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Thread: Loss of Property

  1. #1
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    Loss of Property

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    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.

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    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."
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moritz View Post
    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.
    Robert A. Howard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    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....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moritz View Post
    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.
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  6. #6
    Ed Zachary Guest
    Player/GM:
    LFG:
    It must hurt coming back out, like eating six bean burritos.

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    Dude, you ate 6 bean burritos? Holy crap, and I do mean Crap!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moritz View Post
    Holy crap, and I do mean Crap!
    Holy crap would be if there was a Paladin in the party.
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    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.

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    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.....

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argent View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Although as a DM, I can appreciate how particularly ironic that would be.
    I did later. At the time, though...

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    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.
    "I'm afraid it is you who are mistaken. About a great, many things."

    "It is not the rules that make or break a game, it's the GM and the players."


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