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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    I tried to use a piece of anti-magic furniture (that could be rather easily detected and destroyed, a wall mounted beholder is not subtle) to make a BBEG fight a bit more difficult. I got met with "that's not how it works" so I eventually stopped trying tricks and eventually took a break from DM'ing.

    I think the idea would have worked a lot better with some more experienced players, they were pretty strictly book learning at that point and even small deviations were either met with confusion or disdain. Wasn't great fun for me.
    So I get the criticism about this...but I thought it was a great idea.

    Imagine it, the players are offered to entreat the BBEG. The players, thinking themselves not murderhobos, agree. They sit down in his living room, discuss, and decide they cant agree and must fight. In doing so, they find out they entered an anti-magic field. It isn't in face a piece of jewelry or a casted spell, it is....an anti-magic couch! The very one they were all sitting on while eating crumpets and drinking coffee!

    Seems hilarious to me. And also, if they realize what is casting the field, very easy to smash.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    PaladinGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    So they are led to believe that the magic necklace needs to be dealt with not the random wall.

    You cannot expect others to intuit the pathology of your thinking.
    I don't know how clearer I could be:
    Strahd stands from his throne, saying "Foolish Paladin, did you think I wouldn't prepare to deal with my brothers sword?" as he pulls an amulet out from the breast of his armor. With a few arcane words the amulet sparks and a glowing eye forms from the stone wall behind him. Your Sunsword has but a moment to send you feelings of dread and fear before the blade of light evaporates. You also feel the haste spell that Mordenkainen cast on your previously seem to fade"

    And then I asked anyone proficient in Arcana (super convenient that they had Mordenkainen with them, weird) to make a check. The Warlock made it, but if he hadn't then Mordenkainen would have told them that the eye formed out of stone was the source of the effect and not the amulet.

    They were hung up on the fact that Strahd had an antimagic field in his throne room, thinking it was unfair. They obliterated the eye, and then Strahd in a rather intense explosion of radiant light when the Paladin struck him for something like 156 damage in a single turn. They were disappointed that they hadn't managed to sneak up on the lord of a plane of dread, where he is near omnipotent. He had been watching them carefully from the very start of the adventure since they had made a show of standing up to him at Death House and had been thoroughly embarrassed and beaten for it.

    I didn't leave anything up to guessing, I didn't plan on making them infer anything. The plan was to make Strahd less of a pushover against a level 11 party and it failed completely.

    I still think that the idea has merit. Put toggleable antimagic zones in the rooms of rulers, they're not stupid. Reward the players for overcoming it with the ability to furnish their own home or base of operations with one.
    Last edited by ProsecutorGodot; 2019-05-17 at 06:58 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Anderlith's Avatar

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    snip
    So they just complained that it existed at all, or that they were confused by the nature of the anti magic field? Choose one because youíre earlier post was phrased quite differently

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    PaladinGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    So they just complained that it existed at all, or that they were confused by the nature of the anti magic field? Choose one because youíre earlier post was phrased quite differently
    It was both, when I said that their pre fight buff spells faded the player refused to let me explain why and just assumed that they were dispelled and not put into "stasis" like an anti-magic zone says that it does. There was a reason I didn't take the Paladins turn away, as the haste spell was still in effect despite being nullified at the time, but the player in question (which was not even the Paladin) felt that I was being unfair and didn't give me a chance to explain the situation until after a problem developed.

    It was not the first time that this player had too umbrage with how I was running my game, that's why I don't DM very often anymore. Too many sour experiences with a good friend of mine trying to undermine my enjoyment of the adventure I'm running.

    But I suppose I just can't please you, I feel like you want this to be my fault. Thanks for putting that nail in the coffin.

    EDIT: I feel the need to expand on this, since I can already feel it being nitpicked to death. I say "player" instead of "players" in this comment because the problem was rooted in one player. A bad mood is infectious at the table, however, so when things got heated it affected everyone's good time.

    I don't know how I'm supposed to feel when I present the challenge to my players and the first thing I hear is "that's not how it works". It was devastating for me to spend so much time planning and plotting over the course of the campaign just to hear that.
    Last edited by ProsecutorGodot; 2019-05-17 at 07:14 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Anderlith's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    It was both, when I said that their pre fight buff spells faded the player refused to let me explain why and just assumed that they were dispelled and not put into "stasis" like an anti-magic zone says that it does. There was a reason I didn't take the Paladins turn away, as the haste spell was still in effect despite being nullified at the time, but the player in question (which was not even the Paladin) felt that I was being unfair and didn't give me a chance to explain the situation until after a problem developed.

    It was not the first time that this player had too umbrage with how I was running my game, that's why I don't DM very often anymore. Too many sour experiences with a good friend of mine trying to undermine my enjoyment of the adventure I'm running.

    But I suppose I just can't please you, I feel like you want this to be my fault. Thanks for putting that nail in the coffin.

    EDIT: I feel the need to expand on this, since I can already feel it being nitpicked to death. I say "player" instead of "players" in this comment because the problem was rooted in one player. A bad mood is infectious at the table, however, so when things got heated it affected everyone's good time.

    I don't know how I'm supposed to feel when I present the challenge to my players and the first thing out of their mouth is "that's not how it works". It was devastating for me to spend so much time planning and plotting over the course of the campaign just to hear that.
    Look, I donít want to turn anyone off of DMing, thereís too few of us as is. I was asking for clarification & you took offense.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    PaladinGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    Look, I donít want to turn anyone off of DMing, thereís too few of us as is. I was asking for clarification & you took offense.
    You read "anti magic furniture: beholder statue" as "random anti-magic wall" and then told me I wasn't clear enough to my players. Then on further clarification you further honed in on the fact that I'm apparently being inconsistent with exactly what was the problem, which is irrelevant in my opinion.

    Forgive me for feeling like I've been told off for trying to put an obvious, arrows pointing at it saying "break this" to overcome obstacle in front of my players.

    I really am sorry for taking this personally, it's been a sore spot for me. I haven't had the motivation to finish my homebrew campaign since that climax fell through. It's very disappointing. It isn't your comment that's steered me away from dming and I apologize for putting that on you.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Anderlith's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    You read "anti magic furniture: beholder statue" as "random anti-magic wall" and then told me I wasn't clear enough to my players. Then on further clarification you further honed in on the fact that I'm apparently being inconsistent with exactly what was the problem, which is irrelevant in my opinion.

    Forgive me for feeling like I've been told off for trying to put an obvious, arrows pointing at it saying "break this" to overcome obstacle in front of my players.

    I really am sorry for taking this personally, it's been a sore spot for me. I haven't had the motivation to finish my homebrew campaign since that climax fell through. It's very disappointing. It isn't your comment that's steered me away from dming and I apologize for putting that on you.
    This all goes back to what I originally posted. You cannot expect others to follow the pathology of your thinking. This goes for Internet comments as well. Your players are reasonably experienced with D&D yes? With that comes certain assumptions. On top of this it sounds like you were adapting an existing module, one that has scripted & pregenerated encounters within a loose narrative. There are no ďanti magic beholder embossed wallsĒ in D&D. There can be, but itís not a taken for granted creature like goblins or trolls, which have specific stats & assumptions. You were also tying it to the activation of an amulet, & further still this is taking place within a preexisting module. Anyone who may have read or heard about the module might know that no such thing existed for a multitude of reasons, it also put them at a significant disadvantage, which leads to contention. This is why they are upset. This is why I agree with them. The concept is cool, the execution of it though may not have been. As well, the sudden abruptness of itís inclusion seems unfair. A person or such commenting on how Strahd had a secret power in his throne room would have gone a long way. It makes it feel justified.

    Imagine if you will going through the Abyss adventure to suddenly have colossal chickens that breathe fire stampede during a boss fight. Or for a wizened lich to pull a greatsword that knocks you into the ethereal plane. Itís not unbelievable but it is strange, sudden, & not within the given rules

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    This all goes back to what I originally posted. You cannot expect others to follow the pathology of your thinking. This goes for Internet comments as well. Your players are reasonably experienced with D&D yes? With that comes certain assumptions. On top of this it sounds like you were adapting an existing module, one that has scripted & pregenerated encounters within a loose narrative. There are no ďanti magic beholder embossed wallsĒ in D&D. There can be, but itís not a taken for granted creature like goblins or trolls, which have specific stats & assumptions. You were also tying it to the activation of an amulet, & further still this is taking place within a preexisting module. Anyone who may have read or heard about the module might know that no such thing existed for a multitude of reasons, it also put them at a significant disadvantage, which leads to contention. This is why they are upset. This is why I agree with them. The concept is cool, the execution of it though may not have been. As well, the sudden abruptness of itís inclusion seems unfair. A person or such commenting on how Strahd had a secret power in his throne room would have gone a long way. It makes it feel justified.

    Imagine if you will going through the Abyss adventure to suddenly have colossal chickens that breathe fire stampede during a boss fight. Or for a wizened lich to pull a greatsword that knocks you into the ethereal plane. Itís not unbelievable but it is strange, sudden, & not within the given rules
    How is creating an anti-magic field not within the rules? It's a spell within the game. Are you saying that because he used some minor homebrew to have it as an obstacle more interesting then 'hit the bad guy until he drops concentration' it's bad? Because that's what it sounds like. Why is making something sightly interesting such a bad thing?

    If anyone read the module and 'knew it didn't exist' then they are wrong. Unless you're in AL modules are intended to be road maps, not iron clad instructions on how to play. Besides (correct me if I'm wrong) but is Mordenkainen's presence written in CoS? Why wasn't this a problem?

    You're also trying to put everything on the DM. This is highly unlikely to be the first and only modification made to the module. The players should be aware that changes are being made to create an interesting adventure. He have then a nigh fool proof way to identify what was going on. A player made a check and Mordenkainen was there to do so as plot armor if needed. You are very much accusing him of bad DMing, when at worst it was an issue of communication with the players. And from the sounds of it was rooted in the players inability to listen and roll with what's going on. It's not like he pulled a 'rocks fall everyone's dead' on them. He introduced an interesting complication to combat. They don't need to be foretold like you suggest either. Maybe no one knows it's there because no one has survived when it was activated?

    Audi if there were colossal demonic chicken breathing fire I would actually be pretty stoked so long as I get to fight them and they're not like a 'Final Fantasy Summon' (comes in deals it's effect and leaves with no course of action other then watching it happen).
    Last edited by Galithar; 2019-05-17 at 08:15 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    PaladinGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    This all goes back to what I originally posted. You cannot expect others to follow the pathology of your thinking. This goes for Internet comments as well. Your players are reasonably experienced with D&D yes? With that comes certain assumptions. On top of this it sounds like you were adapting an existing module, one that has scripted & pregenerated encounters within a loose narrative. There are no ďanti magic beholder embossed wallsĒ in D&D. There can be, but itís not a taken for granted creature like goblins or trolls, which have specific stats & assumptions. You were also tying it to the activation of an amulet, & further still this is taking place within a preexisting module. Anyone who may have read or heard about the module might know that no such thing existed for a multitude of reasons, it also put them at a significant disadvantage, which leads to contention. This is why they are upset. This is why I agree with them. The concept is cool, the execution of it though may not have been. As well, the sudden abruptness of itís inclusion seems unfair. A person or such commenting on how Strahd had a secret power in his throne room would have gone a long way. It makes it feel justified.

    Imagine if you will going through the Abyss adventure to suddenly have colossal chickens that breathe fire stampede during a boss fight. Or for a wizened lich to pull a greatsword that knocks you into the ethereal plane. Itís not unbelievable but it is strange, sudden, & not within the given rules
    I told them ahead of time that the fight would be altered to make Strahd more challenging. I was very transparent about the fact that things would be different (in case any of them were aware of the modules climax) because it had caused minor issues in the past when I made alterations. I can only assume they expected something that was found in a source book, as I said they were all relatively new to 5E and were learning straight out of the books. All I could have done to be more clear to them in advance was tell them exactly what I was doing, how I was doing it and how they could fix it. I didn't want to do that.

    There are plenty of times where I left too much up to interpretation in that campaign but I was so incredibly nervous about this finale that I did everything short of handing them the campaign notes to make sure they knew that this would be my Curse of Strahd finale.

    I don't think it's healthy for a player to come into a game with with assumptions just because they might be aware of the source material either. I try not to make the players rely on such assumptions either.
    Last edited by ProsecutorGodot; 2019-05-17 at 08:30 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    5crownik007's Avatar

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Using a guy with a sniper rifle against a character who put everything into melee and their sword.
    Just had to teach him why swords went out of fashion.
    "You... little... *****. It's what my old man called me, it's like it was my name, and I proved him right, by killing all the wrong people. [And], I love ya Henry, and I'll never call you anything but your name, but you gotta decide; are you gonna lay there, swallow that blood in your mouth, or are you gonna stand up, spit it out, and go spill theirs?" - Unknown

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    I told them ahead of time that the fight would be altered to make Strahd more challenging. I was very transparent about the fact that things would be different (in case any of them were aware of the modules climax) because it had caused minor issues in the past when I made alterations. I can only assume they expected something that was found in a source book, as I said they were all relatively new to 5E and were learning straight out of the books. All I could have done to be more clear to them in advance was tell them exactly what I was doing, how I was doing it and how they could fix it. I didn't want to do that.

    There are plenty of times where I left too much up to interpretation in that campaign but I was so incredibly nervous about this finale that I did everything short of handing them the campaign notes to make sure they knew that this would be my Curse of Strahd finale.

    I don't think it's healthy for a player to come into a game with with assumptions just because they might be aware of the source material either. I try not to make the players rely on such assumptions either.
    I would say from this that the problem was not with you, or with them. It was in the expectations of the game. You were clear about your expectations. You would be changing things, and you told them as much. They were expecting everything to come out of a book, despite you saying you were changing things.

    This doesn't mean you were a bad DM, or even made a mistake and should avoid doing similar in the future. It just means that this group of players (or the singular player that started the issues) don't mesh well. I currently have a player in my game that doesn't fit. He's not a bad player he just doesn't fit my campaign and I struggle to remove someone from my game for something like this. It causes problems (I had a PvP brawl two sessions ago initiated by him attacking another PC literally over a single copper piece... Luckily no one died and I didn't even have to have NPC intervention. The party magically restrained the aggressor and got him to drop it.)

    So totally off topic, so now I'll contribute to the threads initial intent.

    I like to use cursed items. Now I generally make mine OBVIOUSLY cursed, but it's fun when a PC decides to go for it anyways. You get to yank them around with a curse for a bit and as long as you don't let it cripple their character to uselessness it can be a lot of fun while they figure out how to (or finally decide to) get rid of it.
    Last edited by Galithar; 2019-05-17 at 08:37 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Anderlith's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galithar View Post
    snip
    I never said it was bad . Iím trying to explain why his players may have reacted that way. Homebrew is perfectly fine & I actively encourage it. But donít be surprised when players are confused or upset when they run into something they donít understand. Something that is perfectly straight forward when explained can be down right arcane when in the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    snip
    Iím not blaming you Godot, Iím just trying to explain that basically players are toddlers. My very first post in this thread is ďI google puzzles & riddles for kidsĒ, even if you played with your notes out in front Iím sure your players would still be upset & confused.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    I have to agree with your players. A random wall that nullifies magic isnít how it works
    This right here says "You did it wrong". Which is (to me) a clear accusation of 'Bad DM', and the first thing you said to ProsecutorGodot.

    That may not be your intent, but it was what you said. You didn't start by saying "Well if you didn't explain something to them they might have been confused as to what was happening and why it was happening". You said 'That isn't how it works'. Isn't how what works? YOUR game?

    And as was pointed out it wasn't "a random wall" it was a thought out obstacle added to a BBEG encounter to try to keep the players from trivializing it... Which they did anyways.

    Edit: Also your players may be toddlers, but not all are. I give my players puzzles that are occasionally based on things like specific sequences of prime numbers and the Fibonacci sequence. I actually did my best once to make a map with Fibonacci Spiral (points indicated by the things of interest in the Dungeon all laid on the spiral with one point that marked the secret door) that pointed them towards a secret room. They found it, but by searching for a secret door because they were suspicious of the deadend not because they saw the pattern in the map.

    Also I introduce interesting mechanics all the time to keep them in their toes. It does take the right group though. Hence my comment earlier about communication and expectation being the real issue.
    Last edited by Galithar; 2019-05-17 at 09:09 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Anderlith's Avatar

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    There are no existing rules for what Godot did in the books. Therefore thatís not how it works. Like I said, Iím all for homebrew, but you cannot say that it isnít out of left field. We are limited by what information has been given to us, so all of my posts have been within that information. I never said it was Godot fault. I said I understood & within the information given, agreed with his players

    My players are not idiots, but there are gaps in any communication, one has to account for it.

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    My players entered a narrow hall lined with 3 alcoves on each side. Statues stood in five, and a chest sat in the middle alcove on one side. The PCs noticed some bits of rubble littering the floor between the two middle alcoves, so the party's arcane trickster cast a minor illusion of a person standing in between. The gargoyle impersonating a statue on one side attacked the illusion, and the party patted themselves on the back for flushing out the monster, and attacked it.

    Which left them very surprised when the mimic chest that had been engaged in a staring contest with the gargoyle for years bit one of them in the butt.

    ------------------------

    My players were walking through a ruined town when they found a chest sitting right out in the middle of the town square, at the base of a ruined statue. They casually closed in around it, the barbarian lined his axe up like a golf club, and smashed it into the mimic.

    And now that his axe was stuck in the mimic, the goblins that had turned the piles of rubble surrounding the square into archer blinds opened fire.

    ------------------------

    My players had defeated the half-goblin, half-kobold sorceress who ruled over clans of both, and forced her to flee from battle. She snuck deeper into the abandoned dwarven complex that had been her stronghold. As the party explored further, they found her Disguised Self to look like a gnome. She claimed to be an alchemist taken prisoner by the goblins, and accepted the party's invitation to stick with them while they explored.

    Soon after that, they found the sorceress' personal stash, including several magic potions which she volunteered to identify. She identified a potion of giant's growth, a potion of diminuation, and two potions of poison.

    The party eventually caught her renewing her Disguise Self spell during a rest stop, and drove her off again.

    Some time later, the group was infiltrating a thieves' guild, and one of the PCs had encountered an enemy wizard. He deceived the wizard into drinking one of the potions of poison they had recovered from the sorceress' stash on the pretense of it being a potion of healing. The wizard drank... and regained 2d4 + 2 hit points.

    The party apparently did not learn their lesson from this, as they later gave the ranger's companion the potion of giant's growth... and watched it shrink into a Small giant badger.

    ------------------------

    Speaking of the thieves' guild, their treasure vault consisted of 6 different vaults, each with a key hidden somewhere in the guild hall. The keys had symbols worked into their heads which corresponded to sigils carved into the vault doors, indicating which doors they belonged to.

    The key heads were a rose, an arrow, a dagger, a fly, a hand, and a foot.

    The door sigils were a grave, a heart, a person's back, a web, a purse, and a bear trap.

    ------------------------

    The party was exploring an ancient magical library buried under the desert in search of a specific book. This being a magical library, however, all the books were alive to some extent, and each time a PC checked one without being careful enough, it would "go off," and roll on the Wild Magic table.

    Which would be nerve-wracking enough without the library also being the lair of a slumbering ancient brass dragon.

    They actually managed to set off several books without waking him up, and found the one they were looking for.

    Too bad the gobold sorceress from before was lurking around and woke him up on purpose after they spurned her attempts to talk them into handing the book over.

    ------------------------

    My players were making their way through an underground tunnel system carved out by a hive of thri-kreen they had befriended by liberating them from a group of tlincali slavers. They came across a pool of water in one cavern, created by what looked like a little spout sticking out of the ceiling. A PC with Slippers of Spider Climbing walked up and gave the spout a good yank, pulling free a Decanter of Endless Water.

    And the mummy that had been dying to drink from it for hundreds of years.

    ------------------------

    While on a mission for a sisterhood of good archfey warlocks, the party defeated a Sword Wraith commander, and one of the PCs took up the wraith's sword after it had been vanquished. Upon attuning to it, though, he learned that it was a sentient Sword of Vengeance, possessed by the wraith itself and capable of transmitting its throughts through emotions.

    The player was immediately frustrated to learn that he had been cursed, doubly so when upon their return to the warlocks, the sword became overcome with a murderous rage upon coming into the presence of their reclusive leader. He deliberated long and hard over whether to have the sword's curse broken, as he had been informed by one of the warlocks that it would likely lose its bonus damage to undead if the curse was broken.

    He never did ask himself why a sentient anti-undead weapon flew into a rage in the presence of, and exclusively in the presence of, the warlocks' unfortunate leader pale, sickly-looking leader who never left her shadowy lair and was purported to be dying of a vampire bite she suffered over a century ago.

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    My best trick was entirely accidental.

    They were travelling through Elvish catacombs on the trail of some strange magic that was causing problems for the city above. None of the could speak Elvish. The catacombs were distorted, tunnels went to places they should not have physically been possible to reach, with a lot of strange wisps around that caused havoc with spells.

    They came across a particular tomb that was special, better crafted in a pride of place. So naturally they opened it to have a look what was inside, finding a skeleton holding a brick. They decided that the brick must be part of a puzzle, must be used to open a secret door or something similar, so they took it with them and tried using it on everything. For probably an hour they tried to use this brick.

    Naturally, the brick meant nothing. I had included as a nice little bit of world building, it was the first ever brick placed when building the city, and the person who was buried with it was the city's original architect all those thousands of years ago. Eventually they decided to use a comprehend languages and found the truth.

    I mean it's a tomb, why would there be puzzles? But they were all experienced players and had ideas on what dungeons were. So yes, my best trick I've ever used was giving the players a single, normal brick.

  17. - Top - End - #47
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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Godot, for what it's worth:
    I'm *totally* stealing the idea of a BBEG having an amulet that activates a Beholder statue with an Anti-Magic Cone to mess with the party.
    And I'll be sure to give them the metaphorical neon arrows going "Wreck this!". Probably by way of the eye glowing as a weak spot.

    Then again, I'm planning to run a videogame/semi-isekai style campaign, so embracing videogame tropes on bosses totally fits within the world.

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    I don't DM myself, but I have a fondness for complex (meaning more than just a few rolls to overcome) traps. I heard about my current favorite a while back.

    The adventurers step into a square room. The floor is lower than the doorframe, and ankle-deep with oil. Suspended from a chain in the center of the room is a torch. Upon entering the room, the doors slam shut and the chain slowly unspools to lower the torch, giving the adventurers about a minute before it makes contact. None of the doors seem to have any way to unlock them, and the ceiling is too high for most to reach in order to halt the mechanism lowering the torch.

    Spoiler
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    When the everburning torch is fully submerged below the oil, the trap resets and all the doors open. The room is harmless to guests who know to just wait. It's designed entirely to goad intruders into wasting resources and possibly killing themselves in their escape attempts.
    Last edited by Toric; 2019-05-18 at 08:15 AM.

  19. - Top - End - #49
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Quote Originally Posted by Toric View Post
    I don't DM myself, but I have a fondness for complex (meaning more than just a few rolls to overcome) traps. I heard about my current favorite a while back.

    The adventurers step into a square room. The floor is lower than the doorframe, and ankle-deep with oil. Suspended from a chain in the center of the room is a torch. Upon entering the room, the doors slam shut and the chain slowly unspools to lower the torch, giving the adventurers about a minute before it makes contact. None of the doors seem to have any way to unlock them, and the ceiling is too high for most to reach in order to halt the mechanism lowering the torch.

    Spoiler
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    When the everburning torch is fully submerged below the oil, the trap resets and all the doors open. The room is harmless to guests who know to just wait. It's designed entirely to goad intruders into wasting resources and possibly killing themselves in their escape attempts.
    Had a similar idea. Dark room above, with torches in sconces. Party lights them.
    Down a set of stairs, a 'pool' with oil, and pressure plates hidden inside.
    Intent: they have to be careful, or the torches they lit fall down and fwoosh.
    Result: Sorcerer uses Control Flames on the torch he's holding to light the oil ablaze in advance.
    So, now the party has to wade through 30 feet of flaming oil to get to the other side..
    I allowed the use of Control Flames to make a 'bubble' around each character to half the damage they'd take, but..
    Yeah. I didn't give them 'enough rope' so much as some oil.. and they apparently decided they wanted to immolate themselves, instead.

    Can't expect your players to do things as you intend, I guess.

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Quote Originally Posted by Anderlith View Post
    There are no existing rules for what Godot did in the books. Therefore thatís not how it works. Like I said, Iím all for homebrew, but you cannot say that it isnít out of left field. We are limited by what information has been given to us, so all of my posts have been within that information. I never said it was Godot fault. I said I understood & within the information given, agreed with his players

    My players are not idiots, but there are gaps in any communication, one has to account for it.
    So I think people are coming at this from different assumptions, because "not explicitly in the rules" and "out of left field" are not synonymous to me. Mild homebrew is incredibly common in this game, either by giving certain enemies different/stronger abilities for flavour or to up the challenge for "boss" monsters, or any number of other reasons. "Out of left field" means something strange and unusual, and this just isn't. The homebrew in question followed the principles of the game really well: it was based on a well known spell that already existed, and all it did was cast that spell centered on a specific, clearly telegraphed object. You could also have achieved practically the same effect through a glyph of warding that the boss deliberately sets off, except that would have been even harder to fight since GoW explicitly does away with any concentration requirement, meaning the spell would have lasted for a full hour.

    The GM took something that was easily achievable within the rules, made it easier to combat, and then allowed it to be a resource for the players after they won. That's not something a reasonable person with any experience in this system óagain, one which commonly features this level of homebrew ówould complain about.

    óóó

    My favourite trick I pulled was to give the players magic boots of stealth they found on a would be assassin. They found notes describing who the assassin was (a slave to a then unknown evil cabal who magically compelled the assassin to serve them), what the boots did (gave a bonus to stealth checks), and how she got the boots (got them from the evil cabal).

    It later came out that the boots were also a spying device the cabal used to keep track of their slave, allowing them to listen in and track her. They found this out in the midst of planning a coup after all the plans and preparations had been made.
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  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    the Heavily reinforced, very thick, Adamantine framed... unlocked door is a classic.

    A cave with several mimics feasting on a a pack of goblins that the party was tracking back to their war-camp. players were thrown for a loop because they were so used to Mimics hiding as solo encounters, and had never considered monsters having to deal with random encounters. it really set the tone for the rest of the quest and the party started acting with far more caution, especially when they watched the mimics finish up and turn into Boulders instead of the usual Chests.

    Mention a (perfectly normal) bird (raven is a good choice) sitting on a (perfectly normal) tree branch seen immediately after leaving a dangerous tunnel/cave/dungeon. I have only run one campaign where the party encounter this situation and do something other than immediately consider it either a threat or a spy. (actually saying "perfectly normal" is optional)

    Have the Party Meet the BBEG in disguise before the BBEG knows they are a threat and have them be friendly towards the party. then when they face the party later on have both sides pull a "It's YOU!" moment.

  22. - Top - End - #52
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    When it comes time for loot, hand the players a list written in disappearing ink. Make sure it contains items over which they will squabble.

  23. - Top - End - #53
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Randuir's Avatar

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    The best trick a DM played on me had to do with writing my background. I'd been looking to make a somewhat scholarly wizard, and my DM was happy to accommodate me, providing me with some nice tidbits from the setting I then wove into a coherent background including a small organization that my character was part of. It all worked really nicely, and because of events in the first couple of sessions the party was soon heading toward my hometown because we'd stumbled on an arcane mystery that my organization might be able to help us solve. This all happened without any prompting of the DM. He simply provided us with the start of a mystery, my character connected a couple of dots together and decided I wanted to go home and ask my colleagues about it. During our journey there we picked up on more of that mystery, and I worked out some details on the members of the organization. I Mostly did that autonomously, though the DM did ask me if I could include a character with a certain trait

    Us going to my hometown was actually pretty important for the story, as it was pretty much the ground zero of the upcoming apocalypse. And rather than the DM needing to put effort in getting us there I'd happily convinced the party going there was a good idea, and invested heavily in the village as well, making the events that came afterwards all the more impactful for my character.
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  24. - Top - End - #54
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogie View Post
    [*]Traps using the CLICK mechanic
    What is this CLICK mechanic?
    Someone once said don't judge a book by its coverówell people don't have covers so I can judge them!

  25. - Top - End - #55
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    Laserlight's Avatar

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Two of my favorite situations:

    A. They're on an abandoned gnomish ship, trapped in ice. In the cargo hold is a monster that they're not familiar with (I showed them a pic of a Nekron Wraith). When they roused the monster, they had to get out of the lowest level of the ship, in pitch darkness, half-height corridors, and hatches that were frozen shut and iced over. And when the paladin tried to escape by hacking a hole in the hull...not realizing that the bottom of the hold is below the waterline...that was a hilariously memorable moment.

    B. The party was attacking a gnome's manor which had been occupied by kobolds. Pit trap with Darkness in it, and a lid that resets so the rest of the party can't just toss a rope (and the kobolds would be shooting at them if they did). And a couple of rust monsters in the pit. The fighter landed on one, heard it whimpering in the dark, and tried to pet it for a few rounds before he realized what it was.
    Junior, half orc paladin of the Order of St Dale the Intimidator: "Ah cain't abide no murderin' scoundrel."

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  26. - Top - End - #56
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    Imp

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    I had my players go to a farm that was being harrassed by wolves. On the way there from the city I dropped some hints that they weren't just ordinary wolves, or at least one wasn't. As I intended, they quickly drew the conclusion that it had to be a werewolf. When night fell and the wolves came, there was one that looked and behaved differently. They ignored its strange behaviour and attacked it, and even used a special bomb given to them by the questgiver (from the city, not the farmer) that singed and multilated the corpse until it was completely unrecognisable. Afterwards they happily gloated along with the farm's inhabitants/staff about having ended the threat. One of them had even grabbed a piece of the wolf's skull from the smouldering pile of charred mush to be able to show as proof to the questgiver back in the city.

    The next morning, the neighbouring farmer came to visit and asked if anyone had seen his 12-year-old son. He'd been acting strange lately and hadn't come home for dinner or bed the night before...

    The players felt increasingly bad (both in and out of character) as the realisation slowly dawned on them. With fear in their hearts they offered to help search for the boy, slightly desperate to find him alive and determined to find and kill the real werewolf. They did find the real werewolf alright, but during the pre-fight parlay he did finely point out that they had already found the boy...

    Their horrified reactions and following behaviour throughout this whole story really felt like a solid compliment to my story and plot twist. The shock when they realised they carried part of the boy's skull in their bag. The wrecking guilt when they had to speak with the boy's mother, knowing/assuming they were his killers. The fear of how the boy's father would react, when they decided to tell him the truth.

    (what I also love is how one of the characters felt so incredibly bad about all this, that she has vowed to save up for a True Resurrection spell so that she can save the boy)


    Quote Originally Posted by VonKaiserstein View Post
    Expose them to many traps before they encounter an innocent. I did this by accident- some kobolds had booby trapped an orchard, and were you know, doing kobold stuff with apples and critters attracted to apples.

    Once they made it through, they found a lovely rustic cottage with an old lady baking pies. Apple pies.

    I hadn't expected them to come to the conclusion that the old lady was the BBEG, not the questgiver for kobolds. I had barely offered them a slice of delicious pie before they gunned her down with extreme prejudice. I was rolling on the floor laughing, because they had fully expected her to start slinging fireballs, or for there to be a hydra in the pie. They really didn't believe, even once she was dead and I was holding my sides, that she really was just an npc.

    So if you do booby trap a mine or a food source, and then offer your players a reward giver involving the item they associate with their frustration, they'll probably kill it.
    I absolutely love this idea. I'm going to steal it. Just so you know.
    Just remember... if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Have a NPC clearly do something worth noting like sneaking out a door and then never under any circumstances let the players know what he was doing.
    It's time for a preemptive retaliatory strike.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Quote Originally Posted by BigPixie View Post
    What is this CLICK mechanic?
    At some point when you're exploring, the DM says "click" without giving any further information, as if you just heard a soft click somewhere, and you have once chance to declare some kind of instinctive reaction to whatever trap you think is about to go off. Your reaction could save you from the trap or make things worse, depending on if you guessed right.

    Think of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and how Indy's instinctive "roll forward" at the first booby trap almost gets him cut in half, whereas if he'd just knelt calmly he would have been completely safe from both blades.

    Source: https://theangrygm.com/traps-suck/
    I like the way AD&D PCs are grounded in mythic fantasy archetypes. 5E has too much HP inflation and too few consequences... In AD&D 2nd edition, a high-level fighter can potentially fall from orbit and survive the 20d6 HP of damage (plus saving throw vs. death) that entails, and be perfectly healthy again only a few weeks later; in 5E, a 6th level wizard can fall from orbit and not only survive but be perfectly healthy again only a few hours later. I feel the AD&D way leads to better adventures.

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    Quote Originally Posted by BigPixie View Post
    What is this CLICK mechanic?
    I heard about it from this Monarchs Factory video, who got it from the bottom of this post by the Angry GM, who states they got it from Dark Souls.

    Essentially, a trap acts as a mini-combat out of initiative order. When a player triggers a trap, I, as the DM, state "You hear a CLICK - What do you do?"

    That click may be from a pressure plate, a tripwire, or some other version of a trigger... but there's always a CLICK, and the player (or players, plural) have an instant to react. No rolls, no initiative, just an in-game reaction of what the PCs do.

    In early games (session 1 or 2), it's typically:
    • The Scythe Trap from The Delian Tomb
    • The Snare spell from XGtE
    • a staircase that turns into a steep, sheer ramp

    And that gives the players the sensation that while traps do exist, they have some agency in how they respond to them.
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    ... does this stuff just come naturally to you? Do you even have to try anymore xD
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  30. - Top - End - #60
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Best Dm Tricks You Use on Player

    What I call the "Cowpox Trap"

    In a rather long dungeon, one that could take multiple game sessions to get through.

    In one of the earlier encounters there is a group of enemies that when they die release a cloud that gives the disease "Putrescence" or whatever nasty name you can think of but overall a rather minor but long lasting disease. Say with a penalty of you can't take the dash action.

    Later after multiple fights they encounter the plague swamp.

    An underground waist deep swamp of putrid decay.

    Inside the swamp swimming around are multiple undead that swarm people and are all infected with a much more severe form of Cackle Fever.

    The key though is that the creatures in the putrid decay, ignore anyone with the "Putrescence" disease and being under the effects of Putrescence makes you immune to gaining Cackle Fever.

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