January 13, 2010

One of Those Days...

So, my Monday night game this week was... well, see the title. Anyone else remember that book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day? Well, after Monday night's session, I wanted to move to Australia. It wasn't just the bad rolls (although, it's never fun to spend the entire night rolling 8 or lower other than one 15 and a 13...) but rather the stark juxtaposition of my crap-tacular rolling alongside the multiple crits of our fighter and rogue. Now, D&D is a cooperative game, so I'm certainly not complaining that my team was doing well. In fact, we would likely have ended up ground into paste if they weren't doing better than average. But it got me thinking about 4e, and the frequency of "Those Days."

So, in honor of all "Those Days" we've had, here are some ideas on how to avoid the need to move to Australia.
  1. Don't take only attack powers. When you get the chance to pick up a utility, make sure it's not simply something that augments attacks. Grab at least a few of them that are encounter powers that you can use when you are scared of rolling a D20. Give someone else a save, remove a condition from someone else, teleport the heck out of a tight spot. If you only have dailies to rely on not needing to hit, you're going to spend a lot of turns doing nothing when the God of Dice is laying down the smack.
  2. With the support of your DM/fellow players, make it an off-day for your character. Flubbing a lot of rolls? Come up with some hilarious antics to explain why your normally savvy hero is suddenly the Chevy Chase of high adventure. Things like grabbing the wrong weapon, forgetting the words to that Inspiring Refrain, or just straight up bad luck can not only make your wasted turns sting a little less, but they can also make the fight more fun for everyone. Tap into the groups Schadenfreude, get everyone laughing at the frustration you are experiencing. It may just make you feel a little better about it.
  3. Help the DM out a bit. Maybe your rolls aren't the reason you're falling all over yourself, maybe the bad guy is just THAT AWESOME! Whenever you dump a roll, describe some incredible maneuver the enemy performed that caused your well-aimed attack to miss. This is, of course, subject to DM approval but most DMs will appreciate you playing up their villians. Especially when they feel like the dread has left the game, and no one is taking that evil warlock they spent three hours designing as the B.B.E.G. seriously. This could earn you some points, make you feel like less of a failure, AND help your fellow players enjoy the fight a bit more as they all experience more satisfaction when they manage to hit the guy on whom you couldn't lay a finger.
  4. Finally, look at other benefits you can contribute. Give the rogue flanking. Sure you're a wizard, but use the bloody staff and go flank that goblin! Use the often-overlooked "Aid Another" action. +2 to defenses against an opponent, or +2 on the next attack roll against that opponent? You only have to hit an AC 10 with a melee basic attack. And if you're going to roll horribly, at least you have better odds against a defense that low.
So there are four ways to make that terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad session a little less painful. And hopefully, a little more fun! And who knows, maybe you'll accrue some handy karma that will get that evil God of Dice off your back before the end of the session. You might be back to fighting fit before you know it! Or you can always use Ode of Sacrifice to take the stun condition off the rogue. Those striker-types love when you do stuff like that!

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