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View Full Version : [3.5] Worst DM decision eva! :P



Thurbane
2008-12-02, 08:46 PM
OK, exaggeration on my part, but here's what happened Monday night:

Our Beguiler cast Confusion on some Hill Giants and Goblins. One of the Goblins, who failed, gets "Flee from caster" result, and moves to the far edge of the room.

Next round, he gets the same result - the DM rules that the Goblin chugs his Potion of Invisibility, as "this will help him flee". Players are outraged, but DM stands firm, claiming it a reasonable interpretation of the result. During the debate, I asked what if it were a creature with Teleport abiltities, would they Teleport away? He said "absolutely!".

Opinions (other than "leave the game", which I'm otherwise quite happy with)?

The Glyphstone
2008-12-02, 08:48 PM
So, you're upset because you don't get the potion as loot?

Honestly, I think you're overreacting. Goblins are fairly smart critters (at least, no dumber than the average human), and a goblin who's trying to flee from something and has a potion of invisibility is perfectly within his rights to drink it. NPCs that have consumables they can use but don't are being played wrong.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-02, 08:49 PM
I hope this is a joke thread.

Saph
2008-12-02, 08:50 PM
Next round, he gets the same result - the DM rules that the Goblin chugs his Potion of Invisibility, as "this will help him flee". Players are outraged, but DM stands firm, claiming it a reasonable interpretation of the result. During the debate, I asked what if it were a creature with Teleport abiltities, would they Teleport away? He said "absolutely!".

Seems fairly reasonable to me.

If you look up the SRD on Fear effects, you'll see that they explicitly say that a panicked creature with teleport effects can use them to flee (and, in fact, MUST use them if that's the only way they can see to escape). Here's the link. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#panicked)

This isn't an identical situation, but it's not outrageous by any means. I'm with your DM on this one.

- Saph

Xefas
2008-12-02, 08:51 PM
On the one hand, that sounds completely reasonable.

On the other hand, the spell actually says "Flee away from caster at top possible speed" which implies actual movement. In addition it says "A confused character who canít carry out the indicated action does nothing but babble incoherently."

So, by strict interpretation, the goblin should have just stood there and babbled. However, I think chugging the potion is more interesting and would be fine with a DM making that ruling.

Mushroom Ninja
2008-12-02, 08:53 PM
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

FoE
2008-12-02, 08:53 PM
I would rule on the side of your DM.

Raum
2008-12-02, 09:02 PM
Opinions (other than "leave the game", which I'm otherwise quite happy with)?I have to ask, was there some reason to believe the goblin wouldn't use every ability, power, or item available to it in order to flee?

FoE
2008-12-02, 09:05 PM
This thread reminds me of this strip. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0024.html)

Douglas
2008-12-02, 09:35 PM
I'll join the chorus agreeing with your DM. A creature that gets that result for Confusion is forced to flee "at top possible speed", and may use any and all abilities and equipment he has in order to do so. In fact, for creatures that can teleport long distances it would not be unreasonable to rule that they must use their teleportation in preference to other means of escaping because it is the fastest means available, and they are required to teleport to the most distant location they can.

Drinking a potion of invisibility is not beyond possibility, provided that no immediate means of moving further away is available.

Toxic Avenger
2008-12-02, 09:36 PM
So, you're upset because you don't get the potion as loot?

Honestly, I think you're overreacting. Goblins are fairly smart critters (at least, no dumber than the average human), and a goblin who's trying to flee from something and has a potion of invisibility is perfectly within his rights to drink it. NPCs that have consumables they can use but don't are being played wrong.Yep. This.



Opinions (other than "leave the game", which I'm otherwise quite happy with)?Oh, really? What other "atrocities" hath this vile and unreasonable DM heaped upon you? :smallconfused: Move along, nothing to see here...I'm an idiot, yes I am...nothing to see here...

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-02, 09:37 PM
Teleporting is definitly "top possible speed."

Given the nature of confusion, though, using a consumable magic item rather than an innate ability (like a teleport SLA), seems to me to imply too much thinking for what the spell is supposed to represent. Takes a bit of presence of mind to think about what you've got in your pockets. Probably a bit more than a creature whose brains have been addled by magic would have. I'd probably go with the babbling incoherently option if I were running the game, but I think the DM was within his rights in his ruling here.

Deepblue706
2008-12-02, 09:44 PM
Oh, really? What other "atrocities" hath this vile and unreasonable DM heaped upon you? :smallconfused:

I think he said he was otherwise happy with the game, there.

Toxic Avenger
2008-12-02, 09:57 PM
Oh, oops. My mind twisted the words around. Somehow, I interpreted that as meaning the OP was otherwise happy with leaving the game.

I need more sleep...sorry. :smallredface:

Thurbane
2008-12-02, 09:58 PM
I hope this is a joke thread.
Nope, definitely not a joke.

Wow, maybe I (and my fellow players) totally have the wrong end of the stick. I thought a creature under a Confusion spell wouldnít be acting rationally enough to consider using magic items to assist itís action for the round.

Well then, if the most efficient way of fleeing the caster, if the target were backed into a corner, was to kill the caster, could he throw a Javelin of Lighting, or use something similar to aid in fleeing?

newbDM
2008-12-02, 09:59 PM
OK, exaggeration on my part, but here's what happened Monday night:

Our Beguiler cast Confusion on some Hill Giants and Goblins. One of the Goblins, who failed, gets "Flee from caster" result, and moves to the far edge of the room.

Next round, he gets the same result - the DM rules that the Goblin chugs his Potion of Invisibility, as "this will help him flee". Players are outraged, but DM stands firm, claiming it a reasonable interpretation of the result. During the debate, I asked what if it were a creature with Teleport abiltities, would they Teleport away? He said "absolutely!".

Opinions (other than "leave the game", which I'm otherwise quite happy with)?


Wow, I do not mean to be rude, but the word spoiled keeps coming to my mind.

Thurbane
2008-12-02, 10:00 PM
Yep. This.


Oh, really? What other "atrocities" hath this vile and unreasonable DM heaped upon you? :smallconfused:
Yes indeed. I really didn't think I was being at all unreasonable, I thought it was a bad call. As I did say, I am otherwise happy with the game, and that the thread title was an exaggeration. BTW, it wasn't just me, all five players felt the same way. :smallredface:

Douglas
2008-12-02, 10:12 PM
Well then, if the most efficient way of fleeing the caster, if the target were backed into a corner, was to kill the caster, could he throw a Javelin of Lighting, or use something similar to aid in fleeing?
No. There is no circumstance I can imagine where attacking the caster qualifies as attempting to flee from him. I'd say the following categories of actions are possible, in order from highest priority to lowest: change your own physical location to somewhere farther from the caster by as much as you possibly can; destroy barriers preventing you from fleeing or do something that will allow you to bypass such barriers as soon as possible; make yourself harder to find or put obstacles in the caster's path to you; babble incoherently, as you are unable to even attempt to flee. Attacking the caster in certain ways might slow him down or prevent him from chasing you, but I think that's stretching the definition of "flee" a bit too far.

Oracle_Hunter
2008-12-02, 10:27 PM
Wow, maybe I (and my fellow players) totally have the wrong end of the stick. I thought a creature under a Confusion spell wouldnít be acting rationally enough to consider using magic items to assist itís action for the round.

The trick here is to remember that Confusion doesn't keep you from thinking rationally; it just keeps you from thinking consistently.

To quote the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/confusion.htm)

This spell causes the targets to become confused, making them unable to independently determine what they will do.

See, it's not that a Confused creature suddenly loses all rational capacity; they just can't exercise independent decision making. That's why their actions for a round are determined by a D% table.

Now, does the condition "Flee away from caster at top possible speed" require the goblin to drink the potion? No. Is it a reasonable action for someone under this imperative to take? I would say yes.

Stopping and attacking the caster? Not so much; it not only involves the Confused creature to stop and face the caster, but to also attack the very creature they are trying to escape from. Aside from the tit-for-tat attacks all Confused creatures are allowed, I'd say no attacking unless it becomes necessary to fulfill the D% result.

Thurbane
2008-12-02, 10:29 PM
Hmm, I can't believe I came accross as such a jerk with my post above. I thought the DMs interpretation was just plain wrong. I am hunble enough to put my hand up when I've screwed up. I am most definitely not a spoiled player, this is the first "major" rules dispute I've had with the DM. :smallfrown:

It wasn't about getting the loot, it was about the precedent it set. I was concerned that we were going to get opponents using all kind of nasty surprises while Confused. My concerns were obviously misplaced. :smallredface:

Would it be the same with a Cause Fear spell? COuld you stop to chug, say, a potion of Haste while running away?

Kizara
2008-12-02, 10:31 PM
Use a better enchantment effect next time.

If you don't want random results, don't use an effect that generates them.


Really, its as simple as that. Control your own fate.

UserClone
2008-12-02, 10:43 PM
I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with everyone here and say, yeah, that's a bad call. If it was a cause fear spell, then yes, unless it was otherwise unable to move further away, then of course it is reasonable for it to do something like that. Confusion has specific instructions for what happens if it cannot flee - it babbles. If it didn't babble, he changed the rules on you. I don't think it was necessary to make a DM call on this one, as there are already rules governing what happens if the affected creature can't flee. And yes, "flee", to someone who is confused and not thinking straight, means "run away", not "chug your potion". But that's just me, I guess.

Kjata
2008-12-02, 10:47 PM
This thread reminds me of this strip. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0024.html)

Ya, me too...

newbDM
2008-12-02, 10:53 PM
It wasn't about getting the loot, it was about the precedent it set. I was concerned that we were going to get opponents using all kind of nasty surprises while Confused. My concerns were obviously misplaced. :smallredface:

Actually, I do not believe they were. If you are confused, and especially if you are attempting to flee for your life, I believe one is likelier to do the unexpected than normal.

Just try to imagine how far you would be willing to go if you believe you were probably mere moments away from being killed by someone(s). I could easily picture a wealthy aristocrat braking an ancient and priceless item in the millions of gp range he personally owned over an assassin's head, if he felt there was even a slight chance it would possibly knock the killer unconscious (or posisbly even kill him). What good would that priceless vase/statue/sculpture/relic/heirloom/magic item/artifact do him if he's dead? I also believe this would be especially true if a person had some form of magical supernatural effect messing with his very mind.



p.s. And sorry for the spoiled thing. I guess I did get the wrong image from your OP.

RS14
2008-12-02, 10:57 PM
Would it be the same with a Cause Fear spell? COuld you stop to chug, say, a potion of Haste while running away?

A frightened creature flees from the source of its fear as best it can. If unable to flee, it may fight. A frightened creature takes a -2 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. A frightened creature can use special abilities, including spells, to flee; indeed, the creature must use such means if they are the only way to escape.
I would assume so, based on the above.

afroakuma
2008-12-02, 11:00 PM
Would it be the same with a Cause Fear spell? COuld you stop to chug, say, a potion of Haste while running away?

Here's how I read this: you get as far away as possible as fast as possible using only movement options currently available to you.

Once this option is exhausted, you employ whatever means are available to you to extend the available distance you can run. If this works, go back to step 1.

Once that option is also exhausted, you put up whatever obstacle you can to prevent the caster from getting to you.

So a potion of haste would require more planning than a fear effect would allow, and wouldn't be useful in the latter stages. A potion of invisibility would only be useful in the last step.

In other words, there are certain things you just wouldn't do.

newbDM
2008-12-02, 11:00 PM
I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with everyone here and say, yeah, that's a bad call. If it was a cause fear spell, then yes, unless it was otherwise unable to move further away, then of course it is reasonable for it to do something like that. Confusion has specific instructions for what happens if it cannot flee - it babbles. If it didn't babble, he changed the rules on you. I don't think it was necessary to make a DM call on this one, as there are already rules governing what happens if the affected creature can't flee. And yes, "flee", to someone who is confused and not thinking straight, means "run away", not "chug your potion". But that's just me, I guess.

Well, all the rules in D&D (even the Core ones) are merely guidelines. It says so in the books. A lot of people forget that.

I personally feel it made a lot more sense that babbling. A creative D&D should be able to toss the written material out the window if it doesn't seem to make sense for the given situation.

Also, if you are going by RAW then the potion would make sense. Being invisible would have potentially given him a chance to continue fleeing. If you are in a locked room with only one door, and are pressed into a corner while the rest of your buddies are still fitting the intruders, then your only options would be to try getting past the door (which the intruders are by) or stay in that conrer and await death. By drinking that potion there was the possibility that he could get past the intruders if he was careful and quiet enough, therefore there was still an available option to continue fleeing..

Raum
2008-12-02, 11:04 PM
Would it be the same with a Cause Fear spell? COuld you stop to chug, say, a potion of Haste while running away?In my opinion, it's not likely. But there are situations which could change my mind. It's possible if the victim has some reason to believe using the Haste potion is the only way to escape, for example. Or possibly use an ability they would normally use when fleeing (teleport comes to mind). But in general, they're panicked and simply run first. However when running isn't possible or isn't successful they should look for other means of escape.

That's for intelligent beings of course. Mindless undead running from a turn may well keep running into a wall. They're mindless after all. :)

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-02, 11:04 PM
Just try to imagine how far you would be willing to go if you believe you were probably mere moments away from being killed by someone(s). I could easily picture a wealthy aristocrat braking an ancient and priceless item in the millions of gp range he personally owned over an assassin's head, if he felt there was even a slight chance it would possibly knock the killer unconscious (or posisbly even kill him). What good would that priceless vase/statue/sculpture/relic/heirloom/magic item/artifact do him if he's dead? I also believe this would be especially true if a person had some form of magical supernatural effect messing with his very mind.
Emotional state has nothing to do with this. Confusion doesn't instill fear. It just messes with the decision making process. (And actually, since one could wind up attacking allies, I'd say it does mess with rational thought as well, but I'm not going to make a point of it.) Sure, the thought process that leads to a confused opponent fleeing could be that you're trying to kill him. Or the opponent could be calmly enacting a "tactical retreat" in preparation to launch the next assault.

newbDM
2008-12-02, 11:07 PM
Emotional state has nothing to do with this. Confusion doesn't instill fear. It just messes with the decision making process. (And actually, since one could wind up attacking allies, I'd say it does mess with rational thought as well, but I'm not going to make a point of it.) Sure, the thought process that leads to a confused opponent fleeing could be that you're trying to kill him. Or the opponent could be calmly enacting a "tactical retreat" in preparation to launch the next assault.

Very true. My bad.

I guess I just assumed it randomly caused the same effect as the cause fear.

Lemur
2008-12-03, 02:01 AM
Hmm, I can't believe I came accross as such a jerk with my post above. I thought the DMs interpretation was just plain wrong. I am hunble enough to put my hand up when I've screwed up. I am most definitely not a spoiled player, this is the first "major" rules dispute I've had with the DM. :smallfrown:

It wasn't about getting the loot, it was about the precedent it set. I was concerned that we were going to get opponents using all kind of nasty surprises while Confused. My concerns were obviously misplaced. :smallredface:

Would it be the same with a Cause Fear spell? COuld you stop to chug, say, a potion of Haste while running away?

I'd say that there's actually a better case for such action with fear effects than with Confusion (at least for the frightened effect).

Especially with the Frightened effect- the target's mind isn't under complete control, and wanting to turn invisible when confronted with something you're afraid of to cover your retreat is fairly reasonable. However, any items used should further the objective of escape- imbibing a potion of Remove Fear shouldn't be considered a reasonable action in this case.

It gets a bit stickier with the Panicked effect, though. Panicked seems to indicate that rational thought is somewhat impeded, and even if spell use is possible, the use of items is a bit shaky. Mainly because a panicked creature "A panicked creature must drop anything it holds". This suggests to me that anything a panicked creature picks up or draws while under the influence of panic are immediately dropped (although this rule could use some clarification). This would mean that items that are not worn (like potions or wands, but not boots of speed or the like) couldn't be used by a panicked creature- it's just too scared to hold on to anything long enough to use them.

ericgrau
2008-12-03, 09:45 AM
SRD says they'll flee by the best means possible to them.

Another_Poet
2008-12-03, 10:19 AM
As much as I hate to be the voice of dissent...



Flee away from caster at top possible speed.


In D&D the top possible speed for a goblin is taking the Run action. The Run action is a full-round action. You cannot drink a potion AND take the Run action in the same round, so you cannot drink a potion.

And if there's nowhere to run to?

The spell says the goblin stands there and "babbles incoherently." It doesn't say it gets to start taking other actions that may (or may not) help it run.

That's RAW.

(Teleport SLA would be different, as would casting Longstrider or similar, but the goblin didn't have those - it had a potion of invis.)

Thurbane
2008-12-03, 03:53 PM
Thanks - I don't feel like quite as horrible a human being now. :smallbiggrin:

Ent
2008-12-03, 04:09 PM
Thanks - I don't feel like quite as horrible a human being now. :smallbiggrin:

People can be very strongly opinionated on the internet, I think it's the anonymity.

Which reminds me of THIS (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/) comic.

RukiTanuki
2008-12-03, 06:03 PM
Were confusion a fear effect, I'd say it'd be more justified. However, with the flavor text suggesting the creature is unable to determine its own actions, drinking a potion seems a little too rational given the random decision to move away from the caster at top speed. In either case, I agree that taking a standard action to use the potion certainly goes against the imperative to "move at full speed," which would entail the full action of a run.

I wouldn't worry much about confused creatures attacking on a roll that requires that they run away. That's a much larger stretch.

Tacoma
2008-12-04, 04:03 PM
Imagine a group of soldiers. They have just stormed the landing beaches. They have seen their friends die in completely random and inexplicable ways. They're wet, cold, tired, injured, hungry, thirsty, and suffering from the effects of a sudden adrenaline drain. Think Saving Private Ryan.

Now under these conditions a person makes inexplicable decisions. He might throw off his equipment and his clothes. He might be very angry or anguished. He might repeat the same phrases over and over. Maybe he clams up and stops interacting with the world.

This is what I think Confusion does. It puts the same block in the victim's mind that such excessive stress also does. It makes him do things that he might not otherwise do. It makes him think things he shouldn't be thinking. It makes him feel in ways he wouldn't otherwise feel. He is not a calm pilot in a body that is disobeying his will. He is seriously messed up and not in control mentally or physically.

If the Confusion spell states that he acts in a given way, that is his absolute priority. If the spell says he must flee, then I say he is afraid of the caster and is fleeing for whatever reason his mind is creating for him. This means he takes Run actions until he has to stop to open a door, then he opens the door and continues Running. He does this with the goal of escaping the caster, even if he provokes AoO in the process. He chooses the path that is the quickest way out of the caster's area and then out of the area entirely.

If he can Teleport with a spell or magic item, he should Run for one round and then have the option to use the magic item or spell. Casting a spell or using equipment is not the very first thing you think of. Now if the Teleport or Flight or whatever is a racial ability meaning it's as natural as Running, then the creature should immediately Teleport even risking AoO in the process.

Invisibility would come into play ONLY if the creature had it as a natural ability. Otherwise he would choose Running because he doesn't need to get out of sight, or power himself up enough to feel safe, or go Ethereal and stand next to the caster. He needs to run away at maximum speed.

Imagine a creature that was shaped just like a rocket ship. His fastest way to escape would be to turn around, point his butt at the caster, and blast off. In this way he might be making an attack upon the caster in the process of running away.

But we all can agree that the victim otherwise doesn't have the tactical presense of mind to take the single attack on the caster and then walk away, or to make a defensive withdrawal, right? This guy is not just a normal dude who is now thinking "hey it would be a good idea to keep away from the caster". He is not even thinking! How can he cast a spell, which short of making a magic item is the most mentally difficult thing to do?

How can he possibly decide to chug a potion of invisibility instead of opening a door and continuing to run out of the room?

Imagine a PC faced with an enemy so powerful, so amazingly overwhelming that he has no choice but to flee. Who knows if that potion is going to work? This terrible enemy probably has magic that can see through invisibility! And even then it's just a miss chance or whatever. But if you get around that corner this invincible foe can't blast you. That is what the goblin should have been doing.

That said, this is also really about monsters using their consumable magic items. I think if they have it they should use it, in general. But in terms of game balance, a DM could follow the guidelines and just equip his monsters with potions and arrows and low-charge wands as treasure. Suddenly the PCs almost never get a magic item or any money because the monsters all use them up. And the monsters are tougher because of it too and so are a tougher challenge.

Example A: A Hill Giant has a bunch of looted goods in his cave. There's a wagon with some nice cloth, a lot of food, some weapons and armor too small for him to use, and a corral in back of the cave full of stolen sheep. He also has a lot of silver and copper coins, some gold, and a magic shield.
Result: The encounter involves a giant with a magic shield. The PCs get the entire treasure hoard if they overcome the giant.

Example B: A Hill Giant is pretty new in the area after having been kicked out of his tribe for being a coward for not charging straight into a fight with the others. He's very cautious. He's made only one major raid so far which was against a pack train carrying some expensive food and liquor, spices, and potions. The potions were all labelled and there were descriptions of what they did. The giant has drunk a lot of the liquor and eaten the best food. He chewed the spices like they were wads of tobacco. In the back of the cave is a corral of sheep and some kegs of water.
Result: The encounter is with a giant who chugs all his potions when he spies the PCs coming up the steep mountain trail. He's Invisible, much stronger, better Constitution, Enlarged, Hasted, and Flying. He picks up a dry hardwood tree he had in the cave as a bench but which he can now wield as an enormous club. If the PCs overcome the giant they get nothing but some sheep.

In both examples the giant has the same treasure at the start of the encounter. In both cases the giant uses his magic items. But in the first case the giant's treasure was half money and half magic. And in the first case the giant's magic can be captured and used by the party.

If you string together a number of encounters like this you'll find the PCs have far too little money and equipment. If you were playing first edition or second edition, they wouldn't have enough money to train and they'd be stuck at a low level when they have enough XP to advance.
Heck, in 1E you couldn't advance two levels at once. You'd stop gaining XP at the point just before you qualify for the second level. So if you were Level 1 you would stop gaining XP just short of Level 3. We called that "working for free" before we shelved the rule.

Point is, goblins don't have enough treasure to warrant losing the value of a magic potion. At least in earlier editions goblins wouldn't have more than a couple GP worth of treasure each if you were lucky. So in those days a 400 GP potion was something you'd see in their treasure hoard or held by the king. If a potion of invis is worth (2x3x50 in 3E) 300 GP while the goblin is a fraction of a CR, having a goblin drink it is unbalancing.

Thurbane
2008-12-04, 08:26 PM
Well written post Tacoma. :smallsmile:

...just to reiterate, our concern wasn't "OMG that potion should so totally have been ours!". We're 8th level, have plenty of potions, and a Beguiler who can spam invisibility spells with a much longer duration than the typical potion.

Our concern was precendent, and the "slippery slope" that allowing confused enemies to take actions other than indicated in the spell results could lead to. :smallwink: