Sunday, June 19, 2011


So a lot has happened since the last post. I removed a party member from the game. D&D Encounters is going well and I am hooked on HBO's Game of Thrones.

So the rescue mission happened, the adventure was called: The Musician, the Gardener and the Bear and some of the players who were in attendance had new characters. I introduced the Porter Geoffrey who worked for the ranger to carry her arrows.

The adventure I ran was one I had done before and it was not a difficult one to run, it was the broken tower from Dungeon Delves. It seemed like the easiest and quickest way to take a break from the Slaying Stone and insert it into the game as a quick way to get the players on a rescue mission. After some difficulties trying to get the group together they were off.

The difficulties did not end there though, have you ever had the moment were you are trying to get people ready for the encounter and people are talking over each other on what they want to do? So in Encounter 2 of the Broken tower is the floor that collapses, the ranger wants to run across it and moves midway and I back the player up. Here is where the confusion begins, he gets upset I did this and thinks I am setting him up. I had him step out on the first square and nothing happens and then onto the 2nd square and then it hits. Did I play it wrong? Here is the snippet from the adventure.

Unstable Floor: The 20-by-20-foot center of the room sags dangerously. The entire section collapses
under 20 pounds or more, dropping to area 1 below. Those on the unstable area when it collapses are attacked (+5 vs. Reflex); on a hit they fall 20 feet to the lower area (2d10 damage). On a miss, the character manages to move back to the safe square he or she entered from. Any character who is not  adjacent to a safe square when the floor collapses is automatically hit.
If the floor does collapse, mark the hole by placing two black 2×4 tiles in the center of the room.

After it is all said and done, it might have been played wrong. being on the second square means you are not on a square adjacent to a safe one so you are automatically hit. That is how I ruled it. What I did end up doing was collapsing the whole floor section only because I wanted it out of the way since I knew none of the other players would fall for it. The only real problem was that it involved the player for the Ranger.

Rather than make for the stairs he wanted to be different and try to climb the wall back up. I was flipping through the rule book as the athletics check was done, failed by more than 5? yep so turn ends and next in the initiative order. Well we were not done, he wanted to use his standard action to move up the stairs. So I quoted the rule, got an eye roll and a that is stupid comment (memory is faulty with the stupid comment) and he got up from the table when we moved to the next in order.

Several other events happened, a goblin was knocked down the hole by the bard and landed next to the ranger, since he did not have a melee weapon and did not want to provoke an OA (Opportunity Action) he moved away then was upset that the prone target now had cover for being prone. So he moved up the stairs and then he wanted to shoot at a prone target from up high thinking he would get an advantage. It did not work that way, but I was also trying to look up range penalties for being 20ft high and 20 feet away totally confusing 20ft for 20 squares.

The player then mutters I seem to always seem to be looking up rules for his character and I loose it in my head. Seriously? Now he has stated he was joking with those side comments, joking or not, I did not take it like that. Those comments were exactly what caused the Near TPK the week prior when he "joked" Frank is a killer DM. Only this time I did not lash out and become the killer DM though I might have felt better had I done so. I explained my confusion and even that was not good enough judging by the email I got later.

I still ruled for cover, at level two for a ranger a -2 is hardly a concern. I bring these up because out of all the people at the table I think this player did not understand that a Dungeon Master is the last word on a rule and in the end if it is a wrong call we fix it later. He has said he was afraid of telling me a rule was wrong and that I might take it the wrong way.

Here is what I take the wrong way, when you push back when I am sure the rule is right. When I quote it out of the book it is not me trying to do you wrong. It is not my fault as a dungeon master when you feel like you are not accomplishing anything. I want you to have fun I really do but not everyone is going to shine every week. If he is reading this take that too heart.

After that night I felt kind of bad he said that comment, and maybe I was picking on him. I felt I might have to many problems with his push backs as a player to effectively be a DM for him. I sent him a message that I wanted to talk with him about it. He sent me an email with a round by round account of that above summary of some of the problems. I wanted to talk to him face to face, not in an email, not on the phone. In person to make it personal not via text or even voice on the phone.

So I took that open letter and went for it. Explained everything and made the mistake of thinking he would get it even if I told him I had other players who had done similar things or expressed the same issues like feeling frustrated that they were not accomplishing anything. I received a news flash, he was a unique individual. It was disrespectful of me too compare him to other people. Consider this blog post tame to the one you could have gotten.

Here is my final email to him.

I am going to just say I am not going to be able to be your DM anymore. We can go around and around with this email and honestly I do not think I should say anymore.

I have only ever kicked one person out of my game, to this day I feel bad about it and I talked to my friend Kevin I would like to join us who would bring a great roleplaying element to the table and I bring this up because of him asking me if the one person I ever kicked from my game showed up in the store asking to play would I let him? I said yes.

This player was the second. Do I miss him at the table? I think so, yes I do. Honestly if I could look past his comments at the table he would be welcomed back but I think the result is better. We are making progress in the game sessions. If he came to me in person not via a message and asked to talk I would give him the time of day to explain things even better than just words can do. If he asked to play again, we would have to see how the conversation went that lead to that.

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About Me

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I am Regional Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region for D&D Adventurers League. Worked for Best Buy as a Project Team Specialist were I did store remodels, support Vendor displays and set merchandising standards for the stores in the Chicago market. He also enjoys playing games (PC, Console, Board Games, RPGs and Miniature Skirmish Games), reading, watching movies and listening to music.