Annoyed DM

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We recently can to the end of a major plot like where we fought an epic battle with the main antagonist, the encounter was laid out so our characters would have to fight our way though a few standard monsters before reaching the antagonist.

Our DM planned for the encounter to go like this: we fight our way though the monsters, while the main enemy buffed them, then after the monsters were killed the antagonist would surrender and reveal come information about the next plot line.

However our striker, who is a little crazy and got very lucky managed to take out the antagonist  by jumping the gap that kept us from him.

And this isn't the first time we've done something along those lines, it seems every few encounters one of us has a great idea to use the environment or a skill challenge to give us an edge, to be honest our skills seem more useful than our powers at times, and it's good fun for us thinking of this stuff.

The DM was a little moody at the time that his work planning this encounter and his plan for the plot went to waste, but he's over it now. The rest of us are now a little worried about something similar happening again though, because even though we enjoy fighting like that and it adds a bit of fun to the session for us, sometimes it causes tension between us and the DM.

Do you think we should tone it down to give our DM a break, or talk to him about it or what?
Have to talk to your DM about it, I played with some that are great at making stuff on the fly, and others that are not so good with it so when their plans don't follow the way they want it kinda puts them in a sitution where they have no clue what to do next.

Also he should have one or two backup plans (Maybe that guy has a henchmen hiding in a small room that spills the plot, or the PCs find his diary with the needed information) Thats what the one DM we have does since hes not good on the fly gaming.
Personally I love having a group that would think outside of the box.  As a DM you have to know that you shouldn't have everything riding on one single thing since players are really good out fouling up well thought encounters (not to say that is a bad thing).

I would let your DM know that you really enjoy doing stuff like that.  Hopefully he'll realize that it can be a lot of fun and not be moody about it.  He should take it as a challenge and throw stuff at you that would make you be even more creative.   
We recently can to the end of a major plot like where we fought an epic battle with the main antagonist, the encounter was laid out so our characters would have to fight our way though a few standard monsters before reaching the antagonist.

Our DM planned for the encounter to go like this: we fight our way though the monsters, while the main enemy buffed them, then after the monsters were killed the antagonist would surrender and reveal come information about the next plot line.

However our striker, who is a little crazy and got very lucky managed to take out the antagonist  by jumping the gap that kept us from him.

That sounds very much like the way I play: what is the REAL target? What's the best way to go after it? These other things are just obstacles to be dealt with as quickly and easily as possible - bypassing them works.

For a while I was doing this with an extremely-mobile striker, too.

And this isn't the first time we've done something along those lines, it seems every few encounters one of us has a great idea to use the environment or a skill challenge to give us an edge, to be honest our skills seem more useful than our powers at times, and it's good fun for us thinking of this stuff.

The DM was a little moody at the time that his work planning this encounter and his plan for the plot went to waste

Oh no it didn't. It was an opportunity for the players to show their creativity and versatility. 

Do you think we should tone it down to give our DM a break, or talk to him about it or what?

I think he should enjoy it when the players surprise him like that - but what I think isn't important here. If it's wrecking his enjoyment, something needs to change. Because if the DM isn't having fun too, he gets tired of being DM.

* he could learn to enjoy it - not easy if it doesn't come naturally to him
* he could learn to design encounters so they get broken less often
* the players could discern (or ask) what the expected course of the encounter is, and try to avoid breaking it excessively often; bending it is okay
* something else that doesn't occur to me because it's bedtime.

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
No plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.  Never put anything in the way of the PCs that you don't want to have terminated with extreme prejudice.

So someone killed an NPC that was supposed to reveal plot information.  My solution:  no, he didn't.  He thought he did, but after the fight you find out he's still barely clinging to life and can reveal the next plot before he dies.  If he needs to survive longer, the NPC is left for dead but inexplicably shows up later, alive.  Stranger things have happened.

Pretty simple.  Not trying to be a ****, but the DM needs to figure out that he's the DM and he can make little changes like that to keep the story going.  The players' actions don't dictate everything that happens; sometimes the DM dictates what happens.

Alternatively, the NPC does die, but someone else reveals the next plot.  He just has to learn to think on his feet.

Also, in extremis, it's acceptable for a DM to just say "No, that doesn't happen because you'll wreck the plot if you do."  Yeah, it's not the best solution, but if everyone is there to have fun the players should cut the DM a bit of slack sometimes.

All that having been said, yeah, talk to him about it. 

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

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"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Does no one have a "speak with dead" ritual?

I mean, the DM could just put a scroll as part of the loot...

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Does no one have a "speak with dead" ritual?

I mean, the DM could just put a scroll as part of the loot...

Would someone know that they ought to use it at that time to speak to that dead person?

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
Does no one have a "speak with dead" ritual?

I mean, the DM could just put a scroll as part of the loot...

Would someone know that they ought to use it at that time to speak to that dead person?

If he died coughing and trying to say something....  might be a hint.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Having been on the receiving end of the Party Born Tactical Nuke to the face of a campaign plot more than once, I can say that it CAN cause some moodiness!

It's all well and good to tell someone to get better at thinking on their feet, but for some folks it is HARD. The naturally gifted story tellers don't get that, at times, but some of us are DMs because we like putting the story together for our friends, but it gets dicey when we start offhanding it to cover something we didn't see coming!

Also, a couple of times when that has happened I didn't have much else planned for afterwards.. the encounter etc was supposed to be the pinnacle of of the evenings festivities, and it gets blown up in three rounds.. now you have a party of amped up PCs who are eagerly looking at you saying things like "What's next? THat was easy!" and "When's the boss fight, har har?!"

My suggestion mirrors one I saw above. Talk to the DM, and tell him how much FUN you are having and how you love that he rolls with it, even when it obviously wrecks his plan. I always like hearing that, especially when I just had an Epic Fail type encounter. I enjoy putting good challenges in front of the party, and when one doesn't work out well, sometimes I feel like I have let the group as a whole down with the evening. So, telling him specifically that you are having a GREAT time can go a long way to mitigating the moodiness!
So many PCs, so little time...
I agree with most of the posters here. The DM should be glad that the PC's are thinking out of the box. If he's the DM, he should have the ability to ad-lib on the fly and accommodate any unexpected actions.

He can also design encounters so that this type of thing doesn't happen.

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord

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I give credit to your dm for letting the cards lay where they fall. He designed an encounter and didn't change the program after pressing Go.

On the other hand, I personally would have gladly bent the rules. Especially if you're doing the players a favor by doing so.
how experienced is your DM at DMing?   if the DM is new, give him the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to grow.    Either way, i would speak the the dm.  maybe, there is something else going on in his life that is influencing him to tend to being annoyed.   Remember, when you approach him let him know how much you enjoy his effort and the fun you have.  Then say that sometimes when you get upset it breaks the spell of fun.  Maybe together you can come up with someways to constructively deal with player improv.
Speaking as a DM that has had players do unconventional things and derail my plot points, while I may openly weep at seeing my well-laid plans crash die in a fire, I would never want that to discourage the creativity of my players.

You kids have fun. I'll go back to the drawing board and laugh at my new maniacal design for the next session.
The DM is the one in this situation who needs to adapt.  He wrote a script when he should have been setting a scene.  What he needs to learn from this is that it's a DM's job to make an awesome story happen as the result of what the heroes do, whatever that may be.  The party needs to have the freedom to shape the story with their actions.


That means the path to victory needs to be broader than defeating a series of encounters by doing specific things.  It's fine for a villain to plan to bury the heroes under waves of his henchmen as he stands on the sideline gloating; it's dangerously presumptuous for the DM to present the party with a group of enemies and expect them to fight them in a specific order.  If the DM's plans and the villain's plans are one and the same, they're going to go down together.


If everyone is interested in playing a campaign that's about heroes defeating villains just as their villainy was about to come to catastrophic fruition, then it might be useful for your DM to create a stable of villains.  That will allow him to trot them out and use them throughout the campaign while still insulating the campaign against the party outsmarting them or defeating them early or even trivially.  The goal is to have a memorable, fun campaign, and sometimes the most memorable sessions are the ones where someone completely blindsides some would-be evil genius.  The trick is for the DM not to be that would-be evil genius, so he can cheer for the heroes too.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
i HIGHLY suggest sending your DM to the "what's a DM to do?" forum.  Be sure to have him crosslink this thread so that the posters in that forum can see both sides (and the fact that you guys seem to genuinely want your DM plots to work).

I, and i'm sure many of the other posters in the DM to do forum have LOTS of advice for this DM.  Furthermore, the advice is constructive to all parties....ideas to let the BBEG do his thing, NOT get killed, and still leave the party feeling satisfied.

an example might be something along the lines of the party reaching somewhere, fighting someone high up, but not completely in charge, with a "hologram" of the REAL power watching the fight....he can see what the party does, he can talk to them, he can deliver his monologue, and the party really can't do much to him....they still get the BBEG they're looking for down (satisfaction), they learn about a new threat (interest), they realize this person has or is collecting information on them, or knows they are coming (trepidation) and the enemies that are dead are the ones that are supposed to be dead.

as far as the PLAYERS are concerned....keep in mind your DM seems very willing to say "yes" to your party's ideas.  You want to make sure what you are asking is good for your characters and the story.  Also, see if you can help the DM come up with improvisation for your crazy ideas.

take the example you just gave in the original post.  What if, after the BBEG died to your striker, if the rest of the monsters surrenderred (or even defected) and gave you the info you needed.  If your DM is open with his INTENTIONS, the party can help him come up with the story that fits his intentions if his original plan falls through. 
As a GM, I always have to be prepared.
You cannot predict everything that others may think of or come up with during gameplay.
I actually reward createive thinking.

If it happened to me, I would be like 'oh well, I'll know better the next time'.
And in the interim, I would find some other way to get the info out to my players, since they killed the squealer.

In the case of my Gamma World campaigns, I would of had the adle brained antagonist leave some clue for the players to find in the aftermath with a skill check.

And in the end, I learned a bit more about my players and their abilities. And guranteed there will be no 'fool me twice'. Cool
IMAGE(http://www.oldtimersguild.com/vb/image.php?u=10029&type=sigpic&dateline=1288645812)
Things my players have done I did not expect or plan for as a DM.

A player shoves a companion NPC down a pit to see how dangerous it is at the bottom.  When she sees that it's safe, she jumps down, aces her acrobatics check, gracefully lands with no fall damage, and laughs at the companion.

The party convinces the same companion NPC to eat all the food they find in a dungeon, to discover whether or not it is safe for them to consume.  A lot of it wasn't.

The companion finally meets his end, crushed by a silt golem.  At no point did anybody in the party ever attempt to help him not fail a death saving throw.  The party quickly harvests his vital life fluids and feasts on the good parts so they can survive one more day in the wilds of Athas.

Captured an antagonist / minor villain, questioned him for information, and after he agreed to help the players reach their goal, the Warden smashed his head to a bloody pulp.

Wild Mage changed genders.

Discovered a secret entrance to an underground vault where they  were to get an item to pay off a debt, were able to leave the same way they came in, unnoticed, yet proceeded to go upstairs into the home to ransack and loot the place.

Party claims a lost chaotic orb artifact.  The Bard quickly hides it, replacing it with a similar looking orb.  The party destroys the fake orb, convinced that the evil from it has ended.  The Bard smiles and chuckles quietly.

Were ambushed by Sand Brides who crit-failed their surprise round attacks.  Party completely turned my Sand Bride ambush around.  A "good" character reached a snapping point, and tortured and murdered a subdued Sand Bride.

Any DM worth his salt should be ecstatic when the party doesn't do something according to his plan.  A DM should be flexible.  Part of being a DM is that you're a storyteller of sorts.  And the best DM's weave the unexpected into the fabric of the reality of the campaign.

Being a new DM could be tricky, but I never told my players they couldn't do something.  And my players doing the unexpected has helped me improve as a DM.

Saying that, don't push your DM just to see how far he bends before he breaks.  If he's a good one though, he'll learn from any shortcomings, and start mapping out more eventualities in his head.
We recently can to the end of a major plot like where we fought an epic battle with the main antagonist, the encounter was laid out so our characters would have to fight our way though a few standard monsters before reaching the antagonist.

Our DM planned for the encounter to go like this: we fight our way though the monsters, while the main enemy buffed them, then after the monsters were killed the antagonist would surrender and reveal come information about the next plot line.

However our striker, who is a little crazy and got very lucky managed to take out the antagonist  by jumping the gap that kept us from him.

And this isn't the first time we've done something along those lines, it seems every few encounters one of us has a great idea to use the environment or a skill challenge to give us an edge, to be honest our skills seem more useful than our powers at times, and it's good fun for us thinking of this stuff.

The DM was a little moody at the time that his work planning this encounter and his plan for the plot went to waste, but he's over it now. The rest of us are now a little worried about something similar happening again though, because even though we enjoy fighting like that and it adds a bit of fun to the session for us, sometimes it causes tension between us and the DM.

Do you think we should tone it down to give our DM a break, or talk to him about it or what?

Sounds the DM subscribes to the "Me vs. Them" mentality along with the inability to cope with the players being able to do anything other than stay on his railroad path to the end as he sees it.

This doesn't make him a bad person, but it does make him a DM that needs some help.
 
Sadly, there isn't much you can do as players to help him without hurting your own fun. Because as players, you're SUPPOSED to foil his plans.  You're SUPPOSED to overcome the challenges.  He doesn't understand this simplest of truths.  Worse still he cannot prepare for it. 

Your best bet would be to have one of the most experienced players take the reins for awhile.  Write up a short campaign (or a long one) and let the DM enjoy being on the other side of the screen for a change.  Sometimes, that's all it takes to turn a bad DM around.

It's worth a shot. 
So while a DMs job is to run the campaign and adapt to the needs of the player it is a cooperative game. Everyone at the table is supposed to be having fun, not just the players.

From my own experience when a DM (myself or another) is your DM for a very long time it can drain the fun out of the game because, well, you always "lose". The party is supposed to win on most casual tables so being the guy that always gets his ass handed to him can blow sometimes. Honestly I think what your DM needs more than anything is to see you sweat. If it's true that you break his plans all the time he's probably feeling a bit of a fool when you easily hurdle his best layed plans.

I would point him to slyflourish.com as that guy builds some of the most positively challenging encounters I've seen on the internet. While your currently using these smart plays, skill challenges, etc. to trivialize the fight you'll have to be doing them just to survive. 

Everybody needs a win from time to time :P
 
i HIGHLY suggest sending your DM to the "what's a DM to do?" forum.  Be sure to have him crosslink this thread so that the posters in that forum can see both sides (and the fact that you guys seem to genuinely want your DM plots to work).



I would very much like to see this as a new advice thread, where both sides get to post their thoughts on the situation.

I've had plots derailed in the past and the first thing that goes through my mind is "well, there goes a week's worth of planning".  For my campaign arcs, plot important characters often have friends who can rez then.  It also sets up the story to introduce the next bbeg as the party begins to wonder why Lord Evilpants keeps coming back after each ganking. 

It's hard to hide frustration and disappointment when it happens and it's a credit to the original poster if they're thinking of toning it down so the DM can have fun too.  If someone else in the group is better at handling derailments and surprised, suggest they run an adventure or two so the previous DM can see how they handle a similar situation.  I found that works pretty well in our group, where most of us take turns DMing.

Gormashnit also brings up a good point about the DM always losing.  DnD isn't a video game, one side isn't supposed to "beat" the other.  But, it's easy to get into that sort of mindset during combat encounters.  Reminding myself that I'm not supposed to murder the party helps!
I think DMs should try to align their interests slightly. That means that they aim to entertain (note, Entertain, not Please) the Players, with challenges, encounters, puzzles, storylines, all of which are co-written by the Players. Basically, DMs should understand that no plan survives contact with the enemy, especially Players.

Alternatively, if a DM is set on a Combat-bent game, then they can communicate so to the Players, they toss most RP out the window and have a rip-roaring good time. Even then, there's no such thing as a kill-order. You want them to kill the badguy later, just put him somewhere inaccessible until its time for him to step into the "Arena."

And if the DM doesn't like "losing" all the time and needs to get it out of the system, should the Players be interested - try running some of the old Lair Assaults once a month and go all out for blood. Unless your Players have been spoiled, assuming some options (like Dragon Mags) are out of the Picture, the DM should win at least once, I think.

I am Blue/White