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Assassin with Black Lotus Poison





Bristol

Similar story but with me fudging it to avoid the outcome was the first session of a Cyberpunk Red game I'm running.

Literally the first shot fired by the bad guys in the first combat encounter of the campaign and it crits one of the PCs and blows off his arm. Yeah, I'm gonna fudge that one to a less permanent outcome

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/08/31 21:32:00


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MN

Just had session 19 of Curse of Strahd and oddly enough this same situation just happened. My character and another player character were walking to a wood shed at an inn, in a fortified town, in an area we had all ready checked out earlier. As we approached the door to get food at the innkeepers behest, the character I was with got blasted in the head by a sneak attack crit that took them to 0 and was 1 point away from Insta-Perm Killing him. If the GM had targeted me instead I would have been insta-dead.

We were in a town, my character had a passive perception of 18, and we had all ready checked out the area. It was a situation where we had no reason to expect such a lethal attack.

Now, since it was 5E I was able to save him with my last Cleric healing spell slot, but I am struggling to think what we could have done differently as players to avoid getting one-shot and almost insta-killed here. This was like going to your own fridge and getting sniper attacked by an assassin three blocks away that was hired by your angry Ex. This was almost a "You slipped in the shower and died" moment in the campaign.

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Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

Your GM is clearly a meme lord. He took you to the shed out back and shot you in the head ol' yeller style.

Does the GM roll in the open? What did you guys agree to? I've also been almost one shotted by a ridiculous difficulty Rime of the Frost Maiden encounter (2-3 hp away from instadeath from full health in my case) but our GM rolls in the open and doesn't pull punches (and I'm ok with that). It sounds like you did what you were supposed to and just didn't luck out.
   
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 Easy E wrote:
Now, since it was 5E I was able to save him with my last Cleric healing spell slot, but I am struggling to think what we could have done differently as players to avoid getting one-shot and almost insta-killed here. This was like going to your own fridge and getting sniper attacked by an assassin three blocks away that was hired by your angry Ex. This was almost a "You slipped in the shower and died" moment in the campaign.
Had something similar years back when a DM controlled character failed a sneak test and the guard turned around and critical-shot my character dead.
To add insult to injury the NPC was neither any good at sneaking, nor actually required to be sneaking at this particular point.

Sometimes you just need to know your DM, when it's a good time to run a sensible character, and when it's a good time to stat up a tank carrying two tanks as shields while hiding behind a tank. If it's the first time in 19 sessions though it's probably an anomaly... perhaps get a helmet just in case :p
   
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MN

 warboss wrote:
Your GM is clearly a meme lord. He took you to the shed out back and shot you in the head ol' yeller style.

Does the GM roll in the open? What did you guys agree to? I've also been almost one shotted by a ridiculous difficulty Rime of the Frost Maiden encounter (2-3 hp away from instadeath from full health in my case) but our GM rolls in the open and doesn't pull punches (and I'm ok with that). It sounds like you did what you were supposed to and just didn't luck out.


He normally rolls behind a screen on an app, but called the Player over to witness the initial roll and then to see the damage roll as it happened. Pretty standard for this DM when a crit comes up. I have no reason to believe he fudged/faked the initial almost insta-kill shot. He is a "let the dice land as they may" DM for sure. The group, that I am the newcomer too, is very "by the book".

I am just not convinced that is the "best way" to run a game. That's a bit of why I think if I tried to GM a different game for this group, it might go real bad as my GM style is VERY different from what they are used to. I am much less "by the book" and a lot more "cooperative narrative" type of approach.

Overall, I am pretty happy how my DM runs a game. Sure, there are a few quibbles I would do differently and around the edges, but it is a solid game (and group) overall.

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I was more asking in reference to it being preferable for him to actually fudge the roll in your favor instead of a no-interaction-required cheap shot. Still make it an auto hit no matter your AC but just not a crit. YMMV
   
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I don't think 'by the book' is the opposite of cooperative storytelling. I would consider myself a collaberative DM and I'm always rooting for the players, letting them bend the rules to do cool stuff, catering my design to suit them, but I also believe that when engaging with the game elements it's only fair that we're all on the same page and playing by the same rules.

Cheap shots are cheap shots and dick moves are dick moves, but a low-level enemy getting lucky on an ambush isn't either of those to me. I've lost enough would-be villains to Sneak Attack crits or first-round Divine Smite onslaughts to know that it goes both ways! As for fudging die, I just feel it defeats the purpose. The games I play are absolutely about telling a story, but the dice give that story both strucure and unpredictability and to ignore that just doesn't feel right to me. The most exciting moments in the game, where the tension and drama come to a head, the ones we remember, are crits at the last hope, or that 50/50 death save where a character's whole fate comes down to one roll, or the percentile dice chance that lands just right... and to me, those moments have power because as both player and DM, we trust the dice. We're not fighting them, we're letting them guide and provoke and inspire and at times, dismay and devastate us. We give the dice permission to have equal part in the story, the flipside being that (especially as a DM) we have power over when and where they can have that influence.

My approach is that if I'm not prepared for a player to fail a skill check or save, I don't ask for one. If I'm not prepared for an attack to be a max-damage crit, I don't roll it.If I don't want to run the risk of a player getting hit by a Lich's Disintegrate and turned to dust, I take that spell off the statblock before the game rather than leaving it there but pulling the punches in-game. But once the dice are cast, that's as close to canon as a bunch of friends telling stories in silly voices can have, as far as I'm concerned. Before games I will happily power up or down statblocks, invent new mechanics wholesale, restructure the fundementals of the game for an encounter or session, but once we start, I do things by what is written down and what is rolled.

The caveat to this is that this specifically applies to DnD and games of its ilk. When I'm not running 5e, I have a homebrew system for pulp adventure type games that is far more simplified and, crucially, has no rolling on the part of the DM. I might declare a baddie fires a gunshot at a hero and that player fails fhe roll to take cover or shrug off the hit, and from there, I have complete control over the outcome; early in the session, where the stakes are low and we're just getting going, that might be a graze or glancing blow that just needs some medical attention or slows you down a little. In the last 10 minutes of a oneshot, that same shot might take a player's arm off or fatally hit a nearby NPC as the stakes and drama are heightened that late in the game. But that is a system designed specifically to mimic pop culture action movies and adventure novels and so I'm making those decisions with regards for the larger narrative arc on the fly.

Now, I could do that same thing in DnD, deciding that the goblins are always going to deal naff-all and the dragon at the end of the dungeon is far more likely to do major damage, but the more developed combat system already takes that into account with the gulf in attack bonuses, damage die ect. with the potential for those results to deviate from the norm through the dice. That's the game. To apply further authorship over the top of that system feels unncessessary to me, the control I have in that situation is choosing what monsters I use, how I edit their stats pre=game, the environmental facotrs in play ect., while in my own system my control is less preparatory and more reactive.

All of this is just opinion, mind, and I'm certainly not trying to dissaude anyone from doing things their way. I just find digging into different GM styles very fascinating and the relationship between chance and drama is a particular favourite topic!

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 Easy E wrote:
 warboss wrote:
Your GM is clearly a meme lord. He took you to the shed out back and shot you in the head ol' yeller style.

Does the GM roll in the open? What did you guys agree to? I've also been almost one shotted by a ridiculous difficulty Rime of the Frost Maiden encounter (2-3 hp away from instadeath from full health in my case) but our GM rolls in the open and doesn't pull punches (and I'm ok with that). It sounds like you did what you were supposed to and just didn't luck out.


He normally rolls behind a screen on an app, but called the Player over to witness the initial roll and then to see the damage roll as it happened. Pretty standard for this DM when a crit comes up. I have no reason to believe he fudged/faked the initial almost insta-kill shot. He is a "let the dice land as they may" DM for sure. The group, that I am the newcomer too, is very "by the book".

I am just not convinced that is the "best way" to run a game. That's a bit of why I think if I tried to GM a different game for this group, it might go real bad as my GM style is VERY different from what they are used to. I am much less "by the book" and a lot more "cooperative narrative" type of approach.

Overall, I am pretty happy how my DM runs a game. Sure, there are a few quibbles I would do differently and around the edges, but it is a solid game (and group) overall.


I am also very cooperative narrative. In most cases I try to have the players roll as often as possible so that the actions and the consequences are in their hands. I have sometimes adopted a "The player to the left rolls for the monster" in roll off systems. I won't tell them what the dice are for or what the monsters stats are. I just have them roll the dice good or bad.

The only times I make sure I roll and the rolls are hidden is when the players cannot know how good they did. Investigations. Spot checks. Listens. Things where if they do poorly and hear nothing they need to think they might have done great and heard nothing.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.
 
   
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MN

I do not think dice rolls are meaningless. I just think they are pointless for the DM.

They are very meaningful for players, and the illusion that the game works a certain way is very important to keep that illusion up. Ultimately though, that is all it is..... an illusion.


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 Easy E wrote:
I do not think dice rolls are meaningless. I just think they are pointless for the DM.

They are very meaningful for players, and the illusion that the game works a certain way is very important to keep that illusion up. Ultimately though, that is all it is..... an illusion.



Ugh, no. Playing a 'game' like that means wading through someone's personal narrative and the players don't have any stakes or reason to be there as the DM just relentlessly rolls over them with his personal fanfiction. Hard pass.
I like my agency and choices with unpredictable results, even if you think its just an 'illusion.'

An RPG isn't a movie or a book. It operates on different rules, and doesn't have a script dictated by the one person behind the screen.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Paradigm wrote:
I don't think 'by the book' is the opposite of cooperative storytelling. I would consider myself a collaberative DM and I'm always rooting for the players, letting them bend the rules to do cool stuff, catering my design to suit them, but I also believe that when engaging with the game elements it's only fair that we're all on the same page and playing by the same rules.


It isn't at all. Having a common understanding of how things work is pretty necessary for cooperative storytelling, as is reciprocal relationship with game elements.
The worst sort of railroad nonsense comes out of throwing out the book.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/02 04:08:15


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MN

What is a railroad? Is it when a character's actions have no bearing on the outcome? If so, how was that sniper attack that nearly killed my fellow party member not a railroad? There was not much we could do differently that would have made any sense.

Even with the "common understanding of how things work" you can experience the "worst railroad nonsense". With D&D I have experienced the worst railroad nonsense by being a slave to the dice and the rules. Rules do not equal "common understanding of how things work".

Heck the fact that you are saying RPGs function differently than other storytelling mediums all ready shows that despite us using the same rules, we have a different understanding of how things work. Mechanics have only a marginal bearing on creating that common understanding, and do absolutely nothing about railroading.

I also like my agency with unpredictable results. What is more predictable, a dice roll or a GMs fiat? One has a spectrum of possibilities and probabilities, the other is limitless. Like I said, mechanics are only the "illusion" of agency and chance as the players (including GMs as they are just players with a different purpose) ultimately dictate the results of any said dice roll.

We are getting off topic. Like I said, I like my group and GM a lot. There are things around the edges that I would quibble with but they are merely quibbles. I am having a great time playing again!


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Voss wrote:
 Easy E wrote:
I do not think dice rolls are meaningless. I just think they are pointless for the DM.

They are very meaningful for players, and the illusion that the game works a certain way is very important to keep that illusion up. Ultimately though, that is all it is..... an illusion.



Ugh, no. Playing a 'game' like that means wading through someone's personal narrative and the players don't have any stakes or reason to be there as the DM just relentlessly rolls over them with his personal fanfiction. Hard pass.
I like my agency and choices with unpredictable results, even if you think its just an 'illusion.'

An RPG isn't a movie or a book. It operates on different rules, and doesn't have a script dictated by the one person behind the screen.


That is not what he is saying though. What he is saying is that the DMs rolls are not important. YOURS are. The GM book for Paranoia has a whole bit on how the GM does not roll dice. The argument goes something along the lines of "You are already the most powerful thing in the entire universe. Rules and rolls are for the players. To give them agency, actions, power of their own. The GM doesn't need any of that. Your job is to create conflict for the players to roll against. To craft tension. To set stakes and build a foundation so that the players walk away telling stories about what THEY did and what happened as a result. Why the hell do you need dice to do any of that? In what way do dice HELP you to do any of that?"

Which is 100% valid even if it's not your cup of tea.

No matter what game you are playing, beholden to dice roll or not, you are wading through the GMs narrative. He is the world around your characters and everything you interact with or that interacts with you. The GM rolling dice or not doesn't change that one bit. The GM rolling dice behind a screen just to convince you of the illusion that his dice rolls matter doesn't make one bit of difference. The fact that you find that dice rolling for the GM matters just means the illusion is in full effect for you.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Paradigm wrote:
I don't think 'by the book' is the opposite of cooperative storytelling. I would consider myself a collaberative DM and I'm always rooting for the players, letting them bend the rules to do cool stuff, catering my design to suit them, but I also believe that when engaging with the game elements it's only fair that we're all on the same page and playing by the same rules.


It isn't at all. Having a common understanding of how things work is pretty necessary for cooperative storytelling, as is reciprocal relationship with game elements.
The worst sort of railroad nonsense comes out of throwing out the book.


Bad GMs are bad wether they roll dice by the book or not. Most games in any system it is perfectly legal for the GM to make your life miserable as hell. And a GM doesn't need rules to make your life great.

The real question is "Is a Gm a player". And the vast majority of the time, DnD included, they are not. There is a very good reason the players get a Handbook and the DM gets a Guide. It's because the players have rules and the DM has suggestions and advice.

Those Paranoia developers? They made a GM screen that on the GM side just said in big bold letters "DO WHAT YOU WANT." Sure, they COULD have filled it with tables and rules and crap. But thats not fun. And waiting for a GM to reference tables just stalls the action. Just picking whatever seems interesting and moves things forward is often better.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.
 
   
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 Lance845 wrote:
The argument goes something along the lines of "You are already the most powerful thing in the entire universe. Rules and rolls are for the players. To give them agency, actions, power of their own. The GM doesn't need any of that. Your job is to create conflict for the players to roll against. To craft tension. To set stakes and build a foundation so that the players walk away telling stories about what THEY did and what happened as a result. Why the hell do you need dice to do any of that? In what way do dice HELP you to do any of that?"
If the GM arbitrarily decides success and failure then why do the players need to bother rolling?

IMO the rules of a game create a framework for he world that the players can understand and play in. For example if one is trying to exhaust some resource of an opponent in combat or pull of a risky act they can have some sense of the odds / risks IF the GM is playing to the rules. But if the GM just fudges everything then the world becomes inconsistent and beholden entirely to their whims and memory.

That's not to say that GMs have to be slaves to the rules (particularly when it comes to sudden, unintentional player death), but the more they follow them the more agency the players have by simple virtue of being able to reasonably judge the pros and cons of their choices before making them.
   
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MN

A.T. wrote:
If the GM arbitrarily decides success and failure then why do the players need to bother rolling?



GMs set all target numbers and assigns difficulty, the rules are a guide but the ultimate decision maker is the GM. In D&D especially, they try to obscure the fact that the DM sets success measures by giving you a list of modifiers, conditions and stat blocking everything, but ultimately the DM decides which Mods apply and which conditions do not apply.

Let say you are in a dark cave, crossing a narrow stone arc, over an underground river. As a DM you decide how hard it is to cross. As a DM, you cold allow them to cross with no rolls at all as it is just another bit of landscape flavor text, you could call it easy to do with a straight attribute roll/athletics check, or you could make it hard to do with disadvantage and a Dex save with a negative mod because of the conditions. Same situation, but entirely different level of difficulty applied based on nothing more than the GM arbitrarily deciding and all within the "rules" of the game.

The "how the rules of the game work" is just illusion to make players feel like they can predict an outcome. That is why people play D&D in the first place, because real life is too unpredictable and chaotic; they do not want their fantasy life to be as chaotic. They want this illusion and will fight to maintain that illusion. This is why you bother rolling, to maintain the illusion or an orderly world and outcomes.

A good GM participates in the illusion. An amazing GM keeps the illusion going for the players, but is in control of the illusion.


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Bristol

 Easy E wrote:
...they do not want their fantasy life to be as chaotic.


Ha! Jokes on you, I play a stereotypically insane Chaotic Neutral Wild Mage!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/03 16:01:12


The Laws of Thermodynamics:
1) You cannot win. 2) You cannot break even. 3) You cannot stop playing the game.

Colonel Flagg wrote:You think you're real smart. But you're not smart; you're dumb. Very dumb. But you've met your match in me.
 
   
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Witch Hunter in the Shadows





 Easy E wrote:
As a DM you decide how hard it is to cross. As a DM, you cold allow them to cross with no rolls at all as it is just another bit of landscape flavor text, you could call it easy to do with a straight attribute roll/athletics check, or you could make it hard to do with disadvantage and a Dex save with a negative mod because of the conditions. Same situation, but entirely different level of difficulty applied based on nothing more than the GM arbitrarily deciding and all within the "rules" of the game.
I would consider that the GM following the rules. The clumsy fighter is still in more danger than the nimble elf - the choices made by the players matter in a consistent way. Even then the rules as written are helpful in keeping a GM from getting too caught up tailoring for players (i.e. making every lock in the world a super double masterworked lock to match the thiefs' skill rather than the location).

"Rules and rolls are for the players" gives me more the impression of the players rolling and then the GM disregarding the roll in favour of their preferred outcome. AKA the nimble elf falls off bridge regardless of his roll or build because the DM has decided it would be cool to force the party into a close quarters pit-fight with a new monster.
   
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Do the rolls also not disregard build and player input to some extent? The nimble elf has a 5 or so percent chance to fumble what should be a very simple task for them, just because of dice.

The DM could set the DC for other players, but for the acrobatic rogue it could be such a mundane feat, that they simply dont need to roll.

edit: The savvy DM puts a monster in the bottom of their pit, and when the players circumvent it, they decide if it's worth it or fun for the players to still fight it later on. How'd the monster get in the pit? Does it roam and hunt through series of tunnels in this cave? etc etc

edited edit: Another example... A by the rules DM makes their players roll for every potential social situation. Persuasion, Deception, Insight. At every stop where they try to talk to people, it's one of those skills used. A player character may be built towards being socially adept and their player plays the character as so... But their dice are cold, and so, they've decided that this character really isn't all that social or suave or what have you.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/09/03 17:47:15


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MN

A.T. wrote:
 Easy E wrote:
As a DM you decide how hard it is to cross. As a DM, you cold allow them to cross with no rolls at all as it is just another bit of landscape flavor text, you could call it easy to do with a straight attribute roll/athletics check, or you could make it hard to do with disadvantage and a Dex save with a negative mod because of the conditions. Same situation, but entirely different level of difficulty applied based on nothing more than the GM arbitrarily deciding and all within the "rules" of the game.


I would consider that the GM following the rules. The clumsy fighter is still in more danger than the nimble elf - the choices made by the players matter in a consistent way.


Yes, that is exactly my point! The GM decides the difficulty IS the rules. The rest are just details to help the GM set the difficulty.

However, as my example points out, the GM could also decide that the clumsy fighter and the nimble elf both do not need to make any rolls which makes them the exact same; or both need to meet the hard conditions where their differences apply. The rules do not tell the GM how to interpret the situation.

The rules do not say "When crossing a narrow bridge, in the dark, over an underground river, the difficulty is XX number to succeed". No they basically say, "Hard things to do require a test. Here are some mods to the test: In the dark -8, narrow walkway -2, wet from water -4. Decide which modifiers apply to the action."

Therefore, who is setting the difficulty? It is not the rules, it is the GM using guidelines that he could just as easily choose to ignore as apply.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Thadin wrote:
Do the rolls also not disregard build and player input to some extent? The nimble elf has a 5 or so percent chance to fumble what should be a very simple task for them, just because of dice.

The DM could set the DC for other players, but for the acrobatic rogue it could be such a mundane feat, that they simply dont need to roll.


Yes, exactly. Rolls are only there to determine the success or failure of the players. Again, D&D does a good job hiding the basic nature of the game with a lot of rules, mods, and stat blocks; but ultimately the dice rolls are for players to determine if they succeed/fail and what such success and failure looks like.

You could argue that DMs have guidelines for what a monster can do, but that is only there to highlight success and failures for player actions. You failed to detect the monster, you failed to alpha strike the monster to death, you failed to avoid the monster and it is still right next to you. Therefore, they hit you and injury you but not kill you, or mesmerize you, or knock you over, or kill you, etc.

So the point of all this is. Don't sneak attack your players to death when there is nothing they can do. It should ONLY be a consequence of their failure to make a clear choice. The defense that "it was the dice", is just as bad as "It is what my character would do" by a poor/inexperienced player.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/03 18:18:15


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Bad form is bad form, whether it's by the rules or not. 'It's What My Character Would Do' is often made the scapegoat for generally antisocial play and ruining fun for someone else at the table, but the issue is not the excuse, it's the behaviour. Players acting in character to the detriment of the party is not automatically a bad thing, if it doesn't harm anyone's enjoyment of the game, and likewise a player that is generally dickish and says 'My character wouldn't do this, but I want to stab that shopkeeper so I do', the excuse is irrelevant, it's the action that's objectionable.

By the same token, the DM who sets out to bushwhack a player character with an unavoidable crit sneak attack whatever is a dick. The DM who simply affords their NPCs the same agengcy as the players and takes that shot, knowing it might oneshot the PC but also not hoping for that and understanding it is very unlikely is not a dick for accepting that result when it comes up. A DM who is willing to ignore the dice might in fact not roll a crit, but decide that it is one anyway. If the DM is permitted to ignore the results of a roll, then what's to stop the antagonistic DM from deciding that they really want PC X dead, so that assassin definitely got a nat 20 on Stealth and definitely rolled a crit and max damage with their sneak attack?

Which, as always, comes down to not being a dick and not playing DnD to piss off your friends. I just object to the idea that a DM ignoring the rules is inherently more virtuous than one who abides by them. if anything, the DM abiding by the same rules as the players curbs the potential for abuse, though the nature of CR and levels means a DM that wants to kill their PCs is absolutely able to do so, you just drop whatever dragon you like on a party that's massively underlevelled and even with all the dice in the open, they're dead. But in the fix there is just don't play with people that are going to do that.

As per the structure of DnD, rolls are not there to determine the success of the players, they are there to determine the success of attempted actions. Doesn't matter whether it's a PC or a dragon, a shopkeep or a lich. Rolls represent the chance that things fail (hence, if there's no chance of that, no roll) and the likelihood they succeed (roll) or are superlatively successful, often leading to additional results (nat 20s/crits).

Again, every GM is free to do what they like, but I very strongly believe that as far as my own games go, a) the DM is 100% also a player, and has just as much reson to abide by the rules they enforce in their role as 'referee' (for want of a better term) and b) the dice are what makes this a game and not a collaberative novel-writing excercise, and to dismiss them as ephemera or sleight-of-hand to fool the players is both disrespectful to the people at the table and a misunderstanding of the nature of RPGs.

When it comes down to it, this is completely a matter of preference, but I know that if I were in this hypothetical situation, I'd be fine with the DM that had an NPC kill my character through sheer crazy luck, and slightly miffed at the one who pulled that punch if I ever found out. I would likely still enjoy their game if they told a good story, but I would at least mention that I wasn't thrilled about that aspect. Not because it's 'cheating' or poor sportsmanship, but because as much as I like the 'gamey' elements to be hidden away behind the narrative, they still underpin what we do and it is still part of the fun.

Maybe it's just me, but the thrill of a high roll at the right time is just as satisfying on the DM side of the screen as it is on the player side... though as my players will tell you, I can't ever seem to roll above a 10 so maybe it's just the rarity that makes it exciting!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/03 21:06:02


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 Paradigm wrote:
Bad form is bad form, whether it's by the rules or not. 'It's What My Character Would Do' is often made the scapegoat for generally antisocial play and ruining fun for someone else at the table, but the issue is not the excuse, it's the behaviour. Players acting in character to the detriment of the party is not automatically a bad thing, if it doesn't harm anyone's enjoyment of the game, and likewise a player that is generally dickish and says 'My character wouldn't do this, but I want to stab that shopkeeper so I do', the excuse is irrelevant, it's the action that's objectionable.



I'm actually in an analogue of that situation but with the morality reversed somehwhat. The GM has been dropping obvious hints about a duergar plot to destroy then conquer the region we're in including a literal letter we found talking about the plan. For literally weeks in game (months IRL) my player has been consistently outvoted (typically the line vote for) in addressing the threat in favor of fetch quests and random question marks above villagers in the road style missions. When the plot was about to be hatched they finally were forced to finally confront the duergar but decided that saving the towns was secondary to storming the castle since they figured it was futile and a waste of time. My character decided to split with the party and go defend the relatively helpless townsfolk whereas they stormed the castle.

As a player, I don't like being the odd man out seemingly on every big vote (the last big vote was whether or not to tax almost all of our first ever big payday as players to expand the group real estate empire that I had no stake in...seriously) and I try to take in stride but it does get to you eventually even if you have thick skin. As a good player in apparently a neutral/evil party (dunno since we didn't disclose it nor have I peeked in dndbeyond), I felt it better to split the party instead of being disruptive intentionally or playing against the fully established set behavior/style for the character. I talked it over with the DM and I will have a temp pc/npc to control instead.

I'm sure some considered it in part a TFG move and I'm definitely pulling the "but muh character wouldn't do that!" move while simultaneously splitting the party but I don't see any better option other for the character other than a heel turn/alignment change for the character.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/09/03 22:12:35


 
   
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 Easy E wrote:
'It should ONLY be a consequence of their failure to make a clear choice'
The trouble with the GM deciding to throw a bunch of modifiers onto things ad-hoc, or just making up a target off the top of their head is that the players only have a clear choice in that very moment, because the difficulty of a task doesn't exist until the GM invents it.

As I said earlier I don't think GMs should stick slavishly to the rules to the detriment of the game, but a little consistency is a good thing and that's what all those tables and target numbers are there for.
   
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I think maybe some of the contention with the concept comes from DnD being a passive combat system for the players when they are being attacked. The player doesn't get to roll anything. They make no decisions. They have no agency. The monster attacks and the player takes damage or they don't. Even if a save comes into play it's not a choice the player makes. They are just told to roll dex and then they are told if they failed or not. The player has no choice in what their character does to react to whatever is happening and their only understanding of the roll is "Higher is better".

In a system where the player rolls defensively and offensively it's easier to see all the importance of the players actions and the complete lack of importance in the DMs rolls. I could assign the monsters a value much like "taking a 10" and then the players beat it or don't with their dodges and attacks.

In Paranoia the monsters do damage when the player fails their attack, not by attacking on their own. It's literally only the players actions that matter.

Or like I said earlier, I have the players roll for the monsters. So that it's ONLY the players that have rolls.


As for the DM being a player. They just very rarely are. They have no actual rules to follow. They don't have Game Play there fore cannot be playing a game. The GM really is a referee. Not the player up to bat, but the umpire making the call. The few exceptions that come to mind are games with meta currencies that turn the game into a asymmetrical one. FF starwars where the GM is trading darkside/lightside points with the players. Coriollis where the players actions feed the GM Darkness Points to fuel traps, environmental effects, monster attacks/powers and other things generally left up the the GM to just drop in whenever they feel like. The 2D20 Conan Game where the players feed the GM a meta currency used similar to but different from both the other examples.

The GM is a player then. They have rules and restrictions. They specifically can't do things without their currency and the rules that govern it's generation and expenditure force the GM into a player role. Nothing like that exists for the vast majority of TTRPGs.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/09/04 00:48:45



These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.
 
   
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When playing D&D, I want to play D&D which implies that the DM is going to follow the rules presented for combat and we're all going to see the outcomes together. I'd expect my DM to be rolling dice, and only fudging sometimes if they really need to (though I would be totally fine with no fudging and my character dying in all situations, I know that others might not feel the same and I think that's fine and valid).

If you want a diceless DM experience there are plenty of games that offer that - stuff like Masks for example allows for the DM to never make rolls at all. And it's designed that way, and that's the expectation when you sit down to play. I think that's a more appropriate situation to never roll at all.

If I played with a DM who never rolled at all in D&D I think I'd definitely prefer not to know that, and to believe fully that they were rolling. I think finding out it was all DM fiat would take a lot of the fun out of the experience for me.

   
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 Thadin wrote:
Do the rolls also not disregard build and player input to some extent? The nimble elf has a 5 or so percent chance to fumble what should be a very simple task for them, just because of dice.


...except that they don't.

This is kind of the thing a lot of DMs (and players) struggle with - they basically just flatten characters' abilities by forcing a roll any time a player says "i do something."

a character who's really quite good at something in dnd can have a +6 or a +7 naturally quite easily. A simple task is something with a DC of 5, maybe 10 - but a DC10 theoretically should be something that your average joe shmoe has a 50-50 shot of failing if they were to try and do it.

I'm not particularly great at balancing, but if you asked me to walk across a log, I'd say I'd have about a 75% chance of complete success, no problem. Theoretical 'Edgimus The Uber-Rogue Assassin' the DnD character with +5 to Acrobatics...he just succeeds at any task that would realistically be a DC6 or lower. He is not going to slip on that log. He can jump moderate jumps.

It's just a habit that a lot of people have to

1 - if your player says they attempt something, have them roll!
2 - if they roll a 1 or a 2 or something on the die, see it as significant and feel silly for 'letting them get away with it' if you dont then make that number fail.

playing a lot of Masks in PBTA (Where the characters are, by default, superheroes, and are assumed to be able to do general super-heroic stuff like climb and jump and defeat mundane opponents) has helped me to recognize and drop this tendency, but it's a recent thing.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Lance845 wrote:
I think maybe some of the contention with the concept comes from DnD being a passive combat system for the players when they are being attacked. The player doesn't get to roll anything. They make no decisions. They have no agency. The monster attacks and the player takes damage or they don't. Even if a save comes into play it's not a choice the player makes. They are just told to roll dex and then they are told if they failed or not. The player has no choice in what their character does to react to whatever is happening and their only understanding of the roll is "Higher is better".


...I mean it is worth noting that this is how every roll in the game does work except that saving throws do have a fixed value of how high the roll needs to be.

You, the player, do not know the difficulty class I have assigned as the DM to...anything, including saving throws (unless you have meta knowledge)

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/09/07 13:44:46


"I can't believe all these tryhard WAACs out there just care about winning all the time when it's supposed to be a game for fun!!!!!!! Also here's my 27 page essay on why marines are OP and Orkz should get a bunch of OP rules so I can win more games

-the_scotsman"

-ERJAK 
   
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 Da Boss wrote:

If I played with a DM who never rolled at all in D&D I think I'd definitely prefer not to know that, and to believe fully that they were rolling. I think finding out it was all DM fiat would take a lot of the fun out of the experience for me.


Which is why I always roll the dice, even if I don't always care what they say.

Sometimes, I just randomly roll dice, look at them, scribble something down, and then continue. It always makes the Players nervous and think about what they are doing.

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 the_scotsman wrote:
 Thadin wrote:
Do the rolls also not disregard build and player input to some extent? The nimble elf has a 5 or so percent chance to fumble what should be a very simple task for them, just because of dice.


...except that they don't.

This is kind of the thing a lot of DMs (and players) struggle with - they basically just flatten characters' abilities by forcing a roll any time a player says "i do something."

a character who's really quite good at something in dnd can have a +6 or a +7 naturally quite easily. A simple task is something with a DC of 5, maybe 10 - but a DC10 theoretically should be something that your average joe shmoe has a 50-50 shot of failing if they were to try and do it.

I'm not particularly great at balancing, but if you asked me to walk across a log, I'd say I'd have about a 75% chance of complete success, no problem. Theoretical 'Edgimus The Uber-Rogue Assassin' the DnD character with +5 to Acrobatics...he just succeeds at any task that would realistically be a DC6 or lower. He is not going to slip on that log. He can jump moderate jumps.

It's just a habit that a lot of people have to

1 - if your player says they attempt something, have them roll!
2 - if they roll a 1 or a 2 or something on the die, see it as significant and feel silly for 'letting them get away with it' if you dont then make that number fail.

playing a lot of Masks in PBTA (Where the characters are, by default, superheroes, and are assumed to be able to do general super-heroic stuff like climb and jump and defeat mundane opponents) has helped me to recognize and drop this tendency, but it's a recent thing.



I don't get it, did you not read my post? This is exactly what I said, why are you framing it like you're disagreeing with me? If you push everything to dice roll, and use DND5E's basic DC Guidelines rules, your super nimble rogue has a 15-20% chance to fail on a "mundane" or easy task with a set DC of 10. This is what I'm saying in my whole post, that pushing everything to a dice roll can invalidate player builds through sheer luck, good or bad.

I was advocating for skipping out on dicerolls in certain situations in my post, just like you're saying.

My point about dicerolls invalidating characters was set inside the assumption (that I disagree with) that because dnd5e is a dice system, and you have skill checks to determine success or failure of tasks, then you must roll the dice. Super McAcrobat could low roll again and again and again, and the build they have is invalidated because of it. But right beside them at the table, their wizard whose one bad breeze away from needing a wheelchair can roll high and score a gold medal on Faerun Olypmic gymnastics.

And that's why I agree, dice rolls aren't always needed for situations.

Because it seems to me, there's a disconnect with the DC Guidelines and 5e's Bounded Accuracy/Skills system, where you can reasonably expect characters who are skilled in their chosen skill to range from a +5, to a +11 due to a +3 or 5 modifier and scaling proficiency. Higher if they're Experts, of course.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/09/07 14:54:35


 Rippy wrote:
When you lose to a 7 year old, it's wise to not come and admit it and then try to blame the armies


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 the_scotsman wrote:

 Lance845 wrote:
I think maybe some of the contention with the concept comes from DnD being a passive combat system for the players when they are being attacked. The player doesn't get to roll anything. They make no decisions. They have no agency. The monster attacks and the player takes damage or they don't. Even if a save comes into play it's not a choice the player makes. They are just told to roll dex and then they are told if they failed or not. The player has no choice in what their character does to react to whatever is happening and their only understanding of the roll is "Higher is better".


...I mean it is worth noting that this is how every roll in the game does work except that saving throws do have a fixed value of how high the roll needs to be.

You, the player, do not know the difficulty class I have assigned as the DM to...anything, including saving throws (unless you have meta knowledge)


Agreed. But I was bringing it up in the context of the players being the defender. At least if the player attacks, chooses an ability, decides how they want to approach an environmental issues, they have choice and agency about WHAT they are rolling and what bonuses apply to it. Thats not true of saves. You try to dodge because the power tells you that you try to dodge it and you don't have a choice. You HAVE to roll dex.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Easy E wrote:
 Da Boss wrote:

If I played with a DM who never rolled at all in D&D I think I'd definitely prefer not to know that, and to believe fully that they were rolling. I think finding out it was all DM fiat would take a lot of the fun out of the experience for me.


Which is why I always roll the dice, even if I don't always care what they say.

Sometimes, I just randomly roll dice, look at them, scribble something down, and then continue. It always makes the Players nervous and think about what they are doing.


Haha yup.

I also like to sit at the end of the table while the players are discussing their plans and just smile when they say certain things. I don't say anything. I just smile and let the smile get bigger or smaller more or less at random. No reason for it. It makes them very nervous when they look over and see me with a big gak eating grin.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/09/07 15:07:46



These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.
 
   
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MN

In our Curse of Strahd group, our fighter has a +7 (or something) athletics and a +5 attack roll. Yet, they manage to roll a 1 at least three times a session on a d20. They have gotten stuck in a tight entry way, broken their weapon so many times they don't bother fixing it, and can not reliably climb a tree, jump from roof top to rooftop, or bust down a door.

Going into session 20, they are starting to get a bit frustrated as they remember failing more often then succeeding. In theory, they should be killing things like crazy based on their build, but they almost never end up doing anything; and it is pissing them off.

It does not help that all their attacks are also non-magical in the Curse of Strahd world. They feel like their character who is optimized to hit things really hard with a stick, and do athletic stuff is pretty useless. They are starting to wonder what they add to the party, because they are finding it not very rewarding being a damage soak and just subtracting hit points.

I don't have a lot of good advise for this person. They are new to D&D, but not role-playing.

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Combat is the tricky part of player dice rolls sucking hard, admittedly. However, I have to say that a +5 to attack is pretty low. That's a strength/dex score of 16 and being lvl1-4.

In this situation, the only advice that can really be given to the player is to keep their chin up, and talk to the DM about their concerns and frustrations. Most of the advice in this case needs to be given to the DM instead, since they're in control at the end of the day.

For 5e fighters, a lot of the subclasses are pretty passive. I don't think I could ever play a Fighter as anything but Battlemaster or Rune or Eldritch Knight, because they do so damn much, very active abilities and more to think about beyond smash stat stick.

 Rippy wrote:
When you lose to a 7 year old, it's wise to not come and admit it and then try to blame the armies


Skaven - 4500
OBR - 4250
- 6800
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 Easy E wrote:
I don't have a lot of good advise for this person. They are new to D&D, but not role-playing.
Less enthusiastic application of fumbles perhaps.

A roll of 1 to hit is just a miss, not a weapon falling apart, and a roll of 1 on a skill check just means you scored 8 on your athletics - not great but not catastrophic for simple tasks.
   
 
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