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Thread: Is D&D too hard?

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    Talakeal's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is D&D too hard?

    Again, I don't have trouble meeting the difficulty metrics, this is more of a "postmodern" question about whether the metrics themselves are flawed.

    For example, last year the wizard player came to me and said the game was too hard because he ends every adventuring day with only about 20% of his spells remaining, and that means I am cutting it close. I responded by saying something along the lines of "Good, that is exactly what I am shooting for!", which he (and several forum-goers) took as me just dismissing his concerns about the fundamental nature of the challenge I am shooting for, and now I seem to be having a similar conversation here, just the other way around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Okay, just read your campaign notes. You're swinging just a little high, by the sound of it, (6 per day plus an occasional bonus encounter) but it sounds a lot like your players are just whiny if they're only hitting a major setback twice a year and a TPK half as often.

    You -could- cut the encounters per day and ease off on the tactical accumen of your NPCs if it won't make the game boring for you. I'm concerned about the first two playerse you described, tbqh. The first seems like a simple discussion about his complaints but the second sounds like a real problem and I'd hazard their behavior -is- a major cause of the others starting to follow suite rather than anything to do with the game itself.

    I can only see it getting worse if you don't -do- something. Getting guy one to knock of the whining shouldn't be -that- hard but I'd seriously consider giving guy 2 the boot if he can't get those outbursts under control. In any case you should probably have as frank a discussion with the group as you're comfortable with about how they're enjoying the game, what they really want from it, and where they're willing to compromise on that. You absolutely -have- to address the problem behavior though.

    At this point I am taking a break from GMing, so I am going to see how it plays out with someone else in the chair while I process everything I have learned.

    I also found out today that two of the players in question were on mood altering prescription medication during their outbursts, so that problem might solve itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firechanter View Post

    Well, otoh, the same DMG states that an adventuring day should consist of 4 encounters of EL = APL. So if you're going above that, by throwing more and/or higher-CRed encounters at them, you technically _are_ running the game harder.
    Granted, most MMx monsters are little more than speedbumps for a well-built party. In my home group we usually handle about 2x to 3x of the expected allotment between rests. Which of course also results in a quicker leveling pace. And that doesn't even require obscure splatbook optimization - my personal record one day was starting the day as level 9 and going to bed as level 11, in a core-only campaign with no wands available.

    So, in short, the CR system simply doesn't do what it's supposed to do.


    That said, I once had a DM who seemed to run a similar style as you. He'd spent hours and hours on end designing single encounters, building opponents and devising tactics. And of course every single monster used its actions optimally all the time. We got our asses handed to us on a silver platter on a regular basis - about 2 in 5 encounters. And guess what? We were not having fun. We gave it a try for about 6 sessions or so but seized the first opportunity to rotate DMs and switch to something different.
    What I learned from this experience is that it's super easy for a DM to frustrate the players. The DM knows exactly what the PCs can do, and that's usually just 1-3 tricks per pony. For every one scenario that a player can prepare for, there are probably three dozen more that he can't, so it's trivially easy to attack their weak spots any time you want to. After a while it just feels arbitrary.

    So yeah, call it "big dumb fun" -- I guess many players (including myself) enjoy besting powerful opponents or overwhelming odds by virtue of their abilities and wits. They do not enjoy being bested by smug little buggers playing tricks on them.

    Note that it isn't about the PCs actually getting their butt-kicked, the PCs still win in the end and go through their ~80% party resources in an adventuring day.

    I was just thinking that it might feel harder to actually deal with weaker monsters that use smart tactics vs. a big bruiser that just charges in and deals huge damage.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2019-11-16 at 12:41 AM.
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