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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default First Kill as the DM

    So... I've been DMing for a few months now and mostly we've been playing fairly easygoing games where fudging the roll of the dice didn't matter too much. That changed last week when we started Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. I told them beforehand that you don't get to fudge rolls and this wouldn't be a cake walk. We've had two session and tonight I killed the Favored Soul in the party. The player took it well and started statting out a new character right there but I'm still a little shocked over it.

    Has anyone else felt the "I just killed a PC and I liked it" reaction? I'd also like to hear stories.
    Last edited by Rankar; 2011-02-22 at 03:48 AM.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Never had to kill my players. They do it themselves. A couple instances include burning down a random shack, falling through the floor and being suffocated and burnt in the basement. Another was in the same game (The guy's second character) got shot in the head with a critical hit from his companion who tried to shoot a zombie in melee with him... But yeah, I don't let them fudge rolls ever. I might fudge mine a little bit but if they roll it, it's solid.

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    I have a nasty habit of rolling crits with greataxes... it leads to insta death. I find it rather amusing at times but the PC's get a little perturbed when it happens. I TPK'd with a single dual greataxe wielding bug bear.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Morbis Meh View Post
    I have a nasty habit of rolling crits with greataxes... it leads to insta death. I find it rather amusing at times but the PC's get a little perturbed when it happens. I TPK'd with a single dual greataxe wielding bug bear.
    Anything with x3 or x4 crit is brutal in low level 3e D&D. Heck a bow is one of the most dangerous weapons in a the game due to that fact.

    Funny when my group went through Ravenloft it was fairly easy. Though when you have people like my players that is no surprise. One exception that joker with a death spell who has no chance to actually cast it but somehow does anyway.

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    First Blood. Niiiiiice.

    Let's seeeee. My first PC kill (I like how we are referring to it as a "kill") was a Warlock. See, during this campaign the PC's would get their quests (mostly harmless and benign in nature) from an NPC Blue Dragon who I told them was a.) Colossal and b.) had PC class levels. The idea of course being that no level 3 party (no matter how freaking good) would challenge a Colossal Dragon (especially because most of his quests involved stabilizing the surrounding country side. Too many bandits and chaotic evil sorts wrecking the stability of things).

    The warlock, however, was Chaotic Stupid, and told the Dragon that he (the warlock) was the 'Prince of Darkness, and as such, you should bow to me.' The Dragon's reply? Om nom nom.

    So technically it was the PC's fault, yes. But I still made the decision.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint GoH View Post
    First Blood. Niiiiiice.

    Let's seeeee. My first PC kill (I like how we are referring to it as a "kill") was a Warlock. See, during this campaign the PC's would get their quests (mostly harmless and benign in nature) from an NPC Blue Dragon who I told them was a.) Colossal and b.) had PC class levels. The idea of course being that no level 3 party (no matter how freaking good) would challenge a Colossal Dragon (especially because most of his quests involved stabilizing the surrounding country side. Too many bandits and chaotic evil sorts wrecking the stability of things).

    The warlock, however, was Chaotic Stupid, and told the Dragon that he (the warlock) was the 'Prince of Darkness, and as such, you should bow to me.' The Dragon's reply? Om nom nom.

    So technically it was the PC's fault, yes. But I still made the decision.

    I think in that situation, I would have just had the Dragon rip the Warlock's arm off - Consequences for being an idiot, but still gives the character a chance to learn from his mistake. Also allows the Dragon to gloat a bit.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    My first kill was actually my first time ever dming a D&D campaign. The group of pcs I ran with didn't take me serious as a Dungeon Master, and they were a group of level 15-17 characters. So I threw an Effigy from the Monster Manual 2 that possessed and eventually killed a particularly annoying Planar Champion in the group. Of course, I later wiped out the whole party. Not sure why, but it did feel nice.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Rankar View Post
    Has anyone else felt the "I just killed a PC and I liked it" reaction? I'd also like to hear stories.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnVan View Post
    Welcome to the Dark Side.
    The actual quote is :
    "Welcome to the deep end of the alignment pool pal"
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Dark side? Nah, only if it becomes a habit. An occasional pc death strengthens group resolve, forces them to explore new avenues of thought and tactics, and builds character.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Haven't killed anyone yet. I have turned a PC into a wendigo though... He'll probably turn up again at some point.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerghan View Post
    Dark side? Nah, only if it becomes a habit.
    But, but, why would it not?

    Now, for someone who truly enjoys a good PC kill, check out this guy.

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    In the long run, killing players all the time just makes you a jerk, and if keep killing your group, no one will want to play in your campaigns. Of course, you could quench your player killing urges by running a lot of Call of Cthulhu campaigns. There's a d20 version. Just blame the pcs deaths or inevitable insanity on the inherit hostility the system has toward players. Besides, the builds character comment was meant to be a pun, a bit of a groaner though.
    Last edited by Kerghan; 2011-02-22 at 07:58 AM.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerghan View Post
    In the long run, killing players all the time just makes you a jerk, and if keep killing your group, no one will want to play in your campaigns.
    This is true. But the odd character death gives a GM a reputation as being tough but fair, and adds a certain frisson to adventures. If payers think any combat could be the one where their number is up, quite often they enjoy things more than if they think no combats are going to be the one where their number comes up.

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    A reputation's a fine thing to have, and a good character death can illustrate to players that the dungeon master is serious. But, these sorts of games are meant for entertainment purposes, and if a dm kills characters left and right, well then you might as well play Magic the Gathering. Like everything else, its balancing being creative, and fun but not being someone players can walk all over.
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    Planetar

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    My first kill was during my first 3.5 campaign. We had been playing at it a couple of months, and the Barbarian, who came from a DM who had a body count of at least one PC a session, figured that I wouldn't let them die because no one had yet. In actuality I like to make my encounters tactical rather than just standing there full attacking and they had been playing smartly without me needing to give them incentive.

    So, one day, they come upon another adventuring party that are obviously much richer and probably more powerful than them. They find out they're both heading to the same tomb (yes, this was a tomb-raiding campaign) and start arguing about who has dibs, apparently each group having been given a charter by two different companies who both claimed the tomb. Barbarian rages and attacks the leader (who is dressed in glowing full plate and has an obviously-flaming greatsword when the group is about 4th level) figuring that I would intervene before letting him die. He lasted all of about 2 rounds

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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonSinged View Post
    I think in that situation, I would have just had the Dragon rip the Warlock's arm off - Consequences for being an idiot, but still gives the character a chance to learn from his mistake. Also allows the Dragon to gloat a bit.
    Maybe I'm too nice but I would have just had the dragon laugh, pet the warlock on the head and then carry on as if nothing had been said.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonSinged View Post
    I think in that situation, I would have just had the Dragon rip the Warlock's arm off - Consequences for being an idiot, but still gives the character a chance to learn from his mistake. Also allows the Dragon to gloat a bit.
    Dragons ripping limbs off.... (side note, I almost spelled ripping with a w, wripping. )

    I had a player, he's one of my best friends, who was playing a sneak thief during a dungeon crawl. Partway through he decides to break away from the group and explore on his own. (imagine me saying "Are you SURE you want to do that?" the entire time you are reading this.) He stumbles around for a little bit, he triggers a trap or two, narrowly avoids dying in a single fight, and finally decides to storm the Black Dragon boss of the dungeon. He is alone, and at least a little bit beat up.

    Rogue enters boss room, hits tripwire, portcullis falls, takes acid breath to the face (no evasion in narrow corridors) and finally gets an arm sliced off by dragon tail.

    I seem to recall letting his character live, but for the life of me I can't remember how I explained it.
    Last edited by Last Laugh; 2011-02-22 at 08:41 AM.

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint GoH View Post
    First Blood. Niiiiiice.

    Let's seeeee. My first PC kill (I like how we are referring to it as a "kill") was a Warlock. See, during this campaign the PC's would get their quests (mostly harmless and benign in nature) from an NPC Blue Dragon who I told them was a.) Colossal and b.) had PC class levels. The idea of course being that no level 3 party (no matter how freaking good) would challenge a Colossal Dragon (especially because most of his quests involved stabilizing the surrounding country side. Too many bandits and chaotic evil sorts wrecking the stability of things).

    The warlock, however, was Chaotic Stupid, and told the Dragon that he (the warlock) was the 'Prince of Darkness, and as such, you should bow to me.' The Dragon's reply? Om nom nom.

    So technically it was the PC's fault, yes. But I still made the decision.
    Generally speaking, every time a player gets too big for their britches, they need to be taken down a peg. Occasionally, if a dm is just trying being an a--hole, then they too need to be taken down a peg. I once had a dm that puffed up because he was running a campaign, and supposedly "god." He strutted around bragging about how tough his campaign and encounters were going to be, and how he was going to institute all these ridiculous house rules. Eventually, another player and I threatened to buy lots of chalk and desecrate his precious dungeon with vulgar obscenities, and wise cracks about the dm. In hindsight, that campaign never got off the ground.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    The first time I killed a PC...
    That would have been the boss fight at the end of my mods a year or two ago. I found out the mod as writtian was mostly a push over for the PCs, mostly due to the wizard being OP and found some really good magic. I did make adjustment throught the mod to challenge them more, but I really uped the boss fight at the end. One 8th level cleric and 4 bluespawn godslayers against 6 7-8th level PCs. Took out the cleric, the paladin, the same paladin again, and the ranger. It was really the first time I was able to shake up this group in a long time.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Rankar View Post
    Has anyone else felt the "I just killed a PC and I liked it" reaction? I'd also like to hear stories.
    "I killed a PC" by Rankar:

    This was never the way I planned
    Not my intention
    I got so brave, dice in hand
    Lost my discretion
    It's not what, I'm used to
    Just wanna try to crit you
    I'm curious to crit you
    Caught my attention

    I killed a PC and I liked it
    The taste of sweet DM victory
    I killed a PC just to try it
    I hope my players don't mind it
    It felt so wrong
    It felt so right
    Don't mean I'm bloodthirsty tonight
    I killed a PC and I liked it
    I liked it

    No, I don't even know the characters name
    It doesn't matter
    You're my player in my game
    Just character nature
    It's not what,
    Good DMs do
    Not how they should behave
    My dice gets so confused
    Hard to obey

    I killed a PC and I liked it
    The taste of sweet DM victory
    I killed a PC just to try it
    I hope my players don't mind it
    It felt so wrong
    It felt so right
    Don't mean I'm bloodthirsty tonight
    I killed a PC and I liked it
    I liked it
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    I've gained the reputation of a Killer DM who is not out to kill you. It simply happens when you are stupid.

    My first kill was with a ceptic ooze. The party barbarian got himself engulfed (actually the whole party did) and died. The rest of the party, well one sold his soul to a deity (who decided to save one of his friends as well) and then the druid eventually escaped the ooze and ran out into the streets stark naked just in time for the ooze's special ability to activate and cause him to go crazy. The guards put him down after that.

    Not a very good first kill in my opinion but I have nailed home the lethality of some games with early kills, for instance killing the party cleric in the second session via flaming troll, the barbarian a couple later by hill giant, the crusader with five level 1 warriors. I enjoyed these. I've personally found that I dislike killing PCs who have fleshed out stories and more to tell. Otherwise...well I enjoy it even if I don't aim for it.

    Edit: Because I just read the post directly above me the barbarian who was devoured by the ceptic ooze was named Cet and he was a blacksmith.
    Last edited by Zanatos777; 2011-02-22 at 09:04 AM.
    "78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature."
    I really haven't. The players quickly move to the tavern after the campaign starts but they never start there. Even the three which have taken place in a city.

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    I was a co-DM at one point and gave side quests irrelevant to the main plot.

    I ran a relatively simple bandit encounter with one sorcerer on the bandit side. I built it's spell list with my style of casting too. Basically, starts out okay, though they ignored the sorcerer that only used haste and not nuking. It was after the warlock was hit by a hold person followed by a coup de grace, and a failed glitterdust attempt that they took the sorc seriously. Warlock and bard, a third of the party, got downed and the soulknife and monk was badly hurt before the party finally wiped them out, albeit with difficulty since they had to contend with hasted targets.

    I did warn them that I play enemy casters my style (lockdown, buffs and disables but hardly any damage spells).

    The warlock and bard got better though (ala main DM's free rezz since i "left quite a mess"), although sudden spike in the use of chilling tentacles, hideous laughter and the like is hardly a coincidence.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Killing PCs ocassionally is usually a good idea. That said, if your players are anything like mine you can count on friendly fire to do that for you.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    The second night of the first campaign I was DMing, the party was traveling along a worn road when a human and two orcs stepped out of the bushes and yelled "Halt! We have you surrounded!". They were highwaymen, and wanted a toll. Our Ranger started negotiating, but the sorcerer decided that Magic Missile was an appropriate course of action, it seemed like Scorching Ray was an appropriate response.

    I rolled 6, 5, 4, 5. The sorcerer had 10hp. I one-shotted him, bringing him exactly to -10. In retrospect, giving an enemy caster a wand with a level 2 spell when the party has just hit level 2 themselves and was going back to town probably wasn't the best idea.... he took it well though, the barbarian and ranger wiped up everyone else, and the guy made a rogue.
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    I still remember my first kill, also my first TPK, it was quite... hilarious.

    I can't remember the name of what the party were fighting, but it was those cat things that can pull the skin off of their faces to cause people to run away in fear (I call them kittens...), and the party was lvl 2. After some embarrassing will save failures at the start of the fight, half the party was overcome with fear and fled. Here I decided to take it easy on them, and had the kittens split up to take care of the different groups, as opposed to TPK'ing the party early by having them all gank one group and then the next.

    Luck was not on the PC's side, because the only people who could actually dish out good damage and/or crowd control were in the group that stayed, and all the defensive and healer types were in the group that ran. The attacker group was able to (barely) take care of their kittens and ran as fast as they could to help the others. They basically got there right in time to flank and kill one of the 2 remaining kittens before the last of the defensive group and one of the 2 attackers was KO'd by the last kitten in the next 2 rounds.

    So there they are, one PC left conscious at 3 HP, surrounded by his dying party who are quickly bleeding out. Luckily for him, he had more than enough ranks in Heal to stabilize all of them in time should he take the kitten out within 2 turns or so. The kitten had 9HP left, so a 2-round kill was more than doable for someone with a 1d6 weapon and a +3 STR modifier. Here is where I made the mistake of telling the player exactly how much HP the kitten had...

    It's all the PC now, it's his turn to be the hero. He rolls a 20. He confirms with a 19. The look of triumph on his face and the hope on the faces of the other players was made all the sweeter given how hopeless they looked just a few seconds before. He knows he will do a minimum of 8 damage, so anything but 2 1's and he's got this in the bag. He rolls.... and gets the snake-eyes. Kitty is still alive with 1 HP, it is his turn, and he is NOT a happy kitty (this is the part where if I hadn't told the player how much HP the kitten had, I would have just fiated that he won). The look of horror on the PC's faces when they realized their situation was made all the sweeter given how hopeful they looked just a few seconds before.

    I remind them that they still have a small chance, just gotta survive this round and kill the 1 HP kitten next turn, and they still win and they all walk away. They request I do the roll in the open, so I oblige. Kitten attacks... and gets a 20. He confirms with a 19. The players all slump in their seats, depressed. The last standing PC is ripped to shreds, and the last kitten eats well that night, going home to brag to his pack how he single-handedly took out 3 adventurers after they downed the rest of his hunting party.

    Everyone gets a good laugh at the irony of the situation and we call that the end of the campaign, and leave D&D for a while in favor of a post-apocalyptic campaign. To this day I still laugh about that, and still tease my old friends about how they got slaughtered by a pack of kittens.
    Last edited by Choco; 2011-02-22 at 12:08 PM.
    Been there, fought that, died horribly.

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Och, yeah that was a close call. As a rule, I never tell my players exactly what a monsters hp/AC/whatever is,instead just opting for "It seems heavily wounded" "it has a high evasion", etc.
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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Yeah, I know better now, that was years ago when I was just starting as a DM...
    Been there, fought that, died horribly.

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    My fist player kill was a TPK as well. they were level ten. A Samurai, A Swashbuckler, A Cleric, and a Sorcerer. they were clearing out the winw cellar of an impprtant NPC that they needed a MacGuffin from.

    The Cellar was crawling with plant creatures. Assassin vines, Tendrulocos, Shambling Mounds. They followed a tunnel bored through the wall and, after trudging through waist deep water, find an Octopuss Tree. They charge. Four rounds later everyone is dead.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: First Kill as the DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerghan View Post
    In the long run, killing players all the time just makes you a jerk, and if keep killing your group, no one will want to play in your campaigns. Of course, you could quench your player killing urges by running a lot of Call of Cthulhu campaigns. There's a d20 version. Just blame the pcs deaths or inevitable insanity on the inherit hostility the system has toward players. Besides, the builds character comment was meant to be a pun, a bit of a groaner though.
    The key is that players have to have decisions. If a character death occurs because the players made a series of dumb decisions (see: warlock/dragon above), then hey, it's a learning experience.

    If the players decide, against all evidence that it's a bad idea, to enter the Cave of Scary Death at level 1, even though they hear rumors of the last Great Champion of the Kingdom getting munched in there, and they see really nasty scary things, and when they get into a fight they *refuse* to flee, then it's on their head.

    Where PC death sucks is where the players are railroaded into scenarios without any real choice, or where the consequences of their actions are not logical. (You went into the inn? THere's a dragon there! You lose!).

    The players always need to have a choice, even if that choice is just the ability to flee.

    I also like designing scenarios such that the win/lose condition for a combat isn't one side or the other getting wiped out, but rather some other condition. This means the PCs always have an option - give up on the victory condition to save their lives. That doesn't always work, of course.

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