Tobold's Blog
Sunday, August 19, 2018
A bad day at D&D

I had a bad day at D&D yesterday. I was playing my halfling barbarian at the local role-playing club in our multi-DM open campaign, and I didn't enjoy the session at all. The main problem were the other players. Apart from one new guy who had a level 1 barbarian (not much help, but not his fault), the other 4 players in the group all played either spellcasters or rogues. And whenever a monster appeared they all waited until I was engaged in combat and then retreated behind the next door or corner, in order to snipe without danger from afar. The other barbarian got wounded in the first fight, we didn't have any healer, and so he retreated too. My little halfling was left standing all alone, surrounded by monsters.

Apart from that, the two spellcasters didn't get along at all. In one situation the wizard went down because he got sleeped before he could retreat, and the sorcerer cast an area of effect spell at his position, which gave him a failed death save and got the wizard perilously close to really dying. So the next time we were climbing up a rope, the wizard deliberately cut the rope while the sorcerer was climbing up, causing falling damage to him. We stopped him from doing it again, but you can see it wasn't a nice group.

The DM wasn't great either. He was using some old mega-dungeon, which apparently was a thick book that should get a group from level 1 to high level. But as most of our players were level 5 (except for the two barbarians), and the DM was using the level 1 area of the dungeon, the fights were not very interesting. You don't want to fight giant rats, regular skeletons or zombies at level 5. The DM upped their numbers, but in 5th edition D&D that is a bit of a problem. When the group is outnumbered heavily, the challenge goes up (as calculated by the adjusted xp table in the DM's guide), but at the end of the fight you don't get those adjusted xp, but just the simple xp of the monsters. We ended up with 500 xp for a 4-hour session, which was way too little to really help any of us except for the level 1 barbarian. We also just got 94 gold each, and I spent more than that on healing potions.

The rogues hid behind corners, did a stealth check to go into hiding, and every round looked around the corner and fired a ranged weapon at the monsters. When you do that with me as a DM, I would rule that firing around the corner is coming out of hiding, and so you won't get advantage on the attack roll from me for that. The rule book says "In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the DM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen.", so I think that is the right approach. Our DM yesterday allowed advantage on those rolls, but as I don't rules-lawyer when I am a player at a table, I said nothing.

I still think he should have done something to not encourage the other players to constantly flee, like sending monsters after them instead of having all monsters attack the single one guy standing his ground. I guess the next time my barbarian will just run away as well and hide behind the rogues or spellcasters. "Hey, I thought we were all fleeing from combat here together!". Otherwise the group idiotically just forces the monsters to use the optimum tactic, which is concentrating all damage on one single target, which will go down even if designed as a tank.

On the bright side, today I will be the DM, and I think I can do better than what I saw yesterday.


Interesting question: Do you think any of your fellow players read your blog? Would they be happy to hear your criticism? This is a genuine question. I have friend groups where I can say what you said and be perceived as constructive and helpful. I have other groups where no criticism is permitted.
@Daniel: If I had a group of 'friends' who were happy to leave me to die like that, but wouldn't "allow" me to "criticize" them for leaving me to die, I would reconsider if I were interested in having friends like that. If those rules work for you, than, well, more power to you. How do they deal with backstabbers like that rope-cutting sorcerer, if they can't 'criticize' his actions? Everything is handled through role-play?
"Would they be happy to hear your criticism ?"

Why would anyone care if they were happy about it or not? If they are such poor sports that no criticism is permitted, frankly I'd have second thoughts about being in the group at all. As a DM I would just kill them off, then start over. The game is co-op, not PvP, if the group is dysfunctional weed out the bad elements and try again.
@Tobold: this post is a HUGE eye-opener and a perfect refutation of the "normal person + anonymity + audience = asshole" theory. We saw standard MMO griefing and shitty play in a setting where the other guy sits across the table.

It is the perfect proof that if the authority figure (the DM) doesn't punish shitty behavior, it will happen, regardless of anonymity. The players don't slack or grief in a random dungeon because they are anonymous, but because they can. They gladly cut your rope when they know your name and see your human face.

Your session WILL be better, because you'll be the authority and you won't tolerate such behavior. I'm sure that the rope-cutter would have been properly dealt with.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool