If you have to ask why Sorcerer wouldn’t just use fireball, then you don’t understand Sorcerer. Dude loves his black powder to an unhealthy degree. (Mostly unhealthy to flammable humanoids in a 100 ft. radius, but still.)

In any case, the subject of today’s comic is not Sorcerer’s pyromania, but his disappointment. Just look at that heart-wrenching, watch-people-die-inside expression on his poor little half-elven mug. Dude had the encounter all planned out. He was gonna rig up a long fuse, set off a pyrotechnic display to rival a goblin in a Paizo module, and sneak through yonder eldritch gate while its gargoyle guardians were all, “Ooh and aah.” Sad to say, but a more straight-forward solution ruined all those sorcerous hopes and dreams.

Here’s the point of the recaptiulation. When you’re GMing, your players will come up with cockamamie schemes from time to time. It is known. They will be overly complex, rely on cartoon logic, and fall through at the slightest narrative nudge. Distractions are one of these scenarios.

“My evil snake cultists aren’t complete idiots,” you might say to yourself. “If they see a bunch of explosions outside their hidden temple, they’ll reason that a caster has discovered their lair. Everyone will go on high alert, and the PCs will be discovered by the alerted patrols before they even make it to the hidden waterfall entrance around back.”

In other words, if you’re not careful you can logic yourself into adversarial GM territory. Sure it might make more sense in your head for the party to try a simple Persuasion check, a straight-forward assault on the gates, or a sneaky passwall to kick off the dungeon crawl. But when players go out of their way to think up more elaborate plans, I think it’s best practice to give them the benefit of the doubt. At the very least the fireworks will be entertaining.

Question of the day then! Have you ever attempted a distraction in a game? Was it a tactically sound plan, or was hurling awakened pigeons at the guards doomed to fail from the outset? And in a more general sense, have you ever encountered a GM that refused to let your more implausible shenanigans succeed? Tell us all about your ruined fireworks displays and hairbrained schemes down in the comments!


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