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Unwinnable Encounter(s)?  

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  1. 1. Would you favor having one or more encounters that are unwinnable in game?

    • No, my party is the "ne plus ultra" of this world and we should be able to overcome everything eventually.
    • Yes, but only *one* and only on an optional sidequest.
    • Yes, but only on optional sidequests.
    • Yes, but don't overuse them because I'm here to have fun, not to end up frustrated and ticked off.


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Many, many moons ago I presented my players with a scenario in which they had to go about their business of pursuing the main storyline and, periodically, had to avoid a particularly bright and tough green dragon. The dragon was simply beyond them in terms of power and intelligence, but they eventually became arrogant and deluded themselves into thinking that they were clever enough to challenge the dragon (or at least pilfer some of its hoard).

 

I had a trustworthy ranger NPC/companion attempt to dissuade them from this activity by pointing out a smashed shield lodged in a tree not too distant from the dragon's lair that had formerly been of greater dweomer than any currently possessed by the party. Its former owner, a member of a powerful and ill-fated attempt to dislodge or kill Mr. Green, fed the dragon that day as did a number of others. The players heard him out, but decided to make the attempt anyway. Long story made short, they ended up fleeing with their tails tucked between their legs and down a party member or two. Nitwits. :dragon: *chuckles & burps*

 

Provided that there are some clues or tales, would you mind having one or more encounters in the game that are either things that must be endured or avoided as no matter how clever, strong, magically potent, and/or stealthy your party might be, you don't have a snowball's chance in the Phlegethon of overcoming it in the game?

 

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Edited by Tsuga C
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It would have to be pretty significant clues. You're at a disadvantage if it's merely "impossible!" Impossible is the job.

 

It helps if the math is transparent. Then they can see just how badly they are doing. And if there's enough leeway to make that evaluation before it's a party wipe.

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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I like that!

 

Something to put things in perspective.

That there is more to the world that the player and his party.

That there are forces greater than him.

A dose of humility.

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It works a lot better in p&p because in cases, you don't know if it's an 'unwinnable' encounter or you simply screwed up, etc. Because you are facing a human DM you also feel that you might have been able to get a partial victory of some sort if you were creative enough. in CRPGs, you only have 2 solutions - a Game Over screen, or a scripted abduction/submission/etc scene, both of which have a very different effect.

 

What I would not mind is, as you say, a legendary, oft-feared and warned enemy that is entirely optional and designed to be unbeatable to all but the most powerful parties. Latter FFs had a tradition of this (e.g. Ozma in FFIX, who was several degrees harder than the final boss), and you could argue that many a player would beat BG2 without ever learning enough of the game mechanics or assembling a powerful enough party for Kangaxx.

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Most fantasy games have situations like this so i think we've all gotten used to it. I remember in BG 2 i ran into a Red (smaug esq) Dragon who was a ****y son of a gun but i knew my party had no friggin chance against him, and the game actually gave you an option to say "I'll be back for you later" because the developers knew what they were throwing at you. Its seen (at least for me) as a test of whether you are still paying attention. If the game hints at basilisks being in the next room over, and i keep going despite there being a dozen other ways to go, i deserve to have my party made into statues :skull: . I'm also a huge fan of the old "These bosses are way to powerful for you right now, come back in 20 levels or after you are near the end of the game" routine. Its the sign of a good challenging game that makes you determine your worth and power in their fantasy game 8)

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It works a lot better in p&p because in cases, you don't know if it's an 'unwinnable' encounter or you simply screwed up, etc. Because you are facing a human DM you also feel that you might have been able to get a partial victory of some sort if you were creative enough. in CRPGs, you only have 2 solutions - a Game Over screen, or a scripted abduction/submission/etc scene, both of which have a very different effect.

 

What I would not mind is, as you say, a legendary, oft-feared and warned enemy that is entirely optional and designed to be unbeatable to all but the most powerful parties. Latter FFs had a tradition of this (e.g. Ozma in FFIX, who was several degrees harder than the final boss), and you could argue that many a player would beat BG2 without ever learning enough of the game mechanics or assembling a powerful enough party for Kangaxx.

 

Kangaxx was a nightmare. It took me more tries to beat him then Sephiroth did on my first FF7 play through at 12 years old. And that's saying a lot cuz i sucked at games back then Irenicus was NOTHING compared to the massive difficulty spike that was BG 2's Demilich

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The thing about Kangaxx is that you needed to have an understanding of AD&D rules. You couldn't just keep on equipping better weapons and selecting whatever direct damage spell was the 'best'. You needed to understand rules about maze and imprisonment, the immunity to +x weapons, contingency spells, and most importantly, which types of breach spells dispel what kinds of protections and how all that changes with invisibility and other forms of ethereality.

 

Or, you know, use Scrolls of Protection against Undead (and/or Magic, I think?), but even then the demilich incarnation was trouble.

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It would have to be pretty significant clues. You're at a disadvantage if it's merely "impossible!" Impossible is the job.

 

It helps if the math is transparent. Then they can see just how badly they are doing. And if there's enough leeway to make that evaluation before it's a party wipe.

 

Oh, I'm no sadist looking to set people up for sure and utter destruction. I don't believe in sucker punching the party for the sake of abusing them. If I've dropped a number of clues or hints from reliable sources, however, then I expect the party to be paying attention. If they don't, tough cookies. They learned from that encounter, albeit the hard way, and it had a salutary effect upon the level of their play from then onwards.

Edited by Tsuga C

http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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Only if the 'unwinnable' aspect is achieved honestly rather than through cheese. A foe with stats so far above your party combined that beating it is impossible or near impossible can add a nice touch of humility.

 

But I've never liked it when, for example, Lothar the skull guy in Torment could kill you through dialogue, without a spelled fire or a weapon swung. Even worse is things like the first fight with Malak in KOTOR, where you beat the crap out of him, usually pretty easily, and his getting the crap beaten out of him is the game's cue for him to instantly win the fight. So Bastila has to jump in and save the party from an enemy you were wiping the floor with moments before. That's just plain obnoxious railroading.

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Kangaxx was a nightmare. It took me more tries to beat him then Sephiroth did on my first FF7 play through at 12 years old. And that's saying a lot cuz i sucked at games back then Irenicus was NOTHING compared to the massive difficulty spike that was BG 2's Demilich

It's a good example of a great way to do it though. While Kangaxx was a tough guy, just walking in to him was impossible, you had to do effort to face him.

 

The Dragon battles are good examples too. Having some fights being too hard and asking you to return later makes the world feel more "real" rather than if there is a clear definition of "weak" to "stronger" areas like most action RPG's have. Or if the entire world auto-levels (*cough* bloody Oblivion *cough*).

 

edit; meanwhile, 4 posts, so better adding what I was responding to as quote 0_0

Edited by Hassat Hunter

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Actually, that's a good question: people get awfully divided over whether the world levels or not. I personally prefer an un-leveling world, so long as there are clear "Here there be monsters bigger than YOU" signposts.

 

But I also think the OP was asking a different question: how do you feel about encounters that just can't be won with smashing? And I like those encounters. I think the best-designed and most interesting are ones where you have the chance to escape intact if you end up over your head, rather than a script TPK to advance plot.

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I think it's very important that there are very tough, optional challenges. Of course, nothing should be hard-coded unbeatable but I'm all for adding challenges that a typical character might never be able to beat.

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"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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Provided that there are some clues or tales, would you mind having one or more encounters in the game that are either things that must be endured or avoided as no matter how clever, strong, magically potent, and/or stealthy your party might be, you don't have a snowball's chance in the Phlegethon of overcoming it in the game?

 

Humble pie: it's what's for dinner! :p

 

Absolutely if under the following condition:

 

The area that this so called battle is to take place with whatever monster/encounter is able to be interacted with in a following expansion or in the next installment of PE (PE2 or perhaps even PE3 - which I think would be really interesting!), A bit like Watcher's Keep from the BG series, you can access this area either in BG2 (when you may be under leveled/under geared) or ToB.

 

I would like this even more so if it was the protagonist that you create it PE, take through to either to PE2 or PE3 and then lay the smackdown, as opposed to the concept that when PE ends you do not continue the adventures of your protagonist from the previous game.

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I'd love something that is a big achievement to beat.

 

Kangaxx was pretty tough if you didn't know what you're doing but there's several ways to beat him pretty easily. I don't think many people beat him on the first go though ;)

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I don't think anything should be "unbeatable". I mean, if it takes waiting until the very end of the game before it is possible, so be it. But why go through the effort of putting it in, if there isn't a way to "beat it"?

 

As a teaser for what's to come of course! It done well it would be memorable for sure.

 

Assuming that what I posted were to be the case... for example it could be one of the adventuring parties to be partly created by those who pledged the required amount, the adventuring party could be so uber powerful that they are not beatable until the proceeding installment of PE!

 

You could see future skills and abilities being used by enemies that you don't have access to yet due to the level cap (for example), methinks that would look really sweet (like watching Irenicus tear up the Cowled Wizards upon exiting the dungeon in BG2, you eventually end up being this powerful if your protaganist is a wizard/sorcerer etc).

 

Honestly not fussed either way though.

Edited by Liquid_Silver11
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I agree with the OP but to a certain extent. There should be powerful enemies with upper scale statistics appropriate to their levels. However, it should not be scripted nor should they be unkillable. However, it may be their resistances and HP is so high that it's impossible for the PC even at their maximum level cap to defeat these enemies.

 

However, if future events empower the PC and his companions - e.g. finding a powerful artifact or absorbing the essence of a fallen god (in future expansions), I see no reason why the PC cannot return and whoop the little green dragon's ass :devil:

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Unwinnable encounters,winnable encounters, all of them should depend on the game background, not for the reason as making plotline easily to design.

But even if the world setting do have an unwinnable encounters, I wish it can be designed to reasonable unit like who have a extreme high level, not just a guy with "Imoen belt".

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She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends

How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.

Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

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I think I beat Kangaxx my first time by chain summoning stuff for him to beat on while I waited for him to run out of spells and his buffs to wear off. I think I did most fights like that, my first time. Magic users were extremely powerful in BG2, unless you play the attrition game.

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I agree with the OP but to a certain extent. There should be powerful enemies with upper scale statistics appropriate to their levels. However, it should not be scripted nor should they be unkillable. However, it may be their resistances and HP is so high that it's impossible for the PC even at their maximum level cap to defeat these enemies.

 

However, if future events empower the PC and his companions - e.g. finding a powerful artifact or absorbing the essence of a fallen god (in future expansions), I see no reason why the PC cannot return and whoop the little green dragon's ass :devil:

 

I'm going to have to disagree.

 

As a videogame, we've decades of conditioning that nothing is impossible. Implementing such a thing would have people spending hours trying to win, and then getting really mad and putting up a huge stink.

 

In a PnP game, you know the score, the DM can and probably will kill you (Sometimes repeatedly depending on the DM), in a video game there's no way to communicate to the Player that this is a bad idea.

 

And it'll become exponentially worse once someone finds an exploit and actually does kill it and there's no real reward for it.

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Oh, I love this and am actually missing this in games. Why should we (the player) be able to beat everything? As long as it is at the very least strongly hinted that the encounter is way beyond the party and not used too much I would love to see things like this.

The player character and his/her party should be strong but shouldn't be unstoppable or the most powerful things ever to grace the world. At least that is my opinion.

"How was I supposed to know it was that stone that held the dragons at bay... I mean it just stood there looking dull anyway"

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I think the way DA:O handled it correctly - in terms of execution but not in the way of it being the only path forward - a battle you're designed to lose, but can win with sufficient luck/effort/cheese. Talking about that big battle with the general which is meant to end up with you being imprisoned I think, but no personal experience since I quit before reaching it.

 

Short point is that it shouldn't, in my view, end with a game over screen.

 

 

EDIT: Another example - the final Behemoth mission in Wing Commander 3.

 

 

Behemoth is eventually destroyed by attrition, and your carrier, the Victory, goes to jump outsystem ASAP. Thrakhath shows up and challenges you to a one-on-one dogfight. The intended path is for you to ignore him and land on the Victory, but you can engage Thrakhath instead. Generally this will end with you being stranded in hostile space, but it is possible to down him quickly enough and land just in time, thereby winning the game.

 

Edited by Humanoid

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Unwinnable Encounters?

 

I guess that would begin with your definition.

Any TRULY unwinnable encounter (Lothar, Torment) should be kept to a BARE minimum.

All the others (including Kangaxx) ... FIRE AWAY! Mwuhahaha *rubs hands*

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