You never forget your first group. Sometimes, that presents a bit of a challenge.

For those of you who have followed her career, you may have noticed that Magus struggles with mechanics. Well here’s why. I doubt that Thaumaturge manged to keep his teaching license at that School for Unruly Ladies, but the damage is already done. When you learn the rules in a heavily house-ruled campaign, they stop being house rules. For a new player, those house rules become the de facto way to play the game. Subsequently, if that new player goes on to another table later in her career, she’s going to struggle with the transition.

I saw this phenomenon not so long ago when I joined a long-standing group. Suffice it to say that I was more of a stickler for the rules-as-written than the rest of that crowd. The first combat of the first session rolled around, and somebody dropped a 15 to hit against an out-of-the-box drow prison guard.

“Sorry,” says the GM. “15 is his AC. That’s a miss!”

There weren’t any moonshine and horseradish shots, but there might as well have been. I tried to tell them that you have to meet (not exceed) AC to hit a monster in 5th edition. They replied that it was an easy mistake to make, since you had to beat AC to hit in 3.5 D&D. When I pointed out that, well actually, you only have to meet rather than exceed in 3.5 as well, there were blank stares… tumbleweeds rolled by… and then someone suggested that my book must be from a later printing.

That brings me to my question of the day. Have you ever had a “we play different” experience out in the wild? Maybe that weird other group used botches and fumbles, handed out mechanical bonuses for RP, or only awarded XP for getting the killing blow on a monster. Let’s hear about your bizarre house rule experiences down in the comments!

 

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