Content of the article: "Why the pcs are central to the story"
I had a, not great session last time.
This story should guide you to understand why some things are crusial to understand as a dm
This session shows exactly a why DM should know everything about the pcs and the game.
We were playing a homebrew game told by our dm. We are two pcs. I sm a druid of the forrest. I see everyone and thing as equal. I strive to be better everyday and one day, open my third eye and become truely one with nature. Im kind and lighthearted thoug very emotional. I wish to help people however I can no matter how big or small the problem may be.
The second pc is a paladin. He got inspired by me and was about to pick oath of anchient. He however decided to pick his own path. He wanted to break the change of his homeplace the land of the mountains. He is an aarakocra. He was a general and didnt think about how his people was treated. How everyone was afraid of the lords, in shambles. He wanted to take revenge. He wanted to change his homeland for the better.
We decided to go up the mountain a session before. This session starts right at the front gates.
We were welcomed in the guards thought paladin was dead and now had risen from the ashes. We tried to speak to the lord about our concerns but our conversation was quickly interupted by bad news his son was born without wings we got thrown out while I was mid sentance and got sent to the peasants. I didnt know what to do so we went into an igloo.
A peasent was so afraid because paladin was a general that he couldnt look up. We couldnt help him in any way and talking to him just made him go in circles. What we vould gather was that he was hungry.
I went out to the fields because I wanted to use druidcraft to make the farm prosper. When we got out there though, dm didnt let me druidcraft because the yield was fine.
Okay i thought, maybe paladin could do something in the temple. He got told a legend about a pheonix rising to take control over the land and save the people. Someone worthy had to cut off their wings and burn them along with a skeleton of the pheonix previous body. The pheonix would then rise from the ashes. Of cause paladin didnt want to cut of his wings, and also he wanted the people to free themselves.
While all of this happened I tried many different ways to get the people to talk. But either they told me to fuck of because I was an outsider or they begged for mercy because it seemed like I knew someome important. I even tried to cry. In short, I had shit to do. Even if it was something that didnt matter I couldnt do it.
I tried to speak to the priest but he kindly slso told me to fuck of and that I couldnt know sny of their secrets. I insisted on getting in on it even had a cool speach about how I was connected to the stones hiding their truths.
At the end we got fed up with this narrow storyline and decided to come back another time. We couldnt be seen though as we had spotted guards following us. I turned myself into a boar and went rampage in the city. I got the guards attention but now the peasants had surrounded paladin because of rumors that he was the chosen one. I tried to scare them as well by hurling straight at them. But no they didnt care about a rampaging animal they never saw before tripping over guards, scraming, and looks utterly insane running straight at them.
At this point we realised we couldnt leave. I said out loud that i didnt think this was making any sense, that I felt useless and that i “dont know about this” player paladin to me “me neither but lets just go with it”
We just wemt to the temple, began to do what he wanted. Then I thought maybe the pheonix is evil. Maybe I would think that it was unnatural.
Paladin went down to the sacred flames, he had to open a magic door. Dead bodies layed around with a severed arm/hand. He stuck his hand in a hole in the door and it opened for him. Within the room was an anchient silver dragon. He gave him the fire.
Paladin came up
We had a standoff, i used druidcraft on the sacred flame and extinguished it. We agreed let the people take theirown freedom. Paladin could become the pheonix. I had another speach about how fairt may always be true but never come out exactly as fortold. Paladin had a speech to the people about standing up for them selves, to not wait to be saved but to save yourself, to save eachother.
No charisma check, no nothing, priest told me to stfu and the people just booed so loud they properly couldnt heat him. Just “WAKE HIM UP! WAKE HIM UP!”
I went down to talk to the dragon myself, mayve I could talk to him because of my oneness with nature and understanding of creatures. Not only that but im also fluent at draconic. I put my hand in the hole. What happens, I saw kinda saw it comming but I was desperate, my hand got cut of. Not a badass way to lose and arm, kinda funny but more sad. I took my tourch and closed the wound with flames of my magic. Never got in. Paladin came down after pure pressure. He told the dragon what happened and he was like, sure take as much fire as you need. Oh also take theese flames to close the wounds of your friend. I asked if I could talk to the dragon, see him or at leat hear him but no. I lost my arm for fucking nothing and didnt even get to talk to this fucking dragon. I felt like it was a testimony to the session. Nomatter ehat or how you did anything there was a predetermined outcome.
The pheonix got revived. Nothing wrong with him, he was just a nice dude. The lord didnt have a lesson to learn because the pheonix straight up just gave the son wings. I felt useless I didnt even get to close my own wound with my fire. Paladin aarakocra lost hist wings. And what did we get for this whole ordeal the took almost an intere session? A hippogriff each. BRUH!! Dude already had wings!? I can literally become one if I pleased? Dude? Wtf is this bs? Not even gold no. How much xp? I got 500 because I “tried so hard” what? So you planned a session without anything for me to do? Even paladin got little xp. 600 or 700 i think. He also felt useless. He doesnt even have a meaning with life anymore, it got taken away from him by some dude on fire.
Dmd told us it was our fault for overthinking. Basically we should just have done as we were told and think nothing about it. My man had to sacrifice his wings and way of life for what? A hippogriff?
Here is what to take with you and what we have told our dm after every single session.
The pcs are central characters. Not some pheonix dude.
Its not the dms story its the tables story.
Dont be too specific when prepping. Prep your problems not the solution. And if so, not let it be the only one.
Don’t railroad let the pcs choose directions.
This session wasnt about me at all and thats fine, but it wasnt really about paladin either, was it? He surely didnt feel usefull at all.
Now a final thing Id like for you to know, you should never punish your players for being creative. I turned myself into a swine but nothing happened. I risked my right arm but just lost it without any gain, without even getting to just se or hear a dragon.
I just felt like standing up and leaving half the time. I feel bad for dm but we told him many times what we like and didnt like. Even after he asked he just gets defensive comming with excuses for everything. We have told him the same thing every time and this session shows me that, here comes the last and biggest mistake.
DM did NOT listen to his players.
- How to deal with players who don’t even show up to your sessions.
- Just had something uncomfortable happen in my campaign.
- Uninterested player
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