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Malruhn
07-13-2014, 01:08 PM
Here's a good, general question.

How does a DM/GM teach players the lesson of mortality, that they can (and WILL) die? The HUGE majority of adventures/modules/campaigns are geared toward party levels (CR for D&Ders). How do you teach players that it's totally okay to turn around and run away?

Is it "mandatory" to toss an Iron Golem at a party of 1st level folks and have a TPK to get the lesson across? A dragon? Hoards of undead that drain abilities?

I've noticed, over the THIRTY-danged years I've played, that MOST players see a target and then attack, never even considering a hasty retreat may have been smarter.

I'm just looking for feedback. Thanks!

SilverDragonClaw
07-13-2014, 10:22 PM
No, it's not mandatory. It is the traditional grognard's approach, however. Some people take pride in marching their characters off to slaughter. ;)

This isn't the way I prefer to do things. I like games that let players think their way out of problems. Unfortunately, when you have no way of determining what the odds are the natural reaction will be to fight. A good way to avoid TPKs while still getting the point across is to drop hints or warnings in the descriptions before the encounter that they are up against something unusually bad. The best way would be to provide them with a clear way of telling how outmatched they are. For example, they could encounter a group of fleeing creatures who they've already fought and know would give them a hard time. Then they run into the thing doing the chasing. Naturally, it sees the players and decides to try them for dinner instead. The players would have a way to determine the odds as well as a strong hint to run themselves in this situation. If they fight it, they will probably get what they deserve.

DMMike
07-14-2014, 10:04 AM
A good way to avoid TPKs while still getting the point across is to drop hints or warnings in the descriptions before the encounter that they are up against something unusually bad.

Some players will ignore these just as easily as they'll ignore the danger of an iron golem.

My current wisdom is to have a backup plan. Go ahead and TPK - if the player's can't recognize an overwhelming challenge, they deserve it - but then either allow the players to "restore last checkpoint," or have a plot-based excuse for allowing them to survive the TPK. And allow interested players to draw up new characters instead of taking options 1 or 2.