twisted their arms to do so.

Another odd issue I see is that there are 6 almost level 10 PCs. Is teleport not a thing in the game world? If family is so important to your PC, can't a party member teleport you to you family to see them, then port you back? Or if the group has no teleportation at all, fork over some gold and pay someone to cart you there and back. This would be what, 1-2 days time in-game if that?

Also, being 1 level behind isn't a big deal. You will gain additional experience and you should catch up to them within a few sessions.


We do not have teleport. The two destinations (Towns A and B let's call them) are only 1-2 days apart by foot, hardly a great distance. We were halfway between them. It would have been a very minor delay at best, but still, it was shot down as a literal GOD showed up to force us to go that way. The party didn't want to disagree with a god, which is fine. I totally understand their viewpoint, and I'm not upset over their decision. My fighter wasn't going to let a god stop her from seeing her family, so she left the party. I knew it was writing her out of the story, either god's wrath or what not. It was sad to leave my fighter behind, but that's part of the game. Having the DM punish the decision is the problem. If everytime we try to leave the rail road plot the gods are going to step in and punish us, that's a deal breaking problem in my book.

icefractal
2017-09-29, 10:47 AM
In 3.x, lower level characters got more XP so they'd catch up after a while. Getting rid of this was a bad idea IMO.

If you're already on the verge of leaving the group, might as well tell the GM why. If he's unwilling to budge, at least you have a solid reason to leave.

And he might not even realize why his actions are making things suck for you. Some people are more about "the plot" or "the challenge" and the characters are just a pawn for that. So the idea that character integrity is important to having fun is alien to them. That said, if he refuses to change anything even after talking about it, drop him - staying in a game you can't stand doesn't help anyone.

Personally speaking, I'd be pissed off too. My philosophy is that if I do something of my own volition, then whatever happens happens, no complaint unless it's blatantly unfair fiat. But if I go along with something only because it's part of the GM's plot, then it had /better/ not bite me in the ass.

Trebloc
2017-09-29, 11:03 AM
We do not have teleport. The two destinations (Towns A and B let's call them) are only 1-2 days apart by foot, hardly a great distance. We were halfway between them. It would have been a very minor delay at best, but still, it was shot down as a literal GOD showed up to force us to go that way. The party didn't want to disagree with a god, which is fine. I totally understand their viewpoint, and I'm not upset over their decision. My fighter wasn't going to let a god stop her from seeing her family, so she left the party. I knew it was writing her out of the story, either god's wrath or what not. It was sad to leave my fighter behind, but that's part of the game. Having the DM punish the decision is the problem. If everytime we try to leave the rail road plot the gods are going to step in and punish us, that's a deal breaking problem in my book.

I agree that a deity showing up is a bit heavy handed for pushing along the railroad. However, it's hard to say if it's railroading yet. What would have been interesting would have been what if the whole group decided to go with you. But as you say, if every time the group comes up with something original it is immediately shot down in some fashion, then that is a concern.

That said, I am confused why this involves needing to have your character totally written out. You would arrive at destination A to check on your family while everyone else arrives at destination B. At this point the group advances things a bit without you, but why is it out of the picture for you to buy a horse and show up a day later? Or if horses are not available, literally walking without rest, possibly covering the distance in 1 day. This could easily be cinematic of you arriving exhausted from the trip right as something major was about to happen. I see in the OP you decided to retire her based on this, so I'm not understanding why a 1-day horse ride is too big of a gap to overcome?

Thrudd
2017-09-29, 11:25 AM
That's the game. You're lucky you don't need to start over at level 1. I wouldn't blame you or say you are wrong for making the in-character decision to retire the character- but there have to be consistent standards. If the DM lets you come back with a full levelled PC, that sets a precedent for everyone to abandon their old characters with no repercussions. You might be doing it solely for good RP reasons, but that might not always be the case for others. Starting only one level lower is a small thing, but it might be enough of a deterrent for power gamers or fickle types to prevent willy-nilly character swaps (which some people will do if you let them).

Lord Torath
2017-09-29, 12:28 PM
I'm going to say, "Communicate, DANGIT!" :smallannoyed:

If you're not happy, talk to the DM about it. Talk to the DM about how you feel you're being punished for having a character that doesn't fit his campaign. You've had what, one session with this DM? To me, that's still the start of the campaign, and swapping out a character that doesn't fit the tone of campaign should not be a problem. New campaign, new character, right? If a new player joined the campaign, would their character start one level down? The rest of the players can back you up that you're not the kind of player who comes with a new character every other session. If the deity had shown your fighter a vision showing her family was safe (as was suggested up thread), would she have happily gone on with the party? If yes, is the DM willing to retcon said vision into the god's encounter with you? Also, you're not retiring your character to mess with the DM's story. You're doing it to NOT mess with the DM's story (or at least what you understand of it).

Talk to the other players about how loyal your character has been to them, and how it felt when they didn't have your back, after you overcame your character's morals/phobias by getting on a boat with a friggin' undead for their sake.

Talk to everyone together, and make an effort to understand how the other people in the group feel. Find out what the DM is willing to do for you (it may be nothing other than what he already said). Then decide if that is enough to make the campaign something you would enjoy playing in. Respectfully tell the DM and other players about your decision.

Pleh
2017-09-29, 01:09 PM
That's the game. You're lucky you don't need to start over at level 1. I wouldn't blame you or say you are wrong for making the in-character decision to retire the character- but there have to be consistent standards. If the DM lets you come back with a full levelled PC, that sets a precedent for everyone to abandon their old characters with no repercussions. You might be doing it solely for good RP reasons, but that might not always be the case for others. Starting only one level lower is a small thing, but it might be enough of a deterrent for power gamers or fickle types to prevent willy-nilly character swaps (which some people will do if you let them).

I dunno. If the DM can "time skip" to swap out plots willy nilly with no repercussions, why can't players swap out characters? I ask this as a DM, not as a player.

When I DM, I use no restrictions or penalties on characters swapping in or out. I either do or don't allow it to happen at all, but when a player makes a reasonable case, what's to be gained wrapping their knuckles with the ruler?

No one I have ever played with has ever been so much a munchkin to use an arsenal of characters and swap them out as best suits their challenge. That's an OOC problem anyway. They'll stop when I ask them to, or I won't bother playing with them.

I see no justification for punishing a character trade. You can disallow a character from joining for not fitting well with the story, but players ought to have the same right to swap characters when they sincerely don't feel that they fit.

Sure, if this were a public game at a convention, mechanical penalties make sense. But in a group that has been together at the same game for a year, the formality is less important than the OOC relationship between players.

It strikes me as a meta railroad to convey a message of, "the player will play their character according to my story or else there will be consequences."

Anymage
2017-09-29, 01:21 PM
In 3e and earlier, there were mechanisms of one sort of another to allow a lower level character to catch up. Having you fall behind when there's a catch up mechanic is not too harsh, and docking a level on character death/reroll is a fair way to discourage some bad player habits. 4e and 5e, OTOH, really seem designed to have everybody be at the same point and don't have workarounds like catch up mechanics baked into their system. Different games may have more or less tolerance for having a lowbie tag along, but that's not really the point here.

Like other people are saying, this sounds like the DM is coming in with some very different ideas than you're used to. Before play starts the next time you get together, have a whole group talk. On this specific point you're in the right; either the DM should be nice and waive the penalty this once because you weren't given a heads up, or else let your fighter take a detour and rejoin the party after a couple of days. (I can totally understand his worrying that you're going on a detour because you want to screw the plot for the sake of screwing the plot. I've met my share of players who enjoyed doing that. Try to communicate that you're looking for more an offscreen interlude than going off script, and you may be able to smooth things over.)

Ultimately, though, there are two problems. The first is implementing an old-school style rule without understanding or replicating the environment those rules sprung from. (I.E: level loss without baked in catch up mechanics.) The second, more importantly, is that it sounds like this guy has an old school module style of following the rails from specific scene to specific scene. Even if he allows you to write in the occasional offscreen interlude for your character, I don't know if the deep immersion style you seem to go for will ultimately prove compatible with the module style that seems like his thing. At best, though, that's a case where you'll just have to wait and see.

JeenLeen
2017-09-29, 01:21 PM
It seems like a solution that could make everyone happy would be

1) discuss things with the DM
2) then discuss things with the party
3) with #1 and #2 geared towards a solution like a retcon that you did have time to spend 1-3 days of travel (there then back to town B) to check on your family.

If the DM has a good plot reason that's urgent, ask him to have the urgency be set back a few days. Just the time skip got you there with a little more leeway. Ask the party to give you this, so you can RP your character and keep it in the party.

On the other hand, I can see a new DM seeing you as somewhat problematic. I don't mean this as critical, but try to see it from a new person's eyes. Your fighter freaks out at the undead because of background reasons, complicating things. Then you want to go away from the plot, delaying everything, for something in your background.
Now--is that good roleplaying and makes sense for an internally consistent character? Yes. But can it look like you are stealing the spotlight and making your character be the focus? Yes, it can.

For a new DM not used to your group's dynamic, and especially if the rest of the party is mostly going along with what's happening, this could show up as a 'red flag' of you as a problematic player.

So talk about expectations and how things have been interpreted. See if they can retcon to let you keep your fighter. Maybe be more flexible on your end as the group acclimates to a new DM.

Again, hoping I don't give offense (though I understand if I give some)--but trying to express how it could seem from a new person's eyes.
---
To the main question: I think a level penalty is fairly poor taste for something done in good RP like this, but as others have noted the DM might not see it as a good reason and may have personal baggage.

I also think it's unfair to the rest of team, since you would be one level weaker and thus be less able to contribute.

Altair_the_Vexed
2017-09-29, 01:34 PM
Hello all! Thanks for stopping in.

I'm having an issue with one of my games, and I'm not sure what to do. I could use some outsider observations.

In this game, we have a party of 6 characters, all level 9, close to 10. Our table has played (out of character) for over a year now, and our DM has had to step down. We've brought in a new DM to continue the story (family member of one of our players) and things looked to be going well. In his first session, he hit us with a time skip to clean the board, as it were. My character is VERY attached to those she considers family nearby, and after learning of the time skip she wanted to go investigate immediately. Family first and all that. The party disagreed strongly, and wanted to investigate the (clearly laid out) plot hook in the other direction. We disagreed, and in the end we decided to go our own ways as my fighter simply wouldn't be in character to abandon her family.

I should point out that out of character, all the players are respectful, and none of us are arguing in real life, just our characters have different priorities. I decided to retire my PC for what I feel is keeping in her character, staying true to her story. As I'm working on a replacement, the DM is starting me at level 8 for rolling a new character. I know others use that, and it is one thing I absolutely hate. He insists it's to motivate players not to retire characters at will, to have death be a real consequence, etc, yet to me it seems like the most idiotic kind of punishment. If my character would sacrifice her life to defend the world, why should I as a player be punished for that kind of role playing decision?

I'm really upset by this. Either I take the (not subtle) hints the DM is given not to retire the character and follow the railroad plot he's set out, or I'm punished for doing what my character would do. If we can't leave the tracks at all, what's the point of playing? If I force the issue to have some say in how I play, I will forever be one level behind everybody else. I don't understand why you would punish a player for trying to do the right thing. I adore the group, yet I've lost what respect I had for the new DM. I was planning to retire the fighter and keep playing in good spirits with the group, and now I'm disgusted enough by this move to just walk away from the group entirely.

This whole affair has left me majorly depressed. What are your thoughts, internet?
Firstly, I'm really sorry to hear you're depressed about this - I've been driven to stress out over games and characters before, especially when I've been invested in the game and character as you seem to be - so I fully sympathise. I hope it all gets resolved satisfactorily.

That said, remember it really is up to you how your character behaves, not the other way round. You can role-play the anguish of worrying about your family while going along with the quest. Have a look at Rich's article about Making Tough Decisions - especially the section headed "Decide to react differently". (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html)
Perhaps you could agree with the GM that your character is allowed to somehow check up on her family, without it eating into the adventure they have planned? Say for example, you might be able to get word to them via a messenger, or do scrying on them, or whatever is available in your game.

Regarding whether starting a lower level character is punishment - in old-school gaming, no, I don't think it is: it's a reward to other players' characters for surviving.
However, lots of gamers these days are more concerned with storytelling gaming, as opposed to the old grognard lethal grind where characters commonly died and the story - if there was one and not just a series of loosely connected adventures - wasn't driven by the characters. So when you're expecting to tell the character story of your beloved PC, then character death isn't expected. If that's how your previous GM ran the game, then of course it's going to jar when your new GM uses ideas from the age when you brought a stack of pre-rolled characters to the table to replace the dead.

Now, personally, when I GM with my friends everyone understands that the adventure is what we're here for. If your character isn't going to join the adventure, then okay - bring me a character who will. But when that happens, the new character is totally alowed to be the same level as everyone else.

EDIT: I just read this -


Losing my fighter stings, but it was my decision to leave the party so I made my peace with that.

Losing JUST a level is annoying, but I wouldn't walk away from the group of friends just because of that.


For myself at least, the loss of the level is an insult. I dared to role play off the tracks, and I'm going to be punished for it. Every week that I get together to play with my friends there's this annoying reminder to stay on the tracks, don't do anything to rock the DM's boat or I'll lose another level. If I get killed and make the DM have to do more work to add a new character, there's another penalty.

I've been in this hobby for decades as both DM and PC, and I have never understood the need to punish players like this. It's bad enough that there IS a railroad (the last DM gave us a sandbox while working within a module, for pity's sake) and yet here I literally could not walk a single day's journey to town before the literal gods intervened to tell my character to go the town the DM wanted me to go to, ignore the whole 'my family is THAT way" thing. I'm trying to be open minded with the new DM, yet in his first week he pulls this stuff? I don't have words for it. Well no, the only words I can think of are 'I'm out' and they are not very helpful.


I apologize if I degrade into pure rant here, I'm quite upset over it all still.

- and I've changed my mind - tell you new GM he can stuff his stupid bloody game up his stupid arse. He's obviously a total idiot who has no more right to claim he's running a game of entertainment than a weasel.

Friv
2017-09-29, 01:49 PM
That's the game. You're lucky you don't need to start over at level 1. I wouldn't blame you or say you are wrong for making the in-character decision to retire the character- but there have to be consistent standards. If the DM lets you come back with a full levelled PC, that sets a precedent for everyone to abandon their old characters with no repercussions. You might be doing it solely for good RP reasons, but that might not always be the case for others. Starting only one level lower is a small thing, but it might be enough of a deterrent for power gamers or fickle types to prevent willy-nilly character swaps (which some people will do if you let them).

I'm going to tentatively say the opposite.

If you're playing the game as a game primarily, in which death has a punishment, that's one thing, but "you have to start at low level" as a way to stop people from abandoning characters is a classic attempt to regulate an out-of-game problem with an in-game solution. If people are power gamers or fickle types, you need to have a conversation with them, not try to hedge them around with rules to force them into your play style.

Mr Beer
2017-09-29, 02:50 PM
Seems like there's 2 issues here, one is starting a new character a level lower and the other is railroading.

Issue 1, I don't see as a problem really, you decided to retire your character, the rules are you start a level lower, OK your decision has consequences. It's upset you this much, fine talk about it with the DM. I'd be inclined to compromise in some way with a player who is this upset, but at the same time it would be to make them happy, not because I think I'm wrong.

Issue 2, is railroading. If your DM is going to have gods pop in and say THOU SHALT TAKE THIS QUEST MORTALS every time you jump the rails, yeah I can see how that's going to clash with a lot of players' styles. If that doesn't sit well with you, you may want to bail anyway. I would give it a chance but that's partially because I don't hate the rails, depending on how they're imposed.

Quertus
2017-09-29, 03:18 PM
This is a matter of GM skills. What does the GM care about?

Does the GM care about continuity? PCs randomly entering and leaving the game can ruin the continuity of a story. This is an OOC problem, and should be addressed OOC, by talking to the players.

Does the GM care about game balance? If a character dies, it's obvious that they were the weak link. The logical response is to, if anything, have the player bring in a new character at one level above the level of the party, to attempt to achieve game balance, certainly not a level behind.

Does the GM care about the "heroic journey" from nobody to demigod? If so, the GM should have all new characters start at level 1 (characters imported from other games, like your party was, are fine starting at any level, so long as they were played up from level 1).

Does the GM care about the players building Player Skills? If so, assigning some arbitrary punishment to character death, like losing a level, or start at level 1, are just fine.

However, we don't have any of that. Your scenario does not match any of these scenarios. So your GM lacks GM skills.

Your character didn't die, you just choose to retire them, because, to be blunt, a) your character didn't match the railroad setup / "tone" of the game (that's your good, and should be rewarded, btw); b) you were too good of a roleplayer to ignore what was in character for your character to do (that's your good, and should be rewarded, btw); c) you were too whatever to make "I'm going to go check on my family and I'll catch up with you in a day" work.

So, assuming you're all friends, I'd suggest talking to your friends, showing them this thread, whatever, and see if you can get them to go with you to the GM to fix this.

Of course, my bias is that I start by assuming that the GM is in the wrong, and seeing if the data fits that assumption. Here, thus far, it does. However, his reaction to such a confrontation as I suggest may well tell you whether it will be worth your time contributing to play under him. I wasn't there, so I can't know for sure, but I'm guessing the answer is "no". Hopefully, I'm wrong.

Airk
2017-09-29, 03:48 PM
I'm going to come out on the opposing side of the apparently, forces of grognardia here in this thread: I think this is horsepucky. First off, you shouldn't need to "discourage" people from changing characters, because if your game is good and their characters are fun, they won't WANT to. Evidence in this very thread. Second, combining this with some plot railroading nonsense (Seriously? A GOD shows up and tells the PCs to stay on the rails? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHsbwY4EPyA)) and you are basically punishing people for roleplaying. Yes, there is a social contract to make characters who will follow the plot, but there are two sides to every social contract, and in this case the other side is that you will make a plot that the characters would reasonably want to follow, and then of course there is the fact that both sides should be expected to cut the other some slack.

This is the GM punishing you for not immediately following the plot. They might not be thinking of it that way, but that's what they've done, and you should tell them so. If "following the plot" requires murdering innocents, is every player who refuses to have their character do that going to have to create new ones at -1 level? You're not competing with your fellow players here. The comments in this thread about "you didn't work for those levels!" are both irrelevant and mean-spirited.

Talk to your GM. Hope for the best. Prepare for disappointment.

Edit: I am mostly a GM. I am taking your side because I see this as deplorable GM behavior, not because of some sort of weird anti-GM sentiment.

Tanarii
2017-09-29, 05:12 PM
Starting at higher than the starting level is never, ever, a punishment, unless the game rules specifically have rules for replacing existing characters that are being broken or ignore. Calling it that means you think it's an entitlement. Yes, that has negative connotations. But you feel entitled to start at a higher level than the rules for starting characters. So it is accurate.

It may be reasonable, in many game systems, to allow a replacement character to come in at higher than starting level. Certainly in may systems with an exponential curve it's almost required to allow you to play with an existing group and be a effective participant. But if those games have neither rules for replacing characters, nor any suggestions to GMs that they might want to allow such a thing, that's just a design flaw.

This is not to say that a GM might not choose to allow it, even though the rules don't call for it. But that doesn't mean you're entitled to it.

Haldir
2017-09-29, 05:12 PM
Yeah, I strenuously disagree with what this DM has done. A player should be able to play any character they want on par with the rest of the party. Forcing you to play a character you don't want to is affecting your fun, forcing you to play a new character objectively weaker than the others is affecting your fun. The alternative is something that doesn't affect anyones fun. The choice is clear.

Quertus
2017-09-29, 05:16 PM
you shouldn't need to "discourage" people from changing characters, because if your game is good and their characters are fun, they won't WANT to.

Although I agree with most of what you've said, I do want to point out that, in my experience, just as some people rearrange the furniture just to change things, some players (especially but not exclusively those who view characters as playing pieces) love to change characters on a whim just to "keep things fresh". But most of those players would pick one character and stick with it if asked.

Cynthaer
2017-09-29, 05:20 PM
I'll second everyone saying the DM is in the wrong here, but it may not be a disaster.

For starters, your DM clearly isn't great. That's an unfortunate starting point, but plenty of okay games have been run by okay DMs. You might still be able to find common ground and make this work for everyone.

Let's start by assuming (A) he's acting in good faith, (B) he's under the mistaken belief that you're trying to control the whole game, and (C) he's incorrectly trying to solve this (nonexistent) out-of-game problem with a bad in-game solution.

If this is the case, I would try to clear things up by approaching him and explaining the following:


While you can see how he might have gotten the impression that you're trying to cause trouble or hog the drama, you really were just trying to give your old character the ending they deserved. If he's worried that people are going to be swapping characters in and out all the time unless it's discouraged, he doesn't need to -- your group has been playing together for a long time, and it's just not how you all play.

You don't view the DM-player relationship as antagonistic, and you're willing to build a character who is motivated to follow the plot without being forced by railroading. The first session was just rough, which is expected. You're not asking to start in exactly the same place with the exact same money and XP, but you'd feel much more comfortable starting at level 9 if the rest of the group is okay with it.
If you're lucky, he'll understand, and you will have successfully defused a potential ongoing conflict.

If you're unlucky, he'll listen to all of that, grin, and say, "sorry, those are my rules". If that's the case, he clearly isn't going to understand the concept of resolving out-of-game problems outside the game, but you might convince him to let you get bonus XP for being underleveled, a la 3.5e. That might be enough for you to put this behind you enough to enjoy the game, even though the root problem is still there.

If he absolutely won't budge, you'll have to go to the players. It won't be fun, with the whole family thing going on, but you've been together much longer than he's been there. Maybe they can convince him to lighten up, or in the worst case they might be willing to accept a new DM. It'll help your case if you're willing to DM yourself, or are willing to actively help find a new one.

Best of luck.

Airk
2017-09-29, 05:52 PM
Although I agree with most of what you've said, I do want to point out that, in my experience, just as some people rearrange the furniture just to change things, some players (especially but not exclusively those who view characters as playing pieces) love to change characters on a whim just to "keep things fresh". But most of those players would pick one character and stick with it if asked.

Those that won't be deterred by being asked not to do it also won't be deterred by "Oh, but your new character starts one level down!"

And to the person who says "But.... the rules don't say you can start at any level other than 1!" the rules also don't say not to be an *******.

Tanarii
2017-09-29, 05:58 PM
And to the person who says "But.... the rules don't say you can start at any level other than 1!" the rules also don't say not to be an *******.I take it you feel entitled to something the rules don't require as well then.

gloryblaze
2017-09-29, 06:38 PM
This sounds almost like starting a level down isn't really the issue here, but that the new GM and yourself have fundamentally different playstyles. I'd feel uncomfortable passing judgement without hearing more about the campaign setting, tone, group dynamic, etc (for instance, is this the first time you've encountered a god as a quest-giver, or have you gone on holy quests before? Is this a high-magic campaign featuring planar travel and the like, or was visiting the underworld a bizarre non-sequitur? Are all of your group's players as invested in their characters as you are, to the point of sticking firmly to flaws and bonds, or do they simply use their characters as avatars for themselves to advance the plot?)

As for the surface-level question about levels for new characters, when I DM 5E (and it's almost always 5E) I have my players start at the beginning of the current tier of play - as in, if the lowest level party member is level 4 or under, new characters start at level 1. If the lowest level party member is at least level 5 but below level 11, a new character starts at 5. If the lowest level party member is at least level 11 but below level 17, new characters start at level 11. And of course, if the lowest level party member is at least level 17, new characters start at level 17.

This is because my players and I are all avid strategy gamers (stuff like Fire Emblem, Disgaea, etc) so the campaigns I run are usually pretty heavily based around tactical miniature combat and engaging combat scenarios with cool enemies, terrain features, and interactable objects and such. By imposing a harsh penalty for character death, players are forced to think tactically, weigh risks, and come up with outside-the-box solutions for seemingly impossible challenges. Much like the permadeath mechanic in Fire Emblem, it's supposed to encourage the player not to take needless risks or overextend themselves. Also much like Fire Emblem, the replacement unit you get is a "prepromote", aka a similar character who can fill the same niche but will usually not be as good as a character raised all the way from level 1 (in FE, because they have lower base stats and/or growth rates; in my game, because they start at a lower level and will continue to lag behind in levels due to the lack of a catch-up mechanic)

JBPuffin
2017-09-29, 06:59 PM
In a video game, having a character start at a low level is a pain, but since you're either playing everyone in the group or you can just not use them (or you can grind to get them to the same level before moving the plot along), it's usually not a major problem. But in a tabletop game? I'm a newer-school player, and I think I'd quit a table that wanted me to pay a level without telling me that when we started. If the GM had told you that before you made your choice, maybe I could understand his point, but since he just sprung it on you, and as the newest member of the group, I'd definitely sit down and sort this out. Sounds absolutely like a punishment from my PoV, though.

Quertus
2017-09-30, 07:19 AM
I'm a newer-school player, and I think I'd quit a table that wanted me to pay a level without telling me that when we started. If the GM had told you that before you made your choice, maybe I could understand his point, but since he just sprung it on you... Sounds absolutely like a punishment from my PoV, though.

Point. This sounds like a "gotcha" GM style, which, combined with deity-level railroading and ignoring/trashing the existing plot / characters, really isn't painting a very pretty picture of this GM's skills, or your* chances of enjoying the game.

* or, at least, my chances of enjoying the game, were I in your shoes.

Lord Torath
2017-09-30, 07:41 AM
Yeah, I strenuously disagree with what this DM has done. A player should be able to play any character they want on par with the rest of the party. Forcing you to play a character you don't want to is affecting your fun, forcing you to play a new character objectively weaker than the others is affecting your fun. The alternative is something that doesn't affect anyones fun. The choice is clear.Well, not any character. I shouldn't force the DM to let me bring a thri-kreen into a party full of elves. The character still needs to fit with the campaign and the other PCs. But you also shouldn't use in-game mechanics to resolve out-of-game problems.

RazorChain
2017-09-30, 08:49 AM
I'm just going to say that all that punishing/rewarding players is just crap. We'er not working on Pavlovian conditioning but playing games and it's supposed to be fun.

I just though this was all bullcrap and now I just give everybody xp even if they can't make it to the session. My players often lament when they can't make it to the game and demand live updates via facebook messenger when I take smoke breaks. So I see no reason to punish them with loss of xp when clearly the real punishment is missing out gaming.

The Insanity
2017-09-30, 12:57 PM
Didn't see it in the OP, but I might have missed it, so I'll ask: what do you mean by "time skip?"
And, if it's what I think it is, then how long was the time skip and why couldn't your character check on his family during that?

Anymage
2017-09-30, 01:16 PM
But you also shouldn't use in-game mechanics to resolve out-of-game problems.

Counterargument: If I want my players to add color and flair as they describe their actions, I institute a stunting mechanic. If I want my players to be extra conscious of the things that are important to their characters, I institute a mechanic like inspiration.

Of course there come times when the problem is beyond the ability of in-game nudges to solve. But being one level down, especially when the system is built acknowledging that it'll have to work around level disparities, is small enough to be a nudge that can encourage certain wanted behavior.


Didn't see it in the OP, but I might have missed it, so I'll ask: what do you mean by "time skip?"
And, if it's what I think it is, then how long was the time skip and why couldn't your character check on his family during that?

In a later post, OP mentioned that the party traveled through the land of the dead, and came out significantly later than when they'd entered.

Of course the bigger issue is that an actual god materialized in front of the party and told them to follow the plot. In theory, the DM could have easily allowed OP to handle her character issue without having to detour too much. Differences in play style and heavy-handed DMing turned out to be much bigger issues than one level difference would end up being.

Anonymouswizard
2017-09-30, 01:23 PM
Well, not any character. I shouldn't force the DM to let me bring a thri-kreen into a party full of elves. The character still needs to fit with the campaign and the other PCs.

Totally. It can occasionally work, but it's one of the cases where no makes a lot of sense.


But you also shouldn't use in-game mechanics to resolve out-of-game problems.

Can we get this on the first page of every GM guide, in characters five centimetres to a side?


I'm just going to say that all that punishing/rewarding players is just crap. We'er not working on Pavlovian conditioning but playing games and it's supposed to be fun.

Eh.

'Hey guys, I want to discourage taking stupid risks without preparation, so replacement characters will be a level below the rest of the party' is okay. Not nice, but completely fine, especially if stated up front.

Of course, you can also have a game like Fate where 'you die' should be extremely rare, so these situations rarely come up. Or games where death is common enough that replacement characters are needed every few sessions. But as long as the 'punishment' for death is stated up front there's no problem with it.

I'm firmly in the school of 'everyone advances at the same time, characters rarely die, and replacements are the same power level', but not everybody is.

Pleh
2017-09-30, 03:10 PM
'Hey guys, I want to discourage taking stupid risks without preparation, so replacement characters will be a level below the rest of the party' is okay. Not nice, but completely fine, especially if stated up front.

That would be far better, but this case has a few substantial differences.

No stupid risks were taken at all. If my DM gave your statement at the start and we came to this scenario, I'd remind them their rule is phrased to combat metagaming and that retiring the character isn't contradicting my character's motivations for game advantage; retirement is the only way to *not* metagame an advantage against my character's motivations (because the DM's story has left no alternative).

And this all assumes the rule had been established before play, which it doesn't seem to have been.

Anonymouswizard
2017-09-30, 03:29 PM
That would be far better, but this case has a few substantial differences.

No stupid risks were taken at all. If my DM gave your statement at the start and we came to this scenario, I'd remind them their rule is phrased to combat metagaming and that retiring the character isn't contradicting my character's motivations for game advantage; retirement is the only way to *not* metagame an advantage against my character's motivations (because the DM's story has left no alternative).

And this all assumes the rule had been established before play, which it doesn't seem to have been.

Sorry, I was being general there, I believe character retirement should always give a PC of the same level/XP/whatever.

Metahuman1
2017-10-01, 04:39 AM
I take it you feel entitled to something the rules don't require as well then.

And I take it you tend to just throw any and all mechanics out the window and go on a mad power trip jerking your players around none stop whenever you GM any system as though it's all freeform with the only rule being "If I'm the GM I'm allowed, the end.".


That is ACTIVELY how you have made yourself sound so far and all I've learned form you in this thread is that I will be actively avoiding games your going to be running and watching you like a hawk if your applying as a PC to a game I'm interested in from now on. :smallannoyed:












To the OP: I've been playing for coming up on 2 decades pretty consistently. Mainly 3.0/3.5, some Pathfinder and an increasing amount of Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition. Couple of other systems I've dabbled in but never done enough with to get in any way comfortable with the mechanics.

I have NEVER in that time seen a God show up to hand deliver the plot to the PC's or to tell a specific PC not to do something with out it being blatant and deliberate heavy handed railroading. I have only 1 time in all that time seen it happen from a GM whom did not then demonstrate themself to be actively malicious, actively incompetent to GM the system, or both. Particularly since it's not a 1 level gap, it's set up for an effectively permanent 2 level gap and a message of "You have 0 agency in this game, at all, ever, under any circumstance's, and I will actively cripple your ability to play the game the second I even suspect your going to do something that might conceivably interfere with DM story time sessions."

Hell, if he wanted to deter her, he could just have said "Create a level 9 character but No Magic Items. You have to earn those in 5E". Boom. Problem solved. He's deterred willy nilly swapping about and not crippled her in doing so.

Hell's, I HATE GMing and I consider myself to SUCK at it and even I am not so inept as to look at this and not go "You know what, you've got 1 week to do this. There's time for the detour." or "I had not taken that into account, so I'm going to make a quick on the fly adjustment here so you can do that before the plot really get's under way." or "You can do it, and you can join back up later." Hell, might even have had an NPC who would rent her a horse or something so she could do the whole check in 1 day while the rest of the party bought some supply's for the trip or some such.




As for solving this problem.


1: Talk to the players. It might be best to already have another GM line up when you do this. If at all possible, get them on your side and ready and willing to either walk or to kick the guy out if he's not willing to get his act together.

2: Once you've got as many of them lined up to back you as possible and have a different GM lined up, talk to the GM. Don't LEAD with the fact that you've got the whole party backing you. Try to show him reasoned arguments first, figure out where he's coming from, be civil. If he won't budge, or comes off as actively trolling you or getting a kick out of telling you "No." advise him the whole party is ready to leave with you to another game run by someone else if he's not willing to cut the crap. If he calls the bluff, follow through. You gave him a chance and made a good faith effort and only learned he wasn't operating in good faith.

WarKitty
2017-10-01, 04:58 AM
I take it you feel entitled to something the rules don't require as well then.

It sounds like a lot of the problem is that 5e has no real catchup mechanics. Starting all new players at level 1 when other players would be significantly higher would be obviously unworkable - you'd end up with one person who can't contribute well under RAW.

In all seriousness, that might be my suggestion - ask if there can be some graded XP mechanic so a lower-leveled character can catch up.

Tanarii
2017-10-01, 08:46 AM
It sounds like a lot of the problem is that 5e has no real catchup mechanics. Starting all new players at level 1 when other players would be significantly higher would be obviously unworkable - you'd end up with one person who can't contribute well under RAW.

In all seriousness, that might be my suggestion - ask if there can be some graded XP mechanic so a lower-leveled character can catch up.
5e has catchup before level 6. Up to level 6, if you start a character at level 1, you will catch up to one level behind before they gain 1 level.

What it doesn't have is a written rule that you start at the lowest possible level for your Tier* if you are joining an existing group with a new character. IMO a 5e DM running a game where res of the existing character isn't possible for some reason, and is only running a single party campaign, should definitely institute that as the minimum level house rule. The 5e system can handle disparate levels within the same Tier in the same party without serious issue. I know this for a fact, based on experience. But I wouldn't ever try to run a game with Tier 1 PCs with a Tier 2 group of level 7+ PCs. I don't think the system can handle it well.

Edit: *Tiers one to four are: 1-4,5-10,11-16,17-20

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-01, 09:46 AM
I guess it shouldn't surprise that gamer culture has some strains of thought that favor structuring and using a game's rules to push and pull player behavior, as a substitute for basic human communication. :smalleek:

Nifft
2017-10-01, 10:34 AM
I guess it shouldn't surprise that gamer culture has some strains of thought that favor structuring and using a game's rules to push and pull player behavior, as a substitute for basic human communication. :smalleek:

On my planet, we use laws to push and pull citizen behavior. This is in addition to basic human communication.

We also use financial incentives to push and pull the behavior of employees, customers, and vendors.

We even use social approval / disapproval to push and pull the behavior of our fellow humans.

It must be a terribly interesting place that you live, if this sort of thing is brand new.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-01, 10:42 AM
On my planet, we use laws to push and pull citizen behavior. This is in addition to basic human communication.

We also use financial incentives to push and pull the behavior of employees, customers, and vendors.

We even use social approval / disapproval to push and pull the behavior of our fellow humans.

It must be a terribly interesting place that you live, if this sort of thing is brand new.



You realize that we're talking about the in-game rules as they affect the character, being used as a crutch to sidestep actually dealing with inter-player issues in the real world, right? That's not really the same thing. And that this isn't about social approval/disapproval, it's about actual open communication?


Then again, in the real world, many of the laws, and much of the financial and social pressure, are pathetic crutches to evade honesty and communication and basic grown-up responsibility, too.

Pleh
2017-10-01, 10:44 AM
On my planet, D&D games are a cooperative effort where all players are equal. The DM has a lot of power in theory, but also the responsibility to respect their fellow players, even to seek to set their fellow players up to beat them in the game (in most cases). On my planet, there should be no need for rules that push and pull where simple out of character conversations can do the same job without pushing or pulling.

Nifft
2017-10-01, 10:47 AM
You realize that we're talking about the in-game rules as they affect the character, being used as a crutch to sidestep actually dealing with inter-player issues in the real world, right? That's not really the same thing. And that this isn't about social approval/disapproval, it's about actual open communication?

Then again, in the real world, many of the laws, and much of the financial and social pressure, are pathetic crutches to evade honesty and communication and basic grown-up responsibility, too.

You realize that idea of incentivizing a behavior that you want to see has nothing to do with "gamer culture", right?

That would be kinda difficult, since the idea of punitive / incentive results pre-dates the existence of "gamer culture" by a few thousand years.

That's the point here.

Anonymouswizard
2017-10-01, 10:51 AM
I guess it shouldn't surprise that gamer culture has some strains of thought that favor structuring and using a game's rules to push and pull player behavior, as a substitute for basic human communication. :smalleek:

Eh, it depends. I like using rules to push and pull player characters in the Fate Aspects sense, and can find positive reinforcement to work well for some things, but agree that all such things should stay outside of the game if possible.

I've seen such things as the awarding of Fate Points/Hero Points/Bennies used to make people loosen up a little or stay in character more, which works really well. What doesn't work well is 'your character left the group for legitimate reasons, effectively lose two levels'.

On the not using game mechanics, everybody likes the affection they get for turning up with a giant box of Jaffa Cakes or carrot sticks.

Tanarii
2017-10-01, 10:53 AM
And on the planet I live on, despite vast differences between things that are basic rights, things we have to earn and/or fight for, things that are intentionally granted, and things that are privileges. And yet there still exist large groups of people that assume things in any of the other categories are actually a basic right. Because they're so used to being granted it, or having that privilege, or occasionally having had someone else earn it or fight for it for them, that they think it's just the way things are.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-01, 11:00 AM
You realize that idea of incentivizing a behavior that you want to see has nothing to do with "gamer culture", right?

That would be kinda difficult, since the idea of punitive / incentive results pre-dates the existence of "gamer culture" by a few thousand years.

That's the point here.

You're still ignoring the fact that all those other examples are real-world affects in the real world -- as opposed to trying to use in-game rules to manipulate real-world behavior and evade actually dealing with the real-world issues, which is what came up in this thread.

Pleh
2017-10-01, 11:24 AM
And on the planet I live on, despite vast differences between things that are basic rights, things we have to earn and/or fight for, things that are intentionally granted, and things that are privileges. And yet there still exist large groups of people that assume things in any of the other categories are actually a basic right. Because they're so used to being granted it, or having that privilege, or occasionally having had someone else earn it or fight for it for them, that they think it's just the way things are.

I was looking through my 5e DMG. I couldn't find the rules that dictate what level characters start at (much less replacement characters).

You seem convinced level penalties are, "the rules." Where is the citation on that?

Nifft
2017-10-01, 11:33 AM
You're still ignoring the fact that all those other examples are real-world affects in the real world -- as opposed to trying to use in-game rules to manipulate real-world behavior and evade actually dealing with the real-world issues, which is what came up in this thread.

You're still ignoring the fact that all the myriad different precedents in the real world mean that you can't blame "gamer culture" for this.

Which is the point.

People have done all sorts of things to manipulate the behavior of other people. (Some of which are bad things, which should not be done, and others of which are perfectly fine.)

This has nothing to do with "gamer culture", it's just one of the ways that people behave -- people often try to influence the behavior of other people.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-01, 11:50 AM
You're still ignoring the fact that all the myriad different precedents in the real world mean that you can't blame "gamer culture" for this.

Which is the point.

People have done all sorts of things to manipulate the behavior of other people. (Some of which are bad things, which should not be done, and others of which are perfectly fine.)

This has nothing to do with "gamer culture", it's just one of the ways that people behave -- people often try to influence the behavior of other people.


Which does nothing to refute the original statement that it's not surprising that gamer culture would have more than its fair share of that sort of passive-aggressive sphere-blurring manipulation combined with a smokescreen of high-handed "it's the rules, and you're being an entitled baby".


I guess it shouldn't surprise that gamer culture has some strains of thought that favor structuring and using a game's rules to push and pull player behavior, as a substitute for basic human communication.

To spell it out -- gamer culture has more than its fair share of people who'd rather hold your character or your campaign hostage, than have a 5-minute civil conversation about what's really going on -- who'd rather engage in shenanigans in the in-game sphere than face things head-on in the real-world sphere.

Tanarii
2017-10-01, 12:30 PM
You seem convinced level penalties are, "the rules." Where is the citation on that?For 5e? PHB p11 lays out "the rules". And they are explicit that the DM might start you at a higher level of you're bringing in a new character to an existing campaign. I just wish they also referred to page 15 on Tiers of Play. I'll have to go see if there's something in the DMG on it.

"Typically, a character starts at 1st level and advances in level by adventuring and gaining experience points (XP). A 1st-level character is inexperienced in the adventuring world, although he or she might have been a soldier or a pirate and done dangerous things before.
Starting off at 1st level marks your character’s entry into the adventuring life. If you’re already familiar with the game, or if you are joining an existing D&D campaign, your DM might decide to have you begin at a higher level, on the assumption that your character has already survived a few harrowing adventures."


Also, just for the record, the OP got kinda screwed by their DM, being put in a position where they had to forcibly retire a character. But that's not the same as saying that generally getting to start a new character at a higher level, but not the same level, is a "punishment".

Jorren
2017-10-01, 12:50 PM
I think the ‘lose 1 level for a new character’ is tradition stemming from losing one level for being raised. I personally have been in many games and never seen a game that actually benefited from having it in there.

As far as punishment is concerned, the player has already been punished by losing the character and the character (not to mention having to not play while he makes a new PC, which in my opinion is the worst punishment of all) has obviously suffered the consequences of whatever he was involved in. The loss of a level seems like an additional level of punishment for the player, not to mention the rest of the party who will have to have, albeit temporarily, a lower level character on their team. If this was indeed a rule designed to reduce stupid risk taking it would distinguish between unlucky die rolls, etc. vs. just dumb behavior by the player (which is highly subjective anyway; the DM’s perspective of stupidity is usually different from everyone else’s due to knowledge of all of the circumstances).

I have never seen, in 30+ years of playing in different groups, any nuance to this rule/tradition. It’s always framed as – new characters come in at 1 level lower or equal to the lowest level in the party (which is not quite as bad since most of the time everyone is equal or close), with no provision as to whether your previous death was ‘your stupid fault’ or whatever. I have also noticed that in many cases, DMs who implement this rule either forget to include the catchup xp mechanism for lower level characters or house rule it away entirely.

As far as encouraging people to stay with the same character, survive, etc., I personally don’t want to encourage that. These guys are adventurers and their job is to take risks and characters come and go. If someone is habitually bringing in new characters to the point that it becomes disruptive, it’s time to discuss things with them, not to presume that all players need to be penalized.
I have never used this rule when I run games and most of the time it seems like it is a solution in search of a problem. Using some sort of milestone/non-xp based advancement scheme or playing a non-level based game takes care of most of the issue.

Metahuman1
2017-10-01, 10:28 PM
5e has catchup before level 6. Up to level 6, if you start a character at level 1, you will catch up to one level behind before they gain 1 level.

What it doesn't have is a written rule that you start at the lowest possible level for your Tier* if you are joining an existing group with a new character. IMO a 5e DM running a game where res of the existing character isn't possible for some reason, and is only running a single party campaign, should definitely institute that as the minimum level house rule. The 5e system can handle disparate levels within the same Tier in the same party without serious issue. I know this for a fact, based on experience. But I wouldn't ever try to run a game with Tier 1 PCs with a Tier 2 group of level 7+ PCs. I don't think the system can handle it well.

Edit: *Tiers one to four are: 1-4,5-10,11-16,17-20

I put emphasis on the critically important part for you.



See, she's starting at bottom level 8, in a group that's juuuuuuuuuuuuuust shy of level 1. What happens when they hit level 11 around the time that she is, at absolute best possible case scenario, getting level 9?

You have 2 different tiers playing together. And the situation will occasionally be fixed, assuming she never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER leaves the rails again for even a second for any reason and also doesn't just suffer a combat death. Which is VERY likely given that this DM 1: Seems to have it out for her. 2: Seems incapable of actually handling things properly which me's he's likely the kind who will mess up an encounters balance and not even acknowledge he over did it later or flub a save or die roll to make sure she dies to prove the severity of the situation and that death is a consequence, but if we assume that.

Given the likely hood of 1 and/or 2 happening and indeed, happening more then one time, even if the situation fixes itself, she's going to KEEP getting knocked down, so there's a real chance she'll be put in a position of not being in a lower tier then the rest of the party if this DM is not either straightened out or gotten rid of NOW, before he can make more of a mess.



So we've got a best case of her being put in a position were at random points she's going to be knocked out of tier with the rest of the party for substantial chunks of the game, and thus not able to pull along cause the system wasn't designed for that, by your own admission.

And a much more likely worse case that he'll repeat these things and end up getting it so she's ALWAYS a tier below the party. Or worse still, if he does it enough times, so that there is always a tier the rest of the party are in, a tier no characters in the group are in, and a tier she is in, for the rest of the game.



Which, by your own admission, means she can't do squat in the rest of the campaign from the moment that happens on.



So which one is better in your mind. Fix the obvious campaign running crisis NOW before it's gotten completely entrenched and out of hand, or, let it get completely entrenched and out of hand so that it can't be fixed?

Tanarii
2017-10-01, 11:47 PM
What happens when they hit level 11 around the time that she is, at absolute best possible case scenario, getting level 9?Nothing. Because first of all, that won't happen. There is still a geometric curve to XP. And second of all, the system math isn't THAT busted. It can handle a difference across tiers of a level or two. It's level 1s with level 8s that will cause some problems. Although if they survive and get a full share of XP despite not contributing much, they'd be level 4 (almost 5) after one session* and level 5 (almost 6) after two*, when the others hit 9. That'd be fine with me if all the players were okay with keeping them alive and letting them siphon XP like that, but few players are.

A level 9 with level 11s shouldn't be noticing much at all. That you think it's some kind of crisis is a massive overreaction, or unfamiliarity with the system, or being wedded to your view that players need to be the same level because reasons.

(Edit: *my sessions tend to roughly correspond with adventuring days. The accurate statement here would have been adventuring days (per the DMG), not sessions).

Metahuman1
2017-10-02, 02:32 AM
How many people up thread posted and made it clear that the rules as written of the system got rid of that curve by level 9?


And if there is no curve, she doesn't catch up, ever.

She does, however, risk him offing her again and telling her "Your level 7 now for your new character BTW.". Or level 6 by your logic, or hell, level 1, and then using that feature of the rules not giving extra XP for being lower level to keep her kicked down for daring to want to leave the rails for five minutes for none plot centric breathers to do character stuff, or just for a few lousy rolls or the DM getting a couple of lucky nat 20's during a fight. Let alone if someone who's so heavy handed he will throw gods around like tennis balls being malicious, and we know he is as there was no actual reason or need to make her retire the fighter.

"Your able to rent a horse cause a local priest of *Insert god here.* had a vision and knew to get one ready for you. Riding it hard you go, and confirm your family is safe, if a bit older then you remember. There will be more time to catch up more on that later see me between sessions or call me or something. You ride the horse hard, and get there juuuuuuuust as the party is getting there. They beat you there by a coupe of minutes but don't really have time to press it before you catch the rest of the way up."


Boom. That took less time for me to think up then it took to type it up, and I could say it verbally in less time then that. Less then 1 minute and none of this would be happening.






So, to recap, you claim that there is this XP catch up mechanic. Everyone else who's mentioned one has only done so to mention the system DOESN'T have one. Show me a link to were it explicitly states that lower level characters should be getting extra catch up XP.

And according to you, in the VERY likely event that you are not even dealing with and instead allowing to get worse that the DM puts her in the position of needing a new character one or two more times, she's going to be level 6-7 while the party are level 11-13.

And that is a problem according to you. A, crisis, one might even say.




And I will admit to not being the most familiar player with 5E, but I will also point out that I have been gaming long enough to know description's of terrible GMing that's not going to get better if not addressed, and even then may persist as terrible, when I read them. And that tends to be an issue the system is an irrelevancy too unless the only reason he's doing this is his mastery of this system is insufficient, and/or he's trying to bring in things from other systems that he likes that work there but don't work here.

Anonymouswizard
2017-10-02, 02:34 AM
Problem A: balance between characters two levels apart. While the severity of this isn't too bad in 5e, except for a couple of level discrepancies (or something stupid like when I was denied my Cleric class features for an entire level and wasn't allowed to change to another Fighter level to get Extra Attack instead, instead of asking me to wait a level before multiclassing), in other systems it can be a massive problem.

Problem B: the power loss spiral. This is the big one. Now, unless the group plays in such a way as to specifically minimise the risk of it, OP's character will be the most likely to die (missing two hit dice and the associated hp, potentially lower proficiency bonus, less features), which means the next character is a level lower, and so on, until we get to the point of a 1st level character being brought in. This will vary, a Barbarian is harder to kill than a wizard with two more levels, but it always remains a possibility. (This is assuming he's using 'old character' as the basis for the levels, rather than 'party average').

In this particular case, if I wanted a 'punishment' for character death, I would have brought the new character in at the minimum XP for level 10. It'll end up with the character generally being a level behind the party, but won't ever risk a two level gap.

Knaight
2017-10-02, 02:52 AM
When I play, if I had the most consistent attendance and longest surviving character, I'd want them to have the most points (or be highest level in D&D). Why should a brand new character get to walk in at the same power level as me? I've worked for it, they haven't.

I just don't get this attitude. To start with, how have you worked for anything? It's a game, the entire point of a game is to be enjoyable in and of itself - it's not a task you do to get resources that let you do what you actually want. The most consistent attendance already gets a reward - it's called "being in more games".

Mr Beer
2017-10-02, 03:12 AM
I just don't get this attitude. To start with, how have you worked for anything? It's a game, the entire point of a game is to be enjoyable in and of itself - it's not a task you do to get resources that let you do what you actually want. The most consistent attendance already gets a reward - it's called "being in more games".

It's not a big deal to me, I agree that the journey is more important and so on. I just feel like the person who does the most adventuring should have the most bling. YMMV.

Metahuman1
2017-10-02, 03:19 AM
Problem A: balance between characters two levels apart. While the severity of this isn't too bad in 5e, except for a couple of level discrepancies (or something stupid like when I was denied my Cleric class features for an entire level and wasn't allowed to change to another Fighter level to get Extra Attack instead, instead of asking me to wait a level before multiclassing), in other systems it can be a massive problem.

Problem B: the power loss spiral. This is the big one. Now, unless the group plays in such a way as to specifically minimise the risk of it, OP's character will be the most likely to die (missing two hit dice and the associated hp, potentially lower proficiency bonus, less features), which means the next character is a level lower, and so on, until we get to the point of a 1st level character being brought in. This will vary, a Barbarian is harder to kill than a wizard with two more levels, but it always remains a possibility. (This is assuming he's using 'old character' as the basis for the levels, rather than 'party average').

In this particular case, if I wanted a 'punishment' for character death, I would have brought the new character in at the minimum XP for level 10. It'll end up with the character generally being a level behind the party, but won't ever risk a two level gap.

See? The Wizard see's the problem just as clearly as I do! Thank you!

Tanarii
2017-10-02, 09:39 AM
Problem A: balance between characters two levels apart. While the severity of this isn't too bad in 5e, except for a couple of level discrepancies (or something stupid like when I was denied my Cleric class features for an entire level and wasn't allowed to change to another Fighter level to get Extra Attack instead, instead of asking me to wait a level before multiclassing), in other systems it can be a massive problem.

Problem B: the power loss spiral. This is the big one.
I've never played any game where a two level difference made either of these occur, past the first few levels. Can you give some examples of game where a two level difference, in mid to high levels, is likely to cause a huge balance problem or power loss spiral?

So far what I'm seeing is a lot of hysteria that two level difference between characters is going to cause some massive campaign crash. I can assure you from personal experience running them, this is not the case in any edition of D&D. Nor in any palladium game. Those being the two most common 'level' systems I've played.

It may cause hard feelings for the person it affects. But so might bringing in a replacement character at the same level, with all the other players in the campaign. IMO the latter is especially likely if it's not a campaign following a single party through a single campaign-long adventure arc. (West Marches or similar style campaigns for example.)

Anonymouswizard
2017-10-02, 10:22 AM
I've never played any game where a two level difference made either of these occur, past the first few levels. Can you give some examples of game where a two level difference, in mid to high levels, is likely to cause a huge balance problem or power loss spiral?

So far what I'm seeing is a lot of hysteria that two level difference between characters is going to cause some massive campaign crash. I can assure you from personal experience running them, this is not the case in any edition of D&D. Nor in any palladium game. Those being the two most common 'level' systems I've played.

It may cause hard feelings for the person it affects. But so might bringing in a replacement character at the same level, with all the other players in the campaign. IMO the latter is especially likely if it's not a campaign following a single party through a single campaign-long adventure arc. (West Marches or similar style campaigns for example.)

For causing a huge balance problem? The only one that springs to mind is Anima: Beyond Fantasy, and even then possibly not to a 'causes major death' degree.

The problem with the power loss spiral is that it's not certain to come up at first, but a less powerful character is more likely to die, unless the group plays in such a way as to intentionally reduce the risk of death to that character. I'm not sure how that is in question. Then, if the replacement character is one level lower than the character it's replacing said replacement character is even easier to kill, and so on. I never said it was certain to happen, I just pointed out that depending on how the rule is applied it's a distinct possibility.

Now, I don't actually have a problem with lose a level on death systems, but you have to look at the knock on effects. I'm reminded of how in The Gamers: Dorkness Rising one of the characters is killed enough (through his player being unable to use him) that he ends up 4-5 levels behind the party.

Tinkerer
2017-10-02, 11:13 AM
Lot more heat in this thread than expected. I just wanted to clarify a couple of things about my initial post where I said that the level loss is not big deal (but the railroading was).

1) I always have a bottom cap in terms of how far behind the rest of the party it can put you usually two levels or the nearest equivalent, although in systems where levels don't make as much of a difference it can be as much as 4 levels.

2) I always make sure to tell players up front.

3) Depending on how they die or retire they usually get some manner of compensation for their next character in the way of additional backstory leeway or unique abilities or something along those lines.

4) If they retire I give them the option of having their character wind up as an important NPC (in which case it is possible though unlikely for them to die at some point), a background NPC (in which case they are effectively immortal until dying of natural causes), or to simply vanish (for the handful of people who don't want to leave a PC in my hands). They write up a brief epilogue and the character gets put into the hall of retired characters along with a list of their accomplishments. I love having a constant world.

I am not quite willing to condemn the GM in the initial post right off the hop because I do not have enough information. If the world was in DIRE PERIL with a time crunch and the PCs were the only ones capable of stopping the destruction and one decided to take off looking for their family then yeah, I probably would agree with the choices that the GM made. Kinda guessing that isn't the case though.

Although for the people who are saying that the gods themselves coming down to talk to heroes doesn't make any sense I can think of several sources of media which beg to differ (Xena anyone?). The gods meddling in the affairs of mortals is an ancient trope, albeit one that isn't used in D&D often. It's a different style of world but it can be quite a fun one to play in... and that just fixed the problem that I was running into for my next campaign :smallsmile:

redwizard007
2017-10-02, 11:27 AM
Sooooo, the problem here is that you feel compelled to play the same game as everyone else? You decided that you were OK with that, but not with your old character. YOU did that.

Now, personally, I don't see a one level penalty for bringing in a new, tailored to the new campaign, optimized for 8th level, (and presumably better than a fighter) character to be much of an issue. You decided that the role-play aspect of the game was the most important to you. Back that decision up.

Tanarii
2017-10-02, 12:00 PM
The problem with the power loss spiral is that it's not certain to come up at first, but a less powerful character is more likely to die, unless the group plays in such a way as to intentionally reduce the risk of death to that character. I'm not sure how that is in question.But this is D&D. Death isn't a huge issue. The character being unable to continue adventuring is. That means perma-death or retirement. That's rare by mid-levels, not common.

But yes, I accept that (as a general rule) a higher level character is less likely to die than a low level one. Depending on build, party role, etc etc.



Lot more heat in this thread than expected. I just wanted to clarify a couple of things about my initial post where I said that the level loss is not big deal (but the railroading was).Honestly that's a really good point. I definitely focused on the wrong thing. When someone is basically the victim, it wasn't very helpful of me to come along and say they have an attitude problem.


I am not quite willing to condemn the GM in the initial post right off the hop because I do not have enough information.Is that why we're here. To condemn or judge? :smallbiggrin:

Anymage
2017-10-02, 01:04 PM
Although for the people who are saying that the gods themselves coming down to talk to heroes doesn't make any sense I can think of several sources of media which beg to differ (Xena anyone?). The gods meddling in the affairs of mortals is an ancient trope, albeit one that isn't used in D&D often. It's a different style of world but it can be quite a fun one to play in... and that just fixed the problem that I was running into for my next campaign :smallsmile:

Most of the stories I can think of where gods will regularly run across heroes have gods act more like high level characters than down-from-the-heavens gods. As such, they tend to be involved in adventures in deeper ways than bamfing in to set the PCs back on their rails.

I kinda wish the DM in question were here to give his side of the story. Having gods set the party back on the rails (and having such tight rails to begin with) is a classic newbie mistake. But in this case, retconning so that you can work with the player instead of seeing their going off-script as a way to screw you over is one of the basic lessons he should be learning.

RazorChain
2017-10-02, 02:40 PM
'Hey guys, I want to discourage taking stupid risks without preparation, so replacement characters will be a level below the rest of the party' is okay. Not nice, but completely fine, especially if stated up front.

Of course, you can also have a game like Fate where 'you die' should be extremely rare, so these situations rarely come up. Or games where death is common enough that replacement characters are needed every few sessions. But as long as the 'punishment' for death is stated up front there's no problem with it.

I'm firmly in the school of 'everyone advances at the same time, characters rarely die, and replacements are the same power level', but not everybody is.


Still not a game that I want. I of course write from my perspective and when I show up with a overconfident daredevil that dies messily I just don't want to be punished for portraying such a character.

I've consciously put my characters in mortal perils and no win situations because it was in character based on their ideals and beliefs. I knew the characters were most likely to die, but I don't like being punished for it, on more than one occasion it was to save anothers characters life.

Anonymouswizard
2017-10-02, 03:07 PM
Still not a game that I want. I of course write from my perspective and when I show up with a overconfident daredevil that dies messily I just don't want to be punished for portraying such a character.

I've consciously put my characters in mortal perils and no win situations because it was in character based on their ideals and beliefs. I knew the characters were most likely to die, but I don't like being punished for it, on more than one occasion it was to save anothers characters life.

I mean that's fine, that's why session zeroes should ideally also discuss replacement character rules. But my point was that there's nothing wrong with such a rule if stated before it comes into effect. The game won't be for everyone, but at least at that point there's the chance to raise an objection or bow out gracefully.

Because honestly, OP is in a sticky situation. Either they suck up a punishment which is obviously worse than it should be (I suspect the intent was for OP to be one level behind, not two), or they leave which in this case looks a lot like rage quitting (not unjustifiable rage quitting, and not certain rage quitting, but it'll look like it). If this rule had been established when GM 2: Level Loss started his run (as in literally before any sessions were played) it might not be the kind of game OP likes to play in, but at least any choices they made would be informed choices. There's nothing wrong with not playing in a game you don't want to play in, we all get the choice of whether to sit down at the table or not.

I'm actually annoyed at myself for not politely walking away from a game I wasn't enjoying, and instead trying to subvert it into something more fun for me. At least one other player was also doing the same thing (we both wanted supplies so our GM-okayed character builds would work), but that doesn't make it any better.

Metahuman1
2017-10-02, 10:43 PM
I've never played any game where a two level difference made either of these occur, past the first few levels. Can you give some examples of game where a two level difference, in mid to high levels, is likely to cause a huge balance problem or power loss spiral?

So far what I'm seeing is a lot of hysteria that two level difference between characters is going to cause some massive campaign crash. I can assure you from personal experience running them, this is not the case in any edition of D&D. Nor in any palladium game. Those being the two most common 'level' systems I've played.

It may cause hard feelings for the person it affects. But so might bringing in a replacement character at the same level, with all the other players in the campaign. IMO the latter is especially likely if it's not a campaign following a single party through a single campaign-long adventure arc. (West Marches or similar style campaigns for example.)

D&D 3.5 comes to mind. And I've expeianced THAT one MULTIPLE times thank you VERY much.

Pathfinder has been no better too me despite swearing it would be on the box, as it were.

4th edition is even worse because there IS no catch up mechanic and ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING is level dependent.

so, just off that, that's 2 editions of formal D&D and 1 of a D&D spin off that this can and has before been a big deal in. And as discussed, at this level, 5th isn't that far off from the others.





As for depending on the role, Melee Warrior, who has to have the AC/Class Features/HP to survive charging and wading into combat, and be able to dole out enough punishment to win fights convincingly. Yeah. Level is gonna matter a freaking LOT for that.


Thank you, however, for acknowledging that in this case, yes, the player IS the victim, and that accusing her of having an attitude problem and rushing to the victimizers' defense while telling her, in effect, to suck it up, was not helpful. And I do mean that seriously and I am not being sarcastic. I'm really not.




Tinkerer :

That's all well and good, but, the thing is, all information we have suggests none of those things happened as you described. He put her in a no win situation because he wanted his way, at best making a rookie mistake and at worst just being an actively malicious, power tripping jerk, and was exceedingly heavy handed about it.

And then punished her for Role Playing as opposed to ROLL playing.

And didn't even have the skill to keep the punishment to the level he wanted, and instead tripled it or worse by what appears to be accident. And if it wasn't an accident he's even more malicious for it.

As for the world in Dire Perial, the world was only in that Dire Perial cause he, the GM, decided he and his plot are all that is important and the PC's and there players don't in any way, shape or form matter even a little. So, no, no, that's not a defense for him even then.



Anymage:


Again, I've NEVER seen it done in this heavy handed a fashion in a table top game that ended any way other then horribly.




Anonymouswizard: Yup.

Which is why I said talk to the other players first, and try to have a replacement DM for the current one lined up. Try to line up a player revolt. To have the whole party willing to tell him if he doesn't listen and make adjustments, there will be a mass walk form his table right then and there.

Then talk to him, and don't lead with that. Try to reasonably explain the communication errors, that your not actively being disruptive, propose alternatives "Hey, couldn't the gods just throw me a particularly fast horse for a day or two to speed the check up along? Fifteen minutes there to confirm there alive and what not, and I can go back to the party? Wouldn't that work better?"


If he's unwilling to budge, wait till the session, and let the rest of the players no it's time to issue the ultimatum. Either he'll cut the crap after that, or you'll all walk. Either way it's an improvement on the current situation.

Anymage
2017-10-03, 12:08 AM
Again, I've NEVER seen it done in this heavy handed a fashion in a table top game that ended any way other then horribly.

I guess I'm an optimist who looks for the difference between someone who's being a heavy handed bull in a china shop because he doesn't know any better, someone who's being a heavy handed bull in a china shop because they've somehow picked up the idea that adversarial GMing is a good thing, and someone who's being a heavy handed bull in a china shop because they're a petty jagoff. The first two can be talked down. The third is a lost cause.

But otherwise agreed. That sort of heavy handed DMing might be salvageable if they're exposed to other ideas and consciously try to unlearn their bad habits. In practice, though, agreed. They're a horrible campaign story just waiting to happen.

Metahuman1
2017-10-03, 02:39 AM
And in case it's one of the first two, I've advised her to talk with him. But I've also advised her what needs to be done to have her ducks in a row in case he turns out to be number 3.

He get's two chanced if my approach is taken and works.

First one, if he blows it, he get's a second splash of cold water to try and wake up to the fact that he's doing something wrong here and needs to correct that.

If he's just being a petty jagoff as you put it however, or he's just to dense to learn at this stage, everything is already set for the party to walk, get a new DM, and go on with there lives much happier. If he was too dense, maybe that sting will help him learn. If he's petty, good riddance too him.

Tanarii
2017-10-03, 10:59 AM
The thing that makes this heavy handed DMing is he's coming into an existing campaign he has not previously DM'd, and has decided to clear the board with this 'time skip'. If it was the DMs campaign from day one, there wouldn't be any issue here.

A player deciding to perma-retire their character because they've decided the character can longer work with the party, or for that matter the party kicking the character out because of the characters behavior, is on the player. In an existing campaign that doesn't have a new DM come in and make drastic changes to reset things.

Really, the new DM should have just started a new campaign and been done with it.

Tinkerer
2017-10-03, 12:45 PM
Tinkerer :
That's all well and good, but, the thing is, all information we have suggests none of those things happened as you described. He put her in a no win situation because he wanted his way, at best making a rookie mistake and at worst just being an actively malicious, power tripping jerk, and was exceedingly heavy handed about it.

And then punished her for Role Playing as opposed to ROLL playing.

And didn't even have the skill to keep the punishment to the level he wanted, and instead tripled it or worse by what appears to be accident. And if it wasn't an accident he's even more malicious for it.

As for the world in Dire Perial, the world was only in that Dire Perial cause he, the GM, decided he and his plot are all that is important and the PC's and there players don't in any way, shape or form matter even a little. So, no, no, that's not a defense for him even then.


Oh quite. Perhaps I should lay out some background here, I recently stepped down from a non-profit where quite often I was put into the position of judge so I am definitely slow to reach conclusions and prefer to look at multiple sides of an issue. Normally in that sort of situation the best course of action is to speak to the other party however that is clearly not available. So I laid out the (very limited) sort of situations where one might find the behavior acceptable. In fact the world in dire peril situation is really the only one that I could come up with off the top of my head and as I mentioned it didn't seem to fit.

The most important thing in this sort of situation is to de-escalate the situation. The OP mentioned that they were distraught (depressed and angry) and that is never a good head space to make your position in. A loss of a level on replacement characters isn't an insult against the OP or a punishment for role playing, it's simply an optional mechanic which can be used.

Although there is one thing that I must disagree with in your post and that is "And then punished her for Role Playing as opposed to ROLL playing." Role Players are always going to be "punished". It is a fact of life when you are playing a human being(/elf being/dwarf being etc...) rather than a ruthless optimization machine. A character who returns the recovered treasure to the people of the land rather than hording it for themselves being a classic example.

To the OP:

Aaaaaand I just realized that I got sidetracked from what I was going to say in the last post and never gave my advice. My advice was going to be 1) Check with the GM and make sure that you can't just have the fighter go and check with the family to make sure they're all right and then catch back up with the party at the town. If it's a days walk and if you can buy/borrow a horse from the town/family than you would be caught up with them pretty quick. Heck use that fighter CON to go all night if need be. 2) If not then speak to the GM about having your character start an equal distance from level 9 as the other characters are from level 10. Or find out if the GM does have a catch up mechanic in the game which the OP may not know about yet. You stated that you were concerned about making them mad. IF THE GM GETS MAD AT YOU ABOUT SPEAKING TO THEM THEN THAT IS A SITUATION YOU SHOULD REMOVE YOURSELF FROM. Take a deep breath, calm yourself, and articulate your concerns.

In terms of repairing matters between the party and the fighter, should the need arise, bear in mind that if you run into a skeleton in the land of the dead then it's not undead. It's just dead and perfectly at home in it's natural surroundings. You are the unnatural abomination in that scenario. Sorry that story that you gave just made me tilt my head. Unless it wasn't a land of the dead and was just a place that looked like one... in which case it was pretty dickish of them... dunno.

PS: A Shining Force based world sound pretty damn awesome.

Twizzly513
2017-10-03, 04:25 PM
I'm okay with starting a character a level lower than the rest of the party for what you said: death, retiring characters often, etc. However, given that you only stopped playing your character because you were trying to be a good player, I would say there's nothing to punish in the first place. I'd bring this up with him. I certainly hope he does not reject the idea, and best of luck to you and him should you stay with the group, or best of luck finding a new one should you choose not to.

Pleh
2017-10-03, 04:41 PM
The thing that makes this heavy handed DMing is he's coming into an existing campaign he has not previously DM'd, and has decided to clear the board with this 'time skip'. If it was the DMs campaign from day one, there wouldn't be any issue here.

To be fair, if that were the case, there would be no "retiring" happening, either. A new campaign would typically ask for the players to roll new characters (at no level penalty) to begin with. The only way to port in an old character is with DM permission, at which point, fault for incompatability lies with the DM.

Even if it were a brand new game with new characters, what kind of jerk applies these penalties right after session #1? Is there no room for mulligan?

The problem is they're starting a new campaign, but treating it like the campaign it was before. Either the game should continue like it did before (penalties for disruptive play applied) or if it starts over, use the rules for starting over.

RazorChain
2017-10-03, 05:14 PM
The question for me is; Is there a need to penalize a player mechanically for making a new character in existing campaign?

If the answer is yes, then why?

Tanarii
2017-10-03, 06:12 PM
The question for me is; Is there a need to penalize a player mechanically for making a new character in existing campaign?

If the answer is yes, then why?
It's not a penalty, so your question is nonsensical.

Let's rephrase the question to remove your nonsense: Is there a need for a player to start a new character at a lower level than the old character in an existing campaign?

The answer is:
It depends on what the campaign is, and to some degree the DM, and even to some degree the players.

Is it an open table campaign, a true west marches or true sandbox, with XP earned for encounters overcome during play? Almost certainly yes there is a need, and new PCs will need to start at level 1. The DM will also need to provide (sandbox), and the players organize (west marches), sessions that enable them and their henchmen (if any) to all participate and not get easily killed. And if the rules of the game don't handle it well or it's a problem at their table, power-leveling Low level characters (ie catchup XP curve gone bad) or death spiral from loss of level from Rez, will need to be examined.

If it's a single party, adventuring in lockstep, through a single adventure-path-as-campaign, to the big finale of the campaign? Almost certainly no, there is no need. It depends on the DM's rules and reasons, if he created the campaign and pulled the players together (ie it's his game), or the table consensus if it's one of those typical games where a bunch of friends get together and one agrees to DM. Player perception matters a lot in this one. If the other players will be upset that 'unearned' levels are being gained, that needs to be taken into consideration. It matters if some players will erroneously perceive their being 'punished'. It matters if the group already does things like give XP to players who can't make a session.

If the same as above, but the DM has ditched XP, and has the party gain levels when they feel it's appropriate? Not only no need, it's actively harmful, since now he has to manually include special handling for the replacement character.

I've run all of these kinds of campaigns and more. I usually allow replacement characters at 2 levels below the group, when I use XP and there's a decent curve to the XP table, and it's not a open table. Open tables all characters start at level 1, but there are sessions for different groups and levels of players.

The latter is how I know with absolute certainly that a 2 level (or in some cases more) disparity does not materially matter in any edition of D&D. Including 3e or 4e or 5e. In fact, if it was a problem in 4e or 5e, no DM would be able to run official play. It is open table, and every module expects and recommendeds a range of levels for the adventure.

Metahuman1
2017-10-03, 10:57 PM
Oh quite. Perhaps I should lay out some background here, I recently stepped down from a non-profit where quite often I was put into the position of judge so I am definitely slow to reach conclusions and prefer to look at multiple sides of an issue. Normally in that sort of situation the best course of action is to speak to the other party however that is clearly not available. So I laid out the (very limited) sort of situations where one might find the behavior acceptable. In fact the world in dire peril situation is really the only one that I could come up with off the top of my head and as I mentioned it didn't seem to fit.

The most important thing in this sort of situation is to de-escalate the situation. The OP mentioned that they were distraught (depressed and angry) and that is never a good head space to make your position in. A loss of a level on replacement characters isn't an insult against the OP or a punishment for role playing, it's simply an optional mechanic which can be used.

Although there is one thing that I must disagree with in your post and that is "And then punished her for Role Playing as opposed to ROLL playing." Role Players are always going to be "punished". It is a fact of life when you are playing a human being(/elf being/dwarf being etc...) rather than a ruthless optimization machine. A character who returns the recovered treasure to the people of the land rather than hording it for themselves being a classic example.

To the OP:

Aaaaaand I just realized that I got sidetracked from what I was going to say in the last post and never gave my advice. My advice was going to be 1) Check with the GM and make sure that you can't just have the fighter go and check with the family to make sure they're all right and then catch back up with the party at the town. If it's a days walk and if you can buy/borrow a horse from the town/family than you would be caught up with them pretty quick. Heck use that fighter CON to go all night if need be. 2) If not then speak to the GM about having your character start an equal distance from level 9 as the other characters are from level 10. Or find out if the GM does have a catch up mechanic in the game which the OP may not know about yet. You stated that you were concerned about making them mad. IF THE GM GETS MAD AT YOU ABOUT SPEAKING TO THEM THEN THAT IS A SITUATION YOU SHOULD REMOVE YOURSELF FROM. Take a deep breath, calm yourself, and articulate your concerns.

In terms of repairing matters between the party and the fighter, should the need arise, bear in mind that if you run into a skeleton in the land of the dead then it's not undead. It's just dead and perfectly at home in it's natural surroundings. You are the unnatural abomination in that scenario. Sorry that story that you gave just made me tilt my head. Unless it wasn't a land of the dead and was just a place that looked like one... in which case it was pretty dickish of them... dunno.

PS: A Shining Force based world sound pretty damn awesome.

I'd argue that returning The Sacred Moonbow Chalice of Power(TM) or whatever to the priests who's temple was sacked rather then telling them the orcs that saced it had already sold it to an as of now unknown buyer so you can keep it for yourselves, is not punishment.

Being less powerful then a top op machine isn't in and of itself a punishment as long as your still strong enough to handle the problems that actually come up to you with out having to ALWAYS be killed, captured, or forced to run away form them.

Telling a player who wants like a five minute cut away IF that as a breather before the new adventure really, truly begins, that that means loosing a character forever AND loosing 2 levels to start with and they'd best hope they don't die anymore and better make sure to stay 100% on the rails at all times even if they have to ignore all aspects of role playing to do so or there going to just keep loosing levels till they can't play anymore, however, is punishing them.

And it's what this guy did for whatever reason. Maybe he's a noobie who doesn't know any better and just heard a guy talk about how awesome that was when he did it back in 1st edition or whatever.

Maybe he use to do that in 1 and 2 E and he thinks it's still ok.

Maybe he's just being an asshat.

That, and the possibility of the DM getting angry that you pointed out if she tries to talk to him, is why I have advised her to get the rest of the party ready to back her, and to have a replacement for this DM lined up, before talking to him. Don't lead with that, but if he does get angry and you have to remove yourself form the situation, you now have the ability to operate from a position of strength, having established that he's not going to be reasonable if it's just you talking to him. Maybe if the whole group is telling him the same thing it will click. If he STILL isn't being reasonable at that point however, you still have the position of strength, and can have the whole party walk away form this, as, at THAT point, NONE of you need to be there for any reason.

Pleh
2017-10-04, 08:34 AM
For 5e? PHB p11 lays out "the rules". And they are explicit that the DM might start you at a higher level of you're bringing in a new character to an existing campaign. I just wish they also referred to page 15 on Tiers of Play. I'll have to go see if there's something in the DMG on it.

"Typically, a character starts at 1st level and advances in level by adventuring and gaining experience points (XP). A 1st-level character is inexperienced in the adventuring world, although he or she might have been a soldier or a pirate and done dangerous things before.
Starting off at 1st level marks your character’s entry into the adventuring life. If you’re already familiar with the game, or if you are joining an existing D&D campaign, your DM might decide to have you begin at a higher level, on the assumption that your character has already survived a few harrowing adventures."


Also, just for the record, the OP got kinda screwed by their DM, being put in a position where they had to forcibly retire a character. But that's not the same as saying that generally getting to start a new character at a higher level, but not the same level, is a "punishment".

I was afb this weekend and didn't want to reply without consulting my copy.

I can't see any "rule of starting level" in this text or the surrounding context. Rather, this seems to be explaining the RAI to help establish healthy expectations.

It certainly isn't saying what the DM should do in this scenario, as if level 1 is all they owe their player and anything else is just DM generosity. Rather, the part about characters entering an existing campaign sets an expectation that the DM should give the player the level that is appropriate to the adventure.

If level 9 coming on 10 is inappropriately high, why not dock the whole party a level or two? Or just prepare an adventure appropriate for that level and not dock anyone?

In what way is this not an open-close case of picking up where we left off and deserving a character with the equivalent resources to manage that task?

What, exactly, is to be gained from the level loss? A motivation to keep the character in the game?

If so, the plan has backfired, because the player is now more motivated to simply leave the game entirely. A perfect example of trying to coerce extra cooperation from an already fully cooperative player resulting in a net loss of cooperative spirit.

Tanarii
2017-10-04, 09:14 AM
I was afb this weekend and didn't want to reply without consulting my copy.

I can't see any "rule of starting level" in this text or the surrounding context. Rather, this seems to be explaining the RAI to help establish healthy expectations.This gets into what the meaning of 'rule' is. It's in the rule book, at it tells you what typically happens, as well as the possibility of DM exceptions.


What, exactly, is to be gained from the level loss? A motivation to keep the character in the game?See my last post above on when "level loss" (more correctly "free levels gained for a replacement character, but not to the previous level") is needed. And when it's actively harmful. And when it's basically DM or group preference.

If you mean this particular group, I have no idea if they do XP-less advancement. I assume they are not an open table. For a DM coming in to an existing campaign like this, it almost certainly should have been discussed with and decided by the table. Not the DM alone.

Mystral
2017-10-04, 09:20 AM
When I DM, I tend to have characters come in at a slightly lower power level than the party (which I keep at the same power level), but then have them get more XP/Adventure Points/Whatever until they caught up after maybe 4-5 sessions of play.

I would never run a game, nor would I wish to play in a game where my character is consistently 1 level behind. I'd propably go full cheese on that character to make up or surpass the power difference. I tend to do that as a player when I don't get what I want.

That said.. Decide on a new character concept and allow the playground to help you make that character as powerfull as a character you would normaly build with one more level. That way, your DM gets the number he desires on your character sheet and you get a character of the type and powerlevel you wanted in the first place.

It's a win-win.

Pleh
2017-10-04, 10:38 AM
Let me begin by stating that if I seem angry or frustrated, this is just a limitation of the medium we're using. I feel passionately about this subject, but I'm not intending to direct any hostility toward Tanarii or any dissenting opinions.


It's not a penalty, so your question is nonsensical.

It IS a penalty. Penalties are losses sustained to motivate a different behavior. In this case, the penalty is the level loss and the motivated behavior is to be more compliant with a DM's directions. Let's move on to your next point to see this more clearly.


Let's rephrase the question to remove your nonsense: Is there a need for a player to start a new character at a lower level than the old character in an existing campaign?

The answer is:
It depends on what the campaign is, and to some degree the DM, and even to some degree the players.

Is it an open table campaign, a true west marches or true sandbox, with XP earned for encounters overcome during play? Almost certainly yes there is a need, and new PCs will need to start at level 1. The DM will also need to provide (sandbox), and the players organize (west marches), sessions that enable them and their henchmen (if any) to all participate and not get easily killed. And if the rules of the game don't handle it well or it's a problem at their table, power-leveling Low level characters (ie catchup XP curve gone bad) or death spiral from loss of level from Rez, will need to be examined.

Except we have no evidence to support that this is the case in the game. The player's surprise at the new DM's rulings rather indicates the expectation to be the opposite of this. While it's worth considering this as a possibility, it's really not what we should be expecting to be the case. If this happens to be the case, then a simple discussion with the DM and the table should clear the matter up. Since it is rather given at this point that a conversation will be necessary, I consider this a trivial solution even in the unlikely event that it happens to be more accurate in describing the scenario.

The OP seemed more to be describing your second scenario:


If it's a single party, adventuring in lockstep, through a single adventure-path-as-campaign, to the big finale of the campaign? Almost certainly no, there is no need. It depends on the DM's rules and reasons, if he created the campaign and pulled the players together (ie it's his game), or the table consensus if it's one of those typical games where a bunch of friends get together and one agrees to DM. Player perception matters a lot in this one. If the other players will be upset that 'unearned' levels are being gained, that needs to be taken into consideration. It matters if some players will erroneously perceive their being 'punished'. It matters if the group already does things like give XP to players who can't make a session.

If the same as above, but the DM has ditched XP, and has the party gain levels when they feel it's appropriate? Not only no need, it's actively harmful, since now he has to manually include special handling for the replacement character.

I scratched out the last part due to irrelevancy. The OP specified that the party was, "just short of level 10." This pretty much guarantees they are measuring level by XP.

It seems pretty cut and dry by the OP that Adventure in Lock Step was what the player anticipated. While this could be a simple misinterpretation, we can safely assume that this is not the case (based on the fact that, if it is a simple misunderstanding, the inevitable conversation should resolve this matter on its own).

So, assuming the DM is either incorrectly running a Locked Step adventure more strictly than necessary to the chagrin of this player, or they changed from Locked Step to Sandbox without adequately informing the Players.

In any case, it seems clear that the DM mishandled the problem, even if they were justified by the rules, they failed to play along with the players in the game that was going on before the DM picked up their role. And now the player is picking up the cost of that mistake rather than the DM that created it.


The latter is how I know with absolute certainly that a 2 level (or in some cases more) disparity does not materially matter in any edition of D&D. Including 3e or 4e or 5e. In fact, if it was a problem in 4e or 5e, no DM would be able to run official play. It is open table, and every module expects and recommendeds a range of levels for the adventure.

Here I will challenge you: If a 2 level disparity does not matter then why implement the rule at all? If it has no effect, then what is gained to be taking the levels away? It should have the same effect to let them replace characters at the same level, since it does not materially matter in any edition.

I have been playing D&D (mostly 3.5) for right around 10 years now. I have never seen players angry that someone replacing a character received, "unearned levels." Rather, my groups would feel the player already facing the pain and humiliation of changing characters to be additionally insulted by a decrease in their relative power level. Making a 9th level character start over at level 1 would be tantamount to being uninvited to play. Anything short of letting them pick up where they left off, but with a different character, is just heavier consequences for losing the character than is ever necessary.

My tables often really love our characters, much in the way the OP described. Losing them in the first place is enough grief and heartache to motivate us to keep them healthy and participating in the adventure. Additionally getting set back in our progress as a result is just kicking us while we're already down.

If someone retires a character just for a mechanical advantage, I'd agree they deserve a mechanical consequence they'll have to account for (level loss seems appropriate). This wasn't like that at all. This player did not want to retire their character. It was entirely a consequence of the DM's DMing. The DM should be covering the mechanical cost on this one. Give the levels back. All of them. It will help motivate the player to re-invest in their character and in the story.

After all, the 2 level difference wasn't materially different anyway.

Tinkerer
2017-10-04, 11:32 AM
I'd argue that returning The Sacred Moonbow Chalice of Power(TM) or whatever to the priests who's temple was sacked rather then telling them the orcs that saced it had already sold it to an as of now unknown buyer so you can keep it for yourselves, is not punishment.

I'm... slightly confused. Considering the example was the players returning the treasure vs the players keeping it for themselves I don't get where the orcs selling it came from.



Telling a player who wants like a five minute cut away IF that as a breather before the new adventure really, truly begins, that that means loosing a character forever AND loosing 2 levels to start with and they'd best hope they don't die anymore and better make sure to stay 100% on the rails at all times even if they have to ignore all aspects of role playing to do so or there going to just keep loosing levels till they can't play anymore, however, is punishing them.

And it's what this guy did for whatever reason. Maybe he's a noobie who doesn't know any better and just heard a guy talk about how awesome that was when he did it back in 1st edition or whatever.

Maybe he use to do that in 1 and 2 E and he thinks it's still ok.

Maybe he's just being an asshat.

That, and the possibility of the DM getting angry that you pointed out if she tries to talk to him, is why I have advised her to get the rest of the party ready to back her, and to have a replacement for this DM lined up, before talking to him. Don't lead with that, but if he does get angry and you have to remove yourself form the situation, you now have the ability to operate from a position of strength, having established that he's not going to be reasonable if it's just you talking to him. Maybe if the whole group is telling him the same thing it will click. If he STILL isn't being reasonable at that point however, you still have the position of strength, and can have the whole party walk away form this, as, at THAT point, NONE of you need to be there for any reason.

I didn't point out the possibility of the GM getting angry, the OP did.

It seems (to me at least) that speaking up will make him upset, saying nothing makes me upset, and leaving the group makes everyone upset.
I was saying that it makes it more important than ever to speak to the GM because if they do get angry then that is a clear cut warning sign that the situation is completely messed up. They should talk to the GM and see if their concerns are valid or if they are wrestling with shadows here. Do we know that they would continue losing levels? Several GMs who use the lose a level system have a baseline that characters can't fall below.

Why go and line up a replacement GM first? That is just encouraging bad blood all around. OP is already operating from a position of strength as a replacement GM can always be found, all that this would do is make it seem to the GM as though people are actively conspiring against them. OP has given no indication that the other players would be inclined to follow them in a mass exodus, in fact they have given the impression that the opposite is true if anything. Skip the pointless and counter-productive plotting and just talk to them.

If the GM is new to this then guidance is what they need, not hostility. If the GM is an asshat then that should be determined so it can be addressed. If the GM uses a different style then that style should be determined so that you can figure out if it's worth dealing with.

EDIT: In the quote above there are 3 possible situations. Not talking to the GM about it has a guaranteed bad outcome, leaving the group has a guaranteed bad outcome, talking to the GM has a possible bad outcome. Looking at those odds there is really only one choice which has a chance of making people happy.

Tanarii
2017-10-04, 11:40 AM
It IS a penalty. Penalties are losses sustained to motivate a different behavior. In this case, the penalty is the level loss and the motivated behavior is to be more compliant with a DM's directions. Let's move on to your next point to see this more clearly.No. it is not a penalty. it is free XP/levels not earned during in-session play, granted by either the DM or the group. Hopefully for a purpose. Viewing it as a penalty is an entitlement attitude.


Except we have no evidence to support that this is the case in the game.The question I was answering was a general question. It was not specific to the OP's group.


In any case, it seems clear that the DM mishandled the problem, even if they were justified by the rules, they failed to play along with the players in the game that was going on before the DM picked up their role. And now the player is picking up the cost of that mistake rather than the DM that created it.Agreed.


Here I will challenge you: If a 2 level disparity does not matter then why implement the rule at all? If it has no effect, then what is gained to be taking the levels away? It should have the same effect to let them replace characters at the same level, since it does not materially matter in any edition.Because:
- the other players earned their XP for their current characters, did not perma-lose or perma-retire their characters, and it's not fair to them to power-level a new character to the same level as them. If they all don't care, or even want the replacement character to come back the same level as them, I probably wouldn't set 'get free levels up to two levels below the lowest level character', because I personally do it to be fair to the other players.
- Also because when I started playing levels weren't ever the same across the board anyway. The XP charts were different for different classes.
- And because it was pretty much the home-rule default in the gaming industry when I started playing.

So a combination of tradition, and not pissing off the other players in the group.


I have been playing D&D (mostly 3.5) for right around 10 years now. I have never seen players angry that someone replacing a character received, "unearned levels."Good on you. I've had complaints from players when other players in the group came in with free unearned levels all the way up to two lower than the lowest character in the group. I've had players complain to me when absent players got XP. I've had players complain to me about other players, who were perfectly happy to start 2 lower than the lowest, not starting at the same level as the replaced character.

The only thing that's an attitude problem is complaining that it's a penalty if you don't restart at the same point. There is no penalizing going on. There is only gaining free levels, and how many free levels are acceptable to the DM/Group.

Pleh
2017-10-04, 12:41 PM
"Entitlement" is only wrong if the sense of entitlement is not proportionately merited.

This player DID earn the XP and the levels. They are entitled to the XP and levels they acquired.

Choosing to retire a character forfeits claim to these points and levels by default, but the default assumes a neutral scenario where no mistakes were made leading to a decision to retire the character.

It was the way this new DM changed the game that lead to the need for a new character, not an independent choice of the player. We shouldn't assume the rules should apply the default way. The DM pushed this choice (even if unintentionally), so it should be on the DM to make it right.

The player should not have to pay for the DM's mistake. The player was trying to help the campaign work DESPITE the DM's mistakes, showing greater flexibility and compromise than the DM, and paying the price of saying goodbye to their character.

The DM should recognize this and meet the player halfway, give them the xp and levels the player has worked hard for.

If the other players don't already support this, we're again at an impasse where there was a pre-existing midunderstanding of the game expectations.

Knaight
2017-10-04, 12:57 PM
"Entitlement" is only wrong if the sense of entitlement is not proportionately merited.

This player DID earn the XP and the levels. They are entitled to the XP and levels they acquired.

It's a game. Nobody is "earning" anything, and "merit" doesn't come into this at all. All you earn by playing is the enjoyment of playing the game, and XP makes sense only in an incentive structure (which can be seen as rewards/punishments), or as an aspect of the simulation (where what's being simulated is the way people constantly doing something gradually get better at it; deliberate pacing would also fit in this category). Similarly "entitlement" doesn't apply here because it's a reasonable expectation that the game will be structured such that the people in the game enjoy it, and thus any criticism about something being unenjoyable is pretty valid.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-04, 01:07 PM
That disconnect between "earn it" / "it's a game so it's about competition and challenge" -versus- "it's a game, it's about fun first" is seen even more starkly in multiplayer online video games, but it does exist in tabletop RPGs going way way back.

Knaight
2017-10-04, 01:11 PM
That disconnect between "earn it" / "it's a game so it's about competition and challenge" -versus- "it's a game, it's about fun first" is seen even more starkly in multiplayer online video games, but it does exist in tabletop RPGs going way way back.

"Earn it" and "It's a game so it's about competition and challenge" aren't remotely the same point. Online videogames actually highlight this pretty well, where earned experience and the like can outright detract from competition and challenge as high skill players end up at a disadvantage against people who've just been playing longer. Similarly wargames and boardgames generally aim for fair starting positions. Nobody is running a weekly chess group where if someone doesn't show up for a few weeks they suddenly have to play without their rooks, because that would just be stupid.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-04, 01:40 PM
"Earn it" and "It's a game so it's about competition and challenge" aren't remotely the same point. Online videogames actually highlight this pretty well, where earned experience and the like can outright detract from competition and challenge as high skill players end up at a disadvantage against people who've just been playing longer. Similarly wargames and boardgames generally aim for fair starting positions. Nobody is running a weekly chess group where if someone doesn't show up for a few weeks they suddenly have to play without their rooks, because that would just be stupid.

I don't disagree that they're not the same... but players who push one often push the other, and treat them as linked, especially in the MMO context.

AMFV
2017-10-04, 08:47 PM
"Earn it" and "It's a game so it's about competition and challenge" aren't remotely the same point. Online videogames actually highlight this pretty well, where earned experience and the like can outright detract from competition and challenge as high skill players end up at a disadvantage against people who've just been playing longer. Similarly wargames and boardgames generally aim for fair starting positions. Nobody is running a weekly chess group where if someone doesn't show up for a few weeks they suddenly have to play without their rooks, because that would just be stupid.

Well the chess comparison doesn't really work here. Chess games don't stretch over years, don't have a roleplaying aspect, and are generally based around the idea of a fair competition. Roleplaying games are often none of those things. Roleplaying games are not about being fair, in all cases, they're often about problem solving with limited resources, in which case fairness can actually make it less fun. (Although not always since not all roleplaying games are the same in this respect).

Metahuman1
2017-10-06, 12:39 AM
I'm... slightly confused. Considering the example was the players returning the treasure vs the players keeping it for themselves I don't get where the orcs selling it came from.



It's an example of the players, having the treasure, using a lie in order to allow them to keep the treasure with out openly being evil about it.

There still being evil, but there pulling the wool over the eyes of the people there being evil too in order to get away with being evil and keeping the treasure. In this case a muguffin magic item.




I didn't point out the possibility of the GM getting angry, the OP did.

I was saying that it makes it more important than ever to speak to the GM because if they do get angry then that is a clear cut warning sign that the situation is completely messed up. They should talk to the GM and see if their concerns are valid or if they are wrestling with shadows here. Do we know that they would continue losing levels? Several GMs who use the lose a level system have a baseline that characters can't fall below.

Why go and line up a replacement GM first? That is just encouraging bad blood all around. OP is already operating from a position of strength as a replacement GM can always be found, all that this would do is make it seem to the GM as though people are actively conspiring against them. OP has given no indication that the other players would be inclined to follow them in a mass exodus, in fact they have given the impression that the opposite is true if anything. Skip the pointless and counter-productive plotting and just talk to them.

If the GM is new to this then guidance is what they need, not hostility. If the GM is an asshat then that should be determined so it can be addressed. If the GM uses a different style then that style should be determined so that you can figure out if it's worth dealing with.

EDIT: In the quote above there are 3 possible situations. Not talking to the GM about it has a guaranteed bad outcome, leaving the group has a guaranteed bad outcome, talking to the GM has a possible bad outcome. Looking at those odds there is really only one choice which has a chance of making people happy.


Ok. Let's say she does it your way.


She doesn't talk to anyone, she doesn't line up a replacement, she goes to the GM.




What happens when he get's mad, boots her from "My Game!", and tells everyone she's not Persona non Grata at his game table because she whined and complained and tried to break the rules and cheat?


She has no game at all now, she's lost her otherwise good, line time group chase he's the one who got to have his say so, and she wasn't ready to IMMEDIATELY and SOLIDLY rebuke it, because she went in trusting with out sufficient verification or a back up plan in case things didn't go 100% ideally.





The backup plan is to get another GM lined up with out letting the problem GM know that that's a thing your doing. Then, also with out letting the GM know, talk to the rest of the party separately and explain the issues too them, and that you've got another GM lined up. That your going to try and talk to the problem GM, but if he flips out and he might, you want there support to tell him he needs to stop it, and if he's still not receptive, to just go play a different game with this other GM you found.

Now, if he get's mad, tough cookies. He made the mess, you gave him a fair chance to fix it with no pressure. You gave him a fair chance to fix it with very light pressure. And then, you ALL walked and refused to be his punching bags.


But that's still back up plans. The first plan does still have you talk to the guy with no pressure. After all, if he's perfectly reasonable and fixes it, then theres nothing stopping you form calling everyone afterwords and going "Well, that went well, I think will be fine as is going forward.". No harm done at all. He never even has to know that that happened. He only finds out if he's an Asshat about it.

Tinkerer
2017-10-06, 11:09 AM
Ok. Let's say she does it your way.

She doesn't talk to anyone, she doesn't line up a replacement, she goes to the GM.

What happens when he get's mad, boots her from "My Game!", and tells everyone she's not Persona non Grata at his game table because she whined and complained and tried to break the rules and cheat?

She has no game at all now, she's lost her otherwise good, line time group chase he's the one who got to have his say so, and she wasn't ready to IMMEDIATELY and SOLIDLY rebuke it, because she went in trusting with out sufficient verification or a back up plan in case things didn't go 100% ideally.

The backup plan is to get another GM lined up with out letting the problem GM know that that's a thing your doing. Then, also with out letting the GM know, talk to the rest of the party separately and explain the issues too them, and that you've got another GM lined up. That your going to try and talk to the problem GM, but if he flips out and he might, you want there support to tell him he needs to stop it, and if he's still not receptive, to just go play a different game with this other GM you found.

Now, if he get's mad, tough cookies. He made the mess, you gave him a fair chance to fix it with no pressure. You gave him a fair chance to fix it with very light pressure. And then, you ALL walked and refused to be his punching bags.

But that's still back up plans. The first plan does still have you talk to the guy with no pressure. After all, if he's perfectly reasonable and fixes it, then theres nothing stopping you form calling everyone afterwords and going "Well, that went well, I think will be fine as is going forward.". No harm done at all. He never even has to know that that happened. He only finds out if he's an Asshat about it.

Such a complete lack of faith in humanity. Also a huge risk of backfire which would harm OPs chances at success, and possibly their reputation. In the event that the GM tries to boot OP from the game the first step would be to speak to the group regarding the behavior. If the group is the sort of group that would go along with your plan in the first place they should be just as willing (actually more willing since you acted like a responsible adult) to go along with it after talking. I don't know where you got the idea that the party would be less inclined to go along with the player if they spoke to the group after the GM.

If you are looking for a replacement GM there is a decent chance based on geography that the replacement will know some of the people involved so word will get back around. And the GM's family member IS IN THE GROUP. So you are asking at least one person to choose between family and the gaming group, not a choice that you want to back someone into unnecessarily.

Now there are situations where the strategy which you discussed makes sense (job negotiations spring to mind), but when dealing with acquaintances like this it seems like a weaselly, unneeded, underhanded, drama queen method of dealing with it. You were mentioning "sufficient verification" however that is precisely what you are lacking in your plan. If you have a problem with a GM step one is almost always talk to them.

Tanarii
2017-10-06, 11:24 AM
Now there are situations where the strategy which you discussed makes sense (job negotiations spring to mind), but when dealing with acquaintances like this it seems like a weaselly, unneeded, underhanded, drama queen method of dealing with it. Good summary.

This kind of thinking often goes hand in hand with people who are riding high on their entitlement attitude. Not always, but it's very common.

Metahuman1
2017-10-07, 07:46 AM
You know, I had a long, detailed post I was going to make. And then I realized that in explaining myself I was going to wind up giving far more personal history of mine away then I cared to put on the internet.


So, instead, fine, Try it there way. And blame them firmly if it Blows Up.




And as to certain of your remarks. I have plenty of faith in humanity. Just not in individuals whom are in the process of being active asshats until such time as they stop and make an legitimate effort to show they were not doing so maliciously. But humanity as a whole is a much different thing form just these individuals.

And I also have a lot of faith in preparation. On multiple occasions preparation has been the one, single think that kept me alive to be having this little discussion with you right now.



And Tanarii: I'll be keeping your assessment of me in mind. :smallannoyed:






Have a Nice thread.

LordEntrails
2017-10-07, 05:13 PM
First, I suggest you read this; www giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html

Then realize that your character did NOT have to make the decision that YOU had them make.

Now, if you're happy with that decision. Live with it.

Personally, I don't think starting a level lower is a big deal in 5E, it also is a poor rule for a DM to use. IME, it does not motivate. It does not encourage or do anything but punish players.

If a player is repeatedly creating new characters, then address that directly and maturely, not with some artificial rule like this.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 06:22 PM
First, I suggest you read this; www giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html

Then realize that your character did NOT have to make the decision that YOU had them make.

Now, if you're happy with that decision. Live with it.

Personally, I don't think starting a level lower is a big deal in 5E, it also is a poor rule for a DM to use. IME, it does not motivate. It does not encourage or do anything but punish players.

If a player is repeatedly creating new characters, then address that directly and maturely, not with some artificial rule like this.

Some people are fine with throwing away the character of a character, to have Batman use guns and Superman kill people, for story purposes. Those people should never be allowed to write comics, let alone make movies. But, happily, not everyone is like that.

The OP seems not to be one of those people. Although their character got on the boat with the undead, ignoring their family was just too much.

I can't see any reasonable person faulting the OP on their willingness to try to make the game work.

So, OP, any progress on getting the GM to make an effort to make the game work?

WarKitty
2017-10-07, 06:45 PM
Some people are fine with throwing away the character of a character, to have Batman use guns and Superman kill people, for story purposes. Those people should never be allowed to write comics, let alone make movies. But, happily, not everyone is like that.

The OP seems not to be one of those people. Although their character got on the boat with the undead, ignoring their family was just too much.

I can't see any reasonable person faulting the OP on their willingness to try to make the game work.

So, OP, any progress on getting the GM to make an effort to make the game work?

I think it's really a balance. The thing is, in many situations, there is more than one potential reaction that a character could have that would be plausibly within their characterization. And it's better to pick the one that works with the party. But there are also cases where the player feels that the action being pushed would require a radical shift in who their character is.

Quertus
2017-10-07, 07:05 PM
I think it's really a balance. The thing is, in many situations, there is more than one potential reaction that a character could have that would be plausibly within their characterization. And it's better to pick the one that works with the party. But there are also cases where the player feels that the action being pushed would require a radical shift in who their character is.

Ah, yes, thank you. That's more like what I was trying to say, in that it sounds like the OP, by accepting one suboptimal situation but not another, understands that balance.

And, for the "one that works with the party", the OP's character need only have added, "and I'll catch up with you guys in a day or two" after racing off to check on their family.

Tinkerer
2017-10-07, 07:35 PM
You know, I had a long, detailed post I was going to make. And then I realized that in explaining myself I was going to wind up giving far more personal history of mine away then I cared to put on the internet.

So, instead, fine, Try it there way. And blame them firmly if it Blows Up.

And as to certain of your remarks. I have plenty of faith in humanity. Just not in individuals whom are in the process of being active asshats until such time as they stop and make an legitimate effort to show they were not doing so maliciously. But humanity as a whole is a much different thing form just these individuals.

And I also have a lot of faith in preparation. On multiple occasions preparation has been the one, single think that kept me alive to be having this little discussion with you right now.

Have a Nice thread.

That "Such a complete lack of faith in humanity" line was meant to be in jest. Looking back it did not come off as such and for that I apologize. I do find it delightful being on this side of this conversation for once however. I'm normally the "Have 12 back-up plans and a knife just in case" kinda person however that is only in cases where they would help and I do stand by my assertion that in this particular case it would actively harm the situation. It is not an example of making preparations, it is an example of taking active hostile action against the other party.

It's been over a week since the OP now so I imagine it has probably resolved itself one way or the other but if it hasn't then my biggest piece of advice is still calm down and assess the situation. There are many things that the people posting on here don't know about the situation, things only you know. You are the only one who can decide if doing something like that would be a good idea. All that I can say is that if you make your decision in anger you are far more likely to make the wrong one... Er that sounds like I'm just supporting my side but if it came down to talking to the GM in anger or going with the attempted coup actually the coup sounds pretty good haha.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-07, 08:22 PM
Some people are fine with throwing away the character of a character, to have Batman use guns and Superman kill people, for story purposes. Those people should never be allowed to write comics, let alone make movies. But, happily, not everyone is like that.

The OP seems not to be one of those people. Although their character got on the boat with the undead, ignoring their family was just too much.

I can't see any reasonable person faulting the OP on their willingness to try to make the game work.

So, OP, any progress on getting the GM to make an effort to make the game work?

That bold part, those people -- "but I need it to happen for the story" -- is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about when I rail against "narrative causality".

And I don't expect players to throw away the core of their character "for story" or "for game". I do expect them to try to find a path that remains true to the character while moving the game forward and not dragging the game down for others. But I also expect the GM to understand the PCs enough to avoid putting players into that situation as much as possible as well.

oxybe
2017-10-07, 11:41 PM
I'll give my 2cp and leave:

Yes it's a punishment. No it doesn't motivate me. Yes a GM who institutes such a rule raises warning flags for me. It's not a dealbreaker in and of itself, but it raises warning flags on the type of game they're running.

Sometimes we grow out of our character or the character grows out of the game. It happens.

When that happens we retire the character and roll up a new one. Same level, same general quality of gear, or level appropriate amount of cash to buy gear with.

No I don't use individual XP, but rather milestone levelling.

Attending and participating in a session should be your motivation, not having more XP or a higher level then Mike or Jerry. If your character dies and you roll up a new one, I still need to find an appropriate time to introduce the new one, same if you were to ditch a character because you no longer liked playing them.

Your punishment for dying or retiring a character is not being able to play the game you traveled, or at least put time aside, to play. A mechanical penalty on top of that is just petty.

Quertus
2017-10-08, 10:33 AM
That bold part, those people -- "but I need it to happen for the story" -- is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about when I rail against "narrative causality".

And I don't expect players to throw away the core of their character "for story" or "for game". I do expect them to try to find a path that remains true to the character while moving the game forward and not dragging the game down for others. But I also expect the GM to understand the PCs enough to avoid putting players into that situation as much as possible as well.

Obviously, I'm not a fan of your nemesis.

As I've said in other threads, I was taught that this type of "thinking in terms of the story" was the evil known as "metagaming", and that the One True Way was to just Roleplay Your Character.

I've since grown, and I agree that there are often multiple in-character responses to a given situation, and that one should strive to keep an eye to the metagaming to reevaluate any in-character choice that would be actively detrimental to the fun of the game, to look for alternative in-character choices that would produce a better* outcome.

* for the fun of all involved, not "better" as in "optimal Determinator". Sheesh.

Tinkerer
2017-10-09, 12:24 PM
No I don't use individual XP, but rather milestone levelling.


Now in that style of play I would definitely not knock a level off. Milestone play has such a different feel to it that it wouldn't really feel right, I mean part of the reason that I'm so fine with knocking a level off is that a) it is possible to catch up and b) everyone already isn't operating on the same exact field. What I would do is ask that they provide a listing of each milestone that their character passed to get to their current level, probably over 15 min or so pre/post-session sit down. Make sure their new character has some depth of history to them. Probably bust out my character generation tarot cards and get some basic choices.

Odessa333
2017-10-10, 10:56 AM
Wow, gotta be honest, I had no idea this thread had THIS much activity going on still. Color me surprised.


(cough) anywho, OP here. I did try to talk to the group, yet it didn't go well as the new DM shut me down and wouldn't let me get a world in by talking over me. He continued on with his narration of a tour of a house ignoring my attempts to speak up. Since I wasn't allowed to speak, I wrote out notes to trying to be respectful at that point, asking if there was anyway I could stop this tour that wasn't important, asking the tour guide to shup, asking if I could cast my 'shatter' spell on the windows to get the party's attention and/or end the tour, if I was allowed to do ANYTHING other than listen to him narrate.

There wasn't.

I tried for an hour and a half (of a 3 hour session) to get a word in, and after that I excused myself and left, disgusted. I left a note for the players explaining my position of 'this sucks' and 2 people told me I was causing drama and to get lost, 2 told me they were sorry to see me go but they were not going to do anything about me leaving, and 2 haven't said anything at all.


In the end, I left the group, and managed to lose my friends at the same time, which was pretty much the worse case scenario. I was pretty upset and have not been online much since then trying to get over the crying/depression that comes with losing one's best friends, hence why I haven't posted.


For those who have said this was me whining about entitlement (especially those who had to PM me about this) you clearly missed the point. Losing the level was not the deal breaker; using the loss of the level as what felt like a direct insult was.

With everything that has happened since this first post.... I can summarize it best as saying the DM was very, very controlling, wanting to listen to himself narrate the world with us making skill checks when he prompted us to, rather than any kind of cooperative storytelling. I rejected that notion and tried to take the railroad game off of his rails, and was given various punishments for trying to stay in character (such as my character foolishly wanting to protect her family) and not just following the 'the plot' he clearly was trying to shove on us whether we liked it or not. It felt very much like a video game, as I was not allowed to send a message to anyone until after I had taken this tour the DM was VERY adamant we had to take; we HAD to do things his way, in order, and we were not even allowed to sequence break, nevermind have an original thought. It was truly frightening bad DM'ing in my opinion, yet since I was alone of my group for thinking such things, I am now alone and without said group.


That said, it's time to hit up roll20 and try again, I suppose. Thank you for your time.

Quertus
2017-10-10, 01:02 PM
Wow. I'm sorry to hear that I was right about the GM, and your prospects for enjoying the game, and more sorry to hear that your "friends" weren't.

May you have better luck in your next game.

Tinkerer
2017-10-10, 02:08 PM
Yeesh, sounds like a real nightmare scenario. I am very sorry to hear about the results and I wish you the best of luck in obtaining a new group.

Mark Hall
2017-10-10, 02:52 PM
Wow, gotta be honest, I had no idea this thread had THIS much activity going on still. Color me surprised.


(cough) anywho, OP here. I did try to talk to the group, yet it didn't go well as the new DM shut me down and wouldn't let me get a world in by talking over me. He continued on with his narration of a tour of a house ignoring my attempts to speak up. Since I wasn't allowed to speak, I wrote out notes to trying to be respectful at that point, asking if there was anyway I could stop this tour that wasn't important, asking the tour guide to shup, asking if I could cast my 'shatter' spell on the windows to get the party's attention and/or end the tour, if I was allowed to do ANYTHING other than listen to him narrate.



Yeesh, that sounds horrible. I'm sorry you lost your friends, but that GM sounds like a nightmare of douchebaggery.

Max_Killjoy
2017-10-10, 02:57 PM
Wow, gotta be honest, I had no idea this thread had THIS much activity going on still. Color me surprised.


(cough) anywho, OP here. I did try to talk to the group, yet it didn't go well as the new DM shut me down and wouldn't let me get a world in by talking over me. He continued on with his narration of a tour of a house ignoring my attempts to speak up. Since I wasn't allowed to speak, I wrote out notes to trying to be respectful at that point, asking if there was anyway I could stop this tour that wasn't important, asking the tour guide to shup, asking if I could cast my 'shatter' spell on the windows to get the party's attention and/or end the tour, if I was allowed to do ANYTHING other than listen to him narrate.

There wasn't.

I tried for an hour and a half (of a 3 hour session) to get a word in, and after that I excused myself and left, disgusted. I left a note for the players explaining my position of 'this sucks' and 2 people told me I was causing drama and to get lost, 2 told me they were sorry to see me go but they were not going to do anything about me leaving, and 2 haven't said anything at all.


In the end, I left the group, and managed to lose my friends at the same time, which was pretty much the worse case scenario. I was pretty upset and have not been online much since then trying to get over the crying/depression that comes with losing one's best friends, hence why I haven't posted.


For those who have said this was me whining about entitlement (especially those who had to PM me about this) you clearly missed the point. Losing the level was not the deal breaker; using the loss of the level as what felt like a direct insult was.

With everything that has happened since this first post.... I can summarize it best as saying the DM was very, very controlling, wanting to listen to himself narrate the world with us making skill checks when he prompted us to, rather than any kind of cooperative storytelling. I rejected that notion and tried to take the railroad game off of his rails, and was given various punishments for trying to stay in character (such as my character foolishly wanting to protect her family) and not just following the 'the plot' he clearly was trying to shove on us whether we liked it or not. It felt very much like a video game, as I was not allowed to send a message to anyone until after I had taken this tour the DM was VERY adamant we had to take; we HAD to do things his way, in order, and we were not even allowed to sequence break, nevermind have an original thought. It was truly frightening bad DM'ing in my opinion, yet since I was alone of my group for thinking such things, I am now alone and without said group.


That said, it's time to hit up roll20 and try again, I suppose. Thank you for your time.


That GM is terrible, and I'm not sure these people were so much your friends in the first place.

Metahuman1
2017-10-11, 12:29 AM
Yeesh, sounds like a real nightmare scenario. I am very sorry to hear about the results and I wish you the best of luck in obtaining a new group.

So little faith in humanity. :smallmad:

I. Told. You. So.

Maybe next time you won't be so dismissive of helpful things like extensive prepwork to make sure plan B and plan C are already firmly in place in case things go belly up. You know. Like they now conclusively as a point of solid, irrefutable fact, did go this time around.














To the OP.


For whatever it's worth, I'm sorry it went that way. I'm sorry this guy was such a brazen and unapologetic Asshat, and that he was experienced enough at the old hat trick of shouting louder then the other person in order to get his way that he was able to get his way and keep the party.

I didn't want it to come to that. I really didn't.

Get a new group. Maybe explore a different system or learn a new one, Shadow Run and Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition and Fate open up a LOT of possibility's and a lot of other games for groups on things like Roll D20 or even here on the forums. Apart from that, just remember whom was in that group that wasn't expressly sorry to see you go, because, clearly, they are now unfortunately people you know better than to game with as they are very much fair weather players at best. (By which I mean they now have a track record of unfairly giving you a metaphorical out of character knife in the back.)

Aside form that, sadly, I don't have any other advice I can give you, and all else I can do is wish you good luck finding a good group with a good
GM/DM, that you can have fun with. Best of luck.

Pleh
2017-10-11, 07:36 AM
My condolences on the game. Seems the separation is the best thing for everyone here, but they should have at least tried to let you off easy rather than snub you on your way out.

Tinkerer
2017-10-11, 02:45 PM
So little faith in humanity. :smallmad:

I. Told. You. So.

Maybe next time you won't be so dismissive of helpful things like extensive prepwork to make sure plan B and plan C are already firmly in place in case things go belly up. You know. Like they now conclusively as a point of solid, irrefutable fact, did go this time around.


They didn't follow my advice or your advice so you can't really say that unfortunately. From the sounds of things plan B and plan C wouldn't have had a chance of working out either.

However if OP does stop by here again I would make one recommendation. Whether talking to the group or talking to the GM the one time that conversation should not take place is mid-session. That never turns out well.

Metahuman1
2017-10-12, 01:58 AM
Except that she tried talking to the DM directly, which was very much your suggestion, and did not take the time to run the prepwork for Plan B and C, which was mine.


Instead, the GM got to get his say in first, and got to shout down any points that disagreed on any level with his personal view of the situation. Or at least what he claimed his view was cause frankly the only people I've ever known who are prone to using the tactic of shouting over the top of the other person to get there way are also highly prone to lying just to keep there hands in it.

Maybe it wouldn't have. Maybe she would have spoken to them one on one with another DM lined up and they would have said they don't want to be involved. Or maybe when she wasn't having logical points shouted down mid point, preventing her form getting them across, and when SHE was the one getting to get HER point in first, (And trust me, getting your message in first freaking matters when dealing with humans outside of laboratory settings, and sometimes even within laboratory settings.), they might have all gotten on board, found a replacement GM, and then given her a chance to teach this guy a little lesson when he played ******* during the session AGAIN by just mass walking out on him.




Will never know because she gave him the benefit of the doubt instead, which you advised her to do quite adamantly, and it went exactly as badly as I was afraid doing something like that would go. And the only lesson this GM learned was either that he is totally in the right and to be even more controlling in the future, or that he got away with being an asshat again.

And you very much wanted her to try to talk to the GM directly with no backup plans, to the point of insisting they were very likely to simply backfire and make things worse then the worse case scenario we actually have now, and that this scenario doing it your way, with no back up plans, was so unlikely that it was basically not worth actually worrying about.



That was the sentiment you got across crystal freaking clear, consistently in your posts prior to the update. So, yes, yes she did do it your way.


Please keep this firmly in mind the next time you decide that backup plans and extensive preparation for worse case scenario is unnecessary. With luck it'll spare someone else the same throughly avoidabel unpleasantness.

Tinkerer
2017-10-12, 10:18 AM
Except that she tried talking to the DM directly, which was very much your suggestion, and did not take the time to run the prepwork for Plan B and C, which was mine.

snip

That was the sentiment you got across crystal freaking clear, consistently in your posts prior to the update. So, yes, yes she did do it your way.


Please keep this firmly in mind the next time you decide that backup plans and extensive preparation for worse case scenario is unnecessary. With luck it'll spare someone else the same throughly avoidabel unpleasantness.

You might want to reread their post then. They never spoke to the GM. They spoke to the group. While the session was going. While the GM was talking. Probably the worst thing to do in that situation, like throwing water on an oil fire.

The difference is you viewed prepping Plan B and C as essential for Plan A where as I viewed Plan A as essential for prepping Plan B and C. To put it another way talking to the GM away from the table would have made it more likely that people would agree to go along with leaving since they would know that you tried to work things out like a reasonable adult. Especially when you have 2 people talking about how they don't want someone bringing drama to the table showing that you tried to talk things out can really assist you in getting them to join you.

Not really a concern though since I doubt that OP saw either of our posts before all this went down.

Tanarii
2017-10-12, 10:46 AM
You might want to reread their post then. They never spoke to the GM. They spoke to the group. While the session was going. While the GM was talking. Probably the worst thing to do in that situation, like throwing water on an oil fire.
Yup. Hardly surprising the DM tried to ignore it, and several group members thought the OP was bringing drama, fair judgement or not.

Also PMing the OP about their attitude in response to a public post about isn't cool. Bad enough to do it in the public post, like I did.

Friv
2017-10-13, 02:02 PM
Please keep this firmly in mind the next time you decide that backup plans and extensive preparation for worse case scenario is unnecessary. With luck it'll spare someone else the same throughly avoidabel unpleasantness.

Metahuman1, I'm going to be as polite as possible about this, because you're obviously coming from a place of real hurt.

Your advice is not good advice.

This situation is operating on two axes, and whether to talk to the GM privately or organize a pre-revolt is axis #3. Let's run through them.

Option #1a: The GM is an absolute jerk or tyrant who will try to turn a group against you.
Option #1b: The GM is uncertain or misunderstanding you.

Option #2a: Your group is basically made up of decent people, but they don't want confrontations so they're not intervening right now.
Option #2b: Your group is basically made up of toxic people, who buy into "total GM control" and think that expressing concerns is bad.

Now, you add to this Option #3a - Talk to the GM quietly between sessions, or Option #3b - Line up replacements and talk to everyone but the GM, then approach the GM.

If the GM is a Jerk, neither option is going to work. They're going to explode either way. If the GM is uncertain, talking to them quietly can fix things, but approaching them with an ultimatum is going to make them double down and convince them that you're the bad guy, and the situation will explode.

If the other players are jerks, you will get them to line up behind you, but do you want them? They're just going to line up behind the next person to take issue with you. If they aren't jerks, creating a mutiny without actually talking to the GM means crapping away whatever sympathy you've gathered, and risks turning them against you even if you're in the right.

Essentially, the only situation in which your advice works out is if everyone involved is so terrible that I wouldn't want to be playing with them. If talking to the GM quietly allows him to turn everyone against you, and everyone is that willing to turn, they were never your friends. It's a freaking game.

I have had GM problems in the past. I have had problems with other players. I have had an entire group just straight-up dissolve. In the only cases in which we stopped being friends, they were not people I would want to be friends with. Usually, we just agreed that our styles didn't mesh for this game, and moved on.