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TOPIC: What to do about bad DMs?

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 2 hours ago #169

Scot Martin wrote: Also avoid ambiguous colors.

+1 and if you duplicate calls (because you just can't buy 10 different color lights) then mark them - at BOTH locations with a symbol.

Ed
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 1 hour ago #170

Incognito wrote: I do recognize that some people prefer other things, such as easily stomping the opposition or one turn killing the monsters.

I think there is a middle-ground between roflstomping the monsters and being overwhelmed by them.
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 1 hour ago #171

Incognito wrote:

Cranston wrote: Just a food for thought comment on Grind. I was in TJ's group. The barbarian got one slide through the entire combat. Frozen by the Flayer, swallowed by the worm, when the MF died, and couldn't even get in the water (he tried 5 times by my count, but kept being told he was on shore) and died. There could easily be good reasons for all, but you mentioned it being fun. Being a punching bag without being able to hit back, is not much fun. All I recommend is to spread some of the attacks to other players. Maybe just have only one creature attack any one character at a time. At least let everyone have some attacks. I hesitate to comment, because I know that Eric, and Raven and Brad put a lot of work and effort into Grind and you do a great job putting it all together! There is a lot going on, and it has to be a nightmare to keep track of.

Thanks for the elaboration Tom.

Sorry, I didn't know what was going on, on the other side. The Mind Flayer was on the other side and it sounds like the "trying to get in the water but being on the shore" was something on the other side as well (I don't recall that at all).

However, those swallowed by the Purple Worm could still attack (from within) so that should not have affected his opportunities to slide.

It is sounding like he was getting hit a lot (and "hindered") on one side and then when he switched to the other side, he was getting hit as well (because in the chaos of combat, there currently isn't a good mechanism to combat states to the other DM). It is definitely something I can look into for the future! :)


Not to pile on here, but I was in this group as well. One thing you may want to look at in the future is over using monsters with paralyze or charm like abilities. I spent the majority of the combat attacking party members or not attacking at all... Not alot of fun when you spend money for these runs. The rest of the time I couldn't figure out if I was on the shore or in the water. I think you may have tried to be a bit too clever with this combat and it got away from you a little bit. Sadly I think this years grind was a sub par experience.

That being said... I have had fun with it in the past and most likely will still give it another try. Just don't take any of this as negative... Just a little constructive criticism.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 50 minutes ago #172

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Druegar wrote:

Incognito wrote: I do recognize that some people prefer other things, such as easily stomping the opposition or one turn killing the monsters.

I think there is a middle-ground between roflstomping the monsters and being overwhelmed by them.


Thanks. I saw this and bristled. Chose to stay calm and productive. My group and I dislike a one-shot kill just as much as dying.
You still got hit points! Get back in there and fight!!

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 44 minutes ago #173

TJRat wrote:

Druegar wrote:

Incognito wrote: I do recognize that some people prefer other things, such as easily stomping the opposition or one turn killing the monsters.

I think there is a middle-ground between roflstomping the monsters and being overwhelmed by them.


Thanks. I saw this and bristled. Chose to stay calm and productive. My group and I dislike a one-shot kill just as much as dying.


^^^ What he said.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #174

Chris Von Wahlde wrote: Not to pile on here, but I was in this group as well. One thing you may want to look at in the future is over using monsters with paralyze or charm like abilities. I spent the majority of the combat attacking party members or not attacking at all... Not alot of fun when you spend money for these runs. The rest of the time I couldn't figure out if I was on the shore or in the water. I think you may have tried to be a bit too clever with this combat and it got away from you a little bit. Sadly I think this years grind was a sub par experience.

That being said... I have had fun with it in the past and most likely will still give it another try. Just don't take any of this as negative... Just a little constructive criticism.

I called up Cranston earlier and we talked for about 20 minutes, so that I could get more details on what happened on the other side (the third combat board where the assistant DM was).

Also, I checked the party card and it looks like the Barbarian had saving throws of +13/+13/+10, meaning he should have had greater than 50% chance on most of the saves (most relevant DC's ranged from 17 to 20).

It sounds like he got more than just one swing against the Myconid and Umber Hulk, though he did get hit by the Myconid's pacification attack and the Umber Hulk's confusion gaze.

Then apparently he got hit by Mind Flayer's psychic blast and was out of commission for 4 rounds without further saves. If that is what happened, I apologize because it shouldn't have - he should have gotten a new saving throw every round to break out of it.

Then my Purple Worm came across the room to swallow him. After being swallowed he should have been able to attack the Purple Worm from within.

For the underwater room, I was mainly doing the "come up for air every other round" on the honor system. He should not have "lost 5 turns because he was stuck on shore." On my side the Aboleth was using a fair amount of Domination, but I don't think it was working against the Barbarian (which is why he was getting attacked instead). However, Cranston says the Barbarian was still rolling lots of saves and losing turns. I can only guess that they were coming from my assistant's Eye of the Deep which had Hold Person and Blinding Light (stun) abilities.


Right now I can think of 3 main takeaways & observations:

1. I should have a detailed talk with my assistant DM's about how to determine targets (particularly with debilitating effects). In addition, we should work on a better way to relay who we've been targeting so that if someone changes sides (or monsters attack the other side), we don't inadvertently pick on someone too much.

2. It is interesting to see that a few groups end up having difficulty with a particular monster while other groups just breeze by that monster. Last year, a few groups (like David Harris) really had trouble with the Purple Worm yet this year, the Purple Worm seemed much more manageable. Back in 2011, I don't recall the Aboleth being that troublesome (except for maybe George) but this year several groups had issues, especially those who had neglected their Will saves. Yet there were also plenty of groups that just breezed through the Aboleth.

3. Looking at your party card, I think this is also a good example of the inevitable problems resulting from power creep and/or mixed groups. For example, looking at + hit/damage, we have (sorted)

+2/+2
+3/+0
+8/+10
+10/+14
+12/+9
+12/+28
+13/+16
+13/+17
+14/+9
+18/+10

Choosing an AC target is going to be hard when you have a +2 and a +18 around.

Looking at the Player AC's we have:

21
21
21
22
28
29
32
34
36
40

4 players notably at the low end (21 or 22), maybe in the mid-range, and 3 in the high end.

And if we look at saves we have

+1/+11/+1
+5/+7/+7
+7/+8/+9
+12/+9/+18
+12/+9/+18
+13/+13/+10
+16/+15/+17
+17/+13/+21
+17/+23/+22
+20/+18/+17

If anything I would have to say that the Rogue (with +1/+11/+1) in theory should have had the hardest time. Even if the DC had been 12 or 15, he would have failed his FORT and WILL saves more than half the time.


The fourth room (underwater with Aboleth) was tricky.

Some players (and parties) thought it was fun and interesting to be attacking each other. I let the players roll the attack rolls and sometimes choose the targets (letting them settle old grudges).

But other players and parties disliked the experience.

It's like when you try to introduce a new mechanic or new experience, it's hard to say which people will love it and which people will loathe it. Hmmm.

Bear in mind that this was just one room, so it probably wasn't "the majority" of the combat, but I understand your sentiment.

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Last edit: by Incognito.

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #175

Incognito wrote:

Chris Von Wahlde wrote: Not to pile on here, but I was in this group as well. One thing you may want to look at in the future is over using monsters with paralyze or charm like abilities. I spent the majority of the combat attacking party members or not attacking at all... Not alot of fun when you spend money for these runs. The rest of the time I couldn't figure out if I was on the shore or in the water. I think you may have tried to be a bit too clever with this combat and it got away from you a little bit. Sadly I think this years grind was a sub par experience.

That being said... I have had fun with it in the past and most likely will still give it another try. Just don't take any of this as negative... Just a little constructive criticism.

I called up Cranston earlier and we talked for about 20 minutes, so that I could get more details on what happened on the other side (the third combat board where the assistant DM was).

Also, I checked the party card and it looks like the Barbarian had saving throws of +13/+13/+10, meaning he should have had greater than 50% chance on most of the saves (most relevant DC's ranged from 17 to 20).

It sounds like he got more than just one swing against the Myconid and Umber Hulk, though he did get hit by the Myconid's pacification attack and the Umber Hulk's confusion gaze.

Then apparently he got hit by Mind Flayer's psychic blast and was out of commission for 4 rounds without further saves. If that is what happened, I apologize because it shouldn't have - he should have gotten a new saving throw every round to break out of it.

Then my Purple Worm came across the room to swallow him. After being swallowed he should have been able to attack the Purple Worm from within.

For the underwater room, I was mainly doing the "come up for air every other round" on the honor system. He should not have "lost 5 turns because he was stuck on shore." On my side the Aboleth was using a fair amount of Domination, but I don't think it was working against the Barbarian (which is why he was getting attacked instead). However, Cranston says the Barbarian was still rolling lots of saves and losing turns. I can only guess that they were coming from my assistant's Eye of the Deep which had Hold Person and Blinding Light (stun) abilities.


Right now I can think of 3 main takeaways & observations:

1. I should have a detailed talk with my assistant DM's about how to determine targets (particularly with debilitating effects). In addition, we should work on a better way to relay who we've been targeting so that if someone changes sides (or monsters attack the other side), we don't inadvertently pick on someone too much.

2. It is interesting to see that a few groups end up having difficulty with a particular monster while other groups just breeze by that monster. Last year, a few groups (like David Harris) really had trouble with the Purple Worm yet this year, the Purple Worm seemed much more manageable. Back in 2011, I don't recall the Aboleth being that troublesome (except for maybe George) but this year several groups had issues, especially those who had neglected their Will saves. Yet there were also plenty of groups that just breezed through the Aboleth.

3. Looking at your party card, I think this is also a good example of the inevitable problems resulting from power creep and/or mixed groups. For example, looking at + hit/damage, we have (sorted)

+2/+2
+3/+0
+8/+10
+10/+14
+12/+9
+12/+28
+13/+16
+13/+17
+14/+9
+18/+10

Choosing an AC target is going to be hard when you have a +2 and a +18 around.

Looking at the Player AC's we have:

21
21
21
22
28
29
32
34
36
40

4 players notably at the low end (21 or 22), maybe in the mid-range, and 3 in the high end.

And if we look at saves we have

+1/+11/+1
+5/+7/+7
+7/+8/+9
+12/+9/+18
+12/+9/+18
+13/+13/+10
+16/+15/+17
+17/+13/+21
+17/+23/+22
+20/+18/+17

If anything I would have to that the Rogue (with +1/+11/+1) in theory should have had the hardest time. Even if the DC had been 12 or 15, he would have failed his FORT and WILL saves more than half the time.


The fourth room (underwater with Aboleth) was tricky.

Some players (and parties) thought it was fun and interesting to be attacking each other. I let the players roll the attack rolls and sometimes choose the targets (letting them settle old grudges).

But other players and parties disliked the experience.

Bear in mind that this was just one room, so it probably wasn't "the majority" of the combat, but I understand your sentiment.



I guess my main problem was nobody seemed to have a clue what was going on (players and DMs.. no offense)... Could we attack or not? Were we on the shore or not? I spent alot of time standing around before I finally made a save and was then swallowed by the worm (I had no issues with that). When half of the party has been dominated and are attacking one character it is no fun. A little here and there is fine, but it honestly felt like a good portion of the combat. Maybe with our group you had let us roll and pick targets it would have helped. Instead it came across as you picking on certain characters.

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Last edit: by Chris Von Wahlde.

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #176

Chris Von Wahlde wrote: I guess my main problem was nobody seemed to have a clue what was going on (players and DMs.. no offense)... Could we attack or not? Were we on the shore or not? I spent alot of time standing around before I finally made a save and was then swallowed by the worm (I had no issues with that). When half of the party has been dominated and are attacking one character it is no fun. A little here and there is fine, but it honestly felt like a good portion of the combat. Maybe with our group you had let us roll and pick targets it would have helped. Instead it came across as you picking on certain characters.

Fair points. I agree it could have been implemented better. Lesson learned! :)

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #177

Incognito wrote:

Chris Von Wahlde wrote: I guess my main problem was nobody seemed to have a clue what was going on (players and DMs.. no offense)... Could we attack or not? Were we on the shore or not? I spent alot of time standing around before I finally made a save and was then swallowed by the worm (I had no issues with that). When half of the party has been dominated and are attacking one character it is no fun. A little here and there is fine, but it honestly felt like a good portion of the combat. Maybe with our group you had let us roll and pick targets it would have helped. Instead it came across as you picking on certain characters.

Fair points. I agree it could have been implemented better. Lesson learned! :)


That's all we ask. Like I said before I usually enjoy Grind, and just wanted to give some constructive criticism.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #178

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Chris Von Wahlde wrote:

Incognito wrote:

Chris Von Wahlde wrote: Not to pile on here, but I was in this group as well. One thing you may want to look at in the future is over using monsters with paralyze or charm like abilities. I spent the majority of the combat attacking party members or not attacking at all... Not alot of fun when you spend money for these runs. The rest of the time I couldn't figure out if I was on the shore or in the water. I think you may have tried to be a bit too clever with this combat and it got away from you a little bit. Sadly I think this years grind was a sub par experience.

That being said... I have had fun with it in the past and most likely will still give it another try. Just don't take any of this as negative... Just a little constructive criticism.

I called up Cranston earlier and we talked for about 20 minutes, so that I could get more details on what happened on the other side (the third combat board where the assistant DM was).

Also, I checked the party card and it looks like the Barbarian had saving throws of +13/+13/+10, meaning he should have had greater than 50% chance on most of the saves (most relevant DC's ranged from 17 to 20).

It sounds like he got more than just one swing against the Myconid and Umber Hulk, though he did get hit by the Myconid's pacification attack and the Umber Hulk's confusion gaze.

Then apparently he got hit by Mind Flayer's psychic blast and was out of commission for 4 rounds without further saves. If that is what happened, I apologize because it shouldn't have - he should have gotten a new saving throw every round to break out of it.

Then my Purple Worm came across the room to swallow him. After being swallowed he should have been able to attack the Purple Worm from within.

For the underwater room, I was mainly doing the "come up for air every other round" on the honor system. He should not have "lost 5 turns because he was stuck on shore." On my side the Aboleth was using a fair amount of Domination, but I don't think it was working against the Barbarian (which is why he was getting attacked instead). However, Cranston says the Barbarian was still rolling lots of saves and losing turns. I can only guess that they were coming from my assistant's Eye of the Deep which had Hold Person and Blinding Light (stun) abilities.


Right now I can think of 3 main takeaways & observations:

1. I should have a detailed talk with my assistant DM's about how to determine targets (particularly with debilitating effects). In addition, we should work on a better way to relay who we've been targeting so that if someone changes sides (or monsters attack the other side), we don't inadvertently pick on someone too much.

2. It is interesting to see that a few groups end up having difficulty with a particular monster while other groups just breeze by that monster. Last year, a few groups (like David Harris) really had trouble with the Purple Worm yet this year, the Purple Worm seemed much more manageable. Back in 2011, I don't recall the Aboleth being that troublesome (except for maybe George) but this year several groups had issues, especially those who had neglected their Will saves. Yet there were also plenty of groups that just breezed through the Aboleth.

3. Looking at your party card, I think this is also a good example of the inevitable problems resulting from power creep and/or mixed groups. For example, looking at + hit/damage, we have (sorted)

+2/+2
+3/+0
+8/+10
+10/+14
+12/+9
+12/+28
+13/+16
+13/+17
+14/+9
+18/+10

Choosing an AC target is going to be hard when you have a +2 and a +18 around.

Looking at the Player AC's we have:

21
21
21
22
28
29
32
34
36
40

4 players notably at the low end (21 or 22), maybe in the mid-range, and 3 in the high end.

And if we look at saves we have

+1/+11/+1
+5/+7/+7
+7/+8/+9
+12/+9/+18
+12/+9/+18
+13/+13/+10
+16/+15/+17
+17/+13/+21
+17/+23/+22
+20/+18/+17

If anything I would have to that the Rogue (with +1/+11/+1) in theory should have had the hardest time. Even if the DC had been 12 or 15, he would have failed his FORT and WILL saves more than half the time.


The fourth room (underwater with Aboleth) was tricky.

Some players (and parties) thought it was fun and interesting to be attacking each other. I let the players roll the attack rolls and sometimes choose the targets (letting them settle old grudges).

But other players and parties disliked the experience.

Bear in mind that this was just one room, so it probably wasn't "the majority" of the combat, but I understand your sentiment.



I guess my main problem was nobody seemed to have a clue what was going on (players and DMs.. no offense)... Could we attack or not? Were we on the shore or not? I spent alot of time standing around before I finally made a save and was then swallowed by the worm (I had no issues with that). When half of the party has been dominated and are attacking one character it is no fun. A little here and there is fine, but it honestly felt like a good portion of the combat. Maybe with our group you had let us roll and pick targets it would have helped. Instead it came across as you picking on certain characters.


Yep, pretty much my feeling. One point that I must make though - the barb got tossed around pretty good on the far end - no problem, he gave as good as he got. We mushroomed and healed him some - then you (incognito) pulled him away when the purple worm swallowed him.

Once the worm was killed, you attacked him with two monsters, then two dominated players - four rolls. Your response when he asked if it was his turn; you're not in the water, you can't attack. You were pulled away for a second - he asks me if he should pull his bow - you interject that they're underwater and can't be hit by ranged. Neither of us was down on that end to get the instructions about the water room.

Then you roll two monster attacks and direct both dominated players to attack him again, and again. that's when you asked him how many hit points he had left.

We honestly couldn't tell, as I was trying to get a healing turn in there somewhere. You reacted to our swimmers and lost a monster, so you only had one monster and two dominated players to throw at the barb. It went on in this manner for a few turns.

That's when he threw in the towel. He knew by the look in your eye that there was (literally) blood in the water and would just keep targeting him. This didn't happen at the far end. It happened against the last aquatic monster you were running.

As Chris and Tom said to you, and many have said to me, it's an opportunity to keep grind as a challenge and step away from the abyss of just thinking up evil ways to kill players.
You still got hit points! Get back in there and fight!!

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Last edit: by TJRat.

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #179

TJRat wrote: Yep, pretty much my feeling. One point that I must make though - the barb got tossed around pretty good on the far end - no problem, he gave as good as he got. We mushroomed and healed him some - then you (incognito) pulled him away when the purple worm swallowed him.

As mentioned, players swallowed by the purple worm were able to attack the purple worm from inside. I am sorry if this was not communicated to the Barbarian.

Once the worm was killed, you attacked him with two monsters, then two dominated players - four rolls. Your response when he asked if it was his turn; you're not in the water, you can't attack. You were pulled away for a second - he asks me if he should pull his bow - you interject that they're underwater and can't be hit by ranged. Neither of us was down on that end to get the instructions about the water room.

Sounds like another communications breakdown, which I apologize for.

You could target underwater monsters with ranged, it's just that it dealt half damage (without free action type effects). I announced this at the beginning of the underwater room (but it sounds like you didn't hear these instructions).

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #180

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Scot Martin wrote: Agree with many of the complaints in the thread and just adding one more voice to these suggestions:

1. Make sure parties do not lose treasure after 1 mistake, even on NM.
2. Let parties know after the 1st mistake that they are in danger of losing the treasure so they know to be more careful ("the lava shakes the treasure dangerously, you worry that more attempts like that will cause it to fall!")
3. Mass damage to the entire party is scary enough from puzzles and spider sacs, try to help them avoid doing it to themselves ("you could cast that spell at all the bugs, but be aware that you will likely catch the party too, do you still want to attempt it?")
4. Avoid making puzzles that require lengthy DM checks of the solution. Also avoid ambiguous colors.

-Scot


1. Room 3 allowed 1 mistake before the treasure was lost, no matter the level.
2. This is a good idea.
3. This admonition might be given for normal parties, but not for HC or NM (says the doofus who ray of shocked everyone in the part in the water room).
4. DMs quickly learned to help identify the ambiguous colors ("That mushroom is teal, that one is green, etc."). And the eggs were marked to identify them.
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