[D&D4e] Feeling defeated by the ruleset

Started by AzaLiN, May 10, 2009, 07:10:34 AM

Previous topic - Next topic



How about if the orcs, running low on food, decide to turn on the rogue (an outsider, not part of the clan), butcher him and eat him?  This will give you a chance to enjoy 4E's complex skirmish rules, as well as provide a valuable lesson to the rogue about the importance of team work.  I'd suggest allowing the other players to run the individual orcs in the combat rather than run it as a "side encounter" for just the rogue's player.  This gives your players the opportunity to "step on up" and exercise their gamist creative agenda, while you address the premise "How much loot does it take to shift one's loyalties?"

AzaLin wrote:
QuoteThat being said, 4e might not be for you. You might consider trying out other games for a bit.

Don't really have that option right now

Why not?  You seem to have a lot of time for gaming...why waste it on something that doesn't interest you?



Callan's right about directing things towards one or another outcome: its just that the rogue's caused a lot of problems and the only reason anybody wants to give him a hand getting out of it is because he's everyone's friend in real life. He nearly cost one character his beloved fief... they're not pleased with him. The players will have huge latitude in deciding what happens.

Landon, my players love 4e; it would take 2 months or more of [minor, passive-aggressive] bitching from them before a switch to another system could even start to show them what it could do. I don't think I'm exaggerating... They really like 4e. Your rogue-slap-eat plan is attractive though as a story element.

I haven't really enjoyed the last 5 or 6 sessions; on the Ars Ludi blog, Ben Robbins says that when a game goes badly, and the GM doesn't want to play anymore, it's usually the players' faults- but I'm not sure of that. That sounds like a cheat. I definitely am avoiding playing though. I'm tempted to cancel the game, but I shouldn't be. I don't even want to play a different RPG with them, even with a different GM, but I'm not sure whats burning me out so much.

Thanks for following this thread so far btw.

The games that went extremely well were combat heavy, dungeons, a trial by ordeal, a dragon hunt in a rioting city, a looting contest against gypsies in a ruined town with an underground complex... those were fun! But to run another similar scenario to those would kill me by boredom. There have been one or two other good ones since, one being the intro adventure to Lejendary Adventures by Gygax- a fake werewolf, an illusionary bear, drugs, negotiating with trolls and ogres, figuring out how to raid the stronghold, making peace with the townsfolk... that was pretty good, 2 players really liked it, but the other two were openly and extremely hostile to the scenario, so much that it ruined the fun for me (luckily not for the other 2 players, I think it was Bard's favorite by far).

The lousy sessions were roleplaying ones that the players didn't bite into, games that were fight-light, one that involved introducing some important NPCs for later (rogue got bored: poisoned them all, got party exiled. this was back near the start), outdoor exploring, anything plot/setting-centric (plot&setting apparently needs to be the sideline), anything sandbox-ish, dungeons without scaled encounters (partly a ruleset problem), and anything with more combatants than about 4 per side (4e rules make this painful); what else? linear dungeons of course are no good, but I only ran one of those; enemies who behave more intelligently than goblins cause stress, so regretfully I've been using dumber foes in response; games where I provide little direction, the rogue takes over, and while entertaining, he steals 80% of the show and everybody gets bored until something happens (a bang, I suppose you could say) to interrupt it- these games are a bit of a blur, but mostly involve him contracting a whore house in the fighter's fiefdom- come to think of it, they were really draining for some reason, gamist sessions with one player, one referee and 3 spectators;

I'm just throwing it out, cause I really don't want to play anymore, but I would really prefer to keep going and get my enthusiasm back.

PS: I think my gaming preferences, as I read more, are strong Sim competing with Narrativist, (agreed: the two approaches definitely butt heads at times) if that helps (I didn't realize at first that Sim applied to me ^^). I don't know.


In keeping with the other thread on stat-blocks and challenging players, I think that another issue is that most encounters/situations are stat-block determined- the players build great characters for it, and are tactically competent- but actually playing it out feels redundant and drawn out: either it's possible for them to win, and they do; or the enemy is simply too strong, and they, somewhat fairly, cry foul, and in either case, actually fighting it out/rolling the skill checks are just drawn out confirmations. A ruleset issue, but just thought I'd add it.


Crying foul because they can't win a head-on encounter isn't legit, it's Munchkinism at it's worst.  The trick is to present them with an encounter they can't win, but must win to complete some objective that they care about. They must be provided with an alternative method to bypass that head-on encounter.

For example, they have been paid good money to rescue the princess who is being held by a heavily armed band of bandits (or maybe not a princess, but a by-blow who is beloved of the king, just to avoid the cliche). The bandits are sufficiently well armed and attentive that the party wouldn't stand a chance in a direct assault.

But the PCs could be presented with one or more alternatives that will change the advantage. There could be a cattle or deer herd in the area that could be stampeded through the bandit camp. A decoy caravan looking like a wealthy merchant could be arranged that will draw off a sufficient number of bandits that the remaining party can effect their rescue.
Clay Dowling
RPG-Campaign.com - Online Campaign Planning and Management



Wow, man, that sounds...atrocious.  I'm trying to think of something positive and constructive to give you.  I'm not sure "blaming the players" is useful (or even an accurate analysis of the issue).  More accurate might be that there is a difference in creative agenda between you and some of the players...but realizing there's a difference doesn't fix the difficulty.

If you're determined to stick with a ruleset...well, I guess I'd want to start looking at how and what it facilitates that IS fun for you, rather than griping about how it fails you.  I know "griping" carries a negative connotation, but so does complaining, bitching, whining, etc..  I'm just saying...um, focus on the silver lining (if you can find one). 

There are definitely strategies (read "force") that you can exercise as a DM over your malcontent players...but that just leads to a downward spiral of more and more dysfunctional play.  The more mature stance to take (if I may be so bold), is state what your priorities are, be honest...and let the chips fall where they may.

Back in college I was asked to run a Werewolf game for some friends. With some discussion, I found out they wanted to play a real wa-hoo, shoot 'em up action game..."a video game with werewolves" I think was the description. I declined to run the game, even though they were friends (non-gaming friends actually) and I was interested in introducing them to the hobby...but at the time I was kind of bored with simplistic, action-oriented RPGs, and I didn't feel like putting in the time and effort to run a TYPE of game like that (I was more interested in running a simplistic VTM-goth game, but I digress...). I think they still ended up playing WW (later they also started a pretty heavy Rifts game, I believe), while I walked away.  We still did other things together (partying, playing music, etc.) but gaming wasn't one of those things.



QuoteBut the PCs could be presented with one or more alternatives that will change the advantage. There could be a cattle or deer herd in the area that could be stampeded through the bandit camp.

That stampede idea isn't something I would have thought of on my own. Neat!