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Question for you RPG players out there: AOE Etiquette


Beowulfthehunter
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I was curious about a game element, I know we have a bunch of RPG players on here, but most of you seem to play for fun. I had an issue with one of my players in my home game who constantly likes to drop AOEs (area of effect) attacks on my character. Now granted my character has the ability to pull many in base with myself and I have let her do this in the past. However I have been asking her as of late to please stop or at the very least ask me before she does. She indignantly responded that I should stop getting in the way of her blasts. Perhaps I am to use to LFR were you have to ask your teamate if you can target them with an AOE,but If someone did not want to take damage from my effect then I would not do it. What are your opinions on the matter?

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First question: Are you the only other player that this player has treated this way?

If not, perhaps the best solution is to get the other players and/or the GM involved in a friendly mediation.

 

The main thought that occurs to me when I read your question is that it sounds like she's being a little passive-aggressive in dealing with something you're doing that is bugging her, and this is her way of payback. It's exactly the kind of crap my ex-wife would pull.

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Talking to my other half who is the definition of a gamer, he says "yeah, that's pretty bad. If there's no other way or if they're immune to it, go ahead and do it, but otherwise....." He's been playing for 20some years with a number of different groups and also DMs, so he's had a wide variety of experiences. That's his take, fwiw..... His recommendation is that if this continues to happen, either encourage the player to do 'softening up' spells then rush in, play a different type of character (one that can't drop AoE), or, as a last ditch, ask the player to leave.

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I could see dropping an AOE on a party member if I knew they'd be ok and it was worth it. For example, kill off the last few monsters and then there'd be time to heal that damage right back.

 

You're not in the way, she just needs to learn to place her spells. It's her responsibility to do so every time. However, when moving try to think about where she usually places her spells, how much space she needs, and where the monsters are standing. Put yourself in a place that leaves a good spot for her to attack as well. A nice open area full of multiple enemies and no you in the way. If she chooses to include you in the blast rather than taking the optimal spot, there's a different issue here. It's also possible she's just bad and doesn't realise there are better spots.

 

The way I figure out spell ranges in D&D 3.5 is I take a mat-board cutout of the spell radius and hold it above the field to see what's included. Maybe help her out by showing her a better way to cast the spell. Just politely say "you could drop that here and it'd hit the same enemies but not me."

 

 

If it's a serious problem (like if the damage is actually messing you up and making combat riskier for you) the other players should notice. Say to the healer you need a heal and point out why (not to be mean, just after the spell hits 'hey can you heal me a bit when you can? I'll be ok for now but that puts me at ##'

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To chime in on the meat of the issue, I think the vast majority of us would feel it bad form, rude, and even aggressive on some level to include your character in an AoE even once, much less repeatedly.

 

On rare occasions, one of our players has allowed it, usually in a situation where the blast would be quite beneficial (read: end the combat) and the fighter or other tank who was in the way in all likelihood was going to survive. But the decision was always weighed carefully, and the player of the tank always had the final say.

 

You have asked nicely, it seems, for her to stop. I would say you should try one more time, very nicely, to state that you and she are on the same team and both there to have fun, but that this unteamlike behavior is not so much fun for you. If she ignores a final kind request, it is time to get your GM involved.

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The only time I have had this happen to me repeatedly was when I actually 'called the ball' and had them drop on my position. Occationally, it was accidental, but mostly I called it on myself.

 

That said, this fireball chucking player, had done it several times without my asking. I ask him several times to be more careful, which he failed to do. So after one fight in which I came up singed, I went over and backstabed his character to close to death. My guy walked away saying, "Sorry dude, I didn't think you where in the area of effect. My bad." He started asking if he could throw a fireball in future.

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To turn it around, how are you playing? Typically, it is good etiquette for the melee combatants to hold back for a round or two and act as shields or use ranged weapons while the spellcasters pound the hordes with fireballs and AOEs. If you are rushing in right away always you are essentially making her AOEs useless (which are likely her biggest contribution) and she could be just saying to herself, "Fine, if that is the way he wants it, that's the way it is going to come down."

 

I've seen this happen many times in 30+ years of DMing. Typically it happens to a party that doesn't discuss tactics and standard operating procedues in advance of a battle. Have the tactical discussion so you and her aren't walking all over each others abilities.

 

TS

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I wouldn't have a problem if it made tactical sense. (When I've played Rogues with evasion and a good Reflex save, I've explicitly told wizards not to worry about me. If I blew the roll, too bad.) In that sort of situation, you're taking a risk to avoid a different risk (hopefully a greater risk), so it only makes sense.

 

Had I told another character that I had a problem with it, however, I would treat the next such event as an intentional attack on my character. At best, there would be a huge argument. At worst, one of the characters would die. And even if one of the characters didn't die, there would be a good chance that my character would never adventure with the other character again.

 

Frankly, depending on the circumstances, I might not play with the other player again, either. I game for fun; that's not fun.

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:devil: Devil's Advocate:

 

You are the one being selfish with your character. An AOE that destroys the enemy is more important than you. If you are not willing to jump on a proverbial grenade for your squad/party, then you're holding everyone back.

 

Sometimes the airstrike is going to get friendlies to save the rest of the unit.

 

:wacko:

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That's why RPGs are not my thing anymore. If you just heal up all the time, and there's no mortality, it's silly to me.

 

I'd prefer my hero to go out holding off the oncoming horde and getting blasted in the AOE.

 

I'm guessing 4th edition D&D has enough healing after combat, and premeasuring during combat to appeal to most gamers.

 

Again, Devil's Advocate speaking. Your experience with roleplaying games is probably very different than mine.

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Deal with it in-character. If your character gets herself burned by the AOEs, then figure out how your character would react. I'd imagine it would either be a withdrawal of support (no heals), a rampaging attack on the offending character (like herzog - I like that solution :)), or bring lots of enemies towards the AOEr so that a) she feels like she's contributing and b) opportunity actions aplenty.

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