A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
You can get A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2 now at Gumroad
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Gender
    Male

    Default I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    So, the campaign I am playing in, started 3 sessions ago. We discovered a Demonic cult and found out that they are working on starting a War against the world of the living. We also figured out that our quest giver was the bad guy. So we rushed to capture him, but he was already gone. We tracked him down in an underground base, which consisted of a gigantic maze. After a hard fight (we almost died), we defeat him and he tells us that the plan is already in motion. A giant army of Orcs, Demons and Humans is waiting in a cave below us and the base is set to self-destruct behind the army. We think "cool, if we can somehow delay the armies march, maybe the cave will collapse on them!" So we go, but by the time we get there, we realize that 80% of the army already left the cave. And that is where we ended the session.

    I feel a bit frustrated. Of what use is it to discover a demonic cult, track down one of their leaders and learn their great plan, if it just doesn't matter? The army is now marching into the unsuspecting kingdom, and there is nothing our lvl 2 characters can do about it. We could have informed the authorities, sure. But we didn't have any proof, nor did we know that the army was already war-ready. I feel a bit powerless and unsatisfied. Turns out that he guy we fought and captured wasn't even important, but just some goon. The other players seem pretty okay with it, so I didn't say anything. But personally, I feel like the DM should have started the campaign on a smaller scale. What can we possibly do? Even only one of their war-giants could TPK us.

    Any thoughts/suggestions? Am I just a whiny dumbass? XD
    Last edited by Sir-Carlos; 2021-12-03 at 05:27 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with "A demonic army has invaded your kingdom, try to survive" as a premise, but making it seem like a thing you could/should prevent but with no way to actually do that does sound frustrating.

    For me it would depend on where things go from here. If this is just the "prologue" and your actions will have more bearing in future, then ok. If it's going to continue being "the villains are always one step ahead" the whole campaign, I'd probably nope out of that myself, but YMMV.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    WindStruck's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    I dunno. Kind of agree with icefractal here.

    But I do wonder how you would have infiltrated this base, and how most of the army got out before your party even knew about them.

    Or why wasn't this big army used to crush you on behalf of the bad guy? Why is the base even self-destructing???

    It does seem the more you think about it, the more there are plot holes. And you were probably just set up for the big reveal that an army is attacking the kingdom.
    Last edited by WindStruck; 2021-12-03 at 09:45 PM.
    Avatar: Astra Glitterwing in A Faerie Affair

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    You’re not done yet.

    This was the third session. Second-level characters aren't supposed to win an entire war by themselves in only three sessions. You have uncovered the plot, stopped one leader, and found out where the enemy army is. That's a good beginning, but it's only the beginning.

    Maybe you can collapse the cave entrance and defeat 20% of the army.

    You say that you’ve informed the authorities, but I suspect you’ve only informed one of the authorities. If they didn't believe you, then they haven't spread the word.

    But there’s a war – you will have lots to do. Get to where the first battle will be, and tell that commander that the army is coming. Even if he doesn't believe you, he'll be slightly more ready when the army comes into view. Perhaps you can spy on the army and get more information to help that commander. Make ambushes. Help evacuate towns. Rescue families from farms in the army's path. Start fires upwind of the army.

    I suspect that by the time the war is finished, you will be high level heroes who have made a major impact.

    So far you’ve only made a 2nd-level impact, and that’s what 2nd level characters should do.

    You’re not done yet.
    Last edited by Jay R; 2021-12-03 at 10:22 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Dec 2019

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    I see the following possibilities, ordered in increased order of competence DM expected from you:

    1) DM did not expect you to follow the quest-giver and be in position to meaningfully affect the invasion. There are a few subvariants here, but most likely once you've done that DM has put you into position where you can weaken the invading force but not disrupt the planned campaign entirely. That means in-universe you're overperforming and overall doing great!

    2) (More likely) DM expected you to be here, whether it was a more linear path or one of the few possibilities planned. That means you were supposed to defeat the evil guy but and I find the idea that idea that the guy duping the 1st level characters would be relatively low-ranking member of Team Bad sensible. It is likely that you will be able to affect the events more in the future, and while not guaranteed fights may also become easier (for now you are afraid of war-giants, but play long enough and war-giants will be afraid of you)

    3) (Least likely) DM indeed expected you to solve this crisis. This is so unlikely that I say you definitely need more evidence before even seriously considering that, but if it is indeed so it is a bad gamemastering.

    In general it seems whatever is the reason you are now in position to affect the outcome already: destroying 20% of the army in one fell swoop is a huge deal. The fact that you are able to do so at 2nd level would even make suspect that DM is arranging circumstances in the party's favour (I do not mean fudging dice rolls, but weaving a narrative where the party is in an unlikely position to affect things out of proportion with the power they wield normally). The fact that initial problem was not self-contained and a part of a larger problem is also a classic trope. It is quite usual for long campaigns tied to a single theme. If you dislike it this is a valid viewpoint, but most likely at this point there are 2 options: play in the campaign or abandon it, DM being willing to rewrite it on the fly even after getting negative feedback is unlikely, DM doing so successfully is incredibly rare. Finally there is nothing objectively wrong with overwhelming odds and "Objective: survive" missions. Some people find it more realistic and visceral. Some people find it dissatisfactory. If that's what the DM is planning I hope you would be able to enjoy it if you get into the right mindset.
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2021-12-03 at 11:18 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    I'm definitely going to agree that this is just the prologue (an odd one in my opinion but that's just my personal taste, if I wanted a War Story you'd have started in an ongoing war, rather than you guys suddenly stumbling across this overly neat, convenient army-in-a-can, but I digress), and what the game becomes next is what's actually important.

    If I were the GM I'd probably be expecting (and communicating OOC without necessarily railroading) your party to become involved in some sort of guerilla and/or partisan actions behind enemy lines, since obviously you wouldn't be able to take on their heavies in open combat. Low level characters would be more suited to hitting small patrols, doing minor acts of sabotage, and being go-betweens for the resistance leaders in the beginning, and as you level up you'd be able to take on more grandiose and critical missions up to the point where you finally do get to face off with the real leadership. But that's just me. I personally prefer more grounded stories that slowly ramp up to the epic adventures, because then to me it feels more like you've earned it when you're zooming around being total badasses, or at least if you start at a relatively high level then you've got the backstories to back up being total badasses. But that's just my opinion, and its certainly not wrong or invalid to approach it from a different perspective.

    I will say, it's possible this is a recurring mistake a lot of GMs, even veteran ones, make. They scale the actual challenges of things to match the party's capabilities, rather than have the players just BE the type of party that the challenge would be suited for. Like it or not, D&D is and always has been a game where enemies are more or less hard coded to be opposition to player characters of a certain level range. If you throw them at the party unmodified, it'll be a slaughter, but if you revise them to mechanically be a match to the party while still pretending they're just as dangerous as they were before, it feels disingenuous. It fully breaks my immersion when some twenty foot tall fire breathing demon pops up as the opposition to a level four party, and they kill it not through quick thinking, brilliant planning, and a healthy dose of luck, but instead just by...stabbing it some...with their ****ty knives and light crossbows.

    Why exactly was the Kingdom failing to stop this threat? We're, like, four guys. Bob only has one second level spell slot and this sword of mine isn't even masterwork, let alone magical. I'm pretty sure the village blacksmith is the same level as us. Everyone's been telling us we're the chosen ones, the heroes of legend and all this, but really we didn't do anything a squadron of bog-standard footsoldiers couldn't have done, let alone the ****ing knights, court magicians, crusader orders, etc that a king would have had at their disposal. If you want your party squaring off against level ten grade threats right off the bat, you can just...have them make level ten characters. But don't condescend them by having the big scary monsters be pushovers.

    And I'm worried your GM might be doing this, but it's definitely too early to call. I'd give it a couple more sessions to see what direction it's going, and if you're still unsatisfied, then at that point you should have a one-on-one with them. Not to say they're doing it wrong or anything, because it's an entirely subjective thing after all, but it's a genuine piece of constructive criticism after all. If its bothering you seriously enough that you felt the need to create a forum post asking for advice, then obviously you aren't feeling immersed in the story the GM is setting up, and that's something they deserve to know about. I would want my players to tell me if something I was doing was interfering with their enjoyment of our game, because while I try to be my own biggest critic I'll be the first to admit I can't possibly see my own campaign from every perspective.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-12-04 at 03:07 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    In my library

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    If I was the GM you'd have reached there, found that the army seemed a bit small, and destroyed it.

    Then armies two through eight would have emerged from their lairs.

    But as has been said this isn't that unusual in the broad strokes. It's setting up the Big Threat of the campaign in a way that the PCs can't destroy it (but can hinder it), telegraphing the first major arc (either a war story or a refugee story), and getting the scale of the intended conflict. In broad strokes it's the same as a plot I have in mind for agents of the 2160 incarnation of UNIT.

    That said, it's fine to not be okay. If this isn't the kind of game that you enjoy speak to your GM or group about it. There's always the ability to shift a few plot elements to make it more enjoyable for a player, although I expect the cliffhanger won't get altered. But if everybody else is having fun make it clear that you can grin and bear it for a few sessions.
    Snazzy avatar (now back! ) by Honest Tiefling.

    RIP Laser-Snail, may you live on in our hearts forever.

    Spoiler: playground quotes
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Italy
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    seems like a perfectly good campaign premise: the bbeg is too strong right now, you have to weaken his army gradually.

    frankly, it would have felt silly to save the world at level 2. if this army is so powerful, how can a small group of people just out of training defeat it?

    i used a similar premise in my campaign after the party - through insistence and luck - stumbled over the main villain at level 11, when it was supposed to happen at level 20.
    so they were completely powerless to stop the villain as she steamrolled the major city that was their base of operation. to further clarify that the party was not supposed to engage the main villain, i showed a 20th level npc party ambush her, using their most powerful strikes, being totally ineffective in their surprise round, and getting roflstomped.
    but the party wasn't useless. they roamed the city that was being swarmed with high level monsters, and they managed to

    - persuade the leadership to attempt a retreat without committing everything to defence, resulting in more of the city's defenders escaping
    - persuade the hapless npc party to be more careful, resulting in some of them managing to escape the bbeg
    - persuade the leadership to evacuate the main stronghold, instead of hunkering inside it. resulting in rescuing a powerful artifact, that would have been captured by the bbeg otherwise
    - rescue all their npc friends from the city
    - rescue a bunch of war golems from the city
    - rescue a few hundred civilians
    - recover some useful research data from the arcane academy, resulting in more effective weapons to use against the villain later
    - recover rare and expensive research instrumentation from the arcane academy, at the same time denying the villain its use
    - sabotage/burn everything they could not recover from the arcane academy, to deny the villain its use
    - rescue a party of mid-level npcs that were trying to do the same but got overwhelmed

    so, "there was nothing the party could do" to save the city, but there was actually plenty they could do, and they made a major difference in turning a total disaster into a fighting retreat.
    even better, there was real player agency there, because while i had planned and balanced the mission for the party to achieve some of those goals, it wasn't at all guaranteed that they would reach all of them.

    your game may have a similar premise.
    or, it may be a game with a crappy dm where nothing you do actually matters, the enemy is always more powerful than you are and none of your actions are making a difference, until you win solely by dm fiat.
    but this depends on your dm, not on the plot premise
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    The most important thing is to just say something. Tell the DM about your concerns, and see if you can work something out. In general, avoiding problems like this is the purpose of a session 0 where you plan the basics of the campaign and can identify mismatches in what people want.
    A neat custom class for 3.5 system
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94616

    A good set of benchmarks for PF/3.5
    https://rpgwillikers.wordpress.com/2...y-the-numbers/

    An alternate craft point system I made for 3.5
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...t-Point-system

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    Sounds like a Guild Wars Prologue style scenario.
    The DM and you may have different priorities with story telling. Maybe they are trying to set up for a long game plan, or at least one would hope. Maybe mention that you are feeling overwhelmed by the scale and were hoping for more obtainable goals or something you can effect. But this isn't really something that can be answered without your DM being consulted.

    Sidenote: I try to do post game autopsies with my players, usually I try to give a few hours or a day or so depending on time constraints between the session and the check in so they can be processing. I also try to do it with players individually rather than as a group. It allows me to hear what worked and what didn't, or what concerns were had.
    Another thing is that I tend to have the end of the session a little before the group disperses, for general socializing reasons but it also helps get a sense of how the session left the party and what their immediate concerns are.
    Not sure how your DM handles communication but those tidbits seem to be working pretty well for me.
    Last edited by Witty Username; 2021-12-05 at 01:52 AM.
    My sig is something witty.

    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Witty Username View Post
    Sounds like a Guild Wars Prologue style scenario
    Its funny, thats exactly what I was thinking too. I got pretty annoyed by that sudden shift, because I didn't sign up for a post apocalypse game, I signed up for the Standard Fantasy Game and I'd been given just enough time to admire and enjoy all the greenery and idyllic landscapes before everything basically turned into WW1 No-Man's Land.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Louth, Lincolnshire, UK

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    I think you are missing a lot of things you can do.

    You can't fight an army by throwing your stats at its stats until one of you falls over, however, you should not be limited by what is written on your character sheets and you don't have to fight an army to defeat it.

    If you cannot spread warnings and alert the powerful to the existence of this army then you might hinder them in other ways.

    You are the sand in the gearbox, the spoke in the wheel, the wasp that makes the car crash. Not directly powerful but you can move faster than an army, you can follow, pick off stragglers, ambush forage parties, take pot shots at officers (anyone with a fancy hat), cause them to slow down and take extra precautions, poison supplies, foul wells, everything that guerillas can do to distract and demoralise enemies. Try to recruit bandit gangs to your cause, they will know the land and may jump at the chance to be heroes rather than villains.

    The world is full of stories of ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, you are already head and shoulders above the common people by virtue of being second level.

    So, this situation is not one for stats and items and weapons, but for guile, cunning and outwitting the foe.

    You must remember that your characters are the protagonists, you can do things that affect how events go.

    Now, stop moping, that army isn't going to stop itself.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I feel like my DM is starting on a too large scale and am a bit Frustrated.

    Hey thank you all, there is some great advice here. I think there was some miscommunication about the theme of the campaign and that is what put me off momentarily. I decided that I will trust the DM and see where this goes. That is was a bit unexpected, doesn't mean that it is bad, after all :-). (Man, I now feel silly about even making this post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Altheus View Post
    Now, stop moping, that army isn't going to stop itself.
    Haha, I'm on my way! ;-)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •