Follow-Up: Adversity in Role Playing


There has been a lot of discussion about this topic on Dragonsfoot, and I found that I need to add a bit more exposition about the situation in order for the members there to truly understand the situation, and the player’s aversion to adversity.

The following is the bulk of the body of a post I made there this morning…

I feel like I have to add some further exposition about how this all came about.

  1. Allustriel of Silverymoon contacted the characters and asked if they would undertake a one way journey through a portal from Silverymoon to Nesmé with the goal of either a) restoring the functionality of the gate on the other side, or b) finding a way to break the siege allowing her military forces a better chance of getting through and defending the city. The party chose to do it.
  2. Once in Nesmé, there was no simple fix to the gate problem. It would take some time and effort to get it working again. The party chose to instead attempt to break the siege.
  3. In an attempt to find a more secret way out of the city than the main gate, the part entered the sewers to find a drain that emptied outside the wall. There they met a very common denizen of sewers…wererats. The party was given ample clues that they might find wererats in the sewers, as the local thieves’ guild was overrun with wererats in league with Gerti Orelsdottr. They chose to engage them early on during largely expositive encounters, and the bard charged into combat ahead of the fighter and paladin rather than waiting down in the initiative order.
  4. Once I was aware how much the player disliked the outcome of his own ill-
    Stone Giant
    considered actions, I devised a story arc to make his misfortune a huge party asset instead of a liability. The player instead chose to embark on a suicide mission (certainly within his purview) that I had previously, when the party traveled to Nesmé, explained would be fruitless until the characters became more powerful. The dice spoke. His horse was crushed by a stone giant’s boulder, and the character was knocked unconscious (0hp). All of this occured in plain view of all the payers at the table. I rolled, as always, in the open.
  5. Although I then planned to place the captured Faelel in the very next dungeon, where the characters used their newly found and secured exit from the city, as they assaulted the hobgoblin allies of Gerti Orelsdottr, the main troops engaged in the siege. The player instead chose to write-up a new character (certainly within his purview) whose entire personality was designed to be a jerk and push my personal buttons. At this point he began what I found out was a determined campaign to sabotage the entire campaign.
  6. Faelel once rescued ran off, never to be seen again. Though if the campaign had continued far enough the party would have met him as an NPC in Waterdeep (certainly within my purview once a character is abandoned).
  7. The campaign continued for a few more adventures. The characters secured a reliable method of getting out of, and back into the city. They completed several quest designed to help loosen and eventually break the siege. The player grew bored with the jerk Cavalier, and decided to write-up a new character. Before the party could meet this new character and secure a powerful sword named Hearthbrand, the rest of the players got fed up with the player’s constant bickering and whining and the campaign collapsed.
Are you sure you want to do that?
Are you sure you want to do that?

Let’s make this crystal clear. I didn’t pull anything on the player. I created adventures with logical scenarios and the players made choices that led to the events that occurred to them. While I certainly put those outcomes within their reach, it was their own decisions (wise or ill-considered) and the fate of the dice that made them happen. The outcomes were logical and foreseeable.

I too was in the very same situation as the player, trying to cope with an unexpected situation. The difference between the player’s options and my own, were that I had a responsibility to make things seem logical and fitting in the game world so the rest of the players’ suspension of disbelief wasn’t strained too much.

I take that back. The player had the exact same responsibilities to the group and failed utterly at fulfilling them.

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Omens and Portents




Omens and Portents

Alex Karaczun © 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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