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  1. #1

    having problems as DM

    alright, Im new to the whole world of DMing, so i'll ask you to excuse me for being a little bit ignorant.

    I started being a DM about a week ago. The electricity went out, and i found my old players manual and the starter pack's DM guide thing, that little dinky grey book with some monster stats in it, and whipped up a quick session. It was good

    so monday, two of my friends come over, one who had been over when the power went out, and they elect me to be the DM, as i am the most experienced player. I take on the role, start playing do fairly well, but i adopted an old house rule of the DM i usually play with. If you roll three 1's when making stats, you get a 45.
    well...it just so turns out that the Half-orc of this team got the triple 1's, and slapped it into his strength.
    I thought stupidly, "well, that cant make him TOO much better"
    stupid, stupid, stupid me.
    i was hosting the campaign so characters started at level 10, and well....he was just too good.
    The other team member chose to be an elven ranger werebear, and his strength can get up there to 34-35, but they both have ACs of like, 19-20. neither of them will wear armor, and i cant find a balanced opponent for them. By themselves at level twelve (their current level) they can take mature adult dragons with litte problems, in a one on one battle. the Ranger in the group is the one i am particulrly troubled with, because he has himself a keen axe, which with the improved critical feat he has knocked his critical down to 15.
    this is where my trouble begins.
    He fights with dual axes. the first is the magic one, and it has dragon bane, and he goes out of his way to hunt red dragons. the second is a plain old axe. Now, if I understand the rules correctly, with ambidexterity, two-weapon fighting, and improved two weapon fighting, a level12 ranger with the above mentioned feats would attack as the following
    then of course, add the +5/+14(werebear) strength modifier, and the weapon focus, and the numbers go further still. Then a monster provoked an attack of opportunity, which with combat reflexes and in werebear form, allows our ranger friend to strike the foe 18 times with his highest attack bonus.
    (at any point if my math or my understanding of the rules are wrong, make sure you correct me damnit)
    Add that to the fact he rolls fairly good, and manages to critical just about everything he touches, i cant pit him agaisnt anything in his CR range, because he mauls the piss out of for knowing the rules. But i cant pit him against anything too powerful, because his HP doesnt stack up against the bigger baddies.
    same with the goddamn orc.

    so what should i do?

  2. #2
    Sigurd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ontario, Canada

    Back Up & either Bail or Rethink


    I would frankly talk to your players and say that their characters may be powerful but they will very rapidly become unfun if they have not already.

    My advice, especially since you have just started is to

    1) use the broader reach of fantasy grounds and find a DM and play some more
    2) be reasonable and confess to your players that not only are some of your arbitrary rules really power mad they are completely outside of the rules and unbalanced. Don't try to keep a DM knows best veneer on this - go back to the rules and use them - then modify slowly.
    3) If players insist on playing in this situation have them recognise that this is not much fun for other people including you. Tell the player that will not relinquish the offending character that You will have to think about the right adventure for his party and that you will need some down time to roll monsters and NPC's using the same rules. You will need to create the adventure from scratch or heavily modify an existing module so He\She will be elected to run an adventure in the mean time.

  3. #3
    Here are my thoughts and you can ignore them as you wish.

    1st off, if you are new to DMing, then throw those characters away and start at level 1, that way you can learn the rules as you play.

    Also the 45 strength is absurd, why not have said a 20 strength which is still damn good as a base strength.

    If they don't want to wear armor then use something that will tear them apart, why try to break everything in the game so that the two broken characters can do things their way.

    Making the game for different people means many things.. but it seems like this is just a horrible use of the game. I wouldn't cater to them I would send a creature that was immune to melee attacks and have them wiped out. If he hunts dragons doesn't mean he has to find a dragon, maybe he stumbles into a nice lich.

    Like I said ignore this if you want, but it seems like it is just a mess.


  4. #4
    Oberoten's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Älvsbyn, Sweden
    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronPriest

    so monday, two of my friends come over, one who had been over when the power went out, and they elect me to be the DM, as i am the most experienced player. I take on the role, start playing do fairly well, but i adopted an old house rule of the DM i usually play with. If you roll three 1's when making stats, you get a 45.
    well...it just so turns out that the Half-orc of this team got the triple 1's, and slapped it into his strength.
    Simplest possible fix. Any rule that affects the players also affect everyone else as well. Pit the half-Orc against something creaed the same way he is.

    A lev 8 thief with the same kind of strength would REALLY put a crimp on his day... or what say you about a giant? It'd be swatting dragons with a tree-stump.

    If there is the occurence of these incredibly high character-traits perhaps there is a reason? Weave it into the plot, someone comes to challenge the "Strongest half-orc in the world" for some reason or other... mere fame? Or to STEAL his strength adding to his own, if the challenger knows something he does not this could turn NASTY really quickly.
    For your Ars Magica needs :

    Atque in perpetuum frater, Ave atque vale.

  5. #5
    Have him see a group of goblin to get him to charge into em only to find out they are an elite guard of goblin rangers who kill orcs for a living, that'll mess him up
    Alea Iacta Est
    The Die is Cast!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    To be honest, I'd start over.

    I am also new to DM'ing. I'm running The Worlds Largest Dungeon (think 'really big module'). When I talked to my players about creating characters I said: point buy 28 points, 3 core books only, core starting races only.

    This keeps it nice and simple for me. I'm also avoiding adding house rules as playing 'rules as written' as much as I can (there are alwasys a few things we have to change ).

    It sound like you let the characters get to powerfull to fast. Start at level 10 as a new DM? Thats just asking for trouble.

    I didn't look over your math too much so I don't know if the rangers attacks are good or not. But I don't think he could swing 18 times for an AoO even if he does have combat reflexes. He only can swing once per triggering event but if another trigger happens he can swing at that one as well. A character without CR can only swing once a round. Also... 18? Is that his DEX? He should be able swing as many times as his dex BONUS, not base stat score.

    Per Dragons: I've not run one yet but doesnt the dragon have DR? He needs a magic weapon to hit it or get -10 damage per swing. Also, why is the dragon even on the ground where he can be hit? Dragon should be flying around swinging by for breathweapons attacks or fly by attacks. And he has spells. Mirror Image, Stoneskin, Fireball, ect, ect.

    Now... with all the above the main question is: are you and your players mostly having fun and want to keep playing these characters? If yes, then you just need to find what their 'true' cr is. Why only one dragon? There could be 2 and some kids. Or the Red Dragons get the idea that someone is hunting them and take steps. Send 4 dragons at them. Or the dragons hire assasins or giants to guard their lairs ect, ect.

    Hope that helps some. Have fun!!


  7. #7
    My friend. Welcome to all that is fun about DMing.

    Sounds like you are not having too much fun with the situation that you are in. Sounds like your friend is having fun.

    My suggestion? Start over, fresh, and learn from your experience.

    Keep the character alive for a session where noone shows up but you and your buddy, so he can have some fun kicking arse once in a while.

    Just 2 CP.

    Ultimate Licence holder

    I've had FG for so LONG I DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE IT!

    But I'm learning!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Two more thoughts:

    Don't forget about grappling. A mature red dragon has +44 to grapple. Once grappled the character can only attack with a natural weapon or a light weapon.

    The red dragons call for a Wrym or Great Wrym. This could be hard for you to run as the dragon will have a lot of things going on. The hard part will be not killing your players outright. There should be NO chance of your players winning the fight (600+ hps, ac 40+, breath weapon 20d10!). Put the fear of Dragons into them.

    Good luck!


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Jonesboro, Arkansas, United States

    This sounds like a really bad joke. I'm going to treat this as if it is serious, but I can't shake the feeling that some fella is reading these replies and laughing his head off.

    To start with I'm going to assume you are not only inexperienced as a DM but you are also inexperienced as a player and fairly young too. This can be a lethal combination. You got yourself into this mess, the good news is you can get yourself out.

    Your players sound like power gamers. Nothing wrong with that as long as you want to run a power game also. If you don't want to run a power game then you have a problem.

    What rules version are you using? Can we assume 3 or 3.5?

    Your biggest problem is that you don't understand the rules very well. You should stick to the guidelines in the PH and DMG, they're there to avoid situations just like the one you find yourself in. Any DM worth his salt would never make a House Rule that gives a player an attribute of 45 if he rolls a triple-1 unless he had a mechanic to balance it out. The problem you face with this kind of arbitrary rule, aside from the absurdly high BAB that outpaces the PC's other attributes, is that it unbalances the entire party. If you pit suitable foes for the character with 45 STR against the party, the other PCs are going to get wasted. You've created a serious imbalance that is going to make things difficult for you regardless of what you do.

    You can pit a Great Wyrm against the PCs, you can pit two-dozen Great Wyrms, and it won't solve the issue. The only solution available to you is to talk to both players, explain that you made a mistake on the House Rule and that their characters are over-powered and breaking the game and ask them to voluntarily power down their characters to a more reasonable level. Go to the PH and DMG, look at comparable characters of 12th level and rebuild em. The point buy system is always a wise choice because it avoids huge disparities between character abilities. The DMG will tell you how much wealth a 12th level character should have, check their weapons and equipment against the listed wealth and if they are overly wealthy adjust it down. Once you have those characters balanced again they can set out to hunt and slay dragons once more, they'll just have to be wiser in their approach.

    No character at 12th level can have 18 attacks, as pointed out you get 1 AOO per round, and Combat Reflexes gives you extra AOO equal to your Dex bonus.

    If your players won't voluntarily do this then you need to find new players.
    FG II Full license holder.

  10. #10
    thus far, everything said i am in full agreement with and am currently working on the only thing i have to stop and point out is the AoO

    if you have combat reflexes, with it you get the total six attacks, and you use double weapons, you use both weapons in one attack, meaning you are technically hitting twice. add the imrpoved two weapon fighting, and you get a third attack at a larger penalty. so thats three strikes in one attack. so if you have a AoO with +5 from your dex, you get six attacks, and each attack=three strikes, so its 18 strikes

    or so that is what im getting from what i've read.

    other that that, im probably going to start a new campaign soon, as soon as i can make my players get the idea.

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