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Subduing Enemies: Alternative paths to Combat resolution


Subduing the opponent  

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  1. 1. Would you like to something like subdual damage?

    • Yes
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    • No
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    • Undecided
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If it were easily doable within the game, would anyone be interested in being able to set your characters to "subdue" a opponents rather than kill them all?

 

This could lead to allowing capture quests (that don't involve beating all of the lifepoints away from enemies who then don't die because they're scripted not to) or quests where you could subdue someone not in control of themselves and try to save them; it could allow thieves to knock a swell unconscious & rob them rather than murder and loot their corpse (which they could still do so broader range of options), and it could allow the player to choose to let a character live who comes back later either to join or antagonize them (without, again, it being forced through scripting - "Hahah, you THINK you beat me! But I'll be seeing you again!" *teleports*).

 

D&D used to do this, as I recall, by having you declare subdual damage (and certain weapons, like whips, only did subdual damage).

 

Any interest? Or some other interesting idea? Or should it always be kill / sneak / speech as the primary options to resolve encounters?

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I'm a great fan of pacifist runs so if it can be implemented in a feasible and interesting way, I'm all for subdual/non-lethal damage.

 

If I remember right, the way D&D effectively did it that if you attack with a weapon that would normally deal lethal damage (as in, most of them) you can opt to lower your attack bonus (chance to hit) to deal the damage you'd normally deal as non-lethal damage instead. And non-lethal damage leads to unconsciousness instead of death. Also heals faster and a lot of creatures are immune to non-lethal damage and so on.

 

I'm not sure how non-lethal damage could be implemented in an interesting way. Just having a toggle that goes "You hit less often but people don't die now" is a bit bland, no?

Non-lethal damage does, however, become more interesting when combined with stealth and all that. Then you smack a person with a blackjack instead of driving a dagger through their back. Would be nice having an option for something like that.

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In ToEE you could deal non-lethal damage if oyu wanted to, and knock out EVERYONE.

 

So hell yeah.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Personally, I'm tired of the trope that blunt force trauma to the skull rendering people unconcious is somehow safe. So that's the big challenge in getting me to appreciate it here. Grappling and particular spells (like sleep) tends to be as far as my suspension of disbelief is willing to go anymore.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Does dismemberment count as subduing?

Not that I would want people to play with their ennemy pray :cat:

 

You can subdue and then dismember but you can't dismember and then subdue*

 

Sadly subduing and dismembering is not a symetric property.

 

*I suppose you could dismember the living dead and then subdue the head or something from biting, but I think that's probably the only case you can dismember and subsequently subdue in, and if the head is still moving then the arms and legs probably are as well and you probably want to react Evil Dead-style rather than trying to subdue them, just obliterate.

Edited by Amentep
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Well chopping a leg or more limbs off someone (humanoid, reasonable level of self awareness and er... intelligence) would surely prevent them from being able to take much action. Magic might keep them alive long enough afterwards.

Never said it was a lawful good action.

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Most people (excluding the undead or The Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail) die of either shock or blood loss when dismembered much, I think.

 

Although if there was a way to do it where you could target a limb and chop it off (say, a leg) it'd be cool if you could keep the person alive as an option to interrogate them (or, you know, be evil and chop other parts off like you're Kevin from Sin City or something). Might be a bit much to deal with properly though (but not a bad idea).

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Would be nice to have a game where killing is not essential and don't happen so often. Maybe somehow related to the announced 'soul mechanics'.

 

But I'd rather want it applied to entire world, not to just what only player can do.

Bandits beating the hsit out of PC, and robbing him while he's unconscious. Bar brawls where the damage is not deadly, and edge weapons are used only in extreme cases. Enemies surrendering and begging for life after getting heavy wounds. Cities where weapons are prohibited and only military and aristocracy can own them. Harsh punishments for causing a death. Maybe you get it.

Edited by Flying Magician
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Would be nice to have a game where killing is not essential and don't happen so often. Maybe somehow related to the announced 'soul mechanics'.

 

But I'd rather want it applied to entire world, not to just what only player can do.

Bandits beating the hsit out of PC, and robbing him while he's unconscious. Bar brawls where the damage is not deadly, and edge weapons are used only in extreme cases. Enemies surrendering and begging for life after getting heavy wounds. Cities where weapons are prohibited and only military and aristocracy can own them. Harsh punishments for causing a death. Maybe you get it.

 

I always like the idea of the PC and the World's Inhabitants being able to do the same thing, so I'm all for Bandits being able to take down the player, or if the PC walks alone down a city street possibly being knocked out from behind and waking up without what he was carrying.

 

I like all of your suggestions actually, they'd certainly be interesting to have in a game.

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Back to my previous comment, how would people feel about attempts at subdual having a significant chance to end in death or life threatening injury, anyway? Is it a valuable system even when its uncertain?

 

Because that is something I would see as interesting. A system so that the party occasionally ends up in a "I swear, officer, we was just trying to teach him a lesson!" situation.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Well I'd like to see grappling but doubt its possible (and somehow my mind keeps conjuring up ideas of trying to do it IE style with repetitive animations which would probably look hilarious). There is some appeal to the idea of using the wrong "tool" and getting a weaker result (taking longer to subdue, subdue could result in injury/death). Could also be penalties for being really strong as well (since it might be harder to not use lethal force) but maybe a bonus for some other trait (dex/finesse/int?) assuming there is traits.

 

I'd be happier with the idea of their being an absolute chance to fail in subduing if there was still another way to force the opponent to be defeated non-lethally (successful disarm followed by trip allows a chance for opponent to acquiesce?) otherwise I think you'd just be encouraging players trying to subdue with the express intent not to kill (to get information, lets say) to just reload and retry.

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Right, I can see group subduing being a problem; but if I'm fighting a party - lets say the quest requires you to find something and in the path you get attacked by another party. It'd be neat if you could choose to stave off killing one person who you subdue at the end of the fight (maybe even having to prevent them from fleeing) to interrogate later

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The mechanical problem I have when it came up in PnP sessions is that it becomes the go-to strategy. You always use it so you can interrogate the enemy and pump them for information. It slowed the game down and turned into uncomfortable torture sessions. In a computer game, it'll still slow down, but my bigger concern would be it forcing them to create dialogue for generic enemy characters.

 

But it can't be any harder to develop than Arcanum's talk to the dead spell, right? And that was a dang nice spell. So maybe I still dislike it on the "that's not how clubbing someone on the head works," but I can still see it being cool as heck.

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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I could see that happening - although I imagine if people had no information in the game players wouldn't continue to try it everytime...

 

...aw who am I kidding, there'd people who'd try to subdue everyone just to see what they say.

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The mechanical problem I have when it came up in PnP sessions is that it becomes the go-to strategy. You always use it so you can interrogate the enemy and pump them for information. It slowed the game down and turned into uncomfortable torture sessions. In a computer game, it'll still slow down, but my bigger concern would be it forcing them to create dialogue for generic enemy characters.

 

But it can't be any harder to develop than Arcanum's talk to the dead spell, right? And that was a dang nice spell. So maybe I still dislike it on the "that's not how clubbing someone on the head works," but I can still see it being cool as heck.

 

Hey, the torture sessions were the best part of Dark Heresy, especially as not everyone knew anything due to the DM's discretion. Course it did suit the style of game where it's a hunt/investigation.

 

Should be many ways to subdue targets, if they have a morale system like someone else suggested here that should tie in neatly. You can overmatch them so they surrender, grapple and bind/cripple them. Or just have some magical/technical device to knock them out. Failing to do so and just killing them outright would be a good part of the system as well - obviously depending on what you're trying to do them.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Hope this does not go Metal Gear Solid with the subdual if it occurs, I mean when you knocked a boss out they would still die in the cutscene.

 

I believe if someone can do a full-on murder playthrough there should be an option for someone who is a full on pacifist who can either pursuade or subdue everything within the game.

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So if a group of people become agressive after something you said or did but you don't really mean to kill them, what should your options be? Usually, you'll just have to kill them. Which is obviously unsatisfactory.

 

Subdual damage can work, just like disarming them or perhaps one of the two combined with some persuasion (regular or threatening). I'd like a system in which the way you can try to subdue others depends on the skills you have. A holding spell would work as well as a terrifying illusion as a carefully positioned blow as disarming.

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I hope the OP is happy, his thread lead to the post that cleared out the romance thread! :p

 

Not really my intent, but I suppose I should have anticipated it...

 

I like disarming mechanics but most games it never seems to either (a) be effective or (b) make much difference. Same with trips.

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TBH it's pointless to discuss a mechanic that's hardly beneficial to a game play and may require a use of resources better spent elsewhere...

 

Whenever you suggest something, ask yourself a question.

 

Will it really enhance the gaming experience in comparison to already established mechanics, that it's worth spending additional (VERY LIMITED) resources...

 

If it was a game with a developed MP and DM client like the NWN was, then the answer would be "yes, for the on-line MP gameplay". As it is, it's pointless to discuss a feature that adds little and consumes limited resources...

 

TL DR - NO! There are already other non-combat mechanics

Edited by Darkpriest
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