Author Topic: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.  (Read 1972 times)

The Good Reverend Roger

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A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« on: February 10, 2011, 06:39:24 pm »
It happens to every DM, more than once.  Your carefully crafted beastie got taken out by 3 consecutive crits, or the party found a way around your trap or puzzle that you didn't think of.

Deal with it.  It's you - by yourself - competing with several other smart people.  4-6 people are going to notice something one person missed.

The very WORST thing you can do, of course, is drop a bomb on them to "make up for it."

"Oh, so you killed my mindflayer monk in 2 rounds?  Well, let's just see how much you like the dragon that just happened to be hiding in the closet."

It's not believeable, it looks cheap (it IS cheap), and owning the fuck out of the DM once in a blue moon is part of the fun of being a player.  No, you accept the ownage, and do things better the next time...Not HARDER, BETTER.  If the 5th level party is holding their own in EL7 encounters, don't jack the EL to 10, run the encounters smarter.

Also, proper preparation - especially number crunching - will reduce the number of times you get the shit knocked out of you at the game table (I'm going to do a couple of pages on number crunching later in the week).  So will knowing the rules.

Example:  I had a boss encounter go South on me once, because I missed a singe clause in a rule.  Nurse Enabler pointed out that the range of a spell is the farthest point away that any portion of the spell can effect, not the farthest point that the center of the spell can be targeted.  Boss went down like a bitch, because Enabler was able to point out the black & white rule that totally short-circuited my strategy.  As a result, I am now very careful to consult the rules to make sure that my strategy works.

Telling her "that's the way it is" would have been lame.  Instead, I had a table of players high-fiving each other and laughing like loons.

In short, enjoying the fuck out of themselves.

Obviously, constant cake-walks get boring, but if the players find a way to royally jack up an encounter in a clever way, stuffing them with a flat "no" doesn't cut the mustard.

On the other hand, they should accept the fact that a DM is entitled to a victory lap around the dining room/game shop when a fair & square TPK happens. 

Because sometimes you get to own them, too.

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Luna

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Re: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 06:42:25 pm »
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In short, enjoying the fuck out of themselves.

It's painful when a DM forgets that that, right there, is the whole point.
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Cramulus

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Re: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 06:44:39 pm »
YES. Victory only has meaning in fair play. The random factor is what makes it exciting. You have to plan for the Big Boss rolling a fumble on his nasty attack. You have to plan for him getting shut down in 2 turns. And when it happens you have to suck it up and deal with it. The DM is not playing for survival. If the players can stuff his best plans in a dumpster and set it on fire, he should bust out some marshmallows and make smores. If you rob the players of those victories, then their actions don't have real consequences.

Don Coyote

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Re: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 02:10:40 am »
The two times I had my lovingly crafted big baddies just ganked by the players I was amused and just made sure not to make things be that easy next time. I found out that even though you just stacked several templates on a mob to boost it's CR it still has the same number of hit points.

Jasper

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Re: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 06:50:23 am »
I once had a giant demonic mecha spider made of tractors get taken out with the greatest of ease because I didn't run the numbers.

Run the numbers.  :|

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 02:10:31 pm »
The two times I had my lovingly crafted big baddies just ganked by the players I was amused and just made sure not to make things be that easy next time. I found out that even though you just stacked several templates on a mob to boost it's CR it still has the same number of hit points.

Yes they do.  You go look at the chart with the new CR in hand, and add hit dice to make it match the CR.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 04:06:29 pm »
 :lulz:

Like the time that a Tarask was guarding the exit from Hell. Our psionics monk got swallowed whole, first round and cut his way out second round (Three attacks, three crits).

It was nice to leave Hell through the front door ;-)
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Luna

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Re: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2011, 04:20:55 pm »
:lulz:

Like the time that a Tarask was guarding the exit from Hell. Our psionics monk got swallowed whole, first round and cut his way out second round (Three attacks, three crits).

It was nice to leave Hell through the front door ;-)

Heh.  This game was a LONG time ago.  We'd been slogging through this particular arc of the story for MONTHS.  We finally, after an encounter that literally beat the hell out of us, stagger in to confront the big bad.

Human warrior-type.  Big, spiky armor, big attitude, big talk.  He's been a pain in our ass since the campaign started.  We want him dead.  BAD.  Challenges the group to put forward a champion for single combat.

Our natural, immediate reaction, of course, being "hell, no, monkeyfuck him."  We had, however, a paladin with a stick up his ass in the party who declared that a challenge had to be met, and he'd drag his ass up there and defend the guy unless we did the single combat thing.

Given that he was down to about eight hit points from the last encounter, and we were all out of healing spells, it wasn't gonna be him.  The spellcasters were about tapped out, the other fighter types weren't in much better shape than the paladin.

Which left me.  Rogue, with, if I remember right, the swashbuckler kit.  Grab my blades (I fought two weapons), swaggered forward, and declared that I'd do it.  Dice rolling starts.

Won initiative (yay Dex).  Grab my best d20 and roll.  Natural 20.  Roll for off-hand.  Another natural 20.

The GM goes green.  "Roll percentage.  Twice."  (He used a crit table, rather than double damage.)

First roll, heart shot.  Second roll, decapitation.

That particular set of dice was banned from his table.
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"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."

If Luna was a furry, she'd sex humans and scream "BEASTIALITY!" at the top of her lungs at inopportune times.

I like the Luna one. She is a good one.

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Pergamos

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Re: A little handy gaming advice #3: So the players owned you.
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 09:11:32 am »
I get owned by my players periodically. It makes me feel dumb and gives them a story to tell later.  That's part of the fun.  I have wiped out the party a few times and that makes me feel even dumber but, also gives them a story to tell.  I count either as a fuckup on my part.  I want the party to be in danger, but to eventually achieve victory.  If they get fucked I want it to be in a way that they regret, but which doesn't wipe out their characters.  That's the style of game I run and i manage to succeed most of the time in that goal.

I do encourage a lot more PVP and non combat play than Roger seems to as well.  PVP isn't usually actual fighting, although it has been before, it's more varying agendas that are in competition to some degree.  Players also get to tend their estates, interact with merchants, and get involved in political intrigues in addition to combat.  i find that breaking things up with a few combat heavy nights, interspersed with some with no combat or just some light random encounters keeps the players engaged.  We've been playing the same campaign for 6 years now, with a fluctuating but solid group of players that is usually about 6 or 7, so it looks to me like I must be doing something right.  It's houseruled all to hell, but the house rules are consistent and only change after discussion with players if something is reducing the fun.