A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Aug 2012
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    Vacation in Nyalotha

    Default Re: "Losing a fight" vs. "losing the game"

    Quote Originally Posted by Stonehead View Post
    True. IMO, if the players are clubbing baby animals, maybe they deserve to "lose the game".
    The clubs are necessary, otherwise it damages the pelt. The old ones are too tough and donít sell for much.
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
    High levels arenít just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Sep 2015

    Default Re: "Losing a fight" vs. "losing the game"

    Quote Originally Posted by Stonehead View Post
    True. IMO, if the players are clubbing baby animals, maybe they deserve to "lose the game".
    Beowulf disagrees and thinks it's heroic.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Sep 2010

    Default Re: "Losing a fight" vs. "losing the game"

    Quote Originally Posted by jinjitsu View Post
    Personally, I've run a few adventures where I decided the NPCs were more likely to take prisoners than kill the party, and they've always been fun because they've forced the party to work together and plan more.
    In Star Wars, the bad guys are the ones taking prisoners. If I recall correctly, The heroes take the following prisoners:

    * I: The Gungans capture Qui-Gon and Obi Wan.
    * I: The Royalists capture the Trade Federation leaders.
    * II: Anakin and Obi Wan try their best to capture the assassin.
    * V: Lando's men ambushes the Imperials escorting Leia, Han, Chewie and C-3PO to Vader's ship.
    * VI: The rebels and Ewoks capture the guards at the shield generator. Twice.

    Meanwhile...

    * I: The Trade Federation captures Qui-Gon and Obi Wan.
    * I: The Trade Federation captures Padme and heaps of Royalists. Twice!
    * I: Anakin and his mom are slaves.
    * I: The Trade Federation takes the Gungans prisoner on the field of battle.
    * II: Anakin, Obi Wan, and Padme are captured on Geonosis.
    * III: The Trade Federation has capture Chancellor Palpatine.
    * IV: Darth Vader captures Leia.
    * IV: The Jawas capture C-3PO and R2-D2.
    * IV: The Sand People capture Luke.
    * IV: The Death Star captures the Millennium Falcon.
    * IV: Luke and Han as Stormtroopers capture Chewie.
    * V: The Wampa captures Luke.
    * V: The Imperials capture Han, Leia, Chewie and C-3PO
    * VI: Leia as a Bounty Hunter captures Chewie.
    * VI: Jabba captures Leia and later Luke
    * VI: The cannibalistic Ewoks capture everyone.
    * VI: The Imperials take Luke prisoner as goes to confront Vader.
    * VI: The Imperials capture everyone at the shield generator.
    * VII: Finn starts out as a slave soldier.
    * VII: Kylo captures Rey.
    * VIII: The First Order captures Finn and Rey.
    * IX: The First Order captures Chewbacca.
    * IX: The First Order captures Finn and Poe.
    * IX: The Emperor captures Rey.

    I probably missed a few. This may give the impression that the Bad Guys are satisfied with de-escalation and non-lethal conflict resolution, capturing the heroes is actually a show of force: They'll typically start the conflict and attempt to kill the heroes, and ultimately overwhelm them with superior numbers or other brute force. The heroes, on the other hand, generally don't have the opportunity to take prisoners since they are fighting for their lives and need to keep moving.

    This is acceptable in a scripted narrative where the characters have motivation but not choice, e.g. a movie or book, or to a limited extent in video games (there is choice, but only scripted options).

    In an RPG, the GM needs to be sure his players are fine with being defeated as a contrivance to add drama or drive the plot; that the DM's Bad Guys' motivations have the right to also affect how the story develops. If your Players hate it, you shouldn't do it.
    Last edited by DwarfFighter; 2021-08-30 at 05:24 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Oct 2021

    Default Re: "Losing a fight" vs. "losing the game"

    I think it depends on the setting.

    Generally speaking, the more sides their are, the higher the odds of prisoners being taken and being treated reasonably.
    After all, your current enemy may be your ally of convenience tomorow.
    It would also depends on how frequent sides switch, how frequent Geas/Pact like abilities are and wether or not "giving parole" is a thing.

    In the middle ages, there were examples where one knight got captured, could not cough up his ransom, so he gave his parole, went to his fief, worked hard to cough up the money and then paid his ransom 4 years later, even with interest.

    We had parties who surrendered to Nocticula (partly their own fault) and did not particularly regretted it in the long term.

    There is also the question of how to actually handle prisoners. There are massive issues with it, especially in stealth heavy settings.

    If you would like to increase the whole "losing combat not = death" thing, here are things you can do:

    1: Establish the presence of ransom brokers. These could be perhaps outsiders, whom you pay money, in return they give you an undestroyable and unfakeable certificate of how much ransom money you are worth, if returned alive.

    2: Establish binding parole pledges. Probably geas, magically enforced.

    3: Establish that flags of truce exist. If there is a big good, the big good can ransom or negotiate for the parties release.

    4: If there are multiple bad guys, have one stage assist in a rescue in order to inconvenience the other. I really like that one when GMing.

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Aug 2010

    Default Re: "Losing a fight" vs. "losing the game"

    Quote Originally Posted by MightypIon View Post
    If you would like to increase the whole "losing combat not = death" thing, here are things you can do:
    You're ignoring "normalize retreat/running away". Which is, realistically, what most people should do. Unfortunately, most game systems don't handle it particularly well, so it probably helps to reify that in some way.

    Allowing for retreat/fleeing, while making sure that there are stakes besides death/capture in the fight has solved that issue pretty effectively.

    A simple way of thinking of stakes is this: Fighting is risky. Death is permanent. Nobody wants to die. So.... why are people risking death to fight in this case? If there's not a good reason, then there's an opportunity to add a lot to the game.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Oct 2021

    Default Re: "Losing a fight" vs. "losing the game"

    My experience is that normalizing retreats can result in a situation were fights become too inconsequential, especially if the opponents also retreat.
    A thing is that many opponents are more capable of retreating then a party may be in pursuing.
    I also want to discourage rest, blast, run, rest, repeat style shenangians.

    I am completely willing on having a good bluff role or roleplay cover a retreat, but in real life, succesfully retreating is pretty hard.


    Take a typical anti demon campaign. Nearly every Demon can teleport. As such, nearly all of them have mobility that clearly outdoes what mobility the players have (certainly at their level).
    If a GM would play demons to their full abilities, it would be incredibly hard, even for a mid level party, to get much done at all.

    We had a thing where a GM together with me made Nocticulas (Queen of Succubi in Pathfinder) Midnightīs Blades aka Succubi Speznats.
    These basically were the Kobold Commandoes, in terms of tactics, but on Succubi Chassis with some hero levels (the twins with kidnapper 3 where particularly effective) on top.

    Despite being CR 10-14 non mythics individually, (vs Level 14-16 mythic 5-7 characters) the 6 of them performed hit and run tactics, took hostages,
    laid ambushes and were nigh uncatchable in a "fair fight", and actually gave the party more problems then an actual full fledged demon lord.

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Stonehead's Avatar

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    Jun 2019
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    Default Re: "Losing a fight" vs. "losing the game"

    Quote Originally Posted by MightypIon View Post
    My experience is that normalizing retreats can result in a situation were fights become too inconsequential, especially if the opponents also retreat.
    My experience is usually the opposite, I think it comes down to why each DM puts combat in their game. Especially when you start thinking about why each side is fighting. Very rarely is both sides' goal "to kill all the people on the other side" (at least in my experience). Most often, one side is guarding something that the other side wants. Territorial dragons guarding their lair from adventurers, cultists protecting their cult leader/ritual, players protecting the town from attackers, or town guards protecting the town from players. In this type of combat, it makes a lot of sense for one side (the attacker) to retreat, and it doesn't make sense for the other side to give chase or flee themselves.

    There's also fights where one side wants something the other has. The classic hungry monsters, bandits ambushing travelers, etc. In these fights, it makes a lot of sense for either side to flee if losing. The hungry monster wants to eat the adventurers only so that it can stay alive, so when the fight is more of a danger to survival than starvation, it'll probably bail.

    That's why I said it comes down to why the combat is in the game. Everyone wants to stay alive over almost all else. The enemies usually don't care about dealing the most lasting damage to the party, they care about protecting their territory, putting food in their bellies, and staying alive. At least in the games I play, combat usually arises when it's the best way to achieve one of those three. Other groups probably use combat more as just obstacles, or even the main content. If you're putting encounters into your game for intrinsic reasons, that is there's no reason for the combat other than that the group likes it, it could make sense to not worry about the individual motivations of each goblin.

    There's also the issue where the last few turns of most combats are pretty boring. There are sometimes very close encounters against bosses and the like that remain intense up to the end, but usually the fight is decided long before the last combatant is killed. Much like the last few rounds of Monopoly, everyone knows who's going to win, nothing particularly interesting happens, and it's only a matter of going through the motions to formally declare a victor. Having one side retreat is a great way to skip out on that dullness.

    And that's why I don't think it trivializes combat. A side usually only retreats when it becomes apparent that they're going to lose the fight. So you have to be in a position where you're going to win (or lose, if you're the one retreating), before it can even affect the table.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Troll in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Feb 2008
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    Italy
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    Male

    Default Re: "Losing a fight" vs. "losing the game"

    Quote Originally Posted by MightypIon View Post


    Take a typical anti demon campaign. Nearly every Demon can teleport. As such, nearly all of them have mobility that clearly outdoes what mobility the players have (certainly at their level).
    If a GM would play demons to their full abilities, it would be incredibly hard, even for a mid level party, to get much done at all.
    My party alwas prepares dimensional anchor. Multiple times.
    Because everyone buys single use teleportation. If you want to loot your enemiea, you need to pin them down
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

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