In case you wondered about Zombie Hole! [Part 1], let me explain the context.
This actually happened during the adventure The Village of Hommlet.
You know… one of the classics Gygax wrote which many people remember fondly? Not like The Tomb of Horrors where players to this day still wail and gnash their teeth.
My fighter/magic-user/thief would later die in the Moathouse Dungeon because the rest of the player-characters were making too much noise. A random encounter with a couple bugbears did my character in.
Afterward, I left the group. Well, this isn’t my kind of campaign, I told the GM. And never came back.
But you’re the only one who’s ever interacted with the village like that, he told me. You’re the only one who had bothered to investigate rumors and the like.
He would later complain to me about his players. The cavalier and wizard PCs left the group sometime after I did. The rest doesn’t do anything, he said. And then they wonder why their enemies become more powerful, why the story doesn’t go away, why it takes so long to gain experience points. And I’m sick of the players who show up late and want to leave early.
Why don’t you fold the group? I asked. Ditch your players? Start another group?
He side-stepped the question and why wouldn’t come back.
If there’s moral to this story, it’s this:
When do you quit dealing with the mooks and walk away? What’s that line, the threshold?
I’ve discovered that my threshold for walking away is short, and it’s gotten shorter over the years, especially as a player. As a GM I do my best not to let the mooks in the first place. At the beginning of each campaign, with a few reminders a long the away, I tell the players my expectations.
But I’ve seen and read about many DMs lament how the player treat their campaigns. They don’t take it seriously. They have a problem player or three. The PCs deliberately try to wreck the DM’s adventure.
And yet the DM sticks around, putting up with mooks? Why? What’s the point?
They’re not going to learn. They don’t want to learn.
Apparently, as I remember it (I think) ZOMBIE HOLE! came from another campaign where somebody’s thief crawled down a small and narrow tunnel armed only with a dagger and encountered zombies at the other end…