Suicidal Players and Fairness


Advice


Okay, so I was DMing my homebrew Sunday and 2 of my players did... well decided to jump off a building in game and I'd like to ask for your opinions on the matter.

Spoiler:
First, for those of you who may remember my thread about my players barbequing a village of dominated villiagers this is that same group; though I split them up into 2 groups for RP reasons and scheduling issues. So given the length of the last thread, I'm going to try and cover my bases with info this time round. So my apologies if this is something of an info dump.

That said, this is what happened(backstory dump):

Spoiler:

My players traveled into my homebrew version of the Under-Dark, a Subterranean nation located under the south pole; on a mission to assassinate the Matriarchs in hopes of bringing order to the Drow and allowing a lawful faction of the Drow to take control. The aim isn't to make the drow good or anything so lofty, but manageable enough so they can treaty with them to save the world. Regardless of whether or not that'll actually work, that's their current aim.

So the party consists of the following:
-A LE Half-'Elf' Magus
-A LE Drow Cleric
-A CN Were-Bear Inquisitor
-A LG Tengu Monk with the Glide Alternate Trait
-A CG Sylph Samurai

All level 6. The initial gambit was to have the Drow Cleric bring them into the matriarchs posing as a slaver. As the first Matriarch was a Witch w/ Arcane Sight; she immediately saw the magic auras on the Were and deduced something was up. She instead however joined them in exchange for her survival, seeing this as a chance to off the other matriarchs and get a position in the new order.

So fast forward most of a session, the next matriarch(a Sorcerer) nearly TPKs do to a miscalculation on my part(Black Tentacles & Cloud Kill is NASTY) so one of them dies(the Tengu Monk). Needless to say, I feel a revival is needed since I under estimated the encounter. So the Magus suggests the Witch uses their attack on the Sorcerer to get the next Matriarch(a Demonic Cleric) to revive the Tengu to find out who's behind the attack. A good bluff and bad sense motives allows them to trick her into reviving the Monk, atop her Spire.

Now, upon reviving the monk, the enemy Cleric gets by his reaction and those of the others that something's up... so she just casually casts Air Walk and begins walking up into the open air. Realizing she's caught on Combat begins; She summons a bunch of spiders while walking higher and straight off her tower. So far, nothing spectacular...

But 2 players are determined not to let her get away. The Tengu, who's just been revived decides to jump off the spire to try and grapple her. However, he misses her touch AC and doesn't initiate the grab. Then the Tengu fails his fly check for Glide(He rolled a 2) and fell 150 feet to his death(or unconsciousness, we later realized he had something that would soften the blow by 30 feet).

Next the Magus finally nails his dispel magic on the Air Walking Cleric and she begins to descend, I roll a 3 so she'll fall 180 feet(over 3 rounds) till she tastes dirt) and away from the tower. At this point, the Were's still having none of this getting away, so she jumps off the Spire, trying to ride her Sword down the wall to the ground below. Now, since there's nothing in the rules about this I figured it'd work sort of like a slow-fall and given they made a 29 STR check(Huge Creature after Enlarge) I let her take only 10d6 instead of 15d6 or 14d6 & 1d6 nonlethal... But I rolled really well and did ~46 damage. Enough to nearly drop the player.

At this point, I called the session because given previous events I think we needed to re-think how the encounter was going. However I made clear the enemy Cleric was likely going to use a blast spell on the Were next turn and finish her off(assuming she makes her concentration checks). This has apparently upset the player, and thus has lead to great unrest out of game by the Were's player, he's particularly unhappy with this turn of events.

So I ask you guys, do you think that I handled that fairly? I only allowed the sword thing cause of the Rule of Cool of it all, so I think that alone was Generous. Plus there are two characters who actually have Feather Fall to use, so the bear didn't need to jump. But I still feel like it's my fault in a way, especially since the were's player is so upset about it all. Plus, factor in that I did sorta throw an unintentionally hard encounter at them earlier, I feel it might have tainted the 2nd encounter and lead to their crazy actions. The Tengu I mostly chalk up to bad rolls though, since had they rolled 2 higher they would have glided safely down.

So ultimately, how do you guys handle suicidal players? Do you let them hang themselves so to speak? Or do you bend the rules to try and accommodate their craziness?


my skull and shackles games is up to a total of 9 deaths and we just started book #4, I will give them a Little wiggle room But if you don't make them wince every once and a while well frankly they will walk all over you and no one will enjoy it.

Point in case a lev three rogue kept antagonizing a level 5 npc fighter (who was indifferent to the party and was leaving) and drug him off his skif by making a ranged grapple check with a whip. (I was feeling generous and the rouge REALLLY wanted a piece of this guy) so after a couple of rounds of dragging the fighter along the dock the whip gets cut and the now rather PO'ed fighter walks up to the rouge and vital strikes/crits with a greatsword for 5d6+12 , I don't remember the exact damage but it was about 5-8 points beyond dead... everyone at the table cringed but He asked for it.

In short I'm fair to my players but they know if they do something stupid it can cost them a character.

I also believe in teaching players to avoid A/O's like the plague, I don't worn them beforehand unless they haven't played dnd 3.5 or pathfinder before. After they provoke I ask them what they should have done instead.

of and as far as falling, it's 33 feet per second, so 6 seconds to a round so 198ft in one round, unless they had a ring of feather fall or have feather fall mesmerized well, Imo your being nice to them.


Well, I'm no DM but it seems they made the choice knowing there was a chance they would plummet to their deaths. They had some sucky rolls, which happens sometimes and were dealt the consequences in what seems a fair manner.

Now, you say that 2 other characters had feather fall to use? If they were around, one would have thought they'd try to cast it on their falling allies (if they were in range, which I doubt they were). I suppose you could have nudged them and remind them of their feather falls, but casting it on the 2 jumping off of the cliff would probably have ruined the timing of the falling 2 character's attack.

All in all, you were fair it seems. As to what to do with suicidal characters, it seems you did it just fine. If they know there's a chance to die, it's their heads if they fail that chance. It seems both survived if just barely, so I don't see why they'd be upset.

Liberty's Edge

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If you don't let them hang themselves, they'll just keep going with the suicidal attacks...hey, if it works...

OTOH, be merciful. The cleric just wanted to leave...she still can. Hit them hard, and let her get away, leaving them a wreck, but not dead. Failure doesn't have to equal death...just cast a spell that will temporarily neutralize any still trying to fight...and leave.

Sovereign Court

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The suicidal actions has little to do with fairness. The PCs had a chance to regroup and recover. They chose to risk life and limb to stop the cleric. Cant cry about it when they had an out. Sounds like they expect to win every fight.


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1) It's their own fault for not letting the Cleric get away

2) It is extra their fault for not using Feather Fall to save their allies--it's not a self only spell after all. In fact, the entire party could have jumped and all could have benefited from just one casting.


If other members had feather falls available why not use them? When the first grapple missed the player with FF should have taken an immediate action to cast. Same story with the magus. Ring of feather fall obviously a different story...

~Ninja'd by mpl


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I wouldn't let any character of mine jump 150 ft down unless death was a possibility from NOT jumping. I would be upset if I was close to death, separated from the party, and DM finished me off. Wouldn't the characters do that to an enemy though?

If you want to be a good sport. Have the enemy subdue the characters and haul him off as a prisoner. After binding him, followed by a little torture, divination, and a mark of justice, he should be ripe to be set free.

Silver Crusade

What happened to the paladin/vampire/dominated villagers etc.?

You said you'd let us know!


if you want to shock the player's without killing them off have the cleric cast a spell to knock out the player's she could kill and while there knocked out have them go through terrible dreams were there characters experiences death over and over again upon waking up there characters should become a little more cautious but then again its just an idea.
and if they do something stupid again leave them to their fate they have had there warning's


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To quickly clarify:

The two with the Feather Falls have them as SLA's, the Sylph Samurai and the Half-Elf Magus. As it happened, yes neither the Tengu nor the Were happened to be in range of either character have it cast on them(it is a close range spell).

The top of the spire was a 100 feet in diameter circle so there was a lot of room since the enemy cleric was summoning huge/large spiders via the spider summoner feat. Since the others were so far away, no one had the time to cast it, they just leapt down.

Imo, it wasn't their(the samurai and magi's) fault.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

What happened to the paladin/vampire/dominated villagers etc.?

You said you'd let us know!

And as for that:

Spoiler:
My apologies, I honestly thought I posted something earlier.

In short, I ended up letting the Paladin off the hook since it really wasn't her fault. She valiantly fought through waves of the undead at the capital the next session and even got a chance to avenge the fallen villagers against that same Vampire who dominated them the following session once the rest of the Party didn't bail. Since then she's saved the soul gem of a little girl from the clutches of a Contract Devil and has been near constantly doing battle with Devils trying to ensure this little girls soul reaches it's proper afterlife. And she even carries around a set of pretty prayer beads, one for every life she's failed to save so she literally carries that weight. She's doing pretty well for a Gnomish Paladin of Shelyn imo.

As for the town, its filled with Ghosts seeking vengeance. The cleric of Pharasma, whom failed the most imo, was stripped her of her domains and she fell against the Vampire in the next session. One of the other players, a Rogue, got teleported into the ghost town and had to run away. Most everyone took an alignment shift(save the samurai & Paladin). That whole thing will come back to bite the rest of the party sooner or later, but that'll happen down the road.

Silver Crusade

Darth Grall wrote:

You said you'd let us know!

And as for that:

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for the update. I was really curious about this and that link to the old thread brought a lot of WTF memories back. ;)

Silver Crusade

Mikaze wrote:
Darth Grall wrote:

You said you'd let us know!

And as for that:

** spoiler omitted **
Thanks for the update. I was really curious about this and that link to the old thread brought a lot of WTF memories back. ;)

Ditto. : )

How did the players take their PCs' enforced alignment shift?

Grand Lodge

Sorry, I'm going to say, if you commit suicide there is no 911 to come and save you. You go into a DROW city AKA Fortress of Evil, you do so carefully and you don't mess around. You certainly don't act stupidly and expect some sort of a last minute pardon.

Personally, I'm not a fan of players who want to run suicide attacks or suicide missions and you need to end the life of at least one of them. See its not role-playing if that role is always, "I'll whine and I get to live." You tell the player to climb a 15 story building and JUMP. And when he says, HELL NO because that would be stupid, you tell him, that's why your PC died. You did with the PC, what you'd never do yourself.

And 150ft is 15 stories in the standard building. I don't know of anyone who'd jump of a 15 story building, thinking that's a good idea.


This is precisely the kind of situation where Hero Points can make all the difference. That sword jump should have earned him a small handful of Hero Points which he can then cash in to negate the blast from the Cleric. Heroes are, by definition, some of the dumbest mother******s on the planet. They put themselves in extreme danger of life and limb doing favors for random, thankless peasants in hopes of maybe gaining fame, fortune, and glory in a world full of ravenous, soul-sucking monsters, beasts, fiends, etc. They could easily dump all those skill points into a profession or craft and just get a freaking day job... but noooooo, they've got to go be "heroes" and dive off towers 'n **** to "save the day". That's why fortune favors them so and gives them soft stuff to land on and random, b*~%!!$ crazy things that negate their inherent stupidity. Unless your Werebear is an anti-hero and took the bonus feat at lvl 1, I'd give him some hero points and contrive some way for him to get out of it. If he's an anti-hero, he RPed it really poorly because an anti-hero certainly wouldn't try to pull that stunt when he's got teammates ready and able to cast featherfall.


150 feet tall, and 100 around... I don't think that's a spire. That sounds a lot like a rectangle.

Liberty's Edge

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I do not see suicidal players here, but players who want to play a cinematic game. Basically, rule of Cool and heroic acts are the staple of such games. Where the good guys (ie, the PCs) win in the end. Check Feng Shui or Exalted for RPGs based on this.

I think you want to play a "realistic" by-the-book game. Where cool heads and optimized tactics prevail. Where the smart guys win in the end. Whether they are the good guys (= PCs) or not doesn't really matter.

You and your players need to get together and find a compromise.

I think it is possible if you accept to play a little less close to the rules which definitely does NOT mean throwing all rules and sense of verisimilitude to the winds BTW.

In other words, you and your players could look for a balance of rules and feeling (ie, a style of gameplay) that is heroic and cool but not over-the-top and ridiculous.


Short answer:
By the sounds of it, your players EXPECT TO (not want to, or are trying to, EXPECT TO) 'win'. You and your group need to decide if this is the world where the heroes always win, or if the caves are inhabited by skeletons because... well.... heroes don't always win and skeletons are there to remind you of that fact. This is a decision you and the group need to come to and agree on. Do the dice lie where they lie or do you fudge for the sake of a good story? And if so when and why? There is no right answer here. It's gotta be right for your group and people all have to know what to expect and for it to be consistent.

Long Answer:
Tengu: Bad dice rolls happen. I'd suggest that you put the following through your head... If that had been an attack roll that ended up in a crit kiling the player, would you bat an eyelid at it? You might wince a bit and think that's unfortunate, but would you actually undo his death? Would you scale it back to unconscious and dying and fudge the dice rolls for the sake of dramatics? And would you do the same in reverse, allowing a fight to go on for the sake of dramatics / RP when the BBEG should have dropped 3 rounds ago? Would the players yell and scream at you if that was the case? Food for thought. For me at least, I'm a BIG believer in equality when it comes to fudging.

At lower levels, what I'd tend to do there is fudge the dice rolls to drop the person to say 2 or 3 HP of dead, unconscious and bleeding. Enough to bring out that threat and remove them from a fight completely, and also have the risk of them dying as an actuality... but only if the party doesn't act and fast. If your not interested in saving your companions lives, they die. Conversely if they do act, it can give RP opportunities around "Hey... you saved my life today" to knit the group together more. At higher levels you can just let them die and have the res later with less impact.

Were-Bear: Bad dice rolls happen, but in the name of the unholy, what possesses someone to jump from 150 feet up without wings or fly and think they WON'T get messed up by it? I don't care how hardcore they think they are. 10D6 is still an average of 35. If it's down to 10HP on if you live or die.... that's the difference between someone having a channel smite vs not, or power attack or not... heck or the cleric just using a channel instead of attacking. No-where NEAR enough buffer room in that to feel safe.

As long as you had the expectation of 'you'll still take a bunch of damage' and he knew it'd be 8 or more... Death by player being an idiot. Sorry. :( But it is. If (on the other hand) we was expecting closer to 5D6, and if you think that knowing it was going to be 10D6 would have changed his action... ok... that's something to work on going forwards making sure people are aware (in approximate terms) of what the good / bad outcomes of an action are going to be, I might fudge things a little there, but.... If His plan was to take a fistful of damage dice. , and you rolled a little above the mark, them's the breaks. 45 if a 'good' roll, but not an exceptional one where you got a lucky with a scythe and ended up doing 48 instead of 12. I'd have little sympathy here. There was no 'crappy dice' involved the ended up with him taking it.

Feather Fall: This is your other mitigating factor here... either of them could have had the damage negated by the rest of the party doing their thing. You shouldn't be rewarding the players for not acting as a group and not having everyone work together. To pick a more combat-y example, if you had a Pally die to a fiend, and then be upset about because they forgot to smite, you probably wouldn't be too forgiving. It's not up to you to remind the other players of their abilities and actions. It's not up to you to tell them what to do when. You have a whole rest of the world to manage. They need to look after their chars actions. If some of them were sub-optimal, that's their call.

If they want to have a game where the heroes win all the time and you tell them what their characters round by round and interaction by interaction... pack away Pathfinder and bring out Dragonlance.... I mean the actual novels, because they aren't asking to RP. They're asking to be read a story.


The black raven wrote:

I do not see suicidal players here, but players who want to play a cinematic game. Basically, rule of Cool and heroic acts are the staple of such games. Where the good guys (ie, the PCs) win in the end. Check Feng Shui or Exalted for RPGs based on this.

I think you want to play a "realistic" by-the-book game. Where cool heads and optimized tactics prevail. Where the smart guys win in the end. Whether they are the good guys (= PCs) or not doesn't really matter.

You and your players need to get together and find a compromise.

I think it is possible if you accept to play a little less close to the rules which definitely does NOT mean throwing all rules and sense of verisimilitude to the winds BTW.

In other words, you and your players could look for a balance of rules and feeling (ie, a style of gameplay) that is heroic and cool but not over-the-top and ridiculous.

DAMN YOU NINJAS!


I'd let it stand as is. The tengu player had an unfortunate series of rolls. It is quite unfortunate, but sometimes s*** happens. At the very least thanks to "some item" as you described it the tengu character isn't dead but unconcious. The tengu will survive the fight and recover no worse for the wear.

As for the werebear, the player did something incredibly stupid. There is the rule of cool, like jumping to a chandelier and using it to deliver a swinging kick to the face of your enemy. Then there is stupid, which is jumping off a 150ft tower expecting to land at the bottom with neary a scarth because you thrust your sword into the stone of tower to slow your fall. You're not a monk, thats not your schtick, don't try it. The fact that you reduced the damage from 15d6 to 10d6 seems fair, if not generous to me for something that is incredibly stupid. If the players had thought for a few seconds they could have instead considered tying a rope of to something on top of the tower a repelling down. For rule of cool I would have said they could have tied the rope to something and readied a sling with the rope with a "brake" to quickly, but controllable lower them to the ground. I would say one full round to find and tie off the rope and make the brake (provided the have any ranks in climb, even then it should really take much longer but rule of cool). I would then say with accelration from the gravity and the brake from the rope you can reach the ground completely safely in 2 rounds. The cleric had 3 rounds before she touches the ground. So what do you know, they land on the ground at the same time and now it's an epic chase after the enemy. Instead, they stupidly jump off the tower and nearly kill themselves. Let it happen. If you want to be nice, the cleric may instead of outright killing the werebear will instead cast something only string enough to knock her unconcious instead. Seeing that this is an evil cleric, the most realistic action is that the cleric will go for the kill unless the werebear shows no signs of continuing the chase after falling to the ground.


Ice Titan wrote:
150 feet tall, and 100 around... I don't think that's a spire. That sounds a lot like a rectangle.

Haha, yeah... I was going to make it taller but 150 ft made the fall deadly but potentially survivable.

Also it was an already broken spire, so it was supposes to be more stub like than full on spire.

Kazaan wrote:
Unless your Werebear is an anti-hero and took the bonus feat at lvl 1, I'd give him some hero points and contrive some way for him to get out of it. If he's an anti-hero, he RPed it really poorly because an anti-hero certainly wouldn't try to pull that stunt when he's got teammates ready and able to cast featherfall.

And see the Were is something of an Anti-Hero, a lone wolf(or bear as the case may be). Back during that whole village debacle, the Were Bear walked off on their own prior... Choosing to traverse a Nation of the undead alone rather than travel with the party(Whom they "didn't trust yet"). They also worship Gorum so they literally believe they have to charge into battle every time because that's how they interpret their god's teachings. And they're pretty merciless when it comes to fighting. That's a problem in and of itself but is somewhat separate from, I jump off building.

I agree hero points could solve this kind of thing though, but I think that'd encourage stupid stuff.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Thanks for the update. I was really curious about this and that link to the old thread brought a lot of WTF memories back. ;)

Ditto. : )

How did the players take their PCs' enforced alignment shift?

Spoiler:
You guys are welcome, again apologies it wasn't earlier.

As for the shift, most didn't care, especially since it didn't change the way they played. Plus, I think most involved have shifted back to Neutral over the 7 or so games we've had since, though the Magus has used it as a turning point to go LE. And of course the Pharasma Cleric died so that's pretty final.


The black raven wrote:

I do not see suicidal players here, but players who want to play a cinematic game. Basically, rule of Cool and heroic acts are the staple of such games. Where the good guys (ie, the PCs) win in the end. Check Feng Shui or Exalted for RPGs based on this.

I think you want to play a "realistic" by-the-book game. Where cool heads and optimized tactics prevail. Where the smart guys win in the end. Whether they are the good guys (= PCs) or not doesn't really matter.

You and your players need to get together and find a compromise.

I think it is possible if you accept to play a little less close to the rules which definitely does NOT mean throwing all rules and sense of verisimilitude to the winds BTW.

In other words, you and your players could look for a balance of rules and feeling (ie, a style of gameplay) that is heroic and cool but not over-the-top and ridiculous.

I would agree but in terms of players I don't think that's entirely true.

First we've been a gaming group for ~4 years. We started with Saga Edition(Star Wars) and played that for 3 years before transitioning to PF back last May as we wrapped up that campaign. We've played the occasional 'cinematic' game(2 FATE system games) as side games, but the players are well grounded in tactical systems.

Now granted, the Were player said "Well in a Movie it would have worked" but I don't think it's a fundamental difference in play styles.

None the less I've allowed for more cinematic actions in the past. Again, rule of cool. And I thought by allowing the damage to be 10d6 vs the full 15d6 for fall damage was the compromise.


Claxon wrote:
If the players had thought for a few seconds they could have instead considered tying a rope of to something on top of the tower a repelling down. For rule of cool I would have said they could have tied the rope to something and readied a sling with the rope with a "brake" to quickly, but controllable lower them to the ground. I would say one full round to find and tie off the rope and make the brake (provided the have any ranks in climb, even then it should really take much longer but rule of cool). I would then say with accelration from the gravity and the brake from the rope you can reach the ground completely safely in 2 rounds.

Here though, its sort of my fault. I said their wasn't anything they could reliably tie near the ledge(As he was Huge at this point), with the exception of an altar in the center of the space, 50 ft from the ledge(in the center). So I think they tied them selves up and jumped, saying one of the other characters should tie him/her off to a monster... or lower him down.

Everyone immediately made it clear they weren't going to do that, since he wasn't waiting for them to get in position to potentially grab the rope. Also, he was Huge at this point, so no one character could slow his fall... and there were still 3 Large Spiders and 1 Huge on the roof fighting the Samurai and Magus. Tying the Were off to a Monster could have potentially done something, but no one had the time nor the gall to try it. Also, there is the issue of the rope not being strong enough to support a Huge creature, especially how it could react to an Enlarged character.


Darth Grall wrote:


I agree hero points could solve this kind of thing though, but I think that'd encourage stupid stuff.

No, no, my friend! With hero points, it mechanically is no longer 'stupid' stuff, but heroic! It allows characters to have a sound way to, say, use their sword to descend a 150 ft spire without dying.

edit: read a bit of your last posts, and the hero point system seems like it would be a good addition with the playstyle of the group. I understand that it could be a big, and tough, change to the way you have been GMing though!


Yeah. If it's stupid, but it works; it isn't stupid. Also, I was talking about anti-hero mechanically. When using the Hero Point system, a player can opt out of it in exchange for a bonus feat at level 1. If they take the feat, they will never earn nor be the beneficiary of hero points. If he didn't do that, then he has the potential to be a hero which, up until the sword-surfing incident, he wasn't really living up to.


Terronus wrote:
Darth Grall wrote:


I agree hero points could solve this kind of thing though, but I think that'd encourage stupid stuff.

No, no, my friend! With hero points, it mechanically is no longer 'stupid' stuff, but heroic! It allows characters to have a sound way to, say, use their sword to descend a 150 ft spire without dying.

edit: read a bit of your last posts, and the hero point system seems like it would be a good addition with the playstyle of the group. I understand that it could be a big, and tough, change to the way you have been GMing though!

The thing is though... I don't know if I'd want to add that to my game besides incredibly small doses.

As I said, our group came from Star Wars Saga Edition. I don't know if you've played that system, but it's incredibly hard to kill anyone in that system. Between Second Winds, attack negation, characters starting with 30 + Con HP at level 1, and the ability to spend a force point to just say a blow knocks you unconscious rather than kill you; Actual death was surprisingly hard to come by for a world proliferated with laser swords.

What this lead to, in the cases of some players, was incredibly stupid action yielding fruit. Such as a character repeatedly blowing himself up knowing that he could survive because of mechanics. So one of the things I like about Pathfinder is how dangerous it is, I just thought that would discourage these kind of actions...

Kazaan wrote:
Yeah. If it's stupid, but it works; it isn't stupid. Also, I was talking about anti-hero mechanically. When using the Hero Point system, a player can opt out of it in exchange for a bonus feat at level 1. If they take the feat, they will never earn nor be the beneficiary of hero points. If he didn't do that, then he has the potential to be a hero which, up until the sword-surfing incident, he wasn't really living up to.

Ah, I hadn't read up on that. I only know what Hero Points are capable of, and they sound awfully familiar to Force Points from Saga in application.

Shadow Lodge

I think you handled the situation well. I would have run something similar. I would have the cleric, who is obviously trying to get away take the rounds to full to buff so she can beat feet. If the werebear gets up and looks to give chase then blow him up. Maybe take the tengu with her to get information later. Prisoners are great story.

As for the hero point system, Having used it 3 times both as GM and player I would say take a close look and then remove teh negate death power. The hero point system can do a lot of fun things, giving the PCs the ability to do things otherwise outside there reach. "I really need to jump this chasm, hero point for plus eight to my roll" or "I want to do something impossible hero point to the rescue, still have a heard check though". but as long as negate death exists they won't use hero points for anything else. They will just save and negate. that's why I am removing that option from all future games I run.


You could limit it so that Negate Death only works within so many rounds of earning hero points. Another thing I find hero points useful for is balancing out rolled stats. If one person rolls up really awesome stats, it becomes harder for them to do things impressive enough to earn hero points. On the other hand, for someone who rolls particularly dismal stats, just making it out of camp in the morning is a heroic accomplishment.


As a player who routinely jumps off/out of things, I have accepted the fact that it doesn't always work out.
When it does work, I get stories about how I flying tackled a dragon down a mine shaft. When it doesn't work I have stories about how my ass got flame broiled by a different dragon while jumping out a window (same character even). I've also learned to be prepared for the awesome (stupid) sh17 I'm going to do. My characters carry ass loads of rope and at least one grappling hook. All of my characters. If I plan on jumping out a window, it takes no effort to drop the hook as I go.
They also almost always have boots of the cat. 1k and both those characters are alive, healthy, and standing when they hit the ground. I've learned to survive the heroic (dumb) stunts I subject myself to. Your players have learned the hard way.


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Decades ago, when I was a young whippersnapper, I had a DM who always tried super super hard to keep us alive no matter what happened; I think he felt guilty about letting a PC die. I abused it constantly.

My biggest abuse? I had a level 1 character grapple and strangle a troll. Then when it was unconscious, I burned it and looted its cave. I made almost 2 levels from the fight and got loot that no one PC should have. Should that have worked? No way. But he couldn't figure out how to disallow it without killing me, so it worked.

Long story short - if you coddle your players and let them do stupid suicidal things and get away with it, they'll just do more and more and walk all over you. But if their suicides actually kill them, at least some of the time, maybe they won't be so quick to attempt them anymore.


To me, a DM pulling punches actually ruins the game. Not by itself, but for what is allows other players to get away with at times. I undersatnd rule of cool, but if I'm playing by the rules because I know a 150 ft drop should hurt like hell if not kill me, and someone else jumps off and makes it without significant damage it makes me feel like a chump. It makes me say, "Hey, what is this playing by the rules non-sense! Apparently that's for suckers."

Liberty's Edge

Come to think of it, a Huge character is actually 18 feet high. A 150 feet drop for such a character should be akin to a 50 feet drop for a Medium character.

Thus 5d6 of damage.

And that is where the rules system comes crashing down because it deals in absolutes (ie, 150 feet = 15d6) even in situations where the relative values should be used (ie falling 10 times your height vs falling 30 times your height).

Liberty's Edge

Darth Grall wrote:

As I said, our group came from Star Wars Saga Edition. I don't know if you've played that system, but it's incredibly hard to kill anyone in that system. Between Second Winds, attack negation, characters starting with 30 + Con HP at level 1, and the ability to spend a force point to just say a blow knocks you unconscious rather than kill you; Actual death was surprisingly hard to come by for a world proliferated with laser swords.

What this lead to, in the cases of some players, was incredibly stupid action yielding fruit. Such as a character repeatedly blowing himself up knowing that he could survive because of mechanics. So one of the things I like about Pathfinder is how dangerous it is, I just thought that would discourage these kind of actions...

That is all nice and good provided you warn your players about this very big change in your gameplay BEFORE the session starts.

Having them find out the hard way is quite disruptive for the trust they have in you as a GM. Doubly so if they invested a lot of time, energy or emotion in their soon-to-be-dead characters.

Obviously, if you warn them beforehand and they keep on trying foolhardy actions, let them reap what they sowed. Some people just need proof of concept.


Height relative to distance fallen doesn't enter into the calculation; neither in PF nor in real life. Hold a cat up about 2 meters and drop it. It will land on its feat just fine and simply walk away, even though that's a drop of roughly 8x its height. Hold an ant and drop it from the same height and it will also be fine and a 2m drop for a 1-2mm tall ant is 1-2 thousand times its height. So whether you're a fine creature or a colossal creature makes no difference to how much damage you take when you hit the ground.

Grand Lodge

I will just say this once more, 10 feet, 1 story, 150 feet, 15 stories. If any of your players would jump of the 15th story of a building expecting to live, then I say let them live.

Have them vote on it, would any of them expect anyone to survive a fall from a 15 story building. That way, they'll understand why they died. You tell them you don't want them to die but the mechanics of jumping of a 15th story is death.


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The black raven wrote:

Come to think of it, a Huge character is actually 18 feet high. A 150 feet drop for such a character should be akin to a 50 feet drop for a Medium character.

Thus 5d6 of damage.

And that is where the rules system comes crashing down because it deals in absolutes (ie, 150 feet = 15d6) even in situations where the relative values should be used (ie falling 10 times your height vs falling 30 times your height).

Er, no. More massive creatures have more momentum in a fall than less massive ones do. Granted, magic critters have a fantasy universe exemption from many ramifications of the square-cube law, but suggesting that they should take less damage in a fall the larger they are makes Galileo's ghost cry.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Emmit Svenson wrote:
The black raven wrote:

Come to think of it, a Huge character is actually 18 feet high. A 150 feet drop for such a character should be akin to a 50 feet drop for a Medium character.

Thus 5d6 of damage.

And that is where the rules system comes crashing down because it deals in absolutes (ie, 150 feet = 15d6) even in situations where the relative values should be used (ie falling 10 times your height vs falling 30 times your height).

Er, no. More massive creatures have more momentum in a fall than less massive ones do. Granted, magic critters have a fantasy universe exemption from many ramifications of the square-cube law, but suggesting that they should take less damage in a fall the larger they are makes Galileo's ghost cry.

Indeed. Creatures with higher mass potentially should take more damage from a fall.

The damage from a fall is from the change in momentum, or the impact. The equation for an impact force is Impact = 2 * m * v / t. Given that all falling objects fall at the same rate, and the impact time would be roughly the same (since I don't want to get into details regarding the change in ability of the body to compress and whatnot). Given this, the only factor different between a huge creature and a medium creature is mass. Now Enlarge Person says to multiply weight by 8 for each enlargement, so assuming density remains the same, the Huge person will have an impact force 64 times greater than the Medium person.

What all this does not account for is the change in the body's tolerance of impact force. Simply put, a larger creature may be subject to greater force, but their larger musculature and bone structure may be able to handle the increased force. I have no idea if this growth in force tolerance in the joints would increase proportionally to the mass at a 1:1 ratio or not. Simplest way to handle it (and somewhat logical) is to say that it does scale linearly with mass, and thus the Huge person is back to taking the same effective damage as the Medium person.

The other thing to consider is that most huge creatures will have proportionally higher HP as well, which can be seen as an ability to shrug off damage from falls.

All of this is kind of silly to do, as it is attempting to apply real world physics in great detail to the Pathfinder mechanic, which is really just a useful and simple abstraction. I really don't want to have to grab my calculator every time someone falls to determine based on weight how many d6s I should roll.

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