D&D General Why are we fighting?


I have never once included a combat because I felt the need to honor resource management.
Ditto. What ends up happening, is that those with resources to manage end up holding back just in case they need to use them later. So combat might take even longer because the Wizard decides now isn't a dramatically appropriate time to cast Fireball. And I absolutely despise random encounters.

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Going back to the "all or nothing" aspect for a moment.

The question isn't really "does it work all the time to let stuff go vs does it never work?" That's not a particularly useful way to view it. But, we do need to understand the mentality going into things. If it's a 50:50 split, then, well, unless the rewards for letting stuff flee are very, very good, then it's never a good idea to let stuff run away. And, it's unlikely that the rewards for letting stuff run away in a 50:50 system will ever be good enough. If I have to fight the rest of the baddies, losing any chance of surprise 50% of the time and I still have to fight the baddies with a fairly minor benefit (maybe they run away a bit earlier, or they start frightened, whatever), then why would I risk it? Far better to just kill everything and still have a chance of surprising later baddies.

OTOH, if say, the split is a bit more nuanced - 1 in 10 leads to baddies being alerted, 3 in 10 lead to the fleeing baddies just being removed from the field and having no further effect, and 6 in 10 leads to baddies starting frightened until the next long rest (or maybe short rest actually, just to keep the pace of the game up and reward pushing forward), then it makes a lot of sense to start letting baddies flee.

Add in something that 4e did really well - forcing morale failure with intimidation checks - an action to make contested intimidation check vs, say, a wisdom saving throw (I'm spitballing here) - causes a target to be frightened, end of turn save ends the effect. If the intimidation check is made against a frightened target, the target flees the encounter/surrenders if it can't run.

Put these two together and now you have a really rewarding system for the players to use. I might even allow baddies to use this against the PC's, if hte players are okay with it.

I have never once included a combat because I felt the need to honor resource management.

I include combats because contrary to what I am contractually obligated to say, violence is awesome and doing it in a controlled, fictional environment is the best way to do it.
Me too!

Resource management is very important to me, but I've never included a combat just to whittle down their arrows or potions. I have included random attacks from patrols or wandering monsters, but the intent there is to exert a mild to moderate time pressure.

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