A player rolled very bad stats, how to make sure they still enjoy the game?


Question

How to make sure that a player that rolled awful stats will still have an awesome time at the table? What possibilities are available for the DM? Would it feel cheap to find stat-boosting items? What can players do to make sure that player is still having fun?

The simple solution of re-rolling the stats is out of the question. The adventure has already begun and it would feel very unsatisfying if the original rolling carried no weight at all.

Background

Starting a new adventure, we all decided to roll stats (highest 3 of 4d6) for our new characters. Most people rolled stats close to what one would get with point-buy, but one player had all stats in the range 8 to 11 and averaged below 10 (which is worse than a commoner).

The players are all quite new to the game and it is the debut for the GM. We all had some laughs on the horrible rolls and everyone is still having fun. The player has not complained yet, but my worry is that it will feel less fun in the long run.

The player picked druid, so they can wild-shape away the physical stats at level 2.

How can I handle a player who seems to utilize skills their characters don’t have?

Well the tag is slightly misleading as these players do not cause problems. However I have encountered several players who exhibit skills their real life counterpart has without actually metagaming. As an example I encountered a player while running storyteller system and while they didn’t have leadership skill they were quite fond of management stuff and assigned people that were under their command. On a similar note I had a player in D&D 5e who did not have survival proficiency (or nature proficiency for that matter) but he explained how his character set up a rudimentary water purification system.

I thought of a few solutions for this.

  1. Just tell them no. While this solution feels like the correct one my players often get excited when they utilize things like this and I don’t want to be the GM that says ‘No fun allowed’.

  2. Ask them to switch their proficiencies/skills to better reflect their knowledge. This feels a bit too punishing and I feel that it might end up causing them to not have the character they had in mind.

  3. Just let it fly. This is what I have been doing so far but to be honest I feel it is hurting other players and stealing the spotlight from people that invested in the required skills.

The main question is: How can I handle a player who seems to utilize skills their characters don’t have?

Player shows up inconsistently

I am a DM playing Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (soon to progress to Undermountain). There are three players, I play a generic paladin, and we play via Zoom. One player, however, is inconsistent showing up, and I am worried that he is going to miss too much of the story to progress. The characters are level 4, and we started doing Zoom at about level 2.

Since then, said player shows up to about half the sessions, and even then he only stays for part of it. That bothers me the most, as he is new to D&D and I believe he does not grasp that the game is supposed to take about 4 hours at a time, because he only stays about 1-2. He has missed out on much of the story and we often have to fill him in.

The other two players are fine playing without him, but I can tell that they too would rather have him play for the full length. Whenever I mention it he just shrugs it off and wants to keep playing. I am hoping there may be a solution to this inconsistent behavior.

[Note] This may be a duplicate but I am not sure

Is Magic Resistance broken in Player Characters?

So, every time some feature, item or whatever allows a player character to have Magic Resistance, people seem to go crazy about it. It happened when the Yuan-Ti was released as a playable race in VGM, it happened recently when the Satyr was announced for Theros, and it happened around here with the possibility of allowing a player to get a pseudodragon as familiar.

I am asking because honestly I have never played with an Yuan-Ti, but in most of the campaigns I DM or play, I don’t see Magic Resistance showing up a lot or helping the players a lot. It is certainly a strong feature for monsters since parties will often contain spellcasters, but most creatures do not have magical effects or anything. So, the question is straight forward: is allowing a player character to get Magic Resistance as broken as I have seen people assume? Am I missing something?

For reference

Magic Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

How do I deal with a player wanting to do an activity that takes weeks when the party doesn’t want to?

I’m currently running a campaign with 5 players at level 3, one of which is a Wizard Dragonborn who’s entire character is devoted to becoming a real dragon by the end of the campaign through some kind of magic or holy gift or something.

As part of this, the player has decided that he absolutely MUST have a Pseudodragon and has decided that next session, as the players have finally returned to town after leaving at level 1, he is going to spend a few days resting before setting off alone to explore the forests of the nearby area to find a Pseudodragon.

I explained to him that on foot, sweeping the whole forest systematically (in a frontier part of the world where the majority of the land is forested) will take literally weeks for his character to do, as he has no spells that can assist him except find familiar (which he could use to sweep the air with a hawk).

When I explained that, this would involve him as a player turning up to the session (online) and contributing essentially nothing for extended periods of time over the course of several sessions (my players have decided they will be leaving town soon and our sessions have very little time between them in the world) he decided that he was fine with that.

I really don’t think that he will be and I’d hate to lose one of my players because in two session’s time he decides that he is really bored and doesn’t want to keep playing but on the other hand I really don’t feel like it’s fair for the other players just to give him what he wants immediately because I’m scared to lose a player.

I know he has said that he is fine with it and I’ve explained the downsides to doing what he is planning to do.

As the DM, is there a better way that I can damage control this? I don’t know if I’m making the right choices by not giving the player what they want but I just cannot see a reasonable way that a player could quickly find a rare animal in hundreds of square miles of forest.

How should I deal with a player whose roleplay cuts into other players enjoyment of the session?

I’m a very new DM running a homebrew campaign for a couple of friends.

One of my players, who is by far the most experienced, plays a bard who is definitely optimised for roleplay, and that seems to be the part of the game she enjoys the most.

This is fine, of course, but lately I think it’s been derailing the rest of the party’s experience. The rest of the party is made up of players who either struggle with roleplay or have optimised their character for combat. This player has spent 15-20 mintues interrogating an NPC in a zone of truth (even after I made it clear that there was nothing else to gain from the NPC) while the rest of the party has no idea what to do. She also interjects into other player’s rare roleplay moments to describe what her Bard is doing. The rest of the party gets tired or disengaged when the session is too roleplay-heavy, so I’ve been trying to reward any plot-progression they achieve with big, exciting combat encounters.

Then last session, as I was very clearly building up to a big encounter, the Bard player decided that she would rather try to reason with the angry, weapons-drawn guards. A couple of lucky persuasion rolls later, and the whole encounter (which I’d spent hours lovingly prepping) was circumvented. I understand that players messing up planned events is a natural part of being a DM, but I’m bothered by the fact that she didn’t give the other players a chance to decide for themselves whether they wanted to fight.

I don’t want this one player to feel like she’s being strong-armed by the DM or railroaded into certain outcomes, but I also want to give the rest of the party a chance to do what they love best –beating up some bad guys. How can I manage the roleplay needs of this player while also making sure that the rest of the party gets to experience the combat they want?

As a player, how can I avoid stifling new players but also avoid letting things stall?

I have just started a Cyberpunk campaign. 2 of us are experienced RPG-ers, 1 hasn’t played in about 10 years and the other 2 are complete newbies. The GM is not new to RPGs, but is new to Cyberpunk, and this is his first time as GM.

Both myself and the lapsed player have Cyberpunk experience; everyone else is brand new.

My character is a Solo, the only one in the group. My backstory is that I have no personal memories from beyond 6 months ago, but I do remember a lot of “stuff” (how to shoot and fight, history of the world, some local knowledge etc).

The other experienced player is a Netrunner whose personality is that of a weak, sniveling coward who tries to stay out of the way as much as possible if he isn’t hacking.

We have run 2 sessions, and I am finding that I am naturally leading the group – partly because this first mission came from an NPC fixer to me and the other players happened to be around and also looking for work allowing me to put a crew together. I am trying my hardest not to direct the new players’ characters too much and give them a sense of agency to make there own choices, to the point of telling the crew in-game that I am not a leader – I shoot and I kill – but I have so far found myself being put in a position to lead every scene and conversation by the other players, both in and out of game.

The other experienced role-player is playing his role really well, so he allowing himself to be led, becoming distracted and not coming up with many ideas. The ideas he does come up with, he feeds through me, due to the fact that in-game we have known each other the longest and I have protected him the last 3 months.

The lapsed player is a Nomad, as is one of the first-timers. The other first-timer is a Rocker and, to my mind, has the stats that should be leading most conversations; she just doesn’t know at the moment what to ask or do.

Since I’ve never been in a group with such inexperienced players, what techniques can I use as a player to help the new players get a sense that they can come up with ideas and choices? The last thing I want to be is “that player” who makes all the decisions and chooses the route we take, but at the moment, the players are leaning very much on me.

Should I maybe have a chat with the other experienced player and suggest he change his approach slightly to allow him to take a more direct role in making suggestions, so that at least it isn’t all coming from me?

An added complication is that currently we are having to all play online, so we have the vagaries of webcam chat to deal with, which might be stifling things a little more.

How can I ensure that these new players don’t get bored within a few sessions and feel that all they are doing is making up the numbers for dice-rolling in combat?

How much control does a player have over the Infestation cantrip?

While searching XGE for interesting passages, I took another look at the spell Infestation to better understand it:

You cause a cloud of mites, fleas, and other parasites to appear momentarily on one creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, or it takes 1d6 poison damage and moves 5 feet in a random direction if it can move and its speed is at least 5 feet. Roll a d4 for the direction: 1., north; 2, south; 3, east; or 4, west. This movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks, and if the direction rolled is blocked, the target doesn’t move.

Though I must admit that I see it gives a specific damage an effect, I was wondering what "and other parasites" could mean. Could someone summon a swarm of wasps (the parasitic beetle wasp to be exact) if they also wanted to use the buzzing for their wizard to hide the somatic components of a spell?

Could the swarm of parasites also have other abilities like a swarm (or individual) rot grub?

P. 208 of VGM:

The target is infested by 1d4 rot grubs. At the start of each of the target’s turns, the target takes 1d6 piercing damage per rot grub infesting it. Applying fire to the bite wound before the end of the target’s next turn deals 1 fire damage to the target and kills these rot grubs. After this time, these rot grubs are too far under the skin to be burned. If a target infested by rot grubs ends its turn with 0 hit points, it dies as the rot grubs burrow into its heart and kill it. Any effect that cures disease kills all rot grubs infesting the target.

And do they appear and disappear magically or naturally? In other words, is it like you point and suddenly a cloud of parasites gathers from somewhere beyond and then goes back to where they were, allowing someone to capture some of them for material components? or do they not really exist at all?

A player got upset because he made a wrong move and now I can’t DM

So I’m running an Agents of SHIELD campaign per my group’s request because the other DMs in my group needed a break running during COVID. I gladly picked it up even though I’m not a super experienced DM and I gave everyone pretty powerful characters since they’re supposed to be heroes.

One of the players, we’ll call him Chris, is an extremely experienced DM and player and was very helpful in getting the custom mechanics running for the game. The first two sessions went great, they uncovered the story points they needed, there weren’t a ton of issues aside from everyone rolling pretty badly (which is a consistent issue since we were using roll20). Chris even rolled 5 nat 1s in just the first session. My NPCs weren’t designed to cause a lot of damage, but they were more of an obstacle with one pretty tough baddie that was supposed to be able to at least be a threat. Well it turned out that about 1 in every 5 hits NPCs made landed because of the rolling.

Cut to session 3, I let the players choose their mission and it lead them to a factory where they all had awful rolls and I had to help them out quite a bit and give them more opportunities to find the information they wanted, which lead them to an individual who was missing, which took them to his house. Inside the house was a robot that didn’t stand a chance against them. Cut to more botched NPC rolls and he’s dead. They find a bomb in the robot, roll high to disarm it, no longer an issue. Then they found a computer that was trapped to wipe the memory if someone tried hacking it. One character has something crazy like a +16 computer use check, so it shouldn’t have been a problem. He rolled a nat 1.

Chris said out of game, "Well if we unplug it, then it’ll stop the memory wipe." I allowed it because the computer had vital information. I let the character roll a Reflex save (which again should have been high) and even with an action due he rolled pretty low. After they found most of the information, I warned them that the police were coming (in this world, SHIELD isn’t an official government entity and is technically working illegally, but some places let them do their job while others will prosecute without questions).

Everyone but Chris wanted to take the evidence and run. Chris was adamant on talking to the police and for some reason the other players let it happen without arguing. So the police get there, I let Chris roll his crazy high Diplomacy and let them know that his roll is keeping them from being arrested. It was at that point that Chris tried playing the "I’m an agent of Shield" card. Before I could correct him, the other players told him that SHIELD doesn’t actually have authority. Apparently he was the only one who didn’t read the back story. OK, it happens. I wasn’t mad. Until he continued to try to pull rank on the police and antagonize them. I kept reminding him that he doesn’t have a rank. Then the police chief (who was corrupt and a major part of their story line) shows up. I made it VERY clear that this guy didn’t like them. I very heavily hinted through what he said that he didn’t want them anywhere near the case. Chris even pointed out the flaws in how the character was acting.

And this is where I messed up. Because he kept beating around the fact that the chief was acting weird, I let the scene go on too long when I probably should have forced a sense motive check. This caused Chris to start antagonizing more and more, and then he essentially asked him to hand over the evidence after being told that they weren’t allowed to be a part of the case. He was told no, flat out. Chris then blamed another character, which caused both of them to sign off immediately.

The next day Chris messaged me telling me that I was taking my frustrations out on the players because I was rolling badly and that’s why him and the other player quit early. I told him exactly what happened and why, that the police chief was corrupt and no matter how high he rolled on Diplomacy that he wasn’t just going to GIVE the evidence over. Then he tried to say that I was being insensitive because "even though it’s more realistic, having a cop in front of your character and not being able to do anything about the situation is too topical. That’s why me and (the other player) left".

Then I made my next mistake and told him that the other guy left because Chris was blaming him for everything when it was really Chris’ fault for antagonizing an NPC who already didn’t like him.

Now, my group is struggling to get a game going because all of the DM’s are pissed. I told everyone my game is on pause because if a corrupt cop is too much for someone then the rest of the storyline definitely won’t work. I spoke with everyone individually and everyone else agreed that Chris was the problem. But now I don’t know what to do to get everyone back on track.

The other players have defended him by saying he is under stress. That’s fine, we all are, I didn’t think anything of it. I’m not looking so much for advice on what happened, but where to go from here and how to get the group back into gaming. The other players also said they didn’t feel like anything was wrong with the campaign or story. But I’m also the newer person in the group, so I’m not sure if they want to game without Chris.

Requested TLDR: one of the experienced players is keeping the whole group from gaming, what can I do to get us back on track. Do I need to talk to him again before asking everyone if we should kick him out

We’re playing modified 3.5

Can a DM permanently kill a player in DnD 5e?

Currently my player is at 0 HP and doing death saves.

The DM however, has said an Ogre is holding me upside down by my legs and is going to potentially rip me in half in the next session.

Since I’m not Deadpool, I would assume this would permanently kill me and render death saves moot?

My question is, can a DM do this?

Why would the DM do this you ask? Because I’ve been playing a comical, annoying and selfish character for about 30 sessions now, so the DM and my party think it would be hilarious if I was killed off.