A tale of Two DMs 3.5

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Currently I'm playing in two different campaigns, one of the DMs is a fantastic writer and loves using story telling elements and trying to give our characters challenges and moral issues to overcome to inspire role playing, the other isn't really a newcomer to the game, he's been playing for a while but doesn't really believe in using the rules or bother to look them up, and is having a lot of trouble running his campaign ( in my opinion ).

Do you see any of the following as problems?
a) Using high level NPCs that are forced upon to accomplish actions that are PCs never could
to the point where we might as well sit back and enjoy the cutscene 

b) Giving  the player's excess loot ( 16,000 gp and +1 equipment at level one in addition to anything they could want )

c)  Not allowing the players to do anything but follow your story
( Example: The DM wanted us to join the pirate crew and get tattoos to seal our fate, me and another player refused and were kicked off the ship soon  after "snuck" up upon by a platoon of guards and thrown in a jail cell that was surrounded by 10 guards who shackled us to the wall ( oh we're level 1 ), until his favorite NPC teleported in and killed everything with one hit and immediatly teleported us back to his ship. 

d) telling the players their choices as opposed to letting them figure things out




As a side note, one of the player's is playing "auron" of final fantasy X fame... ( Not even a character inspired by him, he is playing the damn character.... )
and  wield a large katana ( which he is claims does 2d8 damage as opposed to 2d6 ) and uses a Jug filled with Alchemist's fire that he uses to deal 16d6 damage at first level, how would you rule this?

I wouldn't play that second game. It sounds bad. Have you told the DM you don't like those things?


A large greatsword does 3d6, not 2d8. Per the PHB.


A jug of alchemist fire should probably deal the same damage as a single vial regardless of how many individual vials are inside. Simply for balance. The logical extension being that the vial does its d6 and dissolves into you. Throwing a jug, most of it misses or does not dissolve into you. Fully submerging them would deal the normal damage per round, not some massive number.

"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"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"


I wouldn't play that second game. It sounds bad. Have you told the DM you don't like those things?


A large greatsword does 3d6, not 2d8. Per the PHB.


A jug of alchemist fire should probably deal the same damage as a single vial regardless of how many individual vials are inside. Simply for balance. The logical extension being that the vial does its d6 and dissolves into you. Throwing a jug, most of it misses or does not dissolve into you. Fully submerging them would deal the normal damage per round, not some massive number.




Katana aren't Greatsword. A katana deals 1d10 damage when it is medium, so 2d6 when large. See the SRD: tinyurl.com/4umxttq

Anyway, talk to the other players in the 2nd game and see if they agree with your points. If they do, talk to the DM, and see if he wouldn't be prepared to host the kind of game you all obviously want, instead of just the one he wants. Did you even have a Session Zero?(where people discuss what kind of campaign it'll be, make their chars fit together, etc).



Katana aren't Greatsword. A katana deals 1d10 damage when it is medium, so 2d6 when large. See the SRD: tinyurl.com/4umxttq




Katana are not in the SRD, and that link takes me to the DND wiki, a repository of homebrew dnd mechanics.

"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"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

Katana are treated as Master Work Bastard Swords, according to the Dungeon Master's Guide, the assumption being that katanas are known for their quality and as such will most commonly be masterworked pieces.



As for the Alchemist's fire, I agree the damage shouldn't stack infinately as it is determined by area coverage.


That said, if multiple people made an attack with alchemist fire then it would do damage for each attacker, so it would stack under different circumstances. Some reason should be applied when making this call. A good idea would limit the number that do damage to the number of attacks the attacker could make. If a player with 3 attacks/round started tossing them as a full round attack, then they should be able to throw a maximum of 4 (including the off hand attack) and do full damage with each.


As for tossing, say a basket of them at the target. keep in mind that not all of them would hit, so the DM should still impose a limitation as above. If a play can make all of them hit, say by attaching them together, or in a trap where they will all land on the target, however, then I would use the Size modifier for weapons as a guideline. Say if you had 3 and combined their damage and treated this as a Medium Weapon (3d6)then 6 would be a large weapon, (3d8) 12 would be a huge Weapon (6d6), 24 would be Gargantuan (9d6) and 48 would be colosol (12d6) and I might be convinced to extend the 1d6 damage on the next round by 1 round per size, thus a colosol (48 alchemist fires) would do 1d6 damage/round for 5 rounds, at any time they can try to dose the flames during this. Anymore is redundant since the fire is limited by it's air supply.


Thus even a jug filled with alchemists fire (6) would be limited to 3d8 damade and would cost 120 gp per shot. The only reason this would be an issue is the DM handing out absurd amount of gold.  


That would be a balanced way to increase it without being unbalanced 48 is alot of alchemist fire and nearly 1000 gp for 12d6 damage isn't cost effective enough to be abused, and could be cheaply obtained buying a scoll or what not. Plus the risk of accidentally blowing oneself up if you mess up the delivery or while carrying that many, if you are going to throw them all at once then they won't be safely stored.

Do you see any of the following as problems?
a) Using high level NPCs that are forced upon to accomplish actions that are PCs never could
to the point where we might as well sit back and enjoy the cutscene

That's a major problem, no doubt. At no point should the heroes be taking a backseat to the DM's legion of super-powerful NPCs. If the spotlight isn't centered on the actions and decisions of the characters, but instead revolves around the superior capabilities of the NPCs and how they're the ones actually advancing the story, then it seems your DM is more interested in showcasing his own "creativity" than actually giving your group a fun experience. This DM seems to believe that the players are his audience, which on a certain level is true; what he seems to be missing is that players are also fellow actors on the stage, and they shouldn't be stuck with bit parts because the DM believes his own creations are too awesome to leave on the sidelines.

b) Giving  the player's excess loot ( 16,000 gp and +1 equipment at level one in addition to anything they could want )

This seems pretty excessive, especially considering, as you've mentioned above, the DM has the unfortunate tendency of pushing the PCs aside to highlight his NPCs' strengths. Makes me wonder what the point is, offering so much freedom with money and materials only to shrug his shoulders later on when the heroes would be expected to put their resources to good use.


c)  Not allowing the players to do anything but follow your story

( Example: The DM wanted us to join the pirate crew and get tattoos to seal our fate, me and another player refused and were kicked off the ship soon  after "snuck" up upon by a platoon of guards and thrown in a jail cell that was surrounded by 10 guards who shackled us to the wall ( oh we're level 1 ), until his favorite NPC teleported in and killed everything with one hit and immediatly teleported us back to his ship.
Your DM seems to be fond of railroading - he doesn't want to see you respond to the scenarios before you as you will, he just wants you to nod as you go and follow his lead. Given your example, he's not above waving a hand and forcefully stopping you from pursuing the course that your characters would naturally follow. Once again, it sounds like he's more interested in seeing the story that's running through his thoughts play out before an audience, and he's not willing to let a thing like the players' free will jeopardize his fun. 


d) telling the players their choices as opposed to letting them figure things out

So he dictates what your characters do, regardless of what you want them to do, or even what their personalities, backgrounds, and temperaments suggest they would do? Well, that's about as heavy-handed as you can be. This guy is a bad DM, no two ways about it. Two options, as far as I can tell - the first is that you approach this DM before or after a session, be it email, phone call, or face-to-face, and explain to him that you don't think he's being fair by making your decisions for you and using his NPCs to push the characters out of the way; in short, you can tell him you're not having fun and that you would appreciate it if he would dial it back with regards to the ham-fisted techniques. The second route is much more direct - you speak with your feet. If this game is no fun, then just walk. Go pursue fun with other groups and other DMs, and leave this one behind. 





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147048523 wrote:
"I don't like X, they should remove it." "I like X, they should keep it." "They should replace X with Y." "Anybody that likes X is dumb. Y is better." "Why don't they include both X and Y." "Yeah, everybody can be happy then!" "But I don't like X, they should remove it." "X really needs to be replaced with Y." "But they can include both X and Y." "But I don't like X, they need to remove it." "Remove X, I don't like it." Repeat. Obstinance?
56790678 wrote:
Until you've had an in-law tell you your choice of game was stupid, and just Warcraft on paper, and dumbed down for dumber players who can't handle a real RPG, you haven't lived. You haven't lived.
56902498 wrote:
Lady and gentlemen.... I present to you the Edition War without Contrition, the War of the Web, the Mighty Match-up! We're using standard edition war rules. No posts of substance. Do not read the other person's posts with comprehension. Make frequent comparison to video games, MMOs, and CCGs. Use the words "fallacy" and "straw man", incorrectly and often. Passive aggressiveness gets you extra points and asking misleading and inflammatory questions is mandatory. If you're getting tired, just declare victory and leave the thread. Wait for the buzzer... and.... One, two, three, four, I declare Edition War Five, six, seven eight, I use the web to Go!
57062508 wrote:
D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
56760448 wrote:
Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison... MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development. TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment. You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
90571711 wrote:
Adding options at the system level is good. Adding options at the table level is hard. Removing options at the system level is bad. Removing options at the table level is easy. This is not complicated.
57333888 wrote:
112760109 wrote:
56902838 wrote:
Something like Tactical Shift is more magical than martial healing.
Telling someone to move over a few feet is magical now? :| I weep for this generation.
Given the laziness and morbid obsesity amongst D&Ders, being able to convince someone to get on their feet, do some heavy exercise, and use their words to make them be healthier must seem magical.
158710691 wrote:
D&D definitely improves mental health; Just as long as you stay away from these forums ;)
I've got to agree with Manshoon, what you're describing is flat out bad DMing. Those three things are like the first three DO NOT DO THESE in the DM's handbook.

He obviously has no interest in letting the campaign or your characters grow organically (forcing you to get tattoed, wtf? I played a cleric once who would literally have rather died than let this happen), he's got his grand railroad planned out and by the DM's smiting hammer you're going to follow the tracks.

As for playing so loose with the rules, I'm no rules lawyer when I DM but what he's doing is beyond the pale. 16d6 damage at level 1, wtf? Alchemist's fire is basically petrol, if you pour more petrol on a petrol fire, it doesn't get hotter, it just spreads out or maybe burns for longer depending on the circumstances. 

I don't know your relation to the DM, if you're friends out of game or something but the point of playing D&D is to have fun. If that's not happening anymore then like Manshoon said, if you think the game's salvagable sit down and have a serious chat with the DM. If you don't, vote with your feet.