Episode 268 – quitting the field
by Dan Repperger

* (0:30) Fear the Boot sans Dan.  Pat makes me proud by his treatment of Chris.

* (5:17) Some love for the Darker Days podcast.

* (6:13) Free RPG Day coming up on this Saturday, June 16th.

* (8:53) The lessons learned from a nearly-dead online game.  Setup time, scheduling, and social awkwardness.

* (24:30) Some shout-outs from Fear the Con V.

* (27:55) Allowing your PCs — or the enemies — to quit the field during a roleplaying game, whether through retreat, surrender, capture, or truce.  Why it so rarely happens.  How to make it feel like an option, and the depth it can add to a game when handled properly.

Hosts: Chris, Johann, Karla, Pat, Wayne

Comments (10)

IanJune 14th, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Oh God, NPC’s surrender to the players? I guess its time to get out the knives, hammers and pliers and settle in for another fun ‘information extraction’ session…

ZzarchovJune 14th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I have it happen all the time.

The system (Neoclassical Geek Revival) doles out 10% of a villains XP if you kill them, but 25% if you capture them.

It becomes more of a choice, and the higher level the character defeated, the more likely the capture.

DefectiveJune 14th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Pat for Moderator! All hail The Silent One! Down with the tyranny of Dan!

tirsdenJune 14th, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Apparently I’m not the average gamer. My most recent D&D cleric when presented with his first fight very seriously considered running from it and had the opportunity to do so. He was alone on the road at night, not the strongest character around (he had a -1 str mod), and had already discovered what looked like a life-size creepy doll in his cart that he hadn’t figured out what to do with yet. When the zombie arrived, it was the last thing he/I wanted to deal with. Turn Undead worked and the zombie took off running in fear. Instead of thinking, “Well, that means the zombie is at worst my own level (1) and at best even lower (0),” I really was thinking about turning my cleric’s cart around and getting the fr0g out of there. In the end he wasn’t sure he could escape with the cart so he did go after the zombie because he felt he had to. Yay for being able to run faster than the thing, plus attacks of opportunity. xD

I’ve also literally had a different character of mine walk out of a GM’s storyline, but that was because the other player was having real-life based issues with the GM, plus my character was not remotely smart enough to figure out the plot on her own. It really was one of those “bad gaming” situations and I felt bad for the GM but couldn’t deal with the other player anymore.

Great episode, guys! Looking forward to the next one. ^_^

JonathanJune 15th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Hey, maybe we can not combine a title like “quitting the field” with a first line in the notes of “Fear the Boot sans Dan”. Just sayin’

DanJune 19th, 2012 at 12:38 am

Yeah, I didn’t think that one through all the way. “Quitting the field” was a reference to characters breaking off combat in an RPG, but at a glance, it could look like a farewell episode.

CantorionJune 26th, 2012 at 9:27 am

great show guys. Generally when my PCs are fighting intelligent foes i will force a morale check on the NPCs should 20% to 25% of their number be killed/dispatched or if a magic user throws a massively powerful spell. At this point, if they fail their morale check they will either run away or attempt to surrender and thankfully my players arent too bloodthirsty being quite experienced gamers.
If the morale check is passed as soon as the next NPC drops another, modified morale check is forced. Keeps combat relatively short and gives the PCs more to deal with when having to handle their ‘prisoners’

PaulJuly 5th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Just finished listening to the episode, one thing that caught my attention was the mention of blue or white smoke for surrender in BattleTech. I’m a long time player and had never heard of that before, it is a house rule or just something I’ve missed?

DanJuly 5th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Paul, my memory is a bit fuzzy, but I think the “blue” smoke came from one of the novels in the original Gray Death Legion trilogy. The idea was the ‘Mechs were so valuable that if there was no clear victor, one side could simply request (via blue smoke or a blue flare) that both sides take a break to collect fallen ‘Mechs, make some repairs, and rethink the situation.

The “white” surrender comes from the Ares Convention, as abbreviated in the 3055 Mercs Handbook. Any combatant flying under a white sign is treated as being in full surrender and is extended certain rights.

RedJuly 6th, 2015 at 12:56 pm

The first time I captured an NPC ‘highwayman” the GM did not know what to do with it. We transported our captive to a nearby city and gave them to the local authorities.

The local authorities apparently did not know what to do with it either. In character, the guards said things like, “why didn’t you just kill her? She was robbing you.” In the end, the NPC (a throw-away, no named character), escaped jail, came and watched our bard play at an inn, and bought us drinks for sparring her life.

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