It think there were warning signs in the last game, but they got ramped up in this one. I attempted to go shopping with the character, to buy something from the books in a marketplace that he claimed was as big as a city and stocked everything you could possibly desire. With a courtier-style rogue as my character, I could have purchased twenty sets of clothes to go in the saddlebags of the character's riding gecko but instead I found the "sleeves of many garments" (or something like that), which magically enchant a wearers current garments into any other style of clothes...it seemed appropriate, and for 200 gold it was reasonably priced as something with a minor (but useful to my character) enchantment...far cheaper than buying twenty sets of different clothes (cheaper than half a dozen of the better sets of clothes).
My character has a great diplomacy skill for a first level character, and is pretty decent for any character (+10), with complimenting bluff, appraise, and intimidate scores, and a character background in a merchant family. Hell, I thought decent rolls with this backstory might even allow the purchase of stuff at a cheaper price. The offer I get for the purchase of this item...minimum of 350 gold, no haggling. Hang on....what? You're discarding a decent chunk of my character concept right there.
Meanwhile, the wizard who fancies himself a herbalist/alchemist goes to the marketplace to buy some herbs to mix into potions of some type....nope, these merchants make more money selling completed potions, not ingredients, so that's all they sell. He'll have to find ingredients in his travels (then later when we go travelling, he tries to find her s along the way, only to be told...no there's nothing to gather, don't even bother rolling).
The half orc barbarian enrolls into a fighting ring to earn a bit of cash, and despite being first level, is forced to comfront 12 rabid monkeys. Lots of die rolls, so the GM seemed content, but the monkeys would have slaughtered the barbarian with multiple attacks every round, while the barbarian was swinging once (or twice with their cleave ability). Naturally, the GM controlled the flow of combat in the manner some people refer to as "illusionism"...things are getting easy, throw in more monkeys...things are getting too hard, some of the monkeys get frightened off. Maybe I've just been a GM. Too long and can see behind the curtain too easily these days. It is his first go at being a GM, and there are a lot of bad GMs out there to learn from and mimic.
The party's monk, I think he did some stuff, but generally ended up continually getting thwarted in his actions by one means or another.
Mystery cults of armed enforcers seem to magically appear when the deviations from the plot occur.
Eventually we get to the town "over-run by 80 or so goblins", with a team of 19 other veteran adventurers (clerics, rangers, paladins, fighters, and a wizardess). A town surrounded by wooden palisades, half enshrouded in darkness...two entrances. The main chunk of our expanded warband attacks from the front, our party and a few key associates block the rear to avoid stragglers getting out. I cling to a wall with my war-trained riding gecko, crossbow at the ready, out of the reach of goblin swords, but able to take pot shots...a careful stragetic way to play my character. Despite the gecko being "war trained" I'm making ride checks every turn, it's getting startled, it falls off the wall onto me and nearly kills me after I get shot by a goblin archer. Down to two hit points, NPCs come in to save the day, blow up the goblin sniper nest I'd been climbing over (despite trying to get specific answers and trying to stealthily reconnoiter the area, I had no idea there were goblin archer in there until I faced four of them and one critically hit me with hidden GM die rolls), then I get healed back into the action.
While I appreciate not losing the character, if my decisions aren't going to be beneficial, and my actions are going to be trumped at every turn by NPCs more suited to the actions we've undertaken, would it perhaps have been better to allow the character to die so that I can make something more appropriate. i know we're just level 1 characters and a fantasy world is considered a dangerous place, I'd love to see the characters level up and confront things on their own terms, but after 2 games the half-orc barbarian has the most experience at just over 1000 XP (it seems that only fighting earns experience, so we're solidly in murderhobo territory here) and we've been told it will take 3000XP to reach level 2, so that means we're playing the long slow game. I guess we're playing an even more grimdark version of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying, where everything can kill you if you're not careful, or if you're unlucky. The PCs are just peons in a vast conspiracy that could crush them like bugs.
I was hoping to go the "diplomat/strategist" route with this character, because if was new and interesting for me. I might just end up going the path of the shadowy assassin "again", but if I can't get close enough to kill things yet, and if I find that every time I try to do something strategic I'm met woth a barrage of dice rolls and saving throws until I fail, then it's seriously not going to be fun, except as a possible comedy of errors (purely in the hands of the GM).
A lot of the players in this group are new to roleplaying, and I really don't want this to be the bad experience that turns them off for good. I've traditionally settled into the GM role because I can't stand bad GMs, I don't want to have to do it again, but nor do I want to just walk away.
I'll give it a few more weeks and see how it goes.