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Lord Loss
2009-08-17, 01:53 PM
Problem Player

''Jackson'' is currently playing a Duskblade. He once (almost) left a session when my ''hall of traps'' and a 3 on search checks got his charcter down to 12 life. He also sais that he should be allowed to reroll his charcter's abiliy score if it's ''bad''. Of course ''bad'' for him is 14!!!!!!. He's my best friend, known him since elementary, so I'm not kicking him out, but it's kinda frustrating.

sadi
2009-08-17, 01:57 PM
Tell him he's not playing 1st edition anymore, a +2 mod is more than decent. Or you could tell him to make a 25 pt buy character and show him in the dmg where the point buy stuff is. He should be happy to have good stats then.

valadil
2009-08-17, 02:01 PM
Sounds like you have a player who wants to kick butt and never be challenged by anything. Let him roll 4d20 for stats, rerolling 1s and keeping all 4 dice and put him in a game world full of puppies and grandmas. Then see how he feels about being challenged.

Kizara
2009-08-17, 02:10 PM
I have a firm policy regarding stats:

"Make the character you want to make, have fun."


I then advise against excessively high stats (over 95 total points) because it is lame to try to RP someone with all 18s. I've done it, and having no 'low point' makes it harder to RP, trust me. If someone REALLY wanted to have max stats, I'd probably let them though.

If you are dealing with a party concerned with balance, have everyone agree on a high number they are comfortable with. 90 points (like, add up all abilities, must be < 91) I find is a decent amount.


High stats:

1) Make you feel more heroic. People don't play DnD to play a 'slightly above-average' joe with a 'decent' 14 in their main attribute. Playing a paladin with 18/10/18/12/14/18 might seem crazy to some, but it certinally is heroic!

2) Makes the game better balanced. Better saves reduces the save or suck problem (doesn't help the no-save or suck issue, but I basically houserule ALL status effecting spells to allow a save), more stats to work with help the weaker MAD classes (monk, paladin), while not giving as much to the stronger SAD classes (wizard, sorc). To writ, a Wizard with an 18 Int and 14 Con and 8-10s everything else can manage fine. A paladin with an 18 Str and 14 Cha with 8-10s everything else is crap, as he still needs Con and Wis; Int wouldn't hurt ethier.

3) Its more fun. The DM has more fun as he can now throw more epic and powerful (read: interesting) challenges much earlier and his players have more fun because they get to overcome epic, challenging and interesting things instead of more goblins and dire rats. (Towards this end I also support reasonable levels of optimization.)

Lord Loss
2009-08-17, 04:17 PM
He also complains that stuff is too easy. Always.

Kylarra
2009-08-17, 04:19 PM
He also complains that stuff is too easy. Always.The clear solution is to play high powered games of rocket tag.

AKA sort of what kizara was describing.

Lord Loss
2009-08-17, 04:24 PM
Here's The party:

Level Six Fighter

Level Six Duskblade

Level Six Rogue

Ripped Up 7 Chitnes, 8 Kobolds, 2 Plague Blights 3 of those zombies from monsters of Faerun (CR 3). With no trouble at all. Total damage to party: 12.

Magugag
2009-08-17, 04:27 PM
Holy crap they don't have a healer.

My first DM instinct is to tear them apart.

It sounds like Jackson wouldn't like that though. In fact, it sounds like Jackson isn't pleased by much at all, and wants to be the star of the show. Give him a dose of humility.

Kizara
2009-08-17, 04:30 PM
He also complains that stuff is too easy. Always.

So step up to the bloody plate.

Let him make characters that are good, and instead of cheesing him with traps give him an encounter he can stick his teeth into.

I'm going to wildly assume that this is a solo campaign and his character is lvl 3. If this is not the case please correct me and I will give you updated advice.

Some good ideas for interesting encounters:

1) 2 dire wolves, with well-described forest terrain. If he's as powerful as you make out, this should be managable but scary.

2) A band of 3 lvl 1 orc barbarians, led by a lvl 2 leader. Give them 18-20 str + rage bonuses. This should be hard to deal with, even using aoe control spells (grease).

3) A displacer beast. If this seems too easy, make it 2 displacer beasts. These things are evil in groups at lower levels with thier evasiveness and long reach.

4) 2-3 howlers. This thing is deceptive, its actually one of the meanest creatures for it's CR.

5) An entire warparty of 20+ goblins, led by a lvl 3 druid (shaman).


There's some ideas to get you started.

EDIT: Blast, you edit-ninjaed me.

Ok, here's some advice for your described party (and yes, you should have a cleric in there).

First off, explain that you are having trouble finding a good balance for encounters and that this session we are going to have some practice fights against some ideas you came up with. Shouldn't be a hard sell: a fun session of combat.

1) An Iron Golem. Things are nasty as heck, immune to alot and should make your party cry. If it ends up being too much, learn from it and use something a bit lower next time.

2) 4 ogre barbarians led by a lvl 6 druid (shaman). The druid pre-buffs them before combat, and uses AoE control spells strategically. He also has a bear with appropriate bonus animal companion.

3) A dragon!! Pre-buff it before combat, give it some nice items for its loot. Grab a CR 8-9 red or green and keep it in the air. Fly by breath or grab, or just give a smack. Kill the rogue first (like actively focus him with a full-attack), then the duskblade.

4) Archers! 40 level 1 goliath scouts with greatbows and weapon focus; mount them on heavy warhorses and watch the ownage. Use 3 gray renders for blockers, and watch what happens when you have that much fire focused on your PCs.

5) 4 lvl 6 wizards. Really, hope they are good at hitting flying and invisible targets that have a wand of fireball (for the melees) or Bestow Curse (for the rogue). Not to mention Solid Fog or the like.

6) War Trolls (MM 2 I think) riding Wyverns. They throw javelins while keeping out of melee range.

Should get you started; this is all without opening my MM.

Gorgondantess
2009-08-17, 04:37 PM
Lots of small enemies is a deceptively easy fight. Go for a few powerful ones instead; that'll work out a lot better. Dire wolves, trolls, stuff like that.

Magugag
2009-08-17, 04:39 PM
So step up to the bloody plate.

Let him make characters that are good, and instead of cheesing him with traps give him an encounter he can stick his teeth into.

I'm going to wildly assume that this is a solo campaign and his character is lvl 3. If this is not the case please correct me and I will give you updated advice.

Some good ideas for interesting encounters:

1) 2 dire wolves, with well-described forest terrain. If he's as powerful as you make out, this should be managable but scary.

2) A band of 3 lvl 1 orc barbarians, led by a lvl 2 leader. Give them 18-20 str + rage bonuses. This should be hard to deal with, even using aoe control spells (grease).

3) A displacer beast. If this seems too easy, make it 2 displacer beasts. These things are evil in groups at lower levels with thier evasiveness and long reach.

4) 2-3 howlers. This thing is deceptive, its actually one of the meanest creatures for it's CR.

5) An entire warparty of 20+ goblins, led by a lvl 3 druid (shaman).


There's some ideas to get you started.

I honestly think this is the very wrong way to go, unless what we're specifically looking for here is hack and slash. In fact, the DM doesn't seem to be the problem at all. The problem looks to be this Jackson fellow. Sure, it's not unreasonable for the DM to adjust his style to player demands, but this particular player sounds like he needs to grow up a little.

Kylarra
2009-08-17, 04:44 PM
I've been operating under the assumption that this is one on one, but that does beg a question, what do the other players think?

Jalor
2009-08-17, 05:05 PM
My rule is; if a player complains about something being too easy, I make it hard. Babau demons are CR 6 and have three attacks, with a 2d6 sneak attack on each. They'll kill him, then get annihilated by the rest of the party.

Kaun
2009-08-17, 05:12 PM
He also complains that stuff is too easy. Always.


My players generally seem to like it more when they scrape through by the skin of there teeth.

3 traps in a hallway could be kind of crap tho if he only had one search roll. I would have let him make another search roll after the first trap if he requested it.

Roukon
2009-08-17, 06:58 PM
I agree with Kaun. My players have always liked having a challange for them. And, I try my best to give it to them. Sometimes, it doesn't work, but usually it does.

Also, I agree that more than one search check should have been used. Unless the player decided that after the first one sprung that there were no other traps and just ran through, springing the other traps. In that case, it is their own fault.

Gralamin
2009-08-17, 07:02 PM
Complains about to easy? Teach him the value of tactics, and run him through Tucker's Kobolds (http://www.tuckerskobolds.com/)

ShadowFighter15
2009-08-17, 07:05 PM
Complains about to easy? Teach him the value of tactics, and run him through Tucker's Kobolds (http://www.tuckerskobolds.com/)

Part of me thinks that'd be overkill, while another - more bastardly - part is screaming for that to be done.



Bastard-side won out; deploy the murder-holes!

Magugag
2009-08-17, 08:59 PM
I had not seen Tucker's Kobolds before...

Thank you for that. It's brilliant.

Gralamin
2009-08-17, 09:21 PM
Part of me thinks that'd be overkill, while another - more bastardly - part is screaming for that to be done.



Bastard-side won out; deploy the murder-holes!

Everyone knows there is only two real solutions to complacent PCs. Tucker's Kobolds and Mind Flayers (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/6/22/). :smalltongue:

AshDesert
2009-08-17, 09:45 PM
To me, "Jackson" does seem to have a bit of an attitude problem. However, an adventure's just not an adventure without the PC's barely surviving by the skin of their teeth against that dragon with CR 5 levels over the party:smallbiggrin:. In all seriousness, if a player in a healer-less group is complaining about things being too easy, then, well, let loose a horde of 40 2nd level Orc Barbarians, led by a 5th level Druid. If they win, then he can't really complain about the encounter being too easy. If they lose, he'll probably think twice before calling something too easy again:smallbiggrin:.

Magugag
2009-08-17, 10:21 PM
Seriously. No healer. No healer! They're all melee! They're utterly doomed if you send enough guys at them that can hit them. I see absolutely no eye for tactics whatsoever in their makeup, just an eye for dishing out damage, and that is so easy to thwart I feel like laughing and crying at the same time. It wouldn't even be particularly hard to throw more at them than they can chew.

We are trying to utterly destroy them aren't we?

Oh. My bad.

Either way, Jackson needs to accept that things like traps do exist, but perhaps you should inquire as to what your group finds fun about Dungeons and Dragons. If you aren't all having fun, then what's the point?

Mongoose87
2009-08-17, 11:33 PM
Complains about to easy? Teach him the value of tactics, and run him through Tucker's Kobolds (http://www.tuckerskobolds.com/)

I am just dying to throw Tucker's Kobolds at someone. I've got half a dungeon planned out, for whenever the moment is right.

awa
2009-08-18, 12:04 AM
tuckers kobolds wouldn't fair nearly as well in third edition against an even remotely competent party of relatively high level characters. spot and listen checks would detect them long before they could do any thing, casting some kind of elemental resistance would cut out half their tactics and so on, of course if the kobolds had levels it would be much harder but then they wouldn't be tuckers kobolds.

sonofzeal
2009-08-18, 12:53 AM
tuckers kobolds wouldn't fair nearly as well in third edition against an even remotely competent party of relatively high level characters. spot and listen checks would detect them long before they could do any thing, casting some kind of elemental resistance would cut out half their tactics and so on, of course if the kobolds had levels it would be much harder but then they wouldn't be tuckers kobolds.
This argument gets raised a lot and it's highly contentious. I think we can all agree that the spirit - weaker creatures who know their limitations and act accordingly and with keen tactical insight are often more dangerous than the otherwise more powerful enemies - is true. PCs generally rely on a series of assumptions, one of which is a clear boundary between "encounter" and "not an encounter"; by simultaniously denying them a direct engagement AND a chance to rest, you can push a lot of PCs out of their comfort zones. By relying on touch attacks (oil + torches, vials of acid, vials of shock), you can whittle away at their hp. By attacking from unexpected directions at unexpected times, you can get around a lot of the obvious defenses. By using your environment well, you can limit or destroy their ability to counterattack.

Exactly how well all that works in practice is highly dependent on the PCs and DM in question. I do feel safe saying that I could run a dungeon, using only Kobolds with no class levels, and crush just about any level 5 party. Heck, with enough time and effort I think I could crush the level 10 party I have going through my actual dungeoncrawl right now. I won't do that to them, because I'm not that mean, but I think I could and I don't think they could stop me.

No, Tucker's Kobolds are not a "win button". The tactics Tucker used are at least partially obsolete and would need to be updated and changed around to challenge modern parties. And the results may not be quite so startling. But there is a large degree of truth to the whole mythos.

AslanCross
2009-08-18, 01:18 AM
Problem Player

''Jackson'' is currently playing a Duskblade. He once (almost) left a session when my ''hall of traps'' and a 3 on search checks got his charcter down to 12 life. He also sais that he should be allowed to reroll his charcter's abiliy score if it's ''bad''. Of course ''bad'' for him is 14!!!!!!. He's my best friend, known him since elementary, so I'm not kicking him out, but it's kinda frustrating.

When I had a player whining about how he didn't get an 18 despite his 16 16 14 14 14 12, I told him to suck it up and be a man.

Jade_Tarem
2009-08-18, 01:39 AM
This argument gets raised a lot and it's highly contentious. I think we can all agree that the spirit - weaker creatures who know their limitations and act accordingly and with keen tactical insight are often more dangerous than the otherwise more powerful enemies - is true. PCs generally rely on a series of assumptions, one of which is a clear boundary between "encounter" and "not an encounter"; by simultaniously denying them a direct engagement AND a chance to rest, you can push a lot of PCs out of their comfort zones. By relying on touch attacks (oil + torches, vials of acid, vials of shock), you can whittle away at their hp. By attacking from unexpected directions at unexpected times, you can get around a lot of the obvious defenses. By using your environment well, you can limit or destroy their ability to counterattack.

Exactly how well all that works in practice is highly dependent on the PCs and DM in question. I do feel safe saying that I could run a dungeon, using only Kobolds with no class levels, and crush just about any level 5 party. Heck, with enough time and effort I think I could crush the level 10 party I have going through my actual dungeoncrawl right now. I won't do that to them, because I'm not that mean, but I think I could and I don't think they could stop me.

No, Tucker's Kobolds are not a "win button". The tactics Tucker used are at least partially obsolete and would need to be updated and changed around to challenge modern parties. And the results may not be quite so startling. But there is a large degree of truth to the whole mythos.

+1

There's much truth to O-chul's analysis (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0417.html). All hail the big, bad, level 13 PC's, completely unable to stop hobgoblins. IIRC, Heroes of Battle has a few tricks to use to allow a bunch of weaker enemies to demonstrate the value of tactics, preparation, and numbers to arrogant, overconfident players.

Back on track, though, it seems that the problem is the player, and not the DM or anything in the setting. It sounds like JACKSON wants well-done instant gratification with supersized spotlight-hogging and a side of HALO, rather than DnD. He wants you to entertain him, not challenge him. He wants to feel unique and special, and is only saying that he wants to be challenged in order to appear deep and introspective.

The thing is, DnD actually requires commitment on the part of the players first. The DM can create the most breathtaking campaign setting availiable, and if the players aren't willing to commit to it and put some effort into making characters with hopes, flaws, goals, motivations, fears, and that little dash of the need to leave your mark on history, you end up with the Legend of Drizzt - an amazing world with some very boring main characters.

http://www.geneticanomaly.com/RPG-Motivational/slides/drizzt.jpg

He's out to kick *** and take names. From his perspective, the only thing you're doing wrong is that your descriptions of him whipping on hapless dragons aren't epic enough. Anything that gets in the way of that is you being unfair to him.

Just tell him to grow up.

Swordguy
2009-08-18, 01:56 AM
Honestly? I'd question if he's worth it. If nothing else, search the forums for advanced versions of That Damn Crab and send a group of them their way. Or Fax's Paragon Kitten of Legend. Either way.

Altima
2009-08-18, 02:50 AM
From the stat standpoint, pure numbers usually do the talking. Inform him that the average commoner stat is 10.

The average hero stat--olympic medalist, world class runners, etc--is 13. That is the average stat of rolling 4 dice and discarding the lowest one.

So a 14 is beyond great, and he needs to stick a sock in it. Now, if he's playing a MAD class, then maybe he does have a right to complain if he has generally low stats all over, but otherwise, not.

kamikasei
2009-08-18, 04:05 AM
When I had a player whining about how he didn't get an 18 despite his 16 16 14 14 14 12, I told him to suck it up and be a man.

I've gone "bleh" at thoroughly above-average stats before because they're boring (rolled 15, 15, 15, 14, 14, 14). I can definitely see the point of view that balks at playing a character that flat - 14, 14, 14, 10, 10, 10 feels much more like something you can hang a person off of. That said, the "must have an 18" attitude is something that ought to be nipped in the bud. That extra +1 and bonus spells or whatever is not worth making an issue out of.

Lord Loss
2009-08-18, 05:42 AM
So, we're starting a new campaign in a jungle setting next session. It'll be level Three, and the campaign idea is:

Jungle + Temple + Mind Flayers = :smallbiggrin:

Mindflayers are some of my favorite monsters. THEY EAT YOUR BRAINS!!!
Should we start a new thread to start this adventure? I'll need advice. Also, our fourth player might end up playing a cleric or favored soul. Or a samurai :smallfrown:. His downfall is that he is convinced that ALL CLASSES ARE COMPLETELY EQAUL!!!! If you agree, I'll start a thread called Harsh Adventure Creation II.

Kizara
2009-08-18, 03:16 PM
I've gone "bleh" at thoroughly above-average stats before because they're boring (rolled 15, 15, 15, 14, 14, 14). I can definitely see the point of view that balks at playing a character that flat - 14, 14, 14, 10, 10, 10 feels much more like something you can hang a person off of. That said, the "must have an 18" attitude is something that ought to be nipped in the bud. That extra +1 and bonus spells or whatever is not worth making an issue out of.

Its the same problem with someone that has all 18s, if you have all 14s you have no high and low points and RPing becomes a bit lame. You are just all-around above average instead of all-around exceptional.

As for those that say "14 is amazing", it is a matter of perspective, but even by the system's own description, compared to the commoner norm, 14 is good, 16 is great, and 18 is exceptional.

I prefer to play characters that are at least "great", if not exceptional, if you prefer to play a farmer that decides to go adventuring and is barely more capable then the next farmer (stats like 14, 11, 15, 10, 13, 10, for instance), that's your playstyle choice. It doesn't make you a better or more mature person or roleplayer. I'm 25 and I've been RPing for 8 years now, and I still don't have a desire to play a loser character with no abilities (I play GURPS mainly now, and all our campaigns start with at least 150 points, sometimes twice that).


As for your campaign setting, I forget what MM they are in but there's these psionic creatures that have a hive-style hierachy (and kinda look like bugs) and spread like a plague. I used them once before, they are good opponents and make for an interesting plot. When the PCs have defeated them you can reveal that the mindflayers were behind them the whole time and now they have to fight them and their other minions.

Lord Loss
2009-08-18, 03:28 PM
COOL! Please find what MM they're in, they sound really neat!

Kizara
2009-08-18, 03:34 PM
COOL! Please find what MM they're in, they sound really neat!

Fortunately for you that didn't take me long, it was the first place I guessed:

MM 3: Mindshredders.

EDIT: Mind you, I'd level your party to 5 before throwing these things at them, they are a little much for a lvl 3 party.

Carisbourg
2009-08-18, 03:50 PM
Something he might have a legitimate beef with is the number of chances to affect his fate. After all, if there's three traps there's only one way to deal with them (search-->disarm) and you only get one chance to search for each.

I think the player might like recieving Tucker's Goblins: different ways to kill each on , maybe try diplomacy or something. The key is variety of choice. I've never been into traps myself, it limits the players choice too much.

An alternate that a friend likes is non-damaging traps, they fall into the "special" area, where secondary skills are needed to get out. Not much damage, but frustration as they try to think their way out.

boomwolf
2009-08-18, 03:59 PM
Everyone knows there is only two real solutions to complacent PCs. Tucker's Kobolds and Mind Flayers (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/6/22/). :smalltongue:

I actually favor kenku to teach the party some teamwork.

These buggers are really annoying if they are team-working. and a nightmare if they manage to put a line-of-sight barrier between two groups of PC's

I actually had a group of 3 first level kenku rouges and 2 third level kenku rouges eliminate 4 level 6 PC's. using a logical WBL set of equipment, and without the traps tucker's kobolds use that should cost each twice the gold they have.
Simple game of divide and conquer. the mimic sound helps alot, and the sneak bonus gave them a good run. some corridors, some hidden passages, and few trap doors/drop gates and they were picked off one by one by the sneak attack. (Did you know-a kenku with a flak and aid another from another kenku gets a whooping +7 to hit?)

And the encounter was in A CITY. not a dungeon. foolish PC's underestimating monster tactical abilities.

Mystic Muse
2009-08-18, 07:25 PM
I actually had a group of 3 first level kenku rouges and 2 third level kenku rouges eliminate 4 level 6 PC's.

wait. you killed 4 6th level PCs with BIRDMAN MAKEUP?!:smalltongue:

2009-08-19, 12:32 AM
Tomb of Horrors

buh-bye Jackson

Mystic Muse
2009-08-19, 12:44 AM
Tomb of Horrors

buh-bye Jackson

unfortunately byebye everybody else too.

Lord Loss
2009-08-19, 07:16 AM
So should I go TOH or should I write the Jungle Adventure involving Gnolls and Mind Flayers I've been planning? Involving ''Tucker's Gnolls''. Did You know a Gnoll Cleric 2 is CR 2? It has 4HD and spellcasting!

mikej
2009-08-19, 07:55 AM
So should I go TOH or should I write the Jungle Adventure involving Gnolls and Mind Flayers I've been planning? Involving ''Tucker's Gnolls''. Did You know a Gnoll Cleric 2 is CR 2? It has 4HD and spellcasting!

I'd go with the Jungle. ToH is pretty intense and your friend may not like the sudden increase in power.

I also agree with having high stats. It's more above average than the common joe, but you're the adventurer, you're surposed to be special and awesome.