D&D 5E Combat as war, sport, or ??


log in or register to remove this ad

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
This is fine but then why have random encounters? Just combat for combat's sake, to slowly tax resources? And what if a random encounter starts to go south, does the DM just have to fudge to keep the heroes alive?
To be honest, they are not required, but they can be there to drain resources and the DM can do what they please. I not trying advocate for anything but discern a taxonomy we can use to characterise group/campaign styles.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I agree. It's tricky though. Plot-based games are tough when PCs don't have plot armor.
Nah. It just means the GM needs to be open to the idea that some costs are worse than (player) character death, and the players need to be invested enough to permit some costs to be worse than (player) character death.

There is never a point in FMA where it's really in question whether the "player characters" (a precocious Transmuter Wizard and his Warforged Fighter brother--not sure what subclass there) are going to bite it. Yet the death of Maes Hughes is an absolutely devastating impact on both the two of them and their supporting cast.

I know that the writing for a show is different from the writing for a game. But you can absolutely have a plot-driven story that doesn't use "plot armor" in the sense of invulnerability to lasting harm. It just means that you need to be more creative about the kinds of things that count as permanent, irrevocable harm. Using the Maes Hughes thing as an example, if the party has befriended a lovable goofball NPC that helps them out and is kind to them, then events which cause that NPC to be permanently killed--as in, there's no resurrection, no takebacks, character is just GONE and never coming back--is a HUGE blow, and something that can completely redefine the story, all without making it any less "plot-driven."

Likewise, things like having PCs "come back wrong," or putting them on a timer to get a task done, or otherwise playing with/mitigating things can be incredibly useful. One could call it the "GM credit card" approach: the player is putting their death on credit, and will have to pay the piper eventually, but not quite yet. All sorts of delightful tension and story you can wring out of a plot like that (a big reason why Dungeon World's Last Breath move works the way it does.)
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
@EzekielRaiden What is FMA?
Oh sure, you can definitely do it. It does steer pretty hard away from the zeitgeist though, which is why I described it as "tricky".
back in the 3.x/PF days I didn't have much issue doing it. Players knowing that magic item churn was required made it easy to link that churn to people that needed adventurers to do adventurer stuff. 5e leans pretty hard into empowering extreme neotrad as the One True Style though & it's hard to do that now.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
@EzekielRaiden What is FMA?

back in the 3.x/PF days I didn't have much issue doing it. Players knowing that magic item churn was required made it easy to link that churn to people that needed adventurers to do adventurer stuff. 5e leans pretty hard into empowering extreme neotrad as the One True Style though & it's hard to do that now.
Fullmetal Alchemist. (The main characters are Edward Elric, the youngest state alchemist ever, and his brother, Alphonse, whose situation is...complicated if you don't know anything about the setting.) Quite a good anime, if you're in the mood for such things. Just...make sure it's Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, not the original run, which rewrote a ton of things in not particularly good ways.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Nah. It just means the GM needs to be open to the idea that some costs are worse than (player) character death, and the players need to be invested enough to permit some costs to be worse than (player) character death.
And the system has to allow those costs to exist.

Level loss, for example. Or unexpected loss of magic items and-or wealth. Or suddenly finding yourself 30 Human-equivalent years older. Or a long-term injury that forces you to miss the next few adventures while you recover.

0-1-2e had these, or close. 5e does not.

Death is about the last major cost left, which is why it comes up so often.

If you're thinking of plot-based costs, those only work well in plot-based campaigns. If the PCs are the sorts who are happy to let the kidnapped princess die instead of rescuing her, plot-based costs might as well not exist.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
If you're thinking of plot-based costs, those only work well in plot-based campaigns. If the PCs are the sorts who are happy to let the kidnapped princess die instead of rescuing her, plot-based costs might as well not exist.
Sure, but "plot-based campaigns" was the topic in question:
I agree. It's tricky though. Plot-based games are tough when PCs don't have plot armor.
So a tool that requires being plot-based sounds like it would fit right at home in a game you're already presuming to be plot-based.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
And the system has to allow those costs to exist.

Level loss, for example. Or unexpected loss of magic items and-or wealth. Or suddenly finding yourself 30 Human-equivalent years older. Or a long-term injury that forces you to miss the next few adventures while you recover.

0-1-2e had these, or close. 5e does not.

Death is about the last major cost left, which is why it comes up so often.

If you're thinking of plot-based costs, those only work well in plot-based campaigns. If the PCs are the sorts who are happy to let the kidnapped princess die instead of rescuing her, plot-based costs might as well not exist.
This so much. It's even more frustrating in the light of things like the 2e dmg going into detail about
Sure, but "plot-based campaigns" was the topic in question:

So a tool that requires being plot-based sounds like it would fit right at home in a game you're already presuming to be plot-based.
Sure but when the system insulates pcs from any needs and any risks both to such a degree it makes it difficult for the gm to provide any reason for pcs to care about the plots making up the plot based campaign.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
This so much. It's even more frustrating in the light of things like the 2e dmg going into detail about
Sure but when the system insulates pcs from any needs and any risks both to such a degree it makes it difficult for the gm to provide any reason for pcs to care about the plots making up the plot based campaign.
This is why I think that much of this is at a meta level. The players and DM have to agree and buy into the games style and aesthetic.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top