Breaking the “My Character Can’t Die Mindset” in 5E

After some more scheduling issues, I was finally able to sit down with my 5E gaming group (Fighter, Rogue, Bard, & Sorcerer) and run another session of my heavily-edited Sinister Stone of Sakkara campaign. Because I am trying to bring some more old-school roleplaying ideas into the minds of my players, I decided not to play too nice. I am making the bandits they encounter difficult to fight, but I made sure that talking was a potential solution.

The first group of bandits they met, they starting talking, but then decided to fight them. The group was quite indecisive on how to handle these bandits. They were quite close to a break-through in their conversation. The bandits were willing to take a toll so that the party could freely move through their territory.

Instead, the party created a distraction and tried to fight them. There was an expectation that they could simply walk into this place and kill everything room by room. That is an expectation I am trying to break, but I am trying to be fair about it. If the party does something stupid…it is going to hurt. If they do something smart, they will be rewarded.

The fight did not go too well for the party. The rogue nearly died after trying to stab a bandit in the back, away from the rest of the party. As I was adding up the damage that knocked her unconscious, the player looked at the group and said, “I liked this character!”

After the fight was over, (and realizing that the bandits were not easy prey for murderhobos) the characters successfully intimidated the last living bandit into a meeting with his leader. They are trying to meet just outside the entrance to the ruins, so they can run / have a tactical advantage if need be.

Next session when they meet the bandit leader and he details his vision of supremacy among the other bandit groups in the ruins should be fantastic. The bandit leader is expecting a trap, so he will make a show of force. I cannot wait for the players to react to this.


Finally, a shout-out to bards that actually try to sing / be “bardic”. My bard is a talented singer, so naturally when she used certain bard skills, she would make up a little song on the spot. She even made up new insults when using her Vicious Mockery cantrip. The best one?

“You smell like Cheez-Its”.

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