The Evil GM – What to do with players, who make dumb moves..

Most people say that Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition is all about paranoia and a DM getting the upper hand on his players, punishing them. Well I believe it all depends on the person running the game, a good DM will drive a story first before pounding his players into the ground.
The real question here is, what do you do with players (experienced ones, not newbies) who decide to make that stupid move, not once, not twice, but three times? Do you just wave the hand (and roll your eyes), allowing him/her to move along or do you just let the dice do the job?
For example, we have a party going into a underground temple, where it’s been abandoned for years. The party has been exploring it for better part of the day, finding weird traps, and deadly monsters left and right. The party decides they found a nice safe room to bed down for the night and each person decides to take a watch to guard the door of this safe room they found. During one character’s watch, he decides his Magic User will get up and explore down the hall from the room where the party is sleeping. He does not notify the group at all.
Now as the DM, I rolled to see if any of the other party members heard him open and close the door only to be fair to the group. They did not and the character was able to slip down the hall and meet up a random patrol of 6 orcs and his death. The player found this unfair and yelled. The group sided with me saying that was pretty stupid to do that, and he deserved whatever happened to him.
My question to everyone is what would you do? Should you as a the DM allow a character to run off like that and screw around or stick to the rules and roll random encounters following the guidelines set forth by the module or your adventure standards?

5 thoughts on “The Evil GM – What to do with players, who make dumb moves..

  1. I don't know. I'm okay with checking if a player got a special risk right, like for example eating a kind of fruit of which the character should know that it's poisonous. But something THAT basic? I'm a bit torn on that one. See, anybody who doesn't get why the GM asks "Okay, you REALLY wanna do that?!" failed hard pretty much as a player and not as a character. And anybody who doesn't get the idea that wandering off alone in the middle of the night without the party in an evil, monster-inhabited temple might be dangerous should be kept away from everyday traffic. Come on. That kills you even IN THE MOVIES.

  2. I'd have warned the player of what _might_ happen, based on what's already happened. The game being a game, I might even go so far as to be explicit. "You know, there's a 1 in 6 chance every few minutes that you'll run into 2d6 orcs. Are you _sure_ you want to do that?" That might sound like giving away too much, but a veteran player of that sort of game would already be meta-thinking these things (or something like them) anyway.

  3. I hear you. I will consider that in the future. I just played it as a random encounter, I think if he would have dropped one of the orcs, they would have ran away, but he was down to one spell and well.. he's a MU. 🙁

  4. I second Dominic Claveau, he said it all. If you had really wanted to to go VERY easy on that special player, well, you could have let the orcs capture him, let them track his steps and awake the party with an attack (orcs aren't that silent, after all). After a (costly!) victory, let the other characters punish the loner. If he doesn't learn THAT lesson, well…

  5. I'd say it depends on how new the player is to tabletop RPGs as well as your GM style. I think it takes about 3-5 sessions before a player understands the nature of the game, as well as what their character is and is not capable of. For someone totally new to tabletop RPGs, you should warn them of the dangers of most potentially self destructive actions. If they ignore the warning, play as you normally would and let them learn from the consequences. Even if they have a bit of tabletop RPG experience under their belts, they may not be use to your specific GM style, so a small warning once or twice will help them understand your game style a bit better, without the unfortunate death of a character. We have to remember that a lot of modern games are very forgiving nowadays, and that's the mentality a lot of new players approach tabletop with.
    For anyone who is a veteran player of both tabletop RPGs and your specific style, show no mercy, roll the dice, and let the gods be the judge of their hubris.

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