Content of the article: "My party was spared a TPK and I’m mad about it"
I DM 3 campaigns and have a PC in another (lvl 3 wizard) run by a friend I have RPGd with forever.
Recently our lvl 3 party (Rogue, Monk, Ranger, Bard, Druid and me) along with a friendly NPC met up with an assassin type enemy who was above our level. We went searching and he dropped out of invisibility behind me and I was one hit, not enough for instant death but I was gonna be making saving throws.
The party understandably went nuts and starting attacking and it was apparent after one round that the enemy also had the ability to ignore damage from one attack each round (not sure the exact ability) and after a round of focused fire he wasn't even bloodied. This encounter came at the end of a dungeon and spell slots and HP were running low.
There was no healing left in the group (which has very little healing to begin with) but the bard managed to give me the group's last healing potion and I was revived with 4HP and no spell slots. At this point I'd made my peace and advised them to save it for someone with the ability to actually do some damage, but I was ignored and I didn't want to press the issue as I was unconscious so technically metagaming at this point. The assassin then took down our monk who had failed to pull of a stunning strike.
Another round ensued and the rogue who has been two weapon fighting goes down, as does the druid who was wildshaping as a giant wolf spider. I have no offensive power stronger than firebolt, the bard has a choice of viscous mockery or hitting the dude with a whip (which the DM is ruling as a light weapon so that a dagger can also be used) and the ranger on about 4HP in firmly in the enemy sights.
The turn order is now: Ranger, Assassin (with multi attack), Bard, Me and the ranger finally cuts a break and crits with her longbow. The DM does some dubious maths and announces that the shot kills, and then says "Oh wait he can ignore that shot". There is a collective gasp from the group and then the DM says "Don't worry, he's not going to use it".
Everyone begins to celebrate, except for me who feels like we just cheated. Medical checks are done and the DM allows everyone to wake up instantly and leave, then tells us we all just leveled up (milestone progression). The party is now loving life, choosing their new abilities etc. And I'm just about done.
I feel like Walter White punching the towel dispenser because he just got the all clear. I know I should be happy, I don't want everyone to die and clearly the DM made the right call for the majority of the group, but I can't help seeing this as a sham victory that we didn't earn.
Maybe I'm mad because I would have DMd differently? I do often feel that our DM is too forgiving and plays the enemies in a way that favours us too much. Thinking about it I have never seen him kill a PC in any RPG we've ever played and again, I know I shouldn't complain and that the other extreme would be way worse.
TL;DR My DM openly fudged so that we wouldn't die and now I feel like we cheated.
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