Rogue_7

DM Advice requested

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Getting back into the swing of things after a 4 month forced break from DM'ing (the only reson I haven't asked earlier) due to friends moving house, divorce and such; I'm posed with a problem and I'm reaching out for advice.

 

My adventurers have just lost their NPC/PC Cleric (it was picked up by one of the players before she re-rolled a fighter, and the cleric was scripted to leave anyway) and I'm left with a party of Fighters (Norse Berserker, Assassin, Amazon) 2-3 days walk from any town large enough to have a 'bored cleric' to hire. Before we broke up, the party bought out the backwater village's healing potion supplies.

 

Any suggestions on keeping the party alive without fudging the rolls more than I do till they get to a larger town?

 

btw.. The Assassin hasn't got herbalism 'yet'... and we hang it on him for that

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Is this a version of D&D you're inquiring about? I have only played Savage Worlds lately.

 

Whatever you're playing, if you need to shoehorn a cleric/healer into the party, they can stumble across a party that's lost all their fighters!!

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It is an uneventful walk to town.

 

Unless there is a reason for there not to be. i.e. they royally kicked the pudding out of some orc tribe's patrol and the rest of the tribe is descending on them full force.

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We're playing 2nd Ed (we have most of the books, so it's more practical) the party is 4th level

 

It's not possible for the party to have an uneventful walk to town, the Assassin will & has shoot anything that moves, so far he's lost a +1 dagger to a lynx & nearly lost his life to a bager because he went to retrieve it.. been tormented by a rabbit & it's friends when he couldn't shoot it with several arrows.

 

(I didn't intend these encounters, just random rolls on a table.)

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Wandering ranger or druid runs into the party.

 

Maybe you rescue/save his companion.

 

Kicks the hell out of the assassin for being a jerk whrn finished. Ties him up. Heals anyone else in the party for their assistance. Escorts you back to town and tells the great hunter to pull his head out of his assassin or the next time he lets the wilds have you.

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Well, if the assassin has a deathwish, I'd grant it. Or maybe he needs to meet a high level druid that doesn't take kindly to random acts of violence to bunnies and badgers.

 

As for keeping the rest of them alive, maybe they can get a stasis scroll that will let them preserve the body of one dead party member for resurrection later. Make them pay dearly for it.

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=D That's how they ended up on the current quest... they're paying off his resurrection

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I'm for the wandering druid. Comes crashing out of the bushes to see what the ruckus is, stumbles upon a party in need. No problem. That's what druids are for, after-all - wandering the wilds to find out what the ruckus is.

 

Once in the long ago, I dismissed a thief-type, and introduced a paladin (extra healing always helps) while the party was far away from any town or city. Story was that he had just finished burying a small party of his fellow paladins after they were bushwhacked (only survivor). He saw the party's firelight, and came out of the bushes. The DM just worked it so the evil humanoids who bushwhacked the pallies were the same tribes who the party was searching for, so voila! Insta-join!

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Druid, ranger, cleric of a nature god OR wandering ascetic, depending on the campaign metaphysics.

Contemplative orders would often situate a distance from the nearest town.

Dwarven war party with cleric.

Elven scouting party with cleric.

Wandering mystic saw them in a dream. Pool has a dryad, dryad knows a druid.

Tolkienesque Great Eagle flies over, gets curious, introduces them to a cleric.

They find a cleric surrounded by orcs.

A cleric comes to investigate the random slaughter of wildlife and, relieved they are not orcs, decides to hang out with them and teach them the finer points of respecting God's Creation.

A nearby pond is an ancient mystical scrying pool. Healing pool. Magical pool. Magical healing baptismal of an ascetic, wilderness, or nature cult, religion, sect or saint (John the Baptist for example).

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Playing without a medic or potions is always the best kind of game. Everything is potentially mortally dangerous. Every bush could hide death. Or just a weasel.

 

Or a weasel of death.

 

I saw make 'em do without and develop clever ways to stay alive. (Depending on your level of sadism, it wouldn't hurt to drop the monster amounts a bit)

 

 

 

* ETA: and that's when heroic sword and sorcery gets heroic. Now the stakes are big, the bravery true.

 

Every time our cleric takes a day off, I'm ecstatic. A chance for my thief (who doesn't steal) to prove she is a great and brave warrior (my disguise). Death has not yet claimed me, but when it does? Songs will be sung.

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It's really kind of hard to give you a bunch of good advice without the following information . . .

1. Setting

2. Story Arc

3. Nearby Cities and Towns

4. The new player you want to include

5. The types of your other players besides the "instigator"

 

Having said that my campaigns are brutal and see the bodies pile up like China in 1989, so I'm with Buglips - they ended up without a Cleric? Fine, make them earn the opportunity at getting them another one.

 

You please players by giving them options, correctly identifying their gamer type (instigator, slayer, power gamer, actor, storyteller, etc) and then making circumstances fit the game style they like. Besides player's love action/consequence and hate being railroaded (well at least all the player's I've hosted for).

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You please players by giving them options, correctly identifying their gamer type (instigator, slayer, power gamer, actor, storyteller, etc) and then making circumstances fit the game style they like.

 

I would love to GM a game of Burning Wheel. Advancement is driven by exactly this. Sorry to go off topic. here's a link: http://www.burningwheel.org/

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It's really kind of hard to give you a bunch of good advice without the following information . . .

1. Setting

Forgotten Realms

2. Story Arc

Self made courier quest, supported by encounter table rolls & any forest critter I can think of to tempt the Assassin

3. Nearby Cities and Towns

Halfway between Waterdeep & Neverwinter near the Mere of Dead Men

4. The new player you want to include

I wanted to move away from the GM's character as the party tends to rely on it for plot hooks

5. The types of your other players besides the "instigator"

2 newbies (Amazon & Assassin), 1 V:tM Storyteller (Norse Berserker) & myself (Rookie, not newbie GM, I can wing most situations, but sometimes I need some help) and another newbie that comes as his parent's allow, all the newbies are early-mid teens.

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Sounds like the assassin needs a lesson in descretion. Second my favorite DM quote ever, "Just because the party has decided to go with out a cleric doesn't mean I won't kill you." Make them live with the consequences of their choices.

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Rule #1: Never give players an even break. If they need a cleric, make finding one interesting. If they're fighting orcs, maybe the cleric is a rogue orc trying to reform his ways after discovering the love of a new god. If they kill him, too bad for them. (Also encourages them to look for talk-not-fight solutions). Language barrier is a plus, since "I love cotton candy" in orc probably doesn't sound much different than "I eat human children's faces".

 

Or have a cleric who doesn't want to help or travel with them, but will help if absolutely necessary because he's honor-bound. But will get very disgruntled if they abuse the privilege. If you give them a nice, friendly, happy to help my friend cleric? That's a villain they'll meet later who is more than happy to earn the trust of some stupid adventurers and use them for his own evil ends "why sure, partner, I'll help you slay these orcs (who are rivals wouldn't join my cause so I need them out of the way). You kids want some free potions?"

 

Rule #2 Less is more, and clever is more dangerous than stupid.

 

Quick question: you have a party of 5 10th-level adventurers. They must fight 10 kobolds. Who will win?

 

If those kobolds are clever, I'll bet money they'll have the party curled up in a fetal position and crying within an hour. If they're fighting a homogenous enemy in this adventure (say, patrols in an orc warband's territory) have some of the troops/leaders be idjits - but have some who are brutally devious and smart. The players will never know which is which, and after their first bloody thrashing at the hands of an "easy enemy" they'll get paranoid and start using tactics. This lets you employ statistically weaker foes against them while still keeping things (or making them more) challenging - and also allows you to switch up depending on their current condition.

 

(Or, if they get beat up real bad, then the challenge becomes getting through the orc territory without getting into a fight - and a fightless trek to the next town to avoid certain death can be one of the most nail-bitingly tense games you'll ever have the fun to run)

 

 

I played Dragon Mountain under a fiendishly brilliant DM. I'd sooner fight a pit fiend with both hands behind my back than go into a tunnel after some 2 hit point kobolds.

 

Way less terrifying.

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