D&D 5E When you've made the battle too much to handle...

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If they do not run, kill them.
If there is a straggler. Kill the straggler.
Players will thank you for it.
Nothing is universal.

And any time any of the "Let the dice fall where they may" people try to imply that it is and it's the only answer, I will be there to remind you all (and the people who ask the question originally) that that's a bunch of hooey. :D
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
And knowing that... I think oftentimes players believe there IS NO escape from a fight and thus they don't even think about trying.
And being continually fed winnable encounters or facing no consequences for bad choices fosters the notion that anything and everything can be beaten simply brute forcing their way through.
 

Nothing is universal.

And any time any of the "Let the dice fall where they may" people try to imply that it is and it's the only answer, I will be there to remind you all (and the people who ask the question originally) that that's a bunch of hooey. :D
For you? That is for sure.
But wherever the dice may fall makes for great stories.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
And being continually fed winnable encounters or facing no consequences for bad choices fosters the notion that anything and everything can be beaten simply brute forcing their way through.
Sure. And when someone posts here on the boards that they've actually been doing that... feel free to tell them this again.
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
Uh... it's when the DM said this...

"I believe now the PCs should have been 9 or 10th level before this battle, my bad on that part."

That seemed... rather clear to me.
Right, but the players have agency. They could have figured out that the encounter was too much for them and ran, or negotiated, etc.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
For you? That is for sure.
But wherever the dice may fall makes for great stories.
A lot of times? Sure. But not always. If it did... we wouldn't have seen so many questions and/or complaints about the opening scene of Hoard of the Dragon Queen when that was first released and the adult blue dragon showed up to decimate Greenest and many of the PCs who ran to engage it, thinking that it was one of the first actions of the campaign they were supposed to do (probably because the DM didn't even realize they were supposed to make it more clear of the folly of that action.)
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Or it's not all or nothing.

A table of players can play out an exciting game and compelling story that includes all manner of randomness and following what happens with the dice that are rolled... while also being okay (or not even noticing) if one time the DM makes an adjustment mid-combat because they messed up in the encounter's design.
That assumes encounters must be balanced. They don't need to be. It's typically better if they're not. The encounter should be whatever makes sense for the encounter. If it's not level appropriate the players can either think, the characters die, or come back when they're more powerful.
Now yes... there have been a number of people here on the boards who have stated over the last many, many years that they can tell automatically when a DM has fudged a die roll or adjusted an encounter and that the DM doing so has destroyed D&D for them at that particular table. And if that's actually the case... sorry to hear that. But they should acknowledge that just because they are that good at sniffing out a sting, it doesn't mean everybody else can, or even if others even care enough to bother trying.
Trying to curate an experience goes against the whole point of making choices. If the choices don't matter, it's only an illusion of choice, which is no choice at all.
I know I certainly don't. I know I don't ever worry about tracking every single goblin's hit point total so I can know for certain that they only fall down when they definitely reached only 0 HP, rather than the DM saying "It's dead" when it reached 1 HP because the fight went on a lot longer than expected and it was the only goblin left and the end result was a fait accompli anyway. Personally I don't give a rat's ass if the DM does that, even if I am told by the DM as it happens. A goblin falling down at 1 HP rather than 0 HP does not matter to me,
Since I wouldn't want the players doing it to favor themselves, I won't do it as a DM. If they're still standing and fighting at -12 hp, I'm going to call shenanigans. But then, I also roll for monster disposition/reaction and use morale instead of having everything fight to the death. Fair is fair. If you're going to ignore honest die rolls, why bother making them in the first place?
especially if it has only happened like one time in a years-long campaign. And I'd be willing to bet that there are plenty of others out there like me. Nothing is universal. In either direction.
That's the rub. As a player, you can't tell. You never really know if the DM is cheating or not. Fudging dice, fudging monster hp, or stats, or abilities. Fudging is a great way to erode player confidence. It makes them not trust you. Once that's gone, there's almost no getting it back. Roll in the open. Tell the players the AC and HP of the monsters up front. Go. They know what's up and they can make an informed choice. They know you're not cheating and not giving them any nudges. Makes for a much more satisfying experience all around.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Right, but the players have agency. They could have figured out that the encounter was too much for them and ran, or negotiated, etc.
What does their agency have to do with the OP's concern that they may have accidentally created an unbalanced encounter and asking for possible options besides just mowing down the party unceremoniously?
 

A lot of times? Sure. But not always. If it did... we wouldn't have seen so many questions and/or complaints about the opening scene of Hoard of the Dragon Queen when that was first released and the adult blue dragon showed up to decimate Greenest and many of the PCs who ran to engage it, thinking that it was one of the first actions of the campaign they were supposed to do (probably because the DM didn't even realize they were supposed to make it more clear of the folly of that action.)
Exactly my point. When the player's back story is so ludicrous, for that player such an encounter might seem a good idea to handle straight on. None of my group even thought of going toe to toes with a Blue dragon that was obviously not a hatchling. None died at the hands claws of that dragon. Only people with extravaganza back story habits would try it. When you know that encounters are not necessarily balanced, you act as if you could actually die. If something is to be learned from that, it that when failure is a possibility, people actually start thinking about consequences in both their choices and actions. In my book, that is a great story mover/motivation.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Fudging is a great way to erode player confidence. It makes them not trust you. Once that's gone, there's almost no getting it back. Roll in the open. Tell the players the AC and HP of the monsters up front. Go. They know what's up and they can make an informed choice. They know you're not cheating and not giving them any nudges. Makes for a much more satisfying experience all around.
I'm sorry you've been so hurt before that you see this as the one and only truth. :)
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
What does their agency have to do with the OP's concern that they may have accidentally created an unbalanced encounter and asking for possible options besides just mowing down the party unceremoniously?
Because "the players not being too stubborn to run away" is a viable option.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I'm sorry you've been so hurt before that you see this as the one and only truth.
I don't play RPGs to be spoon-fed a pre-written story...I have actual fiction, written by actual writers for that. RPGs aren't fiction. They're not prose or movies. They're their own thing. Let them be their own thing. Sorry you've been so hurt by honest die rolls before.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Exactly my point. When the player's back story is so ludicrous, for that player such an encounter might seem a good idea to handle straight on. None of my group even thought of going go to toes with a Blue dragon that was obviously not a hatchling. None died at the hands claws of that dragon. Only people with extravaganza back story habits would try it. When you know that encounters are not necessarily balanced, you act as if you could actually die. If something is to be learned from that, it that when failure is a possibility, people actually start thinking about consequences in both their choices and actions. In my book, that is a great story mover/motivation.
Or... you know... it could also have been a bunch of people playing D&D for the very first time who had no idea just how powerful an "adult blue dragon" was compared to a bunch of 1st level PCs.

So yeah... YOU would see engaging the dragon as ludicrous. Which is good for you. But what you know is not universal. And painting it as it is either only players like you OR a bunch of arrogant players who make extravagant backstories thinking that their decision to make their characters massively powerful adventurers even at 1st level would thus shield them from any consequences of their grandiose actions... is rather ridiculous.
 

@toucanbuzz

I want to add that, at this level, having a pc or two die won’t end the campaign. If they can escape with the bodies, Surviving PCs can level, clerics and druids can raise dead or reincarnate, other members can sell gear to hire someone to bring them back.
If they don’t have access to the slain character’s bodies, they can hire mercenaries (players can roll up new temporary characters) and they can prepare better and go back in to rescue their fallen comrades.
 

Or... you know... it could also have been a bunch of people playing D&D for the very first time who had no idea just how powerful an "adult blue dragon" was compared to a bunch of 1st level PCs.

So yeah... YOU would see engaging the dragon as ludicrous. Which is good for you. But what you know is not universal. And painting it as it is either only players like you OR a bunch of arrogant players who make extravagant backstories thinking that their decision to make their characters massively powerful adventurers even at 1st level would thus shield them from any consequences of their grandiose actions... is rather ridiculous.
Page 9. The breath of an adult blue dragon will outright kill a 1st level character. Be sure to demonstrate the destructive nature of the dragon's breath to the players before turning the dragon onto them.

The warning was there. It is even mention to make the players witness its destructive power on NPCs. But who reads the adventures beforehand to be sure to clearly understand how to run it? Only old grognards like me it appears...
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Because "the players not being too stubborn to run away" is a viable option.
No argument here. But that wasn't the OP's concern though, was it? At no point did they say in their post that they can't convince the party to cut and run. Rather they were looking for any other options people could think of. But the response of what seems to be several of you of "Nope, no other options, let them just die, they will appreciate it" doesn't exactly answer their question.
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
What does their agency have to do with the OP's concern that they may have accidentally created an unbalanced encounter and asking for possible options besides just mowing down the party unceremoniously?
One of the possible options is for the party to figure out that they are in over their heads.
 

If you had said that being bailed out would not be some players cup of tea, I wouldn't have responded to you. But it was only because you had made a seemingly universal declaration (which I had quoted) that I felt the impetus to reply somewhat cheekily. ;)

That being said, I agree with you. Some people would find it to be a betrayal of the game and the ethos of playing it-- no argument there. But we do have to acknowledge that it isn't a universal response and that there will be plenty of tables wherein a DMing copping to a mess up (especially if it's the first time of it ever happening) would be seen as graciousness and concern for the enjoyment of the players.
I will be sure to preface all my posts with ‘in my experience’ so that I don’t confuse people on the boards and create unnecessary misunderstandings.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I don't play RPGs to be spoon-fed a pre-written story...I have actual fiction, written by actual writers for that. RPGs aren't fiction. They're not prose or movies. They're their own thing. Let them be their own thing. Sorry you've been so hurt by honest die rolls before.
Not at all. I see honest die rolls all the time, because I live in a gaming world of grey, rather than one of black and white.

"No dice fudging at all" is not the opposite of "being spoon-fed a story". Sorry. It ain't. There's a LOT of grey space between those two black and white things, even if you don't want to believe it.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I will be sure to preface all my posts with ‘in my experience’ so that I don’t confuse people on the boards and create unnecessary misunderstandings.
Good idea! I'd even suggest some other options could be words like "Often" or "many" or "some". Those work too. :)

You use any of those kinds of things, I suspect the responses you receive stating you are not wholly correct will probably decrease. If indeed people replying to your posts disagreeing with you actually matters to you. I mean that's not a universal either-- there are people here on the boards who LOVE it when people misunderstand them, and we'll see threads that hit 30, 50, 100 pages of the same three people posting back and forth, back and forth, back and forth cause it's what they seemingly live for.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those people... so pretty soon I'm probably going to go to lunch, at which time my auto-responses to the bunch of you will probably slow down if not end. But it was fun while it lasted! ;)
 

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