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A cup of coffee
(5/17/03 4:37 am)
OK... Mistakes have been made
Sorry about this guys but I have a problem, so I guess I'm asking for some help.

In the last session the party arrived at the outer CRM.
As the scenario has been relatively easy I decided to beef up some of the bad guys, especially D'Gran, and afew wandering Clerics..

Unfortunately I didn't spend enough time and made a few mistakes in the power jumps (added too many Feats, increased the Attack +s too much).
Now these were honest mistakes, and in the battle three PCs died...

One of the rules lawyers is now asking questions..
What do I do..
Admit my mistake, or lie.
I know if I admit my mistake I'm going to have to get into the discussion of bringing dead PCs back to life...
Aaarrgghhh... I do feel guilty because I didn't mean to kill off so many and at least one of the players didn't deserve it...

Ok.. What should I do?

Duncan Haldane
A cup of coffee
(5/17/03 7:04 am)
Re: OK... Mistakes have been made
My advice - admit your mistake (the players will appreciate that), and restart from the encounter.

Good luck,


A robot with powers
(5/17/03 7:24 am)
Re: OK... Mistakes have been made
I agree with Duncan.

1) Admit your mistake.

2) Tell the surviving characters that upon closer examination the three "dead" PCs are actually unconscious and stabilized at -1.

3) Give out 150% XP for the extra difficult encounter

4) Vow to be more careful in the future.

To me this is the best solution as it:

1) Shows that you are honest, and honestly sorry.

2) Rewards them for a well fought but tough victory but doesn't penalize any individual PCs for dying because of your mistake.

A cup of coffee
(5/17/03 10:15 am)
Re: OK... Mistakes have been made
Dont know if this helps, but... I recently made a similar judgement call error with my team and following is a letter I sent everyone after the session. Everyone accepted this graciously, and I started the next session with a "deux ex machina" event that reversed some of the worst effects.


I wanted to shoot a quick email to everyone before the feeling of despair about the module I sensed when you left will overtake you.

I screwed up.

You see, Poog, Gaddo and Feshu have nothing to do with the temple of elemental evil module. I dreamed them up as an encounter just before Hommlet, because I thought it would be a tough fight, but one that you should be able to win, and that would put everyone either at or very close to level 4. I knew you could quickly down Gaddo (the Ogre) and Feshu (the Bugbear), especially with Sleep spells, and Poog could not handle all six of you. He was actually all set to run at some point after being down to a quarter of his hit points and seeing both his "pets" dead (so dont think I "saved" you - I left him on beyond my originally planned point because he was doing so well, so I judged his morale a little higher).
I misjudged this encounter mostly because of attacks of opportunity (AoO) combined with long reach (AoO are new to D&D third edition, and I had no DMing experience with that and the effects of reach before). I knew the Ettin was deadly with a likely damage potential of 23 HP per round, but I didnt imagine how much more deadly it will be with this rule (which effectively doubles damage potential because of his reach). So I put it there and thought it would be a fun excursion that will stay alive in everyone's minds for a little while. I did not imagine it would almost result in a TPK (Total Party Kill).

Again, this encounter had nothing to do with the module. While the module is deadly, it is not THIS deadly, especially not at the beginning (well, mostly :-) - it gets deadlier as you go deeper into its complex story.

My apologies. Minus 500 XP for the DM.

Poog decided to retire and sends his regards. He says it was a good fight.

As you can see, I admitted the bad judgement call and apologized. No need to compound an error with another error (lying). Trust was not breached - in fact, trust increased as the players feel that I am honest enough to admit my own mistakes.

YMMV, as always.

A song from the sixties
(5/17/03 8:15 pm)
Re: OK... Mistakes have been made
"As the scenario has been relatively easy"... I agree with what everyone else has said - I guess I just wanted to add that even if the party is finding things easy, you can add to the difficulty of any encounter without having to mess with it too much. You can give them more than average hp, but probably more relevant is have the bad guys warned and arrive in waves.

You can also let them have their easy wins now, because it's going to get a lot harder, especially when Hedrack starts getting Thrommel and his assassins involved. The Outer Fane is scary (not that my group has got there yet).

IMC, the guys entered the CRM at more than 4th level, and have been blowing through the single enemies easily. But every bridge and Temple so far have been real challenges, because although they've taken out some of the guards, they've set off the alarms and the rest of the bad guys arrive in waves. Big fight, lots of drama, and I didn't have to mess too much with the encounters - which is just as well, because I don't have the time. Just my two bits...

A cup of coffee
(5/18/03 4:04 am)
Thanks. You are naturally correct. I shouldn't make the players suffer for my mistakes.

Has anyone actually played about with the monsters sucessfully, (our next cession is in two weeks) and I'd better get it right next time.

I was wondering if anyone had written anything like a battle order. Or a what "X" does next type of thing I could look at.
(Work is interfering with the important stuff of my life)
Give me some idea how to play the bad guys well.

Thanks again

A guitar
(5/18/03 4:40 am)

Re: Thanks....
It's a real challenge to play the bad guys well, especially if you've got real-life commitments as well (why can't we get paid to DM? Things would be so much easier).

Do you know where your gang is headed next? If not, find out. That will cut down your preparation a lot. Also, ask here about specific areas, but pay heed to Andorax' reminder: "The PCs are supposed to win". Somewhere, we all know they are, but at times we try to make them earn their victory too much, and then we're heading for a TPK.

If you want to boost, check out Zans' site. All my boosted CRM maps are there, and if you have additional questions, feel free to ask me at s.thustrup (at)

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

A guitar
(5/19/03 7:59 am)
Re: Thanks....
Don't boost, don't boost, and then, don't boost. The power level will even out by the time they reach the Outer Fane/Inner Fane. If you need help with tactics, post here. There are two ways to boost an encounter, one is to boost the individual monsters' challenge ratings and one is to boost the EL by adding more monsters in. For the first, keep on doing what you are doing or use Siobharek's work. For the second, instead of adding in extra bad guys, just organize the existing bad guys. Perhaps the temple is not as chaotic as the chaotic evil implies, due to the power level of the PC's. Just a thought.

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