As the GM, How Much Should I Pull My Punches


Advice


Sorry for the wall of text. I just wanted to give context.

I am GMing a group of pretty competent players. The characters are all well built, and the players are very good at running them. Each knows their roll and their strengths and weaknesses. In combat they are like a well oiled machine and can destroy threats waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay above their pay grade. But that is only when they are together. Individually each character is deeply flawed. When one or two characters are missing from the group, they become much, much weaker.

This is all fine. Everyone knows this dynamic and it is part of the fun.

Now here is the problem. Several times now, they have mowed through an adventure as a group, but right before running into a BIG EPIC ENCOUNTER that I have designed to truly test the group, THEY SPLIT THE PARTY!!!

One or two party members go off to do something else, and suddenly the encounter that would truly challenge the entire group becomes an encounter that will kill every character present. Instead of slaughtering over half the party I end up dumbing down the bad guys and making an "eh" encounter.

Well, it happened again last session. The party has a flying ship that is very conspicuous and well known. The party is aware of the fact that a political faction has hired assassins to kill them. What they don't know is that the assassins have staked out the ship and plan to strike the next time the ship leaves port.

This will be a difficult encounter. In fact, I decided that it was so deadly, I should help them out. I set things up so that an former enemy, I'll call him Bill, would borrow the party's ship and the party would have the opportunity to go with him.

This way, if the party went with, I would have the assassins attack Bill first, giving the party a round to ready themselves. Or, if the party did not go with on the trip, the assassins would kill Bill and a couple NPC crew members. The party would find the ship a few days later with dead bodies strewn everywhere and this would raise the tension and excitement.

Instead, ONE AND ONLY ONE party member goes with Bill on the trip. They know highly paid assassins are looking for them. They also don't really trust Bill and expect him to turn on them at any moment. And they still only had one party member go with.

FACEPALM

So, do I gimp the encounter again, or do I run the encounter and probably slaughter the PC.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What, are you *afraid* of killing your PCs?

If they do something stupid, like splitting the party, then they deserve what they get.

I suggest that you do the foreshadowing so that they have a pretty good idea of what the risks are, and then carry through as planned. If that means Bill, his pals and the single PC all get killed, then the party will have to suck it up.

This said, it sounds like your PCs are high enough level, with access to enough ressources, that a PC death won't be permanent anyway. Let them recover the body and get the guy raised, and perhaps they will start to see the light.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Remember that the Assassins are pieces on the board that the PCs haven't seen yet. If the encounter you had planned doesn't work for that session, save it for the next session when they're all around. You can justify it however you like (eg. The assassins were hired from overseas, so they took a little longer to get there), but the great thing about being the GM is that you don't even have to justify it.

There are times when this won't work, but this example is a fine time to simply save that encounter for later.

Wheldrake wrote:
If they do something stupid, like splitting the party, then they deserve what they get.

I also disagree with this. While mechanically it's always better to keep the party together, as a story that can be just plain stupid at times.


Following what MrCharisma said, if it happens often enough you could always pre-make some easier encounters for when they split, possibly X times 1 creature but each slightly different (for flavor). It should also make the transition faster, again if it happens often enough.


MrCharisma wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
If they do something stupid, like splitting the party, then they deserve what they get.
I also disagree with this. While mechanically it's always better to keep the party together, as a story that can be just plain stupid at times.

This is the first question you have to answer as GM: Do you want the party to split up from time to time? Does this lead to more interesting and realistic stories, or does it lead to half the players sitting around bored?

If the answer is, "I don't want the party to split up," then either say so face to face ("Hey guys don't you think maybe you could find a reason to all stay together so we can all participate?"), or say it by showing no mercy to the isolated PC.

Second question: Can your game handle character death? Is it going to lead to an interesting "recover the body and cast Raise Dead" adventure? Is the player happy to make a new PC?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would run the the scenario as intended even if it kills him. Have the assasins attack Bill and some NPCs first. Have Bill blame the PC for hiring the assasins to murder him and then have him escape, swearing vengeance for this betrayal. Make it possible for the PC to slip away or hide in the chaos too.

If he sticks to fight, a single PC death is easily remedied with money.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd run it as intended.

You pull your punches when you're playing with a group who is just learning the ropes, or if you have an encounter that ends up being hard than intended because you messed up.

Capable experienced players messing up big style (and apparently its a habbit of theirs) is exactly when not to.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My personal order of preference:

1. Alter the campaign to fit the party's chosen story. This may mean scrapping or changing what would have been an awesome story line, but that isn't the end of the world.

2. Ask the players to alter their behavior. They may not realize how much trouble it is to split the party, or if it's one person running off all the time, how much trouble he causes for the rest of his party. Point out that not only is it more likely PCs die, but players with nothing to do get bored.

3. I would reserve "intentionally kill some of the party to show them" as a last resort, meant for when (1) and (2) fail and/or someone is maliciously creating trouble for you or for the other players. I might even kick a troublemaker out of the group before I resorted to an in game punishment.


The different perspectives here are really useful. If you look at it as gimping or scrapping the encounter, or modifying to go easy on the players, then it feels bad - it's like you're cheating as GM. BUT if you look at it as trying to deliver the awesome set piece you've planned, then not so bad.

Assassins in D&D-style games are a problem. For one, they would certainly try to pick off their targets one by one rather than as a party. For another, they are going to do everything they can to make sure their target stays dead. That means stealing or destroying the body or potentially even more elaborate means to prevent resurrection. (This actually suggests two or more levels of assassination, priced accordingly. The highest level prevents anything short of true resurrection. A cheaper level just makes sure the body isn't found for 10+ days (prevents raise dead). The cheapest is just a kill; nobody's concerned if the target's associates can get them back. This would be more a 'send these guys a message' attack.) And finally, effective assassins are going to know everything possible about their targets: Level, abilities, equipment, typical spells, strategies, you name it. And they're going to have ways to deal with it all.

If you've decided not to nuke the solo PC, there are ways around it. You've already suggested a delay that holds off the attempt until later. Alternatively, you could have someone get word to the party, or to Bill, that the assassins were going after the flying ship, giving them a chance to get PC out of there or get the whole party on the ship in time. You could engineer another encounter on the ship that screws up the assassination attempt - and potentially lets the solo PC know the assassins were there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Run the encounter as planned. Start with Bill and the NPC's - giving the lone PC the chance to consider various courses of action.

If the assassins look as buff as you say they are, their swift and brutal execution of the NPC's should be a clear warning for the lone PC that he try to escape (or die).

It's a flying ship - if I was that lone PC, first thing I'm doing is jumping off this flying death trap when I get wind that an Alpha Strike of Assassins is on board.

Now, if aforementioned PC doesn't actually have a snapleaf or other method to survive a 20d6 plummet to the ground (when they own a flying ship...), I'd say, kill away. And let the lesson sink in...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't think there is a 'right' answer, although there often is a right answer for a specific group. If your group has been enjoying the way you have been running it, basically making sure they are victorious then that is the right answer, if they want it to be more challenging, uncompromising, then that is the right answer.

I would caution against suddenly switching styles without warning. You have essentially trained your players to take risks by making those risks not very risky. A sudden change could be quite a shock and leave players dissatisfied. Talking to the players about your concerns and getting feedback from them is probably more useful then asking that question here, and gives them a warning if you decide to change things up.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I know it's mechanically bad in D&D-type games to split the party, but sometimes you get a better story when the party splits. Our PCs were once sent into a city to infiltrate and assassinate an enemy general - but when the mission turned pear-shaped, we all had to escape individually. It was dangerous, but each of us ended up with an interesting and different story to tell.
But it also depended on the DM being willing to play along.

So my recommendation is to go ahead with the assassination attempt, but give the PC a chance to effect an escape. Make it as obvious as you can that escape is better than sticking around. Make a painful example of Bill as a bystander getting in the way to give the PC a chance to do the smart thing. And if he does get the clue, go ahead and kill him off.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Now, thinking about this some more, you could tone it down a little under the assumption that the assassins going after the PCs know that one has chosen to go on this trip alone. And then play out an attack on each set of PCs at the same time as if the attacks are coordinated while they are more vulnerable. Then you have an excuse to make them a bit more tailored to each of the PC groups so it's not a ridiculously unfair fight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Have the assassins sabotage the ship shortly after take-off, allowing the rest of the party some means of getting to the combat. Have there be some sort of send-off for Bill + PC for the trip. If a PC declines to attend, they don't get to participate. Have the encounter start with the ones staying behind at a 2 round disadvantage, having to devote resources to get to the combat.

This method allows for the full combat to go forward without intentional nerfing, gives the PCs a second chance at following the plot, and doesn't result in straight murder most of the time.


Thanks for all the feedback. The game is tomorrow evening, so I have a little time to mull over the options.

Just to let everyone know the type of game we play, it is relatively deadly. Most of the PC's have died at least once. We have adjusted how raise dead and resurrection work to make death a serious matter. If you use Raise Dead the character loses 1d4 CON. If you use Resurrection the character loses 1 CON. Only True Resurrection brings a character back whole.

I don't particularly mind character death, but I always want to give them a fighting chance. If run as planned, the character does not have a realistic chance of survival.

As an additional note, the PC in question gets beat down a lot. He is by far the biggest damage dealer in the party, but he keeps thinking that makes him the most powerful. My gaming world has a lot of named NPCs of all power levels. Some are significantly more powerful than the party. I don't use them against the party, but they are there to remind the group that there is a big world out there and they are not necessarily the biggest fish in the pond.

Unfortunately this PC regularly challenges NPCs to duals and then gets his butt kicked because he is not particularly good at one-on-one encounters. It's been pretty brutal. Getting slaughtered by a pack of assassins may be just a bit too much right now. On the other hand, I have softballed the past two duels he was in to keep him from getting killed. Before that point, I think he was 0 for 7 in duels.

Still pondering.


Loss of con is as much of a non-problem as negative levels. The players will just use the same spells as before to remove the damage or drain.


TheGreatWot wrote:
Loss of con is as much of a non-problem as negative levels. The players will just use the same spells as before to remove the damage or drain.

I should have been more clear. It's not CON Drain or CON Damage. The CON loss is permanent.


Oh. That hurts much more.

If your characters are dying a lot due to stupid decisions, I advise you to:

A. Teach them how to not make stupid decisions constantly. Duh.

B. Remove that con penalty. It'll just culminate in your players becoming too weak to stay alive anymore.


Do the assassins know that the party split up? If their mission is to kill the whole party, maybe they should split up, too. Some turn up on the ship, some turn up wherever the other PCs are. That lets you customize the encounters for the groups that are present in each area, while preserving your original plan.

It might be tricky, but you could even run the combats simultaneously so the action's interwoven as the assassins attack each group. That'd keep it from feeling like you're ganging up on the one player.

EDIT: Woops, I see Bill Dunn made a similar suggestion above. So, I second that recommendation. :)


Depends on the game you're playing,

My table works together with the party telling a story, the fights come about 1/day (though there are plenty of other encounters per day to keep them going) and the fights are hard but typically fair. I've even added some house rules to prevent accidental death (all healing effects work like Breath of Life but impose long term negative consequences that last a week in game). The death of a character at my table is a really big epic storytelling moment that only comes up rarely, with the same weight other groups might put into an alignment shift or a paladin falling from grace.

At other tables, the game is more of a cooperative board game where death can be an outcome for failing to anticipate the threats thrown your way. This gives combat a real visceral tension and makes every threat you come across potentially game ending for your character (at least until death becomes cheap with higher level play).

What type of game are you running? If you're all together casually to have fun, tell a story, and experience a strange other world then toning down fights is fine. If your party really wants to stretch themselves and grow better at the mechanics of the game, then you should challenge them with the full danger they would normally encounter. Though, perhaps allowing them to flee and then buffing up the encounter when they all get together to face it again, is a reasonable solution.

Grand Lodge

Agree that that a permanent con penalty, is really a bad idea in the long run. Money drain is better. Just add more expensive material componements to raise dead and similar.

In your case, I would not run the encounter. The single player would feel it was a very unfair fight.
Just tell the rest of the party that they find his corpse pretty intact.
Give him some notes to answer speak with dead questions and a NPC to play until they get him resurrected.
And Warn him of this before you meet to play.


You don't need to run the big, set piece encounter to remind the players that splitting the party is a bad idea. But then, that's what it comes down to doesn't it; the horror of splitting the party.

For the GM, this scenario presents several problems. When PCs go off in different directions, the GM has to play to 2 or more separate groups. PCs might be out of contact with each other during these events. How does the GM handle this? There might be notes that can't be read aloud until the party meets up again, or players removed to different rooms/areas so they don't know what's going on with the others, etc. This all means extra work for the GM.

There's also the OP's original concern. While there are MANY powerful builds out there, a PC is generally as powerful as, say, a CR monster of their level or maybe slightly below. So a level 3 Fighter is probably as powerful as, say, a CR 4 magical beast. This means that 1 against the other is a 50/50 battle depending on the luck of the dice as much as on build strength.

This means that 2 PCs, off on their own and found by the APL +4 final bad guy may very well be obliterated. Contrary to popular belief this isn't just about inconveniencing the players whose characters get killed. If a PC dies this event may have the effect of temporarily derailing the momentum of a scene, a whole adventure or may even disrupt the entire campaign.

Again, a negative for the GM.

From the Players' perspective though splitting the party can be a fun thrill! The PCs have a chance to showcase their superior powers and abilities, flex their might a little and steal a bit of spotlight they might not get if they're lumped in with the other party members in a fight.

What's more they can cover more ground, gather more clues, collect more loot in a shorter amount of time and so on. There are many potential upsides to the players for splitting the party. They don't necessarily see the extra work and possible strain this strategy might have on the GM, and even the most compassionate player may understand the GM's concern but may still go along with the plan because there's ONE GM and there's likely more than one player.

How we as GMs deal with this scenario owes a lot to who we are as people. There's those who just roll with it, being able to ad-lib threats and hazards that are at once challenging but also manageable for the individual PCs to chew through while delaying the set piece encounter. There are even some GMs who anticipate these scenarios, making such threats up ahead of time and having a physical gaming environment conducive to isolating players such as tables with note-delivery systems built in or a basement with several comfortable rooms in which players can be easily separated.

There's another school of thought though, one more punitive in nature. Splitting the party is a valid weakening of the party's combat efficacy so if the players so choose and we've done our job telegraphing/foreshadowing that the set piece is coming up, the players suffer whatever consequences come their way. This basically boils down to negative reinforcement; going the wrong way in the maze brings an electric shock so if the players receive enough of these they may curb their wandering behavior.

There is a third option though: make a new maze.

Yes, this is more work on the GM than any suggested above but hear me out. The PCs inhabit a strange world of gods, monsters, magic and legend. Who's to say that they, as the center of said world, don't have some kind of influence on it or, more to the point, that the world doesn't react to their decisions? If a PC decides to take an extended va-kay with Bill the NPC aboard their pleasure cruiser, who's to say that the assassins stowing away didn't anticipate this and have a contingency plan in place: kidnap the PC.

In Pathfinder, one way a PC dies is if they are reduced below 0 HP, fail to stabilize, and then lose a number of negative HP equal to their Con score. If the assassins have a potion of Stabilize plus manacles, rope, or some other more advanced restraint device they have a pretty good chance of ensuring the one PC has been captured. Said assassins now also have a very convincing argument to ensure that the rest of the party is in place to receive their final come-uppance for being nosy do-gooders; a place of the assassins' choosing.

Will the players anticipate the trap? Likely. Will they try a desperate, crazy rescue to get their comrade back? Almost a foregone conclusion. Will it be fun to watch play out? If you've planned for it, yes.

Grand Lodge

Or you could make some escape options possible...


I'd say the party split, so the assassins split too. Maybe one or two assassins board the ship, and another group of assassins attack the rest of the party. Add or subtract assassins to taste.

If you have the map space, you could even time the two distant fights as being at the same time in the same initiative, just to keep everyone invested in both fights. In other words, you will be jumping back and forth to scenes of one fight and the other as they come up in initiative.


There are reasons the assassins would not split up. They are designed to fight together. Like the party, the assassins are much weaker individually. Also, the party has made its home base in a well defended town where they are considered heroes. Between the town defences, the helpful population, and all the work the PCs have put into defending the place, I have decided not to have any attacks happen in the town for a while. This is mostly out of respect for the careful work and planning the group put into building the defences.

On the other hand, they have a big flying ship that floats above the town like a neon sign. It has only once been flown without any of the PCs on board. It usually has the entire party on it. It seemed like an obvious plan to stake out the town and watch for the ship to fly off. The assassins would use a combination of flight, teleport, and dimension door to track it for a while and then make there assault when the ship is well away from town.

The party will be able to bring the character back almost immediately. They have a lot of cash, but this may be a very expensive experience.


Kifaru wrote:
There are reasons the assassins would not split up. They are designed to fight together. Like the party, the assassins are much weaker individually.

Then change them. Give the guy who went off solo his own solo-rated assassin. And let the party fight the team assassins.

Quote:
Also, the party has made its home base in a well defended town where they are considered heroes. Between the town defences, the helpful population, and all the work the PCs have put into defending the place, I have decided not to have any attacks happen in the town for a while. This is mostly out of respect for the careful work and planning the group put into building the defences.

Then have the rest of the team leave the town. Add a rampaging beast on the outskirts of of their town that they have to go and put down, before it slaughters more of the populace. And on the way back, the assassins take the opportunity to ambush the party.

Also, I'm not sure if carefully planned defenses means you shouldn't attack them. Unused defenses could feel like a waste of resources. Add a summoner to the assassins and let it keep the defenses busy, while the party deals with the other assassins. The summoner's eidolon may even be the beast that draws them out of town.


Melkiador wrote:
Also, I'm not sure if carefully planned defenses means you shouldn't attack them. Unused defenses could feel like a waste of resources. Add a summoner to the assassins and let it keep the defenses busy, while the party deals with the other assassins. The summoner's eidolon may even be the beast that draws them out of town.

They have recently spent a lot of time working on making the town a safe place for them between adventures. Having them immediately get attacked while in town feels like it invalidates the work they have done. I don't want them to get the impression that their actions don't matter. They worked hard to make it safe, so for now I will treat the area as safe. After a while the bad guys will have time to find holes in the defenses and more powerful bad guys may take a shot at taking the party on while they are in the town. For now though, that's not the route I will go.

All this feedback has really helped. Thanks everyone.

The team of assassins was supposed to be a pair of Ninjas and an Eldritch Scoundrel. All of them Tengu and 12th level. The party is all 14th level right now.

I have decided to alter things a bit. Instead of it being just a team of three, I will make it an entire clan of Tengu assassins that have taken a contract to kill the party. I will have just two of them, probably around level 9, make the assassination attempt on the lone party member on the flying ship. It will probably be a little challenging and may even be a lethal encounter if things go badly. If the PC dies, he will at least have a fighting chance. If the PC kills or drives off the assassins, that opens the door for the leaders of the assassin clan stepping in at a later date to try to complete the contract.

This method will allow for more tension as the party learns a little about the assassin clan and tries to prepare for the eventual strike. I will float them some rumors. Some will the "true" others will be wild speculation. Should be fun.


Sounds good. You may even want to hold the other waves of assassins in reserve to pull out anytime they split the party. The assassins know the party is too strong and try to look for a time of vulnerability to pounce. Occasionally give the players a perception check to notice they are being tailed, but give the Tengu scout some good options for getting away if/when they get noticed. With any luck your players will stop opening themselves up for assassin attacks by splitting the party.


Assassins are usually always well informed.
Why not have two Assassin Teams?
Coordinate the attacks to happen at the same time and hope they don't make it a running battle.

Personally i'd just bomb the ship and poison the bigger group before all-out attacking them.

if you really want to shake things up- make sure the assassins destroy the bodies in such a way that resurrection is NEARLY impossible for the survivors.


I am Nemesis wrote:
if you really want to shake things up- make sure the assassins destroy the bodies in such a way that resurrection is NEARLY impossible for the survivors.

The plan is Quieting Needles.


Quieting Needles are more just an extended inconvenience than anything permanent. Basically you just set the folks back the cost of one rez spell when they grumble and get a sawbones to root out the needles and then recast the spell.

Disintigrates, zombification, or just bagging the corpse and running are more semi-permanent solutions if the assassins don't have a handy Sphere of Annihilation nearby.

Grand Lodge

Summon a monster to eat the corpes and banish it afterwards would be easier...


Funny how we went from "Is this too deadly?" to "Can we make them deader?"


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well.... well.... what the Hell.....

He survived.

I gave the player a bit of a heads up as to what was about to happen and how the situation came about. After a discussion he declared that he didn't want to meta game and didn't want me to softball the encounter.

I did alter a few things, most importantly the stealth bonuses for the assassins, so that it was at least theoretically possible for his character to make a perception check to spot the invisible assassins before they attacked.

So, of course, on the critical stealth roll the 3 assassins rolled a 2, 3, and a 7 and the PC rolled a 19 and was able to spot two of the assassins. In the surprise round he got an initiative over 30, so he attacked first. He got off one shot, made a critical hit with nearly max damage, and made the roll to overcome the 50% miss chance. First dead assassin.

As planned, the assassins spent one round attacking other people.

During the first full round, the PC hit himself with a see invisibility wand. This would not have been a big deal for the assassins, but the assassin mage with dispell magic prepped happened to be the one that the PC had smoked in the surprise round.

There was a running battle on the ship,with the assassins trying to hide behind cover so they could jump back out at him for sneak attack a round or two later. I never saw the player roll lower than a 15 on his perception checks, and the assassins never rolled higher than a 7 to hide. When the assassins did attack, they rolled the biggest collection of 1s, 3s, and 5s I've seen in a single combat.

I was worried that the PC would die in an unfair fight, but the dice gods decided to step in on this one. The assassins never stood a chance.


yes, yes, all good. but what did you do to the rest of the group? ;-)
i mean did they get to play at all? did you split into two assassination teams? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


In reply to the OP: The best character deaths are ones that were the result of a player mistake. As a GM, if I do my job correctly in balancing encounters, then the only player deaths are due to player mistakes. And the biggest mistake I've seen players make, over and over again, is failing to make the decision to turn, and run when the odds are not in their favor.

Honestly, if they split the party, run the encounter as intended. The only punches you should pull is maybe the occasional smudged roll behind the GM screen, however experienced players will pick up on this, especially if they've ever GM'ed before.

Me personally, if I was the player (considering the type of character I prefer to play) and the encounter happened on the ship, I would wish Bill the best of luck and find the quickest escape route. Failing that, I'm going to set the flying ship on fire and take as many of the assassins with me. But that's me; encounters like that is stuff my characters would typically live for.


your doing your player's a disservice if you keep pulling punches.
yes you want your player's invested in their characters BUT fights have consequences.
in a near TPK, new allies (player's back-up characters) can show up to help save the day. MEANING tell your player's to make back up characters

in the event of a TOTAL PARTY KILL, start a "new game" that eventually leads to the place they last left off. these pc's just happened to get there by a different route.
have the pc's hear about a group of adventurers (the TPK'd group) performing heroic deed's here and there.
eventually the stories come to a halt... no one knowing what happened to them on their last foray.
maybe a past ally offers to pay the new group to find the TPK team.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
I am Nemesis wrote:
your doing your player's a disservice if you keep pulling punches.

I don't think he did.


I just did my first TPK the other day as a GM, they were Down their healer and burst DPS but vs pulling my punches I gave them potions pre fight (this was gonna be the final game so die or live & retirement). The boss killed them one by one but they got close. The closest I did to pulling a punch was limiting the amount of time he would stay burrowed abs heal (fast Heal 5). I had him only hide if his health dropped below 25/90 and would reimurge at 30. Due to his high AC I had it where they have a chance if they crit but otherwise he would outlast the PC.

Shadow Lodge

I pull punches all the time. It's an expert talent to give the players enough time to make a comeback while they think they are on the verge of losing. Published adventures very rarely push the party to that limit unless they are not set up to cover general expectations. (Walk into some undead heavy grinders without a healer and see how bad things get!)


Kifaru wrote:

Well.... well.... what the Hell..... He survived.

I gave the player a bit of a heads up as to what was about to happen and how the situation came about. After a discussion he declared that he didn't want to meta game and didn't want me to softball the encounter.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I am Nemesis wrote:
your doing your player's a disservice if you keep pulling punches.
I don't think he did.

in a way he did, by heads-upping the player. while i admire the player wanting to go ahead without a dm holding back, i think Kifaru was a little to free with the behind the scenes info with his player's in this instance. This doesn't make him a bad dm. I have at times had my own attachments to my player's pc's because of how well the the player brought to life the character. and that's ok, I, as a player like a little realism and consequences in my fantasy game. Kifaru can run his table however he likes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I think that having informed consent in a cooperative activity is laudable.


Ultimately you shouldn’t pull your punches at all, I believe (due to this is how I was raised in my RPG history) The players shouldn’t be over powerful as there is always a bigger bada** out there; remind them of this constantly. Campaign victories should feel like they survived and maybe gained an insanity cause you put them through the “woodchipper” not they walked in kicked butt and left laughing. Think that scene in Rick & Morty where both are crying in the car after getting medals.

Shadow Lodge

Not everyone wants Rick and Morty. Some players want The Fast and The Furious.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Advice / As the GM, How Much Should I Pull My Punches All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.