595 – Chorka • 04

595 - And Bob's your uncle!

Dear DM

@Alan: Dear DM, As our group is chronically short of people willing to GM/DM, I am sometimes placed in the situation where I must do it. However, while I tend to write encounters which are fairly balanced, I have a tendency to actually try and kill of the players. Is this normal? If not, what do I do about it?

Dear Alan,

Okay, this totally normal. Now most DMs just kill the characters, but everyone WANTS to kill the players. EVERYONE.

True story… we were having this Villains and Vigilantes game over at our house and there was this guy who was always telling Lena not to cuss and how to play her character and she was SO over it. One night after everyone had gone home she says to me, “If that fucking dickhead tells me to watch my language in my own house one more time I’m going to fucking kill him!” So I’m all like, “That’s really sexy, Baby.” and she says ,”Eat shit, asshole, I’m still pissed.” but that’s not really part of the story.

Anyway, the next week sure enough this little turd tells Lena, “Watch your language.” and Lena gives me one of those ultra-cool mafioso moves where they flick their thumbnail off of their front teeth and it means “Cap this fucker”, so I said, “Hey dude, I’ve got something to show you in the back yard.” Then we went out in the back yard and I totally beat this guy in the head with a shovel.

Then I went back inside and everyone is all like, “Hey, where is that dude?” and I’m all like, “What do you mean? Didn’t everyone see Lena give me the Cap That Fucker signal? I beat him to death with a shovel.” And then suddenly Lena’s all like, “What the fuck do you mean? I WAS PICKING A CARAWAY SEED OUT OF MY TEETH! WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO WITH A DEAD GUY IN THE BACK YARD?” And I was all “What the fuck were you eating with caraway seeds in it? I don’t even know what what a caraway seed looks like! Who have you been fucking eating with?”

And then we realized that no one was telling us not to cuss anymore and we all had a good laugh and went back to the game.

@woohoo: Dear DM, Are Centaurs herbivores or omnivores? And a bit of a linked question… As they have arms but can’t reach their own backsides do they have complicated social rituals for who wipes?

Dear woohoo, First of all, centaurs only eat other centaurs, specifically MALE centaurs, so yeah, they are totally carnivores. And cannibals. CANNIVORES. I just made that word.

I don’t think anyone wipes the asses of the lady centaurs, they just poop on anyone foolish enough to be standing beneath their webs. Nobody knows this, but if you are standing beneath a centaur web and you’re smoking a clove cigarette, (one of the good imported kind) the centaur will toss you down a virgin Vietnamese girl to do do your housework and stuff. She has to stay a virgin or she will turn into a murderous rhinoceros made of cheap, flakey chocolate, but you can totally get handjobs and junk like that.

@TSED: Dear DM, Right, so, I have this band. Only my bassist’s being a dick and has disappeared. He did not show up for practice, we could not get ahold of him, blah blah blah. Since the band is actually very, very new, the drummer (keep in mind we’re currently a 3-man project) is talking about replacing him with this other bassist he knows. How do I punish the bassist for being an apresent dick without driving him away from the band completely?

Dear TSED,

You should totally invite him over for Wii or both Kill Bill movies or something else that’s pretty much awesome, and then while he’s mojoing that light saber or grooving on Uma you should be taking millions of pictures of him at every possible angle. Then, the next time you see him you can whip out your iPhone and play the movie you made out of the digital likeness of him where he’s jamming like Stevie Ray while getting head from (young and hot) Stevie Nicks and you say, “Well obviously we don’t need YOU anymore.” and then you CAP THAT FUCKER with a SHOVEL TO THE HEAD.

That’s what I’d do.


Remember to ask your questions for Dear DM to answer next and future weeks! See you then!

36 Responses to 595 – Chorka • 04

  1. What’s the deal with Bunker constantly getting his own ass handed to him, even after gaining the upper hand? I thought he was supposed to be a bad-ass single-class fighter. And what is Swillburn (aside from being a drunk), some sort of wuss swashbuckler? Last I checked, he should be DEAD! Seems that Bunker’s chicken-feather armor is useless against things like…… I dunno….. SWORDS? I really hope Bunker can be not-a-doofus, but my faith in him has been shaken lately.

  2. Whoa, did he just ram his other blade into Bunker’s fist and up through his arm? Yikes. How high level is Swillsberne? (I guess the awesome name alone is worth a +1 to hit. 😉 ) I hope Morty is on standby for healing.

    Definitely Swashbuckler, build on rogue, optimized for criticals and sneak attacks. There was a sweet feat for rogues back in 3.0 in Song & Silence (to my knowledge it was never adapted to 3.5). With the prereq of DEX 20+, you could use your Bluff skill to bluff someone in combat and if you were successful, he was considered flatfooted against your next melee attack, which of course meant you could sneak attack him and filet him like a fish unless he was immune to sneak attacks. (Yeah, I guess I know why they never included that feat in 3.5., but hey, it was the only way for my halfling rogue with his STR 06 to do any damage in combat).

    Enchant your rapiers so that they’re keen and ignore all armor except force armor (there’s a spell like that in the Spell Compendium), and hey presto. Sure, they’re playing 4E now, but it’s not like Unseen Gamemaster cannot convert any 3.5 he sees fit to 4E and load him up with magic items. 😈

    The real question is, where is everyone else?? Let’s buff the warrior a bit, hm, folks?
    I fully expect Violet to beat up Swillsberne on Wednesday, though. It gives “wifely duties” a whole new meaning.

    Or we’ll see a monk beating up a pope.
    Wow, that sentence sure sounds odd. 😆

    • They didn’t include that feat because it now is a BASIC FUNCTION OF BLUFF!

      Hurray! You can do that without blowing a feat or having dex18!

      Plus, all your halfling rogue had to do was flank. It’s not that hard.

      Also, yeah, wraithstrike was groovy. And overpowered. Way better than the ‘brilliant’ enchantment in the PHB, I must say.

      • Hm… *scratches head* I’ve been playing 3.5 for several years now and am now playing Pathfinder in my own group I run. I know you can bluff in combat in 3.5, but… there’s no difference between Quicker Than The Eye feat in 3.0 and normal combat bluff in 3.5? I was so certain there was some sort of difference, some way in which the feat is better. Have to recheck it.

        Of course, the DM in the group where I play that halfling rogue/bard is most still playing by 3.0 rules because he and the other players are too lazy to have a look at the later rules, and I only got to play a 3.5 version bard and use some 3.5 spells because I kept pleading with him.

        You’d be surprised how hard it is to properly flank an enemy if the other characters of the group prefer ranged combat to melee.

        • In the group I play in I’m running a paladin, who is the party’s main tank. I am constantly setting up flanks for our rogue who would much rather stand 3 squares away and shoot with a hand crossbow. Everyone thinks it’s funny though, and I figure I’m doing my bit, so beyond that I just concentrate on pounding the bad guys. We just dinged 6 at the end of last game, which I’m pretty thrilled about – 6 is a big power level for paladins in 4.0.

          All of which is to say, “Yep, it sure is hard to flank in a group of rangy people!”

  3. Dear DM,

    Thanks for answering my last question, it was more useful than you can imagine.

    I live in the UK but am going to the US over Christmas and have arranged to game with some people while over there. It’ll be the first time I’ve done tabletop with a US group. Assuming they don’t just drag me out in to the garden and pummel me to death with a shovel, what differences between UK and US gaming should I expect to find?

  4. Um, Kevin,
    What grade LSD were you taking when you wrote those answers? It seems like that was a bad batch…

    (Do I dare ask a question after that lot?

    Ummm, yes.)

    Dear DM,

    This question is about dice, and dice results. Is it ok to occasionally fudge dice rolls? I refer to times when in character generation, players sometimes have characters that are severely underpowered due to the lack of randomly generated stats, or rolling several fumbles in a row causing death to the character through sheer bad luck rather than bad ideas, or have a low level monster rol critical hits against a player.

    Is it ok to occasionally fudge the dice rolls to stop this game imbalances happening?

    Yours concerened,


    • Of course it is. As long as the players don’t see the rolls.

      As for rolling stats that are crap times six, even the Players Guide mentions that a character who is not “worthy hero material” can be rerolled. And really, no-one can force you to play a characters. I prefer point-buy character generation, anyway. Living Greyhawk used point-buy for the six attributes way back.

      • Rule 1 to good GMing: Cheat.
        Rule 2 to good GMing: Don’t let them know you’re cheating.
        Rule 3 to good GMing: Cheat some more.

        The whole point to being the GM is telling a story that involves your players. If your players aren’t interested, they’re not involved. If they’re slaughtering random monsters, there’s no story. And if rolling the dice would prevent something you want to happen in the story from happening, then don’t roll the dice, or roll and cheat.

        Of course, I also firmly believe in allowing each player enough rope to hang their characters. If they’re more interested in the cheetos than listening to the descriptions of their situation, then they’ll have a lot more time for cheetos while their characters rot.

  5. NOTE: I added an “ask the DM” form in the upper left of the website if anyone wants to use it. Someone suggested it last week and I thought it was a good idea. 8)

  6. Dear Kevin,

    Have you freaking lost your mind?! Why in the world would you let Bunker get his arse kicked yet again by that Cyrano de Bergerac wannabe?!

    Also, loved the answers this week. Your cunning never fails to surprise and confound us all. Cheers, me boyo!
    *snicker snicker* :mrgreen:

  7. So your answer to all things annoying and irritable is a shovel to the face? You’ve met my uncle Leo.

    But I do have a question…

    For very old established characters that have been intertwined into different campaigns and now have an effect on even sub quests what is the best way of letting that character die, but as in a way that does not break its long history.

    This is from gaming with a group of people for a very long time and simply killing them outright would break the intricacies of the games history. In this case a shovel to the face would’nt work as that player has +1 dodge against shovel facing.

  8. (Inspired by reader reactions to Swillsberne’s showing up last week.)

    Dear DM:
    How do you respond to player challenges to an encounter that includes someone who “shouldn’t” be present?

  9. well that’s what bunker gets for leaving himself so wide open, swinging like hes attacking a statue or something sheesh

      • I actually do like him. But I still want to see bunker come out on top in a 1 on 1. Not him being saved by freya or something.

        • The problem is, if Swillsberne wins, he can pocket the victory but Bunker can still survive, because Swillsberne is the type of guy who loves to gloat over a beaten opponent. Or Swillsberne can win, but then has to flee when Freya and the rest of the group arrives and he is outnumbered. And then Morty can heal Bunker.

          On the other hand, if Bunker, or Freya, or Martin, or anyone with the exception of Morty (who is a nice guy) beats Swillsberne in combat, they will mercilessly kill him and then he’ll be dead and no longer part of the story. Heck, they’d probably murder Swillsberne in his sleep if they found him and Morty wasn’t there to stop them. I mean, come on, Fleece stabbed Swilly in the guts in comic #539. Ok, admittedly, in comic #537, Bunker was explicitly against killing a helpless Swillsberne when they found him lying around drunk and unable to even stand up. So, Morty and Bunker would not kill Swillsberne if he was helpless and beaten. But Bunker would kill him in combat.

          That’s why it’s a time-honored trope that main villains will escape time and again, even if they’ve fallen off a roof seemingly to their deaths, just so they can re-appear next season. Because player characters rarely take prisoners.

          • Or they can waste swill and he will get revived again somehow. kinda like last time…

            Anyway. I will see bunker lay the smack down on swill if I have to draw it myself. 😛

          • This is my favorite part of the comments. :mrgreen:

            I bet Bunker is kicking himself in the ass right now for NOT letting Martin and Enkidu kill him when they had the chance.

          • Erin wrote:
            Or they can waste swill and he will get revived again somehow. kinda like last time…

            Have we actually seen Swillsberne dead? I can’t remember, but I don’t think so. Assassin!Fleece stabbed him in the guts, which is a nasty wound if you don’t live in a magic world with divine healing powered clerics that can kiss the hurt away. [*] But it’s a wound that rarely kills quickly, unless you hit a major artery. Usually people with gut wounds die from gangrene. If Fleece had really wanted to kill him, she’d have slit his throat. Instead she stabbed him and told him, Try not to die, before she left, which to me implies that she intended to give him a “warning shot” but left him alive enough so that he’d hav a chance to crawl out of the cellar and find a cleric.

            As I said before, I’m not sure Vorpine still has actual clerical spellcasting powers to resurrect people with. He killed his own goddess, after all! So maybe now he worships his own ego, I don’t know.

            [*] Oh god, now I have this mental image of a mortally wounded Swillsberne, and Vorpine kissing his… nggg… make it go away! What have I done?

  10. As someone who always plays a rogue, and very usually roots for the bad guy…Yay Swillsberne! I love that limey bastard! And Bunker always came across as a bit of a nob to me anyway. Freya seems the sort to actually kick some ass though, so this should get interesting.

  11. Well, that advice is a wash because I don’t have an iPhone, a Wii, Kill Bill, or a shovel.

    On that subject:

    Dear DM,

    Can you give me some advice on purchasing a shovel? Make, weight, what kind of wood in the haft? All-metal? Steel or iron? Etc. etc. etc. I may need one thanks to your earlier advice (which seems entirely sound and are impregnable bastions of wisdom and common sense).