We’ve all been there. Morbo the destroyer, the party’s Barbarian, is down. The Cleric is being strangled to death by an animated chain, unable to heal the rest. And there you are, in dire need of a good roll.
You roll a 19 and still you cannot make that critical check.
Meanwhile the GM is giving you the nastiest, shit eating grin you’ve ever seen.
And you start to wonder. ‘When and where did we fuck up so hard that we ended up in this situation in the first place?’
Well, let’s be honest. If you look back, there’s likely to be dozens of things you could have done to avoid all of this. You could have thought about asking your GM about some extra lore about the area. Maybe living chains are quite common here. Maybe you shouldn’t have jumped the gun and grab that floating ruby that was auspiciously left on a central pillar. At least, not without checking it out first. Maybe that group of Orcs just had no way in hell swimming after you in all that heavy armor a session ago.
All good options, surely. But how would you go about this?
Well, some players might simply tell you to ‘Git Gud, Scrub!’.
A good player will tell you that everything depends on your clever interaction with your party and above all, your GM.
So the question can be asked. “How can I, as a player, interact with my GM, in a way that is beneficial to the story and the game?’
It’s actually easier than you’d think.
If a situation seems fishy or you just want to cover your bases.
Always “Ask” never simply “Do”.
In the above situations, several options would present themselves.
Refer to your backstory or previous encounters.
“Gm, is there anything my char would know (or learn) about this place? Perhaps by having spent so much time in local pubs and listening to the barkeep talk?”
As for the Jewel.
“Gm, given that this Ruby is clearly on display in the center of the room. Would this not have a special meaning? Is the room perhaps built in function of this Ruby? Or would the Ruby serve a special purpose?”
This invites your GM (who at this point may even be jumping to elaborate his ingeniously designed trap to you) to turn a negative encounter for your party into a more positive one. Perhaps now the trap only shoots half the amount of acid bees at you. Or perhaps you are given a chance to partially disable it.
As for the Orcs.
“Gm, would it not be more feasible for the Orcs to avoid the water? Given their heavy armor. Or would they not hate to get wet in general, given what we know about these Orcs? Perhaps they know that this current is too dangerous to cross?”
In this situation, you are again presenting your argument in such a way that you invite your GM to change things up. Perhaps the water was indeed too dangerous. And only by dumb luck did you manage to avoid drowning or a deadly waterfall at a later point. We see it in movies all the time.
Given that you made a valid argument about the Orcs armor or hatred of water, a reasonable GM would follow suit and even pat you on the back for being clever.
“Ask” don’t just “Do”. It never hurts your cause. Even if the Orcs aren’t afraid of the water, you still made a valid point and gave your GM something to think about.
This is also true for doing just about anything.
instead of boldly stating “I tear the minotaurs horn off and beat him over the head with it!” Which seems highly unlikely by your GM (and he’ll likely punish you for it). Why not nuance your action by saying “I would like to try and aim my axe for the minotaurs horn. If i could somehow cleave one of them off, he won’t be as effective.”.
Notice that i said ‘try’ and that ive placed myself in the realm of suggestion.
This makes you as a player seem more humble instead of being a hothead trying to steal the spotlight. Most GM’s would take the latter down a peg (on a case by case basis).
Another good suggestion would be again to ‘Ask’ your GM if an action would be feasible enough to garner your wanted results.
“GM, given that i am such a tall and strong barbarian, would it seem feasible to me that i could cleave off this minotaurs horn?”
in short “Could X suggestion lead me to Y?”. And if your GM confirms, all the better.
It never, ever hurts to ask. And better still. Even if a suggestion doesn’t make it through, you’ve still given your GM new ideas. Perhaps even interesting enough to hype up your GM a bit more and earn you some loot and whatnot.
What you may never do!
* By all means make your point clear. But if your GM is not having any of it, drop it. Your sitting at ‘their’ game. Not every GM can be as reasonable or even comfortable enough to change things up in your favor and you do NOT want to risk their wrath.
* Slow down the game by constantly moaning about every little detail.
GM’s are actively trying to play their part as well. They love being engaged.
The perfect group (of players and GM) would be building the story together. That’s what the game is about. Having fun as a group.
If you are the cause of disrupting that fun, your GM and fellow players will not take kindly to it.
* If you have an issue, take it up with the GM during breaks or in between games. Do NOT try and force your argument as this will again ruin the game.
Be clever and work around the faults of the evening. You’l have more fun if you can.