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  #1  
Old Feb 5th, 2023, 04:54 PM
Aldon Aldon is offline
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Aldon Aldon
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Feel Sad, Bring Wisdom

Hey guys! I am hoping someone can offer me some words of wisdom around what I am facing in my current campaign (which I am playing on Discord and not connected to this site in any way).

We have been playing together since October. It is my first campaign. I am new to D&D and I am playing a halfing ranger and he's so much fun and my first ever character. He's level 3 I have been really enjoying this game, the plot, the combat and the other characters. The game moves slowly but we are quite relaxed and do mostly RP with very limited combat that so far has been so insanely easy that my ranger has only used a dagger, done 5 damage in total, killed no one and I am having the best time! XD

Last session, my level 3 ranger was 1 shot perma-killed by a creature that rolled 89 damage in 1 attack. I had max HP of 34. It was also the first time my character ever took damage in this campaign.

The dice roll was viewed by everyone on foundry so its legitimacy can't be questioned. As soon as the damage roll landed, I explained the roll perma-killed me, and immediately the DM said "oh ****, wait," and then basically ended the combat, made the overpowered creature flee and determined I was just in down-state.

It felt very weird. But I went with that because the alternative was my character died facing a creature so much stronger than our party it didn't seem fair. The DM explained he was only using that particular creature to try and down everyone so we would get captured as part of the next story arc. (question: surely there are safer ways to do this such as incapacitating us with like a poison dart?)

The problem is...

I now feel like I am playing a corpse... I like to follow rules and I also want to feel confident that my DM follows rules. Yet at the same time, I want the rules to be applied fairly and not see my beloved character die due to DM oversight and bad decision-making (which he admitted and was honest about). That creature had the ability to do 367 damage per turn...

We just had a our first session since that incident yesterday and I felt really off. I was trying to play it off as my character is traumatised and I've given heaps of permanent disadvantages to my character's dexterity to try and incorporate the severity of the roll without accepting its true consequences. My dex dropped from 16 to 9 and my movement from 30ft to 20ft. I now have disadvantage on all dex skill checks and saving throws. I am actually excited to try and play with these limitations, if I am completely honest.

But it has put me in a weird funk with the whole game.

To be clear, I don't think it would make me feel better to kill off my halfing and re-roll. I would probably just leave the campaign to be honest. But has anyone ever dealt with a situation like this before and is there any advise you can offer to help me get over myself and back to enjoying this campaign?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old Feb 6th, 2023, 10:06 PM
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If I remember correctly, there's a rule in DnD 5e that says if you make a melee attack that would take a person to 0 HP, you can say it was non-lethal, so it's meant to be a knockout blow, not a kill shot.

I'd ask the DM if that's an optional rule, and if so, why wasn't it used. You can just say you're still learning DnD and combat and such.

The Dex drop by 9 combined with the disadvantage is overkill. You'll be just biding time til someone with a fireball or lightning bolt comes along and you're possibly a bit toasty. Accept one penalty if you must, but not both.

Really though, a DM that throws a monster that can do 89 damage in one attack at a third level party member, and could do hundreds more in a turn, is either brand new to the game...or just a jerk. Ok, maybe they just misjudged the Challenge Rating of the monster...but really it just reads as your DM just wanted to kill a character. That attack would have zeroed any level 3 PC. Just straight up ask why your character got targeted. I don't know your party makeup, but I'm guessing the halfling with a dagger isn't the obvious threat in a monster's eyes. Yeah, feel free to ask why you got got.

Last edited by zevonian; Feb 6th, 2023 at 10:07 PM.
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 09:56 AM
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This is a pretty classic case of D&D being a low-quality RPG.

It was not a case of poor decision-making on your part or poor oversight on the DM's part. It's a case of garbage RPG design on the part of WotC. Their monster balance is famously worthless and their challenge-rating advice to DMs is lacking to the point of being irresponsible.

It's traumatic, because you want to play a good game with good rules that you feel you can interact with fairly. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen as long as you're playing D&D.

If you listen to people telling stories about the noteworthy experiences they've had playing D&D, almost everything they say fits into 4 categories:

A. Statistical Anomalies. You might not believe it, but this ridiculously improbable thing happened. This is usually paired with unhappiness among the DM, players, or everyone.

B. What the DM Let Me Get Away with/The Crazy Stuff a Player Tried to Get Away with and How I Punished Them for It. There's a lot of trying to not have to use the rules. Trying to not have to use the rules of D&D is one of the most widely enjoyed facets of the game. Almost as if the rules are terrible or at least insufficient to the task of telling the stories players want to tell.

C. I Had Fun with My Friends. A group of friends play a game together. You're probably going to have fun. There are a lot of poorly designed games out there that friends can enjoy playing together. They probably would've had more fun playing a better game together, unless they specifically enjoy playing higher-quality games as a novelty, the way some enjoy watching low-quality movies.

D. I Had Fun Tinkering with Character Builds/Theorizing Rules Situations. Lonesome fun is a major facet of RPG enjoyment. D&D and RPGs like it excel at providing this kind of fun. Whether you're trying to create the next Pun Pun or contemplating alternatives to the Peasant Railgun, it could be argued that playing around with the D&D rules is more fun than actually playing D&D.


Your situation falls squarely in example A.

The diagnosis: poorly designed RPG-induced trauma

Only known treatment: switch to higher-quality RPGs
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Last edited by orcbane; Feb 7th, 2023 at 10:12 AM.
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  #4  
Old Feb 7th, 2023, 11:35 AM
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While there is non-lethal attacks in 5e mentioned in the PHB, it is limited only to application to spell melee attacks tends to vary but mostly accepted.melee attacks. For a group of Lv3s, it becomes difficult to do as that is when you start getting access to subclass feats and spells that could easily counter-act most attempts to down you safely.

From my understanding of this situation, it sounded like the GM was attempting to pull a trope seen often in jrpgs in the 90s and 00s: Party encounters strong foe and is thrown into un-winnable combat. Its meant to remind the player that there are stronger foes in the world and despite being a 'hero' they are not the top of the food chain (yet).

This trope is hard to pull off in 5e and needs proper player buy-in before attempting. I've tried something similar before and quickly had egg on my face for it. Mostly due to 5e players follow a simple unstated logic: "If it has a stat block, it can die. We will fight it to the death!" Of course, there are always outliers but this tends to be the average.

That aside, your situation!:
You could do what orcbane suggested, there are hundreds of wonderful systems out there! If you like rules then pf2e might be more your cup of tea.

Other than that, talk with the GM. Turn that occurrence into something story related.
Maybe your character somehow tapped into a bit of clairvoyance. Or maybe they did die and a deal was made, one they can't recall and a debt will soon need to be paid?

DMs are humans and bound to make many many mistakes as we're often juggling a lot. A momentary lapse of recalling a rule can result in stuff like this. Retconning, handwaving, and/or alternative actions should always be on the table and ready to use if the party agrees it is needed.

Or, you can follow what orcbane suggested
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Old Feb 9th, 2023, 12:07 PM
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Personally, I think Retry's suggestion that your character did die and made a pact to come back is a stellar idea. Because it doesn't shy away from the incident that occurred, nor do you have to mechanically handicap yourself that heavy as a way of accepting the GM's rollback.

Now, there's not an easy answer to give for situations like this. Because you know yourself best, and not all answers will suit your particular case. But I will say that I have been in similiar situations where the DM or Storyteller didn't think something through right away, and it made some players unhappy with the consequences. Or vice versa, where a player acted out against the DM/Storyteller's and the players in a way that made the game unfun or stressful.

Rolling back a scene or ignoring the result of a die isn't inherently bad. Roleplaying games are ultimately about having fun. So, if a situation happens where the die or a mistake by a player/GM can ruin a session, there is no harm in stopping everything and changing how stuff plays out.

Recently, we did that with my World of Darkness group. A player, who wasn't feeling good that day, made a decision IC that would have irrevocably screwed the rest of the party. It made two of the players anxious, cuz it was very OOC, so we stopped playing and discussed the situation. The GM decided to abandon that scenario, and reroll the scene back so the player could make a different decision. And very coolly, we did have the original scenario remain canon as a horrifying nightmare/clairovayant dream for another PC.

Everybody ended up happy with the result, and we are still kicking arse with those characters today!

So, ultimately, I think my advice is to talk with your GM and your group as a whole. Explain your feelings and your uncertainity. Inform them that nobody did anything wrong, you've just hit a rut here. If this still bothers you after having an open communication with the group, and after making changes to the character that suit your taste, then it is okay to step away for when the next campaign comes around.

tl;dr when in doubt, communicate!
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Old Feb 11th, 2023, 10:06 PM
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It's just a mistake. DMs will make them, players will make them, and when that happens, they have to be able to say "woops, reset that, let's try again" and be forgiven. There isn't a game system out there that eliminates the possibility of human errors.

We may get deep into RP and game events feel real, but ultimately we're friends around a table playing a game, and if someone screws up, DM or player, and recognizes it, they should get some grace. Nobody wants to hurt the game. And the fear of not being perfect, or of doing something wrong, keeps lots of people from DMing.

To say, "DM, you made a mistake and put a powerful monster in a low level encounter. You have ruined everything for me and I can no longer play this campaign. In fact, I can no longer even play entire game system" is way overreacting.
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Last edited by lostcheerio; Feb 11th, 2023 at 10:08 PM.
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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 10:05 AM
Kayal Kayal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zevonian View Post
there's a rule in DnD 5e that says if you make a melee attack that would take a person to 0 HP, you can say it was non-lethal, so it's meant to be a knockout blow, not a kill shot.
That was my first thought, as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retry View Post
This trope is hard to pull off in 5e
Indeed it is. Non-lethal or a high level sleep spell might do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retry View Post
Or maybe they did die and a deal was made, one they can't recall and a debt will soon need to be paid?
That is a novel idea. I love it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retry View Post
DMs are humans and bound to make many many mistakes as we're often juggling a lot. A momentary lapse of recalling a rule can result in stuff like this. Retconning, handwaving, and/or alternative actions should always be on the table and ready to use if the party agrees it is needed.
This right here. I personally try not to retcon if too many other things have happened since the mistake, but I have no problem saying "wait, no, that's not right" when I catch a mistake right after it happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strangemund View Post
Rolling back a scene or ignoring the result of a die isn't inherently bad. Roleplaying games are ultimately about having fun. So, if a situation happens where the die or a mistake by a player/GM can ruin a session, there is no harm in stopping everything and changing how stuff plays out.
Well, it's not good, either. Lol. But it is sometimes necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lostcheerio View Post
There isn't a game system out there that eliminates the possibility of human errors.
Fair.
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