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Exasperated Rants

So you want to make your party suffer

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I'm no stranger to hate. My own players drive me nuts quite frequently, and sometimes I need the satisfaction of making them suffer a little. It is sporting to throw a party a bone after tipping the scales to make them cry in agony, so here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy child-like vengeance on the party, and then at the same time, throw them something to make it all worth while.

The best suffer plans are temporary, and can be overcome if the party is smart. some cases turn into adventure hooks, even.

The Infection
Infecting a party member with something nasty can not only cripple them in combat, but you can also say the character is in constant pain. Even if the combat penalty is minor, such as a -1 to attack rolls, it can go a long ways. Many players can take the constant pain and roll with it for a little fun when role-playing. It can also be a potential adventure hook, as the party seeks out a cure. A good time to use this might be when someone in the party forgets to bring rations, and rolls poorly when attempting to forage or hunt. Let them find something poisonous. Alternatively, there are always poison daggers.


The Lost Limb
This is kind of a serious thing sometimes, so use it with caution. If someone rolls to try and tame a dragon, then nothing can be more expected than having it bite their arm off on anything other than a natural 20. Now, not only do they pay for their stupid by going with only one arm for a while, but they also have a solid hook to get the arm replaced. Either that, or the character retires to spend the rest of his life enjoying what limbs he has remaining. Personally, I'd avoid using a lost limb unless someone did something really stupid. Maybe if the party is high enough level to regenerate the limb somehow, sure. I might take someones arm off if they get captured. There is a fine line between making a group suffer, and just being unfair to them.


The Bounty Hunter
A character who has broken a few laws could find themselves with a price on their heads. Failing that, an enemy could be putting a price on the heads of anyone in the party, in hopes of stopping the party from stopping their evil plan. A good way to go about this is to have the guy meet up with your victim in a tavern, and be very friendly like. Your bounty hunter should be quite good at bluff. If the entire party is present, have him get friendly with them all. Now, either the guy will keep buying drinks and get the party so drunk they pass out (This is where it pays to have a Dwarf in the party, at least then the bill gets pretty high), or he will drug everyone, which at least earns them some checks to notice. Later, the party can discover that they are missing someone, and the search begins to find them before it is too late! It is sporting to give the player whose character you kidnapped a temporary replacement character he can play as for the time his character is missing.

Disarm
If you come up with a good way to disarm the party, you can make an encounter interesting (and more difficult) by having the party either improvise weapons, or take weapons off of enemies they kill. It is great that the Ranger likes his +3 Longsword and Shortsword, but what if he found himself having to wield a Sickle and a Warhammer?

Something Unexpected
It's not just things you can do to your party that can mess with them, but some of the better tricks are things you do to the players to mess with their heads. The next time the players walk into a town, see what they do if every last person in the town is bizarrely friendly, helpful, and generous. Having people be friendly to the point of it being creepy can mess with someones head, especially when they know something is seriously wrong here, but they aren't even sure if they should do anything about it. (A good tip for making people creepy-friendly is to pick a word such as "Nice", and have the townsfolk use it as much as possible.)

Or, you could just be a jerk
Depending on your group, you could just take out all the stops and hit them with some stuff that is mean. One idea I liked was to have a narrow hallway. You then place a pit trap in the hallway with a fairly easy DC to notice. The party figures they need to jump over this pit trap, and does. Then they discover the second pit trap just behind the first, with a somewhat harder DC to spot. Placing a third pit trap behind the second will almost train some people to start expecting more, and this is why you have nothing after the third for a good 10 feet. After that, it is a good time to have another trap that launches a hapless adventurer backwards about 15 feet, back into one of the pit traps. Now, this is a blatant jerk thing to do, and it is obvious that any DM who pulls this is just screwing with the party. However, I bring it up because some DMs might throw it out there just to screw with the party. Plus, what if the group is a good group and doesn't take the game serious in the first place? This hallway can make a hilarious story someday.


There are a whole lot of fun, evil things that can be done as a DM, but some of my more favorite ideas I haven't done yet, and I'm not entirely convinced someone from my group won't find this blog someday. For now, I err on the side of caution and secrets.

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Updated 05-21-2010 at 07:40 AM by Teksura

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Evil Plots

Comments

  1. Ilriyas the mage's Avatar
    You my friend are an evil genius, Now I know that stupid moves while you're DM are something to avoid.
  2. Ao's Avatar
    Beautiful stuff flows forth from this blog...
  3. Aerthos's Avatar
    I need to remember to use that creepy village example in a campaign... that's awesome. Because I can see a group excited... and then slowly, slowly creeped out until they demand to know what's going on.
  4. Teksura's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aerthos
    I need to remember to use that creepy village example in a campaign... that's awesome. Because I can see a group excited... and then slowly, slowly creeped out until they demand to know what's going on.
    Just be sure to leave room in the campaign treasure budget for taking advantage of the shopkeepers.

    PC: "How much do I owe you?"
    Shopkeeper: "Oh, don't worry about it. You guys seem nice, you can just pay me whenever you feel like it, or not. Whatever you think is best. I think you deserve it anyway because you're so nice. Actually, how about I throw in a nice bag of holding so you can carry all of that? Yeah, you should have the bag of holding too. It looks really nice on you. Take it, please. I think a nice guy like you should have it. I'm sure you'll make some nice use out of it. Have you been to the tavern yet? It's really nice there. You should go, I'm sure the tavern keeper would love to meet a bunch of nice guys like you. He just got a shipment of fine Elven wine. You should try it, it's really nice."


    Bonus points if you can make a PC flip out and start yelling at an NPC to stop being so freaking nice.
    Updated 03-31-2010 at 10:03 AM by Teksura