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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    I am just talking of skills here! Well, skills and feats xD

    This might be the reason of why I can't really get your points xD

    So, just to be clear.

    I believe that the player should be able to change his skills and feats, in whatever way suits him, as long it is within the rules!

    That is, with the exception of any rules that forbid him to do so. But hey, that sort of rules are meant to be broken.

    So you are against letting him drop his int to the point where most of his skill points disappear into the ether? Because that is most of the problem.


    The other issue is that the group was created with the understanding that he would handle most of the lore and social skills, he actually insisted that he wanted to play a super-smart book worm type character and that other people NOT take knowledge skills . (although I think he was under the impression that sorcerers used Intelligence as their primary casting stat when he said it). If he suddenly drops away he is leaving a huge hole in the party whenever situations or those that need knowledge come up.

    Again, I am not sure if you mean they will learn to make "better" characters because you think his character is better and they will imitate him, his character is worse and they will know what not to do, or if they are going to be forced to learn to make characters who are better because they can compensate for a team member's deficiencies and still survive.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    That I don't think you should build a character thinking of whatever the party needs, you should play a character that you think is fun/interesting.
    That kind of reminds me of my last DM.

    He insisted we all make our characters in a vacuum, and then got really surprised / mad at us when the campaign would crash and burn after a couple of sessions because we had absolutely no synergy from either a mechanical level or on the level of character ethos, personality, and motivations.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So you are against letting him drop his int to the point where most of his skill points disappear into the ether? Because that is most of the problem.
    Of course, I have already said so

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The other issue is that the group was created with the understanding that he would handle most of the lore and social skills, he actually insisted that he wanted to play a super-smart book worm type character and that other people NOT take knowledge skills . (although I think he was under the impression that sorcerers used Intelligence as their primary casting stat when he said it). If he suddenly drops away he is leaving a huge hole in the party whenever situations or those that need knowledge come up.
    Then this should be brought to the atention of the table, so they can bring up any concerns and work something out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Again, I am not sure if you mean they will learn to make "better" characters because you think his character is better and they will imitate him, his character is worse and they will know what not to do, or if they are going to be forced to learn to make characters who are better because they can compensate for a team member's deficiencies and still survive.
    Because focused chracters are better on games with classes, I believe that having characters more focused on doing their part that being able to do a little bit of everything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    That kind of reminds me of my last DM.

    He insisted we all make our characters in a vacuum, and then got really surprised / mad at us when the campaign would crash and burn after a couple of sessions because we had absolutely no synergy from either a mechanical level or on the level of character ethos, personality, and motivations.
    Excuse me? You trying to insult me? Cause I don't know why you trying to do so. Just to make it clear, I am not your previous DM.

    I don't make my players create characters away from each other, and make sure they understand their decisions.

    I would thank not try to draw any false equivalencies between me and DMs that you have played with, specially not ones that would make me seem like a bad GM.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    Because focused chracters are better on games with classes, I believe that having characters more focused on doing their part that being able to do a little bit of everything.
    IMO it is, like most things in life, a spectrum. Characters who are hyper-focused in one area to the expense of everything else tend to be pretty terrible, and likewise characters who are so generalized that they don't excel in anything tend to be pretty terrible as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    Excuse me? You trying to insult me? Cause I don't know why you trying to do so. Just to make it clear, I am not your previous DM.

    I don't make my players create characters away from each other, and make sure they understand their decisions.

    I would thank not try to draw any false equivalencies between me and DMs that you have played with, specially not ones that would make me seem like a bad GM.
    I am saying that I disagree with your viewpoint and am using the example of a DM who had a very similar (but not necessarily identical) viewpoint to illustrate why.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I am saying that I disagree with your viewpoint and am using the example of a DM who had a very similar (but not necessarily identical) viewpoint to illustrate why.
    Nonetheless, I would appreciate you didn't do that anymore.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    After the session Play B came to me and stated that he was very upset about the game.
    He has quite a few very valid points.

    Your mistakes (in order):

    1) You created his character. You're not a player, or one of the protagonists. The players are. They should have absolute freedom to create their own protagonist for the story (subject to DM veto for protagonists that dont work with the story such as an 'anti-paladin' in a group of Good aligned PCs, or are mechanically broken).

    2) You've required him to be a mind reader. 1 in 20 combat encounters you place down in front of the Players (determined randomly) are party killers (while the other 19/20 combat encounters are designed to be fought). Accordingly when you throw down monsters, the Players expect the encounter to be a combat encounter and act accordingly. Unless you clearly and unambiguously telegraph the fact to your players that the monster in front of them is not supposed to be a combat encounter, this is a really bad thing to do.

    You mitigate this somewhat by removing 'perma-death' as a consequence, but you still throw encounters at the party, that are 'deadly' and are thus a good chance of inflicting those negative consequences, and the only way they can avoid those negative consequences is to either:

    a) Read your mind, or

    b) Get lucky, or

    c) 'Fantasy Underground Vietnam' and always flee from every combat encounter.

    Combat encounters are designed to be fought. It's a central pillar in most RPG's (they all have a rather weighty chapter devoted to it). When you roll on a table and throw monsters down, the players expect combat. If the encounter is not there to be fought (a Pit Fiend meeting 1st level PCs) you need to clearly and unambiguously telegraph this to the players (and I mean actually tell them: 'If you try and fight this thing, you'll almost certainly all die').

    3) You failed to enforce good karma for good actions. If every time the PCs let a NPC live, instead of murdering him on the spot (after torturing him for information), and then that NPC comes back in a 'gotcha' moment, your players will start murdering and torturing every NPC prisoner, instead of treating them kindly. If the PC Fighter only gets 'ambushed by theives' in town when he takes off his armor to relax, he'll never take it off again. A PC with a detailed family backstory (and who ineracts with them in game) should have that family pop in from time to time to provide minor assistane, and not just 'get kidnapped as some lame story hook' stuff.

    When a PC does a good action, or treats someone well, or roleplays a character appropriately, he should be rewarded by the story.

    The prisoner that they released recognizes them when the PCs themselves are captured later on, and helps them to escape. The PCs love interest provides them a place to hide out when they do escape to recover.

    If your player is contributing to the story, and to the success of the campaign arc, he should be rewarded by the story. Good deeds should be encouraged, and bad deeds punished.

    ___________________________

    In short, admit you were wrong (but that you certainly didnt single him out). Let him (and any one else who wants to) create a totally new Character of his own choice with the same XP.

    That also fixes the other problems (temporarily). Just keep an eye on them going forwards. Telegraph 'non combat' combat encounters appropriately, and reward good actions (through the Story) and punish bad ones.

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    @Malifice:

    Thank you for being tou but fair. A few clarifications:

    1: I only handled the numerical aspects of character creation. The players still made all of the choices.

    The player in question was mad that the range of starting PC stats went from 8-16 (just like in standard 5e point buy) rather than 3-18.

    2: Its actually closer to 1/80 than 1/20, far less than the D&D DMG suggests. But they arent "encounters that are not supposed to be fought" they are deadly encounters that are the equivalent of a boss fight. If the players are already low on resources they probably should run, but they are certainly winnable.

    Also, I am not sure if mind reading really comes into it, the random encounter roll is done in the open so the PCs know they are in for a rough time, and there are numerous skills and abilities that can be used to gauge the power of a foe in character.

    3: Thats good advice, but I am legitimately not sure what you are refering to. What in the game is this in response to?
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    3: Thats good advice, but I am legitimately not sure what you are refering to. What in the game is this in response to?
    Probably the bit with the gifted armour being lost. Which wasn't a decision on your part (random tables right) but how it comes across the player is probably similar.

    Also although I don't think you have handled things perfectly, I think you are doing a much better job than some other people think you are doing.

  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    2: Its actually closer to 1/80 than 1/20, far less than the D&D DMG suggests. But they arent "encounters that are not supposed to be fought" they are deadly encounters that are the equivalent of a boss fight. If the players are already low on resources they probably should run, but they are certainly winnable.
    Doesn't that risk usurping the tension of actual boss fights, if these fifty/fifty encounters are just available to be encountered at random? (Especially if 5% of all encounters can produce them)

    It's fine to let the fact that the encounters arrive at random/in response to unwise player behaviour drive the tension from encountering them and have them all be pitched at a "manageable" level.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Probably the bit with the gifted armour being lost. Which wasn't a decision on your part (random tables right) but how it comes across the player is probably similar.

    Also although I don't think you have handled things perfectly, I think you are doing a much better job than some other people think you are doing.
    Thank you! I dont think I am doing perfect either, if I did this thread would be on the recruitment sub-forum asking how I can replace my terrible players instead.

    Yes, that does make sense. I retconned the loss of the armor a month ago now, I had legitamtetely forgotten all about it. I cant believe this thread has been going for this long.

    Yeah, I am a bit of an inflexible DM. I really really dont like fudging dice rolls, so I can see how one might prefer a less impartial GM who rewards morality.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    1: I only handled the numerical aspects of character creation. The players still made all of the choices.

    The player in question was mad that the range of starting PC stats went from 8-16 (just like in standard 5e point buy) rather than 3-18.
    As DM mate, you should sit down with your players during character creation, to guide them and help them create the character they want.

    If my player (5E Dnd) expresses a desire to create a 'Sneaky Ninja' I'll point him to Shadow Monk, Gloomstalker Ranger, and Assassin Rogue as suggestions, explain multiclassing with him, and suggest good break points for multiclassing, or other rules to him to help him in the process.

    It's his character though. Im there to help with the rules, ensure he doesnt make any rules mistakes, and provide clarification to any rules questions he may have (and also to gently veto any character decisions he makes that run counter to the collective story we're trying to tell, or might prove to be disruptive to the gaming group and story as a whole, such as creating an evil Necromancer in a party featuring goodly Paladins sworn to destroy undead).

    I'd offer to let him create his character as he see's fit. It's his character and he should get the right to choose what to play and how to play it.

    2: Its actually closer to 1/80 than 1/20, far less than the D&D DMG suggests. But they arent "encounters that are not supposed to be fought" they are deadly encounters that are the equivalent of a boss fight. If the players are already low on resources they probably should run, but they are certainly winnable.

    Also, I am not sure if mind reading really comes into it, the random encounter roll is done in the open so the PCs know they are in for a rough time, and there are numerous skills and abilities that can be used to gauge the power of a foe in character.
    Firstly, no random encounter is ever 'random'. You as DM decide to roll and when to roll, and after the roll you also decide if it happens or not. Heck, you probably wrote the chart the monster is on in the first place!

    You're not a slave to the dice and charts. DMing is an Art far more than a exercise in maths.

    Why hinge the story (and possible campaign ending TPK's, or serious negative consequences) on random encounters? The encounters should add to the story, or spice up a boring session, or allow you to show something to the players (foreshadowing something and similar). Not just be a monster on a table.

    I use 'random' encounters, but they're only inserted when the action bogs down or for other reasons (to move the story along, foreshadow something, get the players thinking, a false flag, make the world seem more alive or unpredictable, or as 'fake' random encounters - i.e. I pre-planned them during the week.

    I really dont see the point in sitting back and letting dice rolls dictate when the party should run and when they shouldn't, they're much better served by being placed by the DM on purpose, taking into account the tempo of the game and other factors.

    You stated in another thread you're a fan of Warhammer Quest and it's 'draw a card' random monster placement and DM free environment. It's a fun game, until you draw the 1d6-1 minotaurs, roll a 6 and cop a overwhelming TPK. Without a DM to guide the action, those TPKs are all too common (and pointless).

    As DM you're the guide and director of the action. While bad days happen (and bad rolls can spoil the day of any party) Im always reluctant to let a random encounter overwhelm a party. It's pointless, frustrating as a player and and annoying when it happens a lot.

    Even if I use a 'random' encounter table in a published adventure, I use the dice roll only as a guide, and look rows above (and below) the roll result to see if I cant find an encounter that is more balanced, and fun. I'll disregard a clearly superior threat as a combat encounter, and will only isert such an encounter as window dressing (or a social encounter).

    Examples include a Wyvern or Frost Giant for 1st level PCs. I'll have the Frost Giant be drunk and looking for something (and a Social encounter, that even if attacked does only non lethal damage, seeing the PCs as sport and beneath its concern) and have the Wyvern only be spotted flying high above (to scare the PCs).

    Remember, it takes on average 13 encounters or so to advance a level for most of 5E's levels. Even just a 5 percent chance of a TPK per encounter means odds are the party is almost certainly TPK'ed before they hit 5th level. The encounter system is designed so the PCs are expected to win, but at a cost (in resources). This resource cost is compounded by multiple encounters in a single 'adventuring day'.

    I'd hate to cop some kind of negative long term drawback to an encounter that was randomly placed in front of me by a DM who could have gone 'Nope' instead, and placed a fun, challenging or entertaining encounter that he's put some thought into in front of me instead.

    You want your player to engage with the story? Have the story involve them, and work with them, and dont leave them at the mercy of a roll on a chart.

    3: Thats good advice, but I am legitimately not sure what you are refering to. What in the game is this in response to?
    Your PC did a good deed (he helped out another PC) buying him armor. I would have considered gently reminding the PC he helped of this fact (during the week in private) to see if he couldnt return the favor and get the PC in question healed.

    The game is all about teamwork remember, and that should be gently encouraged by the DM wherever possible.

    Presuming the gambler PC is evilly aligned (and thus wouldnt care about helping the PC) I'd instead consider having some of the Gambler PC's buddies come and reward the armor giving PC for buying the Gambler the armor and 'keeping their mark safe'. Their offer of healing comes with a condition of course; they want to see the Gambling PC at their next high stakes Gambling match... an underground Monster Pit fighting competition, with a high buy in...

    Bam presto. You've 1) rewarded the PC for being kind in game (reinforcing good behavior), 2) used the Gambling PC's gambling trait as a Hook (tying him into the world) and 3) Inserted a story hook too good to refuse. Youve used the act of kindness, the gamblers gambling problem it stemmed from as a story tool to drive the story forward,reward good player teamwork and non-murder-hobism and placed a cool hook in front of the party all in one hit.
    Last edited by Malifice; 2019-01-02 at 10:32 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Probably the bit with the gifted armour being lost. Which wasn't a decision on your part (random tables right) but how it comes across the player is probably similar.
    Exactly. It's always the DMs decision.

    You're not a slave to a roll on a table. A DM you have a higher obligation than that.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    @Malifice:

    The players made all of the decisions regarding their characters.

    All I did was calculate the numbers, fill out the actual character shets, and present the choices to them using narrative terms rather than mechanical ones.



    As for the random encounter tables, I think you use them for a fundamentally different purpose than I do. For me they are a tool for preventing the 15 minute adventuring day more than anything.

    Also, I dont know if this is better or worse in your eyes, but I designed all of the random encounter tables for each location and every encounter was tailor built and has a bit of story and lore behind it, the random factor is just exactly when, where, and in what order they show up.


    I personally have had a lot of bad experiances with fudging dice on both sides of the screen and with GMs trying to adjust the difficulty of the game to match the party's capabilities. My veteran players have had similar experiances asked me not to fudge dice or to tailor encounters for them.

    I know a lot of GMs swear by fudging dice and not being a slave to rolls or tables or preexisting setting decisions, but I have not had good luck with it in the past and I always err on letting the dice fall where they may.


    Also, no, not Warhammer Quest. I played that game once, thought it was random nonsense, and never played it again. Depending on the thread in question I might have been praising Mordheim or Heroquest which are similar, but imo far superior, games set in the WHFB world.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    As for the random encounter tables, I think you use them for a fundamentally different purpose than I do. For me they are a tool for preventing the 15 minute adventuring day more than anything.
    I'm not sure why you'd put boss level encounters in them for that. That seems to bias players towards doing the opposite (making sure they're at peak readiness for the next time a boss level encounter drops on their heads).

    If you've noticed your players being excessively cautious about their resources (if you haven't, stop solving problems that aren't there), then you want encounters that will mildly drain them or prevent them being properly recovered (like their rest being interrupted by false alarms etc).

    If they are over-resting they're probably doing it because of experience with too-swingy challenges and having more mild encounters will teach them that they can actually go on for a while before needing to stop, because they can judge how much of their resources they're going to need much better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    @Malifice:

    The players made all of the decisions regarding their characters.

    All I did was calculate the numbers, fill out the actual character shets, and present the choices to them using narrative terms rather than mechanical ones.
    Let them do that. Id certainly rail against a DM presenting me narrative explanations of game mechanics. Some game mechanics I enjoy using based on the mechanics, and some things might sound appealing but I dont like the mechanics.

    Your job as DM is to teach and guide and encourage the players. I think you'ver overstepped the mark here.

    Just let him re-do his character. Hell be happy he can do it, it takes this argument away from him, and it makes you look like a good DM.

    It's not a hill I would die on.

    As for the random encounter tables, I think you use them for a fundamentally different purpose than I do. For me they are a tool for preventing the 15 minute adventuring day more than anything.
    This didnt prevent the 15 minute adventuring day, it caused one. It brought the whole day (indeed the adventure) to a screeching halt.

    To enforce the longer AD, simply impart temporal constraints on your quests, with penaltues for failure by that time and/or rewards for getting it done in time.

    [Recover/ destroy/ locate/ slay/ escape/ defend/ defuse] the [macguffin/ ritual/ BBEG/ Princess/ ring of power/ dark lord/ bandit camp/ bomb] by [time X] or else [consequence] happens.

    It mirrors not only reality (do you ever have all the time in the world to do the things you want to do?] and preserves verisimilitude but it also mirrors fiction (does Luke have all the time in the world to stop the Death Star or rescue Leia, or save Han Solo, or redeem his father and destroy the Emperor)? Every hero in every fiction story ever is working to a clock. Usually a clock that they only just manage to beat with seconds on it at the climax. Its so common to be a trope.

    Back away from random encounters, and during the week sit down consider and place temporal constraints on your next adventure. They're more fun, more realistic, reinforce actions having consequences, and drive the story better than random charts ever will.

    Also, I dont know if this is better or worse in your eyes, but I designed all of the random encounter tables for each location and every encounter was tailor built and has a bit of story and lore behind it, the random factor is just exactly when, where, and in what order they show up.
    Its a wash. I only use random encounters as a last resort (and even then, they are not random, with me ignoring anything that could threaten to sidetrack the adventure or overwhelm the PCs). Most of my 'random' encounters only appear random. The reality is I statted up the encounter during the week, and simply made a dice roll, ignored the result, pretended to look something up, faked a sigh and shook my head, and looked up from behind the screen with a 'worried look' on my face - with the result pre-ordained.

    Remember showmanship is part of the Art of DMing. The encounter is there because I planned it (as one of the encounters that Adventuring day, or because the players were dragging their heels). Not that the players realise that. It keeps them focused, advances the story and fulfils a mechanical task (in resource drainage).

    Having time to think about it mid week ( I always devote one night a week to planning and encounter design, with game sessions on the weekend some time) also lets me add in environmental conditions, consider recurring NPCs, add social elements to the encounter, tie them into the story and make them much more entertaining than they would be otherwise.

    I personally have had a lot of bad experiances with fudging dice on both sides of the screen and with GMs trying to adjust the difficulty of the game to match the party's capabilities. My veteran players have had similar experiances asked me not to fudge dice or to tailor encounters for them.
    Screw them. Fudge rolls. They dont need to know. Lie to them about it if they ask. You have a higher responsibility as DM.

    A fun game is better than letting the dice determine an outcome that sucks. The point of the game is to have fun remember?

    That said, every now and then throw dice down in front of the DM screen in the open and let them fall where they may. I assure you, every single players eyes will follow that dice result until it stops on a number and they'll be more invested in your game than ever.

    DMing is an art, not a science. A good DM knows how to guide and steer the game and make it better. Youre not just a random number generator. You're an artist, and a showman, a magician who does his best work behind the scenes and without the audience knowing it, while entertaining and engaging the audience who works with the players to create a fun and challenging session (and indeed campaign).

    Also, no, not Warhammer Quest. I played that game once, thought it was random nonsense, and never played it again. Depending on the thread in question I might have been praising Mordheim or Heroquest which are similar, but imo far superior, games set in the WHFB world.
    Well the principle is the same. A game where your outcome is based on the roll of dice on some random chart is much better when run in conjunction with a DM who ensures the results are flexible and fit the story, character and campaign.

    If I lost a PC due to a random roll for no apparent reason, I wouldnt really be invested in that campaign again. If it kept happening, I'd likely not be interested in playing that game any more.

    Im not advocating giving the players what they want. Quite the opposite really; Im advocating challenging and fun encounters that keep them engaged and wanting more. You currently have a player that feels disconnected from his character, from the story, from the party and from the rules you're using, to the point he's raised it with you directly. That's a massive red flag that something isnt working.

    I dont think you're a 'bad DM' mate, you clearly put a lot of work into your games. I just think he might have a point, and you might benefit from a different approach.
    Last edited by Malifice; 2019-01-02 at 02:00 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #196
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    Screw them. Fudge rolls. They dont need to know. Lie to them about it if they ask. You have a higher responsibility as DM.
    It should go without saying. But no, don't do this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    It should go without saying. But no, don't do this.
    Fudging dice is its own debate really.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    It should go without saying. But no, don't do this.
    I completely disagree.

    Im not a random number generating machine as a DM, and I am not beholden to letting a crap roll ruin a session (or indeed force the entire campaign into a grinding halt) due to no fault of the players, and simply due to gravity spinning a dice a certain way.

    Your obligation as DM is higher than that. Youre there to ensure players are entertained, have fun, learn the game, are engaged and progressing the story in a collaborative way.

    The dice are often a prop. Heck Ill often roll them for no reason at all, and pretend to look something up, faking a worried look, or shaking my head or whatever, or making a nonsensical note on a concealed pad of paper, for no other reason than to keep the players guessing.

    Sometimes of course I'll toss those dice down in the open, and I assure you, you can hear a pin drop. You need to know when to mix it up.

    A good DM is a good showman. Misdirection, characterization, player engagement, keeping them focused and so forth are your tools.

    If your players ask, flatly deny it. Just like a magician should never reveal his secrets to the audience (or else he wrecks the show) so should a DM keep his cards to his chest.
    Last edited by Malifice; 2019-01-02 at 02:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    I completely disagree.

    Im not a random number generating machine as a DM, and I am not beholden to letting a crap roll ruin a session (or indeed force the entire campaign into a grinding halt) due to no fault of the players, and simply due to gravity spinning a dice a certain way.

    Your obligation as DM is higher than that. Youre there to ensure players are entertained, have fun, learn the game, are engaged and progressing the story in a collaborative way.

    The dice are often a prop. Heck Ill often roll them for no reason at all, and pretend to look something up, faking a worried look, or shaking my head or whatever, or making a nonsensical note on a concealed pad of paper, for no other reason than to keep the players guessing.

    Sometimes of course I'll toss those dice down in the open, and I assure you, you can hear a pin drop. You need to know when to mix it up.

    A good DM is a good showman. Misdirection, characterization, player engagement, keeping them focused and so forth are your tools.

    If your players ask, flatly deny it. Just like a magician should never reveal his secrets to the audience (or else he wrecks the show) so should a DM keep his cards to his chest.
    "Cheat at the game and lie about it". That's the advice you're giving.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    "Cheat at the game and lie about it". That's the advice you're giving.
    DMs cant cheat.

    The rules are that DMs can alter or void any rule at any time. Rule zero if you want to get technical.

    And I dont know about you, but if your group of PCs reached the climax of a 3 year weekly campaign, and through no fault of their own got reduced to only the Paladin and the BBEG standing toe to toe, the other PCs lying bloodied and battered, with the doom clock approaching midnight, and the PC (on 1 HP) got the BBEG close to death (without killing him) and you knew the BBEG had a spell on him that would auto kill the Paladin and bring the campaign to a totally sucky ending would you:

    1) Write down the damage the Paladin did, pretend to do some maths, mutter under your breath and mime looking defeated, before looking up and (in the BBEGs voice) suddenly scream NOOOOOOO; It cant BE! As you mime him collapsing to the ground to the cheers and entertainment of your players and high fives all round, or

    2) Kill the Paladin with your spell and end the game on that note?

    And which of those two endings would you prefer to see in a movie, or play yourself?

    Not sure about you, but I play the game to have fun, and I DM to entertain my players, with challenges (which this clearly was) that place them in the role of the protagonists.

    Its your game, and run your game however you want, but I know my own preferences.
    Last edited by Malifice; 2019-01-02 at 02:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    DMs cant cheat.

    The rules are that DMs can alter or void any rule at any time. Rule zero if you want to get technical.
    This is bad advice some badly written games have tainted the hobby with over the years, yes. And even then, it's been misinterpreted from what it was actually supposed to mean originally. Which is that the DM was empowered to make up rulings for situations not covered by the rules. It was never intended to be "Calvinball".

    And I dont know about you, but if your group of PCs reached the climax of a 3 year weekly campaign, and through no fault of their own got reduced to only the Paladin and the BBEG standing toe to toe, the other PCs lying bloodied and battered, with the doom clock approaching midnight, and the PC (on 1 HP) got the BBEG close to death (without killing him) and you knew the BBEG had a spell on him that would auto kill the Paladin and bring the campaign to a totally sucky ending would you:

    1) Write down the damage the Paladin did, pretend to do some maths, smile a bit, then shake your head looking upset, look up and (in the BBEGs voice) suddenly scream NOOOOOOO; It cant BE! As you mime him collapsing to the ground to the cheers and entertainment of your players and high fives all round, or

    2) Kill the Paladin with your spell and end the game on that note?
    I mean, doing 1 retroactively taints the entire campaign. So probably don't do that one.

    Really, though, fudging isn't the biggest problem here. I mean, I think it ruins the entire game and I'd certainly immediately stop playing with any DM who did it. But the biggest problem is lying about it. If you know your players have a problem with fudging (as any good player does) and you do it anyway and pretend you didn't then you're actively a bad person, at least in this context.
    Last edited by Koo Rehtorb; 2019-01-02 at 02:54 PM.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    This is bad advice some badly written games have tainted the hobby with over the years, yes. And even then, it's been misinterpreted from what it was actually supposed to mean originally. Which is that the DM was empowered to make up rulings for situations not covered by the rules. It was never intended to be "Calvinball".
    "A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make." - Gary Gygax

    So yeah, nah.

    I mean, doing 1 retroactively taints the entire campaign.
    Yeah, we play different games.

    Really, though, fudging isn't the biggest problem here. I mean, I think it ruins the entire game and I'd certainly immediately stop playing with any DM who did it. But the biggest problem is lying about it. If you know your players have a problem with fudging (as any good player does) and you do it anyway and pretend you didn't then you're actively a bad person, at least in this context.
    Help, I fudge dice rolls to entertain my friends and help us all tell great stories and have fun in our spare time AND IM GOING TO HELL FOR IT!

    I also do magic on the weekends and I deceive my audience to their amusement and entertainment. I even use TRICK CARDS sometimes and other nefarious lies.

    IM A MONSTER!

    If I ever find myself DMing you, I'll assuredly roll my dice for you in the open. We solid?
    Last edited by Malifice; 2019-01-02 at 03:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    @ Malifice:

    I don't think I am a bad DM either, but I also dont think I am a great DM. I am good at the creative side of it, but the entertainer part of it which requires me to read people on the fly is just not a skill I have, and so I generally Try and stay within my comfort zone to avoid the slide into bad DM. I have played with that guy too many times and it always sucks, typically in the form of a control freak with no poker face who thinks he is weaving an amazng experiance for his group of players.


    The idea to use narrative terms for character creation to introduce new players into the game was an experiment on my part and, imo, seems to have worked out well. But either eay, its in the past now, and the only persom who had a problem with it was a veteran player rather than one of the newbies it was designed for.

    Talking to that veteran player, it seems he was really less upset about me filling out his sheet for him than he was that the point buy we were using didnt allow players to start off with extremely high or extremely low stats.
    I offered to let him reroll his character, but all he eants to make is a min-maxxed to the extreme character who overshadows the rest of the party when up against a problem that can be solved by blasting and is dead weight the rest of the time and who can no longer fulfill the role in the party that he asked to take during session zero.
    The problem isnt rebulding, its bringing me a character that I would almost certainly veto regardless of the character creation system we are using.


    On the subject of random encounters:
    This is a hex-crawl / sand box campaign, it does not have adventures as such.

    Also, I literally do not see how random encounters can cause the 15 minute adventuring day unless you are playing in a system that allows rope trick cheese ormthe like, which I am not.
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  24. - Top - End - #204
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    "A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make." - Gary Gygax

    So yeah, nah.



    Yeah, we play different games.



    Help, I fudge dice rolls to entertain my friends and help us all tell great stories and have fun in our spare time AND IM GOING TO HELL FOR IT!

    I also do magic on the weekends and I deceive my audience to their amusement and entertainment. I even use TRICK CARDS sometimes and other nefarious lies.

    IM A MONSTER!

    If I ever find myself DMing you, I'll assuredly roll my dice for you in the open. We solid?
    Hello, my name is Morgaln and I fudge die rolls. Wait, is this the DM support group?

    But in seriousness, I think I'm somewhere in the middle between the extremes here. My campaigns are heavily geared toward cinematic story-telling, with comparatively low amounts of dice rolling. When I do roll dice, I almost always go with what I rolled, but there is one rule, that I have also stated very clearly to my players: Characters do not die due to random die rolls. The death of a protagonist is a momentous occasion that doesn't just occur randomly; it should be at a point in a story where it means something, and it should be, in part at least, the decision of the player to have this character die for something. Therefore I will fudge rolls if it means the difference between unconsciousness or death. Note that I mostly DM World of Darkness, where a single bad roll can kill a character at full health no matter how powerful they are, so this comes up more often than it probably does in D&D and similar games. In the case of non-combat examples (i. e. jumping over a gorge), I will very clearly state that this is likely to kill the character if they fail, but these are rare since my player prefer realistic approach to situations like these.

    I will stick with my rolls, and they mean something. For example, if I make an alertness roll, I genuinely want to know whether that guard heard the PC or whether their stealth roll was good enough to remain hidden. I see no reason to pretend I made a role on some encounter table when I didn't. I'm curious what you and/or your players gain from that pretense and how it makes the game better than admitting you've planned out the encounter in the first place, Malifice.
    Last edited by Morgaln; 2019-01-02 at 03:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Also, I literally do not see how random encounters can cause the 15 minute adventuring day unless you are playing in a system that allows rope trick cheese ormthe like, which I am not.
    After the encounter with the Revenenant how many more encounters did they/ could they have?

    By having them deal with a random deadly encounter they were forced to either Nova (meaning they would be forced to rest) to survive (adventuring day over) or they get party wiped (adventuring day over).

    Its like a house rule that pushes a level of Exhaustion on a downed PC. It just encourages the PCs to go away and rest overnight once dropped.

    Time limited encounters work better. You can push several encounters between a long rest at them, which is generally better than one swingy deadly encounter.

    Im running ToA in 5E at the moment which is a sandbox, and I deliberately use pre-ordained random encounters (there is actually a booklet made with 60 or so pregenerated encounters in it) plus some of my own design, plus the occasional roll on the charts at the back of the book (the roll only puts me in the ball park of what encounter I'll use - Ill look up and down the list of encounters starting at what I rolled, and pick one that works the best).

    The main gig is to get the PCs to pre-ordained adventure locations (one of the many mini dungeons or encounter areas in the module) where they're put on the doom clock and expected to overcome those 6 or so encounters in a single long rest.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    I will stick with my rolls, and they mean something. For example, if I make an alertness roll, I genuinely want to know whether that guard heard the PC or whether their stealth roll was good enough to remain hidden. I see no reason to pretend I made a role on some encounter table when I didn't. I'm curious what you and/or your players gain from that pretense and how it makes the game better than admitting you've planned out the encounter in the first place, Malifice.

    Pretend rolling on an encounter table seems to be GMing as theatre.

    Rolling to see if there is going to be an encounter and if there is pulling up something pre-prepared and appropriate to the environment and other ongoing events in an adventure if there happens to be one allows the benefit of both the tension of "if we take too long we will encounter extra hazards" and not having to faff about and prepare a wide range of things that stretch the context of the current activity.

    Remember you probably don't need more than two, three at a push, random encounters for a session. Maybe even none. Don't have a big table, just a few to play out if events unfold that way.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    After the encounter with the Revenenant how many more encounters did they/ could they have?

    By having them deal with a random deadly encounter they were forced to either Nova (meaning they would be forced to rest) to survive (adventuring day over) or they get party wiped (adventuring day over).

    Its like a house rule that pushes a level of Exhaustion on a downed PC. It just encourages the PCs to go away and rest overnight once dropped.

    Time limited encounters work better. You can push several encounters between a long rest at them, which is generally better than one swingy deadly encounter.

    Im running ToA in 5E at the moment which is a sandbox, and I deliberately use pre-ordained random encounters (there is actually a booklet made with 60 or so pregenerated encounters in it) plus some of my own design, plus the occasional roll on the charts at the back of the book (the roll only puts me in the ball park of what encounter I'll use - Ill look up and down the list of encounters starting at what I rolled, and pick one that works the best).

    The main gig is to get the PCs to pre-ordained adventure locations (one of the many mini dungeons or encounter areas in the module) where they're put on the doom clock and expected to overcome those 6 or so encounters in a single long rest.
    Try not to focus on the extremes.

    The basic logic of a random encounter is the players have the choice between pushing on and facing encounters with good loot or rest up and risk encounters with monsters that give relatively little loot and have a good chance of consuming more resources than the rest would recover.

    It turns should I rest into an actual choice, analyzing risk vs reward, rather than the no brainer that it is in modern editions of dungeons and dragons as well as incentivizing the players to play strategically and conserve their resources rather than just playing sloppy and going nova or reckless every encounter.

    The deadly encounters arent really part of the standard random encounter system, and they dont serve any sort of mechanical purpose other thato reinforce that their are really cool and / or dangerus things out there and to shake up the status quo.

    I really don't think resting after expending all of your resources for a single boss encounter is what is meant by the fifteen minute adventuring day.
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I really don't think resting after expending all of your resources for a single boss encounter is what is meant by the fifteen minute adventuring day.
    It kind of is.

    The fifteen minute adventuring day is when players want to make sure they're at maximum resources all the time, so they keep stopping to top up no matter how much they've actually done.


    Random encounters in general do a few things.

    They promote the idea that the world is a separate construct and not everything is determined by the GM, because they clearly happen or don't based on a dice roll.

    They track the passage of time. (I like the Angry GM's time pool system. Every 10 minutes* put 1D6 in the time pool, which is a glass or something in the middle of the table, at the end of an hour or if something that might cause an encounter happens like the players making an ungodly noise or camping in the middle of the dungeon floor or whatever, roll whatever's in the pool and if you get any 1s then random encounter happens)

    They give an incentive to the players not to waste time. Sure, they could search every single door for traps and room for hidden doors or treasure, but spending time doing that produces random encounter rolls and so drains resources.

    And yeah, you can use them to break up excessive resting, but if your players aren't trained to be paranoid about their resources by swingy combats they probably won't do that anyway.



    * Or appropriate time interval to the activity.
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2019-01-02 at 05:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    It kind of is.

    The fifteen minute adventuring day is when players want to make sure they're at maximum resources all the time, so they keep stopping to top up no matter how much they've actually done.
    The point is resting means more rolls on the random encounter table. If you stop to rest after every fight then you're going to be getting in many more fights than you would otherwise if you kept moving.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    "Cheat at the game and lie about it". That's the advice you're giving.
    I think what he's saying is your not shooting craps. You cant cheat. Your telling a collaborative story with friends and the point is to enjoy the telling of that story, not to beat the house (GM).

    Course I fudge all the time too. Random chance does not control my table, the people sitting around it do.

    With that said we all have our own rules. I dont keep track of my players hit points in combat, thats up to them. So if a baddie drops someone then down they go. I might fudge attack rolls to adjust drama a little or NPC hit points for tempo but not PC hit points or usually skill checks. Failure and death are important parts of a good adventure story.
    Last edited by geppetto; 2019-01-03 at 03:49 AM.

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