D&D 5E breaking the healing rules with goodberries

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
SteelDragons was talking about encounter design, too. Most of the things you like to harp on me for happen during encounter design, too. E.g. the beholder ship: I decided on the beholder's motivations and internal structure (fractious, no hive mother) during the encounter design process, because I wanted a graduated difficulty where the players can opt in to fighting an ever-increasing number of beholders over the course of several encounters.

The difference is that if the players do opt to fight them, I am perfectly willing to kill the PCs (killed two PCs with the beholders), and you are not. That's okay, it doesn't make you a wimp, but it is a difference between our playstyles, as Tony says.

This is a very wrong statement. If my players chose to engage the beholders, I would ruthlessly try to annihilate them including pursuing them after they chose to run, providing the beholders with aircraft capable of matching a fly spell.
This is where you are getting confused. I do not pull punches once the encounter starts. Not even a little bit. I'm the guy that has humanoids kill fallen PCs at low level after they drop so the cleric can't heal them back up. I am ruthless once the encounter starts and do not allow PCs to run unless they have the means to outrun the enemy.

I did not note Steeldragons talking about encounter design. Even if he was, I do not pull punches during encounter design. Anyone that thinks so is ignorant. Creating an encounter that challenges a party of min-maxers would kill non-min/maxer groups. The only difference I can discern in our play-styles is that I view an encounter of 24 beholders against a party of less than level 10 to 12 adventurers as a nearly impossible encounter. I would play the beholders with ruthless efficiency intending to kill the players. You choose to play them as fractious and disorganized. I would not make that choice.

Why exactly do you think an encounter intended to challenge a group of min-maxers would be an encounter that was pulling punches? Explain that to me. The encounter is far above deadly per the book. It involves the design of NPC villains that can counter the commonly used tactics that allow a PC group to crush NPC villains. It involves designing these NPCs/Monsters in such a way that they can kill the group, but can't do so easily.

I'll ask the same question. Do you think an encounter is fun when you as a player have zero chance of victory and zero chance of avoiding the encounter? Once you understand that is the only thing I'm trying to avoid, you'll see clearly I'm not trying to "protect my players", "pull punches", or "am not willing to kill my PCs." What I don't want to do is kill them while giving them no chance of winning. That is what I consider challenging (death must be a possibility or goal failure) while not trying to kill them (0% chance of survival or victory).

That is not in anyway the same as what you're talking about.

One final thought before I put this matter to rest. Ask yourself why would a DM even concern himself with trying not to kill his players with encounters that are too strong? Because that DM had killed his players enough times that the players had voiced their displeasure with encounters that seem too difficult and intended to kill them. If that DM wants to keep players playing (which I do), I don't want to keep killing players. Maybe your players don't mind dying all the time. I don't know. My players would become extremely unhappy when I kill them with a seemingly impossible to defeat encounter. They got tired of that years back. So I've worked on toning it down over the years. Maybe you'll reach the point where you've killed your players enough times they'll get tired of playing with you and ask you stop throwing 24 beholders that pursue them to the death as encounters. I don't feel like testing that point any longer myself.
 
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Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Whereas, me, if I ran that encounter, and didn't flatten the party, I'd really wonder what was going on. Because I know, regardless of the party I run for, that using that encounter, unless I give the players some serious tactical advantages at the outset, I'm going to kill at least one PC with that encounter. Like you beholder encounter, where the scenario is designed such that the party won't be overwhelmed, if I actually threw that many beholders at the party, regardless of level, and they not only survived, but, suffered no PC deaths, I'd seriously question what I did wrong.

Sure, if you let the party have a nice sniping position, choke points and surprise, they'll punch way above their weight class. Great. But, if standard encounters - ones where basically you "open the door and roll for initiative" where I have that kind of advantage with the baddies in terms of numbers, damage output and various synergies (Dire Wolves pretty much all attacking with advantage, baddies spending an action to break Hypnotic spray (sure it buys the PC's a single round, but, big deal, I've got lots of baddies, half of which should save), Orog speed to close with any concentrating caster to pound it into paste. Good grief, a 5th level party should be running from this encounter. If your players are burning through this encounter with minimal resources spent, that's on the DM, not the system. That encounter should put at least one PC and probably more than one, in the ground.

I really have to question your tactical abilities here. I'm sorry, but, Occam's Razor applies here. The simplest solution isn't that after two years of play testing, everyone else got the math wrong and you got it right. The simplest solution is that you aren't using the monsters to their full extent.

5E is the easiest edition of D&D to date. When you first look at things, it doesn't seem that way. Once you start playing, you see that it is. Things like petrification allowing multiple saves. Poison mostly doing damage you can heal. The ease of gaining a huge stealth advantage by a rogue, bard, or the spell pass without trace. Low saves of creatures less than Legendary status. Ease of getting advantage using Help actions. Low ACs relative to attack rolls with buffs. Lack of lethal death spells.

The ranger, rogue, and bard snuck up on the Hill Giant, hit with arrows with sharpshooter getting advantage from hidden position, and they had it near dead before it got to act. Average damage with sharpshooter for a level 5 ranger using hunter's mark with an 18 dex is 21 points for the first hit, 25 for the second with Colossus Slayer. Then you have the rogue/sorcerer hitting for 18 plus 2d6 sneak damage for 25. The bard is hitting it with vicious mockery with its low wisdom save. Thing was dead before it got to act. Then they did the same to the second Hill Giant from cover and range. Orogs and Dire wolves did their charge over thing with Aggressive. Light Cleric hit them with fireball decimating a wolf and a good portion of the orogs. Paladin with the 22 AC and the warlock/fighter with the 21 AC hammered into them after that. It was all very easy.

Warlock has devilsight and darkness. Against anything without the ability to see in darkness or dispel it, he is nearly unbeatable at level 5. The paladin runs up and engages the enemy dodging, using sentinel to control movement, and takes a bunch of attacks. Even a round of this allows the archers to annihilate an orog or giant and the light cleric to hammer them all with AoE. I can't justify the orogs and hill giant not taking a shot at the paladin since he is the closest visible target.

It's very easy for a coordinated party to hammer in 5E. I'm still learning the limits of the system. So far I've been quite surprised at how easy 5E PCs have it. Just like previous editions, I'll figure out how far I can push it and start designing tough encounters that push them to the brink of death. Right now they haven't been getting that, "Damn. I can't believe we won." feel I was had become good at in 3E. I want to get to that point in 5E where the players feel like they won a tough a fight that had a chance of killing them.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
5E is the easiest edition of D&D to date. When you first look at things, it doesn't seem that way. Once you start playing, you see that it is. Things like petrification allowing multiple saves. Poison mostly doing damage you can heal. The ease of gaining a huge stealth advantage by a rogue, bard, or the spell pass without trace. Low saves of creatures less than Legendary status. Ease of getting advantage using Help actions. Low ACs relative to attack rolls with buffs. Lack of lethal death spells.

The ranger, rogue, and bard snuck up on the Hill Giant, hit with arrows with sharpshooter getting advantage from hidden position, and they had it near dead before it got to act. Average damage with sharpshooter for a level 5 ranger using hunter's mark with an 18 dex is 21 points for the first hit, 25 for the second with Colossus Slayer. Then you have the rogue/sorcerer hitting for 18 plus 2d6 sneak damage for 25. The bard is hitting it with vicious mockery with its low wisdom save. Thing was dead before it got to act. Then they did the same to the second Hill Giant from cover and range. Orogs and Dire wolves did their charge over thing with Aggressive. Light Cleric hit them with fireball decimating a wolf and a good portion of the orogs. Paladin with the 22 AC and the warlock/fighter with the 21 AC hammered into them after that. It was all very easy.

Warlock has devilsight and darkness. Against anything without the ability to see in darkness or dispel it, he is nearly unbeatable at level 5. The paladin runs up and engages the enemy dodging, using sentinel to control movement, and takes a bunch of attacks. Even a round of this allows the archers to annihilate an orog or giant and the light cleric to hammer them all with AoE. I can't justify the orogs and hill giant not taking a shot at the paladin since he is the closest visible target.

It's very easy for a coordinated party to hammer in 5E. I'm still learning the limits of the system. So far I've been quite surprised at how easy 5E PCs have it. Just like previous editions, I'll figure out how far I can push it and start designing tough encounters that push them to the brink of death. Right now they haven't been getting that, "Damn. I can't believe we won." feel I was had become good at in 3E. I want to get to that point in 5E where the players feel like they won a tough a fight that had a chance of killing them.

5E is easy. You need around 4-6 deadly encounters to challenge your PCs as a general rule.
 


Wow! This still going on?

You can choose the sage advice ruling ( which goes against the rules presented in the PHB) or not. It may differ from campaign to campaign but so what?

The disciple of life feature works specifically when casting a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points to a creature.

The Goodberry spell, when cast, does not restore hit points to a creature. The spell creates berries which may be consumed by a creature at some point in time. Thus the disciple of life feature doesn't affect them.

Other abilities that trigger when X happens, actually require X to happen before they apply right? Disciple of life is no different.
 

Do you think it is easy for non-min/maxers or those not allowing feats or magic items? I often wonder since we've been using both from the start.

my 6 year old niece and 8 year old nephew play sometimes, we don't do campaigns but small adventures. I very much pull my punches, but even then it is not that much...


example: she made a 1st level human cleric, and he made a 1st level elven rogue. they were asked by a local orphanage to find who broke in and stole there money... they tracked back to just outside of town and found some caves. encounter 1 1 goblin archer and 2 goblin knife fighters... I made goblins light sensitive so the light spell my nieces cleric threw so she could see gave them disadvantage. encounter 2 2 goblins and a wolf farther in the cave. encounter 3 they found a dozen goblins including some women and children and stealthed by them. final encounter of the night was the Orc leading them, and 2 goblins...

at first level with minimal tactics they made it out with the money (and the cleric having no spells and 2hp, the rogue having 4hp)

we leveled those characters to 2nd level, and they defended a caravan against 2 bugbears and a death dog...
 

Oh sure. Initially spotting. But actual combat? Much closer.

And unless you're fighting on salt flats you'd be surprised how much cover there is out there. Again, using the terrain matters.

One of the weakness of TotM play is that it's hard to visualize cover in any detail. I have it on my agenda to finish up some HTML tools for battlefield management, and include something for random battlefield generation. In the meantime I just assume that with a dozen or more enemies charging you at full speed, you can probably get a clear shot at somebody.

And doesn't an "encounter" start when initial spotting occurs? "You see specks moving on the pass ahead. Peering closely, you make out the forms of orogs on dire wolves. They're about a mile away. What do you do?" At that point it's no longer "kick down the door and roll initiative," and the party has the chance to do something to prep for combat, which might include strewing caltrops strategically in chokepoints, conjuring backup, arranging fallen trees for partial cover, and sending the monk ahead alone on foot to bait the orogs into attacking the now-prepared battleground. For example.
 
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I'm pretty much done talking in this thread, but out of courtesy I'll respond to this question:

I'll ask the same question. Do you think an encounter is fun when you as a player have zero chance of victory and zero chance of avoiding the encounter?

My sandbox philosophy is "telegraph dangers; players opt-in to any particular danger unless it is caused by something they already did." That doesn't necessarily have to mean that they can retreat once the danger is triggered (could be teleporting demons or something), but it does mean there would have been a rumor or sign "Here There By Teleporting Demons".

So there's your answer: I don't think railroading is fun, and I don't do it to my players. Having zero chance of avoiding an encounter means you're the DM's puppet. I would be fine with it in the occasional boardgame, or maybe even in a one-shot combat-oriented D&D game, but I'm not interested in that experience in a D&D campaign.

YMMV though.
 

I'm pretty much done talking in this thread, but out of courtesy I'll respond to this question:



My sandbox philosophy is "telegraph dangers; players opt-in to any particular danger unless it is caused by something they already did." That doesn't necessarily have to mean that they can retreat once the danger is triggered (could be teleporting demons or something), but it does mean there would have been a rumor or sign "Here There By Teleporting Demons".

So there's your answer: I don't think railroading is fun, and I don't do it to my players. Having zero chance of avoiding an encounter means you're the DM's puppet. I would be fine with it in the occasional boardgame, or maybe even in a one-shot combat-oriented D&D game, but I'm not interested in that experience in a D&D campaign.

YMMV though.

my only problem with this is (and this is as both a player and a DM) it is hard to have true free will and true choice without full understanding... The DM builds the world and thinks that they gave enough hints, but the PCs don't see it, and all of a sudden it seems unfair to one side.


example: A group of PCs go to an island known for being ruled by a powerful necromancer and demonologist a few hundred years ago, and now is avoided do to stories of being haunted and cursed... they are level 4. The first set of encounters are with skeletons and wolves and bats in the small town on the docks. From the ruins they get a map of what the island used to look like. It has mines, and a giant keep, and two small settlements (one farming one fishing). A perfect sandbox.
The PCs head to the keep. it's a big home with a small wall and military fort. With some random encoutners the PC level up to level 5. They find a piece of a journel in the gate house with some odd things about the 'twins' and some bad jokes about oral sex that make no sense in context. they head into the house and clear out some ghosts and fight an imp trying to scare them away.
The PCs have some choices now, there are 4 floors and a basement. They decide to go down and then work there way up (hey it's as good as any pattern). In the basement they fight some whights including one that had a few levels added on in a spell caster class... it is a tough fight, and the PCs hold up in the storage room down there for the night. The PCs are now odd levels. 1 is 6th, 1 is 5th, and 2 are back to 4th. (level drain plus xp). SO they rest heal up, and head into the last two rooms of the basement. 1 is a wine cellar with a hoard of rats, and the second has a magic ward on it, like an arcane lock. The 5th level PC wizard dispel's it, and opens the doors.
Enter the twins. 2 maraliths, both are butt naked with odd tattoos on them, and are armed with a magic arsonel. between the 12 weapons they have the weakest is +4, and they have +3 rings of prot, and rings of nine lives... there is 0 chance for the PCs...

was that a fair fight? should there have been a warning? Well here is the thing, there were... back in game 1 we were told legends said the necromancer summoned devils and demons as concubines... and the journal said the only thing they where good for was oral sex, and if we went up stairs and found the library we would have found research on summoning generals of hell...

IN my mind I have gone over it six or seven times... I'm still not sure if that was fair or not....
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I'm pretty much done talking in this thread, but out of courtesy I'll respond to this question:



My sandbox philosophy is "telegraph dangers; players opt-in to any particular danger unless it is caused by something they already did." That doesn't necessarily have to mean that they can retreat once the danger is triggered (could be teleporting demons or something), but it does mean there would have been a rumor or sign "Here There By Teleporting Demons".

So there's your answer: I don't think railroading is fun, and I don't do it to my players. Having zero chance of avoiding an encounter means you're the DM's puppet. I would be fine with it in the occasional boardgame, or maybe even in a one-shot combat-oriented D&D game, but I'm not interested in that experience in a D&D campaign.

YMMV though.

When engaged in battles, you don't get to choose to avoid them unless you want a bunch of people to die or to fail your goals. Sometimes you get ambushed by equally powerful people. Sometimes villains don't sit by and give you the chance to avoid them, they come after you and they come with deadly intent. Why is that a railroad but putting a ship of beholders in front that are fractious and disorganized isn't?

Even if you're not railroading someone, don't they make enemies? Are villains or evil NPCs always passive waiting for the PCs to decide how to deal with them? The PCs can choose to cower and surrender, right? Isn't that a possible decision when constructing real life scenarios? Avoid the BBEG when he shows up to tyrannize the town or conquer the world? Cower before him? Serve him? These are all available options. My players usually choose the heroic option to fight him. When they do, he fights them back. He doesn't wait for them to break into his house and kill them.

I don't understand why that is viewed as a railroad. Even monsters and NPCs have motivations that the PCs are at odds with. Those individuals will go out of their way to kill them. Such as a dragon tracking the PCs at a range they can't attack him at. Watching them from Mountain tops or high in the sky waiting to attack them when they are engaged with other enemies.

Sometimes you can't avoid fights if you choose to make someone your enemy. That is not railroading. That is the PCs making a choice to oppose someone or something that is powerful enough to kill them. Some people vainly think that a sandbox somehow mirrors a true fantasy world better. I don't think that is the case. Even in the real world people are constantly seeking to control territory, people, make money, and they are doing so often in opposition to others. D&D takes that to another level by including monsters and other planes and dimensions. But evil beings are trying to conquer things and take things and hurt loved ones. The PCs happen to be the people that can oppose them because they have the power to do so. Yet you consider this rail-roading.

Even when I've constructed a narrative, the players always have the option to leave the scenario or handle it in any way they see fit. To me a railroad is when the PCs exert no control over the narrative. Not when they make a choice to enter a place and do battle making enemies and the NPCs don't let them leave at a convenient time and don't leave them alone once they leave. Don't you ever have enemies pursue your players to the death because they are threat to their plans? You must have had occasions when this occurred? I can't imagine you run a game where your NPCs survive the fight with the PCs and decide to go after them. Or the PCs invade a fortress of the enemy and he doesn't wait for them to come back, he tracks them down to kill them. If you've never run such encounters, then I guess you wouldn't understand the things I do within the narrative.

Everything is very natural. If you were playing with in my game, you wouldn't feel for a second like you were being forced into things. Instead you would feel like a person in a situation where you were dealing with a serious evil that you could choose to oppose or you could choose another option such as fleeing or working for the evil. I don't see how that is different from choosing a direction.
 

Sorry Celtavian, if you want answers to your latest questions please reread my last post more carefully, especially the last two words. I answered your question but I don't have time to answer an endless stream of them. Have a nice day.
 
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guachi

Hero
Wow! This still going on?

You can choose the sage advice ruling ( which goes against the rules presented in the PHB) or not. It may differ from campaign to campaign but so what?

The disciple of life feature works specifically when casting a spell of 1st level or higher to restore hit points to a creature.

The Goodberry spell, when cast, does not restore hit points to a creature. The spell creates berries which may be consumed by a creature at some point in time. Thus the disciple of life feature doesn't affect them.

Other abilities that trigger when X happens, actually require X to happen before they apply right? Disciple of life is no different.

Sage Advice explains the way the rules work. That Sage Advice allows Disciple of Life to work with Goodberry means that your interpretation is wrong.
 


Sage Advice explains the way the rules work. That Sage Advice allows Disciple of Life to work with Goodberry means that your interpretation is wrong.

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

Sage advice gives one possible interpretation of the rules to use or not as you see fit. Anything beyond that requires an individual to give more importance to something than it is due.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Sorry Celtavian, if you want answers to your latest questions please reread my last post more carefully, especially the last two words. I answered your question but I don't have time to answer an endless stream of them. Have a nice day.

Then don't ever claim your world somehow mirrors reality more than one that has active enemies that pursue the PCs. That claim by you and few others was tired and rubbish when it was posted. Realistic worlds have active enemies trying to take resources with enemies that pursue to the death if you oppose them. IF you never run situations like that, then your world isn't very realistic is it? So maybe you can stop making that ridiculous claim.

If you're not running your enemies in an active manner, I guess you're soft-balling or protecting your players because they always have the option to run and you'll play your NPCs and monsters allowing it. I run enemies with the intent to kill the PCs that oppose them. That is why I must not make encounters too strong. Not your misinterpretation that I was "protecting my PCs" or "pulling punches." I have active NPCs in my game world that don't allow PCs to avoid them. To me that is a realistic world with magic that allows you track someone down that opposes you. I guess your newbie players couldn't handle determined enemies pursuing them to the death including ambushing them with complex tactics, but my veteran players can. That's quite surprising (not really, but I'm making assumptions about your newbie players like you did my veteran players).

You don't understand my game. You make assumptions about it that aren't true. I'd be quite happy if I never saw your response to one of my posts ever again given your lack of understanding of what I do in my campaigns. I pay you the same courtesy because I don't care for your campaigning style. The only time I bother to interact with you is when you're tossing out useless advice for how to deal with a situation you don't comprehend.

Have a nice day!
 
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Hussar

Legend
Well, just as a point, very, very few enemies are intent on pursuing the party until they are all dead. Most opponents would be perfectly satisfied with chasing off the party. Claims of realism are a tricky thing at best.

Then again, baddies that always fight to the death and never surrender is one of my personal bugaboos. I do wish 5e had morale rules.
 

Well, just as a point, very, very few enemies are intent on pursuing the party until they are all dead. Most opponents would be perfectly satisfied with chasing off the party. Claims of realism are a tricky thing at best.

Then again, baddies that always fight to the death and never surrender is one of my personal bugaboos. I do wish 5e had morale rules.

having cults and priests give there lives for what they believe in is hard to get my mind around after two or three times, but normal monsters, or worse animals...it drives me nuts


my own little aside years ago I was told we were going to play a more 'realistic' game, it didn't have hit points, and you roll for locations... then in the first game I shot someone with a called shot knee... I hit and did lots of damage, they fell down and on there turn kept shooting... FACEPALM!!! somehow it has gotten into I would say 70-80% of DM/GM that everymonster has rabies and wont save there own life...
 

Well, just as a point, very, very few enemies are intent on pursuing the party until they are all dead. Most opponents would be perfectly satisfied with chasing off the party. Claims of realism are a tricky thing at best.

Then again, baddies that always fight to the death and never surrender is one of my personal bugaboos. I do wish 5e had morale rules.

It does, actually, in the DMG. Wisdom save, DC 10 IIRC. But it would be nice indeed if it had GOOD morale rules, and morale stats in the MM. I steal them from AD&D MM to compensate.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Well, just as a point, very, very few enemies are intent on pursuing the party until they are all dead. Most opponents would be perfectly satisfied with chasing off the party. Claims of realism are a tricky thing at best.

Then again, baddies that always fight to the death and never surrender is one of my personal bugaboos. I do wish 5e had morale rules.

No Kidding. That's why I find it strange when they are made concerning games like this by those that think sandboxes somehow represent more character freedom or a more realistic game. Neither is true. A location railroad is still a railroad. Creating a ship where 24 beholders end up in the way of the characters is still designing encounters the characters have a chance of winning. None of it is this huge difference folks like Hemlock attempt to make it seem like.

Soon as someone reads you like to have a cohesive narrative for an adventure, they somehow think that player choice goes out the window. It doesn't. A narrative involves creating plans for NPCs in a given area. How the PCs deal with those plans is always up to the PCs. They always have the freedom to make choices including leaving. When I do what I refer to as a location adventure, I design narratives for the various enemies in the location as well even if they are not working together. All a sandbox is to me is a location railroad or a location narrative. I have done those adventures many times and enjoy them. I still like to work out motivations for my encounters whether it be a gnoll tribe or a highly intelligent king even when running location narratives. I still like to tailor a few encounters to truly challenge my group knowing they'll walk over 80% of the encounters...100% if I don't tailor a few encounters.

When I say I tailor encounters to be challenging, I do it because I have to. This idea that Hemlock has that he can just make up whatever he wants and challenge a coordinated, min-maxer party is laughable. A coordinated party runs over stuff unless you know how to challenge them. Any old monster isn't a challenge. If you're throwing things at them way above their level, then playing it poorly so they survive that is the essence of soft-balling. I don't soft-ball. If I throw a powerful dragon into an encounter, I make that dragon capable of challenging the party. It's not some random encounter they get to destroy while they chat over the table because I didn't bother to plan for tactix x, y, and z that makes the dragon a cakewalk.

Here's a question: do your PCs allow opponents to run if they can help it? I can understand them arresting someone if that is possible. Do they allow them to flee if the enemies don't have the means? Or do they pursue them to do the death unless the NPCs have the means to truly escape?

My PCs don't allow enemies to escape. I have to plan an NPCs escape if I want them to be able to escape. Meaning they have to really be able to escape like getting off a teleport or being able to escape detection. I play NPCs the same way. My PCs know it and they have escape spells on their spell list because they know this is how I play. If a party walked into one of the encounters I expect to be challenging, they had better walk in with an escape route or they might not live.

My game is a step under killer DM. I have to be careful not create overkill encounters.

The goal is to challenge PCs, not kill them easily. No one likes that kind of game. It's discouraging. And no one likes a game where there are very few challenges or the few challenges that are in their way are easily avoidable by simply choosing not to engage. Those types of games bore people...at least they bore my players. I'm fairly certain they bore a high percentage of players. Players want to feel like they did something extraordinary. The stronger the enemy they defeat, the more satisfying the victory.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
having cults and priests give there lives for what they believe in is hard to get my mind around after two or three times, but normal monsters, or worse animals...it drives me nuts


my own little aside years ago I was told we were going to play a more 'realistic' game, it didn't have hit points, and you roll for locations... then in the first game I shot someone with a called shot knee... I hit and did lots of damage, they fell down and on there turn kept shooting... FACEPALM!!! somehow it has gotten into I would say 70-80% of DM/GM that everymonster has rabies and wont save there own life...

Animals fighting to the death once engaged is believable. Animals that during the fight or flight reaction decide to fight will often go into a frenzy when severely wounded fighting until dead. They are frightened beyond their limited ability to think. They are committed to the battle. Usually animals would run immediately if given the opportunity. I generally play animals as fleeing armed adventurers that wander into their territory unless there is some reason to do otherwise like protecting their young or suffering under the effects of enchantment.

I always have humanoids or intelligent creatures attempt to surrender or flee. Unfortunately, the PCs usually execute them. I have a particularly vicious group of players that don't like to leave anyone alive. Just last week they executed a female ranger that tried to ambush them with a group of orcs. They disarmed her. She was defeated, disheartened, and at their mercy. They pronounced sentence and executed her. When she was captured, she was near full hit points. She had no real chance to fight and no real chance to escape. She threw herself on the mercy of the PCs and they didn't have any. I might bring her back as a revenant since the reason she was going after them was they killed her lover.

I always try to have the NPCs react in a manner that reinforces verisimilitude. I like to plan how they react in advance thinking about their upbringing. My goal is to keep the players in character as much as possible. It's hard with veteran players. Using meta-game knowledge is too natural to them.
 

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