It should be cardinal rule numero uno that DMs NOT be allowed to openly guffaw at the table...especially when you are energy draining the shit out of the player characters.
I am a terrible, terrible DM.
Tonight was the final night of our White Plume Mountain game. While the game was ostensibly a "win" for the PCs (three survivors made it out of the dungeon), this was only with a bit of "hand waving" on the part of the DM (at the players' request). The fact of the matter is the game was pretty much a TPK. All hand-waving aside, if we'd given the game another 30 minutes (perhaps even 15) everyone would have been toast; I don't think the players would deny that.
But we were over-time anyway, and I already blew my "fair-and-balanced" cred by laughing like a hyena at the players' misfortunes. It's just my damn brother...like many siblings, we have a semi-antagonistic relationship that goes back years, and we BOTH enjoy one-upping each other or making each other squirm (Lord knows, he needles me a lot). The expression on his face was priceless...actually, it wasn't the expression so much as I KNEW what he was thinking/feeling as his character was being taken down.
I couldn't help but laugh. Ugh! Bad DM!
So, letting the players exit without really fighting the "final encounter," let alone conducting a running battle with the vampire Ctenmiir was the very least I could do. Well, if I didn't want them to line up and punch me in the mouth.
As it was, they all want to come back next week (those who are able) and start the "new campaign," which (I hope) will be a fun one.
Hell, even my brother...the last thing he told me tonight was "thanks for being the DM," and that he had a fun time. And that was without any tea-bagging incidents. I'm glad he didn't take my laughter personal. I probably would have punched me in the face if the roles had been reversed. Fortunately, AB has a fairly good sense of humor...
More details later; I promise.