I try not to re-tread old material, as it were, but after my Saturday home game I got to thinking about my post from two weeks ago about pulling the plug on an adventure. My main course of thinking then, and I wasn't really
thinking about it too much, was about quitting an adventure as a player
At the risk of sounding completely like, well a quitter, last night's game we had a good opportunity to pretty much nope out on some of the adventure in-character. Now this was a relatively minor deal. We had cleared the entire first floor of a "dungeon" except one room. We've been playing this adventure off & on in between another adventure for month now and this one room....well for some reason we "remembered" there was some bad juju about this room and it really wasn't worth the trouble....
....and of course the GM kept trying to guide us to clear the level 100%. "Ah....no thanks...".....
....and then of course we ended up checking out the room anyway when my PC got teleported into said room due to a magical trap. I was able to get out ok, thankfully.
Now that was the 1st level. The second level was rather small (?), but there was a doorway with a short hallway extending into darkness, magical darkness. Our efforts to dispell the darkness failed. Of course the GM asked us a couple of times if we wanted to continue on that level, and he even threw in some good-natured ribbing.
Now personally I'm not scared of the dark, and my so-called one-off pregen (technically not a pre-gen, but close enough) isn't afraid of the dark, but the magical darkness after what we just went through....time to nope out to the next adventure.
This time though I'm thinking about how this time, even though it's basically two times in as many weeks, this time we're wanting to cut short and adventure in-character instead of as players (although there was maybe some OOC knowledge).
This isn't the first time I've done that, noped out in-character. I'm sure I've done it multiple times before, but mostly because when I play I kind of assume that other GMs run their games like I do....and I have no problem putting PCs in over their head. Now I won't sucker punch the party....they'll have a fair opportunity to nope-out, but if they aren't bright enough to do so, well that's on them, not on me.
I do remember this one time, and I'll make it short, this one time I went to play in an online tournament adventure and the whole she-bang started out with the PCs basically in a sensory-deprivation tank. No sights, sounds, taste, nothing. We were in Limbo for all my PC knew. What was supposed to be a four-hour tournament lasted all of 10' because....as far as my PC knew he was dead. Major nope-out.
One thing I have consistently noticed in newer (AKA non OSR) games, and in many ways I get it, is that they are....for lack of a better term, balanced. Parties should have a clearly defined level of difficulty progressing through an adventure, but it should be not only doable, but highly manageable. If you need something special to succeed, fear not, the adventure shall provide.
Nothing wrong with this per se, it would be a bad idea to set up the party for out-right failure from the get-go. Now if the party screws things up and makes it so that they cannot succeed, well that's on them. If they bite off more than they can chew....on them. As a GM it's my job to give them the opportunity to succeed or fail, when that doesn't happen....well that's on me.
I guess I like the general idea that the world exists outside of the party and doesn't cater to it. An occasional over-their-head encounter they have to run away from or get thoroughly smacked down by is a good thing. Learning to guesstimate whether it's worth fighting, parleying, or running like hell is a useful skill at the table (in and out of character). I like to think this is really an OSR thing you don't see in newer games. Well "newer" editions of D&D maybe. Overkill is part of the game with DCC to the extent that in a 0-level funnel you get multiple PCs 'cause one hit will kill one off.....