A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    It sounds like your character did something that made emotional sense that was a bad idea and bad stuff happened, sounds like normal gaming.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Wintermoot View Post
    DM: "Okay, as you guys are preparing to set off for the dungeon of Blex, PC receives an emergency message. The orphanage you grew up in was attacked and Mrs Gubersmith, the kindly old cook of the orphanage, and the only person who ever showed you any love when you were growing up has been kidnapped by evil wizards."

    PC: "God dammit!"
    Lol.

    But also, if your players really feel like "Goddammit" when you connect adventures to their character and add drama and complexity, maybe they want to play muderhobos and you're overthinking this
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  3. - Top - End - #33
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Pex's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    Lol.

    But also, if your players really feel like "Goddammit" when you connect adventures to their character and add drama and complexity, maybe they want to play muderhobos and you're overthinking this
    Some players like to play House so to speak. When they create family and childhood friends and small towns back home they're meant for downtime roleplaying. They exist for the sake of existing, not an invitation to be a McGuffin in distress to deal with whatever Doom they have to stop. If the party needs to travel somewhere but just happen to need to travel through the hometown, it's fun for them to not worry about the Crisis for a game session and deal with domesticity. Visit old pals. Invite the party over for dinner and have your parents embarrass you with DM impromptu childhood anecdotes. Have a childhood friend gush over your accomplishments, hinting to wanting to become your boyfriend/girlfriend because he or she had a crush on you. Maybe there can be a local bully or politician or merchant or someone causing local trouble not related to the Campaign Plot you can take care of (without killing) no problem because you are an adventurer of much higher level, skill, and fame.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
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  4. - Top - End - #34
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Rynjin's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    One of the most fun campaign sessions I've had is playing the role of another player's overbearing mother when he went back to visit them while we're in town.

    "You spent all that time learning magic and you couldn't send your deal old mother a message? And why are you traveling around so much anyway? Couldn't settle down, find a nice girl and a real career instead of wandering around like some vagrant? I always told you you'd have made a good lawyer with those smarts of yours instead of just shooting sparks out your fingers. Who's that gonna impress?"

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    Lol.

    But also, if your players really feel like "Goddammit" when you connect adventures to their character and add drama and complexity, maybe they want to play muderhobos and you're overthinking this
    Why does it have to jump right to kidnapping and bodily harm? If you have reason to suspect the GM is going to string backstory NPCs up as emotional piñatas you’re heavily dissuaded from using them as context and scenery.

    When was the last time any of you guys remember your GM/you as a GM pulling in a backstory character for a positive scene?
    Martials’ concepts don’t evolve past the mundane
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  6. - Top - End - #36
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The DM is not always right. You can disagree this DM in particular did anything wrong, but being the DM is not all by itself proof of innocence.
    Sure. DMs make mistakes all the time. Last I checked, they are people and people are inherently prone to mistakes. Players also make mistakes all the time, and non-players make mistakes all the time too. If they are people, they make mistakes.

    Making a mistake, is different from assigning blame. I see a lot of "blame" going on. On these boards, I see a lot of posters like to assign blame to DMs. There is no need to blame in order to resolve a root cause problem, it will probably make your root cause analysis worse if you do.

    If we replaced said DM with any other random DM and the same thing could have happened, it is not a DM issue. It is a process issue.
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  7. - Top - End - #37
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Why does it have to jump right to kidnapping and bodily harm? If you have reason to suspect the GM is going to string backstory NPCs up as emotional piñatas you’re heavily dissuaded from using them as context and scenery.

    When was the last time any of you guys remember your GM/you as a GM pulling in a backstory character for a positive scene?
    Much like in real life, personal relationships are often a complication to your goals; just not always as extreme as "They got kidnapped". Often, it is simply trying to be a good friend in a bad situation, or deciding how to prioritize your time.

    For example, over the weekend you want to play D&D with your group. However, your aunt is having surgery and you know your Mom will want you to call and check in on her. How do you do both things? Can you? I.e. a Complication. These low level complications are the type of things I expect background NPCs to provide for a player. Sure, I want to go storm a dungeon this weekend, but I have to help with the harvest; how can my character do both?
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  8. - Top - End - #38
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Some players like to play House so to speak. When they create family and childhood friends and small towns back home they're meant for downtime roleplaying. They exist for the sake of existing, not an invitation to be a McGuffin in distress to deal with whatever Doom they have to stop. If the party needs to travel somewhere but just happen to need to travel through the hometown, it's fun for them to not worry about the Crisis for a game session and deal with domesticity. Visit old pals. Invite the party over for dinner and have your parents embarrass you with DM impromptu childhood anecdotes. Have a childhood friend gush over your accomplishments, hinting to wanting to become your boyfriend/girlfriend because he or she had a crush on you. Maybe there can be a local bully or politician or merchant or someone causing local trouble not related to the Campaign Plot you can take care of (without killing) no problem because you are an adventurer of much higher level, skill, and fame.
    Fair point. "Leave my character's emotional connections for lighthearted RP!!" is a totally legit thing

    I forget some games are not "all trauma, All the Time". Been too long since ive had one
    Last edited by Duff; 2021-12-02 at 05:01 PM.
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  9. - Top - End - #39
    Troll in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Why does it have to jump right to kidnapping and bodily harm? If you have reason to suspect the GM is going to string backstory NPCs up as emotional piñatas you’re heavily dissuaded from using them as context and scenery.

    When was the last time any of you guys remember your GM/you as a GM pulling in a backstory character for a positive scene?
    we've done it at my table. MUCH more often than we ever did "oh no! your loved ones are in danger! swallow this cheap plot hook!". And we never, ever considered doing "this villain has killed your loved ones! now you can swear revenge and chase after him!"

    yes, hanging out in this forum gives me an even greater appreciation for my party
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

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  10. - Top - End - #40
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    When was the last time any of you guys remember your GM/you as a GM pulling in a backstory character for a positive scene?
    I have never seen this as a player in the whole time I have been playing. Always a negative or life threatening situations or ignored completely.
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude... seeming to be true within the context of the game world.

    "D&D does not have SECRET rules that can only be revealed by meticulous deconstruction of words and grammar. There is only the unclear rules prose that makes people think there are secret rules to be revealed."

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  11. - Top - End - #41
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    WindStruck's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    I see a lot of people trying to blame the DM. Please stop! Being a DM is already thankless and difficult enough!

    Everything that happened here was tragic and a bummer, but also mundane and ordinary. It sucks, but it happens.
    The DM is the one who decided to bring a dragon into the scene, and in what looks like a contrived and ham-handed fashion. I couldn't place blame on anyone else.
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  12. - Top - End - #42
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Mystic Muse's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post

    When was the last time any of you guys remember your GM/you as a GM pulling in a backstory character for a positive scene?
    1. Character's still living ancestor promises to help him take down his evil dad, and to be less evil for the next Thousand years. Evil dad is trying to usurp her.
    2. Character mostly resolves things with his cousin tgat he has family drama with. Granted, this is after said cousin assassinated him (character resurrected into sainthood. The assassin did things through the proper traditions and got away freely. They also has fulfilled their contract, the character getting back up after dying wasn't their problem.)
    3. Character returns to her clan's ancestral lands because she feels a calling. Things go quite well reuniting woth her mother, and the spirots of her ancestors help her permanently bond to her clan's lands.


    I try to have significant story beats like these forvpeoples' characters without taking the easy way out and having them threatened or kidnapped.
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  13. - Top - End - #43
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by WindStruck View Post
    The DM is the one who decided to bring a dragon into the scene, and in what looks like a contrived and ham-handed fashion. I couldn't place blame on anyone else.
    Why do you feel the need to place blame?
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  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Mordar's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    Why do you feel the need to place blame?
    Isolation of the point of failure is important if there is to be understanding/improvement/processing.

    - M
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  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Draconi Redfir's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    OP, you did nothing wrong. i likely would have done the same in that situation. Perhaps the DM could have helped out a little more by having some guards or civilians assist in the fight to at least draw the dragon's attacks, but all in all, i don't think it's his fault either.

    what's important is that you all bounce back from this and keep going. Roll with the punches and hit back harder.
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  16. - Top - End - #46
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    Why do you feel the need to place blame?
    OP "Bad things happened and it might be my fault"
    Us "It's not your fault"
    Obvious question "Um, OK, then why did bad things happen?"
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  17. - Top - End - #47
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    Draconi Redfir's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    Obvious question "Um, OK, then why did bad things happen?"
    because sometimes bad things just happen. Sometimes you can do everything right, and something bad still just happens. it's absolutely possible for bad things to happen without anyone being to blame for it, that's just how the world works.
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  18. - Top - End - #48
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    because sometimes bad things just happen. Sometimes you can do everything right, and something bad still just happens. it's absolutely possible for bad things to happen without anyone being to blame for it, that's just how the world works.
    So easy to say and yet seems very hard for many to understand and accept.
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude... seeming to be true within the context of the game world.

    "D&D does not have SECRET rules that can only be revealed by meticulous deconstruction of words and grammar. There is only the unclear rules prose that makes people think there are secret rules to be revealed."

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  19. - Top - End - #49
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Pex's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    because sometimes bad things just happen. Sometimes you can do everything right, and something bad still just happens. it's absolutely possible for bad things to happen without anyone being to blame for it, that's just how the world works.
    True, but nothing in the game exists without the DM's permission. It was the DM who placed the dragon there. Even in my first response I allowed the possibility the DM made an honest mistake. That happens sometimes too. It's not a question of blame yet, just that it was a mistake. We don't know for certain from the original posting if it's a mistake or deliberate instigation. The possible mistake is not the dragon existing at all but that the DM meant it as a cinematic scene for the party to witness only as a set-up for the adventure to come. The DM did not think the players could or would intervene.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
    "Welcome to Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition, where the DCs are made up and the rules don't matter."

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    OP "Bad things happened and it might be my fault"
    Us "It's not your fault"
    Obvious question "Um, OK, then why did bad things happen?"
    Did something bad happen here?
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  21. - Top - End - #51
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Mordar View Post
    Isolation of the point of failure is important if there is to be understanding/improvement/processing.

    - M
    Which is not blame. That is root cause analysis and it should be free of "blame" assignment and future focused.
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  22. - Top - End - #52
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    Which is not blame. That is root cause analysis and it should be free of "blame" assignment and future focused.
    Someone’s gotta have ownership of the game. If not the GM, then whom?
    Martials’ concepts don’t evolve past the mundane
    High levels aren’t just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Draconi Redfir's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Someone’s gotta have ownership of the game. If not the GM, then whom?
    nobody. full stop.
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  24. - Top - End - #54
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    The possible mistake is not the dragon existing at all but that the DM meant it as a cinematic scene for the party to witness only as a set-up for the adventure to come. The DM did not think the players could or would intervene.
    Quite possible.

    Every game system's book or section on GMing should begin with the quote:

    “Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.”

    Then they will understand that whatever they put in the scene, the players are going to fiddle with it, even if it's a dragon.

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Someone’s gotta have ownership of the game. If not the GM, then whom?
    Everyone at the table owns the game.
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  26. - Top - End - #56
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    Mordar's Avatar

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    Which is not blame. That is root cause analysis and it should be free of "blame" assignment and future focused.
    Blame: To find fault with; to hold responsible; to place responsibility for; at fault.

    Perhaps it is the connotations that some people find unpalatable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    Everyone at the table owns the game.
    Truth. I would quibble about relative shares of ownership though. But this isn't about ownership of the game (or shouldn't be). It probably isn't even about ownership of the mistake...it is about one player asking if they own the mistake.

    - M
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  27. - Top - End - #57
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Some players like to play House so to speak. When they create family and childhood friends and small towns back home they're meant for downtime roleplaying. They exist for the sake of existing, not an invitation to be a McGuffin in distress to deal with whatever Doom they have to stop.
    Nowadays, my method is to simply let the player decide. By default, I will do mostly light stuff with "Players NPCs", at worst "daily life complications" or emotional scenes. I will mostly follow the player's lead on such things (If he roleplays a conflict with the PC's dad, I will have that conflict play a part in the game, for example). But if I want to do heavier stuff, I will directly ask that player's explicit consent beforehand.

    Stuff like "So, for the last few games, several of the bad guys were older members of the White council. Since Jenny's dead mom was a senior member of the white council, do you think she was involved in that stuff, or not? And did your non-sorcerer dad know about it?"
    or
    "Did your character recieve news from home about the war brewing north, or is your family domain out of danger?"

    Some players will enthusiastically jump on the opportunity of having their background feature front and center in the campaign, others will say they prefer to leave it lighthearted, others will tell me that they're okay with their paladin cousin being involved in the coming war, but not to touch their dog, their kid sister or their old parent's home village. Their character's environment, their choice.

    And I try to do the same if a player has become emotionally involved in one of the NPCs in the campaign. They may be "my" NPCs, but if they become a PC's spouse, ward, close friend (or pet, or home, or starship), they become one of theirs too.

    Some players want their PNPC to be part of the greater campaign (for example, in our current PBTA cop-drama game, I very obviously and openly set up my PC's corrupt politician dad as a potential big bad if the GM and the other players want to run with it), but as a GM, it's my job to ensure they're okay with it. I want my players to have fun with their PCs' exciting and complicated lives, but I don't want to cause them distress or unease. I think that kind of things are part of the emotional security package, and as such, are subject to the player's consent.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    At least without any further context, I would consider this to be a pretty big bummer, but not your fault. However, I do think the DM probably could have done a number of things better to get a more satisfactory result.

    Everything you did was fully in character and narratively satisfying, but the result was very clearly unsatisfying. "PC's family is wrecked, a Dragon burns all their stuff and then the PC" is very clearly a not ideal result, and without further context a pretty severe letdown. But that really can't be attributed to anything your PC could have done differently.

    The bucket brigade sounds pretty weird. If you're not gonna risk the dragon, then run away or help evac survivors, why are you hanging around worrying about property damage while your friends are dying and there's a big dragon sitting there still burning stuff? Not participating in the fight is perfectly reasonable, I want to stress. Not participating in a fight because you're running a bucket brigade seems like the Lawful equivalent of being too busy looting the room while a big fight is going on.

    ****ing around with PC family members while they're not looking and unable to meaningfully prevent it is usually not going to end well without explicit buy-in. It usually ends up like Fridging, but worse, since the DM's not the only one responsible for making the PC's story.

    Particularly, having the dragon come in and start torching all the family's possessions (and the grandfather's body) is a fight most PCs would not reasonably refuse. Like, let's look at the potential reasons (that I can see) for the DM to do this setup.

    -The DM wanted the PCs to fight the dragon and at least survive the experience. If the fight was too difficult by accident then that's a legitimate, but still bummer, screwup on the DM side. If the fight went poorly due to bad luck or the nonintervention of other PCs, that's still a huge bummer, but also just something that happens. If I could make an informed judgement that the fight was clearly winnable in the moment, I'd probably say that the PCs who ran away made a serious misjudgment.

    -The DM wanted the PCs to run away from the dragon. This seems untenable to rely upon. The dragon's doing too much personalized taunting of the PC to assume they would do nothing. It's not like the PC's are already in a bad state or obviously unequipped to deal with the problem, by the looks of it. If this was the intention the DM should probably have set things up differently so that running away was clearly the only viable option, and even then it's can be a bit of a jerk move.

    -The DM wanted the PCs to fight the dragon and die. It's not a very interesting story nor is it a mechanically interesting scenario, so it would be difficult to justify this at all.

    -The DM just kinda threw a dragon at the PCs and didn't expect anything in particular. Seems pretty unlikely given a narrative was clearly being set up, and doesn't really make sense to just happen in a sandbox.

    I would say only in the first scenario would the DM not be making an error in judgement, and even then there were probably ways to prevent it from happening.
    Last edited by AdAstra; 2021-12-08 at 12:25 PM.
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  29. - Top - End - #59
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    To the OP, you are fine. Bad things happen to good characters all the time.
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  30. - Top - End - #60
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: I got most of the party killed and feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy e View Post
    To the OP, you are fine. Bad things happen to good characters all the time.
    Amen to this for sure.
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude... seeming to be true within the context of the game world.

    "D&D does not have SECRET rules that can only be revealed by meticulous deconstruction of words and grammar. There is only the unclear rules prose that makes people think there are secret rules to be revealed."

    Consistency between games and tables is but the dream of a madman - Mastikator

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