“Are You Sure You Want To Do That?” & Other Warnings

green and brown concrete wall
Have you ever watched a video so aggravating that you couldn’t wait to force your friend to see it? Not that it was particularly enjoyable on your first viewing, but making someone else share in your misery allows the second viewing to be far more fun (I’m looking at you, Too Many Cooks). Sometimes, that’s what being a DM is like. You know what’s coming, and you’re just watching with all-knowing eyes as your surprise unfolds. It’s not unlike the sensation of buying someone a Christmas present and dangling clues above their head all month long. (Oh, does no one else do that? Just me? Oops).


DMs are not all ambivalent creatures, however! We will not make you suffer without blinking an eye. If you are going to make a stupid decision, chances are we will try to warn you. As citizens living in the world we created, we care about you. We want you to succeed. We don’t want you to die (also because integrating a new character to replace one that died can be a pain in the donkey’s heinie).


Mind The Step signage


When you hear the DM say any of the phrases below, take it as a word of caution. These are the words to watch out for. Heed my words, players. Don’t take these sentences lightly!


When the DM says: “You hear the whole dungeon tremble around you.”
What you should do: detect magic, listen for monsters, find traps, search for threats…
Most balanced parties will have at least one member who has some sort of detection or search skill. Keep your guard up and try not to get ambushed! (If they don’t, it’s possible you made a party of five barbarians, again, failing the character creation session once more.) (“But they’re just so powerful!” you say, as your barbarian falls to one hit of a magic missile.) (But I digress.)


When you roll a perception check and ask if you found anything, to which the DM replies, “Maybe!”
What you should do: Tear that room apart!
Unless your DM is a sadist (it happens) or simply has a dark sense of humor (this also happens), chances are there is something in that area, and it’s up to you to find it. Maybe it’s an entrance to a secret room. Maybe it’s a hidden treasure. Maybe the DM is just messing with you, but think outside the box and don’t give up until you find out!


When you ask for advice on how to proceed and the DM says, “You have people you can ask…”
What you should do: Talk to nearby NPC(s)!
NPCs are a great tool DMs use to deliver important information without feeling like they’re overstepping or backseat driving. Oftentimes, they’re there to serve as your guide. If you get stuck or don’t know what to do, take advantage of them! They were created for you! An added bonus is getting to know the NPC more as a fleshed-out character. Who knows? You might even be able to recruit them to your party!


When the DM says: “Are you sure you want to do that?”
The session comes to a halt. The phrase that makes every player in the room look up. All side conversations are immediately silenced as everyone waits with bated breath. When the DM asks this, you should say, Just kidding! No, I don’t!!!
What you should do: NOT THAT. Anything but that.
Also sounds like: “You could do that, but so-and-so/NPC might not like it.”
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Until next time, players. Let the good dice roll! ⚀⚁⚂