/r/rpghorrorstories

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For all your tales of RPG Horror Stories gone wrong!

Tell us your tales of "That Guy," of sessions gone haywire, of terrible TPKs (or maybe a cool one) and of other things going terribly wrong around the tabletop

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0

The Unbreakable Cuffs and Psychic Guards

Honestly a relatively tame horror story but wanted some advice

Be me, big barbarian. 2 Guards were trying to arrest an innocent market stall worker on false charges and just generally being bullies. Guards are wayyyy under equipped compared to us, ask to intimidate them, roll a 27, they are unphased. Got into a minor scuffle with them where I push em around, restrain em, and the guy goes free.

We ditch town and head straight to the next area, a border checkpoint next to a village. We’re trying to find and question/ potentially assassinate a corrupt guard captain.

See some smoke in odd patterns within the keep, think it’s some sort of Morse code or signal. Told I can’t roll investigation to get a hint if it’s irregular, just take a guess yourself.

The plan is to act like a bounty hunter and inquire about bounties since some other party members were wanted and then ‘capture’ the other party members to do a reverse breakout, kill the captain when we collect the reward, and also see what’s up with the smoke.

I walk up to the keep. They instantly notice me and despite wearing a hat and being hundreds of feet away they say they recognize me by a crude sketch and that I’m under arrest (keep in mind we went right here after the previous crime, quite far - although maybe they could’ve used sending). I ask if I could try to deceive them by acting like they must have the wrong guy and if I was a criminal I wouldn’t just walk up to them. Nope, no chance.

I comply and go to jail. They say they need to put these manacles on me. Once they’re on Turns out they’re magical manacles that give me disadvantage on breaking out. No trial or anything. Guards start stealing my stuff (wearing my armor/clothes, drinking my wine). Not allowed to intimidate them to stop.

Ask to break out. Rage to roll straight. Roll a 24, close to the max someone could get with max STR and prof. Apparently barely not enough.

Now I’m using an alternate barbarian class but the important part is I have 3 exploits I can use per rest to add a d6 to a STR roll. Since the manacles were stronger than I thought I ask if I could (now or later), reroll while using these exploits to enhance my roll. For a better chance.

“Nope you tried once you can’t ever try again”

I then sit in jail for the next few ages bc I can’t do anything until I’m freed

Meanwhile we have deep gnomes rerolling stealth after they see a bad roll with their racial ability and a light cleric who rerolls after they see attack rolls for warding flare as well as rerolls the moment someone pulls out a crowbar (although idc too much, all stuff that RAW you gotta use/declare beforehand). We also have party members dogpiling every check known to man.

I just wanna know should I be upset? Or am I making too big a deal out of things. I feel like I was put in a virtually unwinnable situation. Also in general if you’re told you can roll should some people be impossible to intimidate? (I understand it being a super tough roll perhaps, but just sucks to roll so high and be told it doesn’t matter). Bc pretty much any time I’ve rolled high on intimidation so far, people never do as asked or intended, they either panic and fight or run (told it depends on the NPCs flight or fight instinct)

1 Comment
2024/04/11
01:48 UTC

21

Paid "TTMMORPG" Experience

TL:DR: Joined a gigantic, very expensive paid game which turned out to be very bureaucratic and dysfunctional, and I didn't even get to play.

The Story

I've been spending some time looking for smaller D&D Youtubers, because some of them have really awesome content despite low sub/view counts. Imagine my delight when I found a channel giving really good D&D advice, and the guy who ran it was a paid DM for a "Tabletop MMORPG" with thousands of players!

He had about a half-dozen videos pitching this game, which he emphasized was all about "forging a legacy" and "making player choice matter". He showed off some cool art and their high-production-quality VTT sessions, and talked about "raid"-style one-shots and one-on-one roleplay. Sounds awesome, I thought - basically a West Marches server with some extra perks, and I'm lucky enough to have some disposable income. As a forever DM, I'm happy to spend a bit of cash to have a really good experience as a player.

I clicked the link under one of his videos, which lead me to a click funnel website, the same kind of thing you see from "alpha male" influencers trying to hard-sell their testosterone supplements. Kinda sus, but whatever, not everyone has the web design skills to make their own site. I clicked through all the pages until I got to the pricing tiers: $37 and $62 a month, with the latter tier requiring an interview.

Or, sorry, did I say per month? I faked you out, dear reader, because that's what I thought too - but no, it's $37 a week. Almost $150 a month to play D&D! But, what the heck, there's a two week free trial, I may as well try it out. So, I put my credit card info in and clicked through to the Discord.

It took my over a day to get set up, because their signup bot was broken. They had me fill out several forms, most of which were duplicate information (like entering e-mail, Discord username, and pronouns on each one) and some of which referred to Patreon, which they apparently don't use anymore. Everything was managed through an Escherian network of Discord bots and channel access roles, there were buttons that were marked "DM ONLY" that players could absolutely press, and security amounted to the head DM constantly reminding staff not to mention secret things in channels players could see.

I was then pulled into a "Session 0" with a "Player Manager" where I was informed that they use a 3-tier system where players at lower tiers get bronze tokens and players at higher tiers get silver and gold tokens, which can be used to kick other players out of games; if a session is full of bronze-token players, a gold-token player can bump one of them out in order to skip the line and play. With my $37 a week tier, I'd get 4 bronze tokens a month. There was also a "shop" channel where a bot would post every day, reminding me I could get extra bronze tokens for just another $25, or a gold token for just $50!

There were only a few quests available, almost all full, and most at times I couldn't make anyway, since I have a 9-5 and two home games. I eventually found a TC ("traditional campaign", not a West Marches quest) to join that said it would meet weekly at a time I could attend. I read through dozens of pages of homebrew, made a VTT token, set up my D&D Beyond, made a character, and waited expectantly as almost a week (half my free trial) went by. I was really hyped; in this world of wild homebrew, I'd made a human wizard who was seeking to understand the mysteries of the universe. I thought it'd be a neat way to roleplay with all the weird and wacky custom race characters and magitech weapon wielders. I even wrote a backstory that tied in with some recently added lore.

Imagine my disappointment when I logged into Discord on game day to find that my DM wasn't there. Nor were any of the other players. I joined an active VC thinking I might have misread the names, only to discover that it was for another game. Okay, maybe I'm just early? So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The scheduled session time came and went.

Nobody showed up.

Eventually my Player Manager told me that just being part of the campaign wasn't enough; the DM had to also make a Quest Board post, and all the players had to put tokens in. Since that hadn't happened, the game wouldn't be starting this week - meaning I wouldn't get to play at all during my free trial.

Of course, I cancelled immediately, and I was kicked from the Discord before I was able to give any feedback. I'm pretty unhappy about it, but at least I didn't get charged any money! I feel bad for all the folks who subscribe for $140/mo and just get kicked out of the one session they can make each week by someone paying twice that...

11 Comments
2024/04/10
23:04 UTC

72

GM starts adventure with ten nested side quests

I’m not sure if this is really a horror story, since we still enjoyed the game, but it came across as bizarre.

We started the adventure being told by the adventurer’s guild to visit someone’s uncle and help them out. The uncle asked us to fetch some mahogany boards from the lumberjack in the next village. The lumberjack asked us to go to get his axe sharpened. Then..

When we actually got to the dungeon we were saving a meteorologist’s daughter so he could give us a weather report to give to a Druid in exchange for a spell scroll to give to the leader of the Dwarf mafia so he would release an apocethary’s friend so the apocethary would make a potion to cure a blacksmith’s cold so he would make us some metal cages to give to a farmer to transport chickens to a starving village so that the village head would act as a character witness at the trial of a friend of another blacksmith so he would sharpen the axe for the lumberjack to use to cut the mahogany boards for the uncle…

I’m not entirely sure if it was supposed to be a parody, but it didn’t come across that way.

30 Comments
2024/04/10
21:26 UTC

25

The least useful enchanter pirate (or, how my dm accidentally made me useless)

This one's more funny than anything, so if you are looking for a story where someone is the bad guy: sorry, im the closest one to the bad gal. Also, obligitory memory is spotty and typing this on mobile disclaimers.

The system was Pathfinder 1e, and our DM was starting up a pirate themed campaign, another player tried to run the skull and shackles adventure path and got burnt out fast.

The exact classes of the other two players are not that relevent (so I'll just call them Fighter and Summoner), but they were very melee focused combatants, while I rolled up a Sorcerer/Bard Kitsune (we were playing with gestalt if you know what that is) who focused on enchantment spells, maybe a bit too much. I put as much as I could into charisma, intended to go down the magical tail featline for more enchantment nonesense, and generally disregarded direct combat beyond having a light crossbow. I only had a 12 in CON for a total of 9 HP.

After we make our character's, the scene is set, we are adrift on a crappy ship and a much better merchant vessel is ripe for invasion and takeover! We board and I roll a really sweet intimidate check to convince most the people on board to not fight us, except for the captain and first mate. When combat began my involvement may as well have ceased.

DM wanted to encaspulate the size of the ship so he decided that every square was 30 ft, instead of the usual 5 ft per square.

As the melee combatants got into the fray somewhat slowly, I set up my bard buffs up and... couldn't do much else.

To actually attack the captain or first mate, the melee combatants had to move inside their square, which is fine for everyone, except me.

Level one casters have it pretty rough, most of the spells I picked had a range of 30 ft/level. Pretty much melee. And I had an ac of like, 12, while the captain could reasonbly OHKO me if I was in range.

Should I have taken mage armor in hindsight, as Summoner lightly ribbed me for not doing so? Yeah. That didnt change the fact that trying to get into effectively MELEE RANGE against a guy with a FLAIL makes me a liabilty since I need to keep my perfomance active.

A couple rounds of doing nothing later, I had it, I dont care if I hit or not, I wanted to do something! I took my crossbow, aimed for the first mate (or captain) and....!

Nat 1. Crossbow string snapped.

I'll admit, afterwards I kinda checked out of the game, since I couldnt do anything but provide a +1 to the actual players, and my saltiness was kinda leaking into some passive agressive quips from me during combat (which i still feel bad over)

We're all still friends (cousins, actually) and still playing together, and I dont hold any ill will to anyone involved. If any of the three involved see this, I adore our games, and look forward to playing more.

TLDR: DM wanted battlefield to feel big, accidentally made using my spells suicidal in the process.

19 Comments
2024/04/09
19:35 UTC

139

How I Ended a D&D Game in Session 0

Sorry if this is overly long. For context I’m vision impaired, and this story happened roughly 10 years ago. It also remains the only experience I have with TTRPGs.

A friend of mine, here after referred to as C, and I were talking one day and somehow got onto the subject of dungeons and dragons, the more we talked about it the more interested I became and as luck would have it C and his group were starting a new campaign at the end of the month. A week goes by and he asks if I’m still interested in playing, and offers to help with character creation, I settle on Dwarf Barbarian, which I mentioned because it will be relevant shortly. The day finally arrives and I’m introduced to everyone, three other players who won’t be relevant for this story and C’s cousin the DM. DM does seem a little off when meeting me but I put it down to being big new guy.

We all chat for a bit, layout the ground rules etc. And DM asks to see everyone’s character sheets, so far, so normal. He gets around to mine and sighs, then promptly tells me I’ve made a mistake with my character sheet. When I ask what the issue is, the response went along the lines of well. Obviously you forgot to mention that your character is blind, I reply that I didn’t forget and my character isn’t blind, but quickly get shut down by DM essentially saying that because I’m vision impaired my character must be blind, acting like it’s a rule so I just take his word for it but dewpoint out that had I known I would have chosen a different class. DM briefly explains that choosing to play a blind melee character is going to make my life hard, but doesn’t detail how, and says I really should have chosen a magic user but it’s too late now. I’m far from happy about the situation but decided just to roll with it because how bad can it really be right?

Finally, characters are done and before we close things off DM wants to narrate an introduction cut scene for all of our characters before we come back for the following week. Everything seems to be going as normal again and I’m getting back into the spirit of the game. The highlight being C’s character, cleric, insisting to the wizard that holy water is a hangover cure, and once again I only mention cleric because it’s going to be important in a moment. We get to the entrance for my character and DM asks me to roll a D20, it’s been a decade so I don’t remember exactly what I rolled but I believe it was rather high. DM then gleefully describes how my character trips over an object. He didn’t see while trying to enter the Tavern, causing general chaos and narrowly avoiding decapitation via his own ax in the process. DM laughs his way through most of the scene until C tries to have his character go over to check on me and which point DM’s mood changes, he insists that C’s character wouldn’t do that and when one of the other players chimes in saying it seems a little unfair to put my character through that and then stop anyone from going to help DM insists that he was actually being generous to the new guy, he then reveals that only a Nat 20 would have been a success and that he was being generous by not regarding anything else as a crit fail. At this point C, other player, and DM start arguing which culminates in DM saying words to the effect of “blind people can’t do anything, it’s all C’s fault for bringing him in the first place” C, other player, and I Pack up, shortly followed by Wizard and all three apologise and not to play with DM again. They did invite me to play with their new group a few months later, but I declined

51 Comments
2024/04/09
14:12 UTC

567

Player wants me to change the backstory of NPC because she didn't like it.

This really sucks because I have put quite a lot of effort in the characters and story for this game.

Few of my friends decided that we should start a DnD campaign, all except me and another guy had never played before, although all of us have watched critical role and thats how the other got into DnD. Theres me and two other guys and two girls. They all said that I should be the DM because I've been playing the longest.

I've spent quite a lot of time in the last two weeks helping them with their characters and backstories and have been looking up artwork for NPCs and making a story.

We started the game and they made an adventuring party. The guildmaster who is a retired adventurer gives them a quest and as they don't have a healer he sends one of his students with them. Now for this student, I had made the story that her village had been saved by the guildmaster when he was an adventurer and thats why she became an adventurer and was training under him, and looked upto him.

One of the players , Sarah while talking to this NPC said that the guildmaster looks lousy and incompetent, and the NPC takes out her weapon amd tells her to take the words back. Sarah got really pissed about this and told me I shouldn't be making such female characters who looked up to male characters in such a creepy way and that I was taking away players agency by not letting her rp properly. (I had thought this was rp opportunity but apparently not) She kept making remarks the entire session about this, how I should learn to make better NPCs , that it was Cliche to have a girl saved by a man and that I should learn from Matt Mercer how to write better female characters.

This led to us arguing and stopping the session early. I don't think we'd be continuing.

253 Comments
2024/04/09
11:25 UTC

186

"You roll a natural 5 and accidentally break your entire magic bow."

I joined a Pathfinder 2e game, starting at 11th, with free archetype and ancestry paragon. It was a homebrew setting. We had to help the fairy Summer Court against Spring, Autumn, and Winter.

I created an archer fighter. We were entitled to an 11th-level item. I picked up +2 resilient explorer's clothing. I spent 2,850 gp on a +2 striking longbow with astral and flaming runes and a greater phantasmal doorknob.

During the first two sessions, no PC ever rolled a critical failure on an attack roll, in part due to Hero Points, while I am fairly certain that some enemies did.

In the middle of the third session, an ancient white dragon attacked a festival from the sky. I acted first and launched a Felling Strike. Critical hit. The dragon's flight was shut down, the flaming rune generated persistent damage that would constantly trigger its fire weakness 15, and the greater phantasmal doorknob automatically blinded it. It was epic and satisfying.

I used my final action on a vanilla longbow Strike. Due to a natural 5 and −5 MAP, I rolled a critical failure. I elected against rerolling it with a Hero Point, because it was not worth it.

The GM declared that my character accidentally broke their entire magic bow. The GM read that dry firing a bow breaks it. Forgetting to nock an arrow and thus dry firing the bow seems like something that would happen on a critical failure.

I protested. I said that this was arbitrary and unfair, that it would be patently absurd for a master archer to commit such a mistake, and that enemies previously rolled critical failures on attacks to no ill effect.

The GM replied by saying that RPGs are about telling interesting stories, and that highs need to be balanced out by lows. The GM said that the rules empower the GM to declare what happens on a critical failure (and no, this is not quite right).

I protested further, but the GM either booted me from the Discord server or deleted it outright.

How could this have been better handled?

87 Comments
2024/04/09
06:22 UTC

19

A collection of stories about Ray the jerkass

These stories are about 12-15 years old I'd say. I haven't thought about posting them here before, but did on another sub a long long time ago.

At this time, fourth edition was a few years old, but I still swore by 3.5. It had been a while since I got to play, or dm, but whenever I'd go out with two of my friends (we'll call them Ruby and Jade), they would tell me all these fun stories about the group they were in that played weekly. Eventually Ruby asked me if I'd like to join, and as I was between jobs, I jumped at the chance!

She came over one weekend to help me do my character, as I had never played fourth edition before (it's not as bad as the reputation it gets leads people to believe. Whatever, fight me.), and that week they brought me over to where they played. Here, I met James, Katie, and fucking Ray for the first time. Ray is what I refer to as a "Family Guy" player, in that there's no rhyme or reason to anything he does. He just does stupid shit that he thinks will make people laugh (and often fails at it). Katie did alot of the same things, but with a side of cheating, but that's a story for another time.

So, we get settled in and I tell everyone about my character (a drow wizard), and the game begins. Ruby wraps up what the party had been doing from the previous week, and then goes to introduce me by having me skulking around the bushes near where the party was. Ray takes this opportunity to use his pipe wrench (the weapon he wanted for his fighter) to clock me upside the head and of course rolled a crit. Helluva first meeting, no?

There weren't any notable problems with him beyond that in this campaign, but eventually Ruby reached a little bit of a burn out and just wanted to play for a bit. I offered to dm, but I don't think they knew me enough to trust me yet, which is fair, so Ray took over.

When Ray runs a campaign, he only runs AD&D (whoever came up with THAC0? There's a special place in hell for you...), so we had to make all new characters of course. At this time, I was obsessed with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and specifically the character of Greed/Ling, so I wanted to try a concept where I played two different characters depending on who was the dominant personality. It never really came into play though, because we had to deal with the deck of many things. Now when I say that, I mean a HOMEMADE deck of many things! A box with envelopes in it that each contained cards that did certain things to our characters.

One of the first draws that I saw was a forced gender change, and seeing how at that time I was still in the closet on my gender, this was not a prospect I wanted to face possibly happening to me, so I just sat back and decided I'll stay away from the deck. This wasn't something Ray was happy about, so he started trying to insert reasons into the sessions to force me to draw from it. I lasted two sessions before I decided I wasn't going to another game he ran, but it actually seemed like I wasn't alone, as I was swiftly approached to take over dm'ing.

So the next week rolls around, I show up at James and Katie's house and everyone hands me their character sheets (we switched to 3.5), and Ray rolled up a barbarian with two weapons: a ten-foot metal ladder, and a spell book to hit people over the head with. Session one hasn't even started and I'm already annoyed.

The final straw with Ray for me though was the following week. I had the players exploring Icewind Dale, and after a long fight, they discovered a hidden lab that was buried underground. We had a small dry erase board that, whenever a new location was reached, we'd draw it on, so as they entered the lab, I picked up the board. Ray proceeded to rip it out of my hands and start drawing. I looked at him confused and asked what he was doing. Her said he was "drawing my map", and was chuckling the whole time.

I looked at Ruby because I wasn't sure what the hell to do, and all she could do was shrug. After like five minutes I said dude, give me the board. "Hang on a second!" He's practically cackling at this point. Finally, he finishes and puts the board down... Ray, in all his "wisdom", had decided that my map should be in the shape of a swastika. He was still laughing after he put it down too. I did you aren't fucking funny and quickly erased it. What made this even worse though is at this time, we were trying to convince Jade's best friend Mia to join us for the campaign. Mia is Jewish.

Whatever happened to Ray? He moved out of state down south, became a born-again Christian and remarried (it should be noted that he is at least twenty years older than all of us). We had heard stories about him being physically abusive to his new wife in passing, but nothing we could confirm. He was finally cut off by all of us when he began to pay a series of awful shit on Ruby's Facebook page after she came out as trans. I cut him off years prior so he didn't know I did as well. He got some fun messages from the both of us needless to say.

By far, the worst person I ever played with.

3 Comments
2024/04/09
06:16 UTC

208

That Time My DMing Style Ended a Marriage

While it is technically true, the title is a bit of a joking hyperbole, but here’s the details.

I was DMing a heavily modified 5e campaign over discord. The players in the story were me (the DM), the Wizard who is technically the match that started the trash fire, the husband who I believe was playing a Druid, the wife who was playing a bard, and the ranger (who was there but not involved).

The campaign set up was that the party was hired by a Grand Duke to explore the wilderness of a newly discovered continent and establish a settlement on behalf of the kingdom. It was a highly sandboxy game that used a lot of settlement building and exploration rules that I homebrewed for the game.

Everything was going well until at one point during session 9 or 10 wizard asked the group, “Do we want to explore the new wilderness region or focus on improving the settlement first?” Husband wanted to build the settlement first and wife wanted to explore. They then began to argue very publicly about it on the discord.

My big failing was not ending the session immediately, but in my defense it was hard to tell the argument was out of character and not just a debate about what to do until it was way too late. I kept trying to get the reigns again, but husband was talking about wife’s “not prioritizing things in life properly” and wife kept saying husband was “always like this”. I decided to end the session early (literally only got 30 minutes in when we’d typically play for three to four hours), but the damage was done.

The day of the following discussion I received messages from both husband and wife saying they had been fighting about this literally all week and were going to be getting a divorce. They both said they didn’t want to play with the other and had decided to leave the campaign so everyone else could play. At this point the party was cut in half and the game soon petered out.

I know that they obviously had a lot of issues outside of the game, but it is still weird that it was MY game that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. From time to time when I’m hanging out with my D&D friends we still bring up that time my DMing was so bad it destroyed a marriage.

27 Comments
2024/04/09
04:59 UTC

36

The Tale of General Justice

Hey guys, I hope you're having a good day. This story was about the time I intentionally created an obnoxious character in an attempt to get out of playing a certain game with a particular group, and it backfired so spectacularly that everybody in that group wanted to keep going instead. it's going to be a little on the long side.

The only background you need to know is that these guys were not my primary game group. They were a mishmash of people with which I got acquainted while I was working at a pawnshop for a little while. The pawnshop was right next to my LGS, so we got a lot of the same customers regularly, and I kind of formed or joined a couple of satellite groups through this.

My primary group was doing D&D, as were a lot of the others, but one of the groups was playing Rifts. When that game concluded, one of the players decided he wanted to try to run Heroes Unlimited. I told him that I really wasn't in the mood to play that but that they could keep going and I would sit it out. I don't have anything against that game, but I really just was not in the mood to play it.

He wasn't rude or anything, but he didn't leave it alone. Every day for the next week he came in to the pawnshop to bother me about coming to play in the game. I initially politely declined, then I started getting kind of angry. Instead of coming unglued on this guy, I made an absolutely terrible decision:

I would only play on the condition that I could make any character I wanted, he had to let me play it, and if it annoyed him so much and I got killed, he had to stop bothering me about it. He enthusiastically agreed.

…So I created General Justice.

GJ was the most stereotypical and hyper-American superhero you could ever see. His secret identity was a pastor of a Megachurch, and he absolutely could not get away from wearing purely red, white and blue clothes. He was devoted to God, THE only God, to God and country, long live the red white and blue! Hallelujah!

In his superhero form he wore a primarily white spandex suit, blue boots, red gloves, and a mask that covered everything but his mouth and eyes that was enblazoned with an American flag. The suit had something that looked like the federal reserve seal on his chest but it had a bunch of random crap about the second amendment encircling it. He had a cape that was basically an American flag, and he carried two fully automatic AR-15s, for which he did not possess a permit of any kind, and he would frequently call out his attacks using metaphors derived from American folk heroes.

He also had a predisposed dislike for any country that wasn't the US, and he didn't even use a different voice or anything or change his personality traits rather or not he was his secret identity.

He was also very, very loud and extremely opinionated. The stealth missions were just delightful.

The very first session I got the party banned from a Chinese restaurant for delivering a "John Hancock Kick" to one of the waitstaff for speaking what he thought was "secret communist code" with his coworkers.

I knew that we were supposed to get the set up for our first real mission from that, and all they did was laugh.

I did everything I could to try to inconvenience the party enough that I would get kicked, but it didn't ever work out that way. I had our contact put under citizens arrest for the first actual quest, I hijacked a news conference to rant about immigrants, dropped an "Abraham Lincoln Karate Chop" on a gun dealer that I thought was a communist sympathizer, and ran a "Paul Bunyan Pile-Driver" on one of the other PCs for trying to stop me.

That last event stalled the game for about 20 minutes because neither the players nor the GM could stop laughing. Even the player whose character I pile-drove.

However when we got to the point where the villains were starting to appear and get difficult, I started having fun with the character.

Apparently there was a consortium of villains in the city that in the original plot, had a grudge against the mayor, but through these antics, the GM changed the plot to be that the consortium only had a grudge with General Justice.

The final battle took place in an abandoned factory/construction site that the GM described as being, and I quote, "Like every 80s action movie climax ever", and we were fighting an equal number of super villains.

It took my character two turns to punch the BBEG, because apparently it takes quite a while to say "Oh Say Can You See By The Dawns Early Light Punch!", and I cheered on another player using radioactive superpowers by telling him to fight like Davy Crockett at the Alamo. The player in question tried to remind me that he died at the Alamo, and I replied "BUT HE KICKED SOME AAAASSSSSSSSSS!"

Unfortunately, and I'm not really sure if it was the dice or the the fact that the GM genuinely liked GJ, but it turned out that he was only one of two characters that survived that final battle. My character gave a grave eulogy over the end of the battle site.

And that's about when the game fizzled out, almost 25 sessions later. Every single time I bump into those guys, they very enthusiastically try to tell me that I should bring back GJ for another game, but I'm not really interested. He was really only a one-off character, and I was trying to use him to get myself out from that group. I became That Guy because the GM wouldn't take no for an answer and it just made the game more entertaining for everybody else. I still like the guys, but I really don't wanna play Heroes Unlimited with them again. I didn't even want to play the first time, but it did turn out to be fun.

13 Comments
2024/04/08
21:15 UTC

156

Player gets mad that he went AFK without telling anyone and missed important lore

[[[***SPOILERS FOR CURSE OF STRAHD***]]]

This story is about a player, lets call him Steve, who decides to get mad at me (DM) when he went AFK during an incredibly important story moment and didnt tell anyone.

Short and minor horror story, but basically we're playing CoS via Roll 20 online and the party meets Rictavio. The Party earns the trust of Rictavio who reveals he is actually an older Gnome by the name of Rudolf Van Richten. He reveals himself to be a Gnome disguising as a Half Elf when he takes off his Hat of Disguise (bending the rules a bit for Hat of Disguise obviously).

During this introduction, I could hear at least 2/4 players comment or respond back to this revelation. Steve not being one I heard from but Steve did not put anything into chat or say in voice chat that he was walking away. So for all intents and purposes he was there hearing everything being said.

Later, the Party finds out that a lady has been asking around about an older looking Gnome. Steve then starts asking questions like "DM, have we seen any gnomes? Does the person we're talking to know what a gnome is?" and other pretty strange questions since he's *supposed* to know he met a Gnome NPC not too long ago. I answer the best way I can without directly saying "yea obviously this lady is looking for the 1 Gnome you met this whole game" but it gets to a point where I have to stop the Party for a second to recap.

"So, you guys remember what happened when you met Rictavio, right?"

Silence, then 1 player pipes up "yea, he was a Gnome right?"

I affirm that, then Steve asks "Well WTF DM? How does this person we're talking to not know what a gnome is? How has she not seen someone by the description were giving her were LITERALLY describing-.." and other wise starts getting really frustrated and aggressive with me.

I cut him off and say "STEVE. What happened when Rictavio took his hat off?" No answer. "He turned into a Gnome, Steve."

Steve says "Well if he's a Gnome how does this lady-"

Me: "STEVE. I told you he was wearing a Hat of Disguise, his disguised appearance is a Half Elf. I literally shared artwork of his Half Elf appearance when you first met him, wearing the Hat."

Steve "Oh, I think I walked away when you were doing all that I just didnt say anything"

Either that or he straight lied forgetting an incredibly important detail that I revealed earlier. IDK, very frustrating behavior from him among other things. We're talking about this at the top of next session since I dont just let these things continue. If I'm reading hundreds of pages of lore and spending dozens of hours each week session prepping... Steven can put "BRB" in chat.

40 Comments
2024/04/07
14:48 UTC

0

Got into an argument for pointing out sexism

I have been playing online with a group for a few months now and we have been playing almost every week. There is me and another girl, the other two players and the DM is a guy. I had been enjoying the game so far but one thing I noticed in every NPC the DM introduced that none of the female NPC were fighters etc, none of them were strength based fighters and we have been playing a game where we've met many NPC adventuring parties.

If there were women in the party they are always rangers or sorcerers. The DM had us meet the a group of ten people the king had declared the ten strongest in the country, there were only three women in the group and one was an archer while two used magic.

I talked texted privately about this to the DM and he said that he has made several female NPC in the game who are capable and that I am just trying to look for something to argue about. He even told the other players about the argument and everyone just started blaming me about being in the wrong and looking for something to be offended about.

258 Comments
2024/04/07
13:06 UTC

110

GM Uses Terrible Shock Tactics For His Games and Loses All His Players

CW: >!Misogyny, Sexual Harassment, Pedophilia!<

Hey y’all, first post here and hopefully my last. No offense. I’ve got a Call of Cthulhu themed one for y’all.

So around 6 months ago, I joined Roll20 to look for games to play since I live in Nowhere, Middleof, USA. I originally joined to find Vampire: The Masquerade games, but like, nobody plays VTM on Roll20 (at least on the free games). I instead started looking at Call of Cthulhu games, as I had recently got into the game through Chaosium’s Bookshops of Arkham Live Play series (which is fantastic and I highly recommend)

There were a couple games I showed interest in, but only one actually got back to me. This is where I met the Lorekeeper (CoC’s name for Dungeon Master) of the game, and the central character of this post: Stan. (Names have been changed)

Stan was….a character. He had apparently been Lorekeeping for the past 27 years, he had weird sense of humor, and the strangest thing about him was that he had a wife and child. I still, to this day, do not know how. He also streamed all of his CoC games on YouTube, and they’re probably still out there.

He ran a weekly game on Thursday nights that fit into my schedule perfectly, and I was excited but nervous to join. It was my first time playing a TTRPG with strangers, and I wasn’t sure how I would measure up, so to speak. Stan assured me that, though his games were designed to be challenging, he was welcoming to new players interested in Call of Cthulhu.

So Thursday rolled around, and we started our game. No session zero or anything. It was just me two other people, who we’ll call Mark and John. The story was honestly kinda interesting. Our characters awoke in the lobby of hotel with no knowledge of how we got there. The premise was of an ever-expanding hotel where you could order anything from room service, the payment, however, was your life in years, and we had racked up a substantial debt. Think of the Lotus Casino from “Percy Jackson”.

Now, the first red flag came in the second session of this campaign. Our characters, both male, were going to bed for the night and were being offered the hotel’s standard accommodations: food, alcohol, cards to play games with, the standard lot. Then he offered some “womanly company”. Yeah, he was offering our characters sex workers. I declined, deciding it wasn’t really in character, but Mark accepted, expecting just a “fade-to-black”. Stan then goes into detail about the girls’ strip routine, and begins to describe them approaching Mark’s character on the bed before we stop him.

I thought it was weird, but I brushed it off and told myself that it was fine, this game is more adult than your average DND game. And besides, Stan stopped when we voiced our uncomfortableness, so he must be a good guy, right?

Right?

A couple months passed without real incident. Our characters died escaping the hotel, Mark’s actually died falling down the stairs (He ended up leaving after this, not sure if it was because of this though) and we started a new mini-campaign. We picked up a couple players along the way, including one who I’ll call Charlie, and another I’ll call Aaron. This campaign was bit more…unoriginal. A town goes crazy and everyone starts killing each other. But whatever, we could have fun with this.

The campaign is going fine so far. I’m playing a female nurse who was raised in an ideal childhood and is “too precious for this world”. John’s character, being played by Stan since John couldn’t make it to the session, fumbled a persuasion check, and bit off the end of his tongue as punishment. He put on this annoying voice to signify this, and was nigh incomprehensible at times, so we decided to try and fix it. Both me and Charlie’s characters were nurses, so we thought it would be easy. For some reason, though, Stan decided that Aaron’s character wouldn’t want his tongue, WHICH HE BIT SO HARD IT SPLIT, fixed. We had a lengthy debate trying to get his tongue fixed, until eventually I decided to roll persuasion. I fumbled it and was to receive my punishment.

“Maybe I’ll bite my tongue and have to do a stupid voice like him” I thought. “Maybe he’ll just make the existing injury worse”.

No, instead, Stan LAUNCHES into a detailed explanation of how my character receives a traumatic flashback from the time her dad beat her and raped her mother. Repeatedly. Reminder, this was not a part of her character AT ALL. He just…decided it was, though. It was a serious breach of player agency, and also just fucked up.

I was decently uncomfortable now, but I didn’t say anything because again, I thought that might’ve been normal for CoC.

So anyway, we finish the campaign. Something about the Cat Goddess Bast making people go crazy, we defeat her by blowing her up with a wheelbarrow full of dynamite. A week passes, and Stan immediately launches into the next campaign. And little did I know, this campaign would be the last.

Our characters were approached by a guy named Tom to go on an expedition to Argentina to look for rare artifacts at a dig site. The only way to get there was by boat, however (because I guess planes weren’t invented in the 1930s???) and the very first thing that Stan mentions is how excited the sailors are to finally be around a woman again. Specifically how “horny” they were. Okay, fine, whatever. This kind of thing was normal for Stan at this point, and it never seemed to reflect his attitude towards real women.

We get to Argentina, and decide to explore the city of Buenos Aires, and the very first thing that happens is we see some random woman get stabbed to death and take sanity damage. Why? Who knows. We didn’t roll poorly or anything, it just…happened. I’m still not sure why it happened.

I was planning on talking to Stan after the game at this point, but he exited the call before I could, and I forgot about it by the next day.

I missed the next week, but apparently we got a new person before she dropped out an hour into it. She said she found a better game that fit her schedule, but Stan was apparently talking about how “some people just can’t handle my games”. And then…the final session happened. It’s almost like he took her leaving as a challenge. To see how far his game could go.

So, in the campaign, Eldritch bullshit happens, and our characters are transported to a world not our own. Our only lead is Tom, the guy who lead us on the expedition, who’s now the mayor of Arkham, Massachusetts, a big place in the CoC mythos. We track down his office, and ring up the receptionist to make appointment. She tells us it’ll be a bit of a wait. So, we decide to do a bit of snooping while we wait. Charlie’s (who was absent at the time) character and my character distract the receptionist while Aaron’s character snoops around. Finding a pair of double doors, he passes a roll to peek inside. And Stan says this:

“You see a child, his legs draped over the desk at the back of the room. He’s crying in front of him, is some sort of creature, with tons of tentacles.”

You can imagine what our thoughts were.

We wanted nothing of the sort to happen, so we burst through the door (Me and Charlie were there suddenly. Again, not the best DM) and… the child was fine. He was sitting on the lap of the Mayor and smiling. Something was still off though, and I didn’t like the implications of molestation. But it got worse. The child passes my character, and Stan asks for a Spot Hidden roll.

“Hard Success” I say.

“The child is walking funny” he replies.

I was going to have some choice words with him. We finished up the mini-campaign, and before I can say anything, he launches into the next one. There was about an hour before the session was set to end, and I guess he thought we could just start a new one. This one had us approached to take…an expedition…to a foreign country…to look for something…okay…

Already, I’m pretty pissed with him, but I rolled up a new character. I basically made Lara Croft from “Tomb Raider” in the 1920s. We were traveling by boat again, and he starts the same “horny sailors” Schtick again, but this time directed at my character. I’m not having any of it though, so my character tells the sailors that she’d cut off their balls if they looked at her wrong. Violent, but I thought it would not only send a message to the sailors, but also to Stan that I wasn’t enjoying this.

He has one of the sailors come up to my character and tell her: “You know, this trip is gonna be dangerous. You might die. Why not have a little fun before you die, huh?”

I have my character turn to Aaron’s and ask him for protection from these assholes, and he agrees. With that, the session ends. And I’m pretty pissed.

I play TTRPGs to get AWAY from real-life shit. I don’t want to have to deal with sexual harassment and CHILDREN RAPE in them. How could a man with a wife and child think either of those were okay??? It’s important to note, at no point did Stan ever ask us if we were okay with this, or even signify that this would happen. Not in his rules, not on his Roll20 post, and certainly never in-person.

It was clear that he was just doing the harassment bit as a joke, and the child rape thing was certainly for shock value, but that’s didn’t make it okay. It made it almost worse in fact, because it showed that he clearly didn’t treat these things with the care and respect needed to portray them. It was just a game to him.

We had a lengthy talk with Stan after the session, and his response to our uncomfortableness was “that’s the way I’ve always run it”. Which doesn’t make it okay, by any stretch of the matter.

We, after informing Charlie of the incident, decided to draft up our complaints with him and see what he had to say for himself. If he responded with an apology and a promise to grow, we’d stay. Anything else, we were out of there. He responded saying the same thing as before. That it was “always the way I’ve ran it”. So we left.

Me, Charlie, Aaron, and John have since started our own game nights together, where I run VTM and Charlie runs CoC. We’ve been away from Stan for about a month now, and I think we’re better for it. Charlie’s honestly a better DM than Stan ever was, and I’m getting more confident in my DMing skills.

Stan’s Roll20 game has since disappeared, and he hasn’t streamed since then, so I guess he gave up on looking for new people to play with. Or maybe he never started. Who knows. Who cares.

So yeah.

TLDR: Lorekeeper injects aspects of harassment, misogyny, and pedophilia into his games for “entertainment”, loses all of his players.

27 Comments
2024/04/07
02:32 UTC

0

"Does a 30 hit you?" "No"

Helo, long time lurker and enjoyed of several YouTube readers here. I have a lot of stories that could fit here, but for now I'll just tell you about what appended a few hours ago. If you guys like it, maybe I'll make more/longer posts about this and other Campaigns

We are currently at level 11 and insanely overpowered.

It's a very strange imbalance. The GM is trying to give us challenges and most players just blow right past them.

We are in the personal arc of our Fighter and are fighting a miniboss, a gargantuan amalgamation, somewhere between a triceratops, a hydra and blue eyes white dragon from yugioh.

The first round is over an we got hit by the 180° 90 ft cone acid breath that did around 80 damage and made my sorcerer drop concentration on haste for the artificer and ranger, while the fighter managed to keep concentrating on his and the druid-cleric managed to keep bless going.

The fighter and artificer had managed to get to it before I lost concentration, so at least the would now take the heat off of the backline. The fighter attacks 4 times and barely dents the hp bar of the creature, the artificer and ranger are lethargic due to loosing haste and it's the creatures turn again.

GM: "Your AC is 21 due to haste Fighter?"

Fighter: "Yeah, that's right"

GM: "Ok, then 2 of the tree attacks hit you for 17 and 24 damage."

Fighter: "Well that's not good"

GM: "Alright and for you Artificer I have a 17, a 24 and a 30 to hit"

Artificer: "Yeah, that doesn't hit"

GM: "What?"

Artificer: "You gave me shield as a spell, remember? And my AC is 26 already, 28 if Sorcerer hadn't dropped haste."

This is just a problem. One of the many. But the imbalance of AC means my squishy sorcerer with usually 13 AC will get hit by literally everything if the GM still wants a chance to hit the Artificer and will also get pretty much one-shot with his 70 HP if the Artificer is supposed to feel any damage since he has around 200 by now.

It's just kinda frustrating.

Anyway tl;dr Powergamer Artificer has 31 AC while us normal players get one-shot in the balancing.

119 Comments
2024/04/07
01:10 UTC

44

Gatewalkers is the Worst PF2e Adventure

I tried running Gatewalkers. I ran it for a group for several months and my group and I neared the end of the second installment out of three when I finally decided to quit hosting it to host something else.

Gatewalkers advertises itself as a paranormal investigation for the party, but it is not that. It is a series of loosely connected episodic encounters, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the adventure's premise or the party's overall reason for doing anything. The party is jerked around in seemingly random locations where they are made to solve other people's problems that have nothing to do with the party's main objective.

The few times the party has to investigate, dice rolls and tables of success and failures are used to determine what the party learns or doesn't learn . . . Not very interactive, especially when most of the listed info is required for the party to proceed. And these 'investigations' grind the momentum of the adventure to a halt.

I could honestly forgive all of that if not for the inclusion of an NPC the adventure insists on making a 'chosen one' who the party is made to babysit so that she can realize her destiny to save the world. The adventure insists she accompany the party everywhere and even includes her in combat encounters. Meanwhile, she benefits from never being at risk of dying. After all, she's an essential NPC from the moment the adventure introduces her.

When I realized there was no easy way of dealing with this DMPC thrust upon me by Paizo, I quit the adventure at risk of losing my group. I explained to them that I could not do it anymore because it was uncomfortable and painful for me.

I should have done more research into the adventure before investing in it and hosting it. But I gained something positive from the experience. A good group of players. And I continue serving as their game master.

Paizo generally does a good job with making fairly easy to run adventures that players and game masters alike can enjoy. But Gatewalkers is not one of them. Anyone considering it ought to consider other, better options.

25 Comments
2024/04/07
00:24 UTC

42

DM keeps spoiling their own game :/

I'm honestly just asking for advice here. Am I the asshole for getting a little annoyed at my DM who constantly keeps giving us hints and spoilers as to what will happen later on in the plot? Not just small hints as to help us out, but pretty significant ones imo.

I absolutely adore this game, we've been playing for about half a year now. It's pbp, over discord, and our group has become pretty tight I like to think? Aside from some issues I have, with other players sometimes simply disappearing during sessions without saying anything, people struggling with combat, DM making his npcs way too OP without any flaws and his encounters way too difficult making it frustrating to come up with a plan that isnt just "run away", and some miscommunication problems overall, I think we're in a good place, most of it I can overlook.

But something that's been bothering me more and more is how our DM keeps spoiling his own plotpoints, hinting at things that might happen in a nudge nudge way. I get its difficult to keep your mouth shut when your players are theorizing about the world and plot you've been building up for years in general channel, but it's just frustrating. Takes the fun away from finding out about these things in character imo. We wrapped up our latest session like half an hour ago and our DM hinted that one of our players might find his way to Godhood by the end of the game, he's already set up a plot for it and it's a whole arc and I'm just sitting there like. Are you serious mate? Imagine how cool that would have been to experience in game! And you just... spoiled it like that? I consider this guy my friend but every time I've mentioned to please not spoil me and at least put a spoiler tag on top if the others still wanna see it. And he just kinda, disregards it? Says that he doesn't really consider those spoilers, since hes not technically spoiling how we'll get there and it wont necessarily happen. In my opinion having an arc lined out about one of our characters becoming a god by the end is pretty huge. The player in question has mentioned it was just an Alternate Universe idea they talked about with the DM, which they didn't expect to get made canon at all since it was a for fun thing.

Suggestions for how to bring it up again in a way that'll make him understand that I do not want to see that? I do feel like an ass sometimes bringing these things up that bother me, because no one else so far has said anything and I'm not sure if it's just me and I'm overreacting. This is my first long running campaign and I still consider myself new to dnd, so I feel a bit anxious about speaking up.

26 Comments
2024/04/06
22:08 UTC

0

it's another "DM controlled my character" ragequit: good hair edition

Many moons ago, when I was getting back into IRL tabletop after the coof, I joined a new local game store

We had a player whose PC had incredibly long hair and stored all their stuff in said hair. This isn't simple Fabio hair; this is stuff that makes Bayonetta weep at night.

This wasn't unusual because someone had a fighter whose sword was in a dakimakura.

What was unusual was when another player started asking about rules about storing stuff in their hair. This turned into a table-spanning discussion for what had to be six minutes before the DM put his foot down, said something to the effect of 'guys, this isn't relevant to the story, let's move along'.

wrong answer, even though he didn't say it in a mean way.

Player stares at GM for the longest time. When we get to her turn she's still staring. We all think it's a joke because she did the same thing to a in-universe conversation the Rogue trying to have a hair-down with her... until she doesn't respond to anyone for another few minutes.

she finally gets up, says the GM invalidated her character, and leaves in a huff.

We're even more silent. The rest of the session went well enough, though.

Later I found out another guy at another table had quit because she tried to fight him (over Discord thankfully) over not giving the players sufficient warning that entering a specific area with high level monsters could kill them. The GM in question specifically warned the group at the start!!

she wasn't even DMing too. apparently she was reading the IC posts

tl;dr: lmao it's not that long read it. or don't and complain about having to read on a text website

17 Comments
2024/04/06
16:46 UTC

258

Player is furious that my BBGE is too sympathy inducing.

Hey folks, hope you're having a good day. Also, forgive me for any mistakes in Grammar. English isn't my native language.

I'll try to keep this short. I've been DMing for a group for roughly two years now, and due to my style of DMing, which involves lots of foreshadowing, clues, etc., they have just now met the BBEG. The thing is, when I was creating this particular fellow, I wanted to try something different from my usual.

This particular villain has one wish and one wish only: He wishes to die. Due to some circumstances, he is cursed with immortality. Yeah, we've all heard that story before. But I've never actually run such a story.

I've always viewed immortality as the worst curse one can have upon oneself. To see everyone you've ever connected with crumble and disappear. To witness funeral after funeral. To never truly allow yourself to feel love or to be loved, for it will be ephemeral. And in the end, only you would stand. Living, if you can call that a life.

But why is he a villain, you ask? His life is painful, his existence is suffering. He wishes it to end and will do everything in his power to do so. He has tried many ways, but none have really worked. Now, he will try the ultimate way. He will bring down the realm. He will destroy everything. For when all is gone, he hopes he will be as well.

I thought it would be an interesting narrative and story to have a less "power-hungry villain'" character. So, we've been building up to it over these two years. Now, they have finally faced him and learned of his ultimate goal, his reasoning, his pain. This happened last session, and we ended on a cliffhanger when they learned about it.

The problem arose when we ended the session, which I thought was absolutely amazing. One of my players became absolutely pissed. He started to shout angrily with words that I will really not write down, as I'm sure they will not fit the sub. He claimed that I was ruining DnD for him. That villains should be villains. That he didn't play to feel sympathy for his enemies.

He claimed I was an absolute a-hole for trying to make them feel pity for someone they should defeat, and things really escalated even though I tried to de-escalate the situation. My other players tried to reason with him, saying that it was a good story and all that, but he was having none of it. Truth be told, I've never seen someone that angry before, which honestly did make me slightly taken aback.

He left my house, where we host our game, almost storming out. I apologized to the players who remained there and told them that was not my intention. They seemed to have enjoyed the story and not really bothered by it, but the situation is sour, to say the least.

Now, here I am, considering that I should just stick with the run-of-the-mill cartoon villains. Which honestly isn't what I like, but I don't want to go through something like this again.

Well, this is my story. I'm sure it's not as horrifying as some out here, but well, it really did a number on my self-confidence as a DM.

Cheers folks.

TL;DR: A player got furious because the BBGE had a very sympathetic story and stormed out after cussing me, which led to the mood of our table souring.

114 Comments
2024/04/06
15:44 UTC

48

I'm Tired Boss

So I (32f) play D&D with my gf (35f), who dms, and something has been going on for a while. I don't only, but I do tend to play a frontline fighter, typically paladin or fighter, but I've had a couple characters that I focused a bit to get good AC with because I was the only tanky character for those games. The AC was like 20 to 21 depending on the character. Obviously part of being tanky when you're not a Barbarian is to avoid being hit as much. You can imagine how hard it is to tank when the enemy never misses. This is only a slight hyperbole, but I think they've only missed if she forgets my ac or a reaction, but not after that unless the reaction uses a resource or we're about to die. She will literally ask my AC if she's having a hard time hitting me at first, then never miss. This is disregarding the obscene number of nat20s the enemies often get. It's really hard to assume she's just lucky when she does role bellow my AC fairly often when attacking other players and she already has sort of a dm vs player play style. I'll admit I try to optimize my characters as long as it makes sense for the characters personality and background and isn't just bs, but I think that's fair when most encounters end or nearly end in what probably would be tpks without "devine intervention" or more likely roll fudging so we stay. I'd love to talk to her about it, but she doesn't take accusations or criticism well at all. Idk if I'm asking for help or advice, but idk what to do other than try to get this off my chest.

I forgot to mention these are lower level games around 3 to 5. I understand 20 AC only does so much against creatures with +10 to hit and stuff, lol.

42 Comments
2024/04/06
14:18 UTC

21

Storytime DM

This is low drama, and more of a call for aid.

One of the DMs I'm my weekly group is becoming increasingly boring to play with. Current campaign has a solid premise, but it's not playing out. Most of the sessions are us sitting around listening to descriptions of the setting. Last session, we were there for almost 2 hours before any dice were rolled. Or the sessions are one player side quests with no room for party involvement.

I try to prompt for dice rolls, but they're taken instead as a prompt for him to just explain what my character sees or does.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to break it to Him that he needs to dial it back and give us more agency?

13 Comments
2024/04/05
21:07 UTC

0

Am i the A-hole by ending my friend campaign?

First of all, non native english speaker here, sorry fo mispealings.

The people involved in this story are:

Group of friends 1: Bob, Mike, and Harry (names changed for obvious reasons), and my group of friends 2, who are not directly involved in the story. I've always been the DM for group of friends 1. In our school, I ended up creating a project to host D&D games on weekends, which earned me a reputation as "the RPG guy."

During the pandemic, I ran my biggest campaign for group 1. Eventually, the campaign ended, and I tried to run some others, but adult life always got in the way. In the meantime, group 2, whom I already knew some members of by then, they asked me to DM a campaign for them, which ended with the same result, but with some horror stories in between, which I might share here later.

Last year, group 2 started a campaign and invited me to be a player, and there was a spare spot. I invited Harry to join, as Mike was working on weekends at the time and Bob can be a bit stubborn and difficult to deal with sometimes (in terms of DMing, he's a cool guy). Eventually, Mike became available on weekends and started a campaign, inviting Bob, Harry, and me, and I accepted.

In recent months, I've been playing Mike's game on Saturdays and group 2's game on Sundays, and it's been very exhausting, not only because of the time but because Mike's campaign is so dull in comparison. He always says things like, "Oops, I messed up here. There should only have been 6 goblins, it might be too hard for you guys," and so on. He's dedicated, but it's not fun, especially with the other campaign running simultaneously.

And frankly, the combats are always easy, and it's supposed to be a darker campaign, where we're colonizing a country that belonged to goblins, killing them all in the process, treated similarly to when Europe started colonizing the Americas. Once he said something like: "If you're not racist towards goblins, you're wrong here," which I really dislike. It gives off a vibe that's way too wrong for me. And he never puts any music on, always leaving it to whoever wants to do it, and since none of the three of they take the initiative with these things, it always ends up falling on me. Also, last time there was a battle with over 50 enemies, all weak, and we could handle it, but it ended up taking too long(2 hours longer than scheduled), and every turn he kept talking about how he must have overdone it and had to make some of them flee for us to survive, TELLING US UP FRONT. I don't see a problem with the DM finding a way to save the party, but behind the scenes without the players noticing. Something I have never done, with them I have always been ruthless in combat and they always come out on top, which makes me think that my style of DMing ended up influencing his style. Besides, the XP is based on killing enemies, and there's a druid who always shows up, screws us over for no reason, summons various creatures, and then flees. He flees in a fair way, without pushing it, but we never gain anything from spending two hours in combat with this guy since he always flees

Group 2's campaign is reaching the end of its arc, and we've agreed that I'll step in as the DM with my sci-fi campaign in its place. I want to DM for them, but I don't want to DM and play at the same time, as it will tire me out, and I know that if even one person drops out of Mike's campaign, he won't DM anymore and will be quite sad, as he cancels the session every time one of us can't make it.

I plan to invite him and Bob to play in this new campaign, but it will be on Sundays, and I know Mike can't play on Sundays, and I don't intend to hold the campaign on Saturdays.

Am I the A-hole for ending my friend's campaign?

18 Comments
2024/04/05
14:07 UTC

91

DM says we aren't 'dedicated' enough

TLDR: DM tries to use his mental health as an excuse to manipulate players into feeling bad for not being ‘dedicated’ to the game.

Posted on another Reddit but thought y'all would enjoy, here you go:

So this story is a about a year old now, but I do wonder sometimes about it in a AITA way. It’s a long story, spanning over nearly 3 years but I’ll try to make it as concise as possible.

For some context, I joined this D&D group during COVID lockdown and I absolutely fell in love with it. We played online every Sunday for about 4-5 hours, and I had no idea when I joined but found out later that we actually were live streaming the game on twitch (This becomes important later). Our party consisted of the DM (We’ll call him X) and 7 players, the actual details of the party don’t matter much to the story.

As we started playing when no one had anything to prioritise on weekends, our schedule was pretty consistent. We had a lot of free tim and started spending time together outside of D&D sessions; sharing interests in other hobbies or just staying up super late on discord chatting. Through this game, I developed some really close friendships and most of them are my best friends to this day after playing with them for about four years now. It was kind of a golden era and one of the reasons I actually enjoyed lockdown.

The problems started when lockdown was lifted and everyone started to go back to work or see other friends. X, our DM, had been really unhappy working a typical 9-5 job, so he ended up starting his own DMing business and running games for people online so most of his life was very D&D focused. He never asked us to pay him because we were friends and at the time were helping him build up his portfolio. I should mention that he also had some pretty bad unresolved mental health issues, which played a big part in why I think it all went downhill.

As other priorities take up people’s time we start hanging out less as a group on discord, talking less in group chats but still make time every week for D&D on Sunday. Somehow, X gets it into his head that we aren’t ‘dedicated’ as players and starts to abandon the sessions midway through or cancel at the last minute to sulk. The first couple of times, because we know about his mental health issues, we reach out to see if he’s okay. He almost never responds, but eventually comes back and messages the group chat like nothing really happened, so we assume it’s fine. The campaign continues for about for another year and a half. More and more often X starts to have private conversations with me about how other players aren’t as dedicated as he would like.

In summer 2022, I move to London and due to expenses, move in with X and his GF. I became kind of like his therapist so whenever he would walk out on a game I would go to his room to ask if he was alright and to try and convince him to maybe come back or at least try to explain what was causing him so much stress. He’s a pretty closed book though, so there’s not much I can say to help him,

Time goes on, sometimes people are late (Obviously annoying), but looking back it was only by maximum 15 minutes, and to compensate X would add another hour or 2 onto our sessions. As time went on the sessions got longer and longer, sometimes we started playing at 1pm and wouldn’t finish until 9pm, which most of us didn’t mind but we started getting a couple of complaints from the group’s partners asking why half the weekend was spent on D&D. As people started taking on more work or other commitments, people sometimes missed out on sessions, making X more anxious.

Eventually, I found out what the issue was: He said that he really wanted to make something of the twitch channel, but if people weren’t dedicated to it, it wouldn’t happen. He was obsessed with Critical Role and I think he had hoped we would gain a similar kind of popularity. Due to his business picking up more traction, he mentioned that he felt he was being ‘taken advantage of’ by our group, because we were neither ‘committed’ nor were we paying him. When he said this, he exempted me and a couple of other ‘really dedicated’ people, but again, looking back he probably just wanted to keep me on side.

We had a group discussion about what we wanted from twitch. Most of the group said they were happy to contribute, I asked for the password to the instagram account so I could post and promote consistently (I never got given it in the end), but two of the players vocalised that they really didn’t care all that much about streaming, they were happy to come along for the ride but they just wanted to play D&D.

This is where things start to take a turn for the worse. It’s obvious that X isn’t happy with the two ‘undedicated’ players and it doesn’t help that these two players are the ones who are most often late to the game. More and more, I’m in X’s room trying to be encouraging. He opens up about some of his mental health issues and I tell him he should to try and find actual therapy or something that will help him. I found out later that other people had similar conversations, encouraging him to seek help or find a way to deal with whatever it was that was causing him to feel this way about the game. It’s batted down every time, and I appreciate that therapy isn’t for everyone but X had never even tried. Also bare in mind, that while X is saying these things to me, he never actually addresses it with the group, or the individuals he is annoyed at.

I asked him once if he wanted to me to speak to the group, and he gave a half-assed ‘Oh thank you, I would appreciate that but you know you don’t have to though.’ I went back to the discord call and basically recounted what X had said to me, about ‘real commitment’ and about X not being paid for his time. Thankfully, another player called me out on it and reminded me that D&D wasn’t school or work but something we did for fun. We all loved the game, and it was pretty evident, we were friends and we didn’t have to be in this group, but we wanted to because we enjoyed each other’s company. I apologised, asked X to join the call, and X didn’t say a word about his actual feelings, and didn’t apologise for penalising the group. I felt quite manipulated and betrayed at this, seeing as how I simply repeated his words, but the conversation seemed to be taking a brighter turn so I didn’t want to be the one to bring the mood down again. The group again encourages X to seek help, because no matter what we say or how much we love on the game, if X doesn’t believe it we can’t help him. After the call he thanked me for ‘sticking up for him’, but I just felt awful about it. I had berated my best friends and taken the fall for something I didn’t even really think. I couldn’t even really call it out because X had said that I didn’t have to.

In the game, we were reaching what we thought was the BBEG boss battle. It had been hyped up for ages, X telling us how hard this fight would be and that some of us could die. Recurring characters came back to help us fight and we all mentioned the session before the final battle that this was the end of the campaign, how sad we were to see it end but also proud we were of how far we’d come. X didn’t respond.

Something else it’s important to note here is that X had previously said that beyond this fight he expected the game to go on for another 3 months or so, just to tie up loose ends. I should also mention that he had encouraged us to create new characters for a new campaign. In the week between the final campfire chats and the boss battle, X’s girlfriend asked him again how long he expected the current campaign to go on for, and he said possibly another 6 months to a year.

We were all confused, but then we got to the final battle. After we defeated the Elder Brain (our BBEG), it was revealed that there was an even BIGGER BBEG that was controlling it. (This was pre BG3, just a funny coincidence). Our group was surprised but none of us wanted to question it in case X thought we were being unappreciative again. Once the dust has cleared, X decides he wants to focus on one character specifically, as the player (We’ll call him F) is the only one who hasn’t had any backstory exploration in the whole game. (He made a character cursed to never be able to talk about his past and from a very distant location so it was never really relevant to the story).

I created a new character as my old one was busy doing her own thing (Our characters took a year long break), but I ended up regretting it. Again, I was living with X and I didn’t want him to think I was being unappreciative. So we go to this new location, and now that the BBEG is dead, the story has no direction. Everything is focused on F’s character, he’s the only one that speaks the native language and the rest of us are kind of just there. It takes us 6 sessions to get there, meet F’s family, and then start the journey to the capital. Now that the games are 8 hours long, that’s 48 total hours (Maybe more) of me sat at my computer doing literally nothing. I started playing video games because sometimes I didn’t say a word the whole session. Basically it got really boring. Other than F we had no reason to be there, but we all felt bad that F hadn’t gotten the appreciation for his character and X was still pulling his old ‘dedication’ trick.

I spoke to some other players, they agreed things had fallen off a bit, and me and another girl in the group decided that we needed a break from it. We’d been playing for 2 and a half years and we just wanted something a bit different. So we told X that we’d stop playing this game and join back when the new one started. X was not happy at all. We tried to be kind about it knowing how fragile X was about the game, but yeah he stopped talking to me for like a week, which is a long time if you live together.

The Sunday after me and this other girl stopped playing, X didn’t show up, and never ran a session for the group again. He didn’t tell anyone that the campaign was stopping, others waited on discord for him to arrive but after 3 weeks of wondering, people stopped showing up. So the game fizzled, we were still friends though and I decided I was going to stay out of it for my own sanity. X did mention to me a while later that the other girl had ‘taken advantage’ of him, because he gave her a cool story arc and she just dropped the game out of nowhere. Majorly awkward, because I knew he was likely saying the same thing about me to other people.

We did suggest starting Campaign 2, and come back to Campaign 1 when we’d all had a break but X didn’t want to do that. A couple of other people mentioned DMing instead but every time X said he would start up Campaign 1 again soon so not to bother. Never happened.

In the end (Summer 2023), X and his girlfriend had a huge argument. His GF told us that he’d done some pretty questionable things bordering on abusive towards her, and asked him to leave and stay with his mum for a while, X left our D&D group chat, ignored everyone who reached out, and then blamed us for again, not being dedicated enough. (It was a whole thing but too long to go into). He blamed all his actions on his poor mental health, to which the general response was that we’d tried to help him as much as we could, but it’s still no excuse for how he treated people.

Ironically, I’m the DM of the group now and we’ve started a fresh campaign. X isn’t in contact with anyone from our group apart from one (Weirdly enough one of the guys who was ‘always’ late). I do feel a bit of sympathy for X, understanding the DM anxiety of wanting to make sure your players have a good time but I try not to let it get in the way of things. We don’t stream on twitch, we play in person and schedule games when we can. It’s honestly shocking to see the difference in the vibe we have now. People have openly said how much more relaxed they feel and I don’t think it’s anything to do with my DMing skills (I’m still very new), but simply the fact that we aren’t locked into some D&D cult.

24 Comments
2024/04/05
12:39 UTC

21

The Saboteur

This is going to be a hard one, as this tale means a lot to me.

Backstory : My friend (whom I'll call) Chris* (fake name) and I had been playing together for a long time. For years, I considered him my best friend. We started playing 3.5 together, then switched to AD&D, and 2nd Edition, where I played a Paladin named Cecil and he played a fighter who was mentored by me, until he eventually also became a Paladin, and his name was Arthas. (Our names are super original, I know.)

Many years later, we had played Fourth Edition together, and eventually to Pathfinder. He always wanted to play an epic campaign with the "son" of his previous character, a heroic Paladin who would be the hero of his story. I designed such a campaign. I would have preferred for him to solo it, but he wanted his best friend (whom I'll call) Lenny* (also fake name) to join, who I'd had problems with in the past, but who had matured and promised me he'd do better, and let Chris be the center of the story.

Enter Problem : There was, however, another player who wanted to join. I really didn't want it to happen, but they vouched for him, and he swore to me up and down that he would treat the game seriously and be lawful good and all that jazz. We'll call him Sabo.

Sabo had joined our group recently, and he was instantly known as being one of the craziest personalities. He never took the game seriously, had a habit of giving his character crass pun names, and when he DMed he gave everyone like +50 to all stats and immunity to physical attacks and etc. and etc. One of the pun names was something like, "Saksan Kak." Which...Some people got right away, and it took others saying it out loud to realize the issue.

However, I'm all about giving people chances. He hadn't been a direct problem to me, yet. It was all kind of, tertiary issues.

The Team : So, Chris played a Half-Elf Paladin named Exodia. Lenny played a...something small. Halfling I think, Summoner, named...I also forget. I'll call him Steve. Finally, Sabo played a Paladin (I forget the race, maybe human.) That wasn't the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that he played a Paladin of Apsu.

Why is this a big issue? Two reasons. First, we didn't have the specific rules for Apsu, they would come out in a book we didn't have. Second, Apsu is my real life deity. Long story short, Apsu (and Tiamat) are the primordial creators in the Sumerian(+) belief, and I'm Pagan, and I believe in them.

So, I was very suspect about him doing this, since he knew this to be the case. I told him I would be more strict on him because of it, that he had to be extra lawful and extra good. He agreed to it all, and swore it wasn't in any way to sabotage me.

When I asked him his character's name, he said something like "My name is Padasso Stew!" I thought it was a cool name...-.-

The Start : The campaign started innocently enough, but Sabo kept doing things that were...Egregious. He would attack people unwittingly, and blame it on his Paladin righteousness, that he thought he was doing the lawful thing. He kept playing ignorant, but my suspicions grew. The team was given about twenty foot-soldiers to aid them as they went to fight a bunch of Orcs, when they were level 5, and they set the foot-soldiers up in a horseshoe formation in front of the three of them, literally as human shields. They got mowed down like grass. I didn't blame Chris, since he wasn't the one to come up with that tactically...flawed, plan...and he was never the most assertive guy.

The last thing Sabo did in the first round of issues revolved around him not being able to get off of his horse. Skip the next paragraph if you don't want to read the mechanical issue at hand.

Mechanical Explanation: So, Sabo was on his horse, meaning he took up a 2x2 square. This meant that 12 orcs could surround him, but if he got off his horse, only 8 could surround him. He was already surrounded. He couldn't just dismount into an orc's square without a check of some sort, Bull Rush or Acrobatics...He knew he could fail miserably at either, he had a lot of armor check pentalty. If he got off his horse in his horse's square, they'd be squeezing, and both take a -4 to attacks and AC. He didn't like this either.

So his solution was to kill his horse. He attacked the horse, trying to sever its spine in one swing. This way, the horse would fall dead, and he could stand over the prone horse without penalty. (Only standing in the square of a dead huge creature causes problems) This wasn't just a random horse, this was his horse, as a Paladin/Knight it was his battle companion.

I...instantly stripped him of his powers. He didn't know this until the next time he went to use them, but by the time he did, he was, upset...but agreed to atone. He had to go to a special Cleric in the town, since Clerics of Apsu are rare. (He thought the Cleric was Apsu, but that's because in his games everyone was killing gods by level 2). He did the atonement, promised to be better, and continued on.

The Tests: I started sending "tests" at him. Each where he would be the only one to see it, usually while he was alone at watch at night. The first was a mangy, hungry dog, digging around outside the building where they were camped. He threw something at it, struck it for 14 points of damage, trying to kill it. I said "It hits it, but doesn't seem to leave much of a scratch."

Next was a starving child, where he ignored them basically.

Last was during a fight through a ruined town. The two were running ahead, and Stew was behind. Stew alone saw a grungy homeless man run off down a side alley. Stew decided to chase the man. Exodia and Steve turned around, and they're like "Where's Stew?!" then they laughed, "He's a dead man."

Stew followed the man into a ruin, where there was a chest, and he was holding a large ruby. The dirty man turned, wild eyed, "It's mine! I found it!" Stew immediately tried to kill him and steal it, only for the homeless man to transform into a silver dragon. Stew knelt in fear, and the dragon hit him with a paralyze breath, and took him away.

The Atonement: I did an entire one-on-one session with Sabo. He assured me he wanted to continue with his Stew character...There were going to be a few caveats, though, I said, if he wanted to. First, he had to change his name.

So, they kept calling him "Stew Padasso" which confused me, because he'd introduced himself to me the other way around. It took me weeks before they told me, "Because he's a stew-padasso, stew--padasso." Saying it slower, until, "He's a stupid asshole." Yeah, he got one by me. I felt dumb. He agreed to change his name.

Also, he had to Reincarnate and accept whatever he rolled, and stay in that form for a year (in game) which would amount to like 4 levels maybe. As part of his "Rebirth." He rolled Hobgoblin. Because of the Pathfinder rules, this meant he got nothing but bonuses. His previous race was human or Aasimar, so all of his bonuses were in mental stats. He didn't lose those bonuses, and ended up getting +2 Dex, +2 Con, Darkvision, and +4 on stealth checks, all for free basically. I went through this long role play where he had to explain his actions and his repentance to the silver dragon, who was an agent of Apsu. Then I reworked his character with him.

The following session he showed up with a level 1 Witch and said "Nah screw that other character, I'm playing this." And...It was Chris's story, and he said okay, but I could tell he was drained at this point. After that session, Chris didn't want to play anymore. We'd made it to about level 10-12.

Conclusion: I never played with Sabo again...but I learned from a friend that Sabo's whole intention from day 1 was to sabotage the game. I couldn't tell you why. He was the kind of person who just wanted to see the world burn. He didn't hate Chris, I thought they were friends. Sometimes people mention coming across truly toxic personalities. The problem with Sabo was he hid it so well, and then spun a whole yarn trying to justify his choices, or claiming ignorance for why they would be wrong. In the end, he got what he wanted, which still stings.

I kept playing with Chris and Lenny after that, just never returning to that campaign, even after bringing it up many times. Chris was so soured on it, that he never wanted to finish what would have been his glorious protagonist story.

TLDR: A friend's epic heroic Paladin protagonist campaign is derailed by a person playing an awful Paladin whose whole goal was sabotage the campaign.

18 Comments
2024/04/04
20:50 UTC

0

Impatient Min-Maxing Friend Vs. Ironclaw

(TL;DR - I wrote a campaign in a system my min-maxer friend didn't know just to foil him, worked on it for a month and he tanked it in three sessions by being impatient)

I was going through an old laptop of mine the other night. It's an old HP and has a bumper sticker on it that reads "I have no idea where I'm going", and it's holding a significant number of my TTRPG notes from over the years. I was looking for notes concerning a story I had written and posted here earlier, but I tripped over the notes for a game I ran, the adventure was titled "Eye For The Coven". I groaned, partially because that's a stupid name and partially because the game was an absolute shitshow.

The adventure was one I had written for the game Ironclaw. I remember that I had decided to write it as a Halloween themed game to run in three sessions through the month of October, and I had constructed it entirely to foil my friend that was a chronic min-maxer.

This friend has appeared in a couple of my other stories that I have posted here as Druid (He had a build for that class back in 3.5 that he had figured out how to make absurdly powerful by level 10). He is a great guy, but sometimes he really isn't fun to be in games with. He doesn't like dungeon crawling, he delights in combat which he ends very quickly, he hates doing puzzles and he rushes through half-assed or overexaggerated role-playing just to get… Well, I don't really know what he aims to get out of a TTRPG other than fighting things and totally owning them. He is a longtime friend of my buddy Leo, so for a little while they were a packaged deal. Plus his wife was a delight to have in games.

I decided to run it as an Ironclaw game for three simple reasons:

1 - it was a system he didn't know.

2 - it was easier for me to run it as a one shot for up to three sessions because it was so alien to the other players that they were less likely to develop emotional attachment.

3 - furries and monsters are about the only things I can actually draw.

The set up for the campaign was that the church is at odds with a death cult. The cult sends letters containing death threats to various important people, and shortly after the death threats are received, that individual disappears. Two individuals, a renowned doctor and a famous inventor are the two most recent recipients of these letters. At the same time as their disappearance, an acolyte of the temple is found to be practicing apostasy magic, and she disappears as well. The church believes the events are connected and hired the PCs to investigate. The local constability Also hires the players, because they think the disappearances are the work of a serial killer.

Unbeknownst to the PCs, they had not only the death cult to contend with, there was also a coven of vampires unrelated to the incidents that I put in more as a red herring than anything.

The players were my friend Leo, Dane (formerly druid), Dane's wife, and my wife. The characters they were playing... uh, really weren't optimal for the particular game. I think the only person playing any kind of mage was my wife, and she didn't even know how to actually play the game. Dane tried finding some way to make a highly effective combat character, but in Ironclaw unless you have a perk or flaw that modifies it, every character only has 10 hit points, and those can run out VERY fast if you're a melee character, twice as fast if the person attacking you has a gun, unless of course you have good armor and a lot of points in resolve.

The bulk of the action in the game took place when the PCs discovered after some very bad investigation checks, all rushed by Dane, that the only person that knew anything about the death cult was a solicitor that worked for a family with a large estate outside the town. Their employment ended when the matriarch of the family went crazy and murdered all of their kin 20 years earlier, only to be subsequently killed in self-defense by the niece when she arrived at the estate. This niece disappeared. Dane jumped to the conclusion that the niece's disappearance was the work of the cult (it wasn't).

So what happens is the PCs spend one and a half sessions inside of a haunted house, intentionally reactivating the same sort of recorded hauntings over and over to try to get clues to a mystery that was really a red herring in the first place. When the players finally realized this, Dane rushes everybody back to town and finds that the death cult had been committing acts of terrorism using the inventors technology in their absence. In the chaos they stumble across a hideout where it is revealed that the doctor and the inventor had actually been working with the death cult for profit reasons, the acolyte was trying to expose a temple conspiracy, and the vampire family was upset that some of their kin were killed under the belief that they were members of the death cult.

All of these people plus the PCs were now in the same room at the same time.

Dane gets impatient and initiates combat.

When the dust settles, the inventor, the doctor, the death cult priest, all of the attending members, all of the vampire family members, five town guards, the acolyte, two temple paladins, my wife's character, Dane's character and a random bystander are all dead.

The temple didn't really get any answers to their questions, but the cult was effectively out of commission so they worked to cover up the whole thing so that nobody would accept any more blame. The constability didn't have anybody left to hold responsible, seeing as the conspirators were all dead, and neither side would pay the remaining PCs for their work because the whole thing was a shitshow and no one was left to take culpability.

In the epilogue, the church coverup went off flawlessly, and my wife's character and the acolyte raised as vampires two days later, being the only two remaining from that "family".

"Sooo... that's it? We don't even get paid?" Leo said laughing.

"Nope. Everybody that was important to each plot thread died."

Dane was pissed. He never stayed pissed for long, but he really hates losing. However, I don't personally think they lost; they just didn't win. It was honestly a miracle that it wasn't a TPK with how the last session was handled.

I had spent the entire month of September writing the plot, put a lot of time and effort into it, and the players didn't really ask anywhere near enough questions or investigate anywhere near enough areas to find the right plot threads, mostly because Dane wanted to rush into a battle to see how combat worked, and unfortunately I didn't write the campaign with combat as a primary thing and he did know that going into it. By early November he was completely over it and we all went back to Pathfinder. I have a feeling that everybody involved rolls their eyes and/or groans whenever one of them brings up WGA's Ironclaw game.

Edit: Yes, I did try talking to him every single time he tried making a min-max character, he did it all the time, he has been in most of my games over the course of 10 years, he wouldn't listen, and I couldn't kick him because the other players would've gone out with him at the time. This was before VTTs, there was a very limited pool of people to play with, and the point of the story is to say how it went down, and that I am the bad guy in the story.

44 Comments
2024/04/04
16:19 UTC

36

DM's favoritism for one player ruins the campaign

TL;DR at the bottom.

So this all happened one or two years ago. The main people present in this story are the DM (Male), Sword (Fighter, Female), Air (Sorcerer, Male), Earth (Druid, Male), Fire (Druid, Male) and me (Warlock, Male). I knew everyone in this story before joining the game.

I was invited to a d&d5e game that some people from my friend's ttrpg discord (We all more or less knew each other there) were playing. At first it seemed odd to me because i knew that the game was full and they had already played a couple of sessions, but Sword told me that one of the players had to leave the campaign and they needed someone to play in his place.

I knew that the campaign was eastern inspired and that it was a homebrew world where the spirits and elements were really important. I also knew that Air, Earth and Fire were basically playing elemental masters inspired by ATLA:The last airbender (Air was basically the Avatar). So i decided to join and made a Hobgoblin warlock that fled from his country due to not wanting to be part of a civil war and accidentally ended up making a pact with a water spirit where he had to help him with sealing an evil water spirit. I talked with the DM to make sure everything was ok with him and fit his setting and he said that there was no problem.

At first everything was going well then, everything changed when the fire nation attacked, the party dynamics were cool and the story seemed interesting. We had to go on a pilgrimage through all the region, visiting the elemental temples to try and figure out why the elemental planes started to manifest on the material plane, causing chaos and threatening to disturb the balance. But as the sessions went on, problems started to appear.

First, after playing for some sessions i got told by some people in the discord that the reason the player i was replacing left wasn't really that he left. What really happened was that him and Sword had an argument and the DM ended up kicking him. I knew that player could be a bit stubborn but he never caused any problems. I talked to him after finding out and he said that he had no problem with me replacing him. This made me a bit suspicious since i knew that the DM had a crush on Sword but they had talked it out and supposedly there was nothing between them (There is more to this and it gets to the point that it gets creepy but it has nothing to do with the campaign itself so that's a story for another day).

As we started to meet some important npcs, we felt like they were a bit annoying. Almost all of them were basically perfect or constantly acted like they were the coolest or wisest people in the world and if we tried to ignore them or look for alternative ways to advance the story, suddently those npcs always had the solution to our problems or said that there weren't other ways. One time we were greeted by the ruler of a city who supposedly had been waiting for the party sitting next to a bridge like if it was a videogame npc that only acted when the main characters got close to it.

In addition to the blatant railroading, there was a bigger problem that ended up being the main reason that we got fed up with the campaign. The DM clearly showed favoritism for Sword. Making it so that most of the important npcs that we interacted with knew her o at least knew about her mother (Who it turned out to be a powerful kitsune spirit that luckily we never had to meet), even though she came from an island that was super isolated with the exterior world. Add to this the fact that every npc was amazed when they met her and no one ever gave importance to the other characters, like for example the fact that Air was basically the avatar or Fire being from another dimension and being one of a kind.

The DM didn't really know much about d&d5e mechanically so the combats were a bit all over the place. He liked to give raid-like attacks to bosses where they would telegraph the attack on the previous turn. He also sometimes made up abilities on the go like for example a boss that we spent a turn on disarming him only for him to manifest his blade again on his hand (After the session he showed us the statblock and it didn't have that ability written). Also on that same boss he used a battlemap that was a cave interior with a big abyss and when the party started to prepare things to push the boss inside the hole he suddently said that there was no hole.

The worst was when the campaign started to shift focus and for some reason the main menace the we were facing were demons and the elementals suddently had no presence in the story even though that was supposedly the theme of the campaign and also 4/5 characters had backgrouds related to them. This change was due to the fact that Sword really liked the anime "Kimetsu no Yaiba" and as mentioned the DM constantly gave her favoritism. This made it so that even though our main objective was still the same it felt like it was some sidequest and the real main theme were demons.

There were a couple of sessions where the DM brought another friend of ours as an invited player and we had to divide the party in three groups to take on 3 tests. I went with the guest character and in a 3 hour session we only had like 5 minutes of playtime and made a couple of dice rolls that in truth didn't affect anything. And of course, the main reason that we had to take this tests was because of something related to Sword's character. Apart from little comments or snippets all of the other characters didn't get anything related to their backstories (Up to this day i still don't know anything about Earth's backstory).

It got to the point where i suggested having a talk with the DM to express our dissatisfaction with the campaign and see if something could be done. Everyone accepted and we explained the problems that we had. Sword said that she didn't see any problems with the campaign and that it was mostly Air, Fire and Earth's fault because they didn't take the story seriously and were always missing the hooks. The DM ended up admitting that there were problems and promised to sort everything out (I took a lot of notes from this discussion because i had been told that this DM had run a Curse of Strahd game previously and had similar problems).

After this we resumed the campaign and after a couple of sessions where we did almost nothing, we got a big lore bomb that basically told us that everything that we had done related to the elementals plot was useless because the temples that we had visited were fake ones (There had been no clues about this). And this, combined with some drama that happened in the discord related to Sword (Not related to the campaign) ended up breaking the campaign and it got cancelled. It was a shame since the party dynamics (except for Sword) were really good and we had a lot of fun interacting between our characters, but that was all that campaign had to offer.

Also all of this was broadcasted on twitch because the DM had been doing this for some years and we really didn't have much problem since no one watched him. At least we can now watch clips from the campaign and have some laughs.

In the end we broke ties with Sword and slowly started doing the same with the DM. As i said, there were other problems with those two people in particular out of the game that ended up worsening the situation.

Up to this day i still have an irrational hate against Kimetsu no yaiba even though i've never consumed that media.

TL;DR: DM with a crush on one of his players makes a campaign where he clearly shows favoritism for her and ends up ruining the fun for everyone else, changing the theme and ignoring all the other characters.

I don't know if i'm forgetting something but i think that this is mostly it.

Edit: There was also this npc that was like a cool drow pirate/merchant that would constantly flirt with Sword and was always bragging about his adventures and how this was like his third or fourth ship since he lost his old ones but somehow always got more. The thing is that one time we were travelling with him (Because apparently we could never find another ship available and he was always in the same places we were coincidentally) we got attacked by a sea monster and the first thing the pirate did was scream and hide in the ship. This could have been funny if not for the fact that we were supposed to take that npc seriously. We all hated that stupid drow (Except Sword, of course).

12 Comments
2024/04/04
16:00 UTC

181

Dodging a bullet

Light story but here it goes.

With my friends we've decided to expand the playgroup to new players and I got in contact with a guy who wanted to join a game. We're messaging at the start in order to evaluate things and I asked him "what type of characters do you usually like to play?" since our campaign is a very narrative game mainly centered around high fantasy themes and tropes, so we want to find a good fit.

He goes: "I have a love for evil characters but I've seen that it pays to cooperate with the group otherwise the campaigns don't last long, so I mostly tend to create neutral characters that often go in two directions. In the first I aim to create characters that are simple in both their looks and backstory but stuffed with irony, phobias, bizarre fears, and funny cartoony details; in the second I create characters with very selfish ego or firm convinctions that tend to find benefit in creating messes or spite even during battles or personal moments, to push others out of their comfort zone and make things happen. Of course, I have several characters that I have already created and at least two or maybe more are the ones that I would like to bring into the campaign."

Yeah, I think we will pass on him

28 Comments
2024/04/04
15:42 UTC

0

Foreign DMs and Facades ( introduction)

So, recently I got back into dnd because I started dming and writing hardcore. My campaign was free to play and a couple of the newer players found it hard to find their footing in the campaign. Due to this, I decided to join other free to play campaigns…and this…after playing dnd for about 5 years, was the worst decision I could’ve ever made.

Characters: Dm Smart girl Noble man Me ( Magic boy)

Setting: theater of the mind/ arena/ none arena

—— This story begins with me joining a group and my girlfriend making a character for our campaign. I thought she was going to play with me, though I already committed to play with these new people. There wasn’t many people in the group even though these games were free to play all day every day. I took the time to make my wizard, but the other two people: a girl that frequently played and a man from my state that did the same already had established characters in this game. The fashionably, two hours late, dm came in whenever he wanted and immediately got defensive about the fact he was tardy to his own session, explaining that it was free to play and that he ran this all day, so it should be acceptable. Red flags went waving when I heard how inconsiderate that was, especially since the other two were waiting two hours to hear from the dm, though I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Introductions, character introductions, and shallow npc interactions later, we finally began in a tavern where we talked and got to really know each other, getting a letter that requested one of the party members to a manor after a celebration in town. After no real none-player interaction outside of that point, we met our first encounter in the middle of the street in an established town: a horseman, whom didn’t attack us but threatened the party…by just being there. My magic boy placed them in a spell which the dm didn’t take a liking to, considering what the horseman was and its purpose for being there.

“So, my hermit got a Nat 20 on investigation, what exactly can he figure out about the race of this guy?” Dm: “ That counts as an action. He’s a humanoid.” “ …That’s it?” Dm: “ Mhm. Next turn!”

After the dm, not so subtly, begged me to release his creature from the spell, we fought it, almost died, but killed it eventually.

Dm: No! My knight you killed my knight!

He declared, the knight in question transforming before the parties eyes into an acid dragon. Not some sort of humanoid. In the middle of town.

We tried to defeat this reasonable encounter, well, me and man did. Smart girl didn’t get targeted and attempted to bargain with the creature—which worked at the cost of my stabilized, from death saves ,characters life.

She got rewards Leveled up And got to go on to the next round. Meanwhile, I was contemplating if all those remarks and bending of the rules to fit the DMs damage model were to joke with the group and not to put us down in order to feel powerful.

I have a terrible tendency of framing things and people out of bad faith. (To be continued)

15 Comments
2024/04/04
08:30 UTC

0

Newbie player I'm playing with is trying to revolutionise ttrpgs.

16 Comments
2024/04/04
06:21 UTC

155

Whiny Player refuses to participate in the long session and is confused why he doesn’t get the end rewards.

I was in a session that was about 6 hours long, which I wasn’t a big fan of but I participated anyway because I made a commitment when I signed up.

But this one player didn’t get that message. He bitched and Moaned about the Session being too long, and in every single battle, He would refuse to fight and would just run away from enemies, which Ironically made it even longer

When we reached the end, we were dividing the end rewards like money and treasure, and purposefully left him out. He complained even more, which was really funny. He said that’s not fair, because he participated in the game. We called him out for not participating, and said he’s not getting the rewards.

He said that he sat through the long-ass session for no reason. DM told him to get out, and he did. Next session, we learned that DM banned him, and we were glad.

75 Comments
2024/04/04
05:13 UTC

310

A campaign that never started... (Triggers: Rape, Torture)

I didn't plan for a session 0: 2 of the players were colleagues of mine, one was the girlfriend of one of them and the other was my brother... So, instead of a formal session 0, we opted for a longer period of discussion while I was preparing the campaign.

Characters: GM (that's Yours truly), Long (that's one of my colleagues)... We are at work.

GM: "This will be a peculiar setting: magic is heavily controlled by the Inquisition so children are screened for magic potential and are normally assimilated into the inquisition ranks or at the service of a noble... this would be illegal, but tolerated because it is one of the leverages the inquisition can use when their power is threatened."

Long: "I think this would be unfair, my girlfriend and I both want to play casters, so we would be at a disadvantage."

GM: "I don't think so... While it is true that you could face consequences for using magic, it is also true that you are not going to face other casters often and they are going to be less capable than you. What classes did you have in mind?"

Long: "Here's the thing: my girlfriend and I would like to play our usual characters: I would be an elf warlock, while she would be an elf druid... Would it be ok?"

GM: "It could be, or perhaps we could tweak something a bit... I will need to see their character sheets and to know their backstory".

Long: "I happen to have them right here."

I read both the backstories: they only talked about how they met and, as both had canine phisical features (they both got a tail and doglike ears- wolflike for him and foxlike for her), they decided it was a sign from the gods and they fell in love with each other... My spider sense was tingling, but it gave me the chance to insert them in such a world without changing anything.

GM: "They could work: the backstories don't explain anything about where they come from so... What if your girlfriend belongs to an Elven nomadic tribe? This way, if the inquisition wasn't on good terms with nomads it would be normal that they couldn't screen her as she was kept hidden... While you being a warlock means that you could have found a patron later than the screening, but how do you explain the animal like features?"

Long: "This is something both my girlfriend and I want to explore during the campaign and it is not negotiable, the characters don't know it... But we already have a story about it and we are going to introduce it as the campaign progresses."

GM: "I don't like the phrase 'not negotiable' about something I don't know... Let me think about it."

Long: "Ok, take your time."

I had not checked their stats, so I gave another look at the sheets: it was a custom sheet I had never seen before and something wasn't adding up. There was one more stat I had never met in D&D and they both had 18 in it.

GM: "Hey Long... what is this SZ stat?"

Long: "Yeah: that's dick size."

GM: "Seriously... what is it? One of the characters is female..."

Long: "For her it is boobs size."

Man... He was serious!

GM: "Ok, but... What is this stat used for? I can't think of any practical use."

Long: "A lot of stuff, for example if I rape an enemy it is used to calculate if I satisfy her enough that she turns on our side, it can be used to tell how much pain someone feels when I sodomize them during torture... And it is used to calculate if we get bonuses for the sex during long rests or if we have to pay when going with prostitutes."

GM: "Ok, I don't think we will need it... It isn't that kind of campaign."

Long: "What's the matter? Is it going to be a sex-free campaign?"

GM: "I don't have anything against sex, but I don't want spoken porn if it is not someway advancing the story. For conversion by rape, the base DC is going to be infinite, so I won't allow the throw, both of your characters are Lawful Good, So I don't think you are going to be torturing anyone any time soon, and there is no bonus for sex during the rests... If you want to be talking sex with your girlfriend during the long rests we can accomodate for a 5 minute pause so you can find somewhere secluded and do all the sex-talk you want while the others wait."

I had hoped he would get the sarcasm.

Long: "I will have to ask her if she accepts those conditions... We will think about it."

After a couple days Long came, he asked me to add his brother into the campaign, he made a case for the importance of rape in D&D, and proposed that, at the end of every session, the players were voting on the GM performance and decide who was going to be the GM next time... At this point I voluntarily stepped down and, as no D&D is better than canine sex rape D&D, I decided to remove myself from the campaign.

I just wonder how they were going to "explore" their animal features, but I suppose it had a lot to do with stuff going on under their tails.

To my shame there is an episode 2 to this... Do you need to hear about the second campaign that never started? I don't know... perhaps for catharsis.

Edit: I had somehow lost a sentence.

129 Comments
2024/04/03
13:36 UTC

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