by on July 9, 2019
Rules for being a successful DM.
Plan well, but understand your players will ruin you.
Something that I found out, almost an excursive of human nature, is the art of a table. The table holds your group, their personalities come to play and can sometimes conflict. However, if they can't unlock a door or figure out your ingenious puzzle, you best be ready for combat. That group of sewer trash and street misfits will one-shot your God of Destruction faster than you can say, "Power Word Kill."
A great example of this is a personal one. I created a beautiful undead-dragon sorcerer - a Dracolich - and a possessed gnome. The group took their stances and was ready to fight. A Minotaur Druid, a Revenant Bloodhunter, and a Dragonborn Paladin drew their weapons, and the fight music started. The Dragon attempted to reason with the group his combat with the gnome warlock had taxed him, and he was trying to do good. While the gnome was trying to sow chaos. Chaos....that word, the group generally thrived on it and...they follow it's beck and call.
The Dracolich went first and lifted off the ground, prompting an opportunity attack from the paladin. Mind you, he had no weapon other than his smites and fists. Smites are a channeled source of divine essence that augment attacks that make paladin's very unique and fun classes to play. In this instant...Siatma entered combat. Without alerting our band of adventurers, I simply asked the man to roll to hit. A natural 20 sounded on the table....with divine smite and a plus +1 to attack. With the critical, the paladin punched the Dracolich for near 124 damage...but wait we are just getting started.
I had made overpowered monsters with glass skin to allow easy of a time of combat and to challenge the players. This case Nidhogg, the Dread Eater, had a weakness or vulnerability to radiant damage. The Dracolich's health sat around a rough 324, and the final damage of quadruple damage off of one punch KOed it.
You're right flex seal man. That was a lot of damage, so much so...I had to clap.
I blinked and laughed. That was fate, and the dice were in charge.
The moral of the story is don't get mad if the player finds a way to cheat the game. It's going to happen, but be prepared to show's your dungeon. The next stage of combat slowly went to the gnome's court, who transformed into a mighty demon lord.
Rin, the Herald of Jarraxas. Bonus points if anyone knows the reference.
A gnome is usually below three feet tall. The Herald grew to a whopping fourteen feet tall and wings that shot her way beyond the twenty-foot mark. The paladin then had the smug remark, I am gonna punch it too. Does a 19 hit? Nope. The sheer look of terror on their face was priceless.
Rin fought valiantly but was eventually reduced to a pile of sludge caused by a team effort.
Better luck next time, Jarraxas.
So again, it's okay to fail, and it's okay to let players have fun. However, if you do not stop them from what is called "murderhoboing," then things can go south very quickly.
Show that their actions have consequences. The consequences of not listening to the Dracolich was they didn't find out they had been duped and were being used by the villain of the campaign. In fact, I tried to tell them that in the beginning.
Last fact.
If you want to cause, your whole group to run away from the table, except the bravest of heart. Don't pull out dragons, beholders, or the dreaded simply put a deck of cards on the table. Speak in riddles of horror and fortune ask if anyone would like to know their future?
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