Content of the article: "Advice please! Either the party is super reckless or I’m pretty terrible. How should I scale this?"
TL;DR – New DM, party runs into an exploding mine filled with baddies. Do I let them die on principle?
Hey, literally my first Reddit post (woo), I live in a literal bubble so I've got no-one I could ask these questions to. I'm pretty new (played two games, DMing my first) so I've probably made mistakes but I made sure to read a bunch of guides, watch YT videos and not be so obtuse with my decisions. Lots of feedback and lil tweaks here and there. Lv4 party of 4.
So the party prevented an execution and told the prisoners to run and hide in a mine that's on top of a mountain within the city. Mines that have never been to or asked about. Mines that have been exploding every day since they arrived in the city. Which they then went into without any prep (they went shopping before the execution and bought no healing items or anything essential, party has no healers and tonnes of cash). That was bordered off with a fence, trip wire and explosives that they had to disarm before entering (prisoners sneaked past). Without asking anyone across three sessions why they explode everyday. That exploded whilst they were walking up to them. In a world where they've already been attacked by a dragon. Now I didn't want to say "you are filled with an overwhelming urge to find out why the mines are exploding before you climb for two hours down to the very bowels of the mountain itself" but equally I was really trying hard to paint **DANGER** all over this mountain and its mines from the moment they said "Let's have the prisoner run in there." They players just said "people aren't running in fear, so it can't be that bad."
I also wanna take a moment to say that while they were happy to find a non-combat way to prevent the execution (all their plan), the party was making hints that the last few sessions had only been RP and they wanted to kill something. One of the guys was saying about his characters being combat classes and he has new spells and things he wants to try. Then they decide to run into the exploding mines.
So now we're in this pitch-black mine with fog of war on and they notice some gelatinous cubes squelching about that are ignoring them until one of the players, feeling itchy for a fight, draws his sword (absolutely nothing wrong with that). The party takes down one of them and the session ended with them engaging #2 and #3. They've taken a couple of hits, one got absorbed but got out before its next turn. That's where we called it a day.
Those are only challenge level 2 creatures. So there's two more cubes doing circuits around, a black pudding squelching about as well as a doppelganger who has abducted one of the people they're in there trying to save (I thought it'd be a fun task for them to figure out which one is which). There's also a pitfall leading into a gelatinous cube breeding site that a bigger baddie (that unless the party decides to walk through deadly poisonous gas to get to they won't see right now) is using to create an army of slime. Stuff to deal with now, stuff to come back and deal with later y'know?
They've got ways to manage these threats without combat (I made sure to read their spells
So what should I do? Should I make the challenge easier? Or should I stand firm and potentially let the game end over this? I feel like DM's should help and support but not give the answers or tell players what to do, but equally if they continue so brazenly? They may blame me for creating a challenge that they could have equipped themselves better for.
BTW I do really like my players, they're both friends, I'm just worried if there's something I'm doing wrong. Thanks! Please ask for extra info if needed 🙂
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