@Dacatus: Dear DM, shooting the breeze with my friends, we came up with the following scenario: a character is tossed into a lion pit or similar where some rapacious creatures devour her. The animals are hungry enough to devour all of the character, leaving maybe some scraps of clothing behind only. Now, what you would think could happen if someone casts a Resurrection spell on the devoured character? The body is all there in the pit, just inside the beasties. For the full EWW factor, what if the spell is cast over the pile of crap the beasts leave the next day?
In order to Raise a character (no more Resurrection spell) you only need part of the body, but you do need to be able to handle it, applying mystic salves, unguents, and foot creams. This more or less renders to question moot. However… if we’re kickin’ this old-school, I’d figure out which beast had the most PC in him and rez that dude in his stomach. I don’t think it would really matter if the PC was already poop, though it would be a lot funnier.
@TSED: Dear DM, I have noticed that when I play video games, no matter what the system, I tend to default to a “gronk” kind of character. Not as in dumb, but as in “hit things until they die” (fighters, warriors, soldiers, whatever). Since I normally am quite enthusiastic about tactics, number-crunching, and strategy, I find this surprising. Anyways, this question is two-fold. 1) What do you normally default to, and 2) What do our default class-choices in games say about our psychology?
I sympathize. In D&D, I love wizards and tactically complex characters, but in video games, especially games where there’s a time factor, I get frustrated if I’m trying to juggle too many balls at once. (With turn-based video games I gravitate back towards the complex characters again. I just really hate being rushed.)
Psychologically I’d say this makes me inherently awesome, and you proximally awesome.
@Christina: Dear DM, do you have an evil laugh and if so, do you practice it daily? Do you prefer the Mad Scientist(tm) devious laugh, or do you try to lull your victi, er I mean players into a false sense of security by affecting a pleasant, soothing laughter right before their characters stumble into a death trap?
Evil laughs don’t cause evil, evil laughers do.
However, if I did have an evil laugh, I would only use it after the party had activated that trap. It’s not evil to warn the players the trap is coming.
@anonymous coward: Dear DM, why dungeons? Really.
Dear anonymous coward,
Because it starts with D and Dishcloths & Dragons sounds stupid.
@Alan: Dear DM, if you have a specific idea for a campaign in mind, or using pre-written scenarios, is it a good idea to write and allocate characters to players so that they will have the necessary skills to complete the adventure, or leave it as it is and let them find a way? Also, what is the best way to allocate characters – player choice, luck, gladiatorial combat etc?
If I’m making up pre-gens I’ll always make sure at least two characters have a relevant ability, since at best there is only ever a 50% chance that anyone is paying enough attention to realize what’s going on. Allocation is fairly easy, just tell everyone what’s available and let them decide. If more than one player wants the same character, let the one who kisses better take it. (Might require a judgement call.)
@chris: Dear DM, as a War Hammer wielding character it is with great principle that I be allowed to Smash things. It is after all the most effective tool for any situation and given the large radius of the head not smashing things would seem uncharacteristic. Smashing is simply a way of life for one such as I but now people are telling my character that smashing is bad, that it has no value, and it impedes on other characters abilities, such as slicing. It is not that I want to take away from other characters but the lack of utter and complete destruction from these ‘other’ forms seems innefficient. I believe it would in fact be wrong to Smash my comrades because then there would be no one to see me Smash, which is very important, but group is getting mad at my character for always smashing and talking of no wanting my smashing anymore, what do I do?
Can you just smash parts of your comrades? If so then they’ll really understand how impressive and important smashing is, but still be able to watch. (I like it when people watch me too.)
@Moginheden: Dear DM, what are your thoughts on high powered, but cursed player characters, (for example a mage who has access to spells 4 levels higher than his level, but has a chance to go insane for a few rounds every time he casts anything?) I’ve been toying with the idea because I think it would be fun/funny but I’m worried about how to balance it and not piss off the other players when the player’s curse kicks in.
I entered an existing 12th level AD&D game once with a 14th level wizard. I had convinced the DM to allow me the extra levels by giving my character an unbreakable curse that made all magic items immaterial to him, and thus completely unusable. (It was a very magic item-heavy game.) By the second week we had a battle that literally went like this…
DM: As you enter the room the Pit Fiend standing at the altar turns and smiles. “I’ve been expecting you.” he says.
Me: A Pit Fiend? Fantastic!
DM: (Sigh.) Aw come on. Why is that good? I’m not gonna like this, am I?
Me: I’ve been waiting for a really awesome monster who’s body I can steal for my own. This’ll be perfect!
DM: Do I want to know how you’re gonna do it?
Me: I’ve got it all written out here…
DM: No no, it’s fine. Okay, there’s 4,000 gold pieces, 8,000 silver…
I don’t play this way anymore, (much) but it illustrates the point. Giving a player one awesome ability is okay because you can control the situation he gets to use it in. Giving a player access to whole realms of magic the others don’t have makes that character the most powerful in any situation, which will shut down the other players. (Power is okay, power+versatility can be disaster.)
As far as the insane thing goes, that’s just going to make practical players want to leave that guy at home. I’d do this: Give the player one type of ability that he is completely ungodly at. He automatically explodes all pure dragons, otherwise he’s a normal character. However, whenever he uses that power, he goes temporarily crazy for a few days or so. I’d even figure out what kind of specific crazy to make him, so you can coach the player on how to role play it. It should be socially debilitating, and affect him tactically, though I wouldn’t touch his actual combat abilities.
@JD: Dear DM, how can I, as a DM/Storyteller, encourage more women to participate in roleplaying, when all the female roleplayers in the vicinity are either ex-girlfriends, or women my girlfriend would like to strangle bare-handedly, or both?
See, that situation makes you what we in the gaming world call a “target”, and the roleplaying gives these women what we call an “excuse”. If I were you I might be trying to encourage as little role play as possible.
Honestly this question brings up all kinds of further questions in my own mind about you ended up here. How many of these people did you have sex with? Why do you game with wimmins your girl hates? What’s wrong with you… and do you have any dating tips for using D&D to bag chicks for the single guys in the audience?