View Full Version : Biggest mistakes by DMs or players

2010-02-25, 02:52 PM
What are the biggest mistakes you or people you game with have made, while playing or DMing?

I once used Benign Transposition to swap places with my other party member when he got surrounded and was taking a lot of damage. A wizard, using Benign Transposition to get into melee. Luckily the enemies were low level bandits, but I took a lot of damage before I got away.

Another time, my friend used Burning Hands, or some other low level fire spell, in a cramped kitchen area that had been added to an annex in a cave, finishing off the enemies but setting the place alight. As the fire intensified and he started taknig damage he ran over to a huge cauldron boiling over a fire pit, that I had described as smelling like rotting bear meat, and started makning strength checks, as a wizard, to push it over and douse the fire. I told him in great detail how the fire was nearing the doorway, but it was still clear for them to leave, but he kept trying to push over the cauldron, until eventually he used a spell to try to break the supports, which I allowed to work, feeling sorry for him. And so the room flooded with boiling water, and dead bear. He got covered in putrid hot bear guts. It was then that I pointed out that caves aren't flammable - he could have just left and let the fire burn out. :smallbiggrin:

2010-02-25, 03:07 PM
Fireball. 20x20 room. 'Nuff said.

2010-02-25, 03:08 PM
Hunter: the Reckoning game, several vampires between 2 PCs and the exit, one of these PCs is unconscious due to the fighting not going their way.

Other PC: I pick him up and jump out the window.
GM: You're on the 3rd floor...
OPC: We'll worry about that when we're out the window.
Everybody else: :smalleek::smallconfused:

They both made it (somehow) so I suppose that wasn't the worst thing for him to have done.

Then, in a Deadlands game, a player got into a gunfight (as in: the dueling rules) with Stone. That was a pretty big mistake even if it was a great RP moment.

2010-02-25, 03:10 PM
Pathfindner Beta
Trying to cut myself out of a giant beastie, and died before I cut myself out.
FYI, I was the cleric.:smallsigh:

Sinfire Titan
2010-02-25, 03:11 PM
Everything the DM did while I was playing Eisin. Google my Totemist Diary for more info, and pay close attention to what happens with the Dragon.

Zom B
2010-02-25, 03:19 PM
Once taunted a dragon into attacking my wizard (with 10 Con!), before realizing I had meant to do that next round, where I could follow it up by casting Ethereal Jaunt.

2010-02-25, 03:21 PM
DM allowed precision damage to apply to all ranged attacks on an Order of the Bow Initiative. Never seen such a fistful of dice in my life.

2010-02-25, 03:30 PM
As a DM, I gave out a lot of little written messages either in the wrong order or not at all completely by accident. Also, joking that a PC's mount was hungry for souls right before they fought ghosts. Also, also, dropping a weapon that crits on either 20 or 1 and rolls badly on 10 (it was a weird weapon) for a party member to pick up. Also, also, also, giving a very simple puzzle with multiple solutions (I would accept most things) to a party at about 1 am. It took them a full half hour to come up with anything at all and it was just painful.

As a player most of my mistakes involved either giving party members a choice in how they act in my plan, or making my plans in the first place. Also, staying out of a fight with a gnome wizard that it was clear they were going to lose simply because the gnome wasn't evil and I wasn't evil and they definitely were.

2010-02-25, 03:34 PM
First d&d character, a rogue, going into a mage's tower after we defeated him.

Me: "Ok, I head upstairs."
DM: "As you enter into the next level, you see runes all over the walls begin to glow red"
Other PCs: "We're getting out of here."
Me: "No, I want to see whats up here. I keep heading up."
DM: "The runes begin glowing brighter and brighter, and you hear a high-pitched humming."
Me: "I'm sure it's just an alarm or something. I look through the desk.
Other PCs: "Don't be a moron, get out of there, fast."
Me: "I'm fine, don't worry about it."
DM: "The humming is almost a shriek now, and the runes are flashing. There's a window on this level not far from where you are."
Other PCs: "Get out, now!"
Me: "Hmm...is the desk locked? Should I make an 'open lock' check?"


Needless to say, it didn't end well. However, I had been saving up all my gold, and was getting ready to buy things, so everyone in the nearby town was showered with rocks from the tower, my blood, and thousands of gold pieces as the tower exploded.

2010-02-25, 03:36 PM
D20 modern game where our DM gave us everything we asked for. Its nice having the top of the line upgrades, and flying a motercycle through space. It was neat being able to clone the alcoholic party member and put his brain into a velociraptor's body. Sure it was cool visual to blow up a borg infested Sovereign piloting a Dyson sphere with Kos Mos's world destroying uterus cannon.

But coolness only goes so far without challenge. And when your DM doesn't know how to say no, the game gets boring quick.

2010-02-25, 03:39 PM
DM: "As you enter into the next level, you see runes all over the walls begin to glow red"
Other PCs: "We're getting out of here."
Me: "No, I want to see whats up here. I keep heading up."




Congrats, Hzurr, I think that wins.

All I got for this (I was DM):

Party: "Let's split up!"

2010-02-25, 03:39 PM
DM allowed precision damage to apply to all ranged attacks on an Order of the Bow Initiative. Never seen such a fistful of dice in my life.

I take it the group was not big on optimizing then? Because +5d6 on every attack doesn't seem that bad to me.

As a DM, mine was using the NWN equivilant of daze, which makes a creature who fails their save sibject to CDG. When I was a still a bit unsure on how saves worked, and forgot daze monster exists. Yeah, auto paralysis that affects monsters as well for a 0 level spell slot. Yeah that sounds balanced.

2010-02-25, 03:40 PM
Allowing my players to bet 1000 gp max on on their arena fights rather than 500. I broke WBL for a few adventures.

2010-02-25, 04:01 PM
I remember one of the other party members in one of our Deadlands games decided to ride through a massive gun fight in the main street with TNT straped to his chest.

To this day we are not really sure what his plan was but he swears he thought it wouldnt end up like that.

2010-02-25, 04:15 PM
The BBEG Henchman posing as his boss asked us politely for the inscrutable artifact we recovered from some black robed priests that had been causing zombifying waves in the mountains. He gave a convincing speech (good bluff check) about how dangerous it was and that it had to be destroyed. Of course we were skeptical so he offers to show us them destroying another such artifact. We accept and he teleports us to some cavern into the midst of a ritual we recognized from when we captured the first artifact.

Then of course they destroy it and cause a huge wave of negative energy just like the one we witnessed before, while we just stood bye and said "humm, how interesting". We survived being high level and inside a protection from evil ring but half the surrounding countryside in a 500 km radius was killed in the blast or from the zombies that arose from it.

Despite having seen the exact same thing a few weeks before it didn't ring a bell for me or my 20 int NG wizard.

The henchman was about the same level we were so we could probably have taken him out in a few rounds and nicked the second artifact just like we did before.

Later we of course learned that the artifacts were the only thing holding the plane together and thanks to us doing nothing that day there's one fewer of them now.

2010-02-25, 04:19 PM
Probably the biggest mistake was when my PCs were infiltrating a fortress in one of my campaigns. We had a shadowcaster/master of shadows on the party, but unfortunately, his wandering shadow companion blew the cover. Thinking quickly, the rogue ran to the fortress door and opened it, not bothering to listen at the door or look through the keyhole.

All I have to say is, it's amazing how fast a group of slave fighters no higher than third level can take out a 12th level rogue. It wasn't pretty.

2010-02-25, 04:20 PM
Houseruling that familiars kept their buffs after moving more than 5ft away from you.

The sorcerer became three seven-headed pryo/cryo hydras with buffs.

2010-02-25, 04:23 PM
Houseruling that familiars kept their buffs after moving more than 5ft away from you.There's a feat for that. :smallcool:

The Dark Fiddler
2010-02-25, 04:40 PM
Thinking that paying 2000 gp for a +1 weapon would get you the bonus and an equivalent (such as flaming). 3.5

2010-02-25, 04:41 PM
I thought I'd be nice and move the fighter's token for him because he couldnt reach. Accidentally moved him one more square than he wanted to...right into a pit trap with a dire rat that caused him to bleed profusely and came very close to dying....about 10 seconds after entering the dungeon. He almost died...but he got better. Yadda yadda yadda throwing dead rats at goblins=effective nonetheless

2010-02-25, 04:49 PM
I had a player whose beguiler dropped a confusion spell in a small room full of bad guys and a druid ally in dire tiger form. A very small room. He cast the spell quite well, and confused everyone, including the druid. After several rolls to determine how the confusion went down, 4 of 5 bad guys rolled 'attack caster' or 'attack nearest creature' while standing next to him, and the druid did as well. The (hasted) druid hit him with all six natural attacks, including 2(!) critical hits. He didn't even live long enough for all the bad guys to pile onto him.

2010-02-25, 05:05 PM
I thought I'd be nice and move the fighter's token for him because he couldnt reach. Accidentally moved him one more square than he wanted to...right into a pit trap with a dire rat that caused him to bleed profusely and came very close to dying....about 10 seconds after entering the dungeon. He almost died...but he got better. Yadda yadda yadda throwing dead rats at goblins=effective nonetheless

So you made the mistake and he paid for it?

2010-02-25, 05:08 PM
Benign transpositioned my familiar into melee when the person I was switching with didn't really need it (He could have tanked the damage instead). I didn't lose it, but it was a damned close thing.

Kurald Galain
2010-02-25, 05:17 PM
I found a spellbook and started paging through it. In Call of Cthulhu.

2010-02-25, 06:07 PM
So we're clearing out a dungeon, and find a room with suspicious stalls designed to hold some kind of huge monster. The ranger has crazy high stealth, so sneaks in and finds some tracks which he realises have been made by...some kind of giant undead worm made of organs, I forget the name. He signals back to the party, and we start to strategize, when the new player, a half-elf warlock, complains he's bored.

'Well do something then,' we tell him. 'You don't have to sit there.'

'Right!' He says. 'I'm going to sneak in and investigate too.'

He's got no stealth to speak of, and we can see what's coming, but we're too frozen with horror to stop him. He wanders in and rolls a 2. Unsurprisingly the worms hear us, burst out of their stalls and attack. The ranger manages to shift the heck out of there. The warlock isn't so lucky and ends up as worm food.

His next character decided to taunt a dragon. That turned out as well as you'd expect.

2010-02-25, 06:18 PM



Congrats, Hzurr, I think that wins.

Yeah... I don't often roll natural 1's on wisdom checks in real life; but every so often...

My early d&d career was marred by many, many stupid deaths, but I think this was the worst.

2010-02-25, 06:30 PM
So you made the mistake and he paid for it?

Basicaly yes...oy

Dr Bwaa
2010-02-25, 06:30 PM
I was running the ToH once for a few of my friends. One of them...
Tried to kill a gelatinous cube in a small (15x20 ft?) room. We were using the "some surfaces (stone walls, for instance) reflect lightning bolts if the spell has additional distance left to travel" rule. Sorcerer with 10 CON shot himself in the face with an Empowered Lightning Bolt... (didn't hurt the immune-to-lightning Cube, either).

Early in my DM career I was an enthusiastic user of a couple of DMPCs to save the party on numerous occasions. NEVER AGAIN.

We were known fugitives, guilty of numerous counts of murder, etc. I was playing the low-wis party Fighter. His signature move:
Claaus: *meets someone of reasonable rank in a new city*
Claaus: "Hi, I'm Claaus O'Neal!" <---real name
Party: *group facepalm*
We caught hell for that all kinds of times. Mistakes were made (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0158.html).

OH! A recent occurrence: my party is aboard a ship, and is trying to get a bunch of stuff made for us (because we defeated some giants and became filthy rich; long story), so we need to clear out a block of rooms of their occupants to convert into a workshop. After three sessions of beating our heads against the wall trying to move people around and so on, our DM hit us with the clue bat (http://tgr316.blazeirc.net/RPGMotivational/cluebat.jpg) for about five minutes (alternated with showing us this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYQ99V5Eito)video clip every so often), until we finally realized that the powerful wizard on board (who we in fact contracted to DO most of the crafting) would be able to cast Magnificent Mansion, and getting the laborers to move into a MM would be as easy as "Free booze through the door here!" This is what we ended up doing. We felt pretty clever, I'll tell you what.

2010-02-25, 06:31 PM
Me, to DM: "But, that doesn't make any sense. At all."

2010-02-25, 07:37 PM
Me as a player: I'm usually pretty careful, though it hurts me to think of how god awful the feat selection for my very first character was. Or how reckless she was.

Me as a DM: Actually allowing my players to carry out one of their insane ideas, assuming they made a ridiculous string of checks. They made them all, and everything wound up exploding.

On a more serious note, I ran most of my first game thinking that all spells were a full round action to cast. Whoops.

Another player in the group once blew up the support columns for the room they were fighting in *intentionally*, even though he got the dreaded "Are you sure you want to do that?" from me. Improvising the resulting changes of terrain was fun!

2010-02-25, 07:43 PM
I gave this unqiue holy amulet called the amulet of the first start to a Subuss that was serving me in the hopes she would destroy it and give me a grand reward instead she is using to to open gates to hell all over the world and know I have to chase her down and kill her.

2010-02-25, 09:36 PM
For me?

Probably dangling that magic ring in front of my player, only to have him roll a natural 20 on sleight of hand.......

Mystic Muse
2010-02-25, 10:05 PM
My player tried to hit on Tiamat.

Yes, that Tiamat. The patron goddess of adventurers

2010-02-25, 10:45 PM
my DM: oh, you're going to use a 0 level bard spell in a way it SPECIFICALLY forbids in a way that is completely illogical? huh? 6d6 damage to a 15 foot spread? thats what it does? oh. cool. sounds fair.

summon instrument rules get stepped on and crushed as a bunch of baddies get stepped on and crushed. Stupid grand pianos.

2010-02-26, 12:11 AM
Utterly ignoring WBL. Either accidentally giving out far, far too much loot, or being a stingy bastard and then not compensating for it at all with encounters.

DM allowing autosuccess/failure on skill checks. I don't think he was expecting me to jump up a 50-foot wall and start pelting all his melee monsters with arrows. Or to convince the 5000-man kobold tribe my familiar was their god.

2010-02-26, 12:34 AM
Our epic evil party screwed up an ambush on a mid-level adventuring group because our Sorceror is trigger happy as all heck. However, that's not the big mistake. No, the big mistake was using Discern Location to immediately find out where they'd teleported themselves. The location we got was "Fearon's Sanctum."

Who is Fearon? One of the most powerful wizards on that plane, whose apprentice happened to be their party mage. What did we do? Teleport directly into his sanctum with no preparation of any kind, simply because we were impatient to be done with what was supposed to be a milk run.

Needless to say, not fun, although the mage had his own "WTH" moment when his opening barrage failed to kill any of us.

Another boneheaded mistake occured literally two rounds later. We'd arrived into Fearon's Anticipate Teleportation effect, which allowed him to set up several nasty surprises for us (hence the WTH moment). When that didn't work, he and his familiar Shapechanged into an angel riding a dragon and caved in the roof of his sanctum on us, flying up out of our reach into the streaming sunlight.

Our Warblade's response? He'd just gotten a shiny new maneuver he wanted to try out, which involved teleporting right next to someone and destroying them. So he tried to teleport ... while still in the effect of the spell that had just screwed us over while teleporting.

In the words of the DM, "He raises his sword and suddenly winks out of existence. You have no idea what happened."

He comes back three rounds later to find everyone simply gone. To him, it looked like his teleport vaporized us all. (We were pursuing the mage into the deepest recesses of his sanctum, but he didn't know that, of course.)

2010-02-26, 01:58 AM
My first character was a Wizard fresh out of school. I was either level 2 or 3 by the time I reached the first villain. Probably 2.

To the first villain I met, after his villainous speech: "If you kill us then raise us as undead though, wouldn't that be our unlives, and not our deaths?"

I spent half the battle face down in a pool of sacrificial blood.

I do not regret this. It was incredibly in-character. This was also the first of many near-death experiences for Lore... He always seemed to skirt the edge of death once per adventure.

2010-02-26, 03:56 AM
All of mine that I can think of involve the same player and character! Muhahaha

My players went exploring in a dungeon room the party had just cleared out. Near the back of it he found a small winding natural tunnel, that I knew didn't go anywhere for miles and miles. Being the enterprising adventurer he decided to explore its very narrow (2-4 ft) and short (5-6 ft) twisting depths. While being very careful of course.
Him: Okay I go 20 feet in.
Me: Nothing happens.
Him: Okay 20 more feet.
Me: You notice a slight downward slope in the tunnel, but nothing else.
Him: Okay(pausing to think),...50 more feet.
Me: After 15 more feet the passage starts to narrow a little, nothing too major. And nothing else of note.
Him: Okay, I go one kilometer.
Me: .....It's three or four hours later...You've seen nothing interesting besides the occasional extreme narrowing or shortening of the passage...um what are you doing now?
Well, after a short period of explanations later, it turns out that for some reason he was thinking a kilometer was-I'm not even sure, some much shorter distance. Of course the rest of the part had no idea what had happened to him since he said he would be back in a little bit. But much laughter, one dead dire rat, 3 1/2 hours, and a near decision by the rest of the party(human) to leave his (racist) elf character behind, he was back safe and sound.

This next one was my bad, I like to think I wouldn't do this again. There was a big brawl with the main force of a goblin tribe (same dungeon), and he was temporarily free of enemies and had saw some goblins go through a door to another room. Enterprising adventurer he is he peaked through the door to see what there was
Me: buncha goblins etc.
Him:Are they armed?
And me, mishearing him entirely thought he was asking if the civilian tribesfolk goblins were armed (they weren't) not whether there were any armed goblins(there were), so his rogue entered the room alone with my terrible description at his side. So one surrounded rogue later, they all lived happppily ever after! (he survived)

Finally in the final battle of this dungeon, while it was climaxing and maybe starting to wind down, the halberd wielding fighter was-well a little back story first. We were using a homebrew critical miss d100 chart that I rolled on and consulted when a one was rolled on an attack. It had everything from roll DC8 Dex or drop weapon to deal critical hit to the nearest party member(!). So guess who rolled the most 1's and got the most 90's (the bad ones) on the chart? Definitely the frontline x3 critical halberd wielding fighter. And guess which enterprising adventurer suffered the disproportionate brunt of these rolls? I think you can see where this is going..So! The battle was maybe winding down when the fighter fighting next to the cleric and the fighter, of course, rolled a nat. one. I of course rolled like a 99.
Me: Crap(consulting chart, "deal critical to nearest....).....
(Addressing wide eyed party)
Jake, roll your damage...three times.
Matthew(Rogue) and Chris(Cleric), call odd or even.
(Rolling a d6, guess who's call came up on the dice?)
Okay..So Jake, you swing your halberd with tremendous force at the monster, more than you may ever have before. Unfortunately you are unaccustomed to fighting in such tight quarters and you hear a sickening crunching and spurting sound to your right as your weapon suddenly catches on something and nearly slips from your grasp, you whirl around and see etc. partially decapitated etc. etc.
So one dead rogue and several round later the dungeon was complete!

Reading back through this I'm not sure why I ever expected his character to to make it out of that dungeon alive. RIP whatever your name was!

2010-02-26, 10:51 AM
I've got a scenario where the DM nearly gave me a way to shirk out of a quest very easily, and one (the only one) where I managed to outsmart him.

I'm more or less just paraphrasing since this was awhile ago, but it provided nice entertainment at our DM's expense...

We were doing a rescue mission and had to break into a palace where all of the townsfolk were being held. He placed the door a little unfortunately for the captors, though.

DM: Alright, you exit the passageway and find yourself in the room with the prisoners. They're all over the place. No guards are in sight.
Me: ...are these the prisoners?
DM: Yes.
Me: What's the door like that we came through? Heavy metal, wood, locked...
DM: It's an open passage into the room.
Me: Leading outside.
DM: Yes.
Me: Why don't they just leave?
DM: ... *Guards poof into existence* They can't. The guards will kill anybody who tries. The guards see you. Roll initiative.

The time I outsmarted him, we were in the Underdark and had been captured by a drow priestess of Lolth who was taking us back to her House to become slaves. Before we reached the city, I got my Ranger (who has Wild Shape, though only specific to one animal, as an ability per Druid as a gift from her god) to take her Wild Shape. The priestess and the DM sort of ignored it because I usually enjoy using up that ability just to be a pretty kitty for the hell of it. Well, the party got taken to the House, stripped of all their weapons and armour and items, and they threw pretty kitty Ranger in with the rest of the slaves. I imagine it was intended that we would have to work a fair bit to be able to defeat the guards and escape, but as soon as the House drow were out of sight my Ranger reverted back to her human shape and stood up... loaded with the usual bows, arrows, rapiers, other swords, various improvised weapons that I always carry on her, and all of her magic items and usual equipment. She had more than enough to provide everybody with a means to fight the guards and get out of the dungeon, and I have yet to let my DM live that down. Now he's paranoid about Wild Shape when I randomly take it in the middle of a dungeon. :smallbiggrin:

2010-02-26, 11:01 AM
I read the book (all the ones I could find, actually) in a Call of Cthulhu campaign.

that character did not last long.

2010-02-26, 11:16 AM
Definatly the worst thing my DM has done, has been bad for SOME of the other players, but not me. He decided to tempt the rogue of our group with a crapload of power, just to keep this short, and our druid decided to help him out and join him a while later in the campaign...The rogue and druid had to put up with 47 AC and 20 fort (ha, no rogue poisons for him) with a 29 attack bonus...

Now how ever that also led me to do somehting equaly as bad. Seeing as they couldnt hit me but i could hit almost anything i was pointed at, I happend to kill a person, that happend to be the subject of a ritual the rogue had someone perfom for him, and this person had the soul of a god put into them and the rogue would pretty much ascend to god hood if that person was killed, but i didnt know that...so in an epic 3 way fight, i managed to deal more damage than the health that the wizard body the gods soul was in, and helped the rogue with his plan...which will probably screw me in the long run.