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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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It really depends on how it's done. The monster or whatever should be able to be dealt with in a fashion if it's not killable such talking it down, sneaking past it, etc, which many have already suggested. Or maybe you could have it so that if you charged in to a battle you would die without a chance, yet the monster had some sort of anathema that meant if you were clever you could defeat it in some sort of way (even if you didn't "kill" it - maybe you render in harmless or banish it somewhere, etc.). This should probably only be in the game once though, as it could be annoying/frustrating.

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Err... it's pretty hard to suddenly flip an expected game mechanic like that on its head. If every other battle is winnable then having one that's not will frustrate and confuse and anger most people when they encounter it unless they're explicitly told it might not be winnable and they should run away.

 

But that could be fun in and of itself. I remember fighting my first Crystal Golem in Icewind Dale 2. Panicking and running around and trying ot see what damages it was actually pretty fun, as was bolting for the exit. When I got outside I of course read the note which tells you how to defeat these things (mild not spoiler). Which was interesting to back and do, but still not as just NEW and exciting and different as having to just run away.

 

So as long as people fully understand what it is they're being asked to do it could definitely be fun. Stuff like the Crystal Golem, or maybe an optional area you can go to fight a dragon or some huge terrible monster, but one you can't defeat until your a much higher level, would be interesting.

 

Again, I think most people voting no can foresee the "ugh, this is different, how am I going to know?" Question. So while I'm sure it would actually be fun for many of them, it would also have to be done correctly. Obsidian is going to need to make it quite clear before hand, and preferably by example, of say another party of heroes charging out screaming "run away", that the thing to do here is to run away somehow.

Edited by Frenetic Pony
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I like an unwinnable fight, when it means that I can win it at some time. One hit KOs like Irenicus' Rapture of Father or Lothar's death spell in PST seem far too cheap. Same goes for other cheating mechanics. If this is simply the fight we have to avoid for the rest of the game, why even give us an opportunity to do it? To prove that the player sucks?

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On a serious note, in the old AD&D module Vault of the Drow...

 

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There was an implicit piece of text for the DM to read out if the adventuring party chose to reveal themselves and enter into open warfare with the thousands of Drow in the underground city. Basically, you just pointed out that after a heroic but bloody battle you were overwhelmed and slaughtered. Because The Vault was full of badass drow. And there had to be some rules.

 

You don't often see this is a RPG but to me it's a good thing.

sonsofgygax.JPG

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I'd prefer if the encounter would be so difficult that it may be in the player's best interest to avoid combat, but the player isn't shoehorned into doing so if he or she has the right tactics, approach, and a bit of luck on his or her side. If it were to be completely and utterly impossible, then I would like it to make sense: for example, if you're facing, say, a God, then that's pretty much a given.

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There was an implicit piece of text for the DM to read out if the adventuring party chose to reveal themselves and enter into open warfare with the thousands of Drow in the underground city. Basically, you just pointed out that after a heroic but bloody battle you were overwhelmed and slaughtered. Because The Vault was full of badass drow. And there had to be some rules.

 

You don't often see this is a RPG but to me it's a good thing.

 

I would prefer it if the DM is encouraged to let them try it...and then show, in combat, the actual practical consequences of six adventurers taking on thousands upon thousands of Drow in open battle. Which is to say, a very quick TPK owing to combat mechanics, not just the DM reading out 'you lose.'

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Sometimes it takes a little nudge to get the players to understand that sometimes you run as fast as you can away from battle. Few things can invoke terror in a player like casting defensive spells between frantic sprints to safety as a gargantuan beast chases them. I believe there was something like this if you ****ed up while in the Drow city in the Underdark. Players must live (or die) by the consequences of their actions.

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When I'm done with the game I'd like to have the option to go around killing all the tough NPCs and difficult monsters just to see how much my characters have grown over the course of the game. Having NPCs be unwinnable because they have some Bethesda-esque IDDQD mode is lame to me. Having a brawl with the Gods is all good fun to me. In Morrowind I made an unarmed character and punched Vivec to death, and it was really fun and memorable to me. You wouldn't be allowed to do that in modern games anymore. Why?

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There was an implicit piece of text for the DM to read out if the adventuring party chose to reveal themselves and enter into open warfare with the thousands of Drow in the underground city. Basically, you just pointed out that after a heroic but bloody battle you were overwhelmed and slaughtered. Because The Vault was full of badass drow. And there had to be some rules.

 

You don't often see this is a RPG but to me it's a good thing.

 

I would prefer it if the DM is encouraged to let them try it...and then show, in combat, the actual practical consequences of six adventurers taking on thousands upon thousands of Drow in open battle. Which is to say, a very quick TPK owing to combat mechanics, not just the DM reading out 'you lose.'

 

I don't mind either approach.

I mean, fi you decide to take on an entire drow army or a god, the results should be pretty obivous, no?

The DM could just tell me "you die" or he can throw endlessly respawning monsters at m untill I die. One is quicker.

 

There are games that did that. Like Halo: Reach. You basicly fight till you die.

 

 

But frankly, I think retreat should be a valid option. Unbeatable boss? Retreat. Throw smoke bombs, create a diversion.. grab the downed party memeber (if any) and run to safety.

The player doesn't have to necessarily suffer a TPK.

* 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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I'm mixed between none and only one.

 

The thing is that I'm okay with unkillable encounters but never unwinnable ones. If you want to put some sort of elder dragon that must be driven back into a cave before somebody triggers a rockslide to trap them I'm all for it. It implies that it's too strong to beat/kill with your party while still allowing you to win. Those are the types of encounters I'm okay with but I'd only like to see 1-3 of them so they don't start to feel stale.

Edited by Pshaw

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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Yes, if there is a situation that calls for it - absolutely. If the player meets forces presented as being much greater or of an entirely different kind than himself, they should not in the end be flattened down to his level just to please the ego. The same goes for "unwinnable" encounters Pshaw mentions above - a godlike being shouldn't be defeatable by caving him in, and the PC party shouldn't have the power to cause them to retreat either (if the setting has such creatures). If the player insists on throwing himself off a cliff, let him.

 

Perhaps give the player a chance to retreat, though, or a fair warning.

Edited by centurionofprix
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I'd be fine with one of these scenarios, but any more and it's going to be detrimental to the game. Just don't make the opponent a game progress fail-safe like Arkanis Gath from BG II, I hated that guy. There have to be better ways to handle fail-safe systems.

 

Now for the actual encounter, I'd be fine with something like Lothar the Master of Bones from PS:T or a creature of similar power. Or possibly just something like the Lady of Pain... although she just used to maze you when you irked her enough. Something clearly beyond the player's capability to defeat would be the best option in my opinion.

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Exile in Torment

 

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