This topic was brought up a while ago in another thread and I've been considering it more lately. Rather than derail that thread, I decided to create a new one.
Before I make my reply to GMforPowergamers, I'll repost my post:
Before I make my reply to GMforPowergamers, I'll repost my post:
I agree...most of the time. However, every time he's gotten angry it's because the adventure required him to think, even a little bit. His response is always "what do I have to roll for my character to figure this out for me?
The adventure specifically said that for the players to get skill checks they needed to ask specifically about the things they were looking for or at. It said not to give them skill checks unless they said "Hey, you mentioned that bow over there was made of purple wood. I go look at the bow closer and see why it's purple instead of a normal colour." Then you'd be told that the bow was made of a special type of wood only found in one forest. But the adventure took place in an inn room filled with people and objects. It was designed to test the players a bit and less their characters.
Spoiler for the D&D Expeditions adventure DDEX1-1 Defiance in Phlan for those who don't want to know:
That wasn't the only time he complained about immediately not knowing the answer, however. We played Murder in Baldur's Gate and he complained that the Dukes of the city wouldn't immediately change the laws based on their obviously superior logic as to why they should be changed and a high persuasion check. He got angry that the guards of the city wouldn't stop harassing people they considered criminals simply because the PCs told them all not to. He felt they were the heroes of the story and people should listen to them. There shouldn't be problems that they couldn't just solve by rolling high enough on a die.The answer is that the lighting hits the nearest person who has something on them from the forest in question since the artifact contains the spirit of a dragon who lived in that forest. The first person it hits is the one who took the artifact out of forest. The second person is someone who has been eating soup made from a plant that only grows in the forest. The third person is carrying a bow made out of a tree in the forest. The next person is wearing flowers in their hair that they picked in the forest. Then someone who is wearing a necklace of flowers from the forest.
The PCs are supposed to watch the pattern and get more clues each time it jumps. In which case they can grab any object from the forest and the artifact and stand right beside the last person hit.
The entire point of the puzzle is for the players to figure it out. It's not much of a puzzle of the players say "I look around! I roll a 25!" and you say "Alright, there is a bow made of wood from a specific forest laying on the chair next to that woman, the soup that guy is eating is made from a plant only in that same forest, also that woman has a flower in her hair from that forest." The adventure would be over in about 30 seconds. The adventure is supposed to last an hour and that's the majority of the adventure is observing and figuring out the answer.
The adventure does have an information gathering section of the adventure. The PCs are told that there is a magical evil artifact somewhere in the room but they don't know where, so they are asked to spread out and talk to everyone in the inn to see if they can discover anything suspicious. The adventure enters "Phase 2" when the PCs figure out that one guy has the artifact in a glass sphere in a bag at his feat. Any attempt to get into the bag or reference to the bag causes the NPC to get paranoid and attempt to pick up the bag and accidentally smash the sphere, causing the lightning to be released.
It is possible that before they ever discover the artifact is in the bag, they have spoken to the guy eating the soup and know the origin of the soup(just looking at it doesn't let you know what it's made of since it looks nothing like the plant in question). It means you could have asked the ranger about her bow and it's origin long before this started. They didn't. They skipped that part and went directly to "Someone got zapped by electricity! Tell us why, immediately! Don't make me figure it out on my own, I don't want to. Just tell me the answer!"
We played Scourge of the Sword Coast:
In the adventure, the PCs get to Daggerford and a guard goes insane and attacks them. They subdue him but he hangs himself in his cell. This is because there is a succubus in town who dominated him into doing it. But no one in town knows she's a succubus. So the adventure assumes you'll talk to everyone in town, run into a dead end in your investigation then be given a new mission to go investigate a nearby town that hasn't been heard from in a week. They'll be told it's extremely important and they need to go now, people might be in danger. To make a long story short, the PCs get sent on a couple of urgent missions while they are in the town and in the process discover a bunch of red wizards who are attempting to take over the area. The succubus works for them and you eventually run into her in their lair. Thereby solving the mystery. Though the adventure assumes there's no way for the PCs to solve the mystery before the end of the adventure where they meet the succubus and she confesses. Then you fight her after having gained 3 levels over the course of the adventure. Otherwise there's a real chance the succubus just kills the whole party at the level they start the adventure at.
The player in question showed up, talked to the people in town, realized that no one gave them enough information to solve the suicide and immediately started complaining that this adventure was stupid, it didn't give him enough information to solve the crime immediately, so what was the point? He tried all his skills but none of them told him the answer!
I certainly wouldn't be mad about it. Feats are optional. They don't need to be allowed and the DM can decide whether he or she wants them in their game. I used to get angry about splat books not being allowed...but those weren't labelled explicitly optional like feats.
He didn't have HORRIBLE stats, he had slightly below average stats. I was having them roll precisely because my player's REALLY like to power game the crap out of their characters. Especially him. I figured that if we rolled, it would get everyone out of the mind set that their stats NEEDED to be an 18 or their character was horrible. Most people wouldn't even roll an 18 so it would no longer be expected.
He rolled a couple of points below the standard array. So, it wasn't too far away from the "average" roll. But the entire exercise of rolling would have been pointless if I just let him reroll. Because the point was that not everyone was going to be equal. He complained about it EVERY session though until he said "Look, my stats are below the standard array, EVERYONE else is above the array's stats. I feel like I'm completely worthless." I said "Fine, since it's such a big deal to you, even though I have not seen your character be significantly weaker than anyone else at the table, I'll let you reroll." He rolled even lower than his old stats. I told him I'd be nice and let him keep his old stats instead of his newer, worse stats...but he needed to stop complaining about how bad they were. He did. That was the last I heard of it.