S.O.S save our spirits!


Skull & Shackles

Silver Crusade

Evening all,

So last session one of my players in Skull and Shackles said the following:

"When we first heard about a pirate campaign I was all like 'Yarrrr!*', now I'm like 'yarrr**...'"

*enthusiastic yarrr
** defeated yarr

Now this is probably due to the 21 character deaths up to just before the party on the isle of empty eyes (book 4). I'm not sure how to respond to that.

Mrs. C.


Kill their characters less often


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

i'm not sure what your problems are exactly when all you you say is "yarrr!"*

*according to Mr Krabs its Aargh!
but yes the first thing is less character deaths, which seems to be the biggest issue, i may have at least thirty or so pirate character ideas saved up over the years of not having decent pirate adventures but most people don't, and its hard when you have to, as a party go thru 21, it kind of wears you out.


Stop killing the PC's off then!

Simple

Silver Crusade

Ok, well my players refuse to tell me how battered they are during a fight, so I suppose I can start keeping my own track of how damaged they are. They make bad tactical decisions (even after I ask them "are you sure?") including splitting the party to breach and clear rooms (it's only worked once), taking a jolly boat into mancatcher cove (and into the loving tendrils of the canopy creeper), and going into places without any kind of recon or research. They know when I fudge a roll (we roll dice in the open) so I can only nerf encounters by giving the monster less hit points, (until now I've been running things as it says in the book).

How else am I to stop killing them?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

well i guess all you can do is ask them whenever they want to do something silly like that is ask ''so, you're sure you want to die then?'' another solution is to make sure they have ALOT of extra characters ready:)

but yes you should keep track of their hit points and combat abilities, maybe pull your punches with monsters, give them a few hints of the carnage to come, like a sense of overwhelming doom, a bunch of dismembered skeletons, etc.

also whenever they talk about splitting up yell really loud "HAVEN'T YOU SEEN ANY HORROR MOVIES FROM THE LAST 30 YEARS!!!!!!!!"

well maybe don't yell, but hopefully that helps:) i feel your pain, my wife never played RPGs growing up and just started and my daughter is 9 so their tactics aren't optimal either, so i hold their hands a bit, help them out picking feats, and try to gently encourage tactics (not that they always listen:)

Good Luck, it is a fun but sometimes hard series of adventures:)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

and remember Mr Krabs's most important rule of being a pirate "Aargh!, only the Cap'n can say Aargh!"


Send them the 200 tips to win the game

1-You really need to have a heart to heart with them about tactics.

2-Stop rolling in the open. They can and should roll in the open but you have a screen and let them know that there are things you roll in addition to just combat.

3-Slow down long enough to separate really stupid mistakes on their part from choices that are unfortunate given the adventure. Perhaps a guard went to the latrine rather than be at his post. Perhaps on guard is left behind while his three friends went out to get pizza. They will be back and it may cause problems but let it cause problems at the opportune moment for an appropriate encounter.

4-Remind them of all the times they have seen movies or stories when people ran.


You don't want to make decisions for them but you can slow them down and bring to mind things that the characters know first hand that they do not. There characters live in the world the players just imagine it. Remind them of stories of past pirates torn apart by monsters for not doing things in force or not using stealth or recognizing who not to cross.


In an emergency have them roll a Wisdom check (D20+ Wis modifier, say vs a DC of 14+ ) to realize the tactic in use being dangerous (Yeah, "30 years of Horror movies") - remembering an old story, suddenly realizing the "danger" of some spotted clue, have the opposing guys (in ambush) make a mistake.

If one player (and it being only that one player) again and again endangers the group by his antics, hit THAT players character in preference of any " we come tour compatriots side" PCs...

That is, if you want to make it easy on the players, for the enjoyment of all. And some peeps love going the dangerous way, just because it looks cool, so make sure whether they do it on purpose...

Untested Hint :
Friend of mine uses humming the soundtrack of "Jaws" (dum dum dum Dum dum dum Dum.. etc ) in a low key, when players do something incredibly stupid, just to give them a last warning of their imminent demise . Normally at least one character catches on, unless they are "overexcited" (his words ), and stops the others. Use something similar ?


Gnomezrule wrote:

2-Stop rolling in the open. They can and should roll in the open but you have a screen and let them know that there are things you roll in addition to just combat.

THIS.

Actually, all of Gnomezrule's suggestions (and others above) are very good, but most importantly this.

You are the DM. You are the storyteller. YOU need to be in control of the game, not the dice. Although I know a lot of folks nowadays eschew DM Screens, if you do not give yourself the option of fudging a die roll once in a while you are leaving your entire game at the mercy of random dice rolls, and that invariably kills characters, player interest and finally campaigns sooner or later.

Besides this, making random hidden die rolls from time to time keeps players on their toes and adds to the sense of drama or uncertainty you are trying to create. The sound of the DM rolling dice behind his screen is a great tool to get things moving if players get sidetracked into OOC discussions, or if PCs are taking forever to figure out who's going down the path first or who should open the combat with those Orcs in the next room. Behind my screen I keep a sheet with my PCs' current hit points and stats for listen rolls, perception rolls, and so on. From time to time I'll ask everyone to "roll a d20" without telling them why. Sometimes it matters when a combat is just about to begin, sometimes it relates to something a few rounds down the road, sometimes it determines if someone notices a relevant sound or item, and many times it's for no reason at all. The point is that the players have no idea which is the case, and that helps keep things interesting. If you take away the DM screen and play with all your cards on the table (as it were) you give up that element of uncertainty and your ability to tweak the game when necessary to avoid disaster.

This AP in particular can be very deadly in the early stages, and while it sounds like your players could use a bit more familiarity with the concept of "the better part of valor" you need to use all the tools available to you as DM as well to keep things going. Letting your PCs' fate rest entirely on open die rolls has done you little good so far, and will finish your campaign off if you don't make some changes.

Good luck! :)

PS: I love dbd's "Jaws theme" idea too. Reminds me of Gary Gygax's reputed "Are you sure you want to do that?" line..... although I never had the chance to play in any of his games, if I heard Mr. G. say that my PC would be heading for the nearest exit so fast it'd make all of a hydra's heads spin. ;D


Fitzwalrus wrote:
PS: I love dbd's "Jaws theme" idea too. Reminds me of Gary Gygax's reputed "Are you sure you want to do that?" line..... although I never had the chance to play in any of his games, if I heard Mr. G. say that my PC would be heading for the nearest exit so fast it'd make all of a hydra's heads spin. ;D

Not really my idea. But said friend both has too much ...experience (?) and obviously an overly chaotic and addled group for the last few years. Or groups..


deathbydice wrote:
Fitzwalrus wrote:
PS: I love dbd's "Jaws theme" idea too. Reminds me of Gary Gygax's reputed "Are you sure you want to do that?" line..... although I never had the chance to play in any of his games, if I heard Mr. G. say that my PC would be heading for the nearest exit so fast it'd make all of a hydra's heads spin. ;D
Not really my idea. But said friend both has too much ...experience (?) and obviously an overly chaotic and addled group for the last few years. Or groups..

Fair enough. Your "suggested untried hint", then. ;D


Do some/all of your players want their PCs to die? I had a player who would tire of a character concept and would semi-routinely push the bounds of common sense to recklessly have their PC die and not pursue raising them in order to try the next "cool" character concept. Not an issue any more but it was potentially equally upsetting as a GM to set up scenes for a PC based on their uniqueness only to have that PC level up as a lemming.

Suggest they pay attention to average hp loss per round and highest hp loss in a round. The time to consider retreating, until they get better at playing the same PC two sessions in a row, is at a couple of rounds before hp loss/round would make them dying; one round to suggest and coordinate it, one round to execute it. It doesn't have to be wussy, especially when dice are a b**ch; it's just part of the manly escape plan. In which case the latest action was not a failed assault, it was a successful harassing manoeuvre.

Maybe they need to level up to compensate for the difficulty. Insert a nautical-themed module in your campaign to get them more experience and loot, even if that puts them a level higher than recommended by the AP.

Good luck. Hope you can swing it back to "Yarrrr!*".


Fitzwalrus wrote:
deathbydice wrote:
Fitzwalrus wrote:
PS: I love dbd's "Jaws theme" idea too. Reminds me of Gary Gygax's reputed "Are you sure you want to do that?" line..... although I never had the chance to play in any of his games, if I heard Mr. G. say that my PC would be heading for the nearest exit so fast it'd make all of a hydra's heads spin. ;D
Not really my idea. But said friend both has too much ...experience (?) and obviously an overly chaotic and addled group for the last few years. Or groups..
Fair enough. Your "suggested untried hint", then. ;D

Copyright violations^^ = not nice among friends.

They might alternatively have the sprits of their predecessors give off moaning noises if they feel the group goes into trouble...

ENTER : the "Ghosts of Pirates Past". (wonderful if someone has a "haunted"-modded Oracle ).

Personally I always drop hints by foreshadowing with a Harrow deck and tend to suggest a quick Harrow reading if things look finicky or close to walking straight over the edge. (recently : trouble with the he "Dominator" )
Players than start wondering about the "ill omens" and usually shift back a gear.... not as clear cut as going into "soundtrack mode", but usually enough to make the PCs more wary.

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