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186

Unfortunately, all the group behaviours you've identified are either death-seeky or problematic. Use these interactions as teachable moments instead of problems which can simply be wished away. In all cases, a quiet discussion over a hot beverage of your choice After game time may allow your DM to impart his wisdom and/or to express your concerns with the ...


120

What you are trying to create in a sand box is player agency. My definition of this is: Players making informed decisions that have reasonable consequences It is important to remember that there is an inherent information imbalance in RPG: you have it, they don't. It is your job as DM to give them information that is relevant, reasonable and accessible. ...


114

Then you need to damn the plot secrets and talk with the player and make sure they are OK with it. You don't need to give them details on how it is resolved but they need to know they will be killed and why and that it will be resolved and about how long for that to happen. You should probably discuss taking over an NPC or how to introduce a new character. ...


98

Ask the player. First there is nothing wrong with making a mistake, we all do it, you will make more, don't try and hide it. You're the DM you are tracking a lot of stuff mishaps happen. Just ask that player what they want to do, do it before the session even starts. Pull them aside, explain what happened, (they should be tracking the companions saves and ...


94

Bit of an introductory story: I got a discount from my phone company for retention, by threatening to cancel. My neighbour also threatened to cancel after hearing about my discount, but didn't get an offer. Why? He wasn't serious about leaving, and they caught on. I was. If someone knows you won't pull the trigger, they do not have a reason to change what ...


92

You don't need to go to the effort of plotting to kill her off. What you do need to do is speak to your GM and your group and tell them what's on your mind: your character doesn't have much to do, and you'd like to roll up a new one. At that point, you may still need to come up with a plan of how your character can exit stage left, but you'll have their ...


91

The way to talk to the GM is that you sit down and talk with him. In a non-accusatory tone, you explain the way you've thought/felt playing in the game and ask him to explain what the expectations are. You might all even use the Same Page Tool to gather a shared understanding of the type of game you're playing. However, speaking as another D&D DM with ...


90

Give them options, or a hiding place perhaps. Trying to tell them out of game to run is (unfortunately) well into the realm of railroading. On that note, there is one option: Show them in-game that running is their best option. This can be accomplished by having a known-powerful NPC friend defeated by said baddie, or an appropriate knowledge check about them ...


87

Your player is trying to game you, the system and the other players at the table. Simply put an end to that. The issues with rolling stats is that you take on the risk of getting subpar ability scores with the desired reward of getting super awesome stats. Other issues are that players will feel the imbalance between them. Yes, the first option for a DM ...


79

When I as a DM have an opportunity to make a major change to a character, such as character death, conversion to a villain or non-villainous NPC, etc, I will bring up the issue with the player. It means you can't surprise them, but by asking their opinion and inviting their input on the idea, you can not only find out whether they will accept/enjoy the ...


78

Let them fail - miserably! But don't kill them... A lot of good stories start out like this: You have a bunch of over confident wanna-be heroes who want to kill the evil general with a stupid plan. So of course it is doomed to fail, they will never kill them and they will surely get caught. But why should they all be killed? The evil general probably has ...


69

This is not a direct answer to your question, but a suggestion that I feel is worth noting. Don't retcon past events, expand upon them. Instead of saying this never happened, say that it has. Exactly like it happened. But not because the player was drunk. Assuming your players are not omniscient, you can write things into the past, present and future of ...


68

Keep the drama, because dying is dramatic! The stabilization rules would remain the same whether in or out of combat. Given the importance of that, I would recommend following initiative order until the the PC(s) have stabilized through medicine checks or healing spells/potions/abilities. However, handwaving stabilization wouldn't be the end of the world - ...


62

It all comes down to agency. What choices are the players making? If you are spoon-feeding them encounters, which they have no options but to engage, then yes, it's on you to make sure those encounters are survivable. If they are choosing what to do and what to engage, then the responsibility lies on their heads, not yours. Let's look at two possible ...


61

Spells do exactly what they say, whether cast on PCs or other monsters. Power Word Kill says a creature with 100 hit points or fewer dies. PCs are not exempt from this as they are also creatures and thus are perfectly valid targets for the spell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not make a saving throw vs the effect, do not drop to 0 HP and start ...


60

I will not revisit the advice presented in the other answers about talking to the DM and establishing what you think the norms of this campaign would be. Instead, I would ask you to consider the following points: Are you suffering from confirmation bias; you describe 3 encounters where 4 PCs nearly died, how many encounters were there where no one died? ...


58

Group Checks, Success with a Cost, and Skill Challenges These three concepts are meant to be used in tandem, but can be cherry picked to suit your style of play. I have the most experience using them together. Group Checks This is pretty simple. Half the group has to pass at doing some thing. In the examples you provided, this represents the party ...


57

Brute force won't work, but any other effect will work, provided it is hit point dependent At first blush, the 20th level Zealot Barbarian is unkillable and this is true if you play the Barbarian's game by engaging them in direct melee combat. Indeed, by RAW the Barbarian could massacre an entire army of mundane soldiers and continuously maintain their rage ...


55

Player 4 sounds like a pretty novice/young/both player. I'd try one or more of these: Explaining issue - I'd try to explain the player that there is a difference between kill-everything-that-moves Diablo and your average-rpg-with-some-battles-and-story. It might be that they are not familiar with how to play a table-top RPG, which generally is more about ...


54

Yes, but it's unlikely It's entirely within the rules to continue attacking a character while he's unconscious, and a GM/monster might decide to do so for a number of reasons. However, there are usually more reasons he won't, both in-game as a monster decision and as a meta-game GM decision. First, there's a rule Though more what you'd call a "guideline" ...


53

This is a case where you need to set ground rules which manage player expectations. When you allow players to manage their own sheets, they are accepting responsibility for doing it correctly. Giving in to this demand sets the precedent that everybody else has to put up with fixing their mistakes. Mistakes happen in RPGs all the time — would they be ...


53

\$\begin{array}{|l|c|l|} \hline \textbf{Name} & \textbf{Level} & \textbf{Classes} & \textbf{Time limit} \\ \hline \text{Revivify} & \text{3rd} & \text{Cleric, Paladin} & 1\,\text{minute} \\ \text{Raise Dead} & \text{5th} & \text{Bard, Cleric, Paladin} & 10\,\text{days} \\ \text{Reincarnate} & \text{5th} & \text{...


52

Unarmed attacks can crit, but do not do double damage Can an unarmed strike crit? - Yes If you roll a 20 on an unarmed strike, it is considered a critical hit. This means that it will automatically hit regardless of the opponent's AC and has the potential to cause 2 failed death saving throws from a creature at 0 HP. However, a critical hit does not get ...


52

Have all PCs generated by the same method You say in a comment that the other players all used point buy. That simplifies this problem. Tell this player: You generate with point buy, like everyone else. It's just that simple. They can apply their considerable talents for min / max with point buy as well. If you had had all of the other players ...


50

there was a spy present at the meeting where the plan was hatched and discussed If you want to warn the players off their plan in a plausible way, the existence of this spy offers some options to do that. Have the spy change allegiance and come to the players with a warning, for a price. "Get me/my family/and a sack of jewels out of the war zone and I'll ...


50

Yes, Massive Damage can kill you at 0 HP Damage at 0 Hit Points. If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death. —Death Saving Throws, Player's Handbook, ...


49

As a spy, you presumably have a lot of deception-related skills. One good option is to make it look like a suicide. People who commit suicide generally don't want to be resurrected, and won't come back if you try. If you also create a fake corpse (find someone who died of old age and thus can't be resurrected, and disguise their corpse as the sorceress's),...


48

In an “anything is possible” game, this is fair. In this kind of game, it is necessary for players to actually, truly believe that they can get themselves into so much trouble that they will not have a “final warning” that their PC is about to die, and Death is the most (and often only) effective teacher in this regard.* And fortunately, players always get ...


47

You can try to structure your play time so that your life or death stuff isn't hitting until the end of the session. That way if somebody buys it, they're at least being sidelined at the natural end of the evening during the climax of your session so they've played enough to hopefully not feel like they wasted an evening. That also lets them handle new ...


47

Tell them that the side campaign ends with an epic, glorious, TPK. Making your players co-conspirators in the shape of the finale means that they will help you drive it to that epic conclusion. There's no value, in the scenario you describe, to making a TPK a surprise or look unintentional. Save the energy that would be spent on smoke and mirrors designed ...


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