May 8th, 2006

hermit crab
  • hwango

Handling PC mistakes

I'm looking for opinions on how to deal with a situation in the D&D game I'm running.

The scenario: The PCs are stranded on an unfamiliar world, having crashed there after being abducted by "aliens," trying to make their way towards the mountain that they know to be a port for various alien ships that might be able to get them home. A few days into their miserable journey, they encountered another group of survivors who told them that they had encountered a mysterious person who gave them some advice about how to stay alive on the horrible planet and help them evade the aliens that are trying to retrieve them. The other survivors told them that this mysterious individual seemed annoyed whenever they asked him a question, and that after 4 or 5 questions he stepped into a tree and disappeared (the Treestride spell).

Many days of game time (and a few game sessions) later, the PCs encountered this mysterious person for themselves. They started to ask him questions, and each time he would wince as if in pain, not answer, and instead tell them about something else. Eventually, one of the players either figured out some of what was going on and/or remembered what they'd heard about the guy's aversion to questions, and told everyone to shut up. Alas, some people ignored him, and a couple of questions later the NPC cast Treestride and disappeared. The NPC had a lot more helpful information he would have provided, but was forced to flee before he could give it to them - he's afflicted by a curse that causes him 1D4 Charisma damage each time he's asked a question.

I had only planned for the PCs to meet this person once, as he has other important things to do besides hand out advice to PCs in distress. They somewhat botched their chance to get the information from him, but I think part of the reason was that players had forgotten about the things they knew about the guy during the intervening weeks between the session that they learned about him and the session that they actually met him. Even so, I did make it clear that he seemed to experience pain whenever they asked him a question, so they knew something was wrong even if they remembered nothing from before.

Now, here's my dilemma - I sort of feel like I should give the players another chance to get information out of him, and it might be fun to roleplay an attempt at a conversation in which they try not to phrase anything as a question. However, I don't want to create the impression that if they make mistakes I will still have things work out for them. I want to make sure my players understand that if they screw things up or make mistakes that it can have real consequences, because otherwise there's no real challenge in the game. I'm afraid that if I give them a second chance with the NPC I'll undermine that sense of challenge.

Your thoughts on the best way to handle this?

Idea for an alternate game-world


Not sure how interested folk would be in this but was just having a discussion elsewhere about an 'alternate-universe' style game world where North Sea Oil wasn't discovered until 1999 rather 1969 and the changes that there would have been.

I think the rammifications would have been far reaching, both to the UK and abroad.

Which has got me thinking on a general point, for want of a better how 'well done' have you seen 'alternate universes' handled in games? Any that worked really well, any horror stories?

My first post! =)

So hi everyone!

New kid here, just wanted to say hi. Also was wondering if anyone here is into "Castles & Crusades"? I'm currently trying to do a conversion of Warhammer's "Old World" setting to the C&C "Siege Engine". Any pointers would be a godsend. For the most part, it's pretty straightforward, as I can just replace most of the beasties with their C&C counterpart. The tricky part is converting the spells and careers. Any pointers would be a godsend. :)

Anyways, I'm happy to find this community, and I'm hoping to make some good friends here. Cheers!