What should be the proper role and responsibility be of the DM in LFR?

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Is this a complex question or a very simple one?

I can see it from both sides... the simple answer is that the DM is responsible for making sure everyone at the table has fun with the mod.

The complex answer is how does the DM determine that?  How much challenge does the DM apply to the mod?  Will the DM pull punches?  Is the DM entitled to have fun at the table?  Does the DM go beyond what the mod has printed for stronger players and parties?

Just curious
To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. 


The complex answer is how does the DM determine that? 



Talk to the players. They'll tell you what they find fun about D&D.  You tell them what you like.  Find a style that suits the table. Enjoy 4 hours of your favorite hobby.  

Dan Anderson @EpicUthrac
Total Confusion www.totalcon.com
LFR Calimshan Writing Director
LFR Epic Writing Director

LFR Myth Drannor Writing Director

To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. 



Wrong game. This is D&D.
To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. 



Wrong game. This is D&D.



Thats how I GM
The role of the DM in LFR is actually very simple.

To make sure as many players as possible have fun with the module.  And otherwise to play the module as close to as written as possible.  That's the two main things I consider.
To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. 



+1


Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
I just run the module as written. Not every module is going to suit every taste and be fun for everyone.  Since we dont play a tournament style we arent forced to sit with any DM.  I DM the way I would like to have the game DMed for me.  



 
I'm all about having fun.   I'll stretch DME and the core of the mod itself to make sure my players have fun.  I'm probably in the minority when I say that I'm happy to exceed 'proper' DME standards to make a mod more fun.   For me, there are no limits to DMEing for fun.

I'll try to run the mod as written, but sometimes, some mods just aren't very good or interesting.  

I tend to focus very heavily on story and roleplay and give my group one hugely scary fight each mod (DMEing to the extreme, if necessary)...I'll skip or downplay some fights to make sure the story and big fight get enough time.

Proper?  Meh.   Fun?   Usually.  

I guess I'm a bit Chaotic Good on this one.  

-Pain 
I seem to recall reading the following DM instructions somewhere:

Always follow this golden rule when you DM for a group:  Make decisions and adjudications that enhance the fun of the adventure when possible.


To reinforce this golden rule, keep in mind the following:
  • You are empowered to make adjustments to the adventure and make decisions about how the group interacts with the world of this adventure.
  • Don't make the adventure too easy or too difficult for a group.
  • ...
In short, being the DM for a Living Forgotten Realms  adventure isn’t about following every word on the page; it’s about creating a fun, challenging game environment for the players.


... the simple answer is that the DM is responsible for making sure everyone at the table has fun with the mod.

The complex answer is how does the DM determine that?  How much challenge does the DM apply to the mod?  Will the DM pull punches?  Is the DM entitled to have fun at the table?  Does the DM go beyond what the mod has printed for stronger players and parties?

Just curious




Math geek answer:



There is some level of challenge that maximizes fun, based on (A) how difficult the challenge is, and (B) how frequently one totally or partially fails to overcome it.  

In other words, if you have 100 wimpy little challenges that are each ε amount of fun, and the party overcomes 100% of them, that's 100*ε total fun.  If ε is small that is not really very much cumulative fun.

Instead you might rather have 100 tough challenges that are some larger amount ω of fun to overcome.  Since they're tougher, maybe you only overcome 80 of them, partially succeed on 15, and fail on 5.  That would be 80*ω + 15*ω/2 + 5*0 = 87.5ω cumulative fun. 

As your challenge level ω gets higher, the coefficient in front of it will get lower, since the party fails more often. 

There will be some value of ω which maximizes the expected amount of fun. 

That's the amount of challenge the DM should be aiming to provide. 

Wouldn't we need to take the derivative of that and determine the marginal funpensity of each hard/easy combat?

Maybe we can name this number funpensity+frupton = frunpensity!  


Also on the DME boilerplate-its much harder to adjust difficulty upwards and build something "fair." At least hard mods have been playtested. I think in general if you make mods harder than written, it takes much more effort to give a comparable play experience to a mod as written.
Two of my personal rules for combat encounters to throw out there:

1) Nobody wants a TPK. I just want to keep the threat of it alive.
2) The best fights are those that end just before they stop being fun.

I just run the module as written. Not every module is going to suit every taste and be fun for everyone.  Since we dont play a tournament style we arent forced to sit with any DM.  I DM the way I would like to have the game DMed for me.   



This is pretty much how I run them.  I look at my job as DM is to adjudicate the rules fairly for all sides.  If players make poor tactical choices, it's going to be tougher on them.  If the dice fall poorly for the players, it's going to be tougher on them.  In the case of tactics, I might offer some clues that trying to do something like fireball a hellhound might not be the best of choices with a successful knowledge check, but I don't tell the players how to play their characters.

In Living Greyhawk days, I was a lot more cautious as a player than I am in Living Forgotten Realms... I find it's really difficult to die... and even if you do, there isn't much of a loss.  I find this bit of recklessness to be more fun.

The job is to tell a shared story, having each player add their own mark. You make it fun and keep it moving.

The next thing is herding cats.
As a DM myself when I run mods. I usually look at where they are starting and like any normal game ask what they are doing. I input the adventure hooks and see if they bite. If not, I make sure that the only thing they are hearing about is this hook.

Example is one of the Waterdeep ones. I took the full four hours to run it, it could be done in about 3 hours. Why it took so long, about a half hour of Welcome to the City, what are you doing and my religious players went and prayed at their church, the ones not so religious went to the inn, and teh rest joined up. Then party came together due to a job. Afterwards the group told me that it was the most memorable game for low characters because they weren't shoved into the adventure and were able to actually do some of their own exploring.

So, the role of the DM: Make it beliveable and fun.
As your challenge level ω gets higher, the coefficient in front of it will get lower, since the party fails more often. 
There will be some value of ω which maximizes the expected amount of fun.

I kinda like that answer... but I have to wonder if occasional failures increase the fun of future adventures (both for those players and others that weren't even playing).

The challenge to the DM is to enhance the fun of the players.

Dm's need to be like the reed, to bend to their players concept of fun. I may not always succeed, but I always try.

I do it find it interesting in all of the replies that no one mentions that the DM should have fun while DMing.

In most of the responses, the DM is responsible for facilitating the players having fun although nothing is said about the DM enjoying himself or herself as well.

So to all that replied, do you all view DMing as a chore, that is a necessary evil for the LFR community to stay alive?

Also what is your views on players that never DM, even though some of those players are hugely experienced and well versed with the rules of the game?
The decision a DM makes to focus on what the players want should not in any way decrease the DM's fun. Is it more fun to TPK? Is it more fun to see them use a certain power combo and have us explain that it doesn't work at our table?

When I first started DMing, doing things like adapting a published module ("improving it", I called it), I was deriving great pleasure from seeing my creativity turned real and by providing a good (sometimes) experience to others, but also from a misunderstood concept of what others would like. It was a very outward sense of fun. I didn't mean it to be selfish, but it was coming from my perspective, which lacked experience. Over time, the successes and failures shaped what I would provide (maybe one of each color dragon all flying overhead but giving them a 'kill a dragon with one blow sword' wasn't so great... maybe making them all half-dragons afterward wasn't so great either...). Over time I came to adjust my sense of what worked based both on what I liked and what players wanted. This was in home campaigns. In RPGA, the game is written for you, the story set, and you run it. You are a judge, not a creator. There, you try to breathe life into something and provide a good run.

In LG, my perspective was one of being an impartial adjudicator. I think many of us take on that roll for most or part of our DMing lifetime. The dice fall, they crit you three times, you die, so be it. Or, we take on more of a storyteller role and we roll behind a screen and try to give PCs what they want. The encounter should play like this, I'll make that happen.

Nothing is perfect and nothing is for everyone, but as we try things out I think we find the right balance and we take steps to make that work. If you always roll in the open, you might make different changes to provide an out, such as having a foe use bad tactics. If you roll behind a screen, you might compensate by using tougher tactics.

In balancing adjudicator and storyteller, you hopefully find a happy place where, when you finish, the players at the table look pleased. I take pleasure when I have most of the table bloody and hurting and they say "wow, you are the nicest DM ever" because I let them retcon something. When they request that I DM them later, that gives me great pleasure.

Sometimes, my pleasure does take a hit. I write an encounter expecting a thrilling end to the adventure, but the wizard has the perfect power and the encounter is a piece of cake. I'm sad. Then again, I know that if I took steps to adjust it and artificially make it hard, it might take away from the players' success. So, I celebrate their brilliant choice in powers, focus on the RP of it and talking about how they blast away their foes. And, at the end of it, I get really happy when their expressions tell me they had a great time. I would prefer it had been a challenge, but I still get satisfaction from their reactions.

Even in a home campaign, I find that the encounters where the PCs feel challenged but thwarted end quietly and ok. The encounters that are fun, regardless of difficulty, end with high fives, with players being happy. And that's where my fun is these days. Making the table "their" table is actually the most fun I've ever had.

When it comes to players never DMing, I have no problem at all with it. No one should DM because they have to. They should want to do it and enjoy it. Now, players that do enjoy DMing but prefer to play are the norm - those are the ones I try to pressure a bit to see them keep the community alive. And I like to see players try their hand at DMing, because it is a good experience and they might like it.

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I do it find it interesting in all of the replies that no one mentions that the DM should have fun while DMing.

In most of the responses, the DM is responsible for facilitating the players having fun although nothing is said about the DM enjoying himself or herself as well.

So to all that replied, do you all view DMing as a chore, that is a necessary evil for the LFR community to stay alive?

Also what is your views on players that never DM, even though some of those players are hugely experienced and well versed with the rules of the game?




Some players understand that the DM plays too, and make adjustments accordingly.  Even just not using cards will make some DMs happy.  

Even just not using cards will make some DMs happy.  




This.
So recently I ran SPEC 2-1 P1 for a game day. Most of the players were repeat players and only a couple never played the adventure.

I ran the adventure once before for one of the players with another group which was sad to say very ranged deficient. As the DM I decided to have a very popular and colorful NPC that was accompanying them cast a quick ritual to give them a swim speed. At this time I felt that the PCs needed this bit of help considering that I knew the challenge ahead was very difficult for their party. One of the PCs was a ritual caster and further enhanced the party by giving them water breathing.

This turned a 50/50 TPK encounter into a challenging, but easier encounter than originally designed. To challenge the players in the final encounter, I gave one monster an action point. No elite status, just gave it an action point. The final encounter was much more challenging and the players felt accomplished.

When I recently ran SPEC 2-1 P1 for the same player, he was expecting the rituals and seemed upset when they were not granted. At this time the party had 3 ritual casters, all of whom could have some of those rituals, but neither of them casted them. When combat started his character was trashed from the opening salvo of the enemy and when his turn came he ran from combat and dismissed himself from the table. Reasoning stated that the encounter was clearly a TPK and impossible and that it wasn't any fun.


I don't feel that I did anything wrong from my point of view. I adjusted the module within DME to fit the group at my table in both cases in order for the groups to have fun. SPEC adventures are also suppose to be challenging and test the limits of your character, especially at the Paragon levels.

Would at this point make this a poor choice of DME or just an upset player?
You did fine. It is odd though that none of the other players felt like casting any  supporting rituals.

Gomez
Was the NPC that cast the ritual the first time with them the second time? Is it a spoiler to say which NPC this was because I don't recall an NPC going with the characters in the module.

I don't think that the player is entirely out of sorts for their reaction. It is why DME is such a fine line to walk. If a player comes to expect that a DM will "always" make the module easier and no, the "always" back there wasn't a mistake, then they are going to be let down when you decide not to. This is something that can be partly fixed by you telling your players when you're adjusting stuff and why (even after the fact) so that if and when you don't do it, they don't feel like now you're out to get them.*

I suggest talking this out with the player and telling them what you were thinking and how you felt things were going to work, and see if you can smooth things over a bit. It would be a shame to have them feel like if you don't DME things down-challenge from now on that you're trying to TPK them.

* I'm not suggesting that you're out to get them.
You did fine. It is odd though that none of the other players felt like casting any  supporting rituals.

Gomez


In that adventure, I don't think it's odd that nobody wanted to cast rituals. When I played the adventure, and I wanted to cast a ritual (and I'll avoid spoilers, but it was one that made the adventure substantially easier), there was a very long discussion about whether or not to cast the ritual due to the time-sensitive nature of the mission and the casting time of the ritual. The deciding factor was that my character (in character) put his foot down and more or less said, "if you don't want to wait ten minutes for me to cast this, you can go find yourselves another healer, because I'm not going in there."

I should also note that the combat immediately following the point where you would cast the rituals has the distinction of being my least favorite combat in LFR due to it having the perfect storm for grind.

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Dazed from the trap that activates every turn, prone from the monsters, restricted movement ability due to swimming, and (depending on which rituals were cast) lowered attack rolls due to swimming? No thank you.

John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com

I should also note that the combat immediately following the point where you would cast the rituals has the distinction of being my least favorite combat in LFR due to it having the perfect storm for grind.

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Dazed from the trap that activates every turn, prone from the monsters, restricted movement ability due to swimming, and (depending on which rituals were cast) lowered attack rolls due to swimming? No thank you.



This is one of those encounters that changes drastically depending on whether or not you have the right caster with the right ritual.  A lot of people don't buy rituals even when they can cast them on the (IMHO, mistaken) opinion that they are never useful.

However, having a ritual caster just happens to tag along may be a bit much.  If I were judging I'd probably drop hints that water combat was very possible and remind people that anyone can cast a ritual from a scroll - with the added benefit that it takes half the time of the ritual.

Allen.

I should also note that the combat immediately following the point where you would cast the rituals has the distinction of being my least favorite combat in LFR due to it having the perfect storm for grind.

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Dazed from the trap that activates every turn, prone from the monsters, restricted movement ability due to swimming, and (depending on which rituals were cast) lowered attack rolls due to swimming? No thank you.



This is one of those encounters that changes drastically depending on whether or not you have the right caster with the right ritual.  A lot of people don't buy rituals even when they can cast them on the (IMHO, mistaken) opinion that they are never useful.

However, having a ritual caster just happens to tag along may be a bit much.  If I were judging I'd probably drop hints that water combat was very possible and remind people that anyone can cast a ritual from a scroll - with the added benefit that it takes half the time of the ritual.

Allen.


Our group cast the right rituals,
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both Waterborn and Water's Gift were running, thanks to my insistence
and it was still a senseless grind due to the other factors described in my earlier post.
John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com

Our group cast the right rituals,
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both Waterborn and Water's Gift were running, thanks to my insistence
and it was still a senseless grind due to the other factors described in my earlier post.


At least you weren't losing healing surges every time you were hit. 

There are a couple other mods out there which do something similar.  Like sending your PC to another dimension round after round.

But what should a DM do?  Change the environment?  Give hints as to what to expect?  Ignore the fact that the bad guys have fly/hover and ranged 20 attacks and are insubstantial if you have a mostly-melee based party?

Slogfests are not fun.  I may "forget" that an attack can knock dazed targets prone or reduce the chance to hit for the attack that dazes but we aren't supposed to ignore traps because we don't like them.  OTOH it's not a good sign when the DM tells you at the start of combat to remember that he didn't write the mod, because it's going to be long and stupid.

Allen.

Our group cast the right rituals,
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both Waterborn and Water's Gift were running, thanks to my insistence
and it was still a senseless grind due to the other factors described in my earlier post.


At least you weren't losing healing surges every time you were hit. 

There are a couple other mods out there which do something similar.  Like sending your PC to another dimension round after round.

But what should a DM do?  Change the environment?  Give hints as to what to expect?  Ignore the fact that the bad guys have fly/hover and ranged 20 attacks and are insubstantial if you have a mostly-melee based party?

Slogfests are not fun.  I may "forget" that an attack can knock dazed targets prone or reduce the chance to hit for the attack that dazes but we aren't supposed to ignore traps because we don't like them.  OTOH it's not a good sign when the DM tells you at the start of combat to remember that he didn't write the mod, because it's going to be long and stupid.

Allen.


I suppose shame on me for derailing this thread from the DM discussion and toward an adventure/encounter design discussion.
I ran the encounter in question once. That party was very well-built, and had no problems with the encounter as written (although with the updates to Blood Mage, it's likely that the story would have been quite different). If I had to run it again with a party that wasn't as crazy good, I probably would have had the monsters fight in close quarters with the party, and possibly modify the dazing element in the way that a previous author had. The closer combat would have taken some of the other issues away as well.
And yes, in a party consisting of almost entirely melee combatants, most of the insubstantial creatures probably would not be flying 20 and hovering. I'd likely save that for the last one or two once they realize that the party is mostly melee - after all, with things like sorcerors that cast spells through daggers and Arcane Implement Proficiency out there, you really have no idea what that tiefling will be able to do with that sword...
John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com

Hibiki,

I believe you did fine and made the right decision with both parties.

It is my opinion that the players are responsible for their own safety and at Paragon level should know they may have to spend some gold to properly equip themselves.

No hero worth their salt thinks they can go in and kill Tiamat with a pocketknife.

If DMs feel they need to give the party a crutch or two, that is up to that particular DM but by no means a player should a player feel entitled to that crutch.  Which may or may not be a separate issue all upon itself, the self entitlement of the player.

I know personally that I have failed in adequately gearing up my characters because many LFR modules feel like softball pitches waiting to be whacked for a homerun and dont need any additional gear is needed then you play a mod like SPEC 1-2 and wish that I bought this, that and the other.

Would at this point make this a poor choice of DME or just an upset player?



You didn't do anything wrong Hibiki.

Rituals have been a touchy subject of sorts in LFR among gamers. In the first year to year and half of campaign play, rituals were not being used for many reasons, from gold cost, to DM's outright not letting players use them or giving them no advantages when they do use them. I have met many players that have been trained, through bad experiences, to not take rituals because they aren't worth it. 

When I DM, I have a printed sheet I give my players at the start of a module that remind them that this is a world, they can buy things and services from NPC's including rituals. This is something that has helped at a lot of tables since I started doing it, especially in paragon play.

I also will try to make it abundantly clear to the party, the type of enviroment they are walking into so that they have some hints or foreshadowing of what is to come. It both helps the party to prepare and also helps to put the onus on the party. The DM didn't "spring" something on the party. Instead it was the party that ignored what they were walking into.

There is an underwater fight in a keep that is in ruins. I might make mention to the party that there have been floods in the area around the keep so that when they get to the encounter it has a foreshadowing element that they could have picked up on.

P.S.> If you know they need a water breathing ritual, ask the Ritual Casters to hand over a list of their rituals. It will make them slightly paranoid, but also cause them to possibly look for a ritual that will help them during the mod.

I also will try to make it abundantly clear to the party, the type of enviroment they are walking into so that they have some hints or foreshadowing of what is to come. It both helps the party to prepare and also helps to put the onus on the party. The DM didn't "spring" something on the party. Instead it was the party that ignored what they were walking into.


That's a very important step as a DM if you want to encourage rituals. The casting time is one of the big impediments to using rituals - walk into a dark room and get attacked... no chance to use a ritual that provides light. But, forecast it with lots of darkened rooms amongst the lit ones, and a player might pop a ritual.

The biggest impediment, however, is the casting cost. That's what just kills ritual use. The average PC doesn't like the cost of magical ammo... they are beyond not liking what a ritual costs... especially when you know there is an alternative way to achieve victory. The periodic threat of a mod where it would have really been useful is an insufficient incentive. This is a core rules problem, which goes away in home campaigns (where the DM knows you spent the cash, knows which ones you have, and can adjudicate because they perfectly know the balance of the encounters).

One thing I seriously consider when DMing is giving free rituals at times. For example, if the benefit is largely RP or the benefit is minor, I tend to have the NPCs/employer/etc. make the casting free. It encourages casting rituals without the player worrying that they might waste the gold.

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Sort of off topic, but...
SPEC 2-1 P1
I didn't see much text in the module prior to the flooded tunnel to tell the players that there would be an underwater combat. Should there have been? If there isn't, how should the DM communicate this to the players?
Is it possible you have an early version of the mod? I think it is pretty well stated in the later versions.

spoiler for SPEC2-1 P1:

The tracks end at the edge of an underground stream. There are no other exits. You realize that you must enter the water to follow Voronwe.
The module then details options including rituals.

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Sure, but I mean, say a party didn't have a useful ritual at the start, but could buy one before they set off.  Do you let them know that it could be useful, or are they SOL?  It's not like the module is set on a boat or anything where you'd get clued in to possibly needing Water Walk at the very least.
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Sure, but I mean, say a party didn't have a useful ritual at the start, but could buy one before they set off.  Do you let them know that it could be useful, or are they SOL?  It's not like the module is set on a boat or anything where you'd get clued in to possibly needing Water Walk at the very least.



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I don't have the mod in front of me, but there was a chance to find out information about the area you were going into.  IIRC it was a low DC streetwise/history check to find out that parts were flooded. 

It is up to the DM how specific hints should be.  I may try to give people hints if I think of it but it's not up to the DM to dictate player strategy.  If you tell people they're going to be facing creatures that deal a lot of fire damage and they don't stock up on potions of fire resistance it's not my problem when they all start taking 5 ongoing fire damage.

Giving away a ritual (unless it's specified in a mod) is probably going further than I would personally take DME.  I might make it clear that there is a ritual scroll vendor available, but he would charge normal price.

Allen.
It could be fun RP as part of the earlier encounter. "I have several excellent scrolls..." (list 3, provide an opportunity to again make the skill checks and learn what aljergensen pointed out).

I would not normally go out of my way as DM to point this out, though.

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It's in appendix 2, which doesn't really support being given to the players directly.

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Dungeon of the Inquisitor
Those who trespass against the laws of Elturgard three times are thrown into the Dungeon of the Inquisitor. This vast, subterranean maze lies deep beneath the streets of Elturel, and its population is constantly being replenished by new lawbreakers. Parts of the dungeon consist of natural caverns discovered during the excavation, and their full extents and final destinations have yet to be determined. Strange sounds infrequently echo from unknown cavities—sometimes rushing water is heard, other times the enraged roars of vicious behemoths ring out. From time to time, dungeon prisoners on mining detail escape their captors and dash into unexplored crevices and tunnels. They are never seen again, on or below Faerûn.


Maybe not the greatest place for the hint/clue if it's intended to be given out.
Blah blah blah

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I believe there have been several such flooded passages in previous adventures -- in skill challenges.  I've never seen a party burn 135 gold just to bypass an endurance check or two in a skill challenge.

If the adventure is going into the Sea of Fallen Stars or Waterdeep Harbor, that's one thing.  But do adventuring parties normally cast water breathing / waterborn every time they come to a flooded passage that they have to travel through? 

Unless there's some expectation that the party is going to need to remain underwater for longer than they can hold their breath, I wouldn't expect anyone to start trotting out their ritual components.  

In SPEC 2-1 P1 in particular, the party is (A) under time pressure and (B) I believe they know or can infer that the creatures they are tracking aren't aquatic and probably aren't staying underwater very long.  This situation doesn't particularly suggest that one ought to spend 10 minutes to cast water breathing.  Did the parties who cast these waterbreathing rituals had some sort of hint from the DM that combat was imminent?  (Either explicitly or implicitly, i.e asking the characters to place themselves on the battlemap....) 

I'm not necessarily suggesting that it's wrong of the DM to hint at this, given that the combat has the potential to be very grindy if a party doesn't prepare for it.  Grindy combats tend not to maximize fun.  But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that if a DM simply puts the party in the situation as given in the adventure, the party may just dive into the water expecting a skill challenge.
One thing I seriously consider when DMing is giving free rituals at times. For example, if the benefit is largely RP or the benefit is minor, I tend to have the NPCs/employer/etc. make the casting free. It encourages casting rituals without the player worrying that they might waste the gold.



One thing I do with players when I DM and my group in general does as well, is that there is a gold cap in every mod. However, there is many times and most times ways for the PCs to put their hands on more gold than the cap. I let PC's fund their rituals out of the excess gold they find. I also let them negotiate with NPCs for an up front payment to cover expenses for the quest or to sell things to earn money in the mod, if it comes down to it, with the understanding that they can't take more that the gold cap out of the mod.

The byproduct of staving off some of the ritual expenses has also been that the Players are now spending a lot more gold on rituals, taking rituals as treasure bundles, and taking player reward card for rituals in other books.
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