Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm a Killer DM...

My last session of 5e Stonehell ended in another TPK. I don’t pull my punches when I DM, and I tend to roll my dice in the open… so when things go poorly for the PCs, it tends to result in some dead PCs. Now, given that fact, and the fact that I’ve killed them off a couple of times now, I’ve kind of expected my players to catch on. And they have, sort of... but there is definitely a steeper learning curve than I expected. Rushing into a room of 5 orcs, even with surprise, isn’t a wise decision.

On the other hand, they did gang up on the orcs, so that they concentrated damage, but they didn’t let the spellslinger use his area of effect spell first… which would have made a huge difference. Also not helping them was the abysmal dice rolls. Even with advantage they were missing AC12 regularly. It was sad, but what’s a DM to do when Lady Luck has turned her back on the players?

Thinking about it afterward, I wonder if sometimes it might make sense in a situation like that to have a save point? Bring the PCs back to the surprise round, and give them a chance to do it all over again?

It wouldn't be so bad, but they Just. Keep. Dying!

It’s all academic for the moment. One of my PC’s started running Michael Curtis’ Glitterdoom adventure. Kind of funny that.. And it’s nice to get to play in one of his adventures! Of course my illusionist’s spells seem to have been exactly the wrong ones to pick, but nothing to be done about that.

But once Glitterdoom is done… who knows? Maybe I’ll run some of the DCC adventures I’ve picked up?


  1. Seem fair. You kill them in Stonehell so they get to kill you in Glitterdoom. I deny all responsibility, however. Happy gaming (or maybe maiming?)!

  2. You're not killing players. The players and the dice are killing players.

  3. My good friend always gives the players one re-roll per game session (unless the system has rerolls built into it already). It's an additional source of angst as a player about whether to save the re roll for something more important, or to use it immediately.

    Another option, roll the corpse over to see if he/she is actually dead, is possible. DCC does this with luck rolls (which are usually miserable by that point, given that you can burn your luck statistic to improve a die roll), or Adventurer Conqueror King has a mortality table that's fun. Of course a TPK doesn't really allow either of these to help you.