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Withdraw and stealth is rules legal, but certainly abusive because there is no practical counter. There are some high level spells that can simulate the effects of Agent Orange and high level parties might have aerial recon, but outside that this is the sort of tactic that armies and gendarmeries have trouble countering.
Using guerrilla tactics when you outnumber the players is abusive to a degree that cannot be described remotely adequately without tripping the profanity filter. Save it for a kingdom building game when the players have enough armies to actually respond with counter-insurgency tactics.
Abusive? To the point you cannot describe it without profanity?
I was looking for the "/sarcasm" quote at the end of your post but there isn't one; was your post serious?
It is NOT "abusive" to challenge players with an encounter. It is NOT "abusive" to have monsters and NPCs care about their lives and try to run away instead of always fighting to ridiculous deaths. It is NOT "abusive" to have enemies use the rules, the basic, core, simplest rules of running and hiding.
Nothing, NOTHING about what happened here was "abusive". Not even close. Calling it "abusive" just about triggers my own profanity filter...
I agree. I think it is a valid tactic, even if it is annoying to the PC or player.