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Moritz
07-23-2007, 08:37 AM
A recent thread was talking about harshness, so I figured I'd share in this new topic.

I was running a D&D campaign some years ago. The players were around level 12-14 and they took a job that required them to go into the Underdark.

And this is where people should be thinking, "level 12 + underdark = death".

So, I had it in my head that I was tired of the current equipment that the players had been using since level 8-10 and I wanted to revamp their stuff so as to give them cool and unique things. (I had no intention of telling them my plan, because I like watching people squirm. But, never in the past have I permanently crippled players in any of my games.)

This was my opportunity.

The party was meandering through caverns when suddenly they encountered a mind flayer slaver patrol. Within seconds the party was captured, stripped of their equipment, and taken deeper into the underdark where they would be held in preparation to be sold as slaves/thrall.

One player bemoaned the situation. Whining and crying that the party was outmatched, that they should have never been pitted against such a powerful foe and that I was being completely unfair to the party and how he was suffering and would suffer so much more in the future. This also resulted in the player quitting the game, he took his wife (another player) with him. Ultimately it left me with 9 other players, instead of 11. (please note, none of us at this time were below the age of 34)

Shortly thereafter, the players were able to escape with the help of the local Drow (Lawful Neutral Sect that hated the mind flayers) and then they acquired some really great items, new Underdark specific spells, and got some great allies that set them off on a new path in the game that eventually lead them to becoming level 20+.

Oh well, their loss.

fmitchell
07-23-2007, 09:27 AM
One aspect of traditional D&D (and other games) I don't like is the accumulation of stuff. It's too easy for a character to become merely a clothes horse for his Blessed +5 Blade of Demon Slaying and his Armor of Fire Resistance and his Ring of Ultimate Coolness.

In contrast, a Midnight game I played in not too long ago started everyone as a serf who owned what he could scavenge from the farm, plus a "covenant item" which grew in power as the character leveled up. In the world of Midnight, the Dark Lord busted everyone back to a barter economy; only the Dark Lord's favorites had gold, which they'd use to essentially confiscate actual wealth. During the game, we'd regularly gain and lose armor, weapons, and luxury items; in our last adventure, we had to destroy our one ultra-useful magic item to get to our goal, and nobody grumbled.

The Iron Heroes rules, which I never played, have a slogan "It's not the sword but the arm that wields it". Its variant classes -- distinct types of fighters plus the Thief and a token spellcaster -- have plenty of power without fancy gear, and in Iron Heroes magic is rare and dangerous. Or, to use a quote from the Wikipedia entry, "You are not your magic weapon and armor. You are not your spell buffs. You are not how much gold you have, or how many times you've been raised from the dead. When a Big Bad Demon snaps your sword in two, you do not cry because that was your holy avenger. You leap onto its back, climb up to its head, and punch it in the eye, then get a new damn sword off of the next humanoid you headbutt to death."

Farcaster
07-23-2007, 12:42 PM
One player bemoaned the situation. Whining and crying that the party was outmatched, that they should have never been pitted against such a powerful foe and that I was being completely unfair to the party and how he was suffering and would suffer so much more in the future. This also resulted in the player quitting the game, he took his wife (another player) with him.

I hate this sort of meta gaming. I regularly tell my players that although I give them a relatively wide degree of latitude to venture where they want, the encounters and challenges they will face are situation appropriate, not character-level appropriate. My players too recently ventured into the Underdark of their own volition to follow a lead on some powerful artifacts that they wanted to recover, and they knew that if they stepped down the wrong corridor or didn't handle a situation right, that could be it, TPK.

Nonetheless, I've had to deal with this sort of problem in the past. The player didn't leave the game over it, but I usually had to have a one-on-one with him after situations like the one your party encountered to ensure him that it wasn't the end of the world for his character.

Oh, and btw, 11? Christ Compels You Man! More power to you though. I'm not comfortable with groups larger than six or so myself.

Moritz
07-23-2007, 01:12 PM
Oh, and btw, 11? Christ Compels You Man! More power to you though. I'm not comfortable with groups larger than six or so myself.

We've had around 13 or 14 before. I like D&D groups of around 8, and Super Heroic groups of less than 6. It just happened that there was a massive interest in my game at the time so we had a huge turnout. It ran for about 3 years.

I'm really thinking about starting a new D&D game in the HEB area. But there's a rub to it. We prefer couples that may or may not have children around the age of 7. - How about that for a requirement? It's mostly so the kids can be social too. We don't mind singles, but games fill up quickly with singles and then the kids are stuck not being entertained and want to hang out with the adults.

As for letting the players go where they want - That's totally why the world is there. Just so they can walk down some random road or make their own trail. I'm all about letting them choose their own future. Even if it is breaking the jungle and seeing a huge ancient temple entrance where the Paladin detects massive evil inside, and still, the party ventures in to find an ancient wyrm red dragon whom they then propose to talk to. Yeah, what ever you want to do guys....

Farcaster
07-23-2007, 01:24 PM
Yeah, what ever you want to do guys....

...

CHOMP! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!

Isn't plate armor crunchy? But at least the dragon got his daily recommended iron intake. ;)

Ed Zachary
07-23-2007, 03:13 PM
It must hurt coming back out, like eating six bean burritos.

Moritz
07-23-2007, 03:18 PM
Dude, you ate 6 bean burritos? Holy crap, and I do mean Crap!

Farcaster
07-23-2007, 04:26 PM
Holy crap, and I do mean Crap!
Holy crap would be if there was a Paladin in the party.

Moritz
07-23-2007, 06:09 PM
I'd considered playing a Paladin in Ed's play by post game. Then I realized the party would get really tired of me, really quick. And it's more verbal flatulence than the lower region's.

RealmsDM
07-23-2007, 08:30 PM
Some players react that way due to the emotional tie to that character & his history/plot line. I have players who take a sense of pride in their creativity & time spent developing a PC, so naturally they grow attached.

I think sometimes the DM has to step up & nip this in the butt before the player(s) get angry. Don't let this ruin your story/game, but assure the player(s) that there is a method to your madness.....

Argent
07-24-2007, 07:13 AM
It is true, character attachment gets high as the character gets up there in levels. But I agree that as long as the player can be made to understand that what is happening to the character is just part of the story, it then makes it a little easier to take.

But having lost my 13th level cleric of Pelor to Drow once upon a time, I can certainly sympathize.

Farcaster
07-24-2007, 06:29 PM
But having lost my 13th level cleric of Pelor to Drow once upon a time, I can certainly sympathize.

Although as a DM, I can appreciate how particularly ironic that would be. ;)

Argent
07-24-2007, 07:29 PM
Although as a DM, I can appreciate how particularly ironic that would be. ;)

I did later. :rolleyes: At the time, though...:(

NikoONeil
07-25-2007, 12:41 PM
Ya, I have a group of newbies I am DMing and I try to stay away from killing them. On the other hand, if they do something stupid I do penalize them for it. For example, they recieved a job to infiltrate the theives' guild. The only issue was none of them were rouges or had any association to call upon. Instead of seeking help they just tried to walk in the front door. I thought of killing them but decided to let them and let the look around while their pockets were picked. By the time they noticed stuff was missing the party of 5 was down to 3 slings, 2 daggers, and the outfits they were wearing. Needless to say they were not happy with me. They items they recieved for the quest made up for it in the end but I wasnt entirely sure I was going to get to leave that first night. Ah, good times.

Inquisitor Tremayne
07-25-2007, 01:31 PM
I regularly tell my players that although I give them a relatively wide degree of latitude to venture where they want, the encounters and challenges they will face are situation appropriate, not character-level appropriate.

This is great. I think I need to express this to my players.

Moritz
07-25-2007, 03:45 PM
I thought of killing them but decided to let them and let the look around while their pockets were picked.


That's about the only thing I like about city adventures. Especially when their spot checks are really low. Picking pockets rocks.

Argent
07-27-2007, 08:11 AM
I run situation appropriate encounters as well, and I'm continually telling my players that sometimes you have to know when to run away. And after all, having a tough enemy that they have to spend some time preparing for is a great motivator. :) And it also leads to some interesting "side-quests" and situations.

Moritz
07-30-2007, 12:55 PM
Yeah, I like that term, "Situation Appropriate". I think I'll use it.

"Dear players, if you enter an area and see a few higher level monsters wandering around, it's your choice whether or not you wish to engage. But if you do, it's all your fault. I'm not gonna save your bottoms."

Argent
07-31-2007, 07:36 AM
Yeah, I like that term, "Situation Appropriate". I think I'll use it.

"Dear players, if you enter an area and see a few higher level monsters wandering around, it's your choice whether or not you wish to engage. But if you do, it's all your fault. I'm not gonna save your bottoms."

That is pretty much the idea. And at least they can never complain about DM railroading.

Moritz
07-31-2007, 09:06 AM
I pretty much tell them I never twist their arms and force them into an area. Like when my players went into the Underdark. It was just an option that was offered to them. My games are often filled with rabbit trails (often called quests/jobs/bounties/missions) that the players have free will to run down and see where they go. They also are often given intelligence as to the situation they're going into. So it's also not a trap. But still, there was always someone who whined about how hard the content was in an area that he chose to go into.

rabkala
07-31-2007, 10:41 PM
I love disenchanters, rust monsters, and all sorts of item destroying creatures. They can be very fun.

I think every player I have ever had has complained that I am stingy. Yet, they always seem to have more than the appropriate wealth by level guide in the DMG would suggest. Hmmm, players wouldn't be whining for no good reason would they? I have never had anyone quit over their lost equipment, but have heard more than enough whining in 28 years.

Moritz
08-01-2007, 08:04 AM
Oh oh ohoh. Rust Monster Story Time!

So, the players were out in the wilderness. Three of the four players knew there were rust monsters ahead. The fourth player (same player mentioned above that cried about losing his stuff in the underdark) was warned over and over that the monsters were near and not to go fight a rust monster wearing his plate armor. What did he do? He ran head-long into a bevy of rust monsters not only wearing full plate but also wielding a nice magic metal weapon and shield.

During the battle, he had lost everything. Then he demanded that the other players buy him all new stuff.

I couldn't stop laughing.

Rain_Spider_08
08-01-2007, 05:03 PM
Three of the four players knew there were rust monsters ahead. The fourth player (same player mentioned above that cried about losing his stuff in the underdark) was warned over and over that the monsters were near and not to go fight a rust monster wearing his plate armor. What did he do? He ran head-long into a bevy of rust monsters not only wearing full plate but also wielding a nice magic metal weapon and shield.

During the battle, he had lost everything. Then he demanded that the other players buy him all new stuff.

Omg... I have to know... behind what "supposed" logic did he think the other players should buy new equipment for him when he lost his past equipment due to his own *ahem* "error in judgment"?

Moritz
08-01-2007, 05:12 PM
There was no logic and I never understood the rationale behind his desires. I just laughed and laughed.

rabkala
08-03-2007, 11:01 PM
I had one player who always played fighter types. He would optimize and over specialize in one area while ignoring everything else. His super offensive characters would always hinge on one weapon combo or some strange exotic weapon. If you destroyed his weapon, he would kill off his character so he could create his next monstrosity. It got real old, real fast.

shilar
08-05-2007, 08:43 PM
I always hated one dimensional characters. You always need a backup plan.

Moritz
08-06-2007, 08:30 AM
I had one player who always played fighter types. He would optimize and over specialize in one area while ignoring everything else. His super offensive characters would always hinge on one weapon combo or some strange exotic weapon. If you destroyed his weapon, he would kill off his character so he could create his next monstrosity. It got real old, real fast.

Yep, had a player like that too. Bladed Gauntlets with a blend of Fighter/Dragon Disciple was his trademark. He went through perhaps 3 characters of the same design.

Ed Zachary
08-06-2007, 09:00 AM
We had a player who always ran a generic evil and cowardly invisible flying magic user who lived in an underground hole.

Moritz
08-06-2007, 09:59 AM
That sounds like a He-Man reference there Ed.

Ed Zachary
08-06-2007, 10:44 AM
I vaguely remember some of the details from my 20s. On weekends when I wasn't a replacement drummer for a band whose regular drummer was either ODing or in jail, we would sometimes game from Friday evening till Sunday night. One guy owned a house so we would always crash there. For about five years we only played evil characters.

When I was 29 my company sent me to Mexico as a manager for a new plant. Being a wealthy gringo living in latina-land, I don't think I gamed once for about five years.

I eventually found a group that played WW's Vampire and Mage, and played those games for six years. No D&D what so ever in over a decade. Then I joined another company who sent me to eastern Europe for three years for another start-up, and no more gaming.

I met up with my old group again, and most had families, advanced degrees, or their own companies. We played a house version of D&D 2nd ed despite that 3.0 came out. My wife didn't know what to expect, growing up a godless commie behind the Iron Curtain.

A few years ago the plant closed and was sent to Brazil. Tempting, but going to a foreign country as a happily married man was not a good idea, so I went to Vermont. We were fortunate to meet up with some like minded people here. But then again all vermonters are a bit... different.

rabkala
08-06-2007, 10:34 PM
We had a player who always ran a generic evil and cowardly invisible flying magic user who lived in an underground hole.

Sounds like a recipe for success, how could it fail?

Ed Zachary
08-07-2007, 07:13 AM
We had a player who always ran a generic evil and cowardly invisible flying magic user who lived in an underground hole.


Sounds like a recipe for success, how could it fail?

You probably guessed it, but quite easily.

While we were evil, most of us helped build communities, and were team players on adventures.

The "Mage in a Hole" was plagued by Earth Elementals and Giant Worms until he got the message and established his own keep.

And the other players (myself included) taught him a lesson about being a team player.

rabkala
08-09-2007, 09:45 PM
We had a player whom we were forced to play with in the early days. He was related to the DM and lived across the street. He refused to be a team player. He always went out of his way to screw over the party no matter what our alignment. He frequently tried to enact revenge over imagined slights or perceived wrongs done to previous characters. Every evil group that was attempted degenerated into PC on PC fighting. It was a long two years until he moved.

Moritz
08-10-2007, 09:02 AM
Sounds to me like you should have taken the player out back and beat the crap out of him until he became a team player.
Did he have mommy or daddy issues, throw temper tantrums when things didn't go his way, or whine a lot?

rabkala
08-10-2007, 07:52 PM
Sounds to me like you should have taken the player out back and beat the crap out of him until he became a team player.
Did he have mommy or daddy issues, throw temper tantrums when things didn't go his way, or whine a lot?

Daddy was a scumbag and new stepmother was present physically but not mentally. Our party was always poor, mostly due to his thieving and getting everyone killed. He was 7 years older than me at the time. I tried to take him out back, but 12 versus 19 spells ouch. Luckily, my older brother showed up to stop things.

Moritz
08-12-2007, 03:11 PM
Well Rabkala, you can bet in the long run you still won.

rabkala
08-13-2007, 06:53 PM
Last I heard anything about him was a few years ago. He had just gone through divorce #3 and being prosecuted for stealing while working as a rent-a-cop. I tried to feel some sympathy for him, but I just kept thinking I was bigger than he was now.