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What do I need to know to DM a game of 4e?


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21 replies to this topic

#21 Snappyapple

Snappyapple

    Goblin

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 06:42 AM

For example : When the ranger chose not to use twin strike and use his grapling hook to try to grapple one Guard Drake and bring him down rise he was on and rolled a one, I rolled one d20 and rolled a 3 so I ruled he had caught the Minion behind, asked for a strength roll, he rolled high. I said you bring the minion down killing him and knock prone the drake. Next thing that happened, you saw both of the player try to use the world instead of using powers exclusively.


While I agree with the idea in principle, and minions are good fodder to use for dramatic flourish, I would like to say that there should be some consistency in the approach to ad-hoc maneuvers. Having the maneuver fail without a spectacular fumble roll, yet achieving a better effect than a normal success, is more DM fiat than a consistent standard for ad-hoc maneuvers.

Of course, DM fiat is a fine tool to use on its own when you're not sure of the rules and want to nudge things in favor of dramaticism. As a new DM with possibly new players, it is probably recommended as well. But, as you all become more comfortable with the game, don't be afraid to let the dice fall where they will and take the critical hits and fumbles by the chin.
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#22 Vaeron

Vaeron

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 09:02 PM

Since this thread seems to be more or less ongoing, I'll add my own advice.

Skill challenges. A player rolls a d20 and says "I got 15 on my diplomacy." Another player rolls a d20 and says "I assist!"

Yeah. That's awful.

A lot of DMs and players initially misunderstand Skill Challenges to be just a lot of dice rolling, and that might be ok in geographical-type areas... But there are occasionally roleplaying Skill Challenges as well, and what needs to be avoided, like the friggin plague, is the above scenario.

I don't let a player just roll a die and announce they've succeeded in their diplomacy check. They have to tell me what their character is actually doing. If it's RP related, they have to tell me what they're actually saying. If someone wants to assist, they can, but they have to tell me HOW. They don't get to just roll a dice and magically give their friend a bonus.

And if the players have a good idea, or they present a particularly persuasive argument, I might not even make them roll for the skill... Sometimes it seems appropriate only to have a character roll Diplomacy in an RP encounter if the NPC is already inclined to NOT go along with their idea.

My players have said their favorite part of the game is the roleplaying interactions... And yes, they roll dice and yes, they have skill challenges. Sometimes I won't even tell them they're in a skill challenge - some player's automatically enter into dice-rolling mode when they know that's what's going on.

And some Skill Challenges, especially RP ones, are ridiculous. Know when to say "that's good enough" or "they blew it."
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