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How do you handle players surrendering? (First Steps 1 Spoilers)


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Cheliax *

I have an IRC channel where we play PFS a few times a week. Every now and then the players can get into a serious mess - sometimes because they're outgunned, sometimes because there are newer players who make really silly tactical mistakes (like running away from an encounter by running further into an area, and into the next encounter).

The other day a game was being run where the players had found themselves in a fairly improbable encounter (by making the abovementioned tactical error), and they could have potentially surrendered.

First Steps 1:
Similarly, while running First Steps 1 earlier this week, my players were completely rolled in the final encounter. By the third or fourth round every one of them was below 0hp. My logic was that, not wanting to be murderers as well as thieves this early in their career, the NPC opponent cleric stabilized the group and then, I guess, robbed them.

I don't know if a GM can really strip characters of their equipment/gold like that, though, so I ruled that they lost the artifact from the last task.

If your characters surrender or fall to a TPU (Total Party Unconsciousness) and there is no logical reason to believe the NPC opponents would summarily execute them, how would you handle it? Do they lose any of their equipment? Is it scenario over? Do they still get XP, or is it dependent on a success condition/total number of encounters played?

Shadow Lodge ***

I'd likely turn it into a roleplaying opertunity. The group that knocked them out spares them in exchange for (whatever their next mission would have been anyway).

As a side note, I might actually use this as a way to show the players that sometimes surrender and/or running away is ok. Good guys don't always win like in the cartoons.

As I understand it, the First Steps line does not go by the character death = no longer play character rule, you just start over if you want.

It's better to keep the game going, especially if it is the players first or earlier plays, and alter things a bit to keep it on track, but also to use it as a learning experience, I think.

Maybe the group that defeated them is actually working for the PFS, and was intended to be another test, to show the new recruites that being a Pathfinder isn't about fame and glory and winning all the time, and that looks can be decieving, so next time they see an encounter with multiple avenues, they should try to tackle them with other approaches.

Maybe the groups thinks they can ransom the party back to the PFS, and the players, without any gear, now have to find a way to get their stuff back and stop their captures from getting this plan to the PFS, (no one needs to know. . .).

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm not sure why you couldn't have the NPCs rob them, that was their goal. Under conditions gained/ cleared:
"Characters were robbed, all equipment stolen"

The players would have to buy new equipment using whatever gold they earn on that scenario.

Taldor ***

Dennis Baker wrote:

I'm not sure why you couldn't have the NPCs rob them, that was their goal. Under conditions gained/ cleared:

"Characters were robbed, all equipment stolen"

The players would have to buy new equipment using whatever gold they earn on that scenario.

Now would they even get the money if the robbers took the loot? Logically not, but I understand it'd be quite nasty to first rob them and then give them nothing.

Better be a monk.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

*shrug*

They are muggers, they won, muggers take valuable stuff, it's what they do.

Short term, losing is rarely a pleasant option for player characters. Longer term, it's better for the game. The rewards of success are that much better when people realize there is skin in the game and consequences for failure.

Kind of harsh on brand new characters but I think new players are far less glass skinned than people thing. We've had two sessions where brand new players were killed and both times they were laughing about it at the end of the session.

Shadow Lodge ***

They wouldn't have to take everything. If it's the encounter I'm thinking of, the muggers are specifically looking for the groups better gear, not all of it.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

That seems reasonable too. I played the scenario but haven't read it. All I'm saying is they should do something that makes sense and it's well within a GM's power to make that happen.


In cases like this maybe the GM could have an NPC issue a cautionary tale to the party prior to the encounter? Such a tale might describe what happened to the last poor fools who acted without due care, losing all their valuables and barely escaping with their lives? At least then the players might have a clue that the scenario could be slightly more challenging, and would only have themselves to blame for a particularly poor outcome...

Reckless behavior definitely needs to have consequences, but if a player is still learning the system I would expect the GM to be more forgiving.
Do you think it might be harder for characters in IRC channels to work as a team, or perhaps are more prone to reckless behavior?

Silver Crusade **

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dennis Baker wrote:


We've had two sessions where brand new players were killed and both times they were laughing about it at the end of the session.

I really should stop killing them....

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Hah... I was talking about characters in our Manteca group.

Some of the other tables caught wind of your CdG episode and there was much grumbling until Char explained that no-one was actually killed.

Silver Crusade **

Dennis Baker wrote:

Hah... I was talking about characters in our Manteca group.

Some of the other tables caught wind of your CdG episode and there was much grumbling until Char explained that no-one was actually killed.

Yep, I had no clue that CDG wasn't for use by GM's in PFS, and I basically used it as an example of what CDG *could* do. Could anyone point me out to where CDG is put on the no-no list? I just can't see certain NPC's deciding to not off a downed character. As to the other guy....crit happens. Over 20 points of damage to a first level rogue? Sorry, friend, but you are done....

Cheliax *

So can a GM do that? Strip players of their gold and equipment because they surrendered or got knocked unconscious? I kind of think as a player maybe I need to be specific about exactly where all my gold is!

What about the rest of it, though? Say you surrender two encounters into a scenario. Do you get XP for it? Do you get any gold? What if it's three encounters in? Four?

Silver Crusade **

Ballig wrote:

So can a GM do that? Strip players of their gold and equipment because they surrendered or got knocked unconscious? I kind of think as a player maybe I need to be specific about exactly where all my gold is!

What about the rest of it, though? Say you surrender two encounters into a scenario. Do you get XP for it? Do you get any gold? What if it's three encounters in? Four?

If characters surrender, they will get the same treatment as when NPC's try to surrender: continued combat. Only against the most lenient of foes (such as town guards) would the NPC's surrender. If a common band of thieves ambushes the party and knocks them out, why leave witnesses behind? If they surrender, how do you know one isn't a wizard, about to blow up the entire alley with a fireball? Players might be able to bribe their way out of combat before hand, but I would be quite leery of handing my players a full on eject button in combat.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Ballig wrote:
So can a GM do that? Strip players of their gold and equipment because they surrendered or got knocked unconscious? I kind of think as a player maybe I need to be specific about exactly where all my gold is!

Why not?

Quote:
What about the rest of it, though? Say you surrender two encounters into a scenario. Do you get XP for it? Do you get any gold? What if it's three encounters in? Four?

There is a set amount of gold you get as a reward for accomplishing each encounter. There are even criteria for what players need to accomplish to get that reward. "If the players find the safe under Bob's desk, reward each player with 250 gold".

Any mission you miss, you miss out on gold. If you only play two encounters you don't get exp and miss out on the final PA (which also has a success criteria).

Cheliax *

Dennis Baker wrote:


Why not?

Seems almost harsher than killing them. And how do you handle the gold they have? Do they have to have told you at the start of the scenario that they're keeping the 8k gold at the Lodge or their usual accommodation? Or do they only lose all their expensive equipment?

Quote:

There is a set amount of gold you get as a reward for accomplishing each encounter. There are even criteria for what players need to accomplish to get that reward. "If the players find the safe under Bob's desk, reward each player with 250 gold".

Any mission you miss, you miss out on gold. If you only play two encounters you don't get exp and miss out on the final PA (which also has a success criteria).

I'm aware of how the gold (and PA) is usually handled, but do they still GET that gold if they've surrendered or been robbed? Why is it "two" encounters? Is it using the death rule or is there another rule that I've overlooked?

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Ballig wrote:
Dennis Baker wrote:


Why not?

Seems almost harsher than killing them. And how do you handle the gold they have? Do they have to have told you at the start of the scenario that they're keeping the 8k gold at the Lodge or their usual accommodation? Or do they only lose all their expensive equipment?

Quote:

There is a set amount of gold you get as a reward for accomplishing each encounter. There are even criteria for what players need to accomplish to get that reward. "If the players find the safe under Bob's desk, reward each player with 250 gold".

Any mission you miss, you miss out on gold. If you only play two encounters you don't get exp and miss out on the final PA (which also has a success criteria).

I'm aware of how the gold (and PA) is usually handled, but do they still GET that gold if they've surrendered or been robbed? Why is it "two" encounters? Is it using the death rule or is there another rule that I've overlooked?

I'm too lazy to dig it up. At some point the Paizo bosses said that you need to complete more than half the scenario to get exp. There are five encounters typically so you need to complete three to get credit.

Characters can 'spend' gold or gain conditions, there is a box on the chronicle for it.

"Character Robbed of 250gp worth of gear"

Is perfectly appropriate for that box.

Cheliax *

Alexander_Damocles wrote:
If characters surrender, they will get the same treatment as when NPC's try to surrender: continued combat. Only against the most lenient of foes (such as town guards) would the NPC's surrender. If a common band of thieves ambushes the party and knocks them out, why leave witnesses behind? If they surrender, how do you know one isn't a wizard, about to blow up the entire alley with a fireball? Players might be able to bribe their way out of combat before hand, but I would be quite leery of handing my players a full on eject button in combat.

Why can't NPCs surrender? I've accepted the surrender of NPCs before, and so have my players. And there are often unconscious NPCs at the end of combat that are revived instead of executed. Am I missing a rule here that says an NPC can't surrender?

There are plenty of IC reasons why someone might not execute a party who has surrendered or been knocked unconscious. Real life thieves don't kill everyone, seems a bit flawed to assume all thieves will kill. Just because someone might be a wizard isn't really enough reason by itself to summarily execute them. As a player I've handled known enemy spellcasters who have been made unconscious or surrendered; confiscating divine foci and/or binding hands, gagging, removing component pouches, etc are pretty good ways to be (almost) certain that a spellcaster won't be a threat to you anymore.

Anyway, my question isn't should I allow players to surrender - unless there's a PFS rule I've missed that specifically mentions surrendering/unconscious characters and says that they must be killed, then I think it's a GM discretion. And for the sake of these questions, assume the discretion has already been made on the side of mercy.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

I tend to agree on the mercy bit though to me it depends on the situation. I've never been one to softball players but I also don't kill them if I don't have to.

Cheliax *

Dennis Baker wrote:
I tend to agree on the mercy bit though to me it depends on the situation. I've never been one to softball players but I also don't kill them if I don't have to.

Yeah, this is only times when it's possible or even likely. There's often no option for mercy - outsiders or animals etc probably won't accept your surrender or stabilise you if you all start dying.


It hasn't happened much in my games. To the slavers might be amusing, losing all their stuff, dragged across the world, etc. I'd give opportunities to escape, kill captors with a cheese cutter.

How I've seen it handled badly involved the following:

Being forced to eat their mount, imprisoned, freed by a mary sue npc.

Raped by ogres.


No gaming group likes a TPK. I try to avoid that situation as much as possible but as mentioned above, if there is no reason for the foes to spare them then its time to roll new characters. Its a stretch to assume a group of seasoned, merciless rogues leaving the party alive. They'd probably kill the party and take their stuff. Unfortunate but it does happen. Its an odd situation for sure. There was a thread awhile back about players not accepting surrender. In the fictional world, some of these characters may end up at the mercy of similar individuals.


As a player, I'd surrender with most characters if truly outgunned, or escape. It is good to have a nice base speed for instance, precisely for this purpose.

Last game, the players were chatting to the elites of a keep that had held out against zombies. Now being a bit bored I shot some of the guards, also because of past disputes with the faction in the keep. Now two of the others started whispering and saying I was going to get killed, it was over for that character.

And then I ninja'd away into the forest, with my 65 base speed (scout/barb/feats). The defenders had no chance to catch me. If players assaulted a keep or tower, they might get taken by the defenders, cut off, knocked out, etc. If they can swiftly depart, and have nice hp they can prevent being captured by a lot of opponents.

Shadow Lodge ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think the issue that they are asking about is in PFS, can the DM in general, take equipement/wealth from the players, and for some advice in how to not kill the party in a specific case.


Sorry I misunderstood the issue. The DM can indeed take wealth from the players. It shouldn't happen that often unless the party is choosing the most foolish and pompous way through the campaign (which I've observed before). In the case of not killing the party, its actually up to the players to start throwing out diplomacy checks or something equivalent that culd aid their survival. If they are too proud and lazy to do so though, then it may very well be lights out for those characters. Permanently.

Shadow Lodge ***

I think in this case, he/she is also saying a lot of it had to do with really bad rolls on the party's side, and they where all down by round 3 or so.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

The equalizer wrote:
No gaming group likes a TPK. I try to avoid that situation as much as possible but as mentioned above, if there is no reason for the foes to spare them then its time to roll new characters. Its a stretch to assume a group of seasoned, merciless rogues leaving the party alive. They'd probably kill the party and take their stuff. Unfortunate but it does happen. Its an odd situation for sure. There was a thread awhile back about players not accepting surrender. In the fictional world, some of these characters may end up at the mercy of similar individuals.

I haven't read the scenario so I don't know whether they were written as merciless killers* or just common thugs. Unless the author called it out or there is some particular reason the NPCs would want the players dead, I don't see any reason to presume they do. Most thugs are just interested in getting whatever loot they want and getting away before the cops show up.

If its written in the scenario , then I suppose it's reasonable to run them that way.

*:
I seriously doubt Daigle wrote them up as merciless player killers... the guy doesn't have the killer GM instinct to go for the juggular like that.

Silver Crusade **

Ballig wrote:


Why can't NPCs surrender? I've accepted the surrender of NPCs before, and so have my players. And there are often unconscious NPCs at the end of combat that are revived instead of executed. Am I missing a rule here that says an NPC can't surrender?

Because I have only once seen players take prisoners, and that was when I reminded the paladin that if he whacked the guy who had dropped his sword and fallen to his knees that it wouldn't exactly jive with being a paladin. My players almost always just tear through the NPCs, never consider talking things through. As for thieves not being murderers today, well, we aren't talking about today. In the medieval era (which pathfinder is based on), the most common punishment for crimes was hanging, or an extensive period in a jail which would likely kill you. Theft by murder was far more common then. Besides, if the players are over matched, they should have run away. If not...they'll be knocked senseless and robbed blind.

*

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Yep, I had no clue that CDG wasn't for use by GM's in PFS, and I basically used it as an example of what CDG *could* do. Could anyone point me out to where CDG is put on the no-no list?

I assume that CDG means "coupe de grace"? PFS GMs aren't allowed to use it, under any circumstance? Can anyone show me where is says that?

I don't like to kill players, but sometimes it's the only thing that fits.

Silver Crusade **

Jason S wrote:
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Yep, I had no clue that CDG wasn't for use by GM's in PFS, and I basically used it as an example of what CDG *could* do. Could anyone point me out to where CDG is put on the no-no list?

I assume that CDG means "coupe de grace"? PFS GMs aren't allowed to use it, under any circumstance? Can anyone show me where is says that?

I don't like to kill players, but sometimes it's the only thing that fits.

I haven't been able to find it either. I am fine not using a coup de grace, but I would like to at least know where it was laid out to not use it.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

There is no rule against coupe de grace, a lot of people don't like seeing GMs use it in society when there are other options available (like attacking other characters).

Personally, I think it's usually a bad tactical choice for a creature to attack someone who isn't an active threat but I can see where there could be situations where it is a valid choice .

Silver Crusade **

Well, the situation was as thus: the paladin had gotten way out in front of the group, and then got dropped by a sleep spell (nat 1). The dwarf monk (who all night landed one punch for 3 damage....) closed in, and passed the paladin and didn't wake him up. The NPC made the tactical choice to finish off the paladin before it could wake up and slaughter it. All other PC's were over 60' away and couldn't really affect the situation. If the paladin were unconscious instead of asleep, and couldn't pop right back up after a standard action to wake him, then the NPC wouldn't have bothered him. But, a standard action to more than double the danger facing you? My question is, then, how would the rest of my fellow forum lurkers have handled it?

Ultimately the PC bombed the fort save to survive (double nat 1's on saving throws...), but I left him at stable and 1 hitpoint from dead. I took pity on the first time players...and I'm sure that they now know to wake people up asap!

Shadow Lodge ***

Being unthreatened, the NPC could have CDG'd for Nonlethal damge, which would have probaby taken the Pali out of the fight just the same, but NOT looked like murder to anyone else seeing it happen.

Also note, some people seem to forget, but CDG is not autokill. PF has increased the negative HP before death to Con, meaning it is even more likely that the character would survive, but be out for a long while.

Alternateively, why couldnt' the NPC take that full Round action to instead tie up the Pali, or disarm them, or both?

Silver Crusade **

She had perhaps one round before the dwarf monk became a real threat. This was a full on combat, both sides had intent to kill. And CDG isn't autokill....unless you fail the fort save. And really, why would a pissed off NPC show enough mercy to tie up a fallen foe? Evil beings, evil acts. Why should I play a bloodthirsty goblin as a LG paladin?

Shadow Lodge ***

I don't know, the specifics had never been detailed. I was assuming this was the combat where

SPOILER:
The group that had been tracking the players the whole time in order to try to rob them finally attacks
.

Cheliax *

Beckett wrote:
I don't know, the specifics had never been detailed. I was assuming this was the combat where ** spoiler omitted **.

That was one of the encounters I described, but not necessarily the one Alexander_Damocles is talking about.

Silver Crusade **

Ballig wrote:
Beckett wrote:
I don't know, the specifics had never been detailed. I was assuming this was the combat where ** spoiler omitted **.
That was one of the encounters I described, but not necessarily the one Alexander_Damocles is talking about.

Correct, the event I am discussing occurred during the Frostfur Captives. Specifically, the encounter

Spoiler:
at the towers with the goblin acolyte
Qadira ****

Spoiler:
I just had a party almost all go unconscious last night at that last fight, and the one remaining decided to surrender during First Steps, Part 1 last night. The second time that has happened to a table I'm running. It's not unreasonable to just have the NPCs loot the map to the vaults and the trinket Ambrus wanted. This makes them lose 1 PA when returning to the Grand Lodge. Also, taking their weapons is also not a bad idea because they don't want to risk retaliation should the PCs follow them. I don't believe First Steps series is the place for PC killing, especially to a table of new players. But, I do think it's a good opportunity for folks to learn the dangers associated with being a Pathfinder.

Cheliax ***

I too had a near TPU with the final encounter of

Spoiler:
First Steps 1. Four unconscious and dying, one had just been brought back just above zero HP with a low roll channel, one ran away "to get the city watch". All four opponents still up and relatively unharmed.

The thugs are written as trying to make a name for themselves, and it is likely their first armed mugging. They are therefore likely not ready to take the step to murderers in a city where pathfinders will hunt them down and make an example of them.

I too had them stabilize the dying, take all the easily grabbed valuable stuff (weapons and a few other bits) and run off. Close call was the one on just above zero HP got up and challenged them only to be put straight back down - which could have gone badly with that big weapon.

Sczarni *

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you for the Advice i am running this this weekend.

***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Ballig wrote:


Why can't NPCs surrender? I've accepted the surrender of NPCs before, and so have my players. And there are often unconscious NPCs at the end of combat that are revived instead of executed. Am I missing a rule here that says an NPC can't surrender?
Because I have only once seen players take prisoners, and that was when I reminded the paladin that if he whacked the guy who had dropped his sword and fallen to his knees that it wouldn't exactly jive with being a paladin. My players almost always just tear through the NPCs, never consider talking things through. As for thieves not being murderers today, well, we aren't talking about today. In the medieval era (which pathfinder is based on), the most common punishment for crimes was hanging, or an extensive period in a jail which would likely kill you. Theft by murder was far more common then. Besides, if the players are over matched, they should have run away. If not...they'll be knocked senseless and robbed blind.

Interesting - when I play my cleric (now 8th level) I always tell my party ahead of time to expect that I'll be healing the innocent and helpless (including our former foes) with great regularity. I frequently take prisoners and typically stabilize dying foes before doing anything else when combat ends. Frequently the scenarios I've seen actually seem to assume that the players capture instead of kill the "big bad" as not infrequently there is closing text/information that players can gleam from their opponent (of course this could also be DM's adjusting to my cleric's tendency to leave behind living but stripped of their belongs and bound enemies).

I've even healed attackers in combat (intentionally - my cleric has plenty of ability to selectively channel) as a tactically decision to try to impact diplomacy checks to simplify the battlefield (in the scenario in question I did this in the midst of a large bar fight to try to get the attackers who were merely drunks hitting us for non-lethal damage to stand down and allow us to focus on the real serious attackers who were wielding lethal weapons)

i.e. a LOT depends on the play style of your players -and on how they interpret their alignments and character motivations (my cleric is NG - and heavily focused on being a healer - he'll attack and do lots of damage but he prefers to win without death when possible).

Shadow Lodge **

One of the best sessions I've had in PFS was with a group who agreed to play a bit more heroic and 'good'. We didn't take prisoners so much as just use non-lethal and sleep effects as much as possible.

Pathfinders don't have to be ruthless.

Silver Crusade

Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Ballig wrote:


Why can't NPCs surrender? I've accepted the surrender of NPCs before, and so have my players. And there are often unconscious NPCs at the end of combat that are revived instead of executed. Am I missing a rule here that says an NPC can't surrender?
Because I have only once seen players take prisoners, and that was when I reminded the paladin that if he whacked the guy who had dropped his sword and fallen to his knees that it wouldn't exactly jive with being a paladin. My players almost always just tear through the NPCs, never consider talking things through. As for thieves not being murderers today, well, we aren't talking about today. In the medieval era (which pathfinder is based on), the most common punishment for crimes was hanging, or an extensive period in a jail which would likely kill you. Theft by murder was far more common then. Besides, if the players are over matched, they should have run away. If not...they'll be knocked senseless and robbed blind.

Are the Players also claiming their characters are "good" (of any stripe-- LG, NG, or CG)? because the two things-- absolutely no mercy, no matter what the situation, and even the Paladin has to be reminded not to be a bloodthirsty slaughterer, and the Good alignments-- do not go together.

In the medieval era, many thieves and brigands still were not cold-blooded murderers, unless they absolutely had to be. And many people probably still failed to slit the throats when it would have been in their best interest to do so. Murder was more common, but still not the modus operandi of all, or even most, common thieves. Knocked senseless and robbed blind? Now that sounds quite likely, and not too harsh for PCs who made a complete tactical failure against foes who do not necessarily have motivation to kill.

Although-- I'm a little surprised by the frequent accounts I see on these boards that show a lot of players carrying on in the thoughtless, harsh "violence is always the answer" mode that your players appear to use (by your account of them, anyway).

*

Rycaut wrote:

Interesting - when I play my cleric (now 8th level) I always tell my party ahead of time to expect that I'll be healing the innocent and helpless (including our former foes) with great regularity.

I've even healed attackers in combat (intentionally - my cleric has plenty of ability to selectively channel)

Wow, and I thought it was just annoying enough to stabalize everything. I guess it might be ok in the situation described (non-lethal bar fight), but that action is quite dangerous in general (one x3 battleaxe crit = death) and in most situations it's close to being PVP or at least being a jerk imo. In an AP, you're not getting out of that room alive without a really good reason. :)

Funny story, we had 2 clerics in one party and we were stabalizing everything. Two Sarenrae clerics. This was annoying the GM to no end. We just beat up some giant rats and he said "If you guys stabalize those giants rats, I'm walking". So we didn't... on that encounter. But we ended up stabalizing some rats later. :)

***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason S wrote:
Rycaut wrote:

Interesting - when I play my cleric (now 8th level) I always tell my party ahead of time to expect that I'll be healing the innocent and helpless (including our former foes) with great regularity.

I've even healed attackers in combat (intentionally - my cleric has plenty of ability to selectively channel)

Wow, and I thought it was just annoying enough to stabalize everything. I guess it might be ok in the situation described (non-lethal bar fight), but that action is quite dangerous in general (one x3 battleaxe crit = death) and in most situations it's close to being PVP or at least being a jerk imo. In an AP, you're not getting out of that room alive without a really good reason. :)

Funny story, we had 2 clerics in one party and we were stabalizing everything. Two Sarenrae clerics. This was annoying the GM to no end. We just beat up some giant rats and he said "If you guys stabalize those giants rats, I'm walking". So we didn't... on that encounter. But we ended up stabalizing some rats later. :)

To clarify - I do differentiate between intelligent and unintelligent foes (so don't tend to stabilize giant rats). And in that particular situation I followed up my burst healing with Diplomacy to get the drunken brawlers to stand down (and free up the party to attack the lethal attackers) so it was fairly far from PvP - this was my cleric healing foes attacking with non-lethal weapons (and avoiding healing the ones with lethal weapons). This was a bar fight with non-lethal and lethal attackers - I took steps to try to simplify the battlefield so we could focus on the lethal attackers and not be in the position of responding to non-lethal attacks with lethal ones.

Personally as a player or as a DM I don't find players trying to save their foes after defeating them annoying - I see it as opportunities for roleplaying and for furthering the plot. You can't (easily at least) get information from dead foes - and not surprisingly healing people tends to make them a bit more willing to trust you.

Oh and my latest favorite tactic as my Sarenrae cleric is the great spell from Ultimate Magic - "Compassionate Ally" which causes a foe to make a will save, if that foe loses they spend the next 8 rounds doing nothing but healing their allies. In a recent battle that meant the necromancer spent his turn healing a zombie instead of using spells against my party. Both as a tactic for removing a foe from the battlefield and as a highly in character action I enjoy this as an alternative to the more usual Hold Person (it also has some advantages as it doesn't allow for a will save each round as hold person does).

Back when I DMed years ago (so long before even D&D 3.0) one of my favorite dungeons I ever created was in many ways all about illustrating to the players that they had options other than just violence - lots of intelligent opponents who could be negotiated with and could turn into allies against the real monster in the dungeon (in that specific case a massive dragon). As a player and as a DM I have the perhaps "old school" view that there should always be multiple ways to resolve a given conflict - and that just killing everything that moves isn't the only option (though at times it may be the fastest).

On the other hand it is the case that many PFS scenarios somewhat assume that the players will just do that - but I've seen plenty of scenarios which have opportunities built into them.

for example in the next of the First Path series:
There is the kobolds in the dungeon that if the party negotiates and doesn't just immediately slaughter can be turned into allies - of course assuming the party approaches in the right order.

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