So ever since I’ve picked back up D&D 4th edition, I’ve been trying to heed the “leave them bruised and broken, but still alive” philosophy, however apparently not broken enough. It’s been about 5 months now since our campaign has started, due to scheduling and other elements my players are only level 4 now and I’m starting to see the errors of my ways when it comes to fudging one too many dice rolls. My players are outright shocked if a monster or trap deals them too much damage, fail a skill challenge or drop to zero hit points – well that’s just unheard of! I always try and make sure my players are having a good time and honestly I don’t want to kill them off, so I always make sure that doesn’t happen. After explaining my style to a good friend (and boss) who is relatively new to D&D aptly termed this “Carebear DM’ing”
It’s one thing to let something slide now and then but I think I’ve just gone too far, they feel too safe. Recently a friend of mine DM’d a session for us while I played and he by no means went easy on us, two of us managed to drop to zero hitpoints yet we still succeeded and no one died. Afterward we talked and I came to find out that he fudged a total of 1 die roll and that’s when I realized I need to rethink my DM’ing. His encounter was far more intense feeling than anything I’ve ever ran, and now I feel I’ve been missing out on a vital element to our game. 4e combat is so lengthy after all that I may as well make it count instead of just fudging everything in their favor. I recenly once had a monster crit a player 2x in a row and I gave him an ultimatum instead of just beating his character to a pulp….I know, shame on me. 🙁
Next session I’m going to let the fate of the dice fall as they may and see what happens, hope I don’t piss too many people off. What do you guys think? Are there any other carebears out there? Should I start a carebear DM support group?