D&D General How to work with players who wont accept any setbacks/defeat?

Eric V

Hero
To clarify we werent actually playing 5e. We were in 13th age in which the flight mechanic is at any time you can declare you flee and you suffer a campaign loss (something bad happens). They wanted to run so i told them what the campaign loss would be (potion ingredients). They were unwilling to accept this so everyone else fled into the sewers and the last guy got captured by the dragon.

Also this was just the most recent example that led me to seek help. There are a fair few other examples that i could also list.

P.s. also the fight the were fleeing was a semi random encounter caused by them choosing to harvest bone marrow (long story) at noon in the middle of a city moments after a very loud public fight. Also i personally think they could have won it just would have been hard.
I have seen this before too, also playing 13th Age. Was this a case of one person sacrificing their toon so the rest could keep the ingredients? Usually I keep the campaign loss details to myself until -after- they have fled (which isn't really often). Because there are no clumsy mechanics for retreating, it should be simpler, but...

I have to remind my players that even in their fav fantasy, the heroes retreated often (LotR).

"Do you expect to be able through force of arms to win every fight you get into?" might be a question to ask.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

nevin

Hero
Dude. The grandmother slapping story happened in 1E. The elf soup story happened in 2E. So video games are not the source of the problem.
Some people take foreshadowing as hey check this out. Some people just want to tick off the DM by jumping the adventure of the track. With the second don't play with them.

And why is my things in posting before I hit reply?

There is nothing in human behavior that hasn't happened in the past. But in my experience younger players expect thier D&D games to be like thier video games. I didn't blame the players I didn't blame the DM. It is a player DM disconnect that happens a lot. I didn't start seeing it till Dragon lance launched. I hate those module's they are so on rails the DM could sleep through the campaign because they are just an attempt to let the players play out the story already in the books. But it got worse when SSI put out all thier DND games, and it got worse when WOW brought MMO's to mainstream. All of this is obviously my observation and opinion.

If you think I'm saying young player's suck, I could write a novel about the Gygaxian hordes of the 80's who thought all games should suck and that treasure should equate to experience. Younger players being more comfortable with rails is just something that seems to be the norm these days. Whether that's bad or good depends on the DM and the game.
 

pukunui

Legend
I didn't start seeing it till Dragon lance launched. I hate those module's they are so on rails the DM could sleep through the campaign because they are just an attempt to let the players play out the story already in the books.
In the case of the first book / modules at least, it’s the other way around – that is, the modules came first, and the book is a retelling of the authors’ playthrough. Little details like Raistlin charming Bupu came from play.

That being said, in practice, it could very well be that many players back in the day read the novels first and then wanted to play through them.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
No it is a sandbox. With quick sand. I am always amaze when I set up a sandbox with the players; and they automatically go most difficult place and act like it was my fault. I said the king's grandmother was a retired adventurer with spit shine boots and mean rep. You the one who got froggy and slapped her.
Or Hey your first level. Try out the village of homlet but beware to north is giants, to the west the Hocus Pocus sisters. This also know as foreshadowing future adventures.
PC, Lets go check out the sisters.
DM, You have vision you will die.
PC, I am a pc.
DM, Your elf gets dropped in the soup pot. Maybe after you escaped the first time; you shouldn't have gone back and tell to sell the rest of group out.
Player, You don't know how to run sandboxes.
The tricky thing with this is that it’s easy as a player to misread what the DMA meant to be flags warning something is too dangerous for them to handle as signposts directing them to the most interesting content.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
The tricky thing with this is that it’s easy as a player to misread what the DMA meant to be flags warning something is too dangerous for them to handle as signposts directing them to the most interesting content.
Yeah when an adventurer’s basic premise is ‘those who go into the dangerous places and return’ it’s a little difficult to emphasis no this is more than your average level of danger we’re talking about here, this is not A* grade it’s SSS danger levels.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Yeah when an adventurer’s basic premise is ‘those who go into the dangerous places and return’ it’s a little difficult to emphasis no this is more than your average level of danger we’re talking about here, this is not A* grade it’s SSS danger levels.
Well, remove that “and return” bit and you can easily show how things are super dangerous and don’t assume the world is new when the PCs show up. Generations of delvers have already stolen everything that’s easy and obvious. All the places with easy locks have already been ransacked. All the obvious traps have already been disarmed. All the easy to spot secret doors have been opened, it’s only the well-hidden secret doors that are left.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Well, remove that “and return” bit and you can easily show how things are super dangerous and don’t assume the world is new when the PCs show up. Generations of delvers have already stolen everything that’s easy and obvious. All the places with easy locks have already been ransacked. All the obvious traps have already been disarmed. All the easy to spot secret doors have been opened, it’s only the well-hidden secret doors that are left.
"Welp, someone's already been here. Let's leave and find someplace that hasn't been done over."
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This is really tricky. I see a playloop extreme that can form. The players will be paranoid to do anything with their characters until they have exhausted all avenues of research, recon, investigation, etc... They wont have their PC go to the outhouse alone. Was the bandit group a random encounter? Sometimes players have a hard time understanding a random bandit group that got the better of them, from the actual campaign adventure itself.
Which, as it might very well echo the thoughts of the characters, is just fine.
They encountered these bastards, and they must be an intended part of the game to pursue. There is a world of difference between being protagonists of the story, and just being randos in a sandbox sim. I'd try to clear that up.
If the players/PCs decide to follow up on the bandits instead of continuing toward the originally-intended adventure, let them! In fact, ideally they shouldn't be able to tell whether the bandits are the "intended adventure" or just a red herring until they've finished dealing with them and realize their original goal is just as far away as it ever was (though they've probably picked up a few xp and a bit of loot in the meantime, which will certainly benefit them later).

Yes this means you might be winging it for a while, but so be it; better that than squashing their agency by not letting them forge their own path through the setting.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The tricky thing with this is that it’s easy as a player to misread what the DMA meant to be flags warning something is too dangerous for them to handle as signposts directing them to the most interesting content.
Just as easy, though, to have the PCs meet another adventuring group while en route to the high-danger zone; a group obviously far more powerful than the PCs but who've just had the crap kicked out of them and are returning to town for a reload and to revive a couple of dead party members.

If the players/PCs don't get the hint from that, then I say feed 'em to the wolves with a clear conscience! :)
 




So some more examples from 5e.
1) party gets ambushed by bandits who outnumber them, are told by the merchant theyre gaurding to stand down welll cover any costs rather then have you die, fight anyways, lose and rather then kill them the bandits demand 50 gp and let them live. Later party tracks down the bandit camp and attacks them outnumbered 2 to 1. When asked to surrender refused and were killed.

2) party had an NPC companion. Fought someone trying to kidnap them (who explicitly was not going to harm them and was trying to incapacitate but not kill the party). Someone straps thier restrained character to the wheel of a car to try and kill the kidnapper and themselves in a fiery explosion.

3) party is given a choice between an expidition to gain more knowledge about their enemy or saving a characters mentor. Both are long distances and time constricted. Party decides to split up and ends up with multiple character deaths (which i warned them was very likely).

I have started to talk to the party but i think the greater discussion needs to take place face to face. Looking it over it is mostly one person with a little from a couple others, so at this point i just have to figure out how to approach it without seeming to single him out.
Your party seems very enjoyable to slaughter. I would be having a kick out of killing them every other session. You should consider investing on a paper shredder for their character sheets.
 

jtylerk

Explorer
Maybe off track a bit, but I do not see any correlation between generations of gamers and a preference for sandbox or rails. I guess I'm technically a somewhat older gamer having started back late 70s/early 80s, but looking at published adventures, many had rails BITD (A series in particular), and there were also sandbox style (B2, D1-3 was pretty sand-boxy). New adventures like the 5e Princes of the Apocalypse is surprisingly very sand box. Of course there are some rails in there (the opening bits of the whatever-the-5e-dragon-adventure-is). I think the adventures reflect the players in that folks will generally play whatever is out there. I can't say I played with anyone recently (ever?) who was insistent one way or the other, they just wanted to have fun regardless of age. Maybe it's more reflective of the types I hang out with--laid back?
 


Oofta

Legend
Maybe off track a bit, but I do not see any correlation between generations of gamers and a preference for sandbox or rails. I guess I'm technically a somewhat older gamer having started back late 70s/early 80s, but looking at published adventures, many had rails BITD (A series in particular), and there were also sandbox style (B2, D1-3 was pretty sand-boxy). New adventures like the 5e Princes of the Apocalypse is surprisingly very sand box. Of course there are some rails in there (the opening bits of the whatever-the-5e-dragon-adventure-is). I think the adventures reflect the players in that folks will generally play whatever is out there. I can't say I played with anyone recently (ever?) who was insistent one way or the other, they just wanted to have fun regardless of age. Maybe it's more reflective of the types I hang out with--laid back?

Same here. I think people see generational groupings because it's what they expect to see. There might be slightly more of one type of player than another, but individuals will always differ.
 

dave2008

Legend
To clarify we werent actually playing 5e. We were in 13th age in which the flight mechanic is at any time you can declare you flee and you suffer a campaign loss (something bad happens). They wanted to run so i told them what the campaign loss would be (potion ingredients). They were unwilling to accept this so everyone else fled into the sewers and the last guy got captured by the dragon.
You should update the OP to add this information. Your getting a lot of response that are not entirely relevant because this information was not provided.
 

I really wonder how many people play Curse of Strahd and have the party go check out Strahd's castle immediately instead of gaining levels and looking for allies to help.
That works both ways. In Curse of Strahd, we didn’t go have dinner with Strahd because that seemed like an inordinately stupid idea. As a consequence, we missed out on a bunch of backstory.

Edit. To echo some of the other posts here: “How were we supposed to know that THIS time, we were supposed to do something stupid!”
 
Last edited:

Now hold on a second, I'm a Language Arts teacher and love me some books, but are you honestly trying to say that games like Outer Wilds, Breath of the Wild, or any number of open world games are somehow less linear than words on a page? Where every sentence is read front to back and the order doesn't change? This feels very "in my day we were better at critical thinking and these kids need their hands held or they go crazy!"
I know! Games these days are all about holding the players’ hands. Not like Darkest Dungeon, Dark Souls, XCOM 2 which all came out ehrn I was a kid… 😀
 

But in my experience younger players expect thier D&D games to be like thier video games.
I am little curious to know about what you mean by "younger players". I've run yearlong + campaigns for players averaging 10-12, and then in decades 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. When you say you ahed experience with "younger players" can you tell us what age group you've run long campaigns for that gives you that experience?

I'm asking because I haven't really seen it myself, and wonder what ages we're talking about ...
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top