PCs who kill everyone that attacks them

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  1. #1
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    ° Ignore Kestrel

    PCs who kill everyone that attacks them

    Last night I had a situation that caused some discussion among my players and I wanted to get some more input.

    The situation:
    While staying at an inn, the PCs are awakened by men kicking in their door and attacking them. After a lengthy battle, all attackers except one are dead. The one that survived surrendered while still conscious. After questioning, they find that she is the subordinate of one of the dead guys, a bandit-lord who hates the PCs. She tells them (truthfully) that the attack was organized by the bandit and that she was just doing her job. She doesnt have a beef against the players. They tell her they will let her live and then divest her of all objects. She asks for them back, saying they can keep a bracelets of healing magic, but wants her other stuff back. After much discussion, the players decide to take all her stuff and tell her she's lucky to have her life.

    The NPCs thoughts afterward:
    She heads back to town, thinking what a bunch of jerks, but she's happy to be alive. Her impression of the PCs: She doesnt like them, but doesnt really hate them either. Easy come easy go. Is she inclined to help them in the future? No but she might possibly with payments.

    Now, this situation got me thinking...most pcs Ive seen in games are pretty much of the attitude, if the npcs defend themselves when we attack or they attack us, then we should leave a trail of corpses behind us. Most unconscious foes are left to die or killed through judicious throatslitting. IMO, this builds a reputation for the party. If you mess with them, you better make sure you kill them, because they will kill you in a heartbeat. As a dm, this kind of behaivor lends me towards if the pcs lose, there is no capture situation, they just get killed. But then again, maybe I shouldnt be thinking too much into this and just roll some dice
    Last edited by Kestrel; Thursday, 30th October, 2003 at 03:50 PM.


  • #2
    Iron Fist of Pelor
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    ° Ignore Pielorinho
    Actually, I think it's great to let some prisoners go, especially the ones who are mercenaries. That way, you build a different reputation: other mercenaries learn that they don't NEED to fight you to the death, that they can always surrender in a losing battle and escape with their lives.

    This is what we do in a long-running campaign: we accept surrenders when they come, encourage them in the middle of battle, and interview any prisoners. Those who fought us on principle (worshippers of evil gods, for example) get killed: they're likely to attack us again if we let them go.

    But those who fought us for money are stripped of items, given a few coins, and told to go forth and sin no more. We tell such prisoners that there are no second chances: if we see them again, or hear of them working for bad guys again, we'll go out of our way to kill them. We'll sometimes make subtle threats against their people, too: if a gnoll reports that he's come down from the Haglan Plains to earn some wealth for his tribe, we might mention that we'll be up in the plains in a few months and will look for his tribe then to make sure they're behaving themselves.


  • #3
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    My most deadly battle tactic so far, offer my foes the option to surrender. I think it has been five times in the current campaign that I have offered to take their surrender and not once has an opponent accepted my offer, and all of them have fallen to party blades/hammers/etc.

    Maybe it is because it usually looks like my foes have the upper hand until that last round of massive beat down, maybe they are really dedicated with supernatural loyalty enforcement mechanisms, but no surrenders so far.

    Oh well, I have a moral high ground and feel like an honorable hero.
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  • #4
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    When I DM, I like to see that the PCs and NPCs fear for ther lives. When things go badly for the NPCs they try to escape or surrender. The response is diffrent from players not the PCs that is anoing.
    I got a player who always play the tank and kill every thing that move. Even when he was a paladin, he gave no mercy.
    So later on, I gaved him no mercy.
    And no man shall shed blood,
    but by man shall his blood be shed.

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  • #5
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    ° Ignore Ao the Overkitty
    As a player, I always give mercy (even got myself a merciful sword).

    As a DM, my NPCs do regularly surrender (or try to run away). The players aren't always happy when the NPCs surrender, but they do agree to it (though the Barbarian does sometimes not want to notice the surrender).
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  • #6
    In one campain I play in we make it a habit of not killing anyone we do not have to. In one episode, the lawful Sherriff was sent after us by the evil mayor and we made sure we used subdual damage on the Sherriff and his men since they were after all only following orders. The mayor on the otherhand we killed.
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  • #7
    Our group does the same - if there are surrenders, the good members will generally let them go. If the surrendered foes ever return, they don't get a second chance.

    I once played a monstrously big human paladin/fighter who kept running around in combat, yelling "Surrender or Die!" before I attacked (I usually would delay until after the enemies acted if I won initiative). If they didn't surrender on their turn, I struck to kill. If they did surrender, I struck to subdue (with the flat of my blade), and the DM let me attempt a coup de grace "subdual" - the equivalent of konking them on the head.

    Afterwards, we would sort out the carnage, and the survivors would be either set free if in wild lands, with nothing but a dagger and light armor, or taken in to authorities if civilization was close by. Generally speaking, the DM rarely had survivors return, because most would plausibly be too scared to return, especially if we trounced them soundly. The ones who we recognized DID return, didn't get the option. (Of course, the problematic part was that the other players didn't adhere to my character's code - which led to one strange situation of a mercenary saying, "I'll surrender to HIM - but not to you!" )

  • #8
    In my opinion, there are some opponents that will fight for the death, but most should flee or surrender if the fight goes against them. For example, constructs and commanded undead should fight to the death. Animals should flee if they can. Humanoids should surrender or flee. etc.

    A lot of GMs are playing Diablo instead of D&D. The endless monsters forget to surrender.

    Likewise, Good PCs should always accept surrenders.

  • #9
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    Being the giant pushover that I am, I am forever trying to get foes to surrender, and they generally do about 1/4 of the time ... with the unfortunate result of "what the heck do we do now?" That depends on the circumstances leading up to the fight, but usually boils down to "bundle 'em off to the authorities" or "disarm 'em and let 'em go."

    Only one baddie has come back to bedevil us after being released ... and he didn't get to surrender the second time.

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  • #10
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    ° Ignore takyris
    I don't agree that good PCs should always accept surrenders. Maybe it's just a few old episodes of Farscape altering my mind, but sometimes the bad guys surrender as part of their plan. Sometimes, you can't trust them to surrender, because they're a spellcaster and, even bound and gagged, can do some nasty bizness.

    I'm not saying that PCs should never accept surrenders -- I encourage them to, certainly, and I try to play my (non-cultist) NPC enemies as intelligent and ready to flee if they fall below 50% hp. But I wouldn't start shifting alignments of good PCs unless they did something like calling for surrenders and then shouting "Sucker!" and killing the helpless foes. I would certainly be fine with a paladin calling out, "No, I deny your surrender. You have shown yourself to be without honor or mercy. You have shown that the rules of just combat do not apply to you. Pick your sword back up and face me in single combat, or else fall to your knees and make your peace, and I will give you a swift and merciful death."

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