Explosions

28th Oct 2022, 12:00 AM in Trials Of The Tesseract
Explosions
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Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
Load my Place Save my Place

Author Notes:

28th Oct 2022, 12:00 AM
There's a fine, challenging line in being a GM where (generally) you want the players to succeed. But you also don't want to feel like they're curbstomping everything you throw at them.

Comments:

28th Oct 2022, 12:25 AM
F. Cool bike o7
30th Oct 2022, 10:34 PM
28th Oct 2022, 10:02 AM
CoreBrute
Funny thing, a player did a similar trick to me. They had a motorcycle inhabited by the spirit of a Fire Walrus (don't ask) and rammed it straight into the big tree boss I had, causing an explosion that one shot it.

Thankfully I'd planned for the monster to have a second phase, but still, unforgettable. Really great when a player blind sides you like that.
30th Oct 2022, 10:24 PM
... See, I'm going to respect the request to not ask, and I won't ask.

But I will express, purely in the declarative and not as a question, that I would like to know more about the Fire Walrus.
28th Oct 2022, 10:27 AM
Otaku
Story time! Tell about a time when the GM gave you something, and you used it well... perhaps a little too well.

My example is sadly a repeat. What, I haven't been part of a proper RPG group in 20 years, so I don't have any new stories to supplement the old high school/early college days. XD
Anyway, we were using D&D 3e. That's right, not GURPS! Also note that it was the original D&D 3e and not 3.5. We started the game before the DM even had any DM books, IIRC. XD

Most of the group were fans of Final Fantasy, and old enough to have at least heard of (if not watched) the D&D cartoon. Yeah, another fun tidbit; there was an actual Dungeons & Dragons Saturday morning cartoon that aired from 1983 to 1985. It believe it was also was rebroadcast in my area sometime during the 90s, when CBS still had Saturday morning cartoons. The basic plot of the series involves a group of teens who boarded a D&D themed rollercoaster at a fair (amusement park?) and were transported into the world of D&D. The DM and the group were also fans of Final Fantasy so.. the DM smooshed the two together. He took the basic premise of the original Final Fantasy and added to it. While the story was from the NES Final Fantasy, he added bits and pieces from later entries as well. Including how healing magic and items were harmful to the Undead.

Yeah, finaly getting to the point! Especially if you know where this is going. One of the boss's you face in OG Final Fantasy is the Lich, preceded by a mini-boss, the Vampire. They aren't the very first foes you face, but mark the end of the first quarter of the game (give or take). The Vampire even shows up again as a "regular" enemy (and thus in multiples) a little later in the game. The original Final Fantasy did not have the mechanic where healing spells and Items could be used on enemies at all, let alone to slay the Undead. Again, the DM expressly told us that these mechanics from Final Fantasy VI (and probably other entries) was in effect for our tabletop gaming. I was running the cleric in the group, and healing was indeed one of my domains. The GM had been spoiling us in general, and me in particular; we were pretty high level at this point, so I did indeed have the spell for reviving the dead, and the resources to cast it more than once! My friends and I had discussed it, wondering if we should try it on the Vampire, or save it for the Lich. In the end, we used it on the Vampire and the DM said it worked! That gave us an easy, fast win. :)

In game, some NPCs let us know that the Lich had taken precautions against this trick, In real life, the DM admitted he totally spaced off how his own rulings from earlier meant that this trick should work on these early bosses, and thanked us for not saving it for the Lich.
30th Oct 2022, 10:31 PM
So, I don't know if this counts because it's a house rule and not an in-game item. But I feel like it counts in spirit at least, so here we go:

A friend of mine ran one Pathfinder campaign for us and ruled that a natural 1 on any roll would be a failure, and a natural 20 a success. I was very much opposed to this rule, both because it wasn't how it was supposed to work and because I absolutely hate the idea that there's a 5% chance something you're supposed to be great at could just fail or the stupidest plan ever could succeed just because you got lucky.

Cue halfway through the campaign, where our party was trying and failing to solve a riddle to discover the secret of a mysterious golden orb (admittedly cribbed from Treasure Planet). As everyone started getting really frustrated I finally hit this point:

Me: "Okay, what kind of check do I have to make to fiddle with the orb and see if I can open it or something?"
GM: stares silently and impassively
Me: rolls "Guess it doesn't matter, I got a natural 20."
GM: sighs and proceeds to explain how the orb opens up to reveal a map

It was, after trying to argue about this rule left and right (especially when one character getting a bad roll while fishing led to them falling off the ship and needing to be rescued) an immensely satisfying turnaround.
31st Oct 2022, 10:28 AM
Otaku
Yeah, it is a fairly common house rule... or misunderstanding of the rules. I don't just mean for d20 games; way, way back, when my original RPG group first invited me, I am pretty sure that is how we handled GURPS as well, but substituting a natural 3 or 4 for a Critical Success and a Natural 17 or 18 for a Critical Failure (GURPS has you try to roll at or below the target number, on 3d6). I assume most d20 games have a rule somewhere similar to the actual rule in GURPS that deals with this nonsense:

You don't bother rolling for trivial things. This means it is either unimportant to the story, a critical success/failure shouldn't logically make much difference, and/or the target number should be so high (usually rolling with a +10 or more bonus) that there's no sense in bogging down the game on the off chance you did roll a critical success/failure.

Circumstances to matter; a normally trivial action might require a role because the life and/or valuables of a PC, important NPC, etc. are on the line. There are circumstances where you always get to roll and a Natural 3 or 4 (1.9% chance) always succeeds, but these are things that have proven worthwhile for game balance and enjoyment: rolling to dodge an attack, resist magic, etc. Where something could logically fail, especially critically fail, GURPS does require you roll... and GURPS has a rule where anytime you fail a roll by 10+, it is a critical failure. So Hail Mary attacks that logically could never succeed and should most likely fail spectacularly... do just that; fail or fail spectacularly. If, after modifiers, the target number is -7 (or less), even a natural 3 is a Critical Failure. Don't try to do the impossible! XP

Since I went on so long, bonus story. It does not fall under the heading of GMs letting you do something and it working out too well, but rather the opposite. Nor is it my own story; this was a GM fudging the rules to get one over on his players, it was from a brief conversation from about 25 years ago (so I may be remembering most of it wrong XP). While chatting with a fellow gamer, he shared how the GM always "powered up" attacks when it was a Critical Success. The baddies were holed up in a storage shed, and one of the players fires an arrow into the shed (I think through a window) and rolls a critical success. The GM rules that the arrow struck something in the storage area that would make a spark... which ignited a bunch of gunpowder that was being stored there, unknown to the players. How is that bad? I think the PCs were trying to rescue someone the baddies had taken hostage, and/or were actually just outside the shed. Either an important NPC, important item(s), and/or some or all of the PCs were also killed. XP GURPS does let the GM come up with results for Critical Success and Failures, but they're supposed to be appropriate to the situation. If anything, the critical success should have meant the arrow landed safely with respect to the archer's goal!
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