5E Is it fair to cast save-or-suck spells on the players?

schnee

Visitor
Times? Maybe.

Most of an entire session? That's not going to enhance anyone's feeling of accomplishment.

That happens sometimes when the entire game is built around a variable-reinforcement reward system. The game is ultimately governed by dice.

Everyone eventually takes a turn at the table looking up rules for everyone else, taking extra pizza, and spending their actions posing in a hilarious way to show what they look like as a petrified statue.

The thing is, when it happens a few times, you tend to start looking up things that will prevent that state of affairs from happening again, thinking about spell choices and team strategies, reconsidering magic item distribution in the party, or even figuring out what to craft the next down time.

And, almost always, it's much better next time. That monster tactic gets negated a few rounds earlier, stopped cold right as it happens, or - in the best case - prevented before it even begins due to the right prep.

High level play is punishing, and demands better players.

And, solving a particularly tough problem creates a greater sense of accomplishment.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
That happens sometimes when the entire game is built around a variable-reinforcement reward system. The game is ultimately governed by dice.

Everyone eventually takes a turn at the table looking up rules for everyone else, taking extra pizza, and spending their actions posing in a hilarious way to show what they look like as a petrified statue.

The thing is, when it happens a few times, you tend to start looking up things that will prevent that state of affairs from happening again, thinking about spell choices and team strategies, reconsidering magic item distribution in the party, or even figuring out what to craft the next down time.

And, almost always, it's much better next time. That monster tactic gets negated a few rounds earlier, stopped cold right as it happens, or - in the best case - prevented before it even begins due to the right prep.

High level play is punishing, and demands better players.

And, solving a particularly tough problem creates a greater sense of accomplishment.
True. It has a lot to do with iteration time, too, and D&D can have a very long iteration time. In a video game, you die and you're back in action pretty quickly, in general, perhaps having thought about a new way to deal with the thing that killed you that you can now try out. In D&D, the iteration time can be hours and with the right save-or-suck spell, you're effectively dead in that you can't really do anything to impact the outcome of things.

So if that iteration time is a problem for the group, solutions should be considered beforehand. Me personally, a goal of making the game fun to watch as well as play is a good one and solves the few times this iteration time problem occurs. It's also good for a host of other reasons. That puts a lot on the DM, but I think that's okay because it means it's something the DM can control. For the players, as you say, they have to get better at the game. I think that's a good goal as a player, but I have no control over what others do to improve their skills, so it's less reliable as a solution from the DM's perspective.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
{snip}

I have many times tried to think this through...and always came to the same conculsion, my time off is better spent having fun then sitting and watching others have fun.


so someone should sit and not have fun because its better for others for you to not have fun... I am really missing something here.


{snip}

no...no I don't again you list small short term things to compare to an entire night

{snip}

and I still don't understand no one is giving me a reason that makes any sense.
Let's take an example of rule utilitarianism to make sure we are on the same page. Hopefully, this is easy to grok.

There are various types of "privilege" in the law; for example, lawyer-client, priest-penitent, and spousal. Without going into too much detail, there might be individual cases where it would be awesome and beneficial to not have that privilege! In an individual case, the utility of that privilege is negative- it's a bad thing. Maybe a murderer goes free. Maybe a scummy CEO isn't punished. In the individual case, it is easy to question the utility.

But there's a reason for the rule. Without the rule, why would people candidly talk with their attorneys? With their priests? With their spouses? It is better overall (rule utilitiarism) that we have this rule, even though it has negative outcomes in individual cases.

Building from that point, I have consistently argued from a rule utilitarian standpoint; that in order for there to be maximum group fun, there must be consequences to actions. Now, I understand that not everyone plays that way. Some people prefer a Monty Haul campaign. Some people just want to win, always. And that's fine- different stroke for different folks, and all that. But over time, I have found the maximum amount of overall fun has been gained by knowing that I overcame actual obstacles. Not illusory ones. And, TBH, some of the most fun I have had (and the best stories) are about failures. I can still remember and recount every ... single ... PC death. Whereas the battles are all, "Eh, killed some orcs, got some loot, maybe a magic sword or something."

Going back to your scenario, it's a violation of the social compact when a player, faced with consequences, decides to pack up and leave. It is, to use the words of your DM, rude. There's a lot of ways to interact with a social dynamic like this- you can yell, you can scream, or you can protest by quietly taking your ball and going home, in essence showing that if something didn't go your way, you won't stay. That type of behavior hangs over a table and a campaign. You may not have meant it to be taken that way, but it is (IMO) rude to the table (the DM and the players) as well as an implicit threat that if your character faces consequences, then you won't play.

You don't have to believe me, or your DM, or others. You can do as you want. There are people (such as [MENTION=284]Caliban[/MENTION] ) that would agree with you. But if you haven't understood why there are people that don't agree with you, then I would have to assume you're not reading our posts.

I'm not trying to call you out, or make you feel bad. I have done so many wrong things in my own gaming life that I would never cast the first stone. Heck, when I was starting as a DM, I ran a Monty Haul campaign and then I was a killer DM. I know from mistakes! And there's certainly wiggle room for different tables to have different social norms (some tables have a "no smartphones at the table" policy, some have "smartphones encouraged," and neither is per se rude).

In the end, either you're comfortable with your decision or you're not. *shrug*
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
I think GMforPowergamers and I don't see it so much as "my character faces consequences so I'm leaving" as "I'm facing boredom because I no longer get to participate, so I'm going to go do something else".

If the character was being sidelined for a few rounds or the rest of the current combat (assuming the combat isn't going to take hours), that's one thing. But in this particular case, the DM confirmed that "you are out of the game for the rest of the session, nothing you can do to come back". At that point, the player's presence isn't needed to for the PC to face the "consequences". The consequences have already been faced. :)

Sorry, but I wouldn't feel any "social compact" to sit around twiddling my thumbs after being reduced to a "cheerleader" role. If I've got nothing better to do, I'd probably stick around and kvetch or make jokes. But if I had a significant other (and I actually wanted to spend time with them) and I suddenly had a block of time freed up? I'm out of there.

Obviously you feel differently. :)
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I think GMforPowergamers and I don't see it so much as "my character faces consequences so I'm leaving" as "I'm facing boredom because I no longer get to participate, so I'm going to go do something else".

If the character was being sidelined for a few rounds or the rest of the current combat (assuming the combat isn't going to take hours), that's one thing. But in this particular case, the DM confirmed that "you are out of the game for the rest of the session, nothing you can do to come back".

Sorry, but I wouldn't feel any "social compact" to sit around twiddling my thumbs after being reduced to a "cheerleader" role. If I've got nothing better to do, I'd probably stick around and kvetch or make jokes. But if I had a significant other and I suddenly had a block of time freed up? I'm out of there.

Obviously you feel differently. :)
Well, my time is valuable ... literally. That said, I don't view it my gaming time as my opportunity to maximize my fun, I view it as an opportunity to get together with friends.

So if I have a chunk of time with friends, I'll spend it that way.

(And if you have a significant other who is a spouse, he/she will probably be enjoying having you not there for a while .... jus' sayin').
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
Well, my time is valuable ... literally.
So is mine. If I can't participate in the game for several hours, my time is being wasted. So I'll find a higher value activity to spend my time on.

That said, I don't view it my gaming time as my opportunity to maximize my fun, I view it as an opportunity to get together with friends.
Different strokes. My friends don't need me there in order to have fun. And if I'm in a pissy mood because I just got sidelined for the rest of the night...I'm probably doing them a favor. :)

So if I have a chunk of time with friends, I'll spend it that way.
You are probably a much more even tempered person than I am. And probably less selfish. But I'd also feel zero guilt about leaving, so being poorly socialized and low empathy has some benefits.

(And if you have a significant other who is a spouse, he/she will probably be enjoying having you not there for a while .... jus' sayin').
"If". But in the specific incident being referred to, GMforPowergamers called his girlfriend and went to the movies instead of sitting around watching other people have fun. So that "probably enjoying having you not there" doesn't seem to be applicable in this instance.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
You are probably a much more even tempered person than I am. And probably less selfish. But I'd also feel zero guilt about leaving, so being poorly socialized and low empathy has some benefits.
So what you're saying is that every party needs a Paladin, and you're just the person to play him?

:angel:
 
Let's take an example of rule utilitarianism to make sure we are on the same page. Hopefully, this is easy to grok.

There are various types of "privilege" in the law; for example, lawyer-client, priest-penitent, and spousal. Without going into too much detail, there might be individual cases where it would be awesome and beneficial to not have that privilege! In an individual case, the utility of that privilege is negative- it's a bad thing. Maybe a murderer goes free. Maybe a scummy CEO isn't punished. In the individual case, it is easy to question the utility.
yup same page...sometimes things set up to be good things can be turned to a bad outcome...completely agree. Infact going back to this case it is an excellent example of why rules applied 'fairly' can still have a bad outcome...

But there's a reason for the rule. Without the rule, why would people candidly talk with their attorneys? With their priests? With their spouses? It is better overall (rule utilitiarism) that we have this rule, even though it has negative outcomes in individual cases.
yup...yup...yup same page 100% since the rule is better X% of the time then not having it and X is pretty high it's a good rule even if it gets miss used Y% of the time or leads to a bad outcome...

again agreed. My disagreement already is that I don't think anyone is saying (I may be mistaken) that the rule for X should not be X...

Building from that point, I have consistently argued from a rule utilitarian standpoint; that in order for there to be maximum group fun, there must be consequences to actions.
still on same page here.

Now, I understand that not everyone plays that way. Some people prefer a Monty Haul campaign. Some people just want to win, always. And that's fine- different stroke for different folks, and all that. But over time, I have found the maximum amount of overall fun has been gained by knowing that I overcame actual obstacles.
totally speaking my language here infact this would be something I would say...up until here.


Not illusory ones.
I want to put a pin in this one because I really like being on the 100% same page and this is where you and I see some minor differences


And, TBH, some of the most fun I have had (and the best stories) are about failures. I can still remember and recount every ... single ... PC death. Whereas the battles are all, "Eh, killed some orcs, got some loot, maybe a magic sword or something."
dude this is totally something I would say...infact the best saterday night matt game story I have is a TPK that started a whole campaign (game 1 tpk, we drew up new characters and went off to 'rescue' ourselves but only found dead bodies)

Going back to your scenario, it's a violation of the social compact when a player, faced with consequences, decides to pack up and leave.
Damn...we were so on the same page.
The consequence was my character was out of the game for a few weeks...I had to draw a new one, get it OKed by DM, then come up with a way to bring the character in. I felt all of those consequences. I also didn't gain XP for weeks while playing a weaker character until my main one was back...all consequences I took much better at 17 then I would at 38.

(Today I would not bring in a 1st level character to a 7th level game, get up to 4/5 level then pick back up with my 7th level character when other PCs were at 10th and 11th. I would insist today on if I brought a new PC in to a 7th level game at least starting at 5th)


It is, to use the words of your DM, rude.
except again I didn't not have consiquinces, I didn't strom off mad, I just left and came back the next game with an approved temp PC

There's a lot of ways to interact with a social dynamic like this- you can yell, you can scream, or you can protest by quietly taking your ball and going home, in essence showing that if something didn't go your way, you won't stay.
again, I didn't 'take my ball' because I didn't deprive the group of playing...

That type of behavior hangs over a table and a campaign. You may not have meant it to be taken that way, but it is (IMO) rude to the table (the DM and the players) as well as an implicit threat that if your character faces consequences, then you won't play.
Not playing wasn't my choice...there was no choice to play the game NONE 0 ZIP... my options were
1)sit and read,
2)sit and watch
3)interrupt game to talk to people (that is what I think would be rude)
4)leave


You don't have to believe me, or your DM, or others. You can do as you want. There are people (such as [MENTION=284]Caliban[/MENTION] ) that would agree with you. But if you haven't understood why there are people that don't agree with you, then I would have to assume you're not reading our posts.
I have read over and over again people tell me to do things that were not options...but still consider me rude for not interrupting the game

I'm not trying to call you out, or make you feel bad. I have done so many wrong things in my own gaming life that I would never cast the first stone. Heck, when I was starting as a DM, I ran a Monty Haul campaign and then I was a killer DM. I know from mistakes! And there's certainly wiggle room for different tables to have different social norms (some tables have a "no smartphones at the table" policy, some have "smartphones encouraged," and neither is per se rude).
the problem is you have yet to give me an option of what to do different, the DM felt I should sit silently because my character could not interact. I have wracked my brain for years to come up with something...if today it happened I guess I could pull out my phone and play or talk to you on enworld...but in the summer of 1998 that not only wasn't an option, but my phone was in a bag cost a small fortune and was my mothers she gave me on weekends fearing an emergency... and was bigger then the PHB.

In the end, either you're comfortable with your decision or you're not. *shrug*
I just don't understand what you thought I should do?

look we agree on a lot, but you don't seem to understand that making someone sit silently in your mom's basement for hours watching his buddies play a game he wants to play but can not is infinitely more rude then saying good buys and leaving.
 
Well, my time is valuable ... literally. That said, I don't view it my gaming time as my opportunity to maximize my fun, I view it as an opportunity to get together with friends.

So if I have a chunk of time with friends, I'll spend it that way.

(And if you have a significant other who is a spouse, he/she will probably be enjoying having you not there for a while .... jus' sayin').
ok, see you are looking at this as an adult... I was 17 almost 18 half of the friends there I saw every day...we had 3 campaigns going at the time, and saw each other all the time.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
So what you're saying is that every party needs a Paladin, and you're just the person to play him?

:angel:
I love playing Paladins. Judging everyone and being able to smite with holy power for not living up to my personal standards? Fantastic. :)
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I just don't understand what you thought I should do?

look we agree on a lot, but you don't seem to understand that making someone sit silently in your mom's basement for hours watching his buddies play a game he wants to play but can not is infinitely more rude then saying good buys and leaving.
I provided you a list of things.

Now, if what you are saying is that the DM expected you to sit silently, not moving or interacting with the group (and perhaps wearing a dunce cap, or something?), then I would say that the DM failed you. I would still say that it might have been preferable to start on your new character then, but hindsight is 20/20.

If the DM was the same age as the rest of the table, the story makes more sense. Fair enough?
 
the only sports I ever played where little leagues that guaranteed play to everyone. I don't understand how you can be part of a team and never play, so yes...not a sports guy...


why yes, I assume the social compact (contract?) would involve everyone being part of the group, and no one sitting out for too long...and again length of time varies. Sit through a 10 min conversation about godzila even though I don't like godzila no problem, sit through a 6 hour godzila movie marathon is asking a bit much though...



I have many times tried to think this through...and always came to the same conculsion, my time off is better spent having fun then sitting and watching others have fun.


so someone should sit and not have fun because its better for others for you to not have fun... I am really missing something here.


agreed

no...no I don't again you list small short term things to compare to an entire night

and I still don't understand no one is giving me a reason that makes any sense.

yes, if I bring a basket ball and am told "go sit and watch us all play basketball, after a few mintues I say "Can I get next game at least" and am told "No" then I say "fine, have fun I'm going to the movies" doesn't seem like I'm the one being rude...the people who expect me to sit for hours not playing the game we agreed to play but watch them play seem WAY rude though...



how long should someone sit with nothing to do to not be rude? I waited 10ish minutes (long after the other PCs realized there was nothing they could do), then I asked if there was any way I could get out...the DM told me point blank there wasn't until the PCs finished this quest and came back to find an NPC witch would be a quest in and of itself... so I waited a few minutes said my good byes, and called my girl.

The next week I showed up with a new PC and joined the current dungeon, played it out, then helped the other PCs perform a quest for the Arcmage NPC so he would free my main character who then became my main PC again with my new PC becoming a reaccuring NPC...



this happened in 98 when I was 17. I would have left the game MUCH sooner now adays the DM had control issues that I didn't recognize back then. I can't imagine it happening today. (The DM in question is married to one of my on again off again players of 5e, but he never updated from 2e) the entire scenario was so bonkers...

We entered a dungeon, the thief checked for traps, DM rolled 'behind a screen' (more or less unseeable) said "you find nothing" but when the fighter opened the door it was traped and hit me, the fighter, and an NPC...I failed my 20% chance to negate and failed (rolled too high) my save. I was imprisoned in gem that was then somewhere in the dungeon. SO now the party continued on looking for me... the next room had another trap disarmed easy, then a fight with some mechanical things... all of this I was present for. However this is when I asked if I could come back in anyway...

Since we were 7th level the DM honestly told me no.

SO my wizard was out (until we could go back and get someone with 9th level spells to undo this) Since his rule was new PCs come in 1st level I left, and over the week made a Dwarven Fighter/Cleric 1/1 who came in and sponged xp for a while...
Sounds like someone took the Gygax gotcha to 11.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I love playing Paladins. Judging everyone and being able to smite with holy power for not living up to my personal standards? Fantastic. :)
(emphasis supplied)

You don't need to be a Paladin to do that!

It is precisely because I cannot do a thing that I am the proper judge of it ... and I always find others singularly lacking. ;)
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
(emphasis supplied)

You don't need to be a Paladin to do that!

It is precisely because I cannot do a thing that I am the proper judge of it ... and I always find others singularly lacking. ;)
Well, the "with holy power" part is specifically why you play a Paladin. :) Or a stodgy cleric.

I've also played a Fighter/Warlock who sold his soul to a fiend for the power to exact revenge on his enemies...and somehow ended up being the moral compass of the party. Because everyone else was that much worse than him. :hmm:

Edit: I retired him at 11th level when he became king after they overthrew the evil ruler. My next character was a Paladin/(redeemed)Warlock. :)
 
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I provided you a list of things.
a list of non options that the DM wouldn't allow...I even explained that I asked about coming back.

Now, if what you are saying is that the DM expected you to sit silently, not moving or interacting with the group (and perhaps wearing a dunce cap, or something?), then I would say that the DM failed you.
well I kept explaining to you I had nothing I could do but you didn't believe me. I could sit, eat, drink, read, talk to other players (or his mom or sister if they were home I don't remember) but only about out of game things if there characters were not involved... in theory if the party split up I could talk to the players not 'in scene' but I couldn't help in any way or he would yell 'metagaming' and penalize group xp... no dunce cap though


I would still say that it might have been preferable to start on your new character then, but hindsight is 20/20.
nope...all rolls have to be infront of DM, and he had to approve every weapon and non weapon prof, and no max hp at first level. So I couldn't make a character for his game unless I interrupted his game.
If the DM was the same age as the rest of the table, the story makes more sense. Fair enough?
The DM is about 8 years older than I am so he was 24,25,26 at the time


edit: his wife and I are still good friends, she and another friend of mine still play in his games (now once a month) he still uses the same rules. So if game is 15th level and you die, you come in 1st, and only after session with all rolls monitored.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
Yes it's fair. And it should be expected.

Me? I'd finish wiping the floor with the active PCs, coup-de-grace anyone still twitching, & send a hit squad to eliminate that banished fighter. HE can't return to the Astral plane. But he could rally help. And it'll keep him active in the game a few minutes more. Besides, bad guys that powerful aren't known for being nice/playing fair.
Oh, hey. [MENTION=32659]Charles Rampant[/MENTION], since the fight is carrying over to your next session, ccs has just given you some awesome advice for how to continue.

Have one of the wizards dimension hop - along with a decent bodyguard - to wherever that banished fighter is. Not right into combat range, but in sight of and visible to the PC at whatever appropriate distance that lets the player choose to engage, flee or otherwise deal with the new development. This brings the player back into the game, and lessens the load the main party has to face. That should help.

And if you make it the wizard's staff that lets him dimension hop - and make it clear to the banished fighter that it was the staff's doing - you open up a way for him to regroup with the party, perhaps by defeating the wizard or at least by grabbing the staff.
 

Uchawi

Visitor
My only argument pro or con in regards to save or suck is consistency from a rules perspective. Martial ability should have similar save or suck in the same proportion to spells. After that whatever the players throw at the DM can be paid back in spades.
 
There's no such thing as fair in love and war. If the NPCs are the type to use dishonorable tactics, then make them use whatever they've got. It's only considered cheating if they lose. We call it "good tactics" if they win.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
You are probably a much more even tempered person than I am. And probably less selfish. But I'd also feel zero guilt about leaving, so being poorly socialized and low empathy has some benefits.
I'd probably feel guilty if I was at that DM of [MENTION=67338]GMforPowergamers[/MENTION]. I'd feel like a bit of an ass for sidelining him so completely that he wanted ro leave just after we started.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I'd probably feel guilty if I was at that DM of [MENTION=67338]GMforPowergamers[/MENTION]. I'd feel like a bit of an ass for sidelining him so completely that he wanted ro leave just after we started.
That's the bit that doesn't make sense. A player should not be left with no hope. Give them a spoon and have them dig their way to freedom.. give them something to interact with (especially if there's no chance the rest of the party can help.) the player should have an escape plan to work on. Or else be dragged off to some interrogation... but just saying "game over" is bad form.
 

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