D&D 5E Why my friends hate talking to me about 5e.

James Gasik

Pandion Knight
Supporter
Yeah her idea is, "look, you're not laying on the ground! You can still do things! Just don't get hit again. Maybe heal yourself or run away?".

I don't think it's going to be very stellar in practice, because it doesn't take much fatigue to make you darned useless, and since the only way to remove it is a long rest, I don't know how I'd feel if a party had to try and retreat and take a long rest the first time someone drops to 0 hit points.

Seems like that would lead to a five minute workday.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
This whole concept is just bizarre to me. Rolls are needed whenever anything is in doubt. To treat that as a "failure" condition is just...you're literally saying using the rules ever, for any reason, is a failure condition. If it is a failure to need the rules, why are we even playing a game at all?
Failure is a thing that happens all the time in games. Obviously it’s something we aim to avoid. That’s what makes it a game.
If it's supposed to happen, it's not a failure state. If it's a failure state, it's not supposed to happen. Like, that's literally what a "failure state" means! If it's supposed to happen, it is at least in some way intended. If it's a failure state, it occurring means something went wrong.

What else could those words in that combination mean?
What? So you’re saying you’re not supposed to get scored on in soccer, or fold In poker, or get found in hide and seek, or lose pieces in chess, or…?

Failure states are absolutely supposed to happen in games. They give you something to play to avoid.

In my experience, it is, though I admit I don't have quite as much experience with those levels as I have with the earlier levels. Where characters dropping to 0 (and then outright dying) happened. A lot. Repeatedly. It ruined several games as a result. Hence why I am so skeptical about a rule like this. When four totally different DMs have each caused undesired and campaign-ending TPKs at early levels, yeah, I take rather seriously that death lurks around every corner.
You should maybe consider starting at third, or even fifth level if this bothers you. Levels 1-3 are intentionally designed for PCs to be very vulnerable, because that was a thing a significant portion of the fanbase wanted. It has always been advised that groups who don’t want that vulnerable early game experience start at 3rd.
The bolded bit is covered by the puckish rogues or, for the darkest versions, villain protagonists. Like, that's the whole point of being a murderhobo diving into a murder-hole. You're supposed to take big risks for big reward. You aren't supposed to respond with fear to the murder-hole. Constantly running away leads to rather dull gameplay in the Gygaxian dungeon-heist model. Which is why I said what I said.
You didn’t bold anything. But, yes, PCs are supposed to treat the dungeon with caution, and perhaps even fear in this style of play. The risk is what makes the potential reward so much more satisfying. Much like how in Soulslike games you expect to die a few times as you learn a new area or boss, and the victory is that much more rewarding for it. In this style of play you expect a few characters to die before you get one to that tipping point where you’re significantly less vulnerable (in my experience, around 4th or 5th level), which makes it all the more satisfying of an achievement.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yeah her idea is, "look, you're not laying on the ground! You can still do things! Just don't get hit again. Maybe heal yourself or run away?".

I don't think it's going to be very stellar in practice, because it doesn't take much fatigue to make you darned useless, and since the only way to remove it is a long rest, I don't know how I'd feel if a party had to try and retreat and take a long rest the first time someone drops to 0 hit points.

Seems like that would lead to a five minute workday.
The video doesn’t work for me. Is she suggesting exhaustion levels in place of death save failures? If so, I’ve had the same idea but decided against it because I think it would be too much of a death spiral. That’s not “someone got knocked out, time to make our retreat from the dungeon,” that’s “falling to 0 HP is a near-guaranteed death sentence.”
 

Medic

Neutral Evil
This whole concept is just bizarre to me. Rolls are needed whenever anything is in doubt. To treat that as a "failure" condition is just...you're literally saying using the rules ever, for any reason, is a failure condition. If it is a failure to need the rules, why are we even playing a game at all?
I believe that this is a misunderstanding of intent, so I will provide an example that could be encountered in play.

The party is level three. They come across a rugged rock face that they want to scale. Normally, there would be a difficult Athletics check involved to get to the top - but the rogue came prepared; he has climbing equipment. A rope, a hammer, and enough pitons to make it to the apex. Thanks to the foresight of one of the characters, the whole party can circumvent some difficult rolls.

Otherwise, they would need to take the risk of climbing up barehanded, or give up on climbing and try to find another way up, both of which are undesirable outcomes that could potentially be totally avoided.

If it's supposed to happen, it's not a failure state. If it's a failure state, it's not supposed to happen. Like, that's literally what a "failure state" means! If it's supposed to happen, it is at least in some way intended. If it's a failure state, it occurring means something went wrong.

What else could those words in that combination mean?
Fail states can be graduated. There is a spectrum of failures between "nothing wrong" and "total party kill." Having to risk a stealth check because you didn't find a way to draw a guard away from his post is just a little slap on the wrist, but you still want to try to get around the without a check if you can find a way to do it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I believe that this is a misunderstanding of intent, so I will provide an example that could be encountered in play.

The party is level three. They come across a rugged rock face that they want to scale. Normally, there would be a difficult Athletics check involved to get to the top - but the rogue came prepared; he has climbing equipment. A rope, a hammer, and enough pitons to make it to the apex. Thanks to the foresight of one of the characters, the whole party can circumvent some difficult rolls.

Otherwise, they would need to take the risk of climbing up barehanded, or give up on climbing and try to find another way up, both of which are undesirable outcomes that could potentially be totally avoided.


Fail states can be graduated. There is a spectrum of failures between "nothing wrong" and "total party kill." Having to risk a stealth check because you didn't find a way to draw a guard away from his post is just a little slap on the wrist, but you still want to try to get around the without a check if you can find a way to do it.
Yes, exactly this (although personally I wouldn’t say a rugged rock face would normally require a difficult Athletics check to climb, but that’s just details). As a player it should be your goal to come up with an approach that eliminates either the possibility of, or the potential consequences for, failure, so that you don’t have to rely on the roll of a swingy d20 to determine your fate. Obviously it is not always practical to do so, and in the event that you do end up needing to make a roll, you have your abilities, proficiencies, and potentially Inspiration to help mitigate the inherent risk in making an ability check.
 

Failure is a thing that happens all the time in games. Obviously it’s something we aim to avoid. That’s what makes it a game.
"Not getting what you want" happens all the time in games.

"Having something happen that's not supposed to happen ever" should not happen all the time in games.

What? So you’re saying you’re not supposed to get scored on in soccer, or fold In poker, or get found in hide and seek, or lose pieces in chess, or…?
Those aren't fail states. They are, yes, undesirable outcomes. That's not the same as a failure state.

A failure state is something like your car breaking down. That's not supposed to happen. It's not like "you are low on gasoline, and need to get more." That's an undesirable outcome, yes. It's not a failure state.

Failure states are absolutely supposed to happen in games. They give you something to play to avoid.
Er...what? These two sentences are completely at odds here.

If you play to avoid it, then play should result in it not happening. If you play and that's one possible undesirable outcome, then whatever, undesirable outcomes happen. But if it's a failure state, it shouldn't happen.

The failure state of a machine is a thing that should not happen with that machine. The failure state of an organization is something like collapse or civil war. These things are not supposed to happen and it is very bad when they do.

That's what failure state means; as far as I was aware, that's what it's always meant. You, as a player, have failed if you allow a failure state to occur. You should never permit a failure state to occur if you have any ability to prevent it, and it should be considered a serious problem every time a failure state does occur. It's bad. It should absolutely be avoided, at all costs.

You should maybe consider starting at third, or even fifth level if this bothers you. Levels 1-3 are intentionally designed for PCs to be very vulnerable, because that was a thing a significant portion of the fanbase wanted. It has always been advised that groups who don’t want that vulnerable early game experience start at 3rd.
Believe me, I tried. With all but one of the DMs in question. I tried every argument I could come up with. They absolutely, positively, completely refused to consider playing at anything higher than first level. Because first level is first. Why would it be first if it's not where you're supposed to start?

Such experiences, particularly because they've happened several times, are why the "just start at higher level!" arguments lost even the little bit of credence I was once willing to give them.

You didn’t bold anything. But, yes, PCs are supposed to treat the dungeon with caution, and perhaps even fear in this style of play. The risk is what makes the potential reward so much more satisfying. Much like how in Soulslike games you expect to die a few times as you learn a new area or boss, and the victory is that much more rewarding for it. In this style of play you expect a few characters to die before you get one to that tipping point where you’re significantly less vulnerable (in my experience, around 4th or 5th level), which makes it all the more satisfying of an achievement.
Pardon, I'm tired. Have had...a lot of life events these past two weeks. The part I meant to bold was "old-school push-your-luck dungeon delves." I think that was clear from context, given what else you've said.

It probably won't surprise you that I find "Soulslike" games literally physically painful. Just the thought of trying to force myself through such a depressing, frustrating, soul-crushing experience is enough to put me off for a bit. I similarly cannot stand 99% of "roguelikes" or "roguelites" because, as stated, I get incredibly frustrated and depressed. Eventually I reflected and realized, "I keep playing this...but why? I'm not having any fun. I'm not accomplishing anything. I'm not learning or growing. I've hit a hardcore wall, and nothing has changed in the past...I literally don't know how many runs anymore. I don't want to play this anymore."

The only "roguelite" games I've been able to play and enjoy are Desktop Dungeons (mostly because of its incredibly robust tutorial and overall very mild difficulty curve) and Hades (because they made death part of the story, ameliorating the pain of failure.) I tried really hard to like Rogue Legacy, for example, and it just wasn't to be. I'm not able to find joy in that process. Any difficult task that takes too long to complete ruins the joy of victory for me--instead of feeling pumped because I overcame it, I feel burned out and hollow, like "yay, all it took was flagellating myself into next week....."
<example snop> Otherwise, they would need to take the risk of climbing up barehanded, or give up on climbing and try to find another way up, both of which are undesirable outcomes that could potentially be totally avoided.
As noted above, "undesirable outcome" is not what I consider a "fail state." A fail state is you have screwed up and a really, really bad thing is going to happen. Because you failed. Failure is bad. Failure should not happen. Undesirable outcomes, well, you'd prefer they didn't happen. But you can handle it when they do.

Exhaustion every time you hit 0 HP is not just an undesirable outcome. As noted above, the whole point is that you have nothing, LITERALLY nothing, zero ways to manage that problem. You can manage HP loss. You can manage other conditions, either waiting out their duration or finding a treatment for them. There's nothing you can do about exhaustion except retreat. And it happens with an event that, mathematically, is going to happen. A lot. Essentially every combat, especially if those combats are "deadly" the way almost all 5e DMs think they absolutely positively HAVE to be.

Fail states can be graduated. There is a spectrum of failures between "nothing wrong" and "total party kill." Having to risk a stealth check because you didn't find a way to draw a guard away from his post is just a little slap on the wrist, but you still want to try to get around the without a check if you can find a way to do it.
Yeah that...again sounds like "we're going to use the term 'failure state,' but what we mean is 'undesirable outcome.'" A failure state is at the extreme far end of 'undesirable outcome.' It should, if literally anything can be done, never, ever happen; it should be avoided at absolutely all costs, like you should be willing to accept grievous issues in order to avoid it because those grievous issues will almost certainly be better than whatever the fail state is. Like having your car transmission explode. (That happened to my parents once. Thankfully it was covered by auto insurance, but it meant we were in a precarious vehicular situation for like a week or two.) Or, y'know, failing at something. Better to temporarily sacrifice your sleep schedule and social life to get your grade back on track than to get an F.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
"Not getting what you want" happens all the time in games.

"Having something happen that's not supposed to happen ever" should not happen all the time in games.


Those aren't fail states. They are, yes, undesirable outcomes. That's not the same as a failure state.

A failure state is something like your car breaking down. That's not supposed to happen. It's not like "you are low on gasoline, and need to get more." That's an undesirable outcome, yes. It's not a failure state.


Er...what? These two sentences are completely at odds here.

If you play to avoid it, then play should result in it not happening. If you play and that's one possible undesirable outcome, then whatever, undesirable outcomes happen. But if it's a failure state, it shouldn't happen.

The failure state of a machine is a thing that should not happen with that machine. The failure state of an organization is something like collapse or civil war. These things are not supposed to happen and it is very bad when they do.

That's what failure state means; as far as I was aware, that's what it's always meant. You, as a player, have failed if you allow a failure state to occur. You should never permit a failure state to occur if you have any ability to prevent it, and it should be considered a serious problem every time a failure state does occur. It's bad. It should absolutely be avoided, at all costs.
Ok. Clearly you have a very specific and very different idea of what “failure” means than me. But, I think we understand each other’s meaning at this point, so no use arguing over semantics. Just take my use of “fail state” to mean “undesirable outcome.”
Believe me, I tried. With all but one of the DMs in question. I tried every argument I could come up with. They absolutely, positively, completely refused to consider playing at anything higher than first level. Because first level is first. Why would it be first if it's not where you're supposed to start?

Such experiences, particularly because they've happened several times, are why the "just start at higher level!" arguments lost even the little bit of credence I was once willing to give them.
Sorry you had those experiences. There are definitely groups that do start above first level, including the Critical Role cast, which I think has helped popularize that idea. But, I get how it is; we often have to run the games we wish we could play in, because nobody else is offering precisely what we want. It was definitely the design intent that starting at 3rd be an option for groups who want to skip the vulnerable early game though.
Pardon, I'm tired. Have had...a lot of life events these past two weeks. The part I meant to bold was "old-school push-your-luck dungeon delves." I think that was clear from context, given what else you've said.
Gotcha.
It probably won't surprise you that I find "Soulslike" games literally physically painful. Just the thought of trying to force myself through such a depressing, frustrating, soul-crushing experience is enough to put me off for a bit. I similarly cannot stand 99% of "roguelikes" or "roguelites" because, as stated, I get incredibly frustrated and depressed. Eventually I reflected and realized, "I keep playing this...but why? I'm not having any fun. I'm not accomplishing anything. I'm not learning or growing. I've hit a hardcore wall, and nothing has changed in the past...I literally don't know how many runs anymore. I don't want to play this anymore."

The only "roguelite" games I've been able to play and enjoy are Desktop Dungeons (mostly because of its incredibly robust tutorial and overall very mild difficulty curve) and Hades (because they made death part of the story, ameliorating the pain of failure.) I tried really hard to like Rogue Legacy, for example, and it just wasn't to be. I'm not able to find joy in that process. Any difficult task that takes too long to complete ruins the joy of victory for me--instead of feeling pumped because I overcame it, I feel burned out and hollow, like "yay, all it took was flagellating myself into next week....."
That’s ok, such games are not for everyone. But, I imagine you can at least understand that Soulslikes are incredibly popular because they do satisfy something a lot of people want out of their games, even if it isn’t what you want. And I would hope you could understand that some people want a similar sort of experience from D&D.
As noted above, "undesirable outcome" is not what I consider a "fail state." A fail state is you have screwed up and a really, really bad thing is going to happen. Because you failed. Failure is bad. Failure should not happen. Undesirable outcomes, well, you'd prefer they didn't happen. But you can handle it when they do.

Exhaustion every time you hit 0 HP is not just an undesirable outcome. As noted above, the whole point is that you have nothing, LITERALLY nothing, zero ways to manage that problem. You can manage HP loss. You can manage other conditions, either waiting out their duration or finding a treatment for them. There's nothing you can do about exhaustion except retreat.
But… retreating is a way of managing exhaustion. That’s why a lot of DMs (and players) find the idea of house rules like this appealing. They want retreat to be a normal part of the gameplay loop. It should be treated what you would consider an undesirable outcome of combat rather than what you would consider a fail state.
And it happens with an event that, mathematically, is going to happen. A lot. Essentially every combat, especially if those combats are "deadly" the way almost all 5e DMs think they absolutely positively HAVE to be.
I definitely don’t think every combat has to be deadly. In fact I think most combats should not be. The gameplay style I’m describing is a resource management and risk management challenge, which means the danger should primarily come from long-term attrition, not immediately deadly combats. You should win most combats you get into. But after enough of them, you should be taxed to the point where you need to retreat to survive.
 

But… retreating is a way of managing exhaustion. That’s why a lot of DMs (and players) find the idea of house rules like this appealing. They want retreat to be a normal part of the gameplay loop. It should be treated what you would consider an undesirable outcome of combat rather than what you would consider a fail state.
It...doesn't manage exhaustion though. That would be like saying that retreat manages territory in warfare; it does not, it's admitting defeat. You, by definition, lose.

I definitely don’t think every combat has to be deadly. In fact I think most combats should not be. The gameplay style I’m describing is a resource management and risk management challenge, which means the danger should primarily come from long-term attrition, not immediately deadly combats. You should win most combats you get into. But after enough of them, you should be taxed to the point where you need to retreat to survive.
That's quite a surprising stance, compared to what most people who advocate for these rules seek. Or, at least, what most people that I've seen advocate for stuff like this are seeking.

Generally speaking, it's all in, balls-to-the-wall, no-holds-barred meatgrinder-fests. E.g. at least one person here has already explicitly said if combats aren't deadly they literally aren't worth having, period, and it's clear several people agree.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
:

Why is random, permanent, irrevocable character death the only form of risk?
Revivify, reincarnate,raise dead, true resurrection. You don't even need someone in the group who can cast it because npcs can be paid or bartered with to cast it for you. 5e is the first edition I've regularly seen players get a huge gp value of diamonds, be told its the component for xxx raise dead type spell and excitedly want to sell it to buy stuff even when it's their first pile of diamonds.


Death is anything but permanent in d&d
 

Revivify, reincarnate,raise dead, true resurrection. You don't even need someone in the group who can cast it because npcs can be paid or bartered with to cast it for you. 5e is the first edition I've regularly seen players get a huge gp value of diamonds, be told its the component for xxx raise dead type spell and excitedly want to sell it to buy stuff even when it's their first pile of diamonds.


Death is anything but permanent in d&d
Well, before character level 5, there is no revivify, and if we're already talking about house-ruling so that exhaustion hits at 0, nothing stops house-ruling these other things too (or just banning the spells.) That means little at best in context.

More importantly, "permanent" in this context means "they're dead, and they're going to stay that way unless you do something." Which is generally the case regardless of context. The "you can't do anything about this" is covered by the "irrevocable" thing.* Which, as stated, if we're already in the land of house-rules, DMs can do whatever they like, so your rebuttal is specious.

So: why is random, permanent, irrevocable death the only risk?

*I separate "permanent" from "irrevocable" because you can keep one or the other and still have an interesting concept. A death can be irrevocable (the players don't have anything they can to do fix it) but not permanent (because something else will reverse it later.) E.g. Gandalf's death in Moria is irrevocable, as there are no resurrection spells in that universe, but it isn't permanent, because Gandalf is a Maiar and thus "death" mostly just means "temporarily not having a body."
 
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Well, before character level 5, there is no revivify, and if we're already talking about house-ruling so that exhaustion hits at 0, nothing stops house-ruling these other things too (or just banning the spells.) That means little at best in context.
Yes. I always ban resurrection spells other than Revivify.

More importantly, "permanent" in this context means "they're dead, and they're going to stay that way unless you do something." The "you can't do anything about this" is covered by the "irrevocable" thing--which, as stated, if we're already in the land of house-rules, DMs can do whatever they like, so your rebuttal is specious.

So: why is random, permanent, irrevocable death the only risk?
It is not the only risk, but it is the end point of the risks culminating that the mechanics recognise. Narrative risks are not codified in D&D rules.

In any case, if we are using a system that dedicates a lot of rules on combat and reducing and restoring hit point, then I feel it makes sense for that number to actually matter. That if you run out the HP, something bad actually happens. Otherwise, why even bother?
 

That's quite a surprising stance, compared to what most people who advocate for these rules seek. Or, at least, what most people that I've seen advocate for stuff like this are seeking.

Generally speaking, it's all in, balls-to-the-wall, no-holds-barred meatgrinder-fests. E.g. at least one person here has already explicitly said if combats aren't deadly they literally aren't worth having, period, and it's clear several people agree.
I don't think it is surprising at all. In a game where resources matter, having to use a significant chunk of your resources to overcome an encounter is certain sort of partial failure (or a partial success, if you're an optimist.) But for that attrition to matter, something must happen if you eventually run out. It might not actually be death. It might be having to retreat, having the enemies to succeed in their plans. But that might be because the characters have spent all their resources and if they pushed on they would be likely to die.
 

Yes. I always ban resurrection spells other than Revivify.


It is not the only risk, but it is the end point of the risks culminating that the mechanics recognise. Narrative risks are not codified in D&D rules.

In any case, if we are using a system that dedicates a lot of rules on combat and reducing and restoring hit point, then I feel it makes sense for that number to actually matter. That if you run out the HP, something bad actually happens. Otherwise, why even bother?
Why do the risks need to be codified in the rules? We're literally discussing rewriting the rules for fun. Why is official-ness important now when it's never been important before?

I don't think it is surprising at all. In a game where resources matter, having to use a significant chunk of your resources to overcome an encounter is certain sort of partial failure (or a partial success, if you're an optimist.) But for that attrition to matter, something must happen if you eventually run out. It might not actually be death. It might be having to retreat, having the enemies to succeed in their plans. But that might be because the characters have spent all their resources and if they pushed on they would be likely to die.
That's...not what I'm talking about.

I'm surprised at the combination of "combats should generally NOT be deadly" + "exhaustion death spirals should be present." I have seen an extremely strong (rather, up to this point, essentially universal) correlation between "I want the game to be really dangerous, with death a serious risk" and "basically every combat should be deadly++." If someone talked about adding more mechanics for making the game punishing, it was something to go on top of "nah bruh, the game CALLS it 'deadly,' but you gotta go way beyond 'deadly' to get any challenge at all."
 

Why do the risks need to be codified in the rules? We're literally discussing rewriting the rules for fun. Why is official-ness important now when it's never been important before?
I don't understand what you mean. If you want to suggest houserules for some non-death defeat conditions go ahead.

That's...not what I'm talking about.

I'm surprised at the combination of "combats should generally NOT be deadly" + "exhaustion death spirals should be present." I have seen an extremely strong (rather, up to this point, essentially universal) correlation between "I want the game to be really dangerous, with death a serious risk" and "basically every combat should be deadly++." If someone talked about adding more mechanics for making the game punishing, it was something to go on top of "nah bruh, the game CALLS it 'deadly,' but you gotta go way beyond 'deadly' to get any challenge at all."
Sure, these rules increase lethality, at least if the game would be played like if the additional rules wouldn't exist. But it probably wouldn't. Exhaustion is pretty strong "do not proceed" indicator. In a sense it is a non-death defeat condition you want. Granted "the exhaustion on each failed death save" from the video is more hard core than the more common variant of one level per dropping to zero.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
It...doesn't manage exhaustion though. That would be like saying that retreat manages territory in warfare; it does not, it's admitting defeat. You, by definition, lose.
Retreat is an absolutely viable and often important tactic in warfare.
That's quite a surprising stance, compared to what most people who advocate for these rules seek. Or, at least, what most people that I've seen advocate for stuff like this are seeking.
Are you sure it isn’t just a misconception you have of what people who advocate for it are saying?
Generally speaking, it's all in, balls-to-the-wall, no-holds-barred meatgrinder-fests. E.g. at least one person here has already explicitly said if combats aren't deadly they literally aren't worth having, period, and it's clear several people agree.
No, what he said was that combats aren’t worth having if death isn’t a possible consequence, which I don’t agree with in all cases, but I do think is a perfectly reasonable stance that doesn’t at all require meat grinder play.
 

Retreat is an absolutely viable and often important tactic in warfare.
There's a reason I said "manages territory." When you retreat, you are surrendering territory. That's not managing territory.

When you retreat because of exhaustion (or the risk thereof), you are not managing exhaustion. You are surrendering because exhaustion is too dangerous.

Are you sure it isn’t just a misconception you have of what people who advocate for it are saying?
I mean, it's possible, but people tend to be quite explicit (gleefully so, I find) about how deadly they want things to be. It would be very strange for them to say that while not actually wanting things to be deadly.

No, what he said was that combats aren’t worth having if death isn’t a possible consequence, which I don’t agree with in all cases, but I do think is a perfectly reasonable stance that doesn’t at all require meat grinder play.
I don't understand the difference between "if death isn't a possible consequence" and "if combats aren't deadly." What other meaning is there for "deadly" than "death is a possible consequence"?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
There's a reason I said "manages territory." When you retreat, you are surrendering territory. That's not managing territory.

When you retreat because of exhaustion (or the risk thereof), you are not managing exhaustion. You are surrendering because exhaustion is too dangerous.
You’re retreating to rest, which is how you manage exhaustion. It is, at most, a short-term concession for the sake of greater long-term success. Losing the battle to win the war, as it were.
I mean, it's possible, but people tend to be quite explicit (gleefully so, I find) about how deadly they want things to be. It would be very strange for them to say that while not actually wanting things to be deadly.
They do want things to be deadly. It’s just that, that deadlines comes from long-term attrition, not individual encounters.
I don't understand the difference between "if death isn't a possible consequence" and "if combats aren't deadly." What other meaning is there for "deadly" than "death is a possible consequence"?
“Deadly” is a category of encounter difficulty. One can want death to be a possible result of combat, without wanting most combats to be within that difficulty category. Indeed, I do. I think most combats should be Medium difficulty, with a few easy and hard sprinkled in there, and the possibility, though fairly remote, of a deadly encounter, maybe once in a blue moon. And in general I want PCs to try to avoid encounters because they tax precious resources and don’t provide much reward if any. Again, the PCs should win most encounters they get into, but that victory should cost resources, and once those resources start running low, the players should look at retreating to rest and recover those resources as a viable tactic.
 


Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I don't understand the difference between "if death isn't a possible consequence" and "if combats aren't deadly." What other meaning is there for "deadly" than "death is a possible consequence"?
That death is a common, expected, or standard occurrence, rather than a possible one?
 

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