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What to do when PC's screw up


Advice


In a recent game I was running the party (all 4th lvl) got to a major combat with an evil mage who started the proceedings by dropping a fireball on them (they where surprised)
And the party mage failed his save and was put on -11 in one go(needless to say the player wasn't happy but the game continued)
After about 4 or 5 rounds of combat the mage noticed that he had a ring of fire resistance minor listed on his sheet (his character sheets are a bit of a mess) he then said his character would have had the ring on as he only has one other ring an would have been able to be healed As this would have left him on only -1 hp.
The question is do I let him have the ring on and restart the combat trusting players to remember hit points and spells cast, or do I say that he was not wearing it and let him be a victim of his own foolishness


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Depends on the experience of the players, and the tone you want to set.

For a novice, I might let his error it slide, and set him at -1hp (plus a series of stabilisation checks for the rounds in the meantime). Thus, he'll be out of commission, but not dead. (I assume the -11hp killed him; what was his Con score, anyway?)

For a more experienced player, or in a gritty campaign; tough luck. Players' oversights are their fault, not yours.

In no case I would restart combat.


I agree with Midnight_Angel. If novices, then allow the -1hp, if they are experienced players then he wasn't wearing the ring and his character is dead or dying at the -11hp. This will teach them that they need to pay attention to everything on their sheets and to keep their notes in order better otherwise they could wind up dead by missing something so simple.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Retcon him as having survived without replaying the combat seems like the most reasonable action.

Your balancing realism (he would have had the ring on) with having him bear some responsibility for forgetting something he shouldn't.

In this case it actually works well because he was going to unconscious ring or not.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I fail to see why people are differentiating between experience and new players here. Do people ever make mistakes? Is this a game you are playing? Yes to both? Then the PC was obviously wearing his magic ring (I mean who wouldn't be wearing a magic ring 24/7? What possible reason could there be to take it off?) and should be alive at -1 (plus whatever damage he would take from failed stabilization rolls).

This would even be a great roleplay moment as the rest of the party - thinking the wizard was dead - are amazed to see he is still breathing! The wizard could even have a near death experience (if you really want to drive home the importance of keeping better track of your gear I'd have an appropriate minion of the wizard's god show up say "everyone gets one" and then the PC wakes up, burned and in pain but alive - likely with the party healer kneeling over him pounding on his chest screaming 'Live you magnificent bastard! Live!")


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I agree with RD here. Down and out is down and out, so the rest of the party have no idea if he is dead or alive. If nobody checked, nobody would have been there to heal him either.


Say his character feinted like a damsel and regained consciousness. I'd say at whatever hit points his ring would have left him in. He gets the ring benefit and he'll learn next time to know keep his stuff organized better.

Silver Crusade

Agree with middle of road if he's new, let him stabilize but don't replay the combat. I trust my players to know their characters and have stated if they forget a bonus, we don't go back. May be the ring was chafing, he removed it, and forgot. Big oops but players, new and old, can't be disrupting the flow of the game by announcing 5 rounds later they should have taken less damage.


Leave him alive but don't replay. He'll remember better next time and running an entire combat over again is another session so let people know that remembering things more than 1 round out is not going to fly.
It keeps his guy from being dead and keeps the game flowing.

Andoran

The way I do it in my group is if they forget a save bonus or an item they have, we do not go back and reply the round/scene/etc. Of course, I also need to keep an eye out for players that may decide to 'accidentally' miscalculate to their benefit. If it happens once, I forgive it. If it were to happen more often, I would have to have a serious chat with the player. Fortunately, I have not detected any dishonesty in my players so far, so it has not been an issue.

Keep in mind that your decision will set a precedence. The next time it happens, they will expect you to make the same choice unless you set up guidelines (and then you have to stick to them).

As for what to do now, I suggest that if the mage is alive and unconscious, leave him at -11. If he died because of the error, put him stabilized at -10 and go from there. Either way, the hardship is a penalty for the mistake...but then set up the guidelines so everyone knows what will happen next time.


How is this even a problem?

Yay! The wizard is still ALIVE! We thought we lost you! Glad to have you back.

Sczarni

I wouldn't even deal with that Jazz...I'd leave him unconcious the whole combat and put him at zero after combat (awake but only a move or standard action or he falls unconcious). I'd also advise him that I was taking one of the precious Hero Points he had.


I'd say don't replay, just adjust his hp to be as though he'd had it on.

I've had a similar case in a game where the group's monk had racial cold resistance. He took damage from a frost giant and got knocked slightly past the point of death. Two rounds later the player remembered that her monk had cold resist 5 and that he would have actually been 1 hp away from dying rather than dead.

I told her to roll to stabilize as if 1hp short of death. She made the roll, so it was ruled that the monk was unconscious, and after the battle they managed to heal him back up.


Yeah, don't replay; he lived, adjust his HP, but don't replay anything. It'll help him learn to track his own stuff.

Emphasize (nicely) that it's their responsibility to track their character's stuff and treat it as a learning experience.


Let him live, But do not repley. He should make a good character sheet and remember his items is his responsebility.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I suppose he should live. Part of me, however, would prefer that he dies so that next time he makes a wizard with more than 11 constitution.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I disagree with the not having a low CON Wizard (or any character), take Raistlin for example...

The game bit of and RPG is combat, but don't overlook the 'roleplaying' part of Pathfinder. What purpose did the death serve for the game as a whole? If you note down the PC's hp's during the session and roughly keep track of how they are doing then you can 'adjust' the fireball damage (in this case) to make the encounter a surprise (tense) rather than a death (dull). I personally as a rule don't mind PC's dying during a fight but on a surprise round, that is a bit rough. There have been a LOT of threads on DM's so called 'cheating' (DM fiat), but usually this is done in situations as you have described to save the game. In this case you of course can retro-act and have the ring on - but I would suggest having a rough idea of the parties condition over the course of the game so you can moderate such surprises.

2 cents.


Stefan Hill wrote:

I disagree with the not having a low CON Wizard (or any character), take Raistlin for example...

The game bit of and RPG is combat, but don't overlook the 'roleplaying' part of Pathfinder. What purpose did the death serve for the game as a whole? If you note down the PC's hp's during the session and roughly keep track of how they are doing then you can 'adjust' the fireball damage (in this case) to make the encounter a surprise (tense) rather than a death (dull). I personally as a rule don't mind PC's dying during a fight but on a surprise round, that is a bit rough. There have been a LOT of threads on DM's so called 'cheating' (DM fiat), but usually this is done in situations as you have described to save the game. In this case you of course can retro-act and have the ring on - but I would suggest having a rough idea of the parties condition over the course of the game so you can moderate such surprises.

2 cents.

I agree with this man. However if you have 11 con and don't prepare in other ways to protect yourself then it's your fault.


Im with role playing it! Have the characters gather over his toasted body only for him to cough still alive, clutching desperately to his ring of fire resist! *shrug* it would happen in a movie and it would be awesome!

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TheRonin wrote:
Im with role playing it! Have the characters gather over his toasted body only for him to cough still alive, clutching desperately to his ring of fire resist! *shrug* it would happen in a movie and it would be awesome!

Awesome way to keep the players 'in character' and 'in game' to explain the survival!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

"Someone help me! I'm still alive, only I'm very badly burned."


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm not quite dead yet.

In fact I'm getting better.

I think I'll go for a walk.


This is what happened in those multiple issues of the X-men during the Claremont years:
last page of the comic....Cyclops/Nightcrawler/Wolverine/Storm screaming "ZOMG! CYCLOPS/NIGHTCRAWLER/WOLVERINE/STORM IS DEAD!!!!"

Splash page of the next month's issue......
CYCLOPS/NIGHTCRAWLER/WOLVERINE/STORM screaming "ZOMG!!! CYCLOPS/NIGHTCRAWLER/WOLVERINE/STORM IS BREATHING!!! I THOUGHT THEY WERE DEAD!!! WOAH; THAT WAS INTENSE!!!"

CYCLOPS/NIGHTCRAWLER/WOLVERINE/STORM coughs a little bit.....

Taldor

This reminds me of a situation where I was the player. The GM remembered I had a ring of resistance, and I forgot. He let me think I had died, and everything, ruling that the power of suggestion was enough to make me think I was dead. Since I happened to also be wearing a ring of invisibility at the time, no one could find my body! Later, when the spell wore off, they found me, and that's when I remembered my ring!

We had a funny roleplaying moment out of it when they woke me up, and I said, "Oh no, I've gone to hell instead!"

We all make mistakes. It's a story, and the players are the heroes.

That's why all my rolls as GM are done behind the screen, in case a monster needs to miss ocasionally to make sure the story moves along in an exciting and heroic manner. Like time a giant knocked out everyone except the cleric. Everyone in the group was rooting for the playere, loaning lucky dice, etc. just in the hope that she would somehow save their collective bacon. Then the giant rolled a critical hit... so I magically reported a miss, and the battle continued...

The cleric was down to a single hitpoint when the giant finally went down. It was a wonderful session, the players still talk about it occasionally even now, years later (this was pre-pathfinder). The point is, everyone needs to have fun, so let it go this once with a warning to get his sheet in order....


Thanks for the input guy very helpful think I'll go down the on -10 and stabilised route as the fight is still ongoing (the argument about the ring brought the game to an early finish)
Could prove a turning point as the party is taking a battering without magical support will have the rouge find out the mage isn't dead as last round being low on hp he had gone to the wizards body to grab one of his healing potions
Think this will be a good dramatic moment as he's going through the wizards gear looking for the potion to have the wizard cough and splutter.
Then the rouge will have the choice of weather or not to drink the potion himself or force it down the wizards throat and hope it's enough to bring him back
Well playing tonight so will let you know how it all goes thanks again for all your help


Thanks for the input guys very helpful think I'll go down the on -10 and stabilised route as the fight is still ongoing (the argument about the ring brought the game to an early finish)
Could prove a turning point as the party is taking a battering without magical support will have the rouge find out the mage isn't dead as last round being low on hp he had gone to the wizards body to grab one of his healing potions
Think this will be a good dramatic moment as he's going through the wizards gear looking for the potion to have the wizard cough and splutter.
Then the rouge will have the choice of weather or not to drink the potion himself or force it down the wizards throat and hope it's enough to bring him back
Well playing tonight so will let you know how it all goes thanks again for all your help


Well the game went ahead the other night and my plan for dealing with the wizard worked well
The rouge was searching the wizard for his potions of healing when the wizard coughed and spluttered in his face, the rouge then had a few moments moral dielemar As to weather to use the potion on himself or the wizard
(Which wasn't helped by another party member asking how much xp was a 4th lvl wizard worth).
But the rouge did the right thing a forced a cure moderate wounds down his neck, a lucky dice roll put the wizard up to 6 hp and back in the fight
It happened just in time as the party fighter was on his last legs and the cleric was running short on spells,
A well placed scorching ray finished of the enemany mage leaving the cleric free to heal them all with his last positive channel for the day so with all party members back in the battle the rest of the minions where easy meat
All in all it went well and was a good surprise for the party good fun all round


I know it in the past now but I'd still like to post how I would have run it:

Well if he only owns two rings he would be wearing them. Unless you can think of a reason why he wouldn't have.

If he was wearing it he would be on -1.

Those are facts. None of that changes the game very much.

----

"If I was only on -1hp someone would have healed me, go back to the beginning of combat."

This may be true, in fact it probably is, but it will severely disrupt the flow of the game.

Just have him on -1hp (which he logically would have been on) and don't disrupt the flow of the game.

He will have learned to keep better track of his buffs but will not be dead...

----

As for rolling behind the screen to make sure that fireballs don't kill people I would take the opposite approach. If i roll everything in front of the screen people know its the dice not me that's killing them!


We had something similar in a 2E game a few months ago... One of party members got toasted with some fire spell... and a round went by when I remembered... SHE DRANK A FIRE RESIST POTION earlier... MUCH earlier in 'real time'... but Game time it was still active!!! So she got her XX amount of HP back and was still alive... though barely.

Either way she got blade barriered into little tiny chunks... Nothing I could do there. I used the last ace up my sleeve ;)

If he had a ring, I'd let him use the ring. And I certainly wouldn't replay anything though. Anyone who gets a retcon like that... just spent the last five rounds rolling ones. It's QUITE easy to be useless for a couple of rounds without having to go back and replay ;)


Hi have something funny for you at moment I am roleplaying in a group I am a ranger, we have a mage a cleric and a monk.
The cleric is moaning as all he seems to be doing is healing and not much fighting.
I wanted to swap my +1 longsword for a +1 Bastard sword which would have given my 2 more poss points of damaged. The party would not let me as they dont want anyone getting more powerful the the rest in group. Or as they put it having a BUFFY in the group and the rest are white hats.
When I was leveling up my char they kept saying u must do stuff that helps party. I would have fought me putting up my fighting ability helped the part.


One thing I've done in situations like this is, if there's a pertinent piece of information that the party seems to have forgotten relevant to the fight, provide the character an out of body experience reminder. Sometimes they are watching part of their memories play before them. Sometimes they are approached by agents of their deities or spirits of ancestors or fallen companions. That way it can remind the player, who likely has all sorts of stuff to remember from work/school/etc., what they might have overlooked from the game.

Once this is done, I retro their HP back.


Rdreamspeaker wrote:

Hi have something funny for you at moment I am roleplaying in a group I am a ranger, we have a mage a cleric and a monk.

The cleric is moaning as all he seems to be doing is healing and not much fighting.
I wanted to swap my +1 longsword for a +1 Bastard sword which would have given my 2 more poss points of damaged. The party would not let me as they dont want anyone getting more powerful the the rest in group. Or as they put it having a BUFFY in the group and the rest are white hats.
When I was leveling up my char they kept saying u must do stuff that helps party. I would have fought me putting up my fighting ability helped the part.

Following table social etiquette is important.

With that said. My character, my feats, and unless you are communal with your gold, my gold. If they do not like something you did and you are not "being a jerk" it can be handled in character interactions.

And a +! Longsword verses a +1 Bastard Sword is not the difference between Schmuck and God. (Unless there is something really interesting in that build.)


Yeah try telling my party that does not help that DM never really misses when he rolls to hit so Cleric is having to do a lot of healing and that hes telling the Cleric he should be fighting more.
Saw lad who is playing Cleric who now say he will be using more battle magic.
Make me a bit mad also when I was leveling up was not sure if I wanted wolf or leopard and was told you cant have a leopard as the mage has a bird familiar.(went for wold but rather had a Leopard).
I mean already doing a lot to help party out as i am carrying all the spare Armour and weapons we find as does not slow me down as me being a dwarf. I must be carrying at least 5000 gold coins worth of items.
We only really have party gold which is now getting to be a pain as they dictate what it can be spent on.


dreamspeaker wrote:
Make me a bit mad also when I was leveling up was not sure if I wanted wolf or leopard and was told you cant have a leopard as the mage has a bird familiar.(went for wold but rather had a Leopard).

O.o

So?

Inform them the leopard is more likely to eat the mage then the bird ;)

Or even the horses... I don't see where THAT is even an issue.


It was a big issue was told if took leopard then would not be getting and heals done on me.
I am playing Archer Ranger so wanted creature more helpful with my char type but could not explain this to party.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Guy Kilmore wrote:
Rdreamspeaker wrote:

Hi have something funny for you at moment I am roleplaying in a group I am a ranger, we have a mage a cleric and a monk.

The cleric is moaning as all he seems to be doing is healing and not much fighting.
I wanted to swap my +1 longsword for a +1 Bastard sword which would have given my 2 more poss points of damaged. The party would not let me as they dont want anyone getting more powerful the the rest in group. Or as they put it having a BUFFY in the group and the rest are white hats.
When I was leveling up my char they kept saying u must do stuff that helps party. I would have fought me putting up my fighting ability helped the part.

Following table social etiquette is important.

With that said. My character, my feats, and unless you are communal with your gold, my gold. If they do not like something you did and you are not "being a jerk" it can be handled in character interactions.

And a +! Longsword verses a +1 Bastard Sword is not the difference between Schmuck and God. (Unless there is something really interesting in that build.)

Seconded. It's YOUR character, not theirs. While it's important to be part of the team, they shouldn't be dictating to you what weapon to use.


They did dictate what I could do an would not shut up when I was leveling up my character with the DM. All the DM did was grin and carry on felt like I had 3 people against me.


totally a GM call, but -11 is serious and I would wait for another opportunity to teach him a lesson on knowing his character.

And I would ask myself how one fireball can drop someone to -11, you deal 1d6 per hit die on damage, he has 1d6 of hit die, das he have bad constitution or really bad rolls and you only 6's?
Anyhow, from a descriptive point of view -1 or -11 is still the same, and I wouldn't redo combat from that point on, but give him a chance and let him fight another day (even if he would have survived on a -11).


dreamspeaker wrote:
They did dictate what I could do an would not shut up when I was leveling up my character with the DM. All the DM did was grin and carry on felt like I had 3 people against me.

Honestly dude, I wouldn't give a damn about what they say. (Yes, I apologize for sounding mean when I say this.)

You build your character the way you want, and if you would rather have a Bastard Sword over a Longsword, then that's your choice. I just hope you understand you need to have Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) to use it, unless you want major penalties to hit (and perhaps damage).

If they harp on you, let them harp on you. Unless the DM has a discrepency or restriction against it, then he'll say something, and you have to understand that the DM in your session is Word of God. He has the final say on what you can and can't do, and what rules are enforced or expanded upon, etc.

If anything, I would ask them why they are so against your decision (and they better actually have reasonable arguments). The only reason I'd be against your decision is because you might not have the Weapon Proficiency Feat needed to use the Bastard Sword without penalty. Otherwise, if you want to use that instead, then it's your call.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Maybe she took the ring off when preparing dinner, because she did not want it to get lost. Maybe he takes rings off before going to bed, or during physical workouts. Quite frankly, the character should die and the next one will not forget about their own items!


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

You build your character the way you want, and if you would rather have a Bastard Sword over a Longsword, then that's your choice. I just hope you understand you need to have Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) to use it, unless you want major penalties to hit (and perhaps damage).

Only if you want to use it one handed. Using a bastard sword 2 handed is only a 'martial weapon'.


dreamspeaker wrote:

It was a big issue was told if took leopard then would not be getting and heals done on me.

I am playing Archer Ranger so wanted creature more helpful with my char type but could not explain this to party.

You should kindly explain to the mage, cleric and Monk that as the only full BAB class, it's in their best interest to heal you... but that's of course their choice.

;)


If you look at bastard sword says can be used 2 handed as a martial weapon, which my char does have.
Changed this from the +1 longsword I have would mean -1 off my to hit due to me using a buckler but would have given me a possible 2 extra points of damage.

Don't think party would last long if I went down as I am best at combat and although the monks not too bad he gets hit a lot.

When i first rolled up my char and said it was going to be a Dwarf Ranger they said that unusual they had never heard of that combination and yet on the first NPC was a dwarf Ranger.


I have moments like this all the time, they're common enough in my 20+ years of gaming that I've houseruled it into all my games. I make a point at the beginining of each campaign or game started, regardless of system and I hold everyone to it including myself(as I'm usually the most guilty of it):

1) Any item, spell or pre-existing condition that was forgotten about that would have altered the outcome of a round that was already resolved is ignored, whether positive or negative. No Retcons.

2) Any time a player is killed or otherwise taken out they are examined at the time of 'death' for anything that would have otherwise been forgotten to avoid this rule.

Usually this rule works in the player's favour, as I have tons more information to keep track of when running a game, but every now and then a player slips up. Rule 2 is their safety net and they're always given as much time as they need to either despute or confirm the take out.


dreamspeaker wrote:

If you look at bastard sword says can be used 2 handed as a martial weapon, which my char does have.

Changed this from the +1 longsword I have would mean -1 off my to hit due to me using a buckler but would have given me a possible 2 extra points of damage.

Don't think party would last long if I went down as I am best at combat and although the monks not too bad he gets hit a lot.

When i first rolled up my char and said it was going to be a Dwarf Ranger they said that unusual they had never heard of that combination and yet on the first NPC was a dwarf Ranger.

Sounds like you have a truly awful group to play with. 4 "that guys" A cleric who threaten to withhold heals for blackmail purposes toward character build. All wealth is party wealth, and must be spent on what the majority thinks it should be spent on (tyranny of the majority much?). Ranger is party packmule (lol, they are such cheap bastards they boss you around rather than invest in magic storage or NPC porters), not allowed to buy gear you actually want (and martials are gear intensive), not allowed choice in animal companion (for a BS reason, a wolf is just as likely to eat a bird as a leopard), not allowed "outshine" a bunch of 1/2 and 3/4 BAB characters who happen to not even share the same role at all (let the martials do damage! Its not like they can do anything else!) Heck they haven't even heard of a race/class combo that is the ICONIC for that class.

The worst part of course is the GM who just grins at all the crap the party puts you through. Then he also either fudges rolls so his monsters always hit, or forces the party to fight things that are universally CR=APL+1 or more (probably much more from the sound of things).

My advice is to talk things though, and don't back down. If they don't make concessions find a new group. If you can't find a new group find an online one. Online play isn't the same thing, but its often the only option for many players (often refugees from similar situations).


We had a TPK on the very first little bit of Rise of the Runelords this weekend. DM had the town sheriff step in and save our unconscious hides...
We didn't do anything wrong as far as getting in over our heads but it took 6 rounds for 2 PCs, while flanking, to kill ONE goblin...

Our rolls were atrocious and our Cleric was absent.

So he hand waved us to rescued and we continued on. Not the best start to a campaign but we'll get over it. :)

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