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Kill or fudge?

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June 14, 2005 10:19:22 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.

A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.

I've already decided that they'll get a random encounter roll every
half hour, and have prepared a chart of appropriate CR encounters.

Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
ghouls. Okay.

I decide there's a 50% chance the Detect Undead will pick them up.
(It's a cone-shaped emanation, and they could be off to one side.) I
roll and it doesn't. I have the ghouls Hiding in the fog. Roll
opposed Spot and Hide checks. One PC (the cleric) spots the ghouls,
the others not. All the ghouls beat the cleric on initiative, though,
so we have a surprise round where the ghouls go first.

The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two fail
their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.

First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The ghouls
attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.

The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
injuring but not killing it.

Now what?

A 3rd level fighter has a less-than-even chance of killing three ghouls
before being chewed to pieces. (Without the ghouls' paralysis power,
it's about an even match, but the fighter will probably have to make
6-8 saving throws in a row without failing once. His odds of doing
this once are about 0.8, but six times = 0.8^6, or about 26%. Add to
that the ghouls' roughly even chance of ripping him up in straight
combat -- they're smart enough to flank him -- and we have a ~90%
chance of TPK on a stupid random encounter.

My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
here.

I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.


Waldo

More about : kill fudge

Anonymous
June 14, 2005 10:51:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo wrote:
> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>
> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.

....

> Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
> ghouls. Okay.

....

> The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two fail
> their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.
>
> First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The ghouls
> attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.
>
> The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
> injuring but not killing it.
>
> Now what?

....

> My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
> they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
> staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
> 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
> here.
>
> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.

That's kind of a tough one.
But, if the ghouls are smart enough to flank him, they're smart enough
to run when the battle goes against them.

I'd probably fake a couple of rolls, declaring they miss even if the
rolls indicate otherwise.

Then, when the fighter has killed one, and wounded another, they decide
the fight is too tough for them, and run off.

He's now got to get his three companions out of there, with the ghouls
still lurking in the fog somewhere. So you still get lots of suspense,
but without killing the whole party over a couple of bad rolls.

I'd do it differently though if they went in without a Cleric, or were
just being stupid somehow, but like you pointed out, they shouldn't all
die over a bad roll...

-Pat
June 14, 2005 11:34:28 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

>
> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.
>
>

As you point out, the party have done nothing wrong, so I'd try to
avoid the TPK.
What I'd do is let the fighter have his chance to fend off the ghouls.
If luck is with him, he will save the day, and the campaign is back on
track.
Should he fail, then the ghouls batter him unconcious.
Some time later, the party wake up in a big cage. They have no gear
and are imprissoned with a motley collection of peasants and
travellers. Some minor villan is about to sacrifice the lot of them to
something nasty.
The cleric here can heal his mates, they can bust out, off the wanna-be
demon-summoner and his three pet ghouls and lead the peasants home in
time for tea.
Then your campaign can get back on track.

For extra fitting-in-with-your-story-ness have the minor baddie be a
minion for the eventual big bad boss and the party have once again
thwarted him.

How did you deal with the situation?

Phil.
Related resources
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 1:19:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Symbol wrote:

> Ghoul paralysis only lasts 1d4+1 rounds. Tick one round off for the two
> paralyzed in the surprise round.

Right, they can easily still win this.

> His best strategy is to delay until his companions start to recover if the
> Ghouls are concentrating on him. Either flee or crank up the Combat
> Expertise and fight defensively or fight with total defence.

Yep, if he has Expertise and fights defensively he can likely hold out.

> I would let the dice decide.

Bingo! If you fudge at this point they WILL spot it.

Did you see the one the other day by a poster who HATES the not dead
at negative HP rule because it is so often used as a fudge in his game.

If you were going to fudge duration on the paralysis is the right
spot, but I would let them fight it out. 3rd level, they only have
a few months invested (at most) in these characters, when where
they'll be a BETTER time to let them know you are serious and that
random encounters CAN kill them.

DougL
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 1:24:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

This is a common problem with rpg's in general. What I like to do is
award Fortune points (or Hero points, Fudge points... whatever you want
to call them) whenever you normally award experience. Tell the players
these points may be exchanged for more experience points OR they may
keep them to change an outcome of a die roll.

Examples would be: burn a fortune point to re-roll a to-hit,
automatically save, treat a killing blow as "near-death"...

You get the idea. Come up with a list of uses that's appropriate for
your campaign and hand them out to the players. I've also awarded
fortune points if players show up with painted figs, updated character
sheets, interesting narratives, maps... whatever you think improves
your game. Granted, players should do this on their own but a little
bribery doesn't hurt :) 

This way, the players are in more control over their character's fate
and you, as DM, won't feel quite so bad about rotten die rolls. Also,
players who bring a lot of "fluff" to the game and spend tons of time
on their character backgrounds, story, and all the stuff described
above will have more fortune points to save their alter-ego's bottom
when things go awry.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 3:34:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo wrote:

> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>
> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>
> I've already decided that they'll get a random encounter roll every
> half hour, and have prepared a chart of appropriate CR encounters.
>
> Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
> ghouls. Okay.
>
> I decide there's a 50% chance the Detect Undead will pick them up.
> (It's a cone-shaped emanation, and they could be off to one side.) I
> roll and it doesn't. I have the ghouls Hiding in the fog. Roll
> opposed Spot and Hide checks. One PC (the cleric) spots the ghouls,
> the others not. All the ghouls beat the cleric on initiative, though,
> so we have a surprise round where the ghouls go first.
>
> The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two fail
> their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.
>
> First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The ghouls
> attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.
>
> The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
> injuring but not killing it.
>
> Now what?
>
> A 3rd level fighter has a less-than-even chance of killing three ghouls
> before being chewed to pieces. (Without the ghouls' paralysis power,
> it's about an even match, but the fighter will probably have to make
> 6-8 saving throws in a row without failing once. His odds of doing
> this once are about 0.8, but six times = 0.8^6, or about 26%. Add to
> that the ghouls' roughly even chance of ripping him up in straight
> combat -- they're smart enough to flank him -- and we have a ~90%
> chance of TPK on a stupid random encounter.
>
> My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
> they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
> staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
> 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
> here.
>
> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.
>
>
> Waldo
>

This is why fudging is a useful tool for the DM. (In my simple
philosophy, all the "hated" tools are useful when used with judgement
and discretion.)

First, I would have fudged by rewarding their vigilance and giving them
bonuses to spot and initiative. Secondly, the ghouls are more dangerous
than their threat ranking makes them. The party should never have faced
three. Two Ghouls are a CR3 vs a 4 person party. (1 ghoul = CR1, 2
ghouls = CR3). Since they are only three characters, not four, the fight
is actually touger. That makes this random encounter a dangerous to
deadly encounter.

Random encounters should be CR 1-3, but no higher. You want your
characters able to encouter the pre-set encounters, and not getting
chewed up in the random encounters. Since they are only a three person
party, a CR 1-2 is the appropriate range.

Now, to answer your question. I would have made (fudged) the ghouls into
being pre-injured. They would miss the fighter on his round. He will
hopefully hit, and kill the weakest one. The ghouls will then retreat.

CH
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 4:36:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1118755162.116580.292710@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>
> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>
> I've already decided that they'll get a random encounter roll every
> half hour, and have prepared a chart of appropriate CR encounters.
>
> Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
> ghouls. Okay.
>
> I decide there's a 50% chance the Detect Undead will pick them up.
> (It's a cone-shaped emanation, and they could be off to one side.)

If they are doing sweeps with the cone, they should have easily detected the
hiding ghouls. Failing that, I would let the dice fall where they may.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 4:49:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

DougL wrote:
>
> If you were going to fudge duration on the paralysis is the right
> spot, but I would let them fight it out. 3rd level, they only have
> a few months invested (at most) in these characters, when where
> they'll be a BETTER time to let them know you are serious and that
> random encounters CAN kill them.

Oh yes, kill PCs to make a point. How mature.

Brandon
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 5:08:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

copeab@yahoo.com wrote:
> DougL wrote:
> >
> > If you were going to fudge duration on the paralysis is the right
> > spot, but I would let them fight it out. 3rd level, they only have
> > a few months invested (at most) in these characters, when where
> > they'll be a BETTER time to let them know you are serious and that
> > random encounters CAN kill them.
>
> Oh yes, kill PCs to make a point. How mature.

Nope, kill the PCs because they lose a fight against a deadly
foe. If losing a fight against a deadly foe DOESN'T kill PCs then
you have missnamed the foe.

DougL
June 14, 2005 6:41:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Alien mind control rays made Waldo <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> write:
> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>
> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>
> ...
>
> My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
> they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
> staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
> 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
> here.
>
> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.

ghoul PC party!

--
\^\ // drow@bin.sh (CARRIER LOST) <http://www.bin.sh/&gt;
\ // - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
// \ X-Windows: More than enough rope
// \_\ -- Dude from DPAK
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 6:53:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

If you don't want to kill them you still have some options:

1. Delay for a round or two, while paralysis wears off. Hopefully you
didn't roll the duration in front of the players.
2. Introduce a minor villain controlling the ghouls...before I kill you
Mr. Bond...
3. Introduce a minor hero/villain who assists them.

I think introducing a minor RPG lede isn't bad, depending on the group.
If it's going to be a more epic game, lead-ins to long-term NPCs should
be introduced early. If it's a less-than-epic game, allow the PCs to
take the hits.

The fact that the ghouls got essentially a pounce attack, and were able
to hide from Detect Undead...you could leave that in there - some minor
cult has figured out some twisted stuff. Maybe the party will do
something with it, if they can survive.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 7:03:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

This is the classic case of when bad rolls happen to good players. A ghoul
is really not that tough of a creature, CR1, and with the fortitude save
being a 12 on the paralysis, even a wizard/sorc has a 50/50 chance of making
it with average stats at lvl 3.

If the party played it smart, I would fudge it to some degree. Maybe have
one of the ghouls disengage and try to carry off one of the other payalyzied
players giving the warrior an atk of opp on it. Or even fudge the rounds the
cleric is paralysed for so he can pull off a turn attempt.

The only real "flaw" I see with what happened is in the suprise round you
stated the ghouls "charged and attacked", nitpicking here, but in the
suprise round you can only perform single standard action; they could have
moved to melee range, or if in melee range at the time of detection launched
a single attack, but not a full attack of claw/claw/bite as this is a full
round action and certainly not a charge as defined by the rules since that
is also a full round action.

If there was an error made in the initial round of action and the game play
has been froze till next session at the point the warrior is going solo, you
might want to rerun the initial round keeping a closer eye on the suprise
round rules. I know when I first started DMing with the 3rd and 3.5 rules, a
few combats where funkiness and things that make you go "ummm" happened was
usally due to an error I had made and we tried to do a lil rewind in the
game play. If you don't feel like doing the rewind you could have the ghouls
do 2 rounds of a single standard action to make up for it also.

Just remember my golden rule of gameplay as the DM. "Make the players sweat,
swear, pull out their hair, and pray to their dice, but don't Gygax them
unless they do something of Quayleian proportions."

"Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1118755162.116580.292710@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>
> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 7:03:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Kirk Janetzke" <janetzke@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
news:8lCre.52174$PR6.14240@tornado.texas.rr.com...
> Just remember my golden rule of gameplay as the DM. "Make the players
sweat,
> swear, pull out their hair, and pray to their dice, but don't Gygax them
> unless they do something of Quayleian proportions."

"Gygax them"...? I can infer from the context what it means, but I'm
curious to know the etymology of that particular reference.

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 7:08:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

The cleric prepared ahead of time with Detect Undead. Sure,
technically there was a chance the ghouls would not appear within the
cone of detection. However, as a good sport DM, just let it work and
they detect the ghouls. You don't have to let them automatically
surprise the ghouls. You could make it a roll to surprise them or just
forgo it and not have any surprise - the ghouls notice them too - as
"payment" for the spell automatically detecting them.

Gerald Katz
June 14, 2005 7:31:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Alien mind control rays made Kirk Janetzke <janetzke@austin.rr.com> write:
> The only real "flaw" I see with what happened is in the suprise round you
> stated the ghouls "charged and attacked", nitpicking here, but in the
> suprise round you can only perform single standard action; they could have
> moved to melee range, or if in melee range at the time of detection launched
> a single attack,

they can still charge if they're within a single move of the party.

"If you are able to take only a standard action or a move action on
your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up
to your speed (instead of up to double your speed). You can't use
this option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard
action or move action on your turn."

--
\^\ // drow@bin.sh (CARRIER LOST) <http://www.bin.sh/&gt;
\ // - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
// \ X-Windows: It could be worse... but it'll take time.
// \_\ -- Dude from DPAK
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 8:18:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1118755162.116580.292710@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two fail
> their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.
>
> First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The ghouls
> attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.
>
> The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
> injuring but not killing it.

Ghoul paralysis only lasts 1d4+1 rounds. Tick one round off for the two
paralyzed in the surprise round.

> Now what?
>
> A 3rd level fighter has a less-than-even chance of killing three ghouls
> before being chewed to pieces.

His best strategy is to delay until his companions start to recover if the
Ghouls are concentrating on him. Either flee or crank up the Combat
Expertise and fight defensively or fight with total defence.

> (Without the ghouls' paralysis power,
> it's about an even match, but the fighter will probably have to make
> 6-8 saving throws in a row without failing once. His odds of doing
> this once are about 0.8, but six times = 0.8^6, or about 26%. Add to
> that the ghouls' roughly even chance of ripping him up in straight
> combat -- they're smart enough to flank him -- and we have a ~90%
> chance of TPK on a stupid random encounter.
>
> My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
> they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
> staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
> 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
> here.
>
> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.

I would let the dice decide.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 8:26:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Kirk Janetzke" <janetzke@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
news:8lCre.52174$PR6.14240@tornado.texas.rr.com...

> The only real "flaw" I see with what happened is in the suprise round
you
> stated the ghouls "charged and attacked", nitpicking here, but in the
> suprise round you can only perform single standard action; they could
have
> moved to melee range, or if in melee range at the time of detection
launched
> a single attack, but not a full attack of claw/claw/bite as this is a
full
> round action and certainly not a charge as defined by the rules since
that
> is also a full round action.

You can charge (which involves movement and an attack) as a standard
action if restricted to them on your turn. A surprise round obviously
restricts you to a standard action and this situation is, therefore,
perfectly legal.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 8:26:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

You're right, I forgot that you can charge in the suprise round but are
limited to your base movement.

"Symbol" <jb70@talk21.com> wrote in message
news:AaWdneO57IGlajPfRVnysQ@pipex.net...
>
> "Kirk Janetzke" <janetzke@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
> news:8lCre.52174$PR6.14240@tornado.texas.rr.com...
>
>> The only real "flaw" I see with what happened is in the suprise round
> you
>> stated the ghouls "charged and attacked", nitpicking here, but in the
>> suprise round you can only perform single standard action; they could
> have
>> moved to melee range, or if in melee range at the time of detection
> launched
>> a single attack, but not a full attack of claw/claw/bite as this is a
> full
>> round action and certainly not a charge as defined by the rules since
> that
>> is also a full round action.
>
> You can charge (which involves movement and an attack) as a standard
> action if restricted to them on your turn. A surprise round obviously
> restricts you to a standard action and this situation is, therefore,
> perfectly legal.
>
>
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 8:26:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Kirk Janetzke" <janetzke@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
news:GQCre.52542$PR6.42744@tornado.texas.rr.com...
> You're right, I forgot that you can charge in the suprise round but are
> limited to your base movement.

On the other hand, the 60' range of Detect Undead should have allowed an
easy, careful sweep of the area as the party advanced, and likely would have
resulted in detection prior to entering partial charge range.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 8:30:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"pluther" <pluther@usa.net> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:1118757063.467687.59620@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
>
> Waldo wrote:
> > Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
> >
> > A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> > They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> > character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>
> ...
>
> > Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
> > ghouls. Okay.
>
> ...
>
> > The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two fail
> > their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.
> >
> > First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The ghouls
> > attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.
> >
> > The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
> > injuring but not killing it.
> >
> > Now what?
>
> ...
>
> > My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
> > they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
> > staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
> > 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
> > here.
> >
> > I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.
>
> That's kind of a tough one.
> But, if the ghouls are smart enough to flank him, they're smart enough
> to run when the battle goes against them.
>
> I'd probably fake a couple of rolls, declaring they miss even if the
> rolls indicate otherwise.
>
> Then, when the fighter has killed one, and wounded another, they decide
> the fight is too tough for them, and run off.
>
> He's now got to get his three companions out of there, with the ghouls
> still lurking in the fog somewhere. So you still get lots of suspense,
> but without killing the whole party over a couple of bad rolls.
>
> I'd do it differently though if they went in without a Cleric, or were
> just being stupid somehow, but like you pointed out, they shouldn't all
> die over a bad roll...
>
> -Pat

It might also be a good idea on the fighter's part to lure the ghouls away
from the rest of the party and try to lose them in the fog. How long does
the paralysis last?
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 8:41:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Markus Schäfer wrote:
> "pluther" <pluther@usa.net> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
> news:1118757063.467687.59620@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>>
>>
>> Waldo wrote:
>>> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>>>
>>> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at
>>> night. They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately
>>> prepared; one character has Detect Undead turned on and is
>>> concentrating.
>>
>> ...
>>
>>> Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3.
>>> Three ghouls. Okay.
>>
>> ...
>>
>>> The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two
>>> fail their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.
>>>
>>> First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The
>>> ghouls attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.
>>>
>>> The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
>>> injuring but not killing it.
>>>
>>> Now what?
>>
>> ...
>>
>>> My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong.
>>> If they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the
>>> fighter staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But
>>> that's still a 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit
>>> reluctant to kill them here.
>>>
>>> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.
>>
>> That's kind of a tough one.
>> But, if the ghouls are smart enough to flank him, they're smart
>> enough to run when the battle goes against them.
>>
>> I'd probably fake a couple of rolls, declaring they miss even if the
>> rolls indicate otherwise.
>>
>> Then, when the fighter has killed one, and wounded another, they
>> decide the fight is too tough for them, and run off.
>>
>> He's now got to get his three companions out of there, with the
>> ghouls still lurking in the fog somewhere. So you still get lots of
>> suspense, but without killing the whole party over a couple of bad
>> rolls.
>>
>> I'd do it differently though if they went in without a Cleric, or
>> were just being stupid somehow, but like you pointed out, they
>> shouldn't all die over a bad roll...
>>
>> -Pat
>
> It might also be a good idea on the fighter's part to lure the ghouls
> away from the rest of the party and try to lose them in the fog. How
> long does the paralysis last?

1d4+1 rounds. There's the best fudge-factor - give the Cleric the minimum
paralysis duration. He got hit in the surprise round, one round has passed,
he'll be mobile again after the next initiative of the ghoul that paralysed
him.

--
Mark.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 8:45:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Kirk Janetzke wrote:
> The only real "flaw" I see with what happened is in the suprise round
> you stated the ghouls "charged and attacked", nitpicking here, but in
> the suprise round you can only perform single standard action; they
> could have moved to melee range, or if in melee range at the time of
> detection launched a single attack, but not a full attack of
> claw/claw/bite as this is a full round action and certainly not a
> charge as defined by the rules since that is also a full round action.

From the SRD: "If you are able to take only a standard action or a move
action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move
up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed). You can’t use this
option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard action or move
action on your turn."

So the ghouls could charge, so long as they were within 30 feet of their
targets.

--
Mark.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 8:45:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Mark Blunden" <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote in message
news:3h8ccaFfsgvkU1@individual.net...
> Kirk Janetzke wrote:
> > The only real "flaw" I see with what happened is in the suprise round
> > you stated the ghouls "charged and attacked", nitpicking here, but in
> > the suprise round you can only perform single standard action; they
> > could have moved to melee range, or if in melee range at the time of
> > detection launched a single attack, but not a full attack of
> > claw/claw/bite as this is a full round action and certainly not a
> > charge as defined by the rules since that is also a full round action.
>
> From the SRD: "If you are able to take only a standard action or a move
> action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to
move
> up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed). You can't use this
> option unless you are restricted to taking only a standard action or move
> action on your turn."
>
> So the ghouls could charge, so long as they were within 30 feet of their
> targets.

You know, it's possible that the original poster simply misspoke...

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 9:45:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Silveraxe wrote:

> Waldo wrote:
>
>>Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>>
>>A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
>>
>>I've already decided that they'll get a random encounter roll every
>>half hour, and have prepared a chart of appropriate CR encounters.
>>
>>Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
>>ghouls. Okay.
>
>
> Waldo is playing 3.*0*
> Ghouls in 3E are seriously under-CR-ed (in 3.5E too, but a little less
> so.)

Ahh! Yes Ghouls are a bitch in 3.0.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 10:42:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo wrote:
> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>
> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>
> I've already decided that they'll get a random encounter roll every
> half hour, and have prepared a chart of appropriate CR encounters.
>
> Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
> ghouls. Okay.
>
> I decide there's a 50% chance the Detect Undead will pick them up.
> (It's a cone-shaped emanation, and they could be off to one side.) I
> roll and it doesn't. I have the ghouls Hiding in the fog. Roll
> opposed Spot and Hide checks. One PC (the cleric) spots the ghouls,
> the others not. All the ghouls beat the cleric on initiative, though,
> so we have a surprise round where the ghouls go first.
>
> The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two fail
> their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.
>
> First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The ghouls
> attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.
>
> The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
> injuring but not killing it.
>
> Now what?
>
> A 3rd level fighter has a less-than-even chance of killing three ghouls
> before being chewed to pieces. (Without the ghouls' paralysis power,
> it's about an even match, but the fighter will probably have to make
> 6-8 saving throws in a row without failing once. His odds of doing
> this once are about 0.8, but six times = 0.8^6, or about 26%. Add to
> that the ghouls' roughly even chance of ripping him up in straight
> combat -- they're smart enough to flank him -- and we have a ~90%
> chance of TPK on a stupid random encounter.
>
> My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
> they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
> staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
> 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
> here.
>
> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.
>
>
> Waldo
>
Since ghouls are Chaotic Evil, it's entirely in character for them to
start squabbling
among themselves over who gets the juciest, meatiest targer. Maybe two
of the ghouls
get into a fight with each other, ignoring the figheter and third
ghoul. IF the fighter
clocks the third ghoul, he can then maybe get the drop on the squabblers
and take them
out while they're occupied. That's less cheesy to me than just faking
missed die rolls,
but it's up to you.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 10:48:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Clawhound wrote:
> Waldo wrote:
>
>> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>>
>> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
>> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
>> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>>
>> I've already decided that they'll get a random encounter roll every
>> half hour, and have prepared a chart of appropriate CR encounters.
>>
>> Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
>> ghouls. Okay.
>>
>> I decide there's a 50% chance the Detect Undead will pick them up.
>> (It's a cone-shaped emanation, and they could be off to one side.) I
>> roll and it doesn't. I have the ghouls Hiding in the fog. Roll
>> opposed Spot and Hide checks. One PC (the cleric) spots the ghouls,
>> the others not. All the ghouls beat the cleric on initiative, though,
>> so we have a surprise round where the ghouls go first.
>>
>> The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two fail
>> their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.
>>
>> First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The ghouls
>> attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.
>>
>> The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
>> injuring but not killing it.
>>
>> Now what?
>>
>> A 3rd level fighter has a less-than-even chance of killing three ghouls
>> before being chewed to pieces. (Without the ghouls' paralysis power,
>> it's about an even match, but the fighter will probably have to make
>> 6-8 saving throws in a row without failing once. His odds of doing
>> this once are about 0.8, but six times = 0.8^6, or about 26%. Add to
>> that the ghouls' roughly even chance of ripping him up in straight
>> combat -- they're smart enough to flank him -- and we have a ~90%
>> chance of TPK on a stupid random encounter.
>>
>> My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
>> they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
>> staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
>> 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
>> here.
>>
>> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.
>>
>>
>> Waldo
>>
>
> This is why fudging is a useful tool for the DM. (In my simple
> philosophy, all the "hated" tools are useful when used with judgement
> and discretion.)
>
> First, I would have fudged by rewarding their vigilance and giving them
> bonuses to spot and initiative. Secondly, the ghouls are more dangerous
> than their threat ranking makes them. The party should never have faced
> three. Two Ghouls are a CR3 vs a 4 person party. (1 ghoul = CR1, 2
> ghouls = CR3). Since they are only three characters, not four, the fight
> is actually touger. That makes this random encounter a dangerous to
> deadly encounter.

You're confusing CR with EL. The ghouls don't change their CR by being in
a group, the encounter changes its level.

> Random encounters should be CR 1-3, but no higher. You want your
> characters able to encouter the pre-set encounters, and not getting
> chewed up in the random encounters. Since they are only a three person
> party, a CR 1-2 is the appropriate range.
>
> Now, to answer your question. I would have made (fudged) the ghouls into
> being pre-injured. They would miss the fighter on his round. He will
> hopefully hit, and kill the weakest one. The ghouls will then retreat.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 11:01:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jimmer wrote:
> If you don't want to kill them you still have some options:
>
> 1. Delay for a round or two, while paralysis wears off. Hopefully you
> didn't roll the duration in front of the players.
> 2. Introduce a minor villain controlling the ghouls...before I kill you
> Mr. Bond...
> 3. Introduce a minor hero/villain who assists them.
>
> I think introducing a minor RPG lede isn't bad, depending on the group.
> If it's going to be a more epic game, lead-ins to long-term NPCs should
> be introduced early. If it's a less-than-epic game, allow the PCs to
> take the hits.
>
> The fact that the ghouls got essentially a pounce attack, and were able
> to hide from Detect Undead...you could leave that in there - some minor
> cult has figured out some twisted stuff. Maybe the party will do
> something with it, if they can survive.
>

And the more I think about it, the more I think that the party SHOULD be
given
some help here. They did everything right, including using Detect Undead to
get advance warning. I think I'd have just said that the party detected
them
regardless of the 50% chance the original poster imposed; I'd assume
they were
acting intelligently and let them detect the ghouls in advance, negating
surprise.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 11:03:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Hadsil wrote:
> The cleric prepared ahead of time with Detect Undead. Sure,
> technically there was a chance the ghouls would not appear within the
> cone of detection. However, as a good sport DM, just let it work and
> they detect the ghouls. You don't have to let them automatically
> surprise the ghouls. You could make it a roll to surprise them or just
> forgo it and not have any surprise - the ghouls notice them too - as
> "payment" for the spell automatically detecting them.
>
> Gerald Katz
>

Since Detect Undead doesn't tell you the type, it's fair to say that the
element
of surprise could still be there as the party doesn't know *what* will
be drifting
out of the fog at them. I agree, if the party is being smart and using
their Detect
spells, don't penalize them.
Anonymous
June 14, 2005 11:16:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In article <h5SdnZV9TfAAkjLfRVn-hQ@comcast.com>,
Jeff Goslin <autockr@comcast.net> wrote:
>"Kirk Janetzke" <janetzke@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
>news:8lCre.52174$PR6.14240@tornado.texas.rr.com...
>> Just remember my golden rule of gameplay as the DM. "Make the players
>sweat,
>> swear, pull out their hair, and pray to their dice, but don't Gygax them
>> unless they do something of Quayleian proportions."
>
>"Gygax them"...? I can infer from the context what it means, but I'm
>curious to know the etymology of that particular reference.

It involves inserting a pole-arm into a sensitive orifice.
--
Michael
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NPC rights activist | Nameless Abominations are people too.
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 12:22:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Gary Gygax was the innovator of the original DnD, aka Chainmail, and wrote
many a module where if the party made the simple mistake of choosing to go
down the wrong hallway first, they died. Some of his stuff was linear in
storyline, go here first and get this, then go there, but it allowed the
party to proceed down the wrong paths in design and break the linear
storyline.

One of the original Basic DnD moduels, B2: Keep on the Borderlands, was
deadly if you chose to start off with the wrong cave entrance. :) 

"Jeff Goslin" <autockr@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:h5SdnZV9TfAAkjLfRVn-hQ@comcast.com...
> "Kirk Janetzke" <janetzke@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
> news:8lCre.52174$PR6.14240@tornado.texas.rr.com...
>> Just remember my golden rule of gameplay as the DM. "Make the players
> sweat,
>> swear, pull out their hair, and pray to their dice, but don't Gygax them
>> unless they do something of Quayleian proportions."
>
> "Gygax them"...? I can infer from the context what it means, but I'm
> curious to know the etymology of that particular reference.
>
> --
> Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
> It's not a god complex when you're always right
>
>
>
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 12:32:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Werebat" <ranpoirier@cox.net> wrote in message
news:vULre.45148$iU.20232@lakeread05...

> Then a high-level cleric of Wee Jas appears and rebukes them, forcing them
> to service her for a time.

You really are a pervert, Ron.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 1:58:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Malachias Invictus wrote:
> "Werebat" <ranpoirier@cox.net> wrote in message
> news:vULre.45148$iU.20232@lakeread05...
>
>
>>Then a high-level cleric of Wee Jas appears and rebukes them, forcing them
>>to service her for a time.
>
>
> You really are a pervert, Ron.
>

It's that lesbi-lich he keep obsessing over...
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 2:12:26 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo wrote:
> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>
> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>
> I've already decided that they'll get a random encounter roll every
> half hour, and have prepared a chart of appropriate CR encounters.
>
> Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
> ghouls. Okay.
>
> I decide there's a 50% chance the Detect Undead will pick them up.

This is problem number one. The effect is a cone, but only a cretin
leaves the cone stationary ahead of him when moving it side to side is
so much more effective. Assumptions like this make cretins out of
smart PC's.

> (It's a cone-shaped emanation, and they could be off to one side.) I
> roll and it doesn't. I have the ghouls Hiding in the fog. Roll
> opposed Spot and Hide checks. One PC (the cleric) spots the ghouls,
> the others not. All the ghouls beat the cleric on initiative, though,
> so we have a surprise round where the ghouls go first.

Problem number 2 (a common one). Did the cleric shout, "Look,
ghouls!"? Did he point and gasp? If not, then why did the ghouls
choose that moment to attack? There is no magic light that goes off in
the hiding ghoul mind that says, "I just got spotted, so I must charge
now". If, on the other hand, the character did should or yell or warn
people then they should not be surprised.

> The ghouls charge and attack three PCs. All three are hit. Two fail
> their saves and are paralyzed... including the cleric. Whoops.
>
> First normal round, the free PCs roll badly on initiative. The ghouls
> attack again. A third PC is paralyzed. Uh oh.
>
> The fourth PC, a fighter, stands his ground and hits one ghoul,
> injuring but not killing it.
>
> Now what?
>
> A 3rd level fighter has a less-than-even chance of killing three ghouls
> before being chewed to pieces. (Without the ghouls' paralysis power,
> it's about an even match, but the fighter will probably have to make
> 6-8 saving throws in a row without failing once. His odds of doing
> this once are about 0.8, but six times = 0.8^6, or about 26%. Add to
> that the ghouls' roughly even chance of ripping him up in straight
> combat -- they're smart enough to flank him -- and we have a ~90%
> chance of TPK on a stupid random encounter.
>
> My problem with this is that the PCs haven't done anything wrong. If
> they'd been stupid... but they haven't. (Unless you count the fighter
> staying to fight, when he rationally ought to run. But that's still a
> 75% PK.) It's pure bad luck. So I'm a bit reluctant to kill them
> here.
>
> I know what I did, but what would you do IYC? I'm curious.

Looks like a situation you put yourself in. Myself, I'd play with
move. A ghoul is more likely to attack a parylized targe than a moving
one, and they're not exactly geniouses. Moving a ghoul toward the
imobile PC's will scare them and will give the fighter better odds
while you're at it. After that, it's up to him.
June 15, 2005 3:57:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Anivair wrote:

> This is problem number one. The effect is a cone, but only a cretin
> leaves the cone stationary ahead of him when moving it side to side is
> so much more effective. Assumptions like this make cretins out of
> smart PC's.

This is about the 5th post saying the Detect spell should have picked
them up.

No. It's a CONE. If it was supposed to be a 60' radius, it would say
so in the spell description. And if you could turn it into a radius by
perpetually dancing around in circles, so that it worked like a high
speed radar sweep... well, that would mean it wasn't really a cone any
more, wouldn't it.

Yes, you can sweep it from side to side. But the sweep speed can never
be more than one quadrant per round. So if you want to Detect in a 60'
radius -- you can, but you'll need four rounds to do it.

The PCs were well aware of this aspect of the spell. I even told them
they could have full radius coverage if they were willing to move at
1/4 speed. (Sweep sweep sweep, move and sweep.) Since the party
included a dwarf in heavy armor, they decided against this. Reasonable
IMO.

When the ghouls showed up, there was a 1/4 chance of the Detect picking
them up. (Since they were moving, and so could appear behind or any
side of the party.) I decided that since the spell's radius was 60',
and the ghouls would need a round to get within 30' of the party, there
would be two chances for a sweep to pick them up. Strictly speaking I
should have rolled 25% twice, but I just rolled 50% instead. (Which
actually gices a slightly better chance of success.)


> Problem number 2 (a common one). Did the cleric shout, "Look,
> ghouls!"? Did he point and gasp? If not, then why did the ghouls
> choose that moment to attack? There is no magic light that goes off in
> the hiding ghoul mind that says, "I just got spotted, so I must charge
> now".

They spent a round getting into charging range, then they charged.


Waldo
June 15, 2005 4:04:50 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Silveraxe wrote:

> Waldo is playing 3.*0*

Not any more. But we were then, yeah.


> Ghouls in 3E are seriously under-CR-ed

I agree. But this is a problem of game design, not play.

At the time, we had only been playing 3.0 for a couple of months. We
definitely didn't know all the ins and outs. And I remember reading
the ghoul entry and thinking, damn, that CR seems kinda low.

But you can't catch every problem like this before you start playing.


> Three ghouls are more like an EL 5 encounter. It's at night (they have
> darkvision, the PCs don't)

They had a dwarf. (No elf.)

I would call this an EL 4 encounter, though assigning ELs is an art not
a science.


Waldo
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 6:36:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo wrote:
> Silveraxe wrote:
>
> > Ghouls in 3E are seriously under-CR-ed
>
> I agree. But this is a problem of game design, not play.

Problems "of game design, not play" are THE perfect candidates for
"Oops, this is broken. Let's do this again differently!" solutions.

Silveraxe.
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 6:50:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Silveraxe wrote:
> I wouldn't have thrown three ghouls at a level 3 party as a random
> encounter.
> If I did, I'd stop when the whole party's paralyzed and say
> "Daaamn! They're too tough for CR1. That's what I get for believing the
> MM. Let's backtrack! Three *zombies* appear out of the fog and attack!"

I approve of this method of handling it. If there's a _realistic_ way
to let the party survive, use that. If there isn't then I think
candidly admitting that you made a mistake and backtracking is better
than transparently fudging stuff.

I don't think the party should be killed off. They've done nothing
wrong, and getting TPK'ed by wandering monsters is very humiliating.

Laszlo
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 6:54:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Waldo wrote:
> Spinoff from the recent thread on fudging. An example from MC.
>
> A group of 4 3rd-level PCs are exploring a foggy battlefield at night.
> They reasonably expect undead and are appropriately prepared; one
> character has Detect Undead turned on and is concentrating.
>
> I've already decided that they'll get a random encounter roll every
> half hour, and have prepared a chart of appropriate CR encounters.
>
> Sure enough, I roll a random encounter: 1d3 ghouls. Roll a 3. Three
> ghouls. Okay.
>
> I decide there's a 50% chance the Detect Undead will pick them up.
> (It's a cone-shaped emanation, and they could be off to one side.) I
> roll and it doesn't. I have the ghouls Hiding in the fog. Roll
> opposed Spot and Hide checks. One PC (the cleric) spots the ghouls,
> the others not. All the ghouls beat the cleric on initiative, though,
> so we have a surprise round where the ghouls go first.

<snip>

I'd probably go with Silveraxe's solution. It's kind of a bitter pill,
but probably better than the alternatives.

On the other hand, please note that you seem to have forgotten to roll
Move Silently/Listen checks. The only legitimate reason for that would
be if the ghouls were waiting in ambush for the adventurers, not
silently moving in for the kill in the fog. In that case, though, the
cone of Detect Undead should have picked them up easily.

Laszlo
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 7:31:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Mr. M.J. Lush" wrote ...
> Jeff Goslin <autockr@comcast.net> wrote:
> >"Gygax them"...? I can infer from the context what it means, but I'm
> >curious to know the etymology of that particular reference.
>
> It involves inserting a pole-arm into a sensitive orifice.

What, like the back of a Volkswagon?
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 7:31:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Chris Dudley" <eolas@prodigy.net> wrote in message
news:giNre.3512$on5.2002@newssvr19.news.prodigy.com...
>
> "Mr. M.J. Lush" wrote ...
>> Jeff Goslin <autockr@comcast.net> wrote:
>> >"Gygax them"...? I can infer from the context what it means, but I'm
>> >curious to know the etymology of that particular reference.
>>
>> It involves inserting a pole-arm into a sensitive orifice.
>
> What, like the back of a Volkswagon?

That was positively surreal.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 8:15:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Jimmer" wrote
> 2. Introduce a minor villain controlling the ghouls...before I kill you
> Mr. Bond...

"... I'll explain exactly why I had my ghouls prowling a foggy battlefield
at night looking for PCs."

> 3. Introduce a minor hero/villain who assists them.

This is what I would do, assuming none of the players punched me in the
mouth for letting ghouls sneak up on them when they were so well-prepared
and expecting undead. Maybe fudge dice for a round or two, give the fighter
something to sweat about, then have a higher level cleric destroy the undead
and rescue the party, and oh, could they help him find this item he let a
petitioner carry into battle?
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 8:15:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Chris Dudley" <eolas@prodigy.net> wrote in message
news:_XNre.581$_K4.578@newssvr31.news.prodigy.com...

> This is what I would do, assuming none of the players punched me in the
> mouth for letting ghouls sneak up on them when they were so well-prepared
> and expecting undead.

A good point, that.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
June 15, 2005 11:57:28 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

What I did.

Thinking fast, I decided that the ghouls were after fresh, warm meat.
So I had just one of them attack the fighter, while the other two
attacked prone party members.

I ruled that the ghouls wouldn't do a coup de grace. After all, their
paralysis lasts for minutes, and a chaotic evil creature would probably
enjoy eating something paralyzed but still alive. So, I said, they
simply picked up an arbitrary limb and started chewing, automatically
hitting for d6+1 every round. They started gnawing on the cleric and
the halfling rogue. Since these guys had about 18 and 10 hp each,
respectively, I figured they'd be good for a couple of rounds.

(To make it more interesting and raise the anxiety level, I cranked up
the flavor text. "Mumbling and slobbering, the ghoul raises your
paralyzed arm. Wrinkled lips draw back from long yellow teeth. Then,
with a snarl..." Seemed to work. The cleric, in particular, got
almost hysterical when I described the ghoul "sort of rooting around on
your torso, trying to stick its snout under your armor to get at a soft
bit." I don't usually go for the gross-out, but I figured I needed a
distraction.)

Then I fudged the attack rolls of the ghoul attacking the fighter.
Yep. I just figured the party deserved a break. To my relief, the
fighter dropped the ghoul with his next blow. "Hm, maybe your luck is
turning."

After that it was relatively easy; the fighter attacked the ghoul that
was devouring the halfling, and killed it in two or three rounds. The
ghoul that was trying to eat the cleric howled in frustration and ran
away. IMS the fighter had to roll one more save -- a nervous moment
that had the whole party leaning over the table -- but made it.

Cleric and halfling were both down to negs (the halfling was down to -8
or so) but they had a healing potion; that got the cleric back up, he
healed the halfling, and they proceeded from there. IMS I ruled that
the halfling was left with some interesting scars on his arm

So I nerfed *and* fudged. In my defense, the players remembered it
long afterwards as one of the campaign's scariest and most memorable
combats. Again, this goes to my "point is to have fun" philosophy.
YMMV.


Waldo
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 12:55:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Rupert Boleyn wrote:
> On 15 Jun 2005 02:50:24 -0700, laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu carved upon
> a tablet of ether:
>
> > I don't think the party should be killed off. They've done nothing
> > wrong, and getting TPK'ed by wandering monsters is very humiliating.
>
> That depends on the wandering monsters. Ever looked at the
> Undermountian wandering monster tables? Even the first level had
> things like 1d4+2 ogres or 1d6 trolls. To make matters more fun, if
> you made noise (as you tended to when fighting those trolls) the GM
> got to roll on another table, and it had things like 1d4+4 trolls.
> IIRC some of the supposedly successful NPCs who'd got their fame and
> fortune were 4-6th level, and when we went down there at that sort of
> level, we had a great time - running.

Actually, stuff like that can be fun sometimes. I enjoy playing very
deadly games, where you have to know when to run.

But players should have advance warning of such scenarios, and if I
knew I was playing THAT kind of game, I sure wouldn't go into a foggy
graveyard without a lot of precautions.

Laszlo
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 1:01:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<copeab@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1118778571.915997.118990@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> DougL wrote:
> >
> > If you were going to fudge duration on the paralysis is the right
> > spot, but I would let them fight it out. 3rd level, they only have
> > a few months invested (at most) in these characters, when where
> > they'll be a BETTER time to let them know you are serious and that
> > random encounters CAN kill them.
>
> Oh yes, kill PCs to make a point. How mature.

Non sequitur, as usual. Why can't you ever just address what someone
writes instead of second guessing their motivation? You lack the
intelligence to ever pull this off successfully.
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 1:09:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

DougL wrote:
> copeab@yahoo.com wrote:
> > DougL wrote:
> > >
> > > If you were going to fudge duration on the paralysis is the right
> > > spot, but I would let them fight it out. 3rd level, they only have
> > > a few months invested (at most) in these characters, when where
> > > they'll be a BETTER time to let them know you are serious and that
> > > random encounters CAN kill them.
> >
> > Oh yes, kill PCs to make a point. How mature.
>
> Nope, kill the PCs because they lose a fight against a deadly
> foe.

Deadly foes shouldn't randomly appear without chance of the PCs being
able to run away.

Brandon
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 1:13:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Symbol wrote:
> <copeab@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:1118778571.915997.118990@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > DougL wrote:
> > >
> > > If you were going to fudge duration on the paralysis is the right
> > > spot, but I would let them fight it out. 3rd level, they only have
> > > a few months invested (at most) in these characters, when where
> > > they'll be a BETTER time to let them know you are serious and that
> > > random encounters CAN kill them.
> >
> > Oh yes, kill PCs to make a point. How mature.
>
> Non sequitur, as usual.

Nope. He said the players need to be shown the DM is serious by the DM
killing the characters.

I'm not even going to comment on him implying that D&D characters are
disposable.

> Why can't you ever just address what someone
> writes instead of second guessing their motivation?

Because what he writes is an offensive type of DMing.

Brandon
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 1:28:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"DougL" <doug.lampert@tdytsi.com> wrote in message
news:1118765955.424739.173210@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Symbol wrote:

> > His best strategy is to delay until his companions start to recover if
the
> > Ghouls are concentrating on him. Either flee or crank up the Combat
> > Expertise and fight defensively or fight with total defence.
>
> Yep, if he has Expertise and fights defensively he can likely hold out.

This is a favourite tactic of mine for some melee builds. Sometimes you
want to turn yourself into a road block or serious speed bump to allow
your party members time to react. Looking at my last character of this
type he took CE at 3rd level, had a Dex 14, wore a Breastplate and carried
a Heavy Shield (changed to light armour and light shield at later levels
and rode a Warhorse so medium armour move penalties weren't such a big
deal). Using the tactics described his AC without any buffs would have
been 24. Even the flanking ghouls would have needed natural 20s.
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 1:30:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Some Guy" <someguy@thedoor.gov> wrote in message
news:bILre.267$X71.120@fed1read07...
> Waldo wrote:

> Since ghouls are Chaotic Evil, it's entirely in character for them to
> start squabbling
> among themselves over who gets the juciest, meatiest targer. Maybe two
> of the ghouls
> get into a fight with each other, ignoring the figheter and third
> ghoul. IF the fighter
> clocks the third ghoul, he can then maybe get the drop on the squabblers
> and take them
> out while they're occupied. That's less cheesy to me than just faking
> missed die rolls,
> but it's up to you.

Which is a bit like saying that cheddar is less cheesy than stilton. Int
13 monsters squabbling over meat while their foe is still standing....
Anonymous
June 15, 2005 3:31:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In article <bILre.267$X71.120@fed1read07>, someguy@thedoor.gov says...


> Since ghouls are Chaotic Evil, it's entirely in character for them to start squabbling
> among themselves over who gets the juciest, meatiest targer. Maybe two of the ghouls
> get into a fight with each other, ignoring the figheter and third ghoul. IF the fighter
> clocks the third ghoul, he can then maybe get the drop on the squabblers and take them
> out while they're occupied. That's less cheesy to me than just faking missed die rolls,
> but it's up to you.

IMO, it's even more cheezy.

If you fake rolls well (i.e. so that the players don't see it, and in
moderation) they won't actually know you faked them.

If you suddenly have ghouls start squabbling among themselves, it's
utterly obvious you're saying "I could kill you now, but I don't wanna".
Unless it's reasonably common IYC for monsters to squabble like that,
even when you're not just trying to give the players a break, which is
extremely rare IME.

Not that there's anything wrong with the latter, really. Some players
would rather be aware that the DM intentionally let them off the hook
using an in-game mechanism, than even suspect that he let them off the
hook by fudging.

The best solution here really depends on what your target audience is
like, I think.

My preferred order of solutions would be:

1) Have something happen that saves the PCs' hides (they get captured,
they get rescued by the cavalry, ghouls unexpectedly explode when the
fighter touches them, whatever) and then twist it into a mini-subplot
and pretend it was my plan all along. "Why, yes, I was trying to drop
you a hint that you're now a Chosen of the Sun, and your touch destroys
undead!"

2) Fudge, with the player's being as unaware of it as possible.

3) Have the ghouls retreat, attack each other or do something else which
they could reasonably do and which gives the PCs the much needed break,
but which they really wouldn't if I weren't trying to save the PCs.


--
Jasin Zujovic
jzujovic@inet.hr
!