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

Mort

Legend
Supporter
You mean the opponents that the DM controls? Yeah, hint: the DM controls them. Not following the PCs is absolutely a viable option.
You're the one arguing for strict verisimilitude. If the Opponent CAN follow and would follow, but does not - isn't that basically the same as fudging? The point is, the pc's fleeing needs to be considered and allowed for.
 

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CreamCloud0

Explorer
Alot of people mentioning here that the players become thralls or otherwise indentured servitude to the lich but if you don’t find a way out and a TPK does ensue it’d be really cool (in my book at least) if the high level of ambient necrotic magic naturally revives the players as undead (either as all thr same or different types) and have them wake up in a corpse bin/pit/room with all the previous dead adventurers and explorers
 
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Stormonu

Legend
Also, if a TPK does occur, its possible that the lich otherwise discards/displays the bodies as a warning, which are collected by the "forces of good" and revived, in the hope that they had the best shot at defeating the lich, but just need a second chance. This gives the party a chance to rearm, seek out allies and otherwise try again - though likely the second time around the lich will take more care that there's no chance the defeated party can come back.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
You're the one arguing for strict verisimilitude. If the Opponent CAN follow and would follow, but does not - isn't that basically the same as fudging?
Exactly.

As I already said:
That assumes the monsters must chase them. That's simply not true. The DM can always have the monsters not chase the PCs. Just as the DM can always have the monsters not kill the PCs. If it makes sense for the monster to do those things, do them.
Not all opponents will chase fleeing PCs. Some will. Some won't. That lich? Maybe. It might be trying to kill the party. It might be trying to KO them and enthrall them. It might be trying to kill them, raise them, then enthrall them. It all depends on the monster and the circumstance in the moment.
The point is, the pc's fleeing needs to be considered and allowed for.
You're starting from a false premise. That it isn't allowed for by default and therefore must be explicitly put in for it to be a possibility. If there is space to move, the PCs can flee. If there's an exit, the PCs can take it. If the PCs came into the room, the vast majority of the time, they can exit that same way. The only time fleeing isn't allowed for is when the DM explicitly and intentionally takes that option away.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Also, if a TPK does occur, its possible that the lich otherwise discards/displays the bodies as a warning, which are collected by the "forces of good" and revived, in the hope that they had the best shot at defeating the lich, but just need a second chance. This gives the party a chance to rearm, seek out allies and otherwise try again - though likely the second time around the lich will take more care that there's no chance the defeated party can come back.
How cool. Let me take it further.

TPK happens.

Explain to the players how they awake on a fresh battlefield, filled with undead and the freshly dead wearing a symbols of a good-aligned god. It's 14 years later - they have been undead generals ravaging the land, but a bard sworre that they were the bodies of these noble heroes he had previously sung about. So forces of a good temple tried a risky gambit, and between a high level cleric and burning out a Rod of Resurrection have brought the players back.

But a decade and a half of ravishment have happened. And the temple intends them to put right what was done.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
You're starting from a false premise. That it isn't allowed for by default and therefore must be explicitly put in for it to be a possibility. If there is space to move, the PCs can flee. If there's an exit, the PCs can take it. If the PCs came into the room, the vast majority of the time, they can exit that same way. The only time fleeing isn't allowed for is when the DM explicitly and intentionally takes that option away.

It is not a false premise. It is something the DM must consider. You're treating flight as an obvious option. But it isn't, just because the PCs can back away doesn't mean they can GET away. in 5e, combat, once engaged, is NOT easy to flee from (unless you're a caster that can teleport - then sure, it's easy).
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
It is not a false premise. It is something the DM must consider. You're treating flight as an obvious option. But it isn't, just because the PCs can back away doesn't mean they can GET away. in 5e, combat, once engaged, is NOT easy to flee from (unless you're a caster that can teleport - then sure, it's easy).
You don't need to build an escape hatch into a room with a door. Tschüss.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
How cool. Let me take it further.

TPK happens.

Explain to the players how they awake on a fresh battlefield, filled with undead and the freshly dead wearing a symbols of a good-aligned god. It's 14 years later - they have been undead generals ravaging the land, but a bard sworre that they were the bodies of these noble heroes he had previously sung about. So forces of a good temple tried a risky gambit, and between a high level cleric and burning out a Rod of Resurrection have brought the players back.

But a decade and a half of ravishment have happened. And the temple intends them to put right what was done.
There you go. Now that's the makings of an epic story.
 


dave2008

Legend
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.
If you trust the people at the table, neither option is really an issue.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
An enemy with a decent speed or a ranged attack just shoots you on the way out and is effectively inescapable.
Luckily Toll the Dead has a range of 60 feet, and if the lich is already spamming that, there's a reason.

If we need to stay to the requirements of this battle that there's no "escape hatch", let's also stay to it in terms of range of attacks.

And also not ignore that it's very possible to have everyone but one run, to slow the lich so the others can get away.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Attacks (including opportunity attacks) generally require Line of Sight, if someone can drop a mundane or magical obscurement/sight blocker, it makes escape that much easier.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
And also not ignore that it's very possible to have everyone but one run, to slow the lich so the others can get away.
If at any point you feel yourself about to utter the words 'Go ahead, Ill hold them off', get your affairs in order because your god has abandoned you and the author has completely lost interest in you. You will die pointlessly because the dramatic choice is for the villain to still reach the actual main characters (you are not. You are the Sacrificial Lion at best) in the climax ten minutes from now, possibly having your mangled corpse thrown at their feet for pathos.
 

Unless it isn't (a viable option).

Fights, in ALL versions of D&D with 5e being no exception, are difficult to flee from.

For that not to be the case the DM has to expressly build in a way for the PCs to flee and telegraph accordingly.

And as to the OP, he's stated he WANTS some ideas on how to avoid A TPK because HE made some mistakes. Saying, nah, just kill them - isn't all that helpful!

So as to options:

1. Have an out present itself, such as have an NPC distract the Litch so the PCs can run. Or have something else happen that the PCs see a viable escape route. Make sure the PCs know running is a viable and, likely good option.

2. Have something happen "elsewhere in the dungeon" that requires the Litch's immediate attention, the Litch then dimension doors out to deal with it. The PCs get a breather and a reminder that they need to step up their game or get the heck out of dodge.

3. Have the Lich go full bore, but he needs the PCs alive (for experiments or whatever) and captures them instead. Changes the focus of the adventure campaign but can be it's own fun.

While I'm not against the idea of on the fly modifying the encounter downwards in certain cases. I think, here, there are enough interesting outs to not have to do that.
For the bolded part...
There were rules in 1ed and in OD&D about fleeing.
However...
Most opponents will hesitate to pursue.
Fleeing means using double moves. Which in turns implies that caution is thrown to the wind.
Most intelligent monsters will hesitate to pursue for a few reasons:
1) Are they really fleeing or are they hoping to make me leave my lair so that others will plunder it?
2) Are they leading me into a trap?
3) Am I wounded lightly enough to take the chance to pursue? or could it go the other way around.

At the very least, most opponent might even lose a round or two before pursuing, giving a lead to the group. At which point, it is possible that such a lead makes the opponent to lose track of the character. This is where a good range might be handy to have.

Monsters with animal level intelligence will rarely pursue if lower than 50% of their HP. Their own tendency will be to flee unless in their lair. At which point, they will start their own rest to recover lost hit points...

At the minimum, when characters want to flee. Opponents should make a general wisdom check. If failed, they should not pursue. I do have some guidelines that I use.
Moral Check to pursue or surrender.
Base DC 10
Enemies outnumber the players: DC lowers by 3.
Enemy is a BBEG or have a leader type with them: DC lowered by 3.
Enemy is an evil outsider: DC lowered by 3.
Individual CR of one of the enemies is 5 above the players: DC Lowered by 2
Individual CR of the enemies is lower than the players: DC Raised by 2.
Enemy(ies) is in lair: DC raised by 2.
Enemy is reputed to be fearless or reckless: DC lowered by 3
Enemy is reputed to be coward or have shaky morale: DC raised by 3
  • Enemies are wounded below 25% Hit points: DC Raised by 3
  • Enemies are wounded below 50% Hit points: DC Raised by 5 (not cumulative)
  • Enemies are wounded below 75% Hit points: DC Raised by 7
Enemies are outnumbered by the players: DC Raised by 5.
Enemy is alone: DC raised by 5.
Enemy is a BBEG or have a leader type with them: DC lowered by 3.
PCs have a reputation to slay everything: DC lowered by 5. (applies to intelligent monsters that can have heard about PCs)
PCs have a reputation to be prone to make captive and then release them: DC raised by 3.

*Use the average HP of the creatures.

These are basic guidelines and are akin to the moral checks. I use these and it works quite well.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
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.
So, no monsters in disguise? Nothing out of the ordinary? They all know which of the monsters has magic items and which doesn't? etc..?
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
So, no monsters in disguise? Nothing out of the ordinary? They all know which of the monsters has magic items and which doesn't? etc..?
Isekai D&D where everyone literally has their stats hanging over their heads and there's magic in the world to mask them.

Wasn't there a Spider-Man game where you run into Mysterio and he rocks up with six health bars... until you hit him, at which point they all fall off because they were an illusion?
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
If at any point you feel yourself about to utter the words 'Go ahead, Ill hold them off', get your affairs in order because your god has abandoned you and the author has completely lost interest in you. You will die pointlessly because the dramatic choice is for the villain to still reach the actual main characters (you are not. You are the Sacrificial Lion at best) in the climax ten minutes from now, possibly having your mangled corpse thrown at their feet for pathos.

I've never played with a DM who wouldn't respect a player playing the martyr card.

And since we already started with range wasn't great on the lich's attack, you're trying to refute it with something that has already been proven wrong, that it is pointless and can't work.

Sorry, you're just wrong on multiple levels.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
If at any point you feel yourself about to utter the words 'Go ahead, Ill hold them off', get your affairs in order because your god has abandoned you and the author has completely lost interest in you. You will die pointlessly because the dramatic choice is for the villain to still reach the actual main characters (you are not. You are the Sacrificial Lion at best) in the climax ten minutes from now, possibly having your mangled corpse thrown at their feet for pathos.
Was it even worse for Hurin when he found out he wasn't going to die and was a main character?
 


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