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Kol Korran
2009-06-21, 11:06 AM
how exactly is this dealt with in 4E (away from my books). if i remember correctly a player can always just decide that the damage caused by his/ her attacks is nonlethal. this seems quite silly to me, i think (and for campaign reason need), to make taking prisoners a viable option, but one that is less "battle effective" than dealing regular damage.

i thought of two simple rules:
1- you know when another strike has the possibility of killing/ knicking out an opponenet.
2- in order to deal nonlethal damage your attack suffers a -4 to hit. you need to proclaim the intention before rolling the die.

i hope this will make stressfull battle, where the characters also plan to take a prisoner more... well, not "realistic", but closer mechanics to that at least.

gah. this post is written quite badly.. too tired to worry about it now. sorry
what do you people think? how have you dealt with this issue? any alternatives?

thanks in advance,
Kol.

ninja_penguin
2009-06-21, 11:09 AM
When attempted in our group, the -4 to hit basically made everybody decide to either intimidate people into surrendering instead, and then just killing everybody and trying to loot their bodies for any information instead.

That, or the wizard pulls out an orb and puts everybody to sleep, or somebody just rolls out with some other 'target is helpless/unconscious' kind of thing.

Now, your milage may vary; my group is very kill-happy and has only ever bothered with prisoners the first one or two times that they played, and just slaughters everything instead.

Tengu_temp
2009-06-21, 11:17 AM
And what, exactly, is wrong with the players taking prisoners whenever they can? I see nothing wrong with the current 4e model.

Gralamin
2009-06-21, 11:17 AM
The rule is actually...



When you reduce a creature to 0 hit points or fewer, you
can choose to knock it unconscious rather than kill it.
Until it regains hit points, the creature is unconscious but
not dying. Any healing makes the creature conscious.
If the creature doesnít receive any healing, it is
restored to 1 hit point and becomes conscious after a
short rest.

What this basically means is the DM doesn't bother having to track Nonlethal damage separately from lethal. If the Players want something alive, then it will survive. If they want it dead, they will not. If some want it dead and some want it alive, then the person who deals the "killing blow" gets to choose what happens.

Mando Knight
2009-06-21, 11:23 AM
When attempted in our group, the -4 to hit basically made everybody decide to either intimidate people into surrendering instead, and then just killing everybody and trying to loot their bodies for any information instead.

I think this is why WotC decided to kick the nonlethal penalty.

It also makes sense to me: if a character is trained to kill things with a weapon, it's not that hard to figure out how to not kill when you hit with the weapon. A -4 penalty is worse than even removing the Proficiency bonus when using a weapon. Twice as bad if you're using an axe or hammer. That doesn't really make sense to me, and it doesn't seem to have made sense to the development team.

Kurald Galain
2009-06-21, 11:53 AM
how exactly is this dealt with in 4E (away from my books). if i remember correctly a player can always just decide that the damage caused by his/ her attacks is nonlethal. this seems quite silly to me, i think
Yes, that is correct, and yes, it is silly.


2- in order to deal nonlethal damage your attack suffers a -4 to hit. you need to proclaim the intention before rolling the die.
Reasonable. Also, certain attacks (e.g. anything with "explosion" in the description) cannot be made nonlethal.

Quietus
2009-06-21, 11:53 AM
I think this is why WotC decided to kick the nonlethal penalty.

It also makes sense to me: if a character is trained to kill things with a weapon, it's not that hard to figure out how to not kill when you hit with the weapon. A -4 penalty is worse than even removing the Proficiency bonus when using a weapon. Twice as bad if you're using an axe or hammer. That doesn't really make sense to me, and it doesn't seem to have made sense to the development team.

Mm. From what I understand, penalties are harsher in 4e, as well, as bonuses are tougher to come by. A -4 penalty in 3e is an inconvenience by mid levels, but likely more significant when you don't have BAB to work with.

And *that* is probably why they didn't put a penalty on nonlethal in the first place. A -4 penalty makes a big difference, and would mean in some cases it would be unreasonably more difficult to take someone alive, compared to taking them dead. I see no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to simply choose not to kill a person without having to use a penalty to do it.

Kurald Galain
2009-06-21, 11:59 AM
Mm. From what I understand, penalties are harsher in 4e, as well, as bonuses are tougher to come by.
No they're not. Pretty much all penalties either are minor (such as -2) or have been removed from the rules.

Also, temporary bonuses are easy to get with any kind of leader in the party.

Quietus
2009-06-21, 12:02 PM
No they're not. Pretty much all penalties either are minor (such as -2) or have been removed from the rules.

Also, temporary bonuses are easy to get with any kind of leader in the party.

Compared on a level- or scale- basis to 3.x, are the average attack bonuses of your "standard" party higher or lower? If they're lower, then a -4 penalty is proportionately more significant. If they're the same, then I simply haven't had enough experience with 4e.

Gralamin
2009-06-21, 12:08 PM
Compared on a level- or scale- basis to 3.x, are the average attack bonuses of your "standard" party higher or lower? If they're lower, then a -4 penalty is proportionately more significant. If they're the same, then I simply haven't had enough experience with 4e.

Comparisons don't work that way. You'd have to compare the Chance to hit in 3.5 compared to 4e. IE, You'd have to work out the average AC of a Given CR, and compare that to an Attack vs AC, and see what has the better hit chance.

Kol Korran
2009-06-21, 12:31 PM
hhhmmmm... so, different approaches, though most think to leave it as is.

there is one point that i don't agree with however, but let me explain:

by Mando Knight
It also makes sense to me: if a character is trained to kill things with a weapon, it's not that hard to figure out how to not kill when you hit with the weapon. A -4 penalty is worse than even removing the Proficiency bonus when using a weapon. Twice as bad if you're using an axe or hammer. That doesn't really make sense to me, and it doesn't seem to have made sense to the development team.

the begining of this statement is quite untrue. i was a proffesional soldier. for 4 years. and it's realy, realy hard NOT to kill when your weapons and tools are designed to do exactly that. i'm not comparing a rifle t oa sword, but a sword as well (and even a hammer and an axe) can't be used the way they are planned to and avoid lethal injuries. you have to actually go quite out of your way in order to make them non destructive.

from personal experience- taking an opponenet alive imposes far more complications than opting for the simple solution. this is especially true in the heat of battle, when you're in a life and death situation, where you use everything in your power to just stay alive, and that means usually taking out your enemy with full force, not holding back.

but i'm derailing. i think my experience may have come to effect how i see the game. in one major battle one of my players decided he wants to keep all the opponenets alive, so he could question them all. from a soldier's point of view that means he should have gone to extreme lengths just to make sure his opponenets survived, and that seemed quite counter realistic to me, so i thought there should be some sort of penalty, to make the decision to capture your enemies indeed hard.

i thought there is no problem with that- true, it makes things harder, but usually captive provide usefull information (again, personal experience), so the effort is worthwhile.

as to another post:

originally by Gralamin
The rule is actually...


Quote:
Originally Posted by PHB 295
When you reduce a creature to 0 hit points or fewer, you
can choose to knock it unconscious rather than kill it.
Until it regains hit points, the creature is unconscious but
not dying. Any healing makes the creature conscious.
If the creature doesnít receive any healing, it is
restored to 1 hit point and becomes conscious after a
short rest.

What this basically means is the DM doesn't bother having to track Nonlethal damage separately from lethal. If the Players want something alive, then it will survive. If they want it dead, they will not. If some want it dead and some want it alive, then the person who deals the "killing blow" gets to choose what happens.

my "-4 to hit" rule was supposed to address just that, making keeping enemies alive harder to achieve, giving a slight edge to just killing the nemy which should be easier, but less rewarding.

but those are my ideas. i'm unsure how they would effect game play, or more importently, game fun. your advice is helping me think this through, so i thank you.
Kol.

P.S: Gurald, did you get a chance to see the revisions i made to the items i posted on a thread some days ago? your input was very helpful, would be nice to know what you think. drop me a PM if you can and don't want to jump the thread

Kurald Galain
2009-06-21, 12:31 PM
Compared on a level- or scale- basis to 3.x, are the average attack bonuses of your "standard" party higher or lower? If they're lower, then a -4 penalty is proportionately more significant. If they're the same, then I simply haven't had enough experience with 4e.

"Proportional" is irrelevant. A -4 bonus on a 1d20 roll is a 20% difference, simple as pie.

Regardless of the above, many things that give huge penalties in 3E (e.g. swimming in plate armor, or long-distance shooting) give tiny or nonexistent penalties in 4E.

Mando Knight
2009-06-21, 12:44 PM
the begining of this statement is quite untrue. i was a proffesional soldier. for 4 years. and it's realy, realy hard NOT to kill when your weapons and tools are designed to do exactly that. i'm not comparing a rifle t oa sword, but a sword as well (and even a hammer and an axe) can't be used the way they are planned to and avoid lethal injuries. you have to actually go quite out of your way in order to make them non destructive.

from personal experience- taking an opponenet alive imposes far more complications than opting for the simple solution. this is especially true in the heat of battle, when you're in a life and death situation, where you use everything in your power to just stay alive, and that means usually taking out your enemy with full force, not holding back.

A shot to the arm or leg is easier than a shot to the head, and a bit less likely to be immediately lethal. Swords you can hit the guy with the flat side or the pommel. Could cause a concussion, but less likely to kill. Axes have an even larger flat side. Hammers and axes and swords all alike could be used to break arms or otherwise completely disable the guy rather than kill him outright. Most deaths in the middle ages were caused by disease and poorly treated wounds rather than definitely fatal wounds.

Kol Korran
2009-06-21, 12:57 PM
A shot to the arm or leg is easier than a shot to the head, and a bit less likely to be immediately lethal. Swords you can hit the guy with the flat side or the pommel. Could cause a concussion, but less likely to kill. Axes have an even larger flat side. Hammers and axes and swords all alike could be used to break arms or otherwise completely disable the guy rather than kill him outright. Most deaths in the middle ages were caused by disease and poorly treated wounds rather than definitely fatal wounds.

true, but all of these options take greater care and skill than just stabbing/ slashing/ bashing straight ahead with your weapon. hence i thought to do the attack penalty, to reflect exactly that.

by the way- i would think it's reasonable to consider bone breaking, or a shot to the arm or leg as lethal damage (as have been all the attacks before the final one. those attacks didn't just hit vital organs). beside that, the idea about nonlethal damage is that it makes the target unconcious, taking it out of the fight. a shot to the arm, or breaking a knee still keeps the opponenet in the fight, perhaps slowed, immobelized or whatever. butthen again, we haven't got a system for that in D&D.
hitting with the pomel or flat side of an axe or whatever can be done, but it takes great skill to do that properly, dealing non lethal damage. too weak and you cause no damage, too hard and you just have a realy odd looking war hammer.

as to the reference to the middle ages: diseases have always, and still do kill more people than weapons. but that has absolutley no bearing on the discussion, as i wasn't comparing battles to diseases. as to poorly treated wounds- these wounds bleed, or fester, but we don't count it in D&D (or battles would have gone realy different- you would slash at an opponenet, then move to another while you let the other one bleed), so that doesn't have a bearing either. besides, those kind of wounds are stil llethal damage.

Kol.

NecroRebel
2009-06-21, 01:03 PM
"Proportional" is irrelevant. A -4 bonus on a 1d20 roll is a 20% difference, simple as pie.

Regardless of the above, many things that give huge penalties in 3E (e.g. swimming in plate armor, or long-distance shooting) give tiny or nonexistent penalties in 4E.

It is relevant, though, and it isn't as simple as just a 20% difference.

In 3.x, it's easy, due to how AC scales relative to attack bonuses, to attain 90-95% to hit. -4 is, in that case, about -20% reduction in your chances to hit (actually 21-22%). In 4e, it is quite difficult to manage such a thing; the vast majority of the time, you're running 60-70% chance to hit. -4 is, in that case, closer to a 28-33% reduction in your chances to hit.

I... realize that that may not be quite clear for some people. It's like this:

3.x:
90% to hit normally

-4 attack leaves that as 70%

Actual reduction in to hit is 20%, but that 20% is 22.22% of the original 90%, so your chance to hit is reduced by that 22.22%

4e:
70% to hit normally

-4 attack leaves that as 50%

Actual reduction in to hit is 20%, but that 20% is 28.57% of the original 70%, so your chance to hit is reduced by that 28.57%.



In short, the smaller the difference between the targeting attack and the targeted defense, the more extreme a penalty is, relative to the attack roll itself. In 3.x, the difference is often fairly large (18-20, or even more) much of the time, while in 4e the difference is consistently 7-13.

Or, a -4 penalty in 4e is more important than the same penalty in 3.x, because bonuses are so much more difficult to come by and defenses scale at relatively the same rate as attacks in 4e, while in 3.x bonuses to attack are easy to get and improving defenses becomes exhorbitantly expensive after a certain point and simply isn't worthwhile.

MartinHarper
2009-06-21, 07:08 PM
If you want to be "realistic", use the same death or dying rules for enemies as you use for PCs. Remember that most enemies don't have the Second Wind power, so they don't get better on a 20. The way this will play out in practice is that monsters that the PCs don't care about will get shanked by the rogue or left to bleed to death, and enemies that the PCs want to take alive will be the subject of a First Aid check at some point in the next 3+ rounds and will be taken alive.

The fact that PCs can choose to whether an enemy dies instantly or goes unconscious when reduced to zero hit points is essentially a simplification of the above. Nobody is going around casting special non-lethal fireballs, or stabbing people with non-lethal swords. If anything, it's very difficult to kill someone instantly, and people should take a penalty to do that. Taking a penalty to perform a regular attack that will leave someone unconscious and bleeding is backwards.

If your BBEG dies instantly when reduced to zero hit points, she is less resilient than this 12-year-old girl:
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/161974/Girl-names-killer-before-dying-from-17-stab-wounds

Kol Korran
2009-06-21, 08:48 PM
i was going to implement some sort of a "still bleeding but alive" percentage to monsters after combat, but you're right about the simplification. i haven't thoughtr of that. i don't want to use this rule only to have my players start playing medic in the middle of the battle. more realistic? yes. more fun? not likely.

ok, you've persuaded me MartinHarper, i'm going to leave the rules as they are. will be simpler and probably more fun this way. the "always capture and interogate" player will hopefully get a bit disuadded if he finds similar information in different interogations... roleplaying such repating interogations can become tiresome as well, which is what i believe i wanted to avoid by opting for the rule...

i'm musing all over the place. thanks again, to all who participated and contributed,
Kol.

Quietus
2009-06-21, 08:51 PM
If your BBEG dies instantly when reduced to zero hit points, she is less resilient than this 12-year-old girl:
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/161974/Girl-names-killer-before-dying-from-17-stab-wounds

Wow, kid must've had the Diehard feat. That being said, is it sad that I noticed the two different spellings of her uncle's last name? Editors should catch that stuff...

As to the comments on my 'proportional' argument; I didn't pay much attention in that particular math class, so I'll have to apologize for any mistakes I might have made.

MartinHarper
2009-06-22, 04:15 AM
the "always capture and interogate" player will hopefully get a bit disuadded if he finds similar information in different interogations... roleplaying such repating interogations can become tiresome as well, which is what i believe i wanted to avoid by opting for the rule...

That sounds like a great question for another thread. You may be able to speed things up by saying "you question him for another five minutes ('short rest') but he doesn't say anything else". Depending on your players, you may want to agree to refrain from torture.