- -----Original Message-----
From: Gary V. Foss
Date: Friday, November 06, 1998 1:27 PM

>If I want to change something I have to change it before the player comes
>with a way to manipulate it, because I feel that is just fair play. If a
player was
>able to outsmart me, I figure, his character was able to outsmart the NPCs
>threw at him.
The worst D&D experience I ever had (or what I did over Christmas vacation)

The campaign was based in a Roman milieu, and Caesar sent us to obtain a
crown of extra-planar travel (not being a fan of multi-dimentional play, I
am not up on this item). The crown was held by a dragon in the lands of the
Picts (Scotland). We no sooner leave Ostia than we encounter pirates. The
DM dices their treasure after the encounter (hence they did not employ any
of it) and rolls a ram of extra-planar travel. It turns out a random
encounter gives us a more powerful version of the quest item we set off for.

Since one of the powers of this device was to permit flight, we flew over
Gaul, avoiding all his planned Celtic adventures, and stopped off in
Britain. Attempting to trip us up, the DM introduced a chieftains daughter
who was so beautiful we had to save against our wisdom to avoid being
smitted. Though I had the highest wisdom in the party (I was the priest), I
failed. So I ran with it. I married the girl and won a tribal ally in
Briton. We then convinced some of the tribes warrior to accompany us to
Pictia to recover the crown for Caesar. We get through the Pictish warriors
who worship the dragon as a god with our own British warriors, and enter the
dragon's lair. We steal the crown, and only on our escape do we wake the
dragon. But we get to our flying boat, and outrun the dragon, taking only
minor breat-weapon damage. We offer Caesar both the crown and the ram (I
really don't like plane-hopping) in exchange for letting us borrow three
legions so I can conquer Britian. We fly our troops to Britain, link up
with my father-in-law, and his allies, and take Britain for Caesar, and get
named pro-consuls of Britain. All in about two and a half hours.

Not only did we "win", we won beyond our wildest expectations, in fact, we
won beyond our belivability quotent. Never did we have a less satisfying
D&D experience. We never played under that DM again.

I totally understand not wanting to leave players feeling like the whatever
they do you raise the bar, but they do want the bar raised enough so that
the gaming is fun. Players don't want to win, so much as they want to

If you decide something is unbalanced, I would recomend sitting down with
your players out of character, and discussing the problem. If magical
scrolls are being manufactured like the lastest model sedan conference with
the players about what magic they would like, and what you were going for.
They may well be dissatisfied by creeping problems.

I took over my last BR campaign from the DM I talked about above. Because
the Rules suggested stated that starting regents could dice for a random
magical item (p. 32), the initial DM allowed the Overthane to roll, and the
Tome of Magic produced a +5 shield with special bonuses against fire.
Before all the characters were created I took over the campaign and asked
the player if he would consider ditching the shield for the +3 two-handed
battle axe *Orogbane* described on p. 77. He was quite willing. While its
true that we had not yet adventured, and he had not become dependent on his
+5 shield, he also had problems with dicing in the Tome of Magic for 1st
level charcaters, and was happy to go with a weapon that had a history with
the realm, over what really seemed like a game-busting shield.

Players are all different, but mine prefered to develope skills that gave
them an advantage over other players than to take advantage of a loophole
that their DM left for them. If I could get my players to fill out customer
satisfaction surveys, I would do it. I appreciate their feedback.

Kenneth Gauck