I was away last week on one of my gaming weekends, GMing for my group i have played with since school.

The game is mostly RM2 but with the RM Classic core books replacing Character & Campaign Law, and the Combat Companion replacing Arms Law for most fights. When I am running the big end of level bosses I revert back to Arms Law for the combat and critical tables.

In the party, we have an old-style Warrior Mage and a combat companion Elemental Warrior.

The most striking difference between the two is the lack of utility in the Warrior Mage. By that, I mean that the character does not have a wide range of spell lists. He is by all means highly effective in combat but outside it, he is struggling.

The Elemental Warrior by contrast always seems to have options, magically, but doesn’t seem to lack any of the combat prowess.

It doesn’t help that the WM player built a character with purely combat in mind. He has two weapon combo, chainmail, transcend armour and his combat magic and almost nothing else.

The Elemental Warrior player set out to create a more rounded character and in consequence has more options outside of combat.

How much is professional and now much is player?

I cannot answer that.

In the campaign I am running we have noticed something odd happening. I moved people to milestone experience for this campaign. What you kill doesn’t give kill points, and no experience for taking criticals and all that sort of thing.

What has happened is that over time the players seem to take more enjoyment out of avoiding combat than they did when there were kill points available. In this last session the intended adventure was to storm a mountaintop hideout of the big bad villain. The characters solution was to employ Cracks Call and Rock to Earth to try and bring down that part of the mountain.

This isn’t a sudden change in behaviour. It has been happening slowly over time. For want of a better phrase, I have player characters that are risk-averse. They are still murder hobos but they prefer not to take any risks or get their own hands dirty.

This is not something I have ever encountered before!

It is also proving a problem for the 100% Combat – Gungho – Warrior Mage who is finding himself ill equipped for a a game I am setting up as Hack and Slash but my players are treating as Avoid and Defeat.

It is a pity that I have to wait months now to see if my strategy for resolving this will work.

Comments (2)

  1. BriH

    Reply

    Peter, how do you feel about this change in party behavior? As a GM it can be frustrating if the players find another solution than direct combat; especially after we put a lot of work into the “final confrontation”. A unique solution like bringing the mountain down, or even a lucky 1 in a million critical role and feel like a short circuit of the narrative. I constantly struggle with this issue–I want the players to experience my work product–that’s where I get my enjoyment and satisfaction from GMing.

    • Peter R

      Reply

      This campaign has been slightly odd. We had just come off the back of a Save the World campaign and the players wanted something low fantasy, kill, loot and get rich. At the end of each adventure, I have been trying to present them with three possible next adventures. At the end of the previous adventure, they were trapped in a castle dungeon. There was a magical portal to an exotic looking palace, under a blood-stained altar was a trap door down to an under level and there was a way up back into the castle if they had really wanted to go that way. Instead, they chose to teleport back to a safe place they knew.

      In this one the obvious front was the mountain top evil lair. This was meant to open up to reveal that the BBEG was being influenced by a god from a forgotten religion. Big dark evil cathehdral to explore and some dark angels to encounter. They would also have had the opportunity to discover some of the BBEGs plans that could have lead to another location and adventure where they could have been heroic because they knew what was going to happen. In the cells of the BBEGs lair was a witch, one of 7 sisters. She was the hook to another adventure.

      I can reuse all of these because the characters know nothing of them.

      From the previous adventure, I can reuse the palace and the level they didn’t explore. None of my prep is really lost. This is a sandbox where they can do what they want and go where they want.

      I have started the conversation about what sort of adventures do the players want me to run. There is no point me planning things in one style if that is not what they want to be doing.

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