D&D General "It's not fun when..."

Oofta

Legend
Speaking of failing can be fun, for the most part I agree. It's kind of like how I like my food seasoning, I want subtlety and nuance. If something is all just one overwhelming flavor then for me it's frequently less enjoyable.

However it can be taken too far. Back in 3.x days they had spells Holy Word and Blasphemy. For those that are unaware, the spells took effect on every creature within a 40 foot radius of the opposite alignment, evil for Holy Word and good for Blasphemy. I was playing in a Living Greyhawk region County of Urnst when a high level monster cast Blasphemy. The creature was high enough level that because of the level cap it automatically paralyzed, weakened and dazed every good aligned PC in the party. For 1d10 minutes.

This was also the region that had a super powerful dragon that also kidnapped and impregnated female PCs without the permission of the player or a chance to avoid it other than to hope it never found you. We had to do a quick stone shape spell to hide in the side of a cliff when it flew overhead so that my wife's PC wouldn't just be automatically taken.

So taking PCs out of play (our PCs would have died except the other PCs burned special favors to save us) when they have no chance at all? No fun. Doing things to players that cross the line into abusive? Even worse in my book.

I was told later that no one in the region played a PC with a good alignment and even the women rarely played female characters because of things like this.
 

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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
This was also the region that had a super powerful dragon that also kidnapped and impregnated female PCs without the permission of the player or a chance to avoid it other than to hope it never found you. We had to do a quick stone shape spell to hide in the side of a cliff when it flew overhead so that my wife's PC wouldn't just be automatically taken.
Wait, what? The game had a rape dragon?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
But it would be even less fun to not die. Indeed, one of the most fun parts of the game is when I had to take like six tries to beat the 9th sister, and a lot of the time when I'm playing I'm thinking "I'm not playing well enough to be beating the game this easily."

But, the play loop on videogames is a different beast. The point is to work that one encounter over and over until you figure it out or your button mashing skills improve until you succeed. Those repeated losses are eventually rewarded with success, and you get to see the direct connection between the prior effort and the success. The repeated loss loop is clearly and directly connected with the eventual success. And, with typical respawning, the only thing the player has lost is time.

The failure mode in a videogame is not typically loss at an encounter - it is the ragequit.

But you don't typically get a bazillion tries at an encounter in D&D. You get one shot. The efforts and frustrations of losses are not directly tied to an eventual success, in an emotional sense.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Perception is reality. in one version the character has been knee capped, In the other the creature just had a freakish amount of hitpoints. players shouldnt know everything or be warned about everything. that makes for booooring games
While this is not entirely untrue or without merit it does have consequences of mindnumbing battles where players dump their nova into a black hole & dig in for a rest to repeat it again soon because they just watched monsters shrug off a couple rounds of nova.

In the context of d&d though it's especially irksome because there was once a solution in place that made players say "hey guys we should probably switch gears like so, this is the bbeg(or whatever)" . Conveniently that solution both discouraged save or die/save or lose as well as counterbalanced having N characters in the combat who play the odds by making 2/3/4 attacks for x per attack against those who make 1-2 for 1.5x-2x in a way the GM could tune as needed. Casters switched to force multiplier & risk mitigation spells or slow & steady but critical damage giving everyone a chance to shine together as a team over the entire fight. Now all of those fun & unfun things on the caster side are treated the same while both types of martial styles are treated the same in a way that dramatically favors one style in every way.
 
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Oofta

Legend
Wait, what? The game had a rape dragon?
Yes. We played one con there and never went back.

As I said - there are lines the game should never cross, at least not without explicit permission of everyone at the table. Whoever made the decisions about this region (each region was independently run) saw those lines and blew right past them. Game went from not fun (blasphemy) to jaw dropping bad.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
The party fighting a heroic, effective, but losing, battle until the wizard drops a fireball on them is awesome.

Dropping that fireball and killing them all in the first round... is an issue of encounter design. When the party wizard has Fireball, how did you make an encounter that could be defeated by a single use of the spell? They're all low hit points and bunched up to start? What was the GM thinking?

Or, to put it in this thread's idiom - It is not fun when the encounters are not well-designed for the party.
True enough, but sometimes the GM screws up the encounter design or fails to foresee a particularly clever tactic or just forgets how a particular spell or class ability works. In those cases, something like legendary resistance serves a useful purpose and means the GM doesn't have to resort to total fiat to block a PC action that can just end an encounter.

Note that i am only talking about BBEG, set piece, boss fight situations.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I’m gonna go ahead and say: sometimes things that are not fun in the short-term can make a game overall more enjoyable in the long-term. Is it fun to die in Dark Souls (or it’s ilk)? Not really, in the moment that it happens. Would the game be more fun if you couldn’t ever die? Absolutely not!
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
When you die in Dark Souls, you don't get booted back to character creation and loose literal hours of progress.

If D&D had a resurrection campfire for free, then the 'it's fun having loads of death in Dark Souls' would be analogous to death in D&D.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
When you die in Dark Souls, you don't get booted back to character creation and loose literal hours of progress.

If D&D had a resurrection campfire for free, then the 'it's fun having loads of death in Dark Souls' would be analogous to death in D&D.
One thing D&D could use is fast and simple character generation. Not that that would solve everyone's issues with death as a fail state, but for some portion of the player base the biggest concern is in fact the time and effort needed to make a new character. There's a benefit to "rolls stats, choose a class and take the standard kit" being the entirety of chargen.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
One thing D&D could use is fast and simple character generation. Not that that would solve everyone's issues with death as a fail state, but for some portion of the player base the biggest concern is in fact the time and effort needed to make a new character. There's a benefit to "rolls stats, choose a class and take the standard kit" being the entirety of chargen.
Backup characters are required in my games. And I'll still often have pregens on top of that sitting around, just in case.
 

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