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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Fearless Bandits

    I have kind of a pet peeve about gaming. Its something that seems to show up quite a bit in games that I have played in. Its when NPCs seem to be virtually fearless in the face of superior opponents .

    For example, when our PCs were attacked by a group of highwaymen our players managed to kill 8 of the 10 bandits, and yet the 2 survivors continued to fight us to the death. I noticed this on another occasion when we were attacked by some thugs and my wizard blasted them with a fire ball - killing the majority of them. Yet the others continued to fight on as though it didn't happen - particularly strange since it was a low magic world and such displays of power were strange.

    After these events I realized that in a huge number of cases NPCs seem to fight to then death when in real life equivalent people would never do so, and would probably run away once the PCs showed themselves to be the lethal opponents that they are.

    That kinda makes me wonder then, how should a DM handle how likely a person is to run away when his group takes casualties. Has anybody had similar problems with this issue or addressed it in any particular way?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    There were morale values in 2.0, but they got ditched. It's just the DM's role to play things from the "monsters'" perspective and decide on their motivations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxic_Avenger View Post
    Trust me, Ikkitosen knows what he's talking about.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Zincorium's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    One of my current games has been a sort of round robin affair, with the one original DM running about half the games and myself and one other person doing almost all of the rest. Unfortunately, the main DM's npcs drive me nuts, and have caused my character to cease to have a good alignment out of sheer frustration.

    Seriously, unless you have an incredibly well trained soldier or a brainwashed 'true believer', most people are going to give up at some point. When you've been knocked unconscious and wake up to see all your buddies either burned to ash or splattered over the walls, you're tied up, and heavily armed and vicious looking people are standing around you debating on whether they should attempt to get information from you or just kill you outright, I think most people would stop thinking about what might happen when they report back and instead just try to survive that one encounter.

    Apparently that less than one percent of the population that still act superior and smart alecky under those conditions comprise 100% of the people we decide to take captive. Gets even worse when we release one, unharmed, with a warning that if he or his buddies ever messes with us again, we will kill all of them, just like we killed the 20-30 others that were in his group.

    The little bastard comes back with 5 others and tries to ambush us while we were sleeping. We kind of expected the betrayal, duergar being duergar, but it was the fact that he came back with only five others that annoyed us. Needless to say, when he tried to surrender the second time, the nearest person decided it wasn't worth the trouble of having him come back again and killed the guy. DM changed his alignment to evil for it, but seriously, what did he really expect?
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Sounds like you have a GREAT DM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxic_Avenger View Post
    Trust me, Ikkitosen knows what he's talking about.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Zincorium's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikkitosen View Post
    Sounds like you have a GREAT DM.
    The guy has his moments, but there's a reason we switched to having multiple DMs. Although I'm thinking of just staying a player for a while, the way it's set up, he still makes rulings on rule disputes, as well as final say in all game world affecting decisions. And I just don't feel that a player should have greater power and control than the current DM over anything except what their character does, so every time I try to run I get into arguments.

    My advice to anyone who's interested in multiple DMs in a group and hasn't tried it: make very, very sure that DMs are independant of the others and all have an equal say in what's going on. If you can't, stick with just one DM per campaign setting.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Matthew's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikkitosen View Post
    There were morale values in 2.0, but they got ditched. It's just the DM's role to play things from the "monsters'" perspective and decide on their motivations.
    Yeah, it seems odd that 3.x doesn't have a rule for morale, given the number of situations it does legislate for...
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincorium View Post
    The guy has his moments, but there's a reason we switched to having multiple DMs. Although I'm thinking of just staying a player for a while, the way it's set up, he still makes rulings on rule disputes, as well as final say in all game world affecting decisions. And I just don't feel that a player should have greater power and control than the current DM over anything except what their character does, so every time I try to run I get into arguments.

    My advice to anyone who's interested in multiple DMs in a group and hasn't tried it: make very, very sure that DMs are independant of the others and all have an equal say in what's going on. If you can't, stick with just one DM per campaign setting.
    See, my gaming group uses a similar settup. I.E. I am the primary DM, I design the overall world and campaign, and do most of the DMing. But my wife and one of the other players also take turns DMing in the same setting.

    All it takes is a little communication to make it work.

    When they take over the reigns, we talk about what NPC's I need to be left alone, and they know not to use my recurring villains directly (agents or catspaws of those villains are fine). Everyone is clear on the specific campaign rules we use. And if I have an open-ended plot lef tunresolved, then they leave it open-ended (occasionally placing a unique twist of their own on it, but that can be fun too).

    Communication, ground rules, and respect for one another. Those things make everythign easier.
    Last edited by Gryndle; 2007-03-17 at 09:12 AM.

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    Falrin's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Read this. Let your DM read this. Start using it, it's more realistic and more fun.

    http://www.giantitp.com/articles/Xbs...9g3HZBAGE.html


    A lot of the response is situational.

    Are the PC's having trouble or cutting away with ease.
    I had 10 goblins run away when the barbarian critted the first one and cleaved a second in the first round while the ranger drove a arrow in the casters head.
    What mindset are the NPCs.
    Mindless undead, payed mercenaries, pressed farmers, kobolds, ...
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    (Hi! Longtime reader first time poster!)

    In my experience, it's because if you have folks run away the PCs will chase after them and bog down the game by wasting time chasing and killing the fleeing person. My old group was like this, so it got to the point where nothing would ever flee because I wanted the encounter to be over and then move on, not waste 30 minutes with them following whoever it was so they didn't get away.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    I have a lot of weaker enemies surrender when a fight starts looking hopeless. No chasing bog-down, no completely unbelievable stand-and-fight scenarios.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of adventurers, for you are expendable and full of EXP.


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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    I just give my henchmen horses.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    To quote the Grunts from Halo: "Leader dead! Run away!"
    There SHOULD be some kind of motivation or morale rules.


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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Playing fearful NPCs was all that kept us alive in one Eberron game. Basically, the three of us were being pounded by four thugs. Our 'forged psion went down and it was just me and our artificer, me being a paladin. I take down the strongest of the bunch (a fullblood orc, turned out he was a level higher than us, and had a strength of 23) with only one hit point left.
    The remaining two bandits could have killed us--but the big guy got knocked down, and so they bolted.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    I set it up one time where the PCs invaded a cult to a fire god. They were only level 2 so I made most of the cultists level 1 civilians. There was 20 of them and 2 level 1 warriors. When the PCs took out the warriors and a number of the commoners, the rest began backing away and raising their hands, begging for mercy. So the monk and ranger attacked and took down some more of the surrendering cultists, on the belief that the cultists were faking it (the monk at least did non-lethal, just in case). They kept going until the commoners dropped their weapons and dropped to the ground crying. So, be careful about surrendering foes, the PCs sometimes keep going.
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeantbrother View Post
    That kinda makes me wonder then, how should a DM handle how likely a person is to run away when his group takes casualties. Has anybody had similar problems with this issue or addressed it in any particular way?
    I've seen it happen before. I think Heroes of Battle has morale rules, but I'm not sure how extensive or useful they are.

    It doesn't help that without magic there aren't many viable ways to make somebody run away. (I'm in a caster-free setting right now, on that note; any suggestions?)

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Diggorian's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    I use a level check adding the Wis modifier and any bonuses vs fear, actually the DC for Intimidate, versus the scariness of a situation adhoc DC. Loosing a leader might be DC 15. Half your allies killed in a single blast DC 17. Everybody but you killed in a swift, grisly fashion DC 25 or so. I just kinda eyeball it.

    The problem comes from a DM not realistically roleplaying their NPCs/monsters.
    Last edited by Diggorian; 2007-03-17 at 04:25 PM.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Particularly with humanoids and less experienced combatants, I'll have enemies surrender to or flee from the player characters if it's going badly for them. Still, it's always very tempting to have them stand and fight to the bitter end to make life more difficult for the PCs. With cowardly foes, a single critical at the beginning of the battle can rout an entire encounter, so it's usually a good idea to include two or more "rallying point" enemies in a tough combat to keep the lesser minions fighting.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Well, to speak up a with my DM hat on,


    I do understand the frustration of PC's where every encounter ends up being a fight to the death. However, even from a role-play perspective, if the PCs have built a reputation by killing every last XP-chunk, or there have been incidents of wanton cruelty, that's reason enough in my book to have the bad-guys fight to the bitter end.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    In my campaign, the last couple of bandits always run and our rogue will take a pot shot at them as they flee. one of these days he'll hit one.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by Roethke View Post
    However, even from a role-play perspective, if the PCs have built a reputation by killing every last XP-chunk, or there have been incidents of wanton cruelty, that's reason enough in my book to have the bad-guys fight to the bitter end.
    The PCs should be getting XP from all defeated enemies, whether they ran, surrendered, were killed, or were talked into whatever the PCs needed. I suspect that if more of that XP was given out, and it was made clear they were getting the XP, there'd be less of the knee-jerk slaughters. But even up against PCs with a reputation for slaughter, an NPC in a weak position should run rather than fight to the finish. At least if he runs he has a chance of getting away.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    There have been a couple of situations where I've had the main foe choose to parley when I see the chance for some PC deaths - using the entirely valid excuse that the villain is no more eager to be stabbed to death than the PCs, and is running low on hitpoints himself.

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by Bouldering Jove View Post
    Particularly with humanoids and less experienced combatants, I'll have enemies surrender to or flee from the player characters if it's going badly for them. Still, it's always very tempting to have them stand and fight to the bitter end to make life more difficult for the PCs. With cowardly foes, a single critical at the beginning of the battle can rout an entire encounter, so it's usually a good idea to include two or more "rallying point" enemies in a tough combat to keep the lesser minions fighting.
    The last time I ran an encounter, the players burned through the Goblins that were set up on a road, stealing from the local peasants. They did some damage to the party, but soon all but two had been eliminated. The last two were trying to retreat in good order when the Paladin of Vishnu realized that a trident has a range increment and threw her primary melee weapon through the chest of the Goblin with a ranged weapon. The remaining one ran away in a complete panic, with the Paladin hot on his heels (wielding her secondary weapon). What the Goblin didn't know is that the players were planning on tracking it back to its lair, so she wasn't really interested in catching it, just panicing it so it ran straight home.

    I was reminded of the scene in Mulan where the Mongols decide that it only takes one man to deliver a message.
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  23. - Top - End - #23
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Not only cowardly foes but smart ones run too. My evil knight of Tahkisis PCs spotted an elven ambush up ahead and called them out. The elves made a dash for it. When my PCs pursued on horses one elf stopped and covered the others retreat. In quick order the elf shoot and scared the two horses (not warhores) thus securing his comrades escape. The elf was overcome and taken prisoner. Later he was killed during interagation gone wrong. The, three remaining elves ran away to fight another day, I'm thinking a night attack. Self sacrifice for the good of the cause.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ElfRogueGirl

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    The best thing a DM can do is remember that the enemies will flee / surrender if more than two of the following occur at the same time, or close to it: A) The PCs ambush them from surprise, B) The leader dies, C) The majority of the "Tough" baddies get killed in the same round, D) Communication between bad guys and their leaders breaks down, E) The main target they can see is simply not hittable (i.e. floating in midair thirty feet up with a windwall in front and he just killed the Bad Guy spellcaster), F) The NPCs have no idea how many PCs there are or where they're coming from, G) An "easy" target is not going down i.e. a rogue is surrounded by enemies but luckily doesn't get hit, the group gets fireballed, the rogue makes the reflex save. In that case, the enemies remaining sort of goggled at the rogue, then hightailed it out of there.

    My group has had almost all of this happen, not at the same time. Once our low-level barbarian critted with that 'broken-rule' exotic scythe (two-handed weapon, 19-20 crit, x5 damage, d10 damage) on the very first round. Another time (different campaign) the elven rogue (who was ticked off already) bursts the door to a room open, shouts a threat and nat'l 20's an orc leader with her bow. Didn't roll high enough to kill him, but a crit plus sneak attack isn't bad for 3rd level characters. Yet a third time, we were attacking a small army of orcs led by 4 ogres (the orcs' leaders) and the rogue took out 3 of the 4 ogres just as the rest of the party attacked.

    All these situations led to chaos, as they properly should. Shock and awe is sometimes your greatest weapon - you just need to have a DM who will allow it to work, and experienced ones, in my experience, generally do.

    By the way, the reason we don't get many surrenders is because the setting we generally play in is very "give no quarter take no quarter"-ish. Orcs, worgs and such led by a red dragon versus the armies of three nations, one decimated. In the other setting, we have been known to accept surrenders, but several of our characters have gotten a bit trigger-happy as a result of attempted assassinations.
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  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by HeinleinFan View Post
    Once our low-level barbarian critted with that 'broken-rule' exotic scythe (two-handed weapon, 19-20 crit, x5 damage, d10 damage) on the very first round.
    Talenta Sharrash? Its been errattaed. 20/x4, d10 damage.
    Last edited by Rigeld2; 2007-03-19 at 06:22 AM. Reason: Thanks Dhavaer!

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by Rigeld2 View Post
    Talenta Sarash (sp)? Its been errattaed. 20/x4, d10 damage.
    Sharrash. q
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    If the attacking group is really bandits, I opt for a zero causality policy. The idea is that they are trying their hardest to not die and to make money, but in that order. Personally, if there was a morale rule, I'd ignore it in favour of thinking in the enemy's headspace.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Selv's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    At least in D&D there is the potential for the DM to figure this out. Not so for the poor villians controlled by an electronic AI.

    "OK. He's got a lightsaber and has just killed five of my comrades with Force Lightning before they could touch him, and the only reason I'm alive is that I'm out of his line of sight. Do I a) hide my blaster and try my damndest to look like a civillian or b) kill this s.o.b. with my crappytech blaster and BECOME A HERO?"

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Quote Originally Posted by CharPixie View Post
    If the attacking group is really bandits, I opt for a zero causality policy. The idea is that they are trying their hardest to not die and to make money, but in that order. Personally, if there was a morale rule, I'd ignore it in favour of thinking in the enemy's headspace.
    This is how my bandits generally behave, even the ones with class levels. In fact, the last encounter my party had with bandits went from a fight to an immediate retreat under cover of Fog Cloud spells as soon as the party showed that they could and would fight back effectively. The bandits still got away with some gold, annoying the PCs (they'd caught one at bowpoint away from his friends) but they lost three members of their 20-odd band. Both sides considered it a losing encounter.

    Also, this seems like an appropriate link for this thread:
    It's Always Bandits.

    (From Another Gaming Comic.)

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Golthur's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fearless Bandits

    Yeah, I usually figure out under what conditions the bad guys will run away before the battle starts. Most human-types have a default "if I've suffered significant wounds/my leader is dead, then run" unless special circumstances dictate otherwise.

    The only fearless NPCs are things like undead, constructs, or raging barbarians

    In some ways, I miss proper morale values, though. Now, with d20, you could probably dispense with the actual rolls (and just have the NPCs "take 10") most of the time.

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