DM problem - low level PC killing people they shouldn't be able to ...

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In my homebrew world that I have been running for a couple months now I have run to a small problem that I need advice on how to stop.

The party, unknown to them, killed off a major part of the story I was constructing. Basically in some instances my party has out smarted me. They came across an old run down fort that a group of orcs was using as a staging ground. The group saw a horse tied up outside of the main gates. The cleric would not let them outright kill the horse. So the thief, who was a halfling, got under the horse and unbuckled the saddle before they went inside.

After a clearing out the inner workings of the fort and chasing the "boss" outisde as he was fleeing. He fell off the horse and was knocked out. The party then killed him off. He was a level 6 half orc warrior, the party was at the time level 1, almost level 2.

So I reworte a few things in my story, it is an odd complicated story. Basically a lich is tricking the orcs into going to war with the elves. The lich just wants a select few elves dead as they were the ones that killed him when he was alive. But over time he has grown to hate all elves. That is the short version.

Anyways, I decided to show a little more of my hand, and had a Death Knight attack a cleric that the party was guarding on his way back to the capital city. The party ignored the skeletons and undead troll the Death Knight had with him, and went right at the knight. Thankfully none of them hit him so he basically ignored them as he pushed forward towards the cleric.

So what would be a good way to discourage these player from attacking people and things they has no business in doing so without out right telling them, you can't kill him, you should run in terror ... or at most try and talk to him.
Mostly the answer to this is to be a better DM.  If your game world has your favorite toys and you don't want the PCs to break them, don't have the PCs interact with them at all.

The story should be about the PCs at some point and if you allow them to kill it they will.  One of the major problems with setting strong rails on your story is that your PCs can sometimes break the rails. When they do they either go off track and since you are heavily planning things its really hard to adapt, or they break some link in the chain of the story you want to tell.

The key is to make sure your story can evolve without links you put in front of your players.  If you stick the Knight in front of them, let the PCs actually try to harm him, it should be great if they hurt or kill him and not distressing.  Then see what your story looks like with the new hole in it.  What comes in to fill that void?

Also, don't treat death as final.  In most magical settings things that die have a way of coming back to bite you in the butt later on.  They killed your Orc... did they salt and burn the bodies?  Cause if not it might be time to go a-haunting.
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The story is about the PCs, and how they stumbled onto a scheme by a Orc King to wipe out all Elves.

I did rewrite things, actually made the story better.  That really isn't my problem.

It is how to get the PCs to know their limits to certain degree, with out making it feel like I am handcuffing them. I just don't want the PCs to go dragon hunting, get killed and blame me for it.

I have a few random dungeon crawls set up to get the PCs some levels to make some up coming fights seem more epic.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Had thought about the idea of bringing the Orc back to life, but that seems kinda hookey.

Not sure I have a real solution to this problem.
If you want to show the PCs that there is stronger stuff around, having them fight on the side of a powerful ally, or getting a patron works well.

And no need for the orc to be back and fine.  Make it the orc's zombified remains, or he returns as a wight.  Or maybe as a revenant or other creature.  Maybe the Orc is even more important than they thought and is tied to the Liche's phylactery.

A way to help show your PCs where their strength isn't is through alternate fights and alternate win conditions.  Have something timed where they know they need to defeat something in X amount of time or Y bad thing happens.  Or have them go into a dream sequence, a prophet shows them a vision of their future selves.  Or have them meet someone on the road who warns them of being too rash and when they get to fighting something huge and murderously above their pay-grade have the wandering person be a friendly shape-shifted metallic dragon or other powerful creature.
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Next time they pick a fight with something they shouldn't just make sure the stats prevent them from killing it outright.  Obviously you can't go back now, but if you are rolling behind a screen, then there was no reason they should have been able to kill or even knockout your orc.  He falls off the horse, sure.  Maybe he even cracks his skull, but in the end you could always tell them he picked himself up, cursed the players and climbed aboard one of his henchman's horses... Or retreated behind a wall minions that prevent the players from gettnig right to him.  I used to spend hours working up a NPC baddie only to have players call a critical shot to the eye and kill them in the first round.  Damn, I would think, there's a lot of work down the tube.   Now that same baddie would laugh and pop out his glass eye, or fall down a crevasse only to return later to harass them again.  Flying creatures and NPCs have an easy solution to escape, and magic spells or items can always be used to turn someone invisible long enough to escape or even teleport away. 
Use an old tv/movie trope:  have the badass demonstrate by cruelly and easily destroying some NPC in plain sight of the (viewer) party.   Before that happens, have the doomed NPC display some measure of power or competence equal to the average PC.
Many times if you place something into the story as an obstacle by default many pcs will assume that creature is there to be overcome and that the dm wouldn't put an unwinnable situation in their path.

Is that realistic?  No.  Realism has to be balanced against the fun of the game. If pcs assume everything is tougher than them they don't feel all that heroic or powerful which isn't terribly rewarding

A display of power at a distance against opponents they know to be more powerful than themselves may help.  They know they have to be more cautious but it provides a goal for them to aspire to.
The story is about the PCs, and how they stumbled onto a scheme by a Orc King to wipe out all Elves.

I did rewrite things, actually made the story better.  That really isn't my problem.

It is how to get the PCs to know their limits to certain degree, with out making it feel like I am handcuffing them. I just don't want the PCs to go dragon hunting, get killed and blame me for it.

I have a few random dungeon crawls set up to get the PCs some levels to make some up coming fights seem more epic.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Had thought about the idea of bringing the Orc back to life, but that seems kinda hookey.

Not sure I have a real solution to this problem.


Come on, getting your players to flee as DM agenda? That's silly. Most of the players I've gamed with don't have "run away" in their vocabulary - it's a common theme in role-playing groups and should come as no surprise to you.

The problem is that with the examples you give, it's not the players seeking out extreme/impossible challenges. You're the one bringing those challenges - the death knight, for instance - to their doorstep. *Of course* they're going to fight on the behalf of a beloved NPC cleric.

Now, assuming it were the players actually seeking out extreme challenges then that's a perfectly acceptable playstyle. It requires a bit more transparency from the DM and a player willingness to tempt death, but I would say go for it!
Not everything has to have stats. Not every encounter has to be about one side dying, retreating or being captured.

If you don't want something to be killed, don't give it stats. Make the challenge of the encounter be about whatever you actually want it to be about - a chase, an escape, a puzzle, or whatever - and run it as a skill challenge or as something else other than raw combat.

Forget about your story. Players don't care. If you want them to care, build the story with them, and find out that way how they want to be challenged.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

The answer is simple.  If it's not intended to be fought, then it's not a combat encounter, and you don't dress it as one.

No rolling for initiative, no attack rolls ... just narrate how their feeble attacks bounce off his armor, and he backhands someone effortlessly, sending them sprawling on the floor.  For most gamers, the mantra is 'if it has stats, we can kill it'.

So don't give it stats.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Want to know how you handle this one? Conrgatulate your PCs and reward them for it. It may be your world, but the PCs get to live in and therefore interact with it. Provide a place for them to play and affect the world. Craft the setting and situations, then let the PCs do as they will. Reward them for their successes, and if they fail in what they do, that failure will likely be its own punishment. As the PCs, they are really the ones that get to write the story through their actions.
I did reward them quite well for killing the Orc. I had no problem doing that. They out smarted me to some degree, and when PCs do that I feel they should be rewarded. The thought up of ways I didn't think of around several traps that never crossed my mind.

The Death Knight and Cleric situation, the NPC Cleric in question they just encountered for the first time. They just hopped along for the ride in his caravan. The way I have events set up in my homebrew world, they will happen if the party is there or not. The attack was going to happen. The Cleric wasn't even paying the party.

It is not so much about getting the party to flee, it is about trying to get them to learn that combat is not the only solution when encountering something. To my PCs credit the following week when they stumbled upon a gypsy type settlement of wemics, they talked first. I think it had to do with the fact that they were out number 3 to 1.

I think it is less of a problem now. But I like PCs to meet who will end up being the great challenge when they are low levels. So they have some idea what they are up against, even if at first they aren't sure. So when it comes back around towards the end they are like "Hey ... I remember that guy ... I remember what he did .... NOW everything makes sense."

I do like the idea of maybe having the BBEG showing off his power in the PCs presence, but not directed at them. That might work.

Thanks for the ideas.
In case of the Orc Chieftain, you could have had him use an alternative escape route, basically anything but the horse the players deliberately sabotaged. Magic escape amulet, secret door, cave-in, anything to get the players off his trail. If you're a little quicker on your feet, you can prevent this stuff from happening to important NPCs in the future.
I would add this: Have a backup plan. If they kill a character it shouldn't derail the game, just change its course.

I've changed my philosophy to "No character is untouchable, but all actions have consequences." The heroes killed a major villain of mine, and they did it fair and square, but let another villain live because they felt he was too powerful to attack. So they left the dead guy behind when they fled the villain, a necromancer.

Now the dead guy is hunting them. Lesson learned? When fighting a necromancer, everything you kill becomes a resource for him. Burn everything.

I didn't have any of that planned. And they could have killed the necromancer, eventually. Some other bad guy would have taken his place.
The best advice I can give is to run the world as a world. Do not worry about them "ruining" stuff...but have the world react logically and accordingly. However, that doesn't mean have the world punish them for their actions.

The thing you're going to want to do is take some time, re-frame how you're looking at the game...realize you aren't presenting a "story" to be experienced...it's a world to explore.

I'll be back on tonight and explain a bit more to hopefully help.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

If you introduce an NPC to the players, you should be fully prepped that they will kill it then and there.


If its someone who is supposed to be scary the PCs never meet him. Instead the PCs hear about him and his awesome deeds. Have the PCs fight two orc elite guard that are pretty hard, set the encounter so it should be very tough. Then let it slip to the PCs through defeated enemies or in game gossip that their boss defeated 7 of them on his own. Now when the PCs see that chieftan, they will automatically know he is a badass, and that they should be scared. If you are lucky they might even try to run. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"

"Your advice is the worst"

Basically, short of making a plot boss outright invincible by fiat --which your players can and will figure out and be mad at-- there's not really a way to make an enemy that's the boss of a single-tier adventure unbeatable. If he's meant to be killable at level 8, then at level 3 he'll fold when the dice gods suddenly conspire with the players to take him down. The best solution is to just have a backup plan. The next-best solution is to not have the villain and PCs meet in a combat scenario until he's actually meant to be combatted. The next-next-best solution is to be forthright and explain to the PCs that the guy is "supposed" to be a recurring villain and that while they may be able to kill him it will make the story awkward and you'd really prefer they didn't.

In your particular case though? Your big villain is a lich. So bring the orc back as an intelligent undead. Problem solved!
The answer is simple.  If it's not intended to be fought, then it's not a combat encounter, and you don't dress it as one.

No rolling for initiative, no attack rolls ... just narrate how their feeble attacks bounce off his armor, and he backhands someone effortlessly, sending them sprawling on the floor.  For most gamers, the mantra is 'if it has stats, we can kill it'.

So don't give it stats.



No....just no. Unkillable NPC? What madness is this? The only unkillable NPC I know are in
video games. In D&D, anything can die no matter how big or powerful. 

The wonder thing about D&D is that everything must be settle with dices. No matter how powerful
or how strong the challenge that the party is facing. The luck of the dice can tell epic stories of
their survival or defeat. So having an unkillable NPC because it have no stats is unacceptable!

@OP

The party cleverly kill the leader of the orcs. They should be rewarded for their creative plans instead of being punishment for killing something they shouldn't kill. So don't think of having an important NPC killed as a set back, think of it as a new path in your story. 

So if the party killed the orc leader and have a band of orcs under their control. That how it went down in your story. And if they use the orcs to fight the elves to gain trust in the lich, that also how it went down in your story. And the party trick the lich to reveal his soul and destroy it after they destroy the elf home land. That also how it went down in your story. 

You can rail way them so they can complete the story your way or you can set a goal for the party
and give them paths to reach that goal for their story. 



No....just no. Unkillable NPC? What madness is this? The only unkillable NPC I know are in
video games. In D&D, anything can die no matter how big or powerful. 

You can rail way them so they can complete the story your way or you can set a goal for the party
and give them paths to reach that goal for their story. 




1) The PCs should never know that the enemy has infinite health if you go that route.  Yes the PCs may be annoyed if they know what is going on, but it is a sure-fire way to show them they are outclassed rather than just murdering them.  I have used this in the past a couple of times when I would rather the NPC be relevant later in the story (IE I have a statblock for him later but he will gib the players if they try now).  I have yet to have any player realize that he had infinite health.

2) Or they can set their own goals and make the story their own?  The key here that a lot of new DMs don't get is that your players are perfectly capable being off a really tight leash.  If you are telling the story and they are saying your script then grats you are a Director and not a DM.
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Prep your game better, put more into it, if you find yourself being to lazy to do that then stop DMing is my best advice.






I agree with everything you said, but wanted to offer a counter-point... put less into your game. The less stringent your game model is, the more easily you can adapt to the player's decisions and not have game linchpins destroyed before your very eyes, because you just didn't build them.

And if they DO kill your bad guy, well that wasnt the REAL bad guy, just his super weak dumb orc-chieftain that he didn't really care about anyway. He's got 100's of those guys to throw around and is way more awesome than all of them combined!

Let elements be the story, not npcs. NPCs can tell the story, but if they are never the crucial pieces, than you can always fill the spot should they die and not lose anything of value.

I agree with everything you said, but wanted to offer a counter-point... put less into your game. The less stringent your game model is, the more easily you can adapt to the player's decisions and not have game linchpins destroyed before your very eyes, because you just didn't build them.

And if they DO kill your bad guy, well that wasnt the REAL bad guy, just his super weak dumb orc-chieftain that he didn't really care about anyway. He's got 100's of those guys to throw around and is way more awesome than all of them combined!

Let elements be the story, not npcs. NPCs can tell the story, but if they are never the crucial pieces, than you can always fill the spot should they die and not lose anything of value.



+1
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I guess my question is....and this is where I got confused about all of this mess; if the players killed off the orc and didn't know he was some all powerful high level servant of a lich....why didn't you just treat it like they killed some pud messenger orc and move on.  They didn't know what they killed was so important to you.  You should have just went "Welp, you killed an orc!  Good show guys!" and then had the servant you actually care about show up elsewhere down the line in the story.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Ok a few things I would like to reply to.


  1.  I do not look at this as PC vs DM. Never have thought about ever like that and never will. Cause you are right ... the DM always "wins" in that instantance.

  2. My PC are not on a tight leash or rails. My world, at this point, pretty much goes on around them and they stumble upon things. I have never once forced them to go a certain direction. I have laid out a map of the area marked with a few commonly known things of the world and as them where they want to go. As the DM I have an outline of what is going on where and when, reguardless of the party being there or not.

  3. As A DM the PC can "out smart" you all the time. There is no way to prepare for the endless things a PC can do. Just because I have one set way to get out of a trap, doesn't mean that if the PC comes with something logical I will ignore it. Thinking outside the box from the PC is what you want from them.

OMG THEY KILLED BORK! His older brother Gork will have his revenge!
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein

I guess my question is....and this is where I got confused about all of this mess; if the players killed off the orc and didn't know he was some all powerful high level servant of a lich....why didn't you just treat it like they killed some pud messenger orc and move on.  They didn't know what they killed was so important to you.  You should have just went "Welp, you killed an orc!  Good show guys!" and then had the servant you actually care about show up elsewhere down the line in the story.




Sort of did that. The PC didn't know how powerful the orc was till then end of the night.

The problem is more of when the Death Knight showed up, bringing all his lackeys and what not, everyone of the PC ... maybe minus one or two, tried to attack the knight.  I think I stated this before, but I enjoy it when the PC are lower level and come arcoss the BBEG or the BBEG's high powered servant, even if they don't realize at the time what is going on. So at the end of the story when they get to said BBEG they will think back and be like "Hey ... i remember that guy ... wait a minute ... this all makes sense now."

I would just like to have the PC make it to that point.



I guess my question is....and this is where I got confused about all of this mess; if the players killed off the orc and didn't know he was some all powerful high level servant of a lich....why didn't you just treat it like they killed some pud messenger orc and move on.  They didn't know what they killed was so important to you.  You should have just went "Welp, you killed an orc!  Good show guys!" and then had the servant you actually care about show up elsewhere down the line in the story.





Sort of did that. The PC didn't know how powerful the orc was till then end of the night.

The problem is more of when the Death Knight showed up, bringing all his lackeys and what not, everyone of the PC ... maybe minus one or two, tried to attack the knight.  I think I stated this before, but I enjoy it when the PC are lower level and come arcoss the BBEG or the BBEG's high powered servant, even if they don't realize at the time what is going on. So at the end of the story when they get to said BBEG they will think back and be like "Hey ... i remember that guy ... wait a minute ... this all makes sense now."

I would just like to have the PC make it to that point.

So...have that fight and let the players lose?  I mean, the Death Knight and his posse don’t have to kill the party.  They can just beat them into unconscious land and then give a haughty "Feh!  You lot aren't even worth the time it would take to slit your throats." before riding off to burn down a village in the valley below as the players pass out to wake up later to the haze of destruction that they couldn't have stopped.

Stuff like that is a really good motivator for gaining power and settling the score with the Death Knight.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

That's the great thing about foreshadowing in RPGs... later on you can point to almost anything and say "remember when...?" and everyone is like "O man, I never realized! It all makes sense now!"

Don't try to set it up ahead of time, just look through your past notes and find threads you can link to.
That was kind of what I did.

The Death Knight was sent to kill a cleric that the party had accidently come across. The Knight ignored the party then left after his job was done.


Prep your game better, put more into it, if you find yourself being to lazy to do that then stop DMing is my best advice.






I agree with everything you said, but wanted to offer a counter-point... put less into your game. The less stringent your game model is, the more easily you can adapt to the player's decisions and not have game linchpins destroyed before your very eyes, because you just didn't build them.

And if they DO kill your bad guy, well that wasnt the REAL bad guy, just his super weak dumb orc-chieftain that he didn't really care about anyway. He's got 100's of those guys to throw around and is way more awesome than all of them combined!

Let elements be the story, not npcs. NPCs can tell the story, but if they are never the crucial pieces, than you can always fill the spot should they die and not lose anything of value.



I disagree with this if you mean shifting around events and whatnot to counter what the players have done. Players actions and choices need to have the weight of their actual outcome. Taking that away from them by pulling magician-switches is disingenuous gameplay.

If the bad guy WAS the real bad guy, it needs to STAY the real bad guy even if they manage to kill him.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.


I guess my question is....and this is where I got confused about all of this mess; if the players killed off the orc and didn't know he was some all powerful high level servant of a lich....why didn't you just treat it like they killed some pud messenger orc and move on.  They didn't know what they killed was so important to you.  You should have just went "Welp, you killed an orc!  Good show guys!" and then had the servant you actually care about show up elsewhere down the line in the story.




Also disagree with this.

Do not take the accomplishment away from the players. That is terrible and moving goal posts on them.

If the orc WAS the guy, then they killed the guy. Have things go logically from there. Player actions within the game world need to remain impactful or players have no real reason to play.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

That was kind of what I did.

The Death Knight was sent to kill a cleric that the party had accidently come across. The Knight ignored the party then left after his job was done.



If an NPC has no cause to want to outright butcher someone, have him not even use a weapon. A swift unarmed backhand from an armored, undead warrior with exceptional strength that is far stronger than a target will get a point across in-game just as it would in real life.

"The Death Knight releases his sword and slaps you out of the way with the back of his hand. Take 12 damage"

"...wait what?! I have 15 hit points!"

"Take 12 damage"

"From a slap?!"

"That is his unarmed damage, yes. Take 12 damage."

"WTF?! How much does he do with a sword?"

"He didn't use his sword. He struck you. Take 12 damage."

*player writes down the damage* "Okay..uh...gonna re-think this one"

Unless they get suicidal...then let that play out. You are under no obligation to have Evil NPCs spare characters after they perform stupid actions, especially when the NPC showed them that they're beneath him. If they want to press the issue, so be it. But it's the players choice and thats what matters.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

 

I disagree with this if you mean shifting around events and whatnot to counter what the players have done. Players actions and choices need to have the weight of their actual outcome. Taking that away from them by pulling magician-switches is disingenuous gameplay.

If the bad guy WAS the real bad guy, it needs to STAY the real bad guy even if they manage to kill him.



Ichoice is the same as choice as long as there is nothing to spoil the illusion.  This means the players can feel their decisions are meaningful regardless of what happens as long as you make it seem that way.

Example:  Players are going through the mountain passes.  There are two, a north and a south pass.  The players choose to go through the south pass, they run into a patrol of goblins etc etc.  If they had chosen to go through the north pass instead they would have... run into a patrol of goblins.  As long as you justify where things are and why there is no real reason why it has to be any different at all to the players. 
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..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Ichoice is the same as choice as long as there is nothing to spoil the illusion.  This means the players can feel their decisions are meaningful regardless of what happens as long as you make it seem that way.



That is called pandering. I do not pander to my players.

If you go to a restaurant and order & pay for seafood and are served imitation seafood as long as you are unaware of the switch this is okay?

Example:  Players are going through the mountain passes.  There are two, a north and a south pass.  The players choose to go through the south pass, they run into a patrol of goblins etc etc.  If they had chosen to go through the north pass instead they would have... run into a patrol of goblins.  As long as you justify where things are and why there is no real reason why it has to be any different at all to the players. 



Yes that is a major problem. It means that the players choices don't really mean anything. It is the quantum ogre (google it) and that is bad. D&D is, at it's core, a game about making choices. When you, as DM, eliminate the actual results of those choices you are cheating your players.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Illusion of choice is bad, bad, bad.

This was stated - "I agree with everything you said, but wanted to offer a counter-point... put less into your game. The less stringent your game model is, the more easily you can adapt to the player's decisions and not have game linchpins destroyed before your very eyes, because you just didn't build them. "

My Reply: 90+% of DMs cannot improv that easily, your asking a new DM to do this which is simply a bad idea. Your lack of understanding the DM role shows here, I get your just giving advice with good intent behind it but it is bad advice(the guy that followed your post with the "+1" also shows his lack of understanding).
Plus this is just another excuse a person can use to try to justify being lazy.

This was stated - "As A DM the PC can "out smart" you all the time. There is no way to prepare for the endless things a PC can do. Just because I have one set way to get out of a trap, doesn't mean that if the PC comes with something logical I will ignore it. Thinking outside the box from the PC is what you want from them."

My Reply: 90+% of DMs would use this as a excuse to be lazy.

This is also stated - "I disagree with this if you mean shifting around events and whatnot to counter what the players have done. Players actions and choices need to have the weight of their actual outcome. Taking that away from them by pulling magician-switches is disingenuous gameplay."

My Reply: I wanna make sure the person posting this has not aimed this comment my way, nothing I said suggest going against reality.
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Notes!, notes and lots of them, you don't plan out events in extreme detail but also you should not be so lazy you don't make notes after getting the meat done(meat meaning = encounter information, traps, special bad guys ect).

Anything a DM can use as an excuse to be lazy will come back to haunt the players in those DMs games(that is a fact no one can get around, denying it is about all anyone can do).

What leaves me wondering is how the fight and such went down, we have someone telling us a story here but how did things go in direct game play?, the question is meaningless cause all we will have is his word.

"Perception is reality", this is how you(op) comes across to me -
It just sounds like this guy jumped into DMing and wasn't at all ready for it, this seems somewhat due to lazy bad habits derailing his efforts.






No, not aimed at you Condor. I also agree that, just like most other facets of life, when a DM takes the lazy way out it can OFTEN bite them in the butt...and that is usually manifested via the players experience.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

The issue here was deciding upfront what the orc was "supposed" to be. A DM doesn't have that kind of control. An encounter that's "supposed" to be easy can be very hard, and vice versa. An NPC who was "supposed" to be a throwaway might turn out to be the players' favorite, and vice versa. Set up whatever you want, make whatever plans you want, but realize that they're just plans and not what's "supposed" to happen. There's nothing that's "supposed" to happen, except for everyone around the table to have fun, so don't tie your fun to a single course of events.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Ichoice is the same as choice as long as there is nothing to spoil the illusion.  This means the players can feel their decisions are meaningful regardless of what happens as long as you make it seem that way.



That is called pandering. I do not pander to my players.

If you go to a restaurant and order & pay for seafood and are served imitation seafood as long as you are unaware of the switch this is okay?



If I could not tell the difference at all, why should it make a difference to me as a diner (or a player)? That's why I eat meat, not quorn. When they make a meat-replacement substance that actually tastes like meat I will happily switch and wouldn't care which was served to me.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
I do take numerous notes and adapt to situations that the PC does.

This is not my first time being a DM, but the first time in 20 some odd years.

The whole encounter went something like this :

PC returns to town to see that it has been hit by a raid of some sorts. Buildings burned down, store fronts smashed, and not one of the towns people are in sight. PC go to head of the business section of town to get paid for what they just did. He informs them that an Orc raiding party hit the town shortly after they left. A group of Orcs on wolfback and the leader was armored riding atop a black horse. PC are told that after they were done they rode off into the mountains in the direction of an old fort.

PC arrive at said fort to see black horse tied up to a tree outside, so they know they are in the right place. PC  talks about outright killing the horse, cleric stands in the way saying the animal itself is not evil, it is just an animal. While they are talking halfling thief  sneaks around cleric and cuts the saddle strap from the horse.

PC clear out fort and come arcoss armored orc. Orc fights for a few rounds then calls in troops so he can make his escape. 3 ciritcal hits later his troops are gone and PC chase him out to his horse. Armored Orc gets on horse to ride away and falls off due to saddle being cut. Orc gets knocked out from the fall and party kills him.

Again I am fine with what they did, made me rethink and rewrite a few things. Have no problem with that, it actually made stuff better.

My problem is ... maybe I am not explaining it  properly .... how to put fear of certian NPC into the hearts of the PC? This might be a bad example but it is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. In FFVII, Cloud and his group meet Sephiroth at several point early in the game. At first you are like who is this guy? Then he displays his "power" to you and you realize you are no where near ready to face him. So when he shows up again you are actually some what scared of him, he kills Aeris and now you have your own personal reasons for going after him, not just because he is the BBEG.

Of which I have gotten some good responses; have NPC display power in front of the party but not at the party, have rumors and what not of the NPC power and what it can do ... etc.

In the weeks that followed since then I have given them several choices and have had the world go on around them, not because of them. Hence the Death Knight attack and burning of an entire town that the PC could only see in the distance.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />If I could not tell the difference at all, why should it make a difference to me as a diner (or a player)? That's why I eat meat, not quorn. When they make a meat-replacement substance that actually tastes like meat I will happily switch and wouldn't care which was served to me.



What difference? You paid for it.

Unless you like paying lobster-prices for chicken dinners.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

My problem is ... maybe I am not explaining it  properly .... how to put fear of certian NPC into the hearts of the PC?

You can't, at least not with certain NPCs. The players might get scared of a particular NPC, but people often rebel against that, even unconsciously. Fear is somewhat deprotagonizing, making them feel less heroic, so if they want to feel heroic, they won't feel (or roleplay feeling) fear.

Your players might get scared of something, and if they do grab onto that opportunity and run with it. And do whatever you want to try to make them scared, but just roll with it if they're not.

EDIT: I am also reminded that this can be handled almost trivially by collaboration. Tell the players that a fearsome orc has appeared, one they identify immediately from songs and stories told of in hushed whispers, then ask them what aspects of this orc make him so fearsome. The players themselves might very well create for you an enemy that you could not imagine fairly throwing at them. Your job is then just to figure out why this enemy doesn't bother smashing them flat - though you can collaborate with them on that, too.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

My problem is ... maybe I am not explaining it  properly .... how to put fear of certian NPC into the hearts of the PC? This might be a bad example but it is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. In FFVII, Cloud and his group meet Sephiroth at several point early in the game. At first you are like who is this guy? Then he displays his "power" to you and you realize you are no where near ready to face him. So when he shows up again you are actually some what scared of him, he kills Aeris and now you have your own personal reasons for going after him, not just because he is the BBEG.

Of which I have gotten some good responses; have NPC display power in front of the party but not at the party, have rumors and what not of the NPC power and what it can do ... etc.

In the weeks that followed since then I have given them several choices and have had the world go on around them, not because of them. Hence the Death Knight attack and burning of an entire town that the PC could only see in the distance.



The best way to do this is to NOT do it in a forced way. Do not seek to merely do that.

If there is someone powerful, have them do their thing. Just have that NPC go about what they're doing. Have a plan in mind for them...have goals for them...know how those goals interact with the world. When they accomplish things, if the PCs hear or know of these things and the world is fleshed out around them, they will understand the context of it.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily work if they are just running into this guy for the first time and it's very early on.

For that, do not be afraid to have fear checks or intimidation checks. Now, those DO NOT need to result in control over the players but they can experience it just like they can experience anything else in the world through their senses.

For those that are effected you describe thusly - "...you can feel something palpably dangerous about this being. The clanking of his armor is not metal on metal but the sound of souls quietly shrieking as if ghosts bound the steel rather than leather. A primal feeling of 'wrongness' comes over you when confronted by this...thing and a little voice in the back of your head tells you 'you shouldn't be here'."

I had to do something similar for the rogue in my group when he was the only one to fail a mummy's fear-aura. The important thing when imparting information like that is to give the person an INFORMED description. Not just "you're scared of him"...that is too little information and it immediately hijacks the persons character. note in the description given, all that is told to the player is WHAT they feel, not HOW they feel about it. The player is still more than capable of saying "This thing needs to die! Kill it!". And, at that point, it is their decision what they do about it. It is their choice to make after weighing their options.

However, if they want to ask you more questions about it to get a better gauge, feel free to let them know...but do not just say things like "This guy's so uber-strong!". It has to be more evocative. Paint a picture of the thing they're confronted with..engage as many senses as you can.

Ultimately, however, the decision lies with the player.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.