Unpopular Opinion: If you play and act without thinking, you suffer the consequences of your actions.
By - GodofAeons
I think the GM went a little bit nuts on the "DM vs party" mentality in that other thread.
The situation they describe is: after a running battle against simulacra of an evil wizard who had been blasting them with spells of 6th level or under throughout the dungeon, the party enters a room which seemingly contains just an inanimate object: an urn.
The party wizard SPECIFICALLY HOLDS BACK from entering the room while tougher members go in first. At first, nothing happens.
Seeing that things seem safe, the party wizard steps in the door. At this point, the Urn (which I guess was the evil wizard polymorphed into an inanimate object? Original post is vague about this) casts power word kill in a surprise round, specifically targeting the wizard. This of course kills the wizard instantly.
Then, the evil wizard rolls highest initiative, which he uses to disintegrate the body of the dead party wizard. Following what I assume was one round of combat, the evil wizard teleports away.
I don't think any of this is outside the rules of D&D (which wouldn't matter anyway, DMs can change the rules). But I think the DM is a douchebag for playing this way, for the following reasons:
1) What's the enemy's goal here? It seems as though this character was established as being a "dungeon guardian," not some kind of recurring nemesis with an axe to grind against the party or a specific character. They are trying to stop the party from getting the mcguffin from the dungeon. So the tactics they used fly in the face of this. Killing one character and running away still leaves the party free to loot the dungeon; in fact he specifically removes himself as an obstacle to their further progress. For no reason and with no explanation, his motivations have gone from "stop the party from advancing" to "assassinate the wizard beyond any hope of return and then flee the scene." Maybe more is to be revealed later on about this, but based on what we've been told, the DM stopped storytelling and started just wargaming against the party.
2) The power differential: the party is described as being level 8: well below the point at which spells like true polymorph and power word kill become things a normal party would have to worry about. Having the archmage polymorph into a seemingly harmless object in order to ambush the party with instadeath is an absolutely brutal way to drive home the idea of "things are getting serious now." Again, we don't know a ton about this campaign, but I have to wonder what reason up until this point the party could possibly have had to suspect that some inanimate object is a threat, let alone one so lethal.
I also have to wonder what tools they even had at their disposal to try to circumvent this set of tactics. A level 8 party is not going to have true seeing, for example. It isn't super clear exactly what spells the DM had his evil wizard using (his recounting varies between saying that "the urn" does x vs the evil wizard does y, so I'm extrapolating that true polymorph was the spell he used but maybe some details that would clarify the situation were simply absent from his post) but if it was a true polymorph, what is the party going to to do? Detect magic won't show them more than "the urn is magic." A detect evil might work if the evil wizard is a lich or something but if he's just an asshole archmage then no. Detect invisibility might help if he is not actually the urn itself but simply standing near it. In any case, the party's ability to determine the level of threat they're dealing with in this room is not down to skill so much as luck and correct guesswork, which is a lame way to build challenges.
3) From what I can tell, the party used a reasonable level of safety in approaching this situation (they did not "rush in blindly" as OP suggested, but held the squishy wizard back while tougher characters, whose classes aren't specified but may have included a rogue or other trap finder, went in first). So having the enemy hold back until the wizard pokes their head in before hitting them with power word kill reads specifically like a "fuck you" to the party, an undermining of their caution rather than a validation of it. Does it "make sense" for a hyper-intelligent archmage to gauge who has the lowest HP, wait for them to appear and then hit them with PWK? Yes, it makes perfect sense. But it also sucks. It isn't fun, it isn't condusive to the story, and it reeks to high heaven of the kind of lame DM who just wants to say "ahaha I tricked you all, I win!"
4) Really driving the douchebaggery home are his subsequent tactics. I could accept everything else, grudgingly, if the DM then had his evil wizard actually fight it out with the party, (giving them an opportunity, however difficult, to salvage the situation and maybe eventually revive their dead friend.) He just took out their wizard, it's his golden opportunity to wipe out the interlopers. Perfect time to throw down a powerful summon or CC and try to finish them off! The stakes couldn't be higher, the stuff great encounters are made of! But instead, he basically sticks his tongue out at them, turns the corpse into dust, and pops away. This is impossible to read as anything other than the DM just sticking two middle fingers up at the party and doing his utmost to "win the encounter" by giving it the most unsatisfying (for the party) outcome possible.
This post is already a goddamn novel so I'll end it here, but tl:dr - legitimate deadly consequences =/= munchkiny permadeath tactics deployed indiscriminately and then justified as "it's what my NPC would have done."
Spot on analysis. The DM was a complete dick in that situation and it doesn't feel like the players really rushed in at all or had all of the information. Killing a character in a surprise round and then immediately disintegrating the body to completely destroy the chances of that player ever getting to play that character again is already pretty bad. It comes across as targeted and petty, and if I were that Wizard, I'd feel pretty upset and singled-out. But the fact that the evil bad guy then just teleports away is what seals this as a major dick move. So he's "realistically" being evil by showing no mercy and utterly destroying a Wizard far weaker than him...but then inexplicably teleports away to allow the party to continue their search and take the magic item they needed? Why would he just completely fuck up one of them and then leave? That makes no sense at all.
That sounds like a DM I would never want to play with if he's going to go out of his way to make the game as infuriating as possible for his players.
if he wanted to take that path of a "evil" asshole wizard and the campaign getting serious, you throw in an NPC a little ahead of time and get the party to like them. then do it to the NPC, no one in the party feels like they had no control over their characters fate and they all have a real reason to hate the guy.
Yeah, that would have been way better. But it doesn't even seem like this was supposed to be the main villain or anything, just some random wizard they'd never heard of. Why even go to such lengths to make him really scary at that point at all?
Exactly. The Original post guy specifies this is just some sidequest enemy. The whole thing just reeks of "DM wants to win."
How do you polymorph into a non beast unless we're talking True Polymorph in which case it would have the mental stats of an urn. It then somehow undoes this and it then casts a second 9th level spell followed by a 6th level? If I were 8th level and not warned in some manner that I was fighting a demi god I'd just leave and save myself a few hours every week to do literally anything else.
I'm really not sure and I don't have my books on me right now so i'm going by memory and extrapolating. His explanation of what happens doesn't clarify exactly how the evil wizard masqueraded as an urn. I'm now kinda leaning more toward an illusion spell, like a major image maybe? I didn't remember that true polymorph included taking on the mental stats of the thing turned into (so turning into an object with it would be a terrible idea if that were the case).
Most people don't read the text of spells very well since it's so technical. It's often super limiting for many spells as well so I understand why many groups let rule of cool run roughshod over many of the restrictions placed to balance spells.
This is exactly the sort of shitty trolling DMing that teaches players to min-max and roll play rather than try to get invested in building their character and participating in the story. Assuming they don't quit altogether, what have they learned from this? "The DM will do anything to kill me, I have to make the strongest character possible with the most ways of averting death if I want to stay in this game."
I had one of those DMs. Literally any NPC we encountered had a 50% chance to back-stab us randomly and every situation he created had a chance of a potential TPK completely out of our control.
Eventually he managed to kill our party in the shittiest way possible and
as a result everyone left his table. (also because he was kind of an asshole)
I don't know what I've learned from this but in my other campaigns I act suspicious at everything I see even when I have not a single reason to do so and it's weird af for everyone.
Yeah my first DM was like this and it fucked me up. He also encouraged party infighting over nothing. For years after, I just played optimized statblocks whose purpose was to be unkillable; It taught me to play dnd as a competition against the DM, and it made me a worse player for my groups.
And TIL that D&D PTSD is a thing.
It really is, I will never pick up a magic staff my character finds again.
Yeah, this is the dm version of one a player does something shitty cause "it's what my character would do!"
Are you able to link me to this other post?
It was deleted in the last hour or so.
Damn, thanks for the link anyways!
>It was deleted in the last hour or so.
What a lil bitch.
Okay I think this isn’t an unpopular opinion, but I would agree with OP and say that lots players either don’t understand this or can’t accept this. Especially newer players, or just really selfish players
Right. The thing is that people don't understand TTRPGs. They come in expecting a video game, and when they find out they are much more free than that, they do the most free thing they do in video games, which is *kill everything* immediately after I've quicksaved.
They are testing the boundaries of what they can get away with. This is the shit that session 0s are for.
Almost every opinion of this type is an issue that comes up due to bad expectations, which is why session zeros should basically be mandatory.
New players are essentially reverting to children again. They're realizing that they have actual power in this world now, they're free agents capable of enacting change and seeing how that change plays out. So the very first thing they do, like you said, is start pushing boundaries and seeing just how much they can do.
With literal children, that's not so bad. With wizards that can shoot acid from their fingers and druids that can turn into bears, that raises the stakes and the consequences can be more dire.
That's why we give those characters *responsibilities!* Sure, yeah you could murder everything in your path, but you won't get to keep that castle you have.
Your wife might not approve of you being a petty thief.
And yes, even your friendless rogue has contacts that might suddenly turn on you if you get a little too infamous.
I play a campaign in a scifi fantasy setting where we basically act as the city guard. We started out being far more violent than necessary, and killing people if given the slightest provocation. Our DM wanted to put a stop to it. We had to play out, in character, what basically amounted to a 3 hour HR meeting where they decided our punishment and made us discuss the consequences of our actions. It was painful but effective, and afterwards we had an out of character discussion about expectations and the tone of our game. If we made choices, he made it clear they would have ramifications for our characters' employment and relationships with their superiors.
We use a lot more non-violent conflict resolution now, and the roleplaying has improved tenfold.
One of my favorite parts of my current campaign is the DM's NPCs admonishing & explaining to us how we're idiots for charging in and not thinking things through.
"So, you attacked several city guards in the middle of them assaulting your covert meeting with the Thieve's Guild, let the guards win, and now you're wondering why several of you are in jail."
I run a campaign in a modern superhero setting and I've hammered that message in from the start. The world they're in has baked-in prejudices against superhumans, and the heroes run a vigilante group that is tolerated only because the police force is spread thin. If they go around killing, looting, and stealing, they know that there will be serious repercussions - not only for them, but also for every other superhuman in the city.
The fun bit is that, being very conscious of the importance of public perception, the heroes have become burgeoning Instagram celebrities who share and livestream parts of their missions. The social media dynamic was entirely the players' creation, but it has become one of our most persistent and entertaining side stories.
>They come in expecting a video game
I'm gonna be real, the typical response that "guards are gonna be on your ass for stabbing a peasant" feels just as much like a videogame response than the murderhoboing to begin with. I get where you're coming from, but in an *actual* world with the kind of society that DnD typically portrays, you *could*get away with some shit behavior without immediately getting a bounty on your head.
IRL, feudal society was big on mutual obligations.
Shanking a serf would make their lord look weak and ineffectual if they let you get away with it, and the serfs themselves might riot.
Also worth remembering that Speak With Dead exists in D&D so it is harder to get away with stuff like that
The big thing is that people cared a lot less about outgroups, so if you like, capture a bandit, and threaten them, no one is really going to care.
>Shanking a serf would make their lord look weak and ineffectual if they let you get away with it, and the serfs themselves might riot.
It depends. That's the thing, it really depends. And that alone makes it different from modern sensibilities about crime and murder and justice. The serf shank example depends on the context. If the serf went around insulting their lord, then *not* shanking the serf might make them look weak and ineffectual.
I absolutely agree that not every medieval society was a bloodthirsty savage dystopia. But it *was* very different, even the more structured and organised. For a long time in British medieval times (and that tends to be one of THE go-to for your typical setting) the law was.. Weird. There was a point in history where there were so many laws, a typical person couldn't feasibly *not* be an outlaw at some point.
As for the Speak with Dead thing.. I agree, but the problem is that there's still no policing force to go around doing that stuff. Feudal society was also big on local law enforcement (for the lower classes). Mob justice, at worst. Being a criminal in one town, as long as your crimes remained focused on said lower classes, didn't necessarily bring a lot of consequences the next town over.
Murder might have been 'one of the worst crimes' or not, I have no sources at my disposal to dispute that. But even if we assume that's true, there are steps between committing a crime and getting punished for it. You'd need to get caught first, people would need to care first and they might just.. Not. That was an option in those times. Or retaliating with murder, which feeds into the vigilante justice idea that was more prevalent and accepted back then.
Point is, we're probably both right on some level. Medieval society wasn't consistent across the board. Not even within the same country and the same time period.
You know even in the middle ages you didn't get away with murder, unless you are the ruler of the kingdom or one of his lieutenants, but that makes him an evil king the stories tells about, and a good knight or king eventually comes to kill you and take your kingdom.
>You know even in the middle ages you didn't get away with murder
Except that you did. The murder rate in Britain during the 1300s was somewhere between 10 to 20 times that of today. In the middle ages there was no permanent police force. Moreover violence and vigilante justice were *far* more acceptable back in those days, and there was a strong element of honour. Noblemen in particular couldn't just let peasants get away with insulting them. They would absolutely use violence on peasants, and they wouldn't just get away with it, they *would have been within their rights at the time.*
Most criminal punishment was focused more on things like forgery, and peasants insulting/attacking the nobility and royalty. Basically anything that harmed the upper classes. The peasantry was, by and large, not terribly well protected by the law. In fact, a lot of the murder happened *because* people were punishing other people for perceived crimes.
As for those stories.. It took a lot more than a king just murdering some peasants for him to be deposed. Medieval people didn't have the same concept of evil as you seem to do. Don't forget that kings were considered to be ordained by God, and they weren't expected to be *just* and *kind.* And generally a knight wasn't just gonna stroll in and take the kingdom without having some actual claim to the throne, and if they did generally it was more about power and ambition than actual justice.
I'm not saying that your D&D world can't be closer to ours when it comes to policing. But if people want to use medieval sensibilities and societal structures, they should at least try to understand what those were.
King's weren't all ordained by God. Far from it. And depending on the time and place, kingdoms could be of varying sizes. The empires of late middle ages are not the kingdoms and fiefdoms of early middle age. And even after that, there were 350 kingdoms in Germany after the wars of religions. Not many Kings were crowned by the Pope himself.
As for violence and evil, indeed it was a different time. Yet there was some justice. Of course it depended on the time and place. And indeed à noble killing a commoner was not the same as the reverse. But a commoner killing a commoner or a noble killing a noble would face some kind of justice if it wasn't done in the rules.
And a when a ruler was not kind enough to it's people, he would face revolts. There were good and bad rulers, and it had consequences.
To go back to the subject, and band of men killing randos in a village would be bandits. There were bandits, but they were not welcome. And when the lord felt like it, bandits were hunted. If they were mercenaries appointed by the lord, it'd be a different matter. But even then it wouldn't be a free pass to murder everyone. It'd depend on how useful they'd be to the lord.
An important thing was also to know who did the murder, which was rarely easy to find. Strangers made quite good scapegoats for this.
And then there was the Church. All of western Europe was Christian, and it was an important matter. They shared the same morale. Killing with no reason was never seen as something good, even when it was a noble killing a commoner. It was a different time, but people were still humans. They cared about life as much as we do today. And I didn't invented the evil rulers, nor do I translate today's morale to this time, you can find it in any chivalry book.
18th century put a veil on history and painted middle ages as a far worse period than it actually was. They did this to show their own time as a far lighter period than it actually was. The dark ages of humanity are actually not the middle ages but from the 17th century and after. Commoners in the middle ages actually had rights enforced by the church. Commoners in the 18th century only had the right to work and governments enforced it.
> They cared about life as much as we do today.
I agree with most of your post, but not this part. People didn't care as much about *other people's lives* as they did today. Life was not held to the same level as preciousness as in modern times. "they were still humans" isn't a statement that amounts to much, especially when you consider that the modern view on the preciousness of life is.. Well.. *Modern.*
A typical person from the middle ages would see death on a near daily basis. Whether through violence, disease, or public executions.
And yes, I know the later periods in history tried to paint the middle ages in a very bad light. But that mostly pertains to ideas like science. Not social ideas like the sanctity of life.
> you can find it in any chivalry book.
Chivalry as you seem to describe it never existed. Oh, the romantic ideals probably did. But they were seldomly enacted. They were by and large a fiction of later times. Heck, chivalry developed as a *result* of how violent and brutal knightly society could be, a concept thought up by the church to rein in 10th century chevaliers. But the idea it was this set of just and noble ideals that knights upheld is completely anachronistic. In reality most of the rules pertained to how knights treated other knights and the church. In a way, this is a similar situation as your statement about a ' veil on history'. Writers from later eras made chivalry out to be far more than it really was. And the knights at the time tended to only follow those guidelines when it suited them.
That's the beauty of dnd though, the world is as similar or different to our own as the DM chooses.
Like theres fucking wizards and dragons, but guards caring about someone killing one of their citizens is just *way* too far fetched.
I agree. And this is, by and large, a fine reason to have guards caring. There's nothing wrong with having your fantasy setting mimic a lot of modern values and structures.
The thing is, in a lot of situations like this, the DM doesn't actually do this intentionally. They're not establishing that. They simply have the guard home in on you because you did something they perceive as bad. It feels like it's a videogame at that point, like it's an automated response without actual thought about the nuances.
If players want to get away with crimes (setting aside the massive session 0 issue that should have been raised if they want to go evil/murderhobo), they can be smart about it and not raise a ruckus.
I think the phenomenon you describe reaaaallly depends on context. In a random podunk village in the middle of nowhere where the highest CR creature is maybe a CR 1/2 local big lad or lass? Sure, bar fights happen, people kill each other. Pay weregild and move on. Or don’t - they’re not going to have the manpower to threaten the party or follow them into the wilderness.
But in a large town, let alone a crowded city? There are laws and rules - and stabbing people in the gut generally doesn’t make the guards love you. Sure they might not hunt you to the ends of the earth for the first time you kill a beggar in an alleyway, but killing even just a laborer will make that persons friends and family look for the PCs - and eventually escalate to the guards. Happens faster the closer to nobility or money you get.
Also, it’s not intentional simply because we do apply modern niceties and ways of thinking to D&D all the time (in this universe, in the form of gods). If we truly played into the mindset of a medieval mercenary group, D&D would be horrifying to play. And there are absolutist gods of good and evil who’ll punish evildoers (who handily enough, thanks to 5e writers, follow generally the same good and evil mindset of a modern society). And separately, it’s not a video game for the guards to take offense to a capital crime like murder - because murder has a real karmic cost and weight of evil. Even yes, killing a peasant.
A common mistake for DMs is to fail to realize the information disparity between players and DM. What the players "see" in the world is incredibly limited compared to what the DM knows. You can't expect your group to metagame or do homework in order to map out what exactly they're fighting behind the screen, and when they misidentify what it is they're fighting, that's actually the DM's bad unless it is a deliberate and narratively relevant choice for the BBEG to hide under false identity. A wizard casting 3rd level spells then breaking out an 8th level spell is just bad encounter play. A huge number of these situations that I've personally seen have been improper telegraphing by the DM to the players about the specific risks.
More generally, misalignment of expectations is like the ultimate root of all DnD drama.
Ah I guess we have different experiences then, because 99% of the times I’ve encountered what OP is talking about, it was “this NPC is unhelpful, maybe if I stab them they’ll be helpful”. Like other people said on my comment, lots of newer players try to put video game expectations into dnd, or don’t grasp that this is a game where actions have consequences. I don’t think newer players are assholes for not realizing this, and I don’t think DMs are assholes for making them aware of this. I’m sure we all have stories of how shitty we were the first time we played dnd.
I'm still a baby DM, but that's already come up a few times for me.
My way of dealing with "I stab the shopkeeper because they didn't give me a discount" type of thing it is to do something like: "Before you do that, *your character* would know that this is the kind of town where everyone knows each other, where strangers in town are a topic of common gossip, there's a lot of guards in town, and the guards aren't motivated to be gentle with strangers who break the law. There's going to be consequences for this. Are you sure this is what your character would do in this situation, and do you have a backup character ready?"
From there, I've never had a player follow through on it. But if they did and there were consequences? Then it'd be well communicated ahead of time so they'd know what they're getting themselves into.
A+ that is 100% a solid, level headed, and yet still very kind way to handle that. Because players are *rarely* doing this maliciously against the dm, they just sometimes need a reminder of what’s going on and what might or could happen if they do the thing they impulsively want to do.
Thank you! :)
And yeah, I agree: In my limited and humble experience, the players doing this are usually just new to DnD and they get caught up in the idea of a power-fantasy built on video-game logic.
I've found that reminding the players of things that their *characters* would know is a really good way to get them back into the mindset of "If this world were real, and this were a real situation, what would my character know and what would they do?" without being punitive about it.
If there is information that the characters need to discover to complete an adventure, discovering that information is a beat in the plot of that adventure, and the need to discover that information is clear to the party? Then in that situation, I can see why you'd want to withhold that information until the party earns it.
But for normal stuff that the characters would just know? I see a lot in favor of providing that up-front and not making the players have to "earn" it by asking the exact right question in the exact right way.
This is 150% the correct approach.
My wife was new to the game and chatting with a barkeep and was being rude to him, in character it was all good and exactly how she would have played it. When he started being rude back and didn't serve her she said she wanted to attack him and tried to get my other, more experienced members to join her. After some deliberation I had there be a heavy thud, a creaking and a heavy *click* and the dwarf said quite firmly "I think it's time you kids left". It was a great way from them to teach both my wife, and her character, that sometimes elf princesses don't get exactly what they want.
On the flip side I have played with a player who were being complete and utter arseholes in character and had to be tied up because they kept threatening to steal the ship we were on. When a fight broke out as we were boarded he got free, helped us all out and then had an argument with the captain who was taking us to our destination. He shot the captain in the face for telling him to stop fucking around so we locked him in the brig. He was surprised and annoyed when we almost unanimously agreed to have him put to death at sea.
I’ve DM’d a whole bunch and one thing that always helps me with new players at my table is having a mini campaign proceed the real one. I’ll prepare a small 3 or so session mini campaign where players can get an understanding of the world and be more allowed to fuck things up and see how the world reacts before attempting a long form campaign. This alone has saved a lot of would be canned campaigns.
> “this NPC is unhelpful, maybe if I stab them they’ll be helpful”
This.. Isn't a completely unfair reaction though, depending on the character archetype. And honestly, does this need severe consequences? If you wanna get into the nitty gritty, the medieval society many DnD scenarios are based on weren't terribly big on actual justice. Or at the very least it functioned very differently. Stabbing someone (or threatening to) of little importance is probably going to get you a reputation, but *as you said,* DnD isn't a videogame. Guards aren't going to materialize to deal with some thug threatening a peasant. If there are even policing guards around (which is kind of a maybe to begin with), they probably have better things to do. That's the crucial thing these arguments seem to miss.. There's a *lot* of situations where you could actually get away with being a brutish thug, or where it could even benefit you.
Stabbing people who annoyed you was unacceptable in medieval society and would get you hanged. So would stealing stuff.
In some tribal societies that was more of a thing, but even there, being overly violent would often get you kicked out or killed unless you controlled the tribe.
You could really only get away with this stuff against social outgroups (slaves, non-tribe members, members of unpopular religious groups) and even then only sometimes.
>You could really only get away with this stuff against social outgroups (slaves, non-tribe members, members of unpopular religious groups) and even then only sometimes.
The murder rate in the 1300s, at least in the UK, was 10 to 20 times what it is today. Not every murder got a hanging, simply because there wasn't a policing force to actually go around dealing with crimes.
Now don't get me wrong, people absolutely got punished for crimes as you said. It wasn't completely lawless. It was quite the obvious, there were too many laws. Medieval britain's law was famously convoluted and confusing and tended to favor the nobility.
As for stealing.. Stealing was as liable to get you murdered as hanged. Murder as a form of vigilante justice wasn't uncommon either.
The point is, that yes being a criminal could get you hanged, but you could also get away with it. Medieval society wasn't terribly consistent about pursuing criminals.
>You could really only get away with this stuff against social outgroups (slaves, non-tribe members, members of unpopular religious groups) and even then only sometimes.
Or you were a nobleman and the social outgroup was literally any peasant. Nobles were well within their rights to physically punish peasants for perceived insults. Heck, in some periods and places, he would be *expected* to defend his honor through violence. He wouldn't just get away with murder, murder was the lawful response.
Of course it all varied depending on where you were exactly and what period you're examining exactly. But by and large, *murder specifically* wasn't held to be nearly as bad of a crime as it is nowadays. Theft, forgery, impersonation, insulting the king.. Yes those were considering bad, usually bad enough for capital punishment. But while murder was considered 'bad', it wasn't necessarily one of the worst crimes one could commit then.
The idea that nobles could simply randomly brutalize peasants was only true in some societies. In most of the West, a lord who randomly went around murdering peasants would probably get either killed by the peasants or the king. The Church would get angry as well.
Only if you didn't really have any superiors could you do that, and even then you were susceptible to rebellion or a relative taking advantage of the situation to overthrow you and claim your stuff, etc.
Now, if the peasant did something illegal, then violence was often the expected response. And such things could be very petty by modern standards.
And murder would usually get you hanged. It was one of the worse crimes.
If playing a character type like that is something discussed and approved in session 0, then the dm will be prepared to handle it and it wont be a problem.
The problem arises when you're not playing an evil campaign and your character goes all murder hobo because "he's a greedy rogue and the shopkeeper has money"
Nothing wrong with playing a character like that, as long as they fit the party and the campaign you're playing. However I've mostly heard these justifications coming from people who are only concerned with their own fun and not the fun of the whole party.
Maybe with a peasant. The people with things worth stabbing them over also tended to be the people with political influence, though
edit: I upvoted you for contributing to the discussion. Redditors are so dumb
True. But peasants do tend to make up.. A lot of society. Even merchants, depending on how far your DnD society is on the divide between peasants and middle class, still generally wouldn't be actually protected by any law. They would just have the money to protect themselves and their interest, but here is the key point.. You wouldn't get away with murdering a merchant not because you would be jailed or because the guard would care.. But because some other merchant would hire some thugs to murder you in turn, since it's bad for business to let that slide.
Merchants in cities had different rights than feudal peasants. Burghers made their own byelaws because kings and emperors gave them charters.
Yup. If the party seems to be disregarding a threat, making it clear how dangerous things are is important.
"This is a dangerous place no one goes to" is DM for "this is a plot hook/where the adventure is".
Telling them stuff like "this dragon could melt you with their breath weapon even if you dodged the worst of it (passed a save)" can give them a better idea of "no this isn't something you can fight".
"Unpopular opinion: "
The thing that bugs me about the OPs rant is how self-righteous and melodramatic it is.
IDK what forums OP has been reading, but everywhere I've gone on Reddit, the majority of people would agree that being a murderhobo is bad, and that if players act stupidly, and die, that's on them.
The pity-party, "go ahead, *downvote meeeee"* attitude of the OP as though this is some valiant last stand against players who are a scourge on the D&D community is just ridiculous though.
As a DM myself, i think OP is a DM that is creating a certain style of world, and then getting frustrated that his players aren't reacting/thinking in a way that fits his world, and so the DM is getting mad, because the players aren't reacting in the way he thinks they should, so he murders them "for being dumb" (I.e. not doing what he thinks they should do/what he thinks is obvious), and then blames them for the game not being fun. As another guy mentioned, what we think is the obvious move as the DM, isn't always obvious to players. We don't always convey ideas as well as we think we do.
Sorry bro, my game is mostly realistic too, and my PCs know that when I build a serious encounter plot-wise that they need to approach this one smarter, but I'm not gonna murder my PCs every time they do a "watch this" moment, just because they got a Nat 1. Literally what is the fun of role-playing magical fantasy characters if it's basically "real life rules/risks + fireballs" all the damn time
I was going to mention that a clear session zero where this is talked about upfront should clear up a lot of the issues. My favorite DM experience with a session zero didn’t just character build and set a setting. It also set ground rules, expectations, the feel everyone wanted for the campaign, elements folks wanted to see, any elements that were absolutely off the table for any reason (things people might find triggering), etc etc. If everyone agrees upfront to the setting and rules then you can just refer them to the agreed upon points.
Once you see it, you notice this silly sentiment across loads of subs. People take an agreed upon mindset or issue, then they post this diatribe of them versus all the "aggro gatekeepers" in whatever hobby we're talking about. They get all the attention they were craving and the comments tend to look like this.
I guess this is better than the thousands of OC ART posts, but only because the comments are more enjoyable than the original post.
OP needs better conflict resolution skills.
I think we can all agree that actions have consequences. Duh. Where I’m not digging the OPs vibe is it feels like he’s shirking his job as the guide in the storytelling experience. We can what if the fuck out of this and say the players didn’t respect his desires as a DM. Obviously their is a conflict here In perspectives of the game and OPs position is the players are dumb, they should expect better, members of this sub don’t understand my point of few. OP needs better conflict resolution skills.
True, but this opinion doesn't seem to distinguish between actual game-ruining, borderline toxic behavior, and people just wanting to play a little stupid. Instigators have a right to exist, as do low-consequence worlds.
Literally every single post on this sub somehow devolves into “there’s a time and a place for x” or “whatever works for your party” or “make sure you communicate expectations” etc, so of *course* OP’s post isn’t a one size fits all scenario, but lots of people like running their games with rules, consequences, and some type of structure or order.
Well yeah, because every other post on this sub forgets about that, and states their point of view like cold hard fact that applies to 99% of tables.
The fact is that people like playing in a way that is fun. Consequences, in my experience, tend to be overexaggerated to the point that it grinds the game to a halt and tends to make the players scared to actually instigate anything. People like having some level of consequence, sure, but they also like having a fun, usually heroic story. And that requires a fair amount of concessions on what are 'realistic consequences'. The obvious example is the BBEG. If they truly acted like a truly evil mastermind, there's a fair chance that the party would just.. Not succeed. Now some people like their BBEG with a little more realistic bite, but they also want agency. And for that to happens, there's gonna be some level of unrealistic consequences. In the real world, the underdog doesn't really win that often, at least not without outside help. But in stories, they usually do. One in a million chances crop up nine out of ten times. *And that means* handwaving away a good amount of realistic consequences in the name of the narrative.
"Something something session 0."
Like everything else, this can go both ways and a quick talk at session 0 can fix any issues.
Some DM actually hates when players take 10 hours of planning for what was suppose to be a "enter here so I can send you to the shadow realm where the Adventure actually begins."
Meanwhile others want players to plan out an entire Ocean 11 heist with 20 contingency to get in and out of the BBEG castle without fighting him.
Stupid plays receive stupid rewards. But what's considered stupid completely changes in each Campaign and with each DMs.
I'm guessing this is about the thread where a level 8 wizard in the back of the group formation entered a room, was immediately killed with PWK cast by an item in the room, had her corpse disintegrated, and the enemy then successfully fled before her or anyone in the entire party got to perform even one action? Are we talking about the same thread?
Is the DM acting rationally within the rules? Yes.
Is the DM facilitating an interesting story? It doesn't seem like they really tried.
It's difficult to judge without full context and not knowing what role my character might have played specifically in putting the party in that situation, but ultimately if my DM disintegrated my character while I was just passively following at the back of the group and provided zero recourse or reaction, I'd just think they didn't want me at their table and politely leave.
I largely agree with you. My players often act recklessly without even knowing it. Once they get a feel for who the adventure BBEG is, they just waltz on over to their lair assuming to stomp face. Well the BBEG has hordes of minions, traps, and magical countermeasures on their side. This is not a video game, you have to gather allies, prepare, and be creative. The numbers alone will not be enough, I have told my players multiple times, but they still forget sometimes.
However, there are a couple caveats that often LOOK like player stupidity to us DMs, but are actually reasonable gripes from players (even if they can't express it in words):
1. Player & DM aren't on the same page. I am an "actor" player as classified by Matt Colville. When I take an action, I am generally anticipating a dramatic result (note, not a GOOD result; just dramatic). However, I have had DMs say "Okay, you die idiot." I have also had DMs say "cool, XYZ happens." Often there is a roll, sometimes there isn't.
These scenarios often have more to do with the DM's personal taste, but the DM thinks they're being objective. Really it's subjective, but the DM runs the show, so they never discover the dissonance. This has also occurred in hindsight with games I have run.
2. Sensory deprivation. Imagine the best surgeon in the world, never failing an operation. Now, could that surgeon NARRATING the perfect surgery. And, when they're done, the DM claims "AHA! You forgot to narrate removing the scissors!" Now maybe the surgeon forgot the scissors, or maybe they just didn't think it was important enough to mention. Either way, the listener is probably not going to let them walk that back, for fear of being "too forgiving."
Players are not physically present in the games they play. Things they would have noticed IRL are easy to forget in the world of make believe. Sometimes we as DMs are not as good at relating information as we like to think.
> 2. Sensory deprivation. Imagine the best surgeon in the world, never failing an operation. Now, could that surgeon NARRATING the perfect surgery. And, when they're done, the DM claims "AHA! You forgot to narrate removing the scissors!" Now maybe the surgeon forgot the scissors, or maybe they just didn't think it was important enough to mention. Either way, the listener is probably not going to let them walk that back, for fear of being "too forgiving."
> Players are not physically present in the games they play. Things they would have noticed IRL are easy to forget in the world of make believe. Sometimes we as DMs are not as good at relating information as we like to think.
I really liked the way you put that.
Oh I briefly played under a DM who did not get point 2 and would get you on minor things you didn't bother to mention.
I was with them for four sessions before I left because the DM started bringing in homebrew rules but explicitly stated he didn't want to tell the players what they were until they happened.
Ooh, yikes. I like to homebrew a lot, but I always make a point to announce them at the start of the session. Surprise rules are not the kinds of twists that make a game fun.
I'm of the mind that a DM should be telling the players about any homebrew rules at the start of the campaign, unless the house rule has only just been decided mid-campaign.
As a player it seriously irks me when I'm kept from knowing information that affects my ability to play the game. Homebrew the lore or monsters or magic items to El Dorado and back but I want to be able to rely on my ability to stab, or blast, or sneak or jump and not be told after I've made the character and we're two sessions in that by the way I have to beat the DM in a game of poker in order to hit with my sword.
Wow, you're *really* mad at people over that Disintegrate, aren't you?
Idk why you don't just come out and directly reference the post this is *clearly* a reply to rather than trying to appear like it's a generalization
Right? It's pretty much a bait post because I remember OP replying to every single comment in the post they're vaguing about, arguing on the the side of the dm.
It sounds like, in your example, the party and the DM were expecting very different kinds of campaigns. The players thought they were playing Indiana Jones and the GM thought they were playing Dark Souls.
Not every player wants to play a high stakes, gritty, lethal game. Not every GM wants to run a silly, high action, heroic game. That's completely fine, *until you have those players and that GMs playing together without sorting that difference out*.
That's a communication problem.
Don't try to solve real world problems with in-fiction solutions. It *does not work*. No amount of justifying the fiction will matter, because you, all of you as a group, *control* the fiction. The issue is not the fiction, the issue is the group disagreeing over where the fiction should *go*.
Solve real world problems with real world communication.
It's the job of *the entire group*, **not** just the DM, to agree on tone, genre, and expectations for the campaign. That is what session 0 is for.
The thread OP is trailing off of involved the party on a side quest. During the side quest they hear about a wizard who they understand OOC could probably cast PWK.
As they go through the side quest looking for an item, they fight what they assess to be simulacrum of the wizard. They manage to beat it back, it was fighting with some other unspecified monsters. They fight it a few times. The whole time it never casts anything above 5th level.
They get into the end room. The wizard gets PWKd. The evil wizard (OP in this thread was saying Lich but I don't remember if the other post did) goes first in initiative, uses first turn to Disintigrate the dead body. Then flees.
The party was level 8 BTW.
This OP isn't here about actions have consequences and players should be more cautious. They're defending a DM who baited a level 8 party into a fight with a lich/powerful wizard and then killed a PC and then made it impossible to revive them, even though at level 8 they pose little to no threat to him, even though the DM has multitudes of other options to either just take the quest item and leave without the party being able to do anything at all, or kill a player but leave them to be Revived because why do they care, or even cursing the body to make revival some difficult or morally complex task if the DM wanted.
OP is defending a DM killing a PC and making it impossible to revive, at level 8, because "its what the character would do" as of that justifies unfun actions in any other scenario
Out of context this isn’t a bad post, but with this context it is. OP was very conversational about every response on there and neg’ed each time.
I also was going to mention that. Wouldn’t it be a bit of a failure on the GMs part to lead and allow PCs into a situation in which death is eminent?
It’s like going from bouldering to climbing Everest. If you haven’t conditioned yourself thru training (ie leveled and geared up) then you wouldn’t make it very far up Everest before you had to turn back - even if you did strand yourself, it would be close to the mountain base where you are more likely to have someone come across and save you.
It’s ironic to have a GM complaining that the players aren’t interacting with realism when 1) it’s literally a fantasy world and 2) they somehow managed to put people who had only ever bouldered on the top of Mount Everest where they die of altitude sickness instantly.
In my personal opinion it is possible to allow (or even lead) the PCs into a situation like that, but I think it takes a fair amount of groundwork during session 0 and beyond.
First, I think that sort of thing works best in a more sandbox game. There's a whole world for the players to go to, whenever they want. Second, in addition to first, there are threats that are well above the capabilities of the characters, and they will not be strictly in "higher level" locations. Think like secret bosses in RPGs you can go back to kind of deal. Third, express to the party that you will be teasing and starting quests that are well above their power level at all points in the game, and that because of this they need to be cautious going into any situation. But with 3 the DM needs to be on top of their descriptions, and to read the vibes of the players and decide how best to act based on what they really want.
I don't think those things were accomplished with regards to the original thread, and so I think it is unfair to say the players should have prepared better in that scenario
> The players thought they were playing Indians Jones and the GM thought they were playing Dark Souls.
This isn’t the point of your comment but I do find it amusing that people always compare hard games to Dark Souls. The reason Dark Souls gets away with being hard is because it telegraphs every single threat.
If the OP really wanted to play Dark Souls, before every trap would be a sign that says, “Hey there’s a trap here.” When you died, the GM would say, “You respawn at the entrance to the dungeon and are only missing some XP.”
This is the real problem I see DMs having.
You have to hand slap your players a couple times before you start throwing death at them.
When they do something bad like kill someone in town, immediately have someone crying over the body and giving a dialogue about how this person would have done something the characters wanted.
"my god! Someone killed Toby! He was the greatest magic item blacksmith this world has ever seen!"
Now the players have directly seen their actions caused them to lose something without an "unfun" event of the guards coming and arresting them or whatever.
If they continue to do it they have clearly made their bed, but sometimes people are just testing boundaries to see what happens.
Every one of my GMs atm are playing gritty, dark souls, crit table, lingering injury hard-core games and I'm so done with it. If I want that shit I'll play WoD where the mechanics and world support it, I know what I'm signing up for with that. Hell, we played DiA recently and I was all in because gritty awfulness is expected, its part of the theme and the module.
I'm GMing the next game and it'll be high fantasy. Magic items and dragons. Fighters scaling cliff faces and rangers shooting through keyholes. Every ability ran exactly how it is in the book, no "oooo you're gonna need to ro-" no, fucking do it bro. The world is gritty enough, I'm running high fantasy power fantasy.
While I agree, I agree to an extent, tone can often change within a group of characters, players, and circumstances. Especially within modules.
Currently playing and running DIA, one I’m running only has the DM as an overlap so he can get some play time and I can get some more experience with GMing and they have entirely different tones almost purely from how the players and their characters approach a problem.
> What is NOT realistic outcome? 1. Guard comes and politely asks them to not do it again 2. Players kill the entire town guard and take over the town 3. They get ignored by everyone and pretend it didn't happen
2 is actually a pretty realistic outcome for some settlement sizes and adventuring parties. D&D characters are basically fantasy superheroes. Of course this is just kicking the can down the road as whatever regional power held the place in vassalage is going to treat the situation like any other revolt and send an actual military force to put it down.
This tbh. I love how people hold up DnD to modern society's standards in terms of police presence, while it can massively vary per setting. In your stereotypical setting it isn't just plausible that the party could overtake a town, there's a lot of historical precedence for tat kinda shit happening.
But its fantasy so there is no precedence. There is no precedence for dragons but we accept that they exist in the world.
It all comes down to 1. How much knowledge you have about the time period and location your setting is based off of to draw reference from (IE: medieval Britain) and 2. What realities of that time period are you looking to incorporate (IE: is there a feudal system)
For example, to determine the results of a player receiving a gash on their leg you need to 1. Know that in that time period hygiene and the understanding of germs was not as it is today and as a result, many minor wounds could end up fatal after becoming infected. You also need to 2. Decide whether or not that sense of realism is something you want to incorporate in your game.
Either answer is fine, and both are fun to different people, but having realism be the gold standard is impractical. There will always be *some* things that arent realistic, whether it's because you just dont know about it, you dont want it to be part of your game, or because it's a fantasy setting and fantastic things happen.
You may not see this because it blew up well before I saw it, but your wizard example above is a gross misrepresentation of the wizard example from the thread that's inspired this stupid rant. Excellent strawmanning, top rate.
When you get down voted to hell for your actual argument, just change your facts to match a common board peccadillo and watch the supporters roll in.
This is normal. Actions have consequences.
In my campaigns, there is no resurrection magic (barring divine intervention, but that's vanishingly rare), but PCs have "fate points" a la *Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay* allowing them to survive death or other catastrophic events by spending a fate point. This gives them a cushion of "lives" so a single bad roll or one stupid decision doesn't result in character permadeath but characters who repeatedly make stupid decisions will run out and die/exit the campaign when they have no points left to spend and something goes wrong. Points can be earned, but are rare - you have to do something major to earn one and something extraordinary to earn more than one at once.
I loathe murder hobos and make it clear that in my campaign, the characters are the heroes and are expected to act like it. If they start, for example, randomly slaughtering peasants, severe (but plausible in game) consequences will follow.
Im curious about these fate points. How many do they start with? How exactly are they used? Is there any situation where they can’t work, i.e. disintegration or PWK?
The Fate point system has the player roll to generate fate points at character creation and most start with either one or two fate points, The player can then use each fate point once a session to re-roll any failed check, and expended uses refresh at the start of a new session.
If a player dies they can then "burn" 1 fate point to live, instead of dying they are instead brought back to 0 hp and are unconscious. They also lose that burnt fate point forever and there is virtually no way to re-gain any burnt fate
So hold on, the points refresh so long as it's not used to survive death? That neat.
Sounds like edge in shadowrun too, though those refreshed at 1 per ingame day and went from 1-7.
We use fate points as well, and we award them based on good gameplay. Player does something particularly cool or in-character? Fate point. =P
That sounds like inspiration points.
Pretty similar to what Rufus--T--Firefly said below, though I don't incorporate the "reroll" mechanic and you can use them even in a "no one could survive that" situation. Everyone starts with three, enough to make a difference but not so many as to unbalance the game, and you can earn extra points through significant heroic actions.
Spending a point turns a deadly or campaign ending event into a near miss - e.g. instead of the dragon breath incinerating the player, they somehow miraculously manage to block it with their shield and the force tumbles them back a hundred feet into the forest behind them. The dragon thinks they were burn to unidentifiable cinders and departs.
Or instead of being gated into hell with no way to return and no way for them to be rescued before they're killed and transformed into a lemure, a surge of wild magic warps the spell and instead teleports them ten feet above the roof of a tavern in a village ten miles away and they crash through it to the bemusement of the locals, bruised but alive. Basically the fates intervene to ensure your survival in such a way that you don't get immediately re-killed over and over until your Fate Points run out - essentially an on call Deux ex Machina.
I also make it clear to players that major NPCs also have them to stop them randomly offing Kings and making it easy to have recurring villains that have to be put down multiple times before it will stick which has an advantage over regular campaigns where the DM often has to awkwardly force the narrative and railroad things so the villain can plausibly get away.
Here’s how it works in WFRP. Each players starts with a few fate points, with the option to trade some Resilience points (another useful resource) for more fate at character creation. Also, some species get more fate than others. Generally, you’ll have 1-3.
When your character would die, you can spend a fate point. You are removed from the scene (if there’s a cliff nearby it’s assumed you fell off it), and turn up in the next scene. Possibly with some permanent injuries depending on what exactly happened.
It is ASTONISHINGLY rare to get fate points back.
It works really well in WFRP because it’s a very brutal system (each crit can leave you with a permanent injury, and comes with a 1% chance of instant death). So having a fallback for someone being unlucky enough to die in the first encounter is nice. Just gives a little bit of plot armour without lessening the danger of the world.
Unpopular opinion: The game isn't real and it's supposed to be fun for everyone. Not everyone wants a table with wholly realistic consequences. You should make sure the GM and the players are on one line when it comes to this stuff, that is all. If your players are habitually ignoring your obvious clues, then they're clearly just not on the same wavelength. Punishing them in-game is more likely to create spite and friction than actually enhance gameplay. Just discuss this shit with your players OOC if there's actual problems.
>"oh wow I killed someone? I know I'm fleeing and revifiy is totally possible but I feel bad for the party and I'll just let them keep their downed buddy to revive them." But that would literally be the DM having the evil wizard not be am evil wizard.
This is where you lost me. Consequences are fine.
Intentionally making it so that players don't get to keep their characters? When a simple "oversight" would allow them to learn a painful lesson but carry on?
That's just being that asshole and using "but that's what my character would do" to justify it.
That's what I told OP in the other thread.
I even gave them an alternative so the evil wizard can still be evil (assuming they want to do anything to these weak peons who aren't a threat to him anyway). Curse the body. Make it so reviving them will kill some innocent people in a nearby village. Make it so they either choose to sacrifice innocents for their friend, or have to find a way to break the curse. At least then the character can reasonably stay in the story, and the player could play a temporary character they invest less in to while their actual character gets sorted.
I agree with your last line exactly. "It's what my character would do" doesn't fly as an excuse for unfun behavior any other time
There are very rare times when this could be justified. For example, if this isn’t the first time that the wizard runs into the party, and every time they do [character] is a huge danger to them so the wizard drops/kills them, and every time that character shows up again just fine, it would be totally reasonable for the wizard to do that or something similar to ensure that at least [character] would not be bothering them again.
Of course, character death should be talked about in session 0, and the DM should know their players before doing this - after all, this could be a more traditional plot with the evil wizard capturing said party member and the party then has to rescue them.
All that being said, it’s pretty clear based on the comments here that OP is just trying to justify the actions of that horror show of a DM from the other deleted story.
I’d add, even if death is mentioned in session 0, it’s clear the players aren’t playing as though death is on the cards.
A GM paying attention would have realised this and either signalled what might happen or stopped to check what players expected.
The diplomatic answer is the GM dropped the ball and has to own the mistake.
In the same vein as "that is just what my character would do" everything I've seen it brought up in my head I just go "you designed the character, that still makes you an asshole." But also that if it IS what the character would do the party will either kill them or leave them depending on severity of the action, I've seen parties do both.
As a DM, you control the circumstances. Is it unreasonable for a powerful, evil wizard to PWK his enemy and disintegrate the body? No, assuming the person they're doing it to is dangerous enough to warrant such a high expenditure of spell slots. Is it unreasonable for a DM to put their 8th-level party against someone with those kinds of resources, and the willingness to use them? Yes, I'd say so, maybe excepting a scenario where the players were warned of a high difficulty level in session 0. You were playing the character exactly how that character would act, sure, but you're still in the wrong for making a character that simultaneously malicious and powerful relative to the party.
I think it's important to separate what is real and what is fun. Those can be mutually exclusive, and the priority should always be whatever the table finds fun.
I'm not saying that pigs should fly, but that that might just be what your players want. I certainly don't like that kind of gameplay, but I'm only one person at the table.
Where there’s flying bird men I’m pretty sure having bumble-pigs as a farm resource wouldn’t be unreasonable either. Obviously depending on what’s going on at your table, hell some mad wizard could’ve cursed the piglings to have wings to spite a farmer that looked at him funny.
This kind of stuff is what makes encounters memorable for me and what I crave from DnD; I definitely respect anyone who wants something else from it though. Fantasy should be about escapism and if your escape is a gritty fantasy then more power to you friendo.
As a rather hard line dm myself, I think I disagree.
"Playing without thinking" sounds quite casual. If that is how your players play, then smacking them down with serious punishments seems out of whack.
Further, I contend that the playstyle supported by 5e is heroic exploits, not gritty realism. I recommend trying out a system better suited for such play.
My group plays with a more serious bent, so harsh consequences are in order. We play epic 3.5
Epic 3.5. I haven't heard that name in a long while. Brings back some good memories.
We could be humans interacting with other humans and tailor the tone of the game so that everyone can have fun.
A party full of murderhobos with a chaos loving DM should NOT have the PCs imprisoned for life for trying to overthrow the guards. Or, at least, they should overlook the dynamite one of the PCs is hiding on their person.
A group of people who love to strategize, escape, politicize, and sneak with a DM who likes creativity absolutely SHOULD imprison for life the PCs for trying to overthrow the guards.
People could get tf on with their games and maybe stop trying to prescribe one right way to play.
I think the bad rolls is a reason to show some level of mercy, if it's just constant bad rolls that is. A few bad rolls here and there aren't bad, but the party is consistently rolling under 5...I don't know, that just ruins the fun for everyone
There’s consequences and then there’s outright cruelty, you sound pretty salty maybe err on the side of repairable consequences and not TPK because “it’s what an evil Wizard would do” there are more creative ways to punish Character choices than punishing a Player by power word killing their character
And disintegrating the body, ensuring the level 8 party can't bring them back without True Resurrection or Wish
That isn't something someone trying to escape does.
I say this as someone who just disintegrated a PC a couple sessions ago. They were fighting a boss and player suggested that now might be a good time to kill his PC since he had been wanting to switch to a new character for a while. They're also level 16, and this boss had already shown he was more than capable of casting high level spell and the party had already demolished a big chunk of his 900HP health pool.
I like your scenario, the player is clearly ok with it, and the boss is doing it as a move of desperation rather than for no real reason.
I mean a disintegrate spell is small potatoes after chunking the party with "meteor swarm"
I agree with everything said but I also feel like I know which post this is in reference to and I feel I just need to say while consequences are important, make sure you aren’t trying to pull a fast one on your players.
If there’s something that they couldn’t have expected, such as the real wizard they’ve heard of showing up as a Lich and Power Word Killing a player, disintegrating the player’s body and then F’ing off in a situation where they thought they were just fighting a weaker simulacrum of that Wizard, that’s kind of bullshit, particularly if there’s no warning the real Wizard is there, or that he’s a Lich until that happens and a Player is already dead.
Players should suffer the consequences of their actions but make sure as a DM you aren’t tricking them with misleading information or trying to come up with a logical scenario to put your players in to justify killing off a character, especially if it relies on obscure knowledge.
This is actually the norm, it would be unreasonable to think otherwise. Actions have consequences, and bad dice rolls have consequences too. That’s the nature of the game.
You don’t want to be insta-killed? Don’t act stupidly. You fear that a dice roll might mess up your super smart and creative plan? Describe your actions thoroughly, take all the steps necessary to make your actions easier to pass, and try to get into conditions that may allow you to have advantage on rolls. If that’s not enough, then failure was just written in the character’s fate.
The reason I don’t like this line of logic is how do you define “stupid”? Really, in a lot of campaigns, the smart thing would be to return home and stay away from dungeons. The very act of going into a dungeon to fight monsters is an inherently dangerous (and pretty stupid) act.
With that in mind, if I don’t understand the logic of what my players are doing, I ask them. “Hey, you’re about to do x. Why do you want to do that, and are you worried about y?”
If the answer is, “I don’t care,” then that’s a separate problem that we need to figure out. If they don’t care about the consequences of their actions, throwing in a high level spell won’t change that.
But often there is a sort of logic to it, and seeing that helps me better communicate threats and plan encounters.
And if they go, “I understand the risks and I’m doing it anyway,” then they’ll accept when I throw consequences at them.
>You don’t want to be insta-killed? Don’t act stupidly.
The problem with this line of logic is that, while it's fair in a vacuum, in practice it tends to create situations where the players just don't dare take *any* risks for fear of it being "acting stupid". There is a very thin line between fairly punishing genuinely stupid behavior, and punishing people *instigating* to move the plot or situation along. Is walking into a corridor in a dungeon acting stupid? Because it might be trapped to all hell. But then, the logical conclusion is that players will start overpreparing for every situation like that, tapping down every tile with a ten foot pole.
I feel like in a lot of this talk of 'actions have consequences', people forget that D&D is first and foremost a *game*, not a simulation. It's an escape and it's meant to be fun. Acting stupid can, quite frankly, be a lot of fun for everyone. And it *makes things happen.*
Yes, I already discussed and established this aspect on other comments in this thread. Misinterpretation can lead to unwanted outcomes sometimes, and taking risks is an inherent aspect of adventuring. Everything has a risk, even the most carefully planned course of action. By acting questionably (I admit that saying stupidly is an aggressive overstatement) I refer to actively looking for your character to be killed, like mindlessly murdering innocent people and attacking guards in a city, or sprinting head first into traps like they mean no business.
Of course it would be unpractical to say “just avoid danger” since delving into dungeons is inherently dangerous, but taking a little bit of precautions to increase chances of survival should be a must, I think.
And I agree, messing up can indeed create some funny situations on some occasions, I won’t deny that.
That's fair. I just think it's important to thoroughly separate *stupid* behavior (like rushing in headfirst into whatever) and *toxic* behavior. The former tends to be because the player is impatient, or doesn't have the information, or just enjoys playing the brash archetype. Those are all *fine* reasons, and shouldn't necessarily be punished. Tempered, at worst.
But the behavior you described isn't stupid, it's game ruiningly toxic. Stupid would require it to be within the realm of human stupidity. And when people start acting like that, I still don't believe in in-game punishment. I take them aside, and just tell them "hey, you're psycho genocidal behavior is making DM'ing this game really hard, can you try to rein it in?". Honestly, punishing them for that level of toxicity ingame is a mistake in and of itself. It won't solve the issue, and just create tension for everyone involved.
That’s a good way to deal with that sort of behavior. Of course, depending on how a DM wants to manage their world, they can decide to have fair consequences happening (since those are still living worlds, even if in our imagination), but I agree that it is also necessary to make clear that such sort of playing can be problematic, especially if the table wants to have fun in a different way. If the whole party, DM included, happen to agree to play a game where they can go on a murder streak and play an action packed scenery in which they have to fight or escape their way through each different murder, they are free to do so, and it is fair because all the table agreed to that style of game.
There's a cardinal rule on these subs that anything posed as a "hot take" or "unpopular opinion" is neither of those things and is just the OP venting
My only grief is when players do shit like this (in spite of any warnings), get killed, and then act like I'm some sort of asshole for killing their character. (This happens way too often.)
When they act up like this, I might suggest you to let them calm down, and then explain objectively why things went the way they did.
If they are reasonable people, they might understand the root of their mistakes and possibly improve over them. If they don’t, that’s their loss.
Yeah, I'm pretty good at talking to people, but thanks for the tips.
I just find that the sort of player who is really into doing dumb shit doesn't like there to be any consequences. Especially the people that go after guards or innocent NPCs. D&D for them is some weird fantasy about hurting and killing people.
Gives me the heebie-jeebies, frankly.
Probably because they compare it as some sort of table top video game, thinking that it’s like Skyrim or GTA. Nothing prevents them from doing so, and they can murder guards and civilians if they want, but they’ll need to be ready for retaliation and not complain or feel like you did it on purpose.
If they actually are cunning enough to pull off such stunt of killing every guard and taking over a city with outstanding planning and execution, then I guess success would be its own reward (though at that point other Legendary adventurers or metallic dragons might notice the threat and do something about them).
I find people walking around killing random NPCs in Skyrim just as bizarre. This is how they spend their free time?
Last time it happened in my game, it turned out that a 20th-level fighter had recently retired to the village to spend time with his family. After the TPK, people were bitching and moaning: but it was fine, because I was busy packing my shit up and leaving, so I didn't catch much of it.
Well, doing that in video games would be just a simple method of “stress relief”. I don’t see any issue doing that in a video game.
A level 20 fighter that retired in his home village and protected his family and community from a party of psychopaths, actually it’s not that outrageous of a punishment 🤣.
A friend of mine who DMs once told me that some players tried this same thing in a still weak city (newly built, so weak defenses, untrained guards and such). Once they started the genocide, a meek old man stands up from his chair, turns into an ancient metallic dragon, and kicks their butts out of existence, literally yeeting them out of the newly born city. When the players asked what was that for, the DM said: that city was being built close to the dragon’s lair who, out of curiosity, decided to keep a human form and relocated himself to a simple homestead just to keep watch over them. He also told me that his original intention was to present that dragon as an ally NPC… how ironic.
I will freely admit that I invented the 20th-level fighter on the spot. It felt great. I stopped running at that game store after that.
Kudos to your DM for having that one up his sleeve.
The irony is that he wanted to make them meet him as an ally, a potential friend. Definitely not a companion to bring into battle, as he was there to watch over the city, but more like a wise counselor, a NPC filled with knowledge and wisdom that would aid the party by providing information (when appropriate of course) or discovering legends and such.
Had a player, who in a single session, got his character, his back up character, and a back up backup character killed (all level 1, which will be important)
1) decided to fight the bar keeper. Running gag in our friend group is a bar keepers are retired Lvl 20 fighters. "Stout", the bar keeper, made short work of character #1.
2) decided to YOLO multiple skeletons, AFTER knowing they all had higher initiative rolls than him. No more character #2.
3) party encountered the final boss for the campaign in what was meant to be a sort of stage setting, cinematic type deal. Rest of party understands this, and all decide that a party of lvl 1 characters will stand no chance against a boss who, canonically, is 1000s of years old and a powerful mage (I have a character sheet for the boss, they're ~ lvl 60-70 if you added up all their multi classing).
Dude decides to fight the boss. I warn him not to, others warn him not to, I make an NPC to warn his character. He ignores us all, convinced that the dice are on his side. Boss squishes dude easily.
Player starts yelling at me for killing 3 characters. I'm just like "you kept starting fights you can't win, what do you expect?"
>I find people walking around killing random NPCs in Skyrim just as bizarre.
Clearly you don't get to the cloud district very often
I actually haven't played it since it came out. This is kinda making me want to revisit it, TBH, since my D&D game is on summer hiatus.
I would highly recommend it. In case you didn't get the reference I was referencing a line of dialogue from Nazeem, quite possibly the most annoying NPC ever created. I meant it like "Thats why people kill the NPCs" lol
You're the DM. You have the power to adjust anything on the fly, at any time. Exercise that power, if your players aren't the smartest. If it *happens way too often*, maybe you're the one doing something wrong. Maybe you're setting up encounters that just don't match your group's sensibilities. The players don't have close to the information you have.
I had something like this with a first time player, playing a half orc barbarian. The rogue was in trouble with the city guard, and a squad came to arrest him.
The barbarian "I want to intimidate the guard!, Yes I rolled an 18!"
I described how the barbarian successfully made the guard captain fear for his life. And promptly ordered his six men to arrest him.
I can just imagine the whole scene. The captain all trembling like “Oh no, please don’t kill me or my family! GUARDS!! Arrest this man before he goes on a rampage!
I feel bad for the player, but a reaction is to be expected. Just like if you went to a police officer and threaten them.
Not an unpopular opinion
OP got massively downvoted in this thread which is what prompted this one.
Last I looked the thing most people on that thread had a problem with wasn't the death, it was the gratuitous disintegration of the body immediately afterwards.
And then disappear so the rest of the players can't even get a fight in.
Basically a combat encounter where the players had no agency, and one PC was deleted instantly.
And why would the lich disintegrate the body when it's already dead and there are other threats? Doesn't make sense for those to be it's first 2 actions.
I feel like that'd have been fine if the set up had been a little more RAW. There's an argument against a surprise round in that situation, and it's never stated if the DM actually rolled stealth before that or not. Just because you look like an urn does not mean you get auto-stealth.
Which is what OP is ranting is totally fine.
If the wizard had opened with disintegrate he probably would have achieved the same result anyway.
That's the thing though, for an EVIL big bad they might be okay with the slightly less tactical decision of using an 8th level slot on a downed character if it means psychologically destroying the party.
Yea it might make sense, but it doesn't make for a fun game.
That threads about a lvl 8 party getting surprised by the bbeg who kills and disintegrates a player then leaves.
Where's the fun for the party in that. They had no control over the situation it just happened and they don't get any opportunity to react. They don't get a chance at revenge or to fight and they don't get a chance to save the party member. They just have to suck it up and that player has to roll a new character.
Its super antagonistic, some tables might like that. But I would bet most wouldn't, it's something you should only do if your party has talked and is down for that play style.
It goes way beyond punishing players for stupid decisions.
He wasn't even the BBEG. He was some random wizard who had been rumored to be in some ruin they needed to explore for a side-quest. There was no motive for him to be using tactics this spiteful. Afaik he was just basically trying to stop them from exploring any further and didn't even know who they were.
The original post doesn't establish any motivation for him to act how he did, and it comes off as just the DM wanting to be like "serves you guys right for not heeding the warnings and agreeing to take this side-quest in the first place!" Which is textbook shit DMing. In heroic fantasy, players are going to run towards danger, not away from it; and good players won't metagame and interpret your dodgy warnings about power word kill to mean "this rumored wizard is rumored to cast level 9 spells, we should stay away." A good player would read that as fluff, building up the kind of threat only they can stop. DMs who like to bait their players with TPK-level threats by framing them as adventure hooks are not good DMs.
Would I do this as a DM for the shock/story factor? Maybe. But I’d only be doing it to the character of a player I knew would be on board and with whom I had talked it out in advance (in generic terms). In practice that’s either one of my players who also DMs, or someone who has expressed a desire to change characters.
Oh. Thanks for the context
TIL "massively" = 2
We're seeing different threads, apparently. It looks to me like he got -15 to -20 downvotes on multiple comments.
Eh.. I can't be bothered to math but all summed up its way more than -2, closer to 40 all told
Seems really circumstantial. Id think Most players would agree that actively seeking out a threat reportedly capable of ending life with a word is reckless. Not only that, but to expect the DM to give the entire party plot armor is foolish.
But if that's the case, most players clearly weren't reading this particular thread of this particular post. And it's entirely possible the "mass downvotes" were likely the result of a handful of individuals that Were following it.
Regardless, it shouldn't matter what others say. If you and your friends enjoy the game they play (with or without consequences for reckless behavior) that's all that should matter.
Eh, using the knowledge that "ending life with a word = power word kill = high level caster" is almost certainly metagaming. Unless high level magic is so common in the world that your average adventurer would know what to recognize it is, hearing a commoner say "he can kill with a word" wouldnt mean much, since it doesn't take much to instakill a commoner.
I mean if I knew magic was a thing and that a wizard was able to kill with just a word I'd definitely assume it was a powerful wizard. Like a pitcher who consistently throws above 100mph, probably a good pitcher.
I mean, your average commoner has 5 hp. 10 HP is an instant kill. Dissonant Whispers is a verbal-only 1st level spell that does 3d6 (10.5) psychic damage. So a guy could be walking around using a 1st level spell to instant kill commoners, and he certainly isn't dangerous to a group of adventurers.
Yeah, if my fighter or artificer or whatever is with a party and we hear some drunk in a tavern saying that the local hedgewizard could kill people with but a word, and the hedgewizard lives in a rundown shack next to the midden and is some overweight old schlub, then I'm probably not going to put much stock in it.
If we hear whispered rumors from everyone we talk to in town as they look furtively over their shoulder that the ancient mage that lives in the local dungeon can kill with a word, but hasn't been seen in years, and when we go check it out the wizard is flinging powerful magic left and right while commanding a small horde of monsters, we're *probably* going to be a fair bit more leery.
Exactly. This being the rumor leading to a dungeon dive means probably going to need some magical macguffin protection or some such.
Depending on how your campaign handles verbal components, a magic missile spell might "kill someone with a word." The argument that the party should have used this information to justify noping out of an adventure hook is sickeningly disingenuous.
On the other hand, commoners have like 4 hp. A level 1 Wizard could also kill a commoner with a word, assuming that casting Firebolt or Ray of Frost takes a single word. The source of that information is pretty important.
As a DM, all you have to do is ask “Are you sure?” anytime they want to do something stupid or rash that might get them killed or imprisoned.
“Are you sure?” is code for “Your odds of death are incredibly high here.”
As long as you drop that qualifier on your players, they can’t complain afterwards if they go through with it.
They were duly warned.
Exactly. Or give them the old "Your character would know..."
Yes, but I think it largely depends on tone also. If I want the world to feel harsh and life to feel cheap, sure I can be more punishing on my players for lack of research or preparation (especially if I've established that's the case in session zero.) But if I'm going for a lighter fantasy feel, or If I want the world to feel wondrous as well as dangerous, then I can be more forgiving. And if they're newer, you bet your ass I'm going to warn them "you can go ahead, but it might also be a good idea to come up with a plan or do some research first." It's hard getting people into a rpg mindset, especially so when they're used to getting directions for every quest.
Edit: Also, I think its very poor sport to purposefully injure downed PCs without making it explicitly apparent, either through session zero or warning characters with detailed description of the foe, that it's a possibility. Sure, it might not be the most super sensible move for a bad guy. But player experience is the one thing that supercedes verisimilitude, and getting two failed death saves for free is kind of very unfun. I probably wouldn't do it unless someone did something absurdly and obviously stupid. If that's the game you run, fine. Make it obvious, and set expectations.
Man we've come so far from just getting together and trying to make sure everyone has fun.
>Players kill the entire town guard and take over the town
How is this an unrealistic outcome, at least in the higher tiers of play?
>However, if the party just rushes in setting off traps, then having the evil wizard fuck the party up, and they die?? That is justified. Hell, even having a single PC death would be generous as the wizard could easily kill a party of adventures that run around a wizard lair blindly.
>However recent posts here has me seeing that apparently this is wrong. "You killed the PC by using high level spells!" NO SHIT. It's not even home brew, they're playing a smart wizard utilizing his resources. Could the DM have maybe done stuff differently? Absolutely- technically he could have had the evil wizard go "oh wow I killed someone? I know I'm fleeing and revifiy is totally possible but I feel bad for the party and I'll just let them keep their downed buddy to revive them." But that would literally be the DM having the evil wizard not be am evil wizard.
Dumbest take on what that thread was talking about I've ever seen.
How you even came to this conclusion after reading all that is beyond me. The party _was_ cautious, the evil wiz explicitly waited for the party wizard to come through, then killed an 8th level character with a 9th level spell (fine because it was telegraphed), misused surprise to Disintegrated the body, and _fled_, inexplicably letting the PCs get the McGuffin they needed.
Not only is that shitty unfun DMing, it doesn't make any got-damn sense. You say it was "justified" and "exactly what an evil wizard would do", but they _still let the party win_ and wasted a Disintegrate (which likely could've taken out another member of an 8th level party) on _spite_ destroying the wizard's corpse.
I agree with your overall premise in _this_ post, but GTFO with this apologist nonsense.
So I downvoted this post but not because I disagree, quite the opposite in fact. But claiming a popular opinion is an unpopular opinion and crying about inevitable downvotes will earn you one.
I been thinking recently about player agency and critical thinking in a fantasy world and I think it has a lot to do with how the world reacts to the players actions - AKA, partially the DM responsibility. PARTIALLY. I’ll get to player responsibility later.
I’ve been in a less-than-stellar campaign for a couple months now and I think the most frustrating thing about the game world is that nobody ever seems to react logically to my or other player actions. A dangerous shape shifter is killing random people in a small town? Nobody cares. A single goblin will resist the threat or torture and death to protect the location of a castle? Why? Is this just how goblins act in this world? The previous few didn’t. NPCs generally not showing concern for imminent danger. The enemy resources appearing infinite despite their being a small gang of ruffians. Little things like this happen all the time. At a point, as a player, I just have to throw my hands up and give up trying to approach the world in a way that makes sense to me. Why prepare for an encounter when the enemy will always be scaled to make the party underdogs. Stuff like this will rob the player of investment they could have had in the world and lead them away from using resources that may exist around them.
Also important to remember is that the players don’t have the same image of he game world as the DM. You know that sinking feeling you get when staring at a blank word document preparing to write an essay? It’s hard to start from zero, and that’s what players are doing without plentiful description from their DM. They’re generally working with a blank canvas with a few points of interest painted on it unlike the DM who has a developed world. Worth acknowledging that this sort of description is damn hard so don’t feel too bad if you feel that you are under developing your world. Still, it’s something worth pursuing.
As for player responsibility… players do need to use their brains. The player on their cell phone most of the time won’t be the one to suggest a novel approach to some dilemma. It can help to remind players that they have options outside of what’s printed in the PHB as well - my favorite way to do this is to NPCs as examples. “Oh, that enemy bandit threw the previously mentioned curtain onto my character to entangle them? I didn’t even realize that was an option!” This kind of stuff helps remind players that they are allowed to interact with the world in novel ways and may motivate them to start asking questions about what’s possible and what’s in the environment. The player in their cell phone… maybe just admonish them.
Sorry for the poor formatting, I was typing on my cell phone.
An evil wizard isn't evil because he murders anyone he gets the chance to. He could just as evilly kill one guy then smile and offer to bring him back in exchange for the party's service. It's always better if you get to keep your toys (PCs).
Players should absolutely face reasonable consequences for their actions, both good and bad, but the important thing to remember is to not let a need for realistic consequences get in the way of telling a good story. As gm the rules and laws of the world are yours to bend or enforce as you please, in a fantasy world realism only matters up to the point where suspension of disbelief can be maintained. Oftentimes giving the players a way out, whether it be something like a daring jailbreak or an adventure to return to the mortal realm, can make for a far more interesting game than just concluding a player's story because they did something stupid.
Of course if a player continually causes issues that detriment yours and the other players' experience of the game it may be time to consider removing them.
I mean... murderhobos are the worst, but having "full-on real consequences" at all times can stand in the way of telling an effective story. Our campaigns are about telling the story of our characters, not really about tense gameplay and real stakes. We discuss this in session zero with new players, as well as in after-session talks. Any campaign I play in or run will be heavy on the RP, with lots of plot and backstory relevant details. Someone who isn't interested in that would be a terrible fit for our table, and we'd know before we even play.
Consequences are a thing, but they shouldn't be a character death thing unless a player has agreed with the DM to have their character die as a logical end to their arc, or because they're tired of playing them. If they're sabotaging the game, don't care to participate in the story, or don't vibe with the party, that's discussed OOC. They don't get their character killed just like that.
Consequences can be a fun way to move a plot forward! My friend's paladin used Command on a rude shopkeeper to make them apologize, which worked, however after a couple seconds the shopkeeper knew they had been bespelled and called the guards. We got arrested and were forced to do "community service" at the docks... which led to us discovering evil cultists aboard one of the ships. Ta-daah, plot hook delivered. Consequences, *but fun*.
You choose how brutal and unforgiving your world is, but there is something between freely allowing murderhobo behaviour, and killing your PCs for every slightest transgression. If the players are on board with and value the story you're creating together, they should be taking the RP seriously, including not barging into dangerous enemy lairs unprepared or randomly murdering peasants like they're in Skyrim.
>The party can research the wizard, try to scry, prepare or buy scrolls, prepare proper spells, get couple hirelings from town, get familiar or pets etc to help with scouting.
>They also can tactically go forward. Checking for traps, slow pace, have your detect magic ritual popping off repeatedly, sending familiar ahead to scout, ensuring you have counterspell prepared etc.
Just want to point out these are not things I would expect new players to try, and even experienced players may not ask if the DM hasn't hinted at opportunities to do so.
If there's not an obvious place to research, buy scrolls, or recruit hirelings I'm reluctant to assume or make the DM invent it on the spot.
Players need information and if you're going to make them work for it - they need to know it's worth spending valuable gaming time.
In addition to being something the DM has to setup, a lot of these factors are only typically available at certain tiers of play and with certain party compositions.
Scrying, for example, is only available at 9th level or beyond unless the party has a friend who can do it or the GP to hire a high level spellcaster to cast it. Even then, it's hard to pull off against certain enemies - like wizards (who generally have Wis save proficiency) - unless your DM allows you to set up for it (seeing the person, getting a personal item, etc.)
As a result, it is patently ridiculous to suggest that a party of 8th levels - which is what the original post that spurred this rant was about - should have somehow scryed on the archmage they were going up against to someone stop their own wizard's imminent demise.
>What is NOT realistic outcome?
People who fight frost giants getting TPKed by town guards.
You might as well link to the disintegrate thread if your gonna subtweet this hard man, who hurt you?
That opinion is so unpopular it gets posted every day. Congratulations on your unpopular opinion
This is not an unpopular opinion, it's a general consensus
I was in a party with a guy who was playing your stereotypical lone wolf rogue and another guy playing a barbarian who loved animals. The barbarian at one point goes through a lot of effort to save this single sheep and takes him as his pet. The rogue argues that the sheep will just be a burden during combat and doesn’t want it around.
Down the line the rogue has convinced the barbarian and everyone else in the party they he has come around and likes the sheep. The barbarian leaves him to watch the sheep while heading off on some sort of quest. While the rogue is alone with the sheep he privately lets the DM know that he never liked the sheep and rolls to kill it and blame the death on the BBEG. He passes the rolls quietly and everyone comes back to find the sheep killed by the BBEG.
A few sessions later, due to events in the game, the rogue is forced to confess to what actually happened (like all the players didn’t know). The barbarian is upset but doesn’t act on it. Later that night the rogue tries to apologize by breaking out a barrel of wine and splitting it with the barbarian. This leads to heavy drinking between the two of them with the rogue getting plastered while the barbarian’s CON keeps him mostly sober. They eventually head off into the woods to turn to find more wine somewhere and, once they are alone, the barbarian proceeds to beat the drunk rogue to death. He returns to camp claiming that they were assailed by wolves and they killed the rogue.
We all of course knew what actually happened but no one cared to press further and were all pretty fine with the lose of the rogue.
The rogue’s player was upset but everyone’s response was that his actions had consequences and he was frankly lucky that he had lasted as long as he did.
Moral of the story? There should be a maturity test before one is allowed to roll a rogue.
Not a bad tale to warn ambitious rogues of the dangers inherit in killing innocent sheep.
Though I don't really like how the barbarian went about it. Barb didn't rage and pulp the guy on the spot or say he will no longer adventure with the rogue or even just mistrust him and eventually give the guy a way to redeem himself. The barbarian acted like a typical lone wolf rogue, waiting till his target was isolated and at a disadvantage before murdering it in cold blood. Perhaps there's some irony here...
"unPopULar oPiNion: Drinking water is a great way to stay hydrated."
One really should be drinking Brondo, it's what plants crave afterall.
Yes thanks. Everyone knows that's what this post is about. However, because OP tried to veil it in generality, it doesn't really matter. In general doing stupid things has consequences. In that specific case, the DM was a bit of a dick.
LOL, you're still mad about that other thread? Let it go, man.
“It’s what my ~~character~~ NPC would do!”
I think a lot depends on the expectations and playstyle of the DM and group. Some people put a lot of effort and excitement into their character and expect to get "the hero treatment." I personally like deadly games and I enjoy playing out my gruesome deaths. I have too many character ideas that will never see the light of day.
Yes, the party was warned of the Power Word Kill wizard being on the table in the aforementioned instance. At the same time, was it really optional to just say;
"Yeah I'm not going in there, they say he can kill you with a word! Why are we risking our lives?"
Or would you get groaned at and told "If your character isn't willing to adventure roll another one who is"? Or something along those lines. I am fine with putting things in PCs paths that are too strong for them but I wouldn't strong arm them into a situation that was over their head on purpose without giving them an out either.
Also, there is sometimes an expectation that the DM is balancing Encounters to make them appropriately challenging. It isn't realistic that the exact appropriately leveled battle happens everywhere the PCs go, but look at how much popular media uses this dumbass logic; DragonBall z for instance...good thing the bad guys always happen to be just strong enough that they can barely be beaten...
This is pretty standard stuff.
Yeah, actions have consequences. That's part of what makes DND amazing.
However, a DM creating a situation where one player's character is deleted from the game and the group has no recourse and can't even fight back is simply not cool, not fun, and is a complete dick move from the DM.
This is such a cold take, its fucking perma frost. I loveeee doing this stuff to my players and they think it's really funny haha, sometimes I am a bit harsh but I make sure they learn a lesson
So, here's the thing. You have a very valid point about how the world is living and sensible and certain things, like finishing off a downed enemy, should be a two-way street.
DnD is a game. A game that many people, myself included, play partially for the express purpose of getting the hell away from the real world and all it's BS for a couple hours, and even if they don't do it for that reason they are still trying to play a game, and play is the operative word. This means that a balance between brutal realism and fantasy idealism must be struck, and as the DM it is part of your job to find that balance.
Does it make 100% logical, realistic sense for the evil wizard boss to teleport the Fighter's corpse to the Plane of Fire so he can't be revived? Yes, yes it does. But now whoever is playing that Fighter is sitting at the table doing nothing because their character is dead and revival has been explicitly prevented. In all likelihood that player will cease having fun immediately, and when they look to you for an explanation you will essentially be hitting them with the DM equivalent of "It's what my character would do!"
So, compromise. The evil wizard knows the Cleric or the Druid over there can revive the fighter? Have him start using spells to play Keep Away with the body. A gust of wind to push it to the other side of the room, put it in the middle of a newly created difficult terrain, or if you want to be really sadistic call up a patch of high slotted Evard's Black Tentacles around it. Make getting to their dead friend to get him back in a challenge, ***but keep it doable*** because that is how you will not only get the party looking at the fight differently, *you will give the dead character's player a valid reason to stay invested.*
It's all about finding balance, as are most things in life.
> When you get to higher tiers of play, people go "oh dieing isn't a big deal". But, if the BBEG double taps you, burns your body- teleports you to a different plane altogether? Is that too far? No. Enemies know reviving someone is possible and likely. It's not out the realms for them to ensure the player is truly dead. There ARE truly evil, spiteful people in this world!
Doing that in the middle of combat wouldn't be reasonable. The BBEG should be concerned with winning the fight, not inflicting maximum casualties -- unless their plan is to essentially only assassinate one specific character and then peace out, but that's a very specific circumstance that would require special motivations. Under normal conditions an unconscious character is out of the fight, which is as good as dead in the short term. They can be finished off after the rest of the heroes are also unconscious.
I think there's a fundamental misalignment between player and DM expectations. If the player's only exposure to fantasy is through movies and videogames, they might find it reasonable to assume that if they charge right into an evil wizard's tower the wizard you wouldn't create an impossible encounter for them. It's all about setting expectations.
Not able to take over the whole town. Well that really depends on what level they are.
But yes I agree
What's an unpopular opinion is thinking there are no consequences to actions. You are 100% right.
2. And 3. Are realistic outcomes taking over an area with only 500 to 10,000 people by force if you can wipe out all guards and squash those who would rebel it is entirely possible. As long as life in general continues as normal for people. Look up any African dictatorship
Also ignoring events and pretending it didn’t happen is a common human thing to do irl look at nazi Germany “first they came for the _____ and I did nothing then they came for my neighbors and I did nothing then they came for me and there was no one left to help”
Just because you don’t like the choice or the morality doesn’t mean it isn’t realistic
However if you want to throw your players for a loop let them succeed at that in human city but then when they are in a different races city flip the table on them.
Oh you thought the dwarves wouldn’t fight till there last man? You thought the elves a race that holds grudges for centuries would forget?
I agree with almost all of this, but
>What is NOT realistic outcome? ...3. They get ignored by everyone and pretend it didn't happen
This is not actually such an unrealistic outcome, especially in a pseudo-medieval setting where there's a good chance that the town guards are unpopular bullies whose main jobs are collecting taxes and keeping the peasants from rebelling (rather than solving crimes). And extra-especially if the victim was low status and/or the perpetrators were really scary.
It's fine if you want the society in your game to be a bastion of law and order with competent police, but it's definitely not unrealistic for it to be the opposite of that.
Edit: if you look at actual medieval primary sources, it's not unusual to see people write things along the lines of "...and then Bob got stabbed to death in a tavern brawl, but everyone agreed that he was kind of a dick, so nothing came of it."
Over 3 decades in and out of DnD, and murderhobo is still an ongoing issue.
🎵🎵"How they love the hobo life, stabbing people with a hobo knife."🎵🎵
DMs, don't forget that NPCs talk to each other. They travel to other places and spread tales and rumours. Heinous news spreads far and fast. Even if PCs have made amends, their reputation will follow them and taint encounters. You CAN escape your past, but you REALLY need to work on it. How a player behaves sews itself into the narrative. If they don't actively change their apparel, they'll be recognised without ever saying their names.
One of my best DMs gave anything +2 or better description and backstop, even minimally. Even Low level magic armor/weapons/items came from somewhere, and can be recognised if famous.
Oh man do I have a story that relates to this. So I was playing a one-on-one campaign for a good friend of mine who seemed to interpret D&D mistakenly as akin to a video game.
He didn't flesh out his character at all to the point where he kept changing what his name on the fly. He tried to play it off as a character quirk, but he was on a pirate ship you see. Eventually the captain and the others just got fed up and dubbed him 'Indecisive Billy'. He got visibly annoyed with this because he kept rolling super high on his persuasion checks so it should be fine right? Everyone loves me right? No, you're still being an asshole changing your name and constantly trying to borrow their guns.
So they meet a fellow lady pirate captain who explains how she's lost a number of her crew (including her best friend) on the next shore to a group of sirens. So he goes there, beats the sirens, frees the crew and secures some booty. However, even after the best friend is clearly no longer under siren influence, he continues slapping her in the face until his crew have to pull him off her.
A few hours later they go back to the lady pirate captain to return her crew and collect their reward. Once the gold's been transferred he says, 'before I go, I'm just going to run full tilt across the deck and slap her in the face one last time'.
This was basically the final straw, I asked him if he was sure - '*You're going to run up to the middle of the armed pirate crew, all of whom are incredibly protective of their injured comrades, and slap the captain's best friend in the face??'*
"You are executed in brutal fashion as a dozen men draw flintlock pistols and turn you into swiss cheese."
He was dumbfounded, no death saves? No initiative roll? Are my crew not going to protect me? No to all of the above. You've put yourself in a situation where you have a 0% chance of escaping alive. Put yourself in her shoes, put yourself in your crew's shoes. You just assaulted her wounded friend, and you've been a dick to basically everyone.
It was then that his whole approach and outlook started to unravel. They weren't supposed to be realistic characters and consequences he says, it's just a game. It's a sandbox, he's supposed to be able to do what he pleases, and as a DM it's my job to facilitate this and work in a way for him to survive.
Years of successful play later and he still looks back and cringes about that, but it's just emblematic of how so many people misinterpret how the game is meant to be played and what the DM's role is. Yes, I'll facilitate your shenanigans and I'll be lenient when it's harmless, but I'm not to make it so that you can just do whatever you want and get away scot-free.
I'd prefer to play it out. Have him play his character as the flintlocks tear off pieces of his face and limbs. When absolutely incapacitated but still conscious I'd have the pirate captain ask him "why? You saved my crew, I thank you for that, but I cannot allow you to harm my friend like that", and then double tap to end his story.
I GM a Rappan Athuk game using pathfinder 1e the players were made aware that it was an unfairly dangerous dungeon and that they would be lots of deaths. There's been less than anticipated because they've been very cautious as they've mad there way through some of the upper levels. But most of the players really like the facts that the intelligent monsters/enemies really know what they are doing and in a coordinated way will try their absolute best to kill any intruder, and if things are going badly they try and retreat and get help. It has given a real sense of danger and thee need for good scouting and choosing if they want to take a fight against a creature that dispite a good roll they don't even know its name let alone what it's capable of, the flip side of this is its a real sense of achievement when they just scrape trough a fight with all the players saying how good the close one's are.
I think it's something that you need to discuss at session zero or even make them aware of how you want to run the game before they turn up for session zero, do you want to run a diablo esk hack and slash or a dark souls kind of affair and once you've settled that with them, don't hold back, kill them all if you have to haha!
To add to this, if you are going to run a proper consequence/dark souls esk game then I find that rolling your dice in the open goes a long way to making the players trust that while the monster they are fighting is unfair you are being totally fair.
I had a barbarian who wanted to eat or taste everything possible. While it was funny at first and depending on what he ate id have him roll constitution to see the outcomes but eventually I got sick of it. My group went up against a black pudding monster and after killing it the barbarian wanted to eat the black pudding even after watching it melt the fighters weapon. Naturally I described a very gorey description of his character being dissolved from the inside out. “Don’t I get to roll constitution?” No.
Why is this an unpopular opinion?
It's not an unpopular opinion until it happens to one of the players that frequent the forum. Then it's a real issue and the DM is bad.