D&D 5E Giving PCs Dilemmas, not Problems

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Let's not beat around the bush: I would hate this if 'dilemmas' where both choices suck were the majority, the plurality, or even a hefty amount of the choices that come up. It's not fun to me to have no good choices a significant amount of the time. I'm trying to play heroic fantasy here, not gothic horror.
A heroic dilemma is one where you are pushed to Take A Third Option or to re-define the problem.

That's like half of the good Superman stories.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
A heroic dilemma is one where you are pushed to Take A Third Option or to re-define the problem.

That's like half of the good Superman stories.
I do not disagree with you, as I read you, that those make for good stories; but I honestly would not expect a GM who'd built their campaign around dilemmas--especially around the kinds of dilemmas where both choices suck--to allow the PCs to find a third option or redefine the problem. Those are, I think pretty explicitly, how one addresses a problem of competing goods, though.
 

mamba

Legend
It is probably better read as "both options have downsides."
I am not seeing that improving things much

The OP was aiming for no clear "best" or "right" choice, and for that to be the case neither option can be without negative consequences.
I get it, if the choice is do the right thing or do the wrong thing, that is not much of a choice, but allow this wrong thing to happen by preventing that other or vice versa is not all that much better, and if you want a long running campaign, things get gradually worse as the ‘losses’ pile up - unless you clean those up in the background, but then you are playing whack-a-mole as a tag team

Not sure there is a satisfying solution to this, it is a dilemma ;)
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I do not disagree with you, as I read you, that those make for good stories; but I honestly would not expect a GM who'd built their campaign around dilemmas--especially around the kinds of dilemmas where both choices suck--to allow the PCs to find a third option or redefine the problem.
There's always a third option, though; and that is to do nothing and allow both outcomes (that would have occurred anyway, without PC involvement) to occur. If so desired, while those outcomes are occurring the players/PCs can then try to get a step ahead and influence or negate the downstream consequences of those outcomes.

A not-great example that I hope shows what I mean: the PCs have a choice between saving the princess here or saving the prince there; they can't get to both in time and can't guarantee saving the one they do get to. The third option in this case would be to quickly source two scrolls of Raise Dead (or Resurrection) then go out and find/recover/revive the corpses after their killers have moved on.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I get it, if the choice is do the right thing or do the wrong thing, that is not much of a choice, but allow this wrong thing to happen by preventing that other or vice versa is not all that much better, and if you want a long running campaign, things get gradually worse as the ‘losses’ pile up
For a long-running campaign there need to be wins, losses, and ties as time goes on.

If they won (i.e. always made the right choice) all the time it'd get boring. Ditto if they lost all the time by never making - or being unable to make - a right choice. There needs to be a mix.
- unless you clean those up in the background, but then you are playing whack-a-mole as a tag team
That's why you have multiple parties in the setting, isn't it? :)
 

mamba

Legend
I see it almost the other way around: you've a reasonable chance of winning the war in the end but man are you ever gonna lose a lot of battles along the way.
I don’t know, I basically always prevent one of two bad things from happening, that does not sound like a winning strategy

Defend Dover or Brighton from invasion? Dover!

Ok, the enemy landed in Brighton and is marching on Crawley and Maidstone. Which one do you defend? Maidstone!

Ok, the enemy broke through at Crawley and reached London, you lose ;)
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
A heroic dilemma is one where you are pushed to Take A Third Option or to re-define the problem.

That's like half of the good Superman stories.
I have serious doubts that's what's being presented here.

Mostly because why that's a thing in the superhero genre, in the D&D space, we've got way more DMs licking their chops and rubbing their hands together waiting to enact some consequences on some player characters. To the point that people in the D&D space can't even recognize that 'consequence' is not meant to have a wholly negative connotation.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don’t know, I basically always prevent one of two bad things from happening, that does not sound like a winning strategy

Defend Dover or Brighton from invasion? Dover!
Neither - while the enemy forces are all busy invading Brighton and-or Dover, we counter-invade Calais and Lorient. That'll confuse 'em! :)
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top