D&D 5E Advice for the Skill Monkey Blues?

goldenskull

Villager
I'm having some philosophical mismatch with the group I just started with and I could use some advice on how to handle it. Also whether I should just peace out because trying to fix the problem would just piss off other players.

So the DM is extremely permissive, allows extreme OP homebrew stuff (one of the players gets an assault rifle that does 3d8+dex damage and fires twice per turn), prefers to run exactly one encounter per session/long-rest and it's usually insanely unbalanced. Our first session with 5 level 3 characters ended with a 12,825 modified xp encounter (slightly over "Deadly" for a level 9 party). One of them was a Master Sage, who nearly wiped the entire party with a fireball on his first initiative and alone would have represented a nearly "Deadly" encounter. I'm pretty sure we would have been wiped if the DM remembered that the Master Sage can cast Shield as a reaction (he often forgets basic rules).

So - with that laid out - I'm running a Bard. A TWF melee bard, and the only melee character in the group (so I'm on tank duty with 16AC and d8 hit dice). It would be difficult for me to be LESS optimized for this s*** and I don't want to ask for OP homebrewed God Mode nonsense because that's not fun for me.

The coup de grace: the DM just told me that he doesn't like using passive skill checks and wants to roll everything instead. I explained that making every Deception/Stealth/Perception roll I make into an opposed roll is an effective 8% penalty to most of the things I roll... and I'm the ONLY skill monkey in the party (and the only one with Thieves' Tools), while everyone else is playing ranged blasters.

He says opposed rolls make things "more dynamic". I had to take a breather from the group chat just so I wouldn't instantly ragequit.

So everybody else gets to have their "power fantasy" as he calls it, but I'm stuck making three crappy rolls to find traps + avoid death every time I walk into a dungeon room. No passive checks practically GUARANTEES that I'll fail at either Perception, Investigation or Stealth at any given time.

Did I mention he likes screwing us on rolling 1's and giving us random bonuses on rolling 20's? Oh and he appears to pull skill check DC's completely out of his anus on the fly, depending on how high I roll - why did I even bother calculating skill proficiencies? So - because I'm making the majority of the rolls - I'm the most likely to get screwed in any situation.

Is this situation salvageable?
 
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Is this situation salvageable?

Depends on your definition of "salvageable". IMNSHO, the DM's style and what you are going for with the bard are incompatible styles of play. So, probably not. But I can imagine a couple of options.

- Have the DM and the rest of the group completely change the game. This is the most unlikely fix. But if you think other players are frustrated like you, talk to them and consider proposing changes to the DM.

- Change the way you play. Embrace the DM's style. Try a caster and go nuclear. Try a "power fantasy". See if you like it.

- Offer to DM. Run it the way you want it (with proper expectations for the other players, of course). See if the group likes it.

- Walk away and find a new game.

FWIW, I wouldn't enjoy that DM's style, but I think a lot of people on ENWorld would. Good luck.
 

GrimCo

Adventurer
You are out of luck.

You have 2 options.

Walk away. Clean, easy, no hard feelings.

When in Rome, do as Romans. - Make an OP homebrew skill monkey. If everyone gets power fantasy, you get one too. Mix reliable talent from rogue with portent from divination wizard with bard. Take Lucky feat and make it into class feature. Maybe you'll like it. If you don't, you always have option 1.

Out of curiosity, did you guys have Session 0?
 


aco175

Legend
You can view it as more a convention game and just go with the flow. Are the other players having fun? If not, then all of you talk to the DM about expectations.

Passive aggressive works great. At every door or chest make a roll and then ask each of the other party members to make a roll. Eventually one of you will roll high and then move onto the next roll. This slows the heck out of the game, but will allow you to not be hit with a trap. The DM will get frustrated enough at some point to just move along things and you no longer will need to worry about it. Also, tell the other characters that you front-line for 2 rounds before they need to take a turn. If nobody is the front line, then everyone is. Balance the passive aggressive with buffing the others to help them.

You can also become a halfling to get to reroll rolling 1s. Now, no bad things can happen.

It might not be my game choice, but if they are my friends and I like hanging out with them, or if it is the only thing in town, then embrace things and work from the inside to slowly change it. When is it your turn to DM?
 

goldenskull

Villager
Depends on your definition of "salvageable". IMNSHO, the DM's style and what you are going for with the bard are incompatible styles of play. So, probably not. But I can imagine a couple of options.

- Have the DM and the rest of the group completely change the game. This is the most unlikely fix. But if you think other players are frustrated like you, talk to them and consider proposing changes to the DM.

- Change the way you play. Embrace the DM's style. Try a caster and go nuclear. Try a "power fantasy". See if you like it.

- Offer to DM. Run it the way you want it (with proper expectations for the other players, of course). See if the group likes it.

- Walk away and find a new game.

FWIW, I wouldn't enjoy that DM's style, but I think a lot of people on ENWorld would. Good luck.
Great advice! Thanks!!!
  1. This is the current plan :poop:. I've calmed down from my ragequit, but I refuse to play a game where I'm nerfed at everything I'm good at (skills) while everybody else is OP.
  2. Ironically, this would probably lower party survival. If nobody can disarm traps or do melee, then the party's assault rifle paladin can just eat it while I hang back. Rolled a backup War Mage for this reason, since apparently all that matters is nova damage.
  3. This was suggested by a salty (and blind drunk) party member. I had to remind the DM that point blank ranged attacks get disadvantage (so I don't get f*ed even more as melee) and... I s* you not... he thought all casters get to cast an attack cantrip as a bonus action. Least likely scenario, honestly. I don't have all the books and don't know the group as well.
  4. Yeah that's the main alternative.
When in Rome, do as Romans. - Make an OP homebrew skill monkey. If everyone gets power fantasy, you get one too. Mix reliable talent from rogue with portent from divination wizard with bard. Take Lucky feat and make it into class feature. Maybe you'll like it. If you don't, you always have option 1.

Out of curiosity, did you guys have Session 0?
Yeah I'm not feeling particularly Roman at this point.

Nope we didn't do a session zero. Our "session zero" was that Level 9 Deadly combat and afterwards at the inn, one party member was like "I roll to make the bartender marry me" because "I want to start a harem" and cringe intensifies he succeeded, so now we have a level 1 commoner camp follower.

I tried starting in-character conversations with my party members... got maybe half a dozen lines out of them total.

Apparently my approach won points with them when I failed to bluff some Dead Three cultists (because OPPOSED ROLLS GRR) so I used Minor Illusion to "summon" The Slayer and they were too dumb to beat the Investigate DC, plus too scared to attack the image.
You can view it as more a convention game and just go with the flow. Are the other players having fun? If not, then all of you talk to the DM about expectations.

Passive aggressive works great. At every door or chest make a roll and then ask each of the other party members to make a roll. Eventually one of you will roll high and then move onto the next roll. This slows the heck out of the game, but will allow you to not be hit with a trap. The DM will get frustrated enough at some point to just move along things and you no longer will need to worry about it. Also, tell the other characters that you front-line for 2 rounds before they need to take a turn. If nobody is the front line, then everyone is. Balance the passive aggressive with buffing the others to help them.

You can also become a halfling to get to reroll rolling 1s. Now, no bad things can happen.

It might not be my game choice, but if they are my friends and I like hanging out with them, or if it is the only thing in town, then embrace things and work from the inside to slowly change it. When is it your turn to DM?
Party is:
  1. Two older guys I don't know, who seem to appreciate that I know the rules at least and give good advice. Their characters are mostly RAW: one underpowered dwarf cleric and a revised ranger with a blink dog companion.
  2. An alcoholic workaholic misanthrope who doesn't like me (the commoner-seducer) because I told him not to set a pirate ship on fire in session 2 because it's worth 10,000gp. He runs a RAW wild mage sorcerer who changes sexes every time he touches water like Ranma 1/2. I'm told he will probably warm up to me eventually if I give him room to breathe.
  3. My best friend, running the OP assault rifle paladin with the homebrew Helldiver Oath. Latest session, he and the DM agreed that he's giving up all his paladin abilities for a shotgun, pistol and revolver, which all do more damage than even the stock 5e firearms. Oh yeah and 1/day he has a "frag grenade" which does fireball damage. AND if he dies, then he gets 1 free respawn per day. He tells me we should try to talk it out with the Dm.
Yeah that passive aggression would be a good way to make my point, but I'm going to go with active contested aggression instead. I'm just not going to play a Magical Tea Party game, even to make a point.
 

J-H

Hero
I would also switch to halfling to negate the Nat1 penalties.
You can always point out that a 20th level fighter is going to roll a nat1 every few rounds, where a 1st level fighter doesn't, and ask why 20th level fighters deserve to be penalized more than 1st level fighters despite being theoretically more skilled.
 

Undrave

Legend
Just quit man, this ain't gonna work.

My best friend, running the OP assault rifle paladin with the homebrew Helldiver Oath. Latest session, he and the DM agreed that he's giving up all his paladin abilities for a shotgun, pistol and revolver, which all do more damage than even the stock 5e firearms. Oh yeah and 1/day he has a "frag grenade" which does fireball damage. AND if he dies, then he gets 1 free respawn per day. He tells me we should try to talk it out with the Dm.

If they want to play FPS tabletop they should probably use a different game system. Or you all just embrace that style and use squad tactics. Grab my homebrew Warlord and go Ballistarius for the ranged synergy

 

TiQuinn

Registered User
I'm having some philosophical mismatch with the group I just started with and I could use some advice on how to handle it. Also whether I should just peace out because trying to fix the problem would just piss off other players.

So the DM is extremely permissive, allows extreme OP homebrew stuff (one of the players gets an assault rifle that does 3d8+dex damage and fires twice per turn), prefers to run exactly one encounter per session/long-rest and it's usually insanely unbalanced. Our first session with 5 level 3 characters ended with a 12,825 modified xp encounter (slightly over "Deadly" for a level 9 party). One of them was a Master Sage, who nearly wiped the entire party with a fireball on his first initiative and alone would have represented a nearly "Deadly" encounter. I'm pretty sure we would have been wiped if the DM remembered that the Master Sage can cast Shield as a reaction (he often forgets basic rules).

So - with that laid out - I'm running a Bard. A TWF melee bard, and the only melee character in the group (so I'm on tank duty with 16AC and d8 hit dice). It would be difficult for me to be LESS optimized for this s*** and I don't want to ask for OP homebrewed God Mode nonsense because that's not fun for me.

The coup de grace: the DM just told me that he doesn't like using passive skill checks and wants to roll everything instead. I explained that making every Deception/Stealth/Perception roll I make into an opposed roll is an effective 8% penalty to most of the things I roll... and I'm the ONLY skill monkey in the party (and the only one with Thieves' Tools), while everyone else is playing ranged blasters.

He says opposed rolls make things "more dynamic". I had to take a breather from the group chat just so I wouldn't instantly ragequit.

So everybody else gets to have their "power fantasy" as he calls it, but I'm stuck making three crappy rolls to find traps + avoid death every time I walk into a dungeon room. No passive checks practically GUARANTEES that I'll fail at either Perception, Investigation or Stealth at any given time.

Did I mention he likes screwing us on rolling 1's and giving us random bonuses on rolling 20's? Oh and he appears to pull skill check DC's completely out of his anus on the fly, depending on how high I roll - why did I even bother calculating skill proficiencies? So - because I'm making the majority of the rolls - I'm the most likely to get screwed in any situation.

Is this situation salvageable?
Doesn’t sound like you like the group or the game much, so I say Bail.
 

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