Forums Gaming Chat Roleplaying Plans of Action vs Standing Ogres

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    • Posts : 1433
    • Owlbear

    The title is a pun on “standing orders.” In case you missed it. Feel my early morning rapier wit. (That’s what the kids are calling it these days)


    *ahem. Moving on….


    After our game last night I was thinking about an event that happened in it and a player’s reaction. He is the only one who voiced an opinion on it but given the party’s actions during the event they all seemed rather surprised by how it turned out and that struck me as so weird. Allow me to explain.


    ***Warning: This may include spoilers for the Horde of the Dragon Queen adventure.***

    So we’re in the last chapter. The players have successfully negotiated a deal with Blagothkus in which they eliminate the four key cult representatives in the castle and he will show them unspecified gratitude. Things have been going well, but now it’s time to deal with the vampire. The players have a two-fold plan. The first is to get a few containers or a small barrel of water, have the paladin bless it and turn it into holy water, and carry that up to lob as holy hand grenades at the undead monster. The other is to ask the giant if he wouldn’t mind turning the castle slightly so that the sunlight would reach as far as possible into the room where they’ll be fighting her.


    They go up to an ogre guard and start talking at him, telling him the entire plan, after it had been established that the majority of these creatures don’t speak common. He stares stupidly at them. Finally they ask to speak to one of the giant’s stewards by name, which the ogre does understand, and a runner is sent to fetch him. They continue making requests from the guard, the only success of which is the managed to hit on another name for a specific ogre who was called over and also stood staring stupidly at them. I should also mention, most of the talking was being done by the character who rolled a very successful knowledge roll and had been told that ogres were dumb, literal-minded creatures, who don’t usually speak common. When I say literal-minded, I mean that when they were ordered to “look the other way” from the party’s actions, when the ogres saw the party they would physically turn and look at the wall. That kind of literal.


    The steward arrives. He does speak a little common, enough to get by, but is still an Int 6 ogre and, as the players had been shown earlier, does very little thinking of his own and follows his masters orders to the letter. This time the party doesn’t offer a full explanation of the plan. Instead the following discourse happens. (Slightly paraphrased)


    Party: “We were wondering if we could move the castle.”

    Ogre: “You no move castle. Only Blagothkus move castle.”

    Party: “Okay. We want water.”

    Ogre: “No have water. Too cold. Water hard.”

    Party: “What do you drink?”

    Ogre: “Wine. You want wine?”

    Party: “Where do you keep it?”

    Ogre: “Over there.”

    Party: “Okay, bye.”


    The party then proceeds to the storeroom. Upon finding it locked they pick the lock and start opening barrels hoping to find one full of wine. After a few moments the steward appears in the doorway and demands to know what they’re doing.


    Now, my take on this is that the giant and his ogres would be unimpressed with this. When they formed the tenuous alliance with the giant, he informed them that he had no problem with them taking out the cultists but that they were not to harm his castle, his giant allies and servants, or his stuff. If they had answered the steward’s question when he asked if they wanted wine, then this would have gone differently, but I had decided even he did not possess the key – his duty was to stay by his liege’s side as much as possible, so there would have to be another ogre trusted to do inventory and whatnot. Instead they ignored the question, wandered off, and broke into the storeroom themselves.


    I equate this to being as if an acquaintance from your workplace came over to your house. You have an understanding with this person. You’e not friends. You think he’s beneath you and you don’t really want him to see where you live, but he’s offered to fix your plumbing issues so you’ll tolerate him assuming he does the job. While he’s supposed to be doing that he breaks into your locked liquor cabinet and starts opening all the bottles. How would you react?


    My one player said he doesn’t like it when people take the literal approach to dialogue like I did. I don’t see why I would have done anything differently, or why they should have expected anything differently, based on how I had presented the ogres.


    I am not looking for validation in my actions and even though he didn’t like it there’s no drama in the group as a result of this. That’s not my reason for posting the whole thing. Instead I thought it would be more interesting to use this example as a talking point. This probably applies more to those who run the games rather than the players in them, but maybe a reverse situation has happened. When the players are completely missing the obvious, or at least what you feel is obvious, and gamely proceed along a chain of actions that you feel the characters and their players would realize is probably going to cause further problems, do you interject or let them hang themselves?

    • Posts : 57
    • Bullywug

    Typically my GM will let us hang ourselves, unless it’s something that’s going to actually get us killed in which case he’ll interject.

    I, on the other hand, say nothing and let consequences be what they may unless it involves a mechanic my players aren’t familiar with.

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    But DMs are monsters in their own right, aren’t they? 😉

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    Whoops, wrong link! Fixed it. 🙂

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