Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Journals
 Running the Realms
 Death Saving Throw Drama
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Turnstrike
Acolyte

United Kingdom
3 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  01:25:13  Show Profile Send Turnstrike a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
There comes a moment in every campaign where you finally figure out if your adventuring party are enjoying the experience or if you're about to find out if it's possible to be bored to death.

My adventurers are currently working the Lost Mines of Phandelver module before heading off to the Tomb of Annihilation module. I've always had a desire to DM that module, mainly because the idea of having a fully covered up overland map for them to explore hex-crawl style seems a lot more exciting than "There's Waterdeep, there's Neverwinter, we travel from there to there."

I digress... so the party have gone on a random side quest designed to help them get some experience before the next major plot point, there are three players so I want them to be a level higher than the area is designed for since CR assumes four players. In this area, a prospector camp has set up not knowing there is an Ankheg infestation, and there are four hidden around the map ready to attack if someone crosses the 20ft trigger range.

The fighter spots someone lying on the floor at the opposite end of a clearing and charges full length to the body, in such a way that they trigger all four of the Ankhegs. I decided to let this happen because I'm sadistic and wanted them to feel the pressure. The party are spread out roughly 30ft between each player (Three plus a hireling).

I did not expect the Ankheg with Initiative to roll a Nat20 on their attack against the Sorcerer on the first turn, roll every single dice of damage at max value, resulting in an unconscious Sorcerer before they even managed a turn. So the fight plays out, the Ankheg has the Sorcerer grappled and will continue to devour them. The fighter has now become grappled 70ft away from the Sorcerer, and the party take the decision to rescue the fighter first before the KO Sorcerer...

The Sorcerer passes their first Death Save, and the Ankheg then hits them doing 2 automatic fails. Next round, the Sorcerer passes their second Death Save, but the party manage to finish off the Ankheg before it can do any more damage.

It all comes down to this. The Sorcerer is on 2 Pass, 2 Fail on their saves... I ask them to wait to roll the death save... have a drink of my tea, flip through the DMG (complete with hums and nods and a single concerned frown, watching the players hang on my every expression was almost hilarious) After a minute I allow them to roll the dice. It goes off the table.

They roll it again... and roll a 10. The entire room erupts in cheers and clapping, and minor swearing from an exasperated sorcerer. Saved by the dice rolling the lowest possible number to succeed. The party learned a valuable lesson that day.

Their DM is sadistic

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36784 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  02:33:50  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am amused.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7978 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  05:11:56  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Old School (A)D&D was all about letting the dice randomly determine success or failure. This can be problematic, characters can suddenly die and narratives can suddenly fail simply because somebody rolled something extreme. But I prefer it because it surprising results are what the game is all about. Experienced players won't recklessly allow dice to determine their survival and success, experienced DMs won't recklessly allow dice to determine whether their whole session turns into an epic and memorable adventure or comes to an abrupt and disappointing end.

D&D has slipped more and more towards "fudging" the dice, modifying results to favour the PCs, giving characters unfair ways to avoid bad rolls. This is also problematic, it's a slippery slope which (in my opinion) has eroded the nature of the game. I prefer all dice the be rolled openly on the cookie sheet in the middle of the table where everyone can see the result - even "secret" or unexplained rolls by the DM.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 06 Jan 2023 05:14:44
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36784 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  05:26:49  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Old School (A)D&D was all about letting the dice randomly determine success or failure. This can be problematic, characters can suddenly die and narratives can suddenly fail simply because somebody rolled something extreme. But I prefer it because it surprising results are what the game is all about. Experienced players won't recklessly allow dice to determine their survival and success, experienced DMs won't recklessly allow dice to determine whether their whole session turns into an epic and memorable adventure or comes to an abrupt and disappointing end.



I once played a new D&D campaign that lasted maybe twenty minutes into the first session before one party member inadvertently fell to his death, and another was killed by a third party member, all because of a single failed dice roll... And the real hell of it was, I disagreed with the need for that dice roll as soon as the DM called for it -- I thought it was ridiculous. But he stood by it, half the party died, and the campaign was done in 20 minutes -- and he was fine with all of it.

I already had issues with that particular DM, and I immediately declared I was never again playing anything he ran.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

Azar
Master of Realmslore

1307 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  07:57:51  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

D&D has slipped more and more towards "fudging" the dice, modifying results to favour the PCs, giving characters unfair ways to avoid bad rolls. This is also problematic, it's a slippery slope which (in my opinion) has eroded the nature of the game. I prefer all dice the be rolled openly on the cookie sheet in the middle of the table where everyone can see the result - even "secret" or unexplained rolls by the DM.



Modern internet D&D-flavored entertainment such as "Critical Role" is partly to blame; not only does it - and other shows in the same vein - provide a false (and overly exaggerated) idea of what D&D involves*, but it emphasizes so much in the way of front-loaded work that one is less inclined to let a character die lest the event be seen as a waste. Consequently, we are witnessing more "role playing" and less actual "game". That is what happens when enough people get the idea that a session of make-believe requires high production values.


*"Critical Role" accurately represents Dungeons & Dragons about as much as pornography genuinely represents sexual intercourse.

P.S. Ayrik, you have a PM.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
Go to Top of Page

Turnstrike
Acolyte

United Kingdom
3 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  08:16:40  Show Profile Send Turnstrike a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Please don't get me started on Critical Role haha.

I've got very mixed feelings about that, the show has done wonderful things with regards to introducing people to the game but sadly new players coming from there seem to have a weird perspective of what the game actually is.

For example I had a player recently ask to join our game, he'd never played before and came into our game believing he was going to come in as a Level 1 superhero who could do whatever he wanted as long as he played the Matthew Mercer "Rule of Cool" card. I'm all for improvisation but not when it goes contrary to the rules the rest of the group are playing to.

It's like saying you can move an extra square in monopoly because you're playing the car and that's faster than a dog or a shoe.

I feel shows like this need to come with a warning: the gameplay depicted on this show does not represent 99.5% of actual games.
Go to Top of Page

Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7978 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  12:47:50  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Turnstrike

... the show has done wonderful things with regards to introducing people to the game but sadly new players coming from there seem to have a weird perspective of what the game actually is.

The game is simply about having fun. The ruleset attempts to define a balance between hard ruleplay and soft roleplay. The rules are bad (in my opinion) when they attempt to tell other people how they have to have fun. Different authors and game designers have offered some truly magnificent and some truly awful D&D rulesets over the years. And, of course, we all know that almost every group of players tends to have conflicting ideas about balancing details as well.

I think video games have firmly asserted ruleplay over roleplay and firmly influenced popular media to recognize the whole genre in that perspective. When you play a video game you play within the rules, you have no choice unless you intentionally circumvent or exploit the game engine. People who think of RPGs in this context tend to view D&D as something "else", something "different" which they approach from an exaggerated roleplay extreme. They tend to view D&D less as a game and more as a performance art. They don't really understand how to "win" the game.

The shows are just a symptom of a wider cultural mentality. Gygax's tabletop wargaming and modern MMORPG gaming are quite different beasts.

Not to mention that online streams tend to exaggerate this even more because their main purpose is to entertain viewers, not to teach game mechanics. And modern media as a rule tends to treat audiences as unsophisticated drifters, things are generally simplified and handwaved more than they need to be.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 06 Jan 2023 12:59:43
Go to Top of Page

Azar
Master of Realmslore

1307 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  13:19:56  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The act of watching ordinary D&D play is often a bore; actually playing D&D is typically fun.

Watching CR may be entertaining, but playing that way is an ordeal unless you have the time and money (both are in abundance for well-to-do celebrities with sponsors), a production crew and the voice acting talent; even then, much cheating is needed to keep the machinery chugging along.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.

Earth names in the Realms are more common than you may think.
Go to Top of Page

TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1289 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  16:08:09  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When my group was playing, we included a stat called Luck. It would be rolled just like any other stat. What it offered was something called Fate points based on your score. If the dice say you die, you can burn a Fate point to not die. If you are bad with your rolls, you can end up burning through the fate points you have for that month and die anyway.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
Go to Top of Page

TBeholder
Great Reader

2399 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  21:18:30  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Turnstrike


My adventurers are currently working the Lost Mines of Phandelver module before heading off to the Tomb of Annihilation module.
[ . . .]
The fighter spots someone lying on the floor at the opposite end of a clearing and charges full length to the body, in such a way that they trigger all four of the Ankhegs. I decided to let this happen because I'm sadistic and wanted them to feel the pressure. The party are spread out roughly 30ft between each player (Three plus a hireling).

I did not expect the Ankheg with Initiative to roll a Nat20 on their attack against the Sorcerer on the first turn, roll every single dice of damage at max value, resulting in an unconscious Sorcerer before they even managed a turn. So the fight plays out, the Ankheg has the Sorcerer grappled and will continue to devour them. The fighter has now become grappled 70ft away from the Sorcerer, and the party take the decision to rescue the fighter first before the KO Sorcerer...

The Sorcerer passes their first Death Save, and the Ankheg then hits them doing 2 automatic fails. Next round, the Sorcerer passes their second Death Save, but the party manage to finish off the Ankheg before it can do any more damage.

It all comes down to this. The Sorcerer is on 2 Pass, 2 Fail on their saves... I ask them to wait to roll the death save... have a drink of my tea, flip through the DMG (complete with hums and nods and a single concerned frown, watching the players hang on my every expression was almost hilarious) After a minute I allow them to roll the dice. It goes off the table.

So they are... blindly running into a whole pack of ambush predators larger than themselves, and don't even have any semblance of defensive formation?
Being swiftly devoured sounds like an entirely reasonable outcome of this act. Or (in a more long-term sense) of failure to exercise caution at a place previous inhabitants of which have disappeared or died in an unknown way.
Also, what's the point of safety nets when the next stop is Tomb of Annihilation?

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

When my group was playing, we included a stat called Luck. It would be rolled just like any other stat. What it offered was something called Fate points based on your score. If the dice say you die, you can burn a Fate point to not die.

Psst. I suspect what you played was Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing, rather than some sort of D&D.
But also, yes, it needs to be said: *D&D materials resorted to ridiculous contortions and bad substitutes whenever Luck or Perception was needed, as cases of "so and so have advantages in this" accumulated (starting with elves and halflings).
And that was before d20, which "solved" the problem on the level of its trademark "Summon Monster I" placeholder.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 07 Jan 2023 18:56:26
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36784 Posts

Posted - 06 Jan 2023 :  22:42:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's been a lot of variations on that idea, over the years, and I've seen more than a few of them suggested for or used as house rules in D&D.

I believe there was even a version of that Luck thing in the 3E material for Eberron.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

Delnyn
Senior Scribe

USA
893 Posts

Posted - 07 Jan 2023 :  20:46:25  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Never underestimate the usefulness of Session Zero. It is not foolproof, but it does screen out the most blatant disconnects among DMs and players.
Go to Top of Page

Hoihe
Acolyte

Hungary
8 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2023 :  21:52:44  Show Profile Send Hoihe a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Permadeath removes any desire to actually invest in the characters.

Player characters, in my view, should have the following:

Death effects are shrugged off as incapacitation. The character is out of commission until end of combat, and requires Stabilize to fix. It happening twice requires raise dead, or casting of Gr. Restoration/Heal or resting.

The focus of D&D for me is to:

1. Emphasize the characters, do what you can to allow your players to wear masks, immerse themselves and pursue simulationism
2. Simulate the game world, provide your players with the means to interact with the world in as immersive a means as possible.
3. Let the game world, through simulation, provide the challenges and only deviate from this to respect agreements made at session zero, or other player preferences - or to bend outcomes to avoid irrecoverable character death.

The best thing in roleplaying game is immersionism/simulationism. Video games can give me the gamist aspect. Books give me narrativism. Nothing but roleplaying gives me the means to simulate living in the world through the eyes of someone different and distinct.
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36784 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2023 :  22:45:11  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hoihe

Permadeath removes any desire to actually invest in the characters.




While I'll agree that character death should be avoided if at all possible, in most scenarios, I'm going to disagree that the possibility removes any desire to invest in characters. Pretty much anyone who has ever sat down to play any TTRPG knows that their character may die -- but they still get really invested in the characters.

I would say that the only times the possibility of death would discourage character investment would be in demos or one-off sessions, or if your DM has a habit of killing characters.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2024 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000