What is the worst "I don't know how my own abilities work" you've encountered in a game?
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  1. #1
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)

    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Cheyenne, WY

    What is the worst "I don't know how my own abilities work" you've encountered in a game?

    In complex systems, rules confusions are bound to happen. Sometimes that's down to new player inexperience, sometimes it's laziness, and sometimes it's an honest mistake. In all cases, I generally find it hilarious in practice: case in point.

    So how about it? What is the worst case of "not knowing how the mechanics work" you've encountered in a game?
    Laugh Ralif Redhammer, MNblockhead laughed with this post

  2. #2
    Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Hands down, I can think of one player and incident. The PCs were climbing up a mountain, in search of some magic crystals. Mid-climb, theyre attacked by some Perytons. The 5th-ish level warlock tells me he casts Fly on the whole adventuring party of six.

    This sort of thing would happen repeatedly. Pretty much any time that player did something other than eldritch blast, I had to double-check the spell or ability to be sure. Not only would he often be wrong, but hed also strongly insist he was right.

  3. #3
    blargney the minute's son COPPER SUBSCRIBER
    Lama (Lvl 13)

    blargney the second's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Victoria, BC
    We've got a player who can not figure out 5e upcasting to save her life. Every single session, she'll cast something and it'll go like this: "I cast flaming sphere. Oh what's this at the bottom? Well I'm ninth level, so I guess the sphere does 8d6 damage now." She does that specific spell, just like that, almost every session.

  4. #4
    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    The Stately Pleasure Dome of Xanadu.
    I have a player, in my teens game, that loves playing fighters.

    No matter how many times it has been explained .... that player does not, ever, remember to use Action Surge.

  5. #5
    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    St. Louis, MO
    One of my players often forgets how to roll initiative, or what dice to use for pretty much any of this attacks. Between rounds his brain resets itself and he forgets basic game mechanics. I'd boot him, for that and other reasons, but his two brothers play too and it would start a real mess. Of course he is the player that pays the least attention to the game, and is fundamentally unable to make up a PC on his own. The rest of the group has to basically finish all his characters for him or they are 50% finished and that is as far as it will get.

    And this is in Swords and Wizardry, which doesn't need much more than an index card for a character sheet. In 3e it was a nightmare. Other players had to pretty much tell him what to do round by round or he would never use any of his feats or abilities. 5e is pretty bad for him too. But he just plays the same PC over and over.

    I keep hoping he picks up an art group on game night, then I won't have to hear an endless rant about politics which is the only thing he seems to truly apply himself to.
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  6. #6
    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

    Blue's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Cedar Grove, NJ 07009
    "Worst" case of not knowing the rules in terms of impacting play speed was trying to have one player run another player's paragon 4e character when they were out. The misunderstandings, retcons because "oh, that's how it works", and time spent were ridiculous. This happened on a regular basis in one game, where the character was still there (and needed) regardless if the player could make it. Not really too much of a player's fault, just so many individual powers to evaluate that were close but not the same.

    Worst case in the players should know better is I've gamed with people who need to do the math every single time. A melee combatant that needed to redo the to-hit and damage math every roll, even on the second roll of an attack sequence. Or those that can't get the listed on the character sheet skill bonuses correct. They try to refigure them each time, use the Save instead of the Ability mod (which may already include proficiency), etc.

    Players regularly forget rules that don't come up very often - like only restoring half your HD on a long rest. Or disadvantage on Stealth from some types of armor.

    Though the most common one is no one playing a caster ever, ever seems to remember to roll for Concentration, including the DM. I am in two campaigns with heavy overlap in players, and I swear that I am the only one in that group to ever, ever roll it when taking damage. And even an AL-type game I was in it was mostly forgotten.

  7. #7
    I guess the worst part is someone who has access to the book and refuses to even crack the book to bother looking it up between turns, and then has the gall to ask you.
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  8. #8
    Titan (Lvl 27)

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    San Jose/Santa Clara, CA
    Storyteller: "If you kill her, you'll have to make a Humanity check."
    Player: "What's that?"
    Other Player: "You roll to see if you still feel remorse about it..."
    Player: "Oh, so I want to fail it then!"
    Laugh jonesy laughed with this post

  9. #9
    Scout (Lvl 6)

    Join Date
    May 2002
    Little Rock
    I've been running various Savage Worlds campaigns for the last few years and I have one player who still asks me, "Do I roll the Wild die with this?" We've been using these rules for years and he still doesn't know the basics.

  10. #10
    Immortal Sun
    I once played with a guy who every session would need to be reminded which die he needed to roll to attack. This was 5E FYI. The first session? No biggie. Second? Understandable. By about the 10th session he was still asking what die he needed to roll to hit, what die his weapon used (he was a fighter BTW) and so on. By this point the group quite literally would have let him roll any die and just made up the result to get on with things.

    We did eventually kick the guy from the group, but since we played publicly, he's still just wander around begging to get back into the group. It was one of the reasons we moved to a private play space.

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