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Subject: I felt so bad for the players at game night rss

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Gianfranco Berardi
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A week or so ago, I pulled the game off of my shelf and opened it for the first time in many years. I was amused to see my old character sheets from when I was probably 10 or 11 years old.

I tried to play a game with my wife's younger cousin when he was over at our place, but he sent the heroes in four different directions and got some of them nearly killed before he had to leave, so I never got to play out The Trial to completion. B-(

Yesterday was board game night at the day job, and I brought this game hoping to play through at least one full quest for the first time in over 20 years.

Unfortunately, we didn't get started until the last hour of the night, and most of the people had left, leaving three of us. One of them insisted he had to leave at 10PM, saying that no matter where we were in the game, he would have to get up and leave at that point. Knowing he had to bail before we might finish, I skipped reading the intro text and quickly explained how to play, and we got started.

So two players each take a couple of the heroes into The Trial.

They split up to cover more ground. The dwarf and elf managed to fight their way by the creatures in the torture chamber all the way up to a couple of skeletons in the top left room, while the barbarian and wizard found the two Chaos Warriors in the room with the chest at the bottom right. 4 Attack and 4 Defend dice made those warriors quite intimidating, especially when I rolled four skulls that the barbarian failed to defend against. Ouch!

Luckily they had found potions and use their magic spells to heal up during the battle. I would have hated to have a total party kill.

The two players managed to lure the warriors into the narrow corridor between them so they can create a bottleneck and each attack one warrior at a time.

It was good teamwork, and while it was close, they managed to survive the encounter.

When they finished off the Chaos Warriors it was past 10PM. I knew my coworker was only still playing because that treasure chest looked pretty exciting, especially since so far they had found nothing of interest but a rusty weapons rack.

So the barbarian moves into the room, and he declares, "I search for treasure."

It pained me to say, "This treasure chest is empty."

He gave me this shocked look, then slowly said, "I'm going home."

And so I still haven't played through one full quest in over 20 years.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Such an empty feeling...
 
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Neil J.
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Improvisation might have been the way to go, especially if you knew that this would not be an extended campaign with these players. "In the treasure chest you find...Orc's Bane! laugh
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Lance McMillan
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gberardi wrote:
...he declares, "I search for treasure."

It pained me to say, "This treasure chest is empty."

He gave me this shocked look, then slowly said, "I'm going home."


You are your own worst enemy. A wise game-master would have ignored the "official" scenario and given them some sort of reward, which in turn would have served as encouragement for them to play again at some future session. Instead, your utter lack of imagination and narrow minded adherence to a pre-constructed scenario have pretty much ensured the game's going to sit on your shelf for another 20 years.

shake
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Gianfranco Berardi
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Yeah, it occurred to me the next day I should have made something up. I mean, I saw this moment coming many moves earlier. I knew it was going to end badly. It wasn't until long after that I realized it didn't have to if I didn't want it to.

I don't have a lot of experience running games. Any D&D games I've been involved in were run by someone else, and while I've had both the experience of a good DM and a not-so-good DM, I didn't appreciate how much work a good DM does.

But now I know to look out for this situation for next time.

A next time in which Lance isn't invited. B-)
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Dan Kochis
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Zargon should never feel bad for players who split the team.

But the other BGG users are right, you did miss an opportunity for improvisation. Admittedly I would have taken it in a different direction:

"Inside the chest you find... a poison gas trap!"
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Lance McMillan
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gberardi wrote:
A next time in which Lance isn't invited.


I've been a baaaaaad boy. soblue

gberardi wrote:
...it occurred to me the next day I should have made something up...


ALWAYS be ready to go off script. The scenario (and even the rules themselves) should merely be a departure point, a framework to make your work as GM easier, not divine law handed down on a tablet.

gberardi wrote:
I don't have a lot of experience running games. Any D&D games I've been involved in were run by someone else...


I've always found it's best to end things on a positive note if you want your players to come back for more. You don't have to give them the dragon's hoard every time, but you do want them to feel as if their efforts have acheived something. The flip side, of course, is that also don't want your scenario to turn into a "Monty Haul" dungeon -- if they get a +5 flaming vorpal blade for bumping off a single sickly gobin, there's neither a sense of adventure or accomplishment. It's all about balance...

The same goes for the touchy subject of player-character death. Just because your die roll says the character should perish doesn't mean that you're bound to that as GM. Generally speaking, unless a player does something incredibly dumb (in which case character death serves as a form of "punishment" for stupid play) I usually fudge the results to allow for survival. Typically, when a player's character meets its end I try to have it occur in a "heroic" manner to give the occurance meaning. Players often invest a lot of time/effort/emotion in their characters, and if you want the player to be willing (even eager) to generate a new character and return to the game they need feel that the character's demise amounted to something within the context of the game. If you fail to do that you'll find that your players are often less interested in continuing/resuming play.

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