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Post Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:06 am 
 

Geez.  I hope they gamed for 20 years, Mike.   8)


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:15 pm 
 

I have been thinking long about this thread. For the most part, we played in the kind of campaigns where just surviving was a miracle in itself. We had a couple of guys, along with myself, who ran most of our campaigns. One guy in particular, did alot. His games also had the highest mortality rate. To give you an example, he ran us through a 1st level dungeon and the total death toll of player charactes was around 40! On one particular foray, my character was the sole survivor after looting the treasure chamber. I walked out of the dungeon full of pride and then got ambushed by a dozen bandits who simply unloaded their bows into me before I could get a word out.

In a later campaign our characters were around 2-3rd level - a miracle! We get a lead on an adventure...(a tsr module, not sure which one) and our characters accept the mission. In the first encounter on the way to wherever it was we were going, we get jumped by a horde of undead including at around 10 wights 8O We get slaughtered, of course. Especially because said DM was always stingy on giving out treasure and magic items. I think we had about one magic weapon in the entire party. He later notices the module is for characters of 5-7th level.

And no jaded memory would be complete without a trip into the Storm Giants Castle. Again, same DM. Insisted it was for 1st level characters and proceeded to wipe out party after party with exploding balloon guys.

We look back and laugh about those disasters to this very day. Funny how we can't remember too many of the "successes".

I DM'd the A series, and many of the guys recalled how cool it was to make it through A4. That was a blast for the guys, and me as DM.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:30 pm 
 

Interesting to read about the different styles of DM's and players.  

    The basic assumption of some appears to have been that the DM is the one having fun...by deciding and sealing the fates of the player characters.  It also appears that the players went along with this view in a number of cases.

    The DM's role is an art form.   To challenge the characters and yet see them through to ultimate victory should be the goal...though some fall by the wayside (IMO).

    My DM rules:

1)  The real world (and real people) always takes precedence over the game world.

2)  My goal is to entertain and not to frustrate.

3)  The Monster Union may file protests, but they are not my friends and we will not be going out for pizza together after the game.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:47 pm 
 

I want to clarify my post above. The DM noted above was not malicious or a bad guy. In fact he, as well as the other guys, are still my best friends - more than 30 years now.

He just ran things extremely tough and tight. Being a miser with treasure didn't help. However, we mainly joked about it. No one ever took it too seriously. We knew the chances for survival were always low. And face it. AD&D for low level characters is incredibly tough. All you old timers have to remember playing that first level magic user with 2 freaking hit points and AC 10 with your single all powerful magic missle spell. The average goblin would kick your ass. And two goblins would kill most first level fighters...That was AD&D.

The bottom line was that AD&D was a game...just a game. The fact that we spent inordinate amounts of time playing did not change that. Shit, we devoted every Sunday morning (after church, of course) to Star Fleet Battles for about two freaking years 8O .

I am continually astounded by reading posts from others who played and never seemed to lose characters. I think we played for a two or three years and never had a party make it past 6th level. We had an awesome party that was completely wiped out in that Dragon Magazine module with the big tree full of drow...there was a monster that had some attack requiring save vs. death and our best fighter missed his save. Things went down hill soon after...

As a side note: I see several of you guys used critical hits. We tried it once and got the worst of it. Afterall, the monsters are generally making more attack rolls and the odds of them critical hitting are in their favor.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:51 pm 
 

Some years ago I moved to a new town and ended sharing flat with a guy called Pete who I got into roleplaying. In order to get a game we ended in group with two lads who were total power gamers who both played great, big fighters with huge swords (they always seem to don't they?) and another older, better player who had a theif. I decided to play a Ranger (of the no armour at all, shoots lots of arrows, avoids melee etc.) which confused them completely - they'd never seen tactical play like using cover, attacking from behind etc! My friend Pete decided to play a true neutral Priest of the God of Death. Oh myGod the power gamer fighters were in heaven they had a healer!

Now we'd fought our way to the end of the dungeon and got to the last encounter. The two idiot fighters had ripped through everything the DM had chucked at them and were feeling pretty bouyant by now. The last monster was this huge monstrosity of a demon in with tentacles and a huge mouth, slime etc. (you get the picture) in this large pool of water.

Well this was music to the ears of the theif and my Ranger and the priest as we realised this thing probably couldn't get out of the pool and attack us so we could just pick the thing off at range. All the treasure and none of the danger we figured. We start the combat pinging off arrows at the thing and the odd spell and relax safe in the knowledge that we've got the situation thoroughly under control.

However our two fighters are having none of this cowardly behaviour and, true to form, charge in to the water and into melee. Or so they thought. Neither of them bothered to check the depth of the water (common sense this demon was HUGE it's gonna need alot of water to live in!) and jump straight into 50' or so of water in full plate. As you do. One of them was dead and eaten in two rounds (to give him credit he did hit the thing once although that was at the expense of avoiding sinking) and the other one, in round four, by the time the three of us had killed the thing, was on minus 3 hitpoints. During the fight both the players of the fighters complained bitterly about the "lack of healing and help" they received during their "melee" and towards the end became quite vocal.

So we decide drag the dieing fighter to the edge of the pool after the fight and Pete's priest announces he's performing a ritual over this guy. He immediatley asks how many hitpoints he's got back. Pete patiently explains that as the guy is hovering between life and death that this guy in his God's keeping and he can't violate the tenets of his faith by interfering with his God's duty. Afterall if the guy stabilises and survives he does so at the will of his God. The fighter's player complains bitterly to the DM about "this isn't how priests behave!" and so on and DM rightly points out that in this case it's perfectly reasonable and totally in character. By this time I'm struggling to keep as straight a face as the DM and Pete have and keep having to leave the room to burst out laughing.

The DM did leave enough money to get the fighters raised from the dead which I thought was more kindness than either of them frankly deserved!

Next week both of the fighters failed to show up for the game for some reason and the group got really good right after that!

  


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:52 pm 
 

I dont know man, and of course it is a game, but sending a pack of 10 Wights after a group of very low level characters with virtually no magic weapons to me just seems......mean. :)


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:20 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:
I am continually astounded by reading posts from others who played and never seemed to lose characters. I think we played for a two or three years and never had a party make it past 6th level. We had an awesome party that was completely wiped out in that Dragon Magazine module with the big tree full of drow...there was a monster that had some attack requiring save vs. death and our best fighter missed his save. Things went down hill soon after...


    Our first DM was a killer DM.  After he killed a half dozen characters in the first room of our first dungeon, we gave him the boot. I took over after that.  I liked to DM along the lines of a story, where the characters were the main personalities.  Henchmen and hirelings would come and go but the core of the group remained the same.  You could get killed, but you would die for a good reason or because you did something stupid.  What is the point of making the group roll up new characters every other session, I never understood that, there is no continuity and that is what keeps people coming back.  I've known lots of gamers that quit a game because a beloved character dies for an unfair reason, what's the point of that, who exactly is having fun in those circumstances?  Death becomes meaningless when it happens over and over, and instead of a character's dying becoming a campaign affecting event it's just another crumpled sheet of paper.  In my group, the few deaths that occured are still related proudly decades later.  One guy can practically recite the battle where his high level druid was torn to pieces by a horde of gargoyles, holding them off while riding his Ebony Fly, while the rest of the wounded party made their escape.  He was later reincarnated as an owl, but said his owl flew off because he didn't want to diminish his death or cheapen the character.  That was a "good" death!  
   It's not the DM's job to wipe the party out. Your DM wasn't playing correctly or doing his job right if he kept wiping out the party with over balanced foes. It sounds like he didn't really every have any idea what to do with a high level party, so he killed you guys at alow level, everyone knows some of the most fun adventures are the mid 7-9 levels, unfortunately it sounds like you guys never got the pleasure to roll through one of those.  I'd have lasted exactly one session with that group and gone off to form my own group.
  A lot of groups I knew of back in the day, it was the DM vs the party and the DM was trying to kill them all while the party was using every rules lawyering trick in the book to stay on top of the DM and get all the treasure and magic they could.  Needless to say none of these groups stayed together very long, my group was by far the longest lasting of many in our area because I was pretty much the only DM that didn't feel destroying the party was the ultimate goal of the DM, and that the inability to do so was a sign of weakness (I remember a DM boasting that whenever his characters got to a certain level, he wiped them out to show them who was boss, sheesh).  Again, no one in those groups was having very much fun it turned out.
  Plus, your DM ran Storm Giant's Castle. Dumbest dungeon monsters EVER!!!  :twisted:

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:58 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:I dont know man, and of course it is a game, but sending a pack of 10 Wights after a group of very low level characters with virtually no magic weapons to me just seems......mean. :)

Yeah, that's a little mean.  It depends on the size of the party, of course.  I'd have one drain the life from a plot-device retainer and see if the rest of the characters had the brains to run for it.  Clearly, they went "the wrong way".  :wink:

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:37 pm 
 

Badmike echoes my DMing sentiment. Character death is part of D&D, but it does make players drift away when the DM becomes some leering killer god figure. Makes the game pointless, and is actually somewhat unrealistic.


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:04 pm 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:Badmike echoes my DMing sentiment. Character death is part of D&D, but it does make players drift away when the DM becomes some leering killer god figure. Makes the game pointless, and is actually somewhat unrealistic.


I was actually called a Killer DM once by a player in a fit of anger over the third death of his halfling ftr/thief in as many sessions. Of couse, I had to point out that the three deaths had been 1) Charging, by himself, an ancient black dragon that the rest of the party had hid from as it stomped loudly through the marsh (loudly as to give the player's a warning so they could hide if they wanted to); 2) Dieing by a poison spiked pit trap when he had fallen in after not checking a corridor for traps because he was to busy arguing with another player character about how his halfling could have killed the black dragon if only someone else in the party had helped him; and 3) Drowning in quicksand at the end of the adventure in the swamp when instead of helping the party kill a group of lizardman guardians and their lizard king leader, he instead looted the treasure room himself and ran out the back way into the swamp, by himself, at night,  loaded down with bags of gold and silver...! It was like "Cmon, man, you were ASKING for it!!! All three times!!!!"

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:13 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:Drowning in quicksand at the end of the adventure in the swamp when instead of helping the party kill a group of lizardman guardians and their lizard king leader, he instead looted the treasure room himself and ran out the back way into the swamp, by himself, at night, loaded down with bags of gold and silver...

Please tell me the dragon came back and looted and devoured the drowned corpse, at that point.  :lol:

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:07 am 
 

The only time I ever DMed my best friend played a flaming Paladin.  That is to say that he role played his character's mannerisms completely over the top.  Not that he was propositioning other male characters.  I really cannot remember any specifics, I just remember my gut being sore from laughing for hours at a time.  It was one of the finest role playing performances ever.  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:54 am 
 

Howdy,


I've posted this elswhere but it cerrtainly fits the bill for best (and worst) moment. It is from my first adventure through S2 White Plume Mountain:

Our party (Jaslyn the druid 6, Mirkilous the magic-user 5, J'hon the thief 6, Capsicum the paladin 5, Remus the cleric 6, and Arraland Greenshield ranger 6 - mine) had crossed the mud-bath of doom, performed some minor healing and proceeded to the door down the hall.  My character, Arraland, opened the door to the room of pitch (magical) darkness.  When the party was engulfed in another field of darkness.  My ranger went on the offensive, moving into the room by feeling along the wall (he couldn't move backwards because the rest of the party cramped the hall behind him single file style).  The paladin immediately detected for evil and, detecting a great evil, informed the group aloud.

Meanwhile, Arraland ordered the spell weavers to "get rid of this blasted darkness".  That was when poor J'hon was struck by Ctenimir and drained two levels.  A collective panic went up among the less seasoned players than I, and they, together ordered a retreat.  The spell weavers ignored my plaintive cries for "get some light in here", destroy this darkness", "dispel this evil darkness", etc.  The players of the spell casting PC's looked over their *light spell* and two *dispel magic* spells, continuing their panicked retreat with the stricken J'hon (unconscious from HP loss).  I've never felt so bad for any character as my own at that moment.  There was a two-level-drainin' critter between him and the door (still didn't know what is was for sure) and his party had ordered a full retreat abandoning him!

The attack soon came and poor Arraland was chomped on the neck, auto initiative for Ctenimir.  That dropped the hapless ranger to 4th level!  The other group members started to rally, determining the nature of J'hon's wounds and the magical darkness.  As they did so a gurgling cry of "Vampire!" came from the forsaken ranger.  Arraland vainly struck with his sword first, a miss!

The party, now rallied, cast dispel magic on the outer field of darkness, discovering the inner one could not be dispelled!  Ctenimir struck again chuckling evilly, a hit!  My ranger was now 2nd level!  "Help!" he cried again.

Then he remembered the rune-carved arrow the party had tendered to get him to join the group (when he obtained it the DM had me roll a roll a d4 and a d6 it came up as a 4 and 6* - "that's great isn't it?"  The DM just smiled and said "it probably won't matter.").  Blindly Arraland fumbled for it in the darkness (DM says roll d12, on a 1 you pick the right arrow!).  The creature growls from the darkness saying "Ctenimir has not feasted as such for many decades!"  I roll a one!  Arraland picks the rune-arrow!

The party casts another round of dispel magics in hope of defeating the inner field of darkness.  Again it meets with failure.  "Which one. Which one!" is the cry of the ranger this time.

"O.K. says the thoroughly cruel DM, you've picked the rune-carved arrow."  Me, "yes I'll strike Ctenimir with it".  DM, let's see your THAC0 as a level 2 ranger is a 19, your strength gives you a +1, the arrow gives you a +3, you are -4 because of the dark, only -2 because of your blindfighting, and your non-proficiency penalty is... a -2!  You need an 18!"  Ohmigod, thinks I, I am the singlemost crappy clutch roller of all time <flashbacks to the time when my paladin failed his Holy Sword's dispel hostile magic and magic resistance rolls and then failed his saving throw to Lolth's dispel good - leaving his entire party behind to their ultimate doom *and* the time I rolled a failed saving throw for Bahamut against the poison tail of Orcus - leaving the dragons of good godless>.  No please not again.

By this time the recalcitrant party had formed a plan of attack.  They paid little attention to what I was doing and had no idea what the arrow's powers were, neither did I for that matter, although I was sure it was some kind of arrow of slaying, at least +3 I thought!

Ctenimir won initiative again!  Oh, no...  But it's a miss!  He missed Arraland's crummy AC6!  Whoo hoo!  My turn.  Arraland struck.  I rolled.  18!  The DM gives me an admirable look of unbelieving laughter.  He shook his head and turned to the group, "What do you do?"  "We cast a web to fill up the room."  DM says O.K. the spell goes off."  Then the group's leading pyromaniac says, "We burn it!"  "O.K. roll for damage (2d4)" says the DM.  "An 8 shouts Mirkulous' Player gleefully."  DM looks at me as I drop my head to the table (Arraland only had 8 hit points left).

The party advances in the wake of the burning webs and notes that the darkness is now gone!?  Upon entering the room they find the smoking bodies of Arraland and Ctenimir laid next to each other with Arraland still clutching an arrow driven through the heart of the vampire.

I am thinking glory of all glory!  It was an arrow of undead slaying (* the earlier 4 and 6 was 4x6 = 24 result in the DMG under the arrow of slaying description lists #24 as undead)!  The DM and I are both gleefully reveling in my character's awesome battle luck, when he asks what the party does.  "Do we see a coffin?" they say. "What!?"  Thinking to myself "Hey yo, Mr. 0 HP charcoal briquette going onto -1 here!  Some help here."  Nope.

The party searches the coffin moves it discovers Whelm, starts inventorying the treasure, and elbowing for the good stuff. -2, -3, -4, hello!  Of course players of unconscious characters are not allowed to say anything.

Finally, -5, the cleric of the party comes over to "check out the ranger's body."  "Hey, he's still alive" says the cleric.  To which several party members begin to discuss how quickly vampirism sets in!  I could already hear the wooden stakes being sharpened, flasks of holy water unstoppered, holy flaming oil, etc.

"If I heal him and it works he's not a vampire",  says the thoughtful cleric but Jaslyn shouts "no don't, you'll get drained if you touch him!"  The DM is barely able to stifle his chortling at this point.  My head is still on the table, I make eye contact with no one.  Occasionally, I let out a snort or two of laughter.  -6.

"How about I turn him."  "No see if he reflects in this mirror."  "Wait, I have some garlic."  Both the DM and I are choked with tears of laughter.  I continue my pitiful crying laugh from my heads down position.  DM, "Nope the Turning doesn't work, you see his reflection, and the garlic has no noticeable effect."  -7.

The paladin, at last, says "Oh darn, I forgot.  Yeah, I detect evil."  "Oh good idea!" says the J'hon player.  Full laughter from both the DM and I, wiping tears and laughing the kind of laugh that makes you sore the day after.  The DM, through weeping laughter, "O.K. you detect no evil."  -8!

"We bind his wounds."  -9!  "I'm alive!"

The DM explained what happened to the rest of the party and tried to impress upon them the tremendous victory it really was.  However, no one truly appreciated the event and were disgruntled that they got NO experience points for the battle!  In fact the DM gave Arraland the entire award 4,280 for Ctenimir and doubling it using the "weighting experience points rule", 1st edition DMG, for 8,560 for Ctenimir + 250 for the arrow of slaying, for a grand total of 8,810.  Plus my PC's new 2nd level XP total of 3,376 = 11,936 just enough for 4th level!  Later, of course, he was drained to 3rd level by a wight.  "Damn this Mountain!  Where is that exit?"


Futures Bright,

Paul


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:42 pm 
 

great story that paul :D sat here smiling at that....have had experiences like that myself ;)

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:52 pm 
 

The Collector's Trove wrote:The DM explained what happened to the rest of the party and tried to impress upon them the tremendous victory it really was. However, no one truly appreciated the event and were disgruntled that they got NO experience points for the battle! In fact the DM gave Arraland the entire award 4,280 for Ctenimir and doubling it using the "weighting experience points rule", 1st edition DMG, for 8,560 for Ctenimir + 250 for the arrow of slaying, for a grand total of 8,810. Plus my PC's new 2nd level XP total of 3,376 = 11,936 just enough for 4th level! Later, of course, he was drained to 3rd level by a wight. "Damn this Mountain! Where is that exit?"


Futures Bright,

Paul


You can't make that kind of stuff up. That's why I love this game!

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:16 pm 
 

The Collector's Trove wrote:"Damn this Mountain! Where is that exit?"


Great story...too bad you were adventuring with a pack of chimpanzees!  :lol:


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:51 pm 
 

Paul - that was a great story. But...strength does not help to hit rolls with a bow and neither does blind fighting (I think). Not trying to be a rules lawyer, but it stuck out. Luck is huge in AD&D, and it can make for some truly memorable encounters. Your character misses and your group gets hammered. Ah yes, the good old days. By the way, I am the same way. My dice rolling legacy is crap. I don't think I had a character with an 18 in any attribute for the first few years of gaming. And I rolled up tons of characters...as noted in my previous post. Making a desperate saving throw was never my forte, either...

Guys - crap, I write a few sentences and my friend now becomes a tyranic, murderous, PC butcher DM. Yes, he clearly racked the most PC deaths out of all of who were DMs. It wasn't that he delighted in killing PCs, or was incompetent. He was a skillful DM and a great guy. He just did not bend rules or fudge die rolls. He just had a horrible knack for over-estimating party strength and under-estimating monster power. He is also a dice rolling king. Rolling for initiative against him was about useless. He also had a real bad habit of hosting a game with a new module without reading it prior to us playing. He also got us right back in the game when our characters got killed. He had several campaigns that lasted months or years, with few PC deaths. Mostly, it was the pick up games that were death traps. Like I said, it has been a running joke for 30 years about the high rate of PC termination in his games. We got really good at running...The games could be tough, but you never knew what lurked around the next corner, which is what keeps AD&D interesting.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:24 pm 
 

Howdy,


bbarsh wrote:Paul - that was a great story. But...strength does not help to hit rolls with a bow and neither does blind fighting (I think). Not trying to be a rules lawyer, but it stuck out.


Heh! He didn't use a bow. The vampire was on top of him the whole time. The arrow was rammed into vampire by hand. Thus the non-proficiency penalty and the blind fighting bonus. Like I said, I was desperate to save my character's bacon.


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Paul


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:01 pm 
 

I have been a "player only" very few times. Most of the time I am the DM. Sometimes players make me want to hurt them. I had a player who had his dwarf on a barn roof. I explained that he was 25 feet off the ground. He took out his grappling hook with rope and got it hooked onto a tree....35 feet away. He swings...and he meets the ground. Before anyone complains, I drew a picture with the measurements on it.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:59 pm 
 

The Collector's Trove wrote:Howdy,


bbarsh wrote:Paul - that was a great story. But...strength does not help to hit rolls with a bow and neither does blind fighting (I think). Not trying to be a rules lawyer, but it stuck out.


Heh! He didn't use a bow. The vampire was on top of him the whole time. The arrow was rammed into vampire by hand. Thus the non-proficiency penalty and the blind fighting bonus. Like I said, I was desperate to save my character's bacon.


Futures Bright,

Paul


Beautiful. I like that kind of thinking! Besides I have this complete disdain for anything vampire...that monster has been so saturated that I can't stand them. Especially when they make movies and try and portray them as some sort of sympathetic character. Please. Kill'em all. :D


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