Your money or your life?

Holy Bovine

First Post
So ... why do players do this?

I answer this question with one of my own - if the players make new characters (I assume they will since you stated there was no chance of a Resurrection) do you allow them to pick and choose the equipment they start with? If so this may have been looked at by the players as a chance to get all of the stuff they really wanted for their characters. I know it has been a motivation in the past for myself and others when the DM is either being exceptionally stingy or giving out crap as magical treasure (Oooo a +3 trident of water elemental command? That will be so useful for my Longsword weilding, 6 feat chain having fighter currently living and adventuring in the desert!).
 

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I have seen similar situations where one or more PC's would rather fight an impossible battle rather than surrender or lose equipment. One player actually tore up his character sheet at the table because his character lost a level to an undead attack. These situations happen for a number of reasons but the number one reason for this attitude is that the player has no real investment in the character. If the character dies, so what? Roll up another one and keep going.

I don't know about that. I hate taking the time to create new characters. Yet I'm playing in a game where my PC has died twice. (Once through a personal sacrifice that the DM didn't expect, the second time just through dying outright.) I never for a minute felt non invested in my PCs. I had backstory and real motivation to want to continue to play them.

On topic, I find it a fascinating social study that player characters (at least in D&D) do not surrender, retreat or bargain with the enemy. A huge component of this may be the "good vs evil" dichotomy, depending on the game. I actually think that a larger component is that there are rarely leaders at the table who make the "give in" decision, call it out to the others, and get them to go along with it. I have seen a handful of times where one of the PCs (not necessarily the appointed leader, but the one who took the lead at that moment) would realize the situation was untenable, and call for a retreat. The group would get out, lick their wounds, and come back when they were tougher. Without someone to make the decision for the group to follow along, no one wants to make the tough call to give up the fight. Even if everyone loses.
 

Why would so many players rather their PCs die than give up their stuff?

Is this 3rd Edition? (This is Eberron, so I'm guessing yes. Plus, I don't think monsters get feats in 4e.)

It's simple, really. It's easier to start over as a new character, since 3e puts so much permanent character power into equipment!

If I were in a 3e campaign, I would have done the same thing. If this were 4e, I wouldn't have.

So ... why do players do this?

I can't help thinking this is one of the worst effects -- out of many bad effects -- of D&D's reliance on magic items to up a PC's personal power. But is it just that?

Yes.

Without knowing the players, I can't suggest other reasons, but you got a bull's eye on the previous comment.
 

(un)reason

Legend
How about: players are being entirely rational, and understand that there is no reason for NPCs to not take both their PC's money and their lives once they disarm (and every reason to take both). PCs live in a hyper-violent world where people DON'T think twice about killing someone, and leaving your foes alive just comes back to haunt you later on. Under those circumstances, disarming just makes life easier for your foe.

Indeed. That would be my take on the situation, and probably my character's IC one. Plus, if the character dies, it's not that big a deal. New characters are not hard to come by.

A similar situation I've encountered, on both sides of the GM's screen, is that hostage taking really doesn't work in D&D. If the captured NPC is anything above 1st level, they can probably survive a few attempts at throat slitting no trouble unless the DM fudges. And the attitude that if we capitulate, they'll probably just do even worse stuff, is pretty ingrained. It's better to just call their bluff and attack. Even if they do kill them, that's a round in which they're not attacking you, putting you at a substantial tactical advantage in the fight as a whole.
 

On topic, I find it a fascinating social study that player characters (at least in D&D) do not surrender, retreat or bargain with the enemy. A huge component of this may be the "good vs evil" dichotomy, depending on the game.

This another good point. If the tone of the game is very black and white, with both sides of the struggle being merciless and uncompromising then surrender wouldn't happen much for PC's or NPC's.
 

CharlesRyan

Adventurer
How about: players are being entirely rational, and understand that there is no reason for NPCs to not take both their PC's money and their lives once they disarm (and every reason to take both). PCs live in a hyper-violent world where people DON'T think twice about killing someone, and leaving your foes alive just comes back to haunt you later on. Under those circumstances, disarming just makes life easier for your foe.

But this isn't the situation Jeff described. In his scenario, it was clear that the odds of success through fighting were virtually nil. Even in the scenario you describe (or at least any vaguely realistic variant of it), the surrender option offers odds that are better than zero.

There are a lot of subtleties that are hard to read in an internet recounting of the story, but the way I see it, even in a very cutthroat world, the rational player at least considers the surrender option.
 

mmu1

First Post
I agree that it could very well be a reflection of how important equipment is.

However, I think that this sort of thing is more often a way for players to show their frustration, or make the statement that they're not having fun and getting off the railroad.

These sort of events - PCs end up in an impossible situation (in this case, they weren't even able to run away) then get beaten up, humiliated, threatened - very often result in irritated players who flip their DM the finger and take back control in the only way available to them.
 

Thanee

First Post
I can't help thinking this is one of the worst effects -- out of many bad effects -- of D&D's reliance on magic items to up a PC's personal power. But is it just that?

I would think so, yes. The equipment in D&D is half of what makes the character.

Non-spellcasting characters without equipment have about the usefulness of a commoner.

Of course, if the group does have enough resources to get at least reasonably appropriate key gear for them, it was simply foolish and stupid (from the player's perspective... from the character's perspective it was, anyways).

Bye
Thanee

P.S. How does a huge Dragon manage to stalk someone? :uhoh: ;) :lol:
 

One question I forgot to ask the OP: How often do NPC foes of the party surrender when in hopeless situations? If they do does the party accept and honor the surrender?
 

Styracosaurus

Explorer
The players need to have storylines and characters that they love and enemies that they hate. Those are campaign elements that invest people in their characters.

Some players feel that the DM should make every encounter balanced so that they have a decent chance of success. I don't like that approach, but that is a common design.
 

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