So I almost forced the students at my gaming club to play a rules lite game. And not even for the right reasons necessarily. I've been contemplating making the switch based on the fact that I play rules lite regardless of the version/edition I play. And truthfully I feel that a quick and flexible game is probably best for younger players. Not to mention it would be easier to learn. But none of these reasons were the motivation for almost forcing them to change games.
The problem is that they can't see that basic smart playing is what is going to help them survive, not munchkinizing their play. And yes, I can see that they probably think they have to do this because so many of them have died. But no matter how simple I make the challenge they can't quite get it through their heads that they have to be careful, play smart and think a little bit. Things like checking for traps, not pissing off the town guard one too many times, not trying to cast charm person spells on the every passing acquaintance, not insulting the massively muscled scar laden guy with the axe at the bar, not rushing in when you are overwhelmingly outnumbered, not throwing molotov cocktails in the middle of the party, not gulping down every strange looking flask with bubbly liquid that you pick up, and the list goes on and on and on.
This young lad who had lost only one player in his gaming career looked at me and said,
"You could go easier on us. Not be so tough. Lighten things up and help us survive."
I certainly don't think so. My response was leveled and measured.
"Look, I know my adventures are tough. When you get through my adventures alive you know you've accomplished something worth celebrating. I don't hand out treasure, gold or easy wins. You have work for these things, and for the experience and levels you attain. My job is not to kill you, my job is to challenge you. If you end up dead alot of the fault lies in your own laps. As to "lightening things up"; You're not likely to fight a group of 6 goblins, when you guys are a party a dozen strong. Those 6 goblins aren't gonna chance it. They are going to run home and get their big brothers. That's why the monster groups almost always match you man for man or slightly outnumber you. As to helping you, I give plenty of hints--too many really. But you have to hear and heed them. And one thing I'm not gonna do is cheat. If my monsters roll a 20 I'm not gonna fudge it. I also won't fudge it if they roll a 1. The dice fall where they may, and the world is not going to open a path to greatness and victory for you. You are gonna have to search for it and fight for it. This is the life of an adventurer, the path of a hero. If you don't want it, maybe you should reconsider what you are doing."
Harsh? Maybe. But it's how I roll, and how I always have rolled. When I have crossed the line--and I do occasionally--I have no problem rolling back a bad ruling or fiasco on my part. But those don;t really happen too often.