Wednesday, June 23, 2010

30 Ways Not To Cheat At D&D

UPDATE:  This post has been updated and included in the recently released book, How to Play a Character & Other Essaysavailable for purchase from the Lulu marketplace.

In the interest of keeping players on the straight and narrow, I'd like to commend players who do any or all of the following, and encourage them to continue playing in the most forthright and enviable manner possible:

1. The first roll you make for your new character’s stats is a 3, and the DM says, “forget that roll, call it a practice” - but you insist on keeping the roll and dutifully write it next to strength.

2. You are fighting a group of hobgoblins, and the DM announces that he has rolled a 13, missing you by 1 - but you remind the DM that the hobgoblins are within 60’ of their standard-bearer, so the creature gets a +1 and actually hits you.

3. While pick pocketing a nobleman - which the DM has mistakenly admitted was 8th level - your 2nd level character rolls a 27 when his pick pockets ability is 31%, and the DM says “Well done.” But then you remind the DM that you have a -30% modifier due to the target’s level and that in fact your thief has now seriously messed up.

4. Upon hurridly saying that your character will do something really stupid, your DM asks, “Are you sure?” To which you respond that no, you’d rather not do it, but since you’ve already said so, the DM better make it so.

5. While you are trying to talk your way past the guards, your DM has forgotten that you have a 7 charisma - but you remind him.

6. While you are giving instructions to the other party members on how to cleverly fool the approaching ogre magi, your DM has forgotten that you have an 8 intelligence - but you remind him.

7. For some reason, after hitting your party with a fireball, your DM has forgotten that whatever you and your companions are carrying should make a saving throw - and so you insist on rolling for each item.

8. After nearly falling from a subterranean ledge, you manage to hang on with both hands until the party can pull you up. But while the DM has forgotten that your character had his +2 sword READY, you dutifully remove the sword from your equipment list and tell the DM that your sword has fallen out of sight into the chasm.

9. The DM is willing to overlook that you failed to buy any footwear when you started your character, but you insist that your character is barefoot - even though the mistake was not noticed until you had reached the dungeon’s second level.

10. You haven’t mentioned feeding the dog you keep chained to your wagon for two or three runnings, and so you demand that the DM has the dog attack you.

11. After rolling a bad die and mistakenly hitting an NPC hireling with a dagger, you insist that the DM roll to see if the hireling will quit, throw something back or just decide to kill your character in your sleep.

12. After losing the sheet with your experience written on it, but still having a number that was accurate three months ago, you insist that your character is once again third level and that it is your own tough luck, no matter what concessions the DM is willing to make.

13. You forgot to write down the +3 plate mail that was found after the last adventure, and everyone in the party remembers you taking - but you repeatedly insist that since it isn’t written on your character you can’t possible have it.

14.No one notices except you that you have written on your character sheet that you’re carrying 6,000 gold, silver and copper coins, written on different sheets from different runnings. Dutifully, you scratch out all the coins - carefully calculating the removal of gold as well as silver and copper - that your character couldn’t possibly be carrying.

15.You remember that at the end of the last running you took 7 damage from a troll; but your sheet doesn’t say it, and no one else can remember the troll hitting you. Without hesitation you lower your character’s hit points by 7.

16. More than a year ago you remember the DM saying that it was a 10 g.p. fine to carry a sword in the city. Having realized you’ve had yours with you since the running began, you remind the DM and pay the fine.

17. Formerly, the DM has said that each player must pay 50 g.p. per month in general expenses. When four months have gone by and the DM has failed to mention it again, you cheerfully step up to pay your own expenses and police your fellow players to make sure that they pay theirs, also.

18. It seems to you that the DM hasn’t thrown a die to see if a wandering monster appears, but you encourage the DM to do so diligently.

19. The DM has forgotten that drow elves have magic resistance, but you remind him.

20. Having successfully crossed a frozen wasteland that has nearly killed several members of the party, your mage suddenly remembers that his familiar is a frog, and that no die rolls were ever made to see if the frog live+s. You insist that having forgotten the frog, it must have died, and you dutifully remove 6 hit points from your character permanently.

21. Wine, beer and spirits intoxicate, but your DM seems not to have taken that into account. You remind him.

22. Feeling that the party having seven magic items between the five of them is just too many for the level you’re at - whatever level that is - you encourage to DM not to give out any more magic for awhile.

23. The same goes for gold - in your opinion there is entirely too much treasure being given out at each encounter, and you encourage the DM to occasionally have monsters that have no treasure at all.

24. All in all, you also feel that the DM hasn’t taken into account how dangerous it is to go over a waterfall, and you carefully explain how objects get caught at the bottom, rolling over and over for long periods before they escape - that should be taken into account when seeing if the character lives, you insist.

25. Another player has cast lightning bolt while everyone in the party was standing ankle deep in water, and you insist that everyone must now take damage, arguing against the DM on principle, if necessary.

26. Having discovered, now that the battle’s over, that the DM failed to play an enemy monster up to its full potential, you insist on the whole fight being done again from scratch, or in the very least that there’s no treasure to be found since you don’t want to win on false pretenses.

27. After four runnings in which you have gotten consistent, even freakish, high rolls from your brand new 20-sided-die, you suspect there is some flaw in the manufacture, so you throw it away and never use it again.

28. Although you know the creature can only be hit by magic weapons, you continue to beat on it using your ordinary mace, as you are certain your character does not have your inside knowledge.

29. Whenever your character drinks from an open source, or enters a town, or consumes food that was purchased more than six days ago, you insist that the DM make all relevant checks for parasitic infestations or disease.

30. Whenever any other player acts in a manner not strictly keeping with their alignment, you steadfastly remind the DM.


Brian Lujan said...

I'm not sure I agree with most of those observations. Some of them seem as though you would commend a player for arguing with the DM in favor of harming other players. That seems as detrimental to the game as a player arguing with the DM because he is too harsh on the party himself. Others seem like you would like to see players degrade their characters because of a simple "common sense" error such as forgetting to feed a pet. As a DM, I would assume that the player is taking care of his pet and doesn't need to specifically say it unless I find he did it intentionally to get out of paying for food. That would be nearly the same as saying "My character has developed a urinary infection because I didn't say I was going to the bathroom twice a day for the last three weeks."

However, some of them were right on the money, like saying you dropped your +2 sword while dangling off a cliff or erasing money willingly for on going expenses that you were told about ahead of time.

Alexis said...

Satire, Brian. I wouldn't seriously expect a player to live up to any of these, if the DM failed to press the point.

I was chastised Monday for failing to remind the DM that smoke is hard to breathe.

Will Mistretta said...

What's with all this "you insist" crap? I'm the DM: *I* insist on things.

That +2 sword you insist you dropped? It's now +4 and magically grafted to you Hand of Vecna-style. Now get back to the game. :)

tandw said...

@Brian: I wasn't playing in this particular game, but a roommate of mine once had the DM try to argue that his character had died of alcohol poisoning...because his halfling character was hiding in someone's backpack, said he took a drink of the bottle of high-proof rotgut he'd found, and didn't say that he stopped drinking.

(Here via Sandbox of Doom, btw; Victor has you on his blogroll.)

Daddy Grognard said...

31) Your magic-user sends a fireball at the approaching trolls. Noticing that the DM has failed to remember, you insist that he works out the cubic capacity of the corridor so that he can tell if the fireball has incinerated the party as well.

Alexis said...

Awesome, Daddy.

32) Running a neutral good 18 charisma female character who is pure as the driven snow, you nevertheless suggest that the DM should keep things honest by rolling to see if you get harrassed (or worse) each and every time you set out to buy things in town.

shlominus said...

33) if you are aware of any rules not being followed properly and the implications are not either made up bullshit or simply silly speak up so everyone at the table can have a fair game.

you would expect the same from the dm.

or try to make fun of people who remind you of the simple principle of "fair play".

your choice really... :)

PatrickW said...

34) No matter what unique thing you get up to in-game, there is already porn of it on the internet.

PatrickW said...

(That is rule #34, right?)

Alexis said...

(It sure is)

Brian Lujan said...

Damn you Satire, my old nemesis!

Once again you raise your ugly head to embarrass me in front of other SuperBloggers. One day...yes, one day I will get you, and then I too will be a full member of the Blogger League of America.

I really need to start drinking coffee before I read blogs...

Alexis said...

Taking you seriously, Brian, you make a fair point - but it has to be said that different kinds of 'honesty' will appeal to different players, depending on how they see the game. After all, D&D is simply too complex to expect no influence from natural human tendencies to downplay negative aspects while up-playing positive ones.

I think if I were to find that a player had diliberately obfuscated something that really wasn't that critical (and I define anything 'critical' as something I'd notice), it wouldn't bother me in the least. It has happened, and it too is part of the game.

Daddy Grognard said...

35) In a recent fight with trolls, a fighter in your party lost an eye but decided an eye-patch would make him look tough and menacing. You feel obliged to point out to the DM that only having one eye would hinder depth perception and insist on a penalty on the fighter's To Hit rolls.

Noumenon said...

This doesn't read like satire to me at all. You should and I would do all of these things, if I could remember that many modifiers and if I didn't want to house rule them for being stupid.

SilverLynx said...

I do this all the time with my DM. I'm always worried that I'm somehow breaking or avoiding the rules thorugh ignorance so I just ask about everything I do and if I'm going to be penalized for things. It's very silly of me because I tend to make things WAY harder on myself than I have to - but for me that's still pretty good fun. XD

Elber of Torou said...

I had a player who did #1, no kidding. He rolled a 3 for Strength, and even though I allow rerolling the lowest die for stats, he decided to keep it for the lulz. He kept complaining about it when he was picking a class, but he kept it all the same. It turned out to be a great running gag, that the druid can't even pick up the halfling.

Alexis said...

Yes, but according to AD&D, the only class that can have a strength of less than 6 is the illusionist.