One of the best ways for a dungeon master to infuriate his players inDungeons & Dragons is to plan all encounters to circumvent their characters’ abilities. A good J&D The game doesn’t pit players against the Dungeon Master, so when a DM creates an encounter that directly negates a class’s stats or a character’s magic items, it doesn’t create an interesting experience. Instead, it’s frustrating for everyone involved.
Many dungeon masters ask how to counter a player’s characteristic in order to make an interesting encounter. For example, a DM can place all battles indoors with 10ft ceilings to overcome the challenge of a flying character – but if that’s the case, why let them play a flying race? The truth is, it’s not Flight, Deflect Missiles, or Counterspell that’s the problem; DMs must consider and work with a player’s abilities – not against them.
In J&D, there is no save mechanism and players cannot miss an encounter just to try again. When a player jumps into battle excited to use a class feature, but the DM has engineered a fight that stops them completely, it can be extremely disheartening. Dungeons & Dragons is supposed to be fun. Instead of thinking about how to stop or remove a feature or spell effects from your game, work with those features to create encounters where one or more players can shine.
For example, if the DM wants to find a way to challenge a player so that their flying doesn’t make fighting a monster too easy, an obvious first step is to look at flying monsters. DMs can also choose to allow the character’s flight to be truly beneficial. Suppose players are fighting a mass of soldiers with siege weapons. In this case, a flying character will not shoot them all down, but he will be able to call patterns and knock things down from a height. They’ll also have to account for those mid-air catapults, so they’ll have to get creative to stay aloft.
Creating a scenario like this can also allow the flying character to destroy one of the catapults. This will make them feel powerful and unique because their flight allowed them to get the literal fall over the army. It’s the kind of positive energy that keeps everyone around the table having a good time.
Another example is the Monk’s ability to run on walls. To challenge the party, DMs don’t need to put a barbed wire fence on top or say the wall is too slippery. Let the monk run along the wall, do it on the other side and help the group to enter the closed enclosure. The enemies are still there and players will all have to work together to defeat whatever is inside. A wizard’s ability to counteract a magic-based enemy may seem overpowered at first, but it always comes down to a roll and has a chance of failing. Additionally, DMs can give Counterspell to their enemies. Wizard duels can be thrilling, and spell slots exist for a reason.
Allowing a player to use a powerful special skill to avoid being charmed or to rest faster will not break the game. It will give that player a chance to feel valued and have something meaningful to contribute. in the countryside. Of course, DMs should challenge their players, but nullifying their skills is not the right way to do it. These features are designed to make the player feel powerful. Playing specifically at a character’s weakness is also problematic. If a player has no ranged attacks and all enemies are flying, it won’t be a challenge. This will only force that player to miss.
DMs would be well advised to provide players with opportunities to succeed by being creative. When they don’t have ranged attacks, offer rocks or climbing structures to fight flying creatures. You can also give another player the option to immobilize the enemy so everyone else can then dash in. Dungeons & Dragons can be exciting and fun, and build amazing and lasting friendships. Working with players and not banning traits, races, or spells gives them the chance to feel like heroes – and that’s a big reason people want to play J&D to start.
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