Fellow GM needs help but not accepting it- so help me help them?


Advice

Liberty's Edge

Okay so I have a first time GM running the AP Giantslayer, She seems to have gotten a bit overly angry on Friday due to our group killing most of the monsters in her mind too quickly with Battle tactics and spells.

We have started in on Mendenhall's Valley and lost two Characters last night after she got a panic attack.

She figured adding a +10 to the initiative of the monster would make it more fair, but the only ones that had an initiative bonus like that where the two sorcerers (of which I am one)

So the Fighter who didn't have the initiative went down in the first round since he couldn't get ready in time.

I turned Invisible and moved away from combat and the other Sorcerer cast fly and flew at the giant only to be attacked by a Rift Drake and died in two rounds without being able to escape (I had cast Exp. Retreat to get the speed to keep up with the Hill giant that took down our 9th level Half-Giant Fighter)

Right now we are down to Myself and A halfling Rogue. The player that lost his character would like to get back at her (the GM) because he is taking it very personally that the Hill giant attack happened at night without a light source and the Rift Drake just happened to have shown up as well when -HE- took flight.

So he came to me to help with a new character and wanted to know the worst thing he could build that would annoy the GM.

Gnome Sound Striker Bard is basically what I answered to him but I also pointed out we need a dedicated healer or even a combat Cleric but right now in character me and the Halfling are not really seeing a reason to go further since we both know we can't do much against the Giants (I am a Booster/Spy Sorcerer [all the fun buffs for others] and the Halfling is a step from becoming an assassin without the Prestige Class)
Because we had a Half-Giant most of the gear for fighting the giants in the giant-slayers tomb we're not useful to us so we ended up leaving them behind (Because each time we would see -ANY- Giant we would attack and he would defend himself with lethal force)

She has also hinted that the Half-Giant is alive but I haven't brought up the fact that me and the rogue have no idea how to track or follow a trail.


It sounds like a player and GM expectations issue and making a broken character to annoy or get back at the GM (a new GM at that) is going to spiral the players/GM relationship downward faster than your last session's in character battle. Especially if players work collaboratively to "beat the new GM", sounds like a quick way for that person to leave the group and maybe never GM again.

It also sounds like either the GM or players (or both) have set it up to be a little competitive, and that's also not a recipe for fun gaming. GM vs PCs isn't going to be fun for anyone very long. GM is the campaign facilitator in the group story, they lay down the possible hooks, run the bad-guys and friendly NPCs but definitely neither side should be seeing who can win.

Best course of action in situations like this is to discuss it out of game, and probably not even at the table. Meet for coffee or a beer, discuss what her concerns were with how the party approached the situation, what your concerns were and discuss how everyone is there to have fun.

If you started the campaign at 1st, seems like those things would have come up sooner. If a new GM is starting a campaign at 9th (or near there) its also not really a good opportunity for the GM to learn their role as the players power advances.


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Michael Talley 759 wrote:

So he came to me to help with a new character and wanted to know the worst thing he could build that would annoy the GM.

That is never a good idea. One I can understand, but bad non the less.

Try telling the GM that what happened was no fun, and why.


I'll go ahead and throw this into the "Talk out of character" pile.

It appears to me that because your GM isn't as crafty as the players in tactics, his PCs destroyed his encounter in a flash, and he didn't like that. So he took out his frustrations on the PCs with monsters that were clearly out of their league.

From there, I can already tell that the intentions between the PCs and the GM are vastly different, and they shouldn't be. The PCs are there to play and tell the adventure through the actions they take, and the GM is to bring life to the campaign world. If anyone at that table is at the perception of "That person is horrible, so I'm gonna do X to get back at them for doing Y to me!" then I'd leave that group and find one that fits my playstyle.

If I ever got into moments like that, I'd just create a PVP session, where you design 1-shot characters to beat the living tar out of each other. In fact, my group is in the middle of doing that right now, and so far I'm using it primarily as a Social Experiment to designate if 3/4 BAB characters (such as a Skald) can ever be as good at melee (or at least competent) as any other Full BAB Martial.

I'm not going to go as far to say that the GM shouldn't throw stuff like a random Drake into the combat; it certainly makes things interesting (ever had a Phoenix thrown at you when you're destroying a bunch of mooks and clerics? It sucked to deal with, but it was certainly a more telling encounter). But there should at least be a reason behind it other than the GM being a jerkface back to the PCs because things didn't go the way he expected (in our case, it was the result of it coming to the aid of the mooks and clerics).

At any rate, get it cleaned up: Discuss what you, as players want out of the game, and ask the GM what he wants out of the game, and brainstorm what could be better ways to do that other than what just happened.

If they're new to being a GM, then I would have them simply run as-is APs with PCs that are specifically designed for it (i.e. 15 Point Buy, Core Races Only, basic Melee/Skill/Divine/Arcane classes). This way, the GM gets some experience, without having to deal with a bunch of random stuff on the first time being a GM.

Also, if the GM isn't happy with your PCs having extremely high Initiative, then he is at liberty to nerf and/or ban certain options. He also has the authority to audit those characters and see if their numbers are legit; it's important to double-check your numbers and see if they add up, because a lot of stuff may or may not have happened because of modifiers being there when they weren't, or vice-versa.


Michael Talley 759 wrote:


So he came to me to help with a new character and wanted to know the worst thing he could build that would annoy the GM.

My snarky response to this: ask ALL involved, are you adults or children? Once you've answered that question honestly, then you may proceed to act appropriately based on that answer.

Liberty's Edge

Gm 1990-
Very True. GM VS PC's generally don't work well at all in play style but it seems that's how both them seem to be taking it. Thus the reason I've been trying to get them to calm down since we had two old GM's at the table (myself and the current GM's father- The Half-giant that got Captured)

Just a Guess-
Yup. Been there and did that, didn't improve anything didn't even make me feel better really. But I suggested the Race and Archetype because she has played them herself before to get back at other GM's that did the same. But been trying to push the other player to make a healer or at least just a Half-Orc Invulnerable Rager.

Darksol The Painbringer-
I had suggested they use Point buy at the 20 level but instead they wanted to try the home brew rolling that her father came up with and that she had grew up with. Which was roll 4d6, reroll 1's and any set of all matching numbers equal 19 (Including 4 '1's')

bbangerter-

Both are children as far as me, the rogue and the Half-giant are concerned. The Children of the group is 1 GM (age 21) and the Sylph Dragon/Elemental Sorcerer Blaster (age 22) [most of the other players are my age around 30-35 range and had been playing since we where 12) We're kinda in the area of "where we this bad when we started?"


What the others said:

You need to sit down as adults and talk about yur expectations of the game.

You cant "get bck" at the DM. Most overpowered character ever? DM:"A fat bee flyies into your mouth, and you choke on it. Fort-Save 27? Not enough. It escaped from a mad Mage's Laboratory, so it is extra hairy and spit-resistant. You die. Want to make another character?"

This is the same as a Rift Drake ass-pull.

Or, my monsters have no/only trivial ranged weapons, and the caster just casted Fly? Damnnnn... .... RiftDrake out of nowhere! Bam! Now i can "win" against these peasky players constantly making me "looose" when all my monsters die.

This is not how you play a RPG!


I don't think their lack of maturity stems from age. I'm about as old as the aforementioned, and quite frankly I don't see a reason to fight amongst people other than to get the rules correct and squared away with everyone (and if I do, that's why we engage in one-shot PVP sessions).

In my experience (how dare I say this without being 50 years old and actually having the years under my belt!), lack of maturity is more associated with the mentality of the person than their age. So to me, it appears more that the mentalities of those involved aren't at a mature level.

And they need to be.

All of this "tit for tat" going on is childish and solves nothing. In fact, it just creates more problems, because then that PC and GM are gonna butt heads, the other players are going to be forced to either pick sides or just watch them wrap their hands around each others throats until one of them suffocates.

In either case, it promotes unhealthy habits at the table, and that's not something you want if you're looking for a solution. It's like giving a diabetic person a sugar-loaded candy bar, and then watching their sugar levels rise to a point to where it's uncontrollable, and then...well, bad stuff happens.

Point is, you'll want to discourage things that are like kerosene to a fire, because people, even those not involved, are going to get hurt for it.

Liberty's Edge

Guru-Meditation wrote:

What the others said:

You need to sit down as adults and talk about yur expectations of the game.

You cant "get bck" at the DM. Most overpowered character ever? DM:"A fat bee flyies into your mouth, and you choke on it. Fort-Save 27? Not enough. It escaped from a mad Mage's Laboratory, so it is extra hairy and spit-resistant. You die. Want to make another character?"

This is the same as a Rift Drake ass-pull.

Or, my monsters have no/only trivial ranged weapons, and the caster just casted Fly? Damnnnn... .... RiftDrake out of nowhere! Bam! Now i can "win" against these peasky players constantly making me "looose" when all my monsters die.

This is not how you play a RPG!

Yes I know. Personally if I was running the AP. I would have after killing the Half-Giant used it as the "rock throw' weapon at the flying PC with a hit from that then we have the giant using it's Spiked Chain (which was enchanted I'm pretty sure at our current level) after it had moved into Melee range in the next round and bring the giant into an area which would make the AOE's of the Sorcerer more harmful to the other PC's of the group and would of certainly killed the currently Unconscious Half-Giant Fighter from being thrown as a rock. No need for the Flying Rift Drake in my Opinion. Not to mention we where camping in an area where Perytons had killed other giants and where eating them, and we had killed them so I was sure we'd get a giant encounter XD.

Darksol-

yup, been trying to talk to both but it seems the GM is not letting calls from me get through and the other just wants to make something annoying with my help since I'm easier to get a hold of on weekends than other players. Been telling them we need a Bruiser or a Healer, Not another glass Cannon


Michael Talley 759 wrote:

Gm 1990-

Very True. GM VS PC's generally don't work well at all in play style but it seems that's how both them seem to be taking it. Thus the reason I've been trying to get them to calm down since we had two old GM's at the table (myself and the current GM's father- The Half-giant that got Captured)

Just a Guess-
Yup. Been there and did that, didn't improve anything didn't even make me feel better really. But I suggested the Race and Archetype because she has played them herself before to get back at other GM's that did the same. But been trying to push the other player to make a healer or at least just a Half-Orc Invulnerable Rager.

Darksol The Painbringer-
I had suggested they use Point buy at the 20 level but instead they wanted to try the home brew rolling that her father came up with and that she had grew up with. Which was roll 4d6, reroll 1's and any set of all matching numbers equal 19 (Including 4 '1's')

bbangerter-

Both are children as far as me, the rogue and the Half-giant are concerned. The Children of the group is 1 GM (age 21) and the Sylph Dragon/Elemental Sorcerer Blaster (age 22) [most of the other players are my age around 30-35 range and had been playing since we where 12) We're kinda in the area of "where we this bad when we started?"

Lots of variables there, including it sounds like this GM had a bit of vengeance planned. To be honest, lots going on and it appears from the little bit you've shared it might really stem from interpersonal conflict going back before this. Not much you may be able to do about that over the phone, and the two of them should be working it out or the rest of the group may have to resolve it by dropping one or the other. If its friends and family, that's a real shame.

Add to that PC deaths are never easy to deal with for most players, and are hard enough when it just happens as a matter of the play. But if you think you were GMurdered, its going to be difficult to take in a mature manner.

even if you have playing experience, starting your first GM campaign in advanced levels is just making things hard on yourself.

I'm playing in my son's first campaign (12), and he's new to RPG in general. I've had to tell him several times not to bring in a house rule he thought would be cool because it would give the PCs more power or remove restrictions on them in the CRB. Maybe something dad on that end should be addressing, even at 21, especially if he's going to play in her campaign. I can't imagine that session was any fun for him either.

Liberty's Edge

GM 1990 wrote:
Michael Talley 759 wrote:

Gm 1990-

Very True. GM VS PC's generally don't work well at all in play style but it seems that's how both them seem to be taking it. Thus the reason I've been trying to get them to calm down since we had two old GM's at the table (myself and the current GM's father- The Half-giant that got Captured)

Just a Guess-
Yup. Been there and did that, didn't improve anything didn't even make me feel better really. But I suggested the Race and Archetype because she has played them herself before to get back at other GM's that did the same. But been trying to push the other player to make a healer or at least just a Half-Orc Invulnerable Rager.

Darksol The Painbringer-
I had suggested they use Point buy at the 20 level but instead they wanted to try the home brew rolling that her father came up with and that she had grew up with. Which was roll 4d6, reroll 1's and any set of all matching numbers equal 19 (Including 4 '1's')

bbangerter-

Both are children as far as me, the rogue and the Half-giant are concerned. The Children of the group is 1 GM (age 21) and the Sylph Dragon/Elemental Sorcerer Blaster (age 22) [most of the other players are my age around 30-35 range and had been playing since we where 12) We're kinda in the area of "where we this bad when we started?"

Lots of variables there, including it sounds like this GM had a bit of vengeance planned. To be honest, lots going on and it appears from the little bit you've shared it might really stem from interpersonal conflict going back before this. Not much you may be able to do about that over the phone, and the two of them should be working it out or the rest of the group may have to resolve it by dropping one or the other. If its friends and family, that's a real shame.

Add to that PC deaths are never easy to deal with for most players, and are hard enough when it just happens as a matter of the play. But if you think you were GMurdered, its going to be difficult to take in a mature manner.

even if...

Surprisingly Me and him both took character deaths in stride. Last week my character 'died' but the GM quickly back pedaled and had a cleric in the village that had gotten sacked with enough levels to raise dead and remove negative levels. She confided in me that she thought I might do the same to her in one of my games I run (killing her character that is) and I pointed out, it was a fair death, I'd failed my Reflex Save twice in a row Versus the Cyclops Eye blast ability. So I think you might be right there might be some sort of Tension between her and the other player that I'm not seeing


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Guru-Meditation wrote:

What the others said:

You need to sit down as adults and talk about yur expectations of the game.

You cant "get bck" at the DM. Most overpowered character ever? DM:"A fat bee flyies into your mouth, and you choke on it. Fort-Save 27? Not enough. It escaped from a mad Mage's Laboratory, so it is extra hairy and spit-resistant. You die. Want to make another character?"

This is the same as a Rift Drake ass-pull.

Or, my monsters have no/only trivial ranged weapons, and the caster just casted Fly? Damnnnn... .... RiftDrake out of nowhere! Bam! Now i can "win" against these peasky players constantly making me "looose" when all my monsters die.

This is not how you play a RPG!

This is absolutely a possibility. Just to play the advocate for new GMs, I'd like to relate that my first few experiences GMing involved a very similar cycle. It's really hard, particularly when you have to extemporize, to balance an encounter. Things tend toward the poles very easily. If your players trounce an encounter, it sometimes seems reasonable, in the spur of the moment, to add big numbers to the next one in order to challenge them. I can absolutely understand how a person, without malicious intent, might pull out a Rift Drake.

I think she (your GM) is more afraid of you than you are of her. It sounds like you're already planning to resolve this issue out of character, which is the right move, but I would add that there is a learning opportunity here. One thing I've found helpful is co-GMing: the novice GM helps the seasoned one plan some adventures. Then he/she gets to see how an experienced GM handles things like on-the-fly modifications to encounters to account for power imbalance. Then the roles can switch--novice GM takes the lead role--until he/she is more comfortable improvising.

In short, I'd hesitate to assume adversarial intent.


You can never help someone who doesn't want help, no matter your intentions or their need.

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