Realism vs. Game Mechanics


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OK. It appears that my first post vanished. Whether that is because I didn't actually submit it, it went to the great bit bucket in the sky during transit, or a forum moderator took it down I don't currently know. I am suspecting one of the first two, so I am going to recreate it. If this one disappears too, then I will probably assume the third option.

So I came to the realization while reading and discussing things on this site, that I tend to have the rules of the game mechanics trump realism. I make sure that the game mechanics are being followed, and then describe things in game in some fashion that is at least close to what the mechanics stated.

And if there is something that is important to one of the characters that isn't supported in the rules, that is what houserules are for. The group can get together and come up with some change or addition to the rules that we all agree to that allows the character to do their thing.

But not everyone thinks of the rules this way.

And I don't think that is really a bad way to handle things.

So I want to see other ways of handling this. So...

1) When realism comes into conflict with the rules of the game, how do you resolve it?

2) Do you have any war stories about this. A time when this actually happened in a game that someone wanted to do something but couldn't because the rules didn't support it - even though it could be done in reality.

3) Has this ever caused problems at the game table?


Honestly, it's never once come up in a game for me.

It comes up here in the forums fairly often, and for the most part being gently told that Starfinder is not a sim, the more real-world physics and rules you try to bring in to it, the more it breaks the game, tends to curtail those kind of arguments.


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One odd issue with the realism crowd is that they often have a weak grasp on reality straight up or at least given some basic conventions of Starfinder.

We saw the former during the debate on line weapons piercing through walls (and vehicles, and mountains) to hit things on the other side, so long as they were within the line weapons' range increment. It was questionable enough to see reality invoked against sci-fantasy plasma, sonic, and electro beams, but it was particularly strange that the chief proponent of reality as a bar to the plain rule first became incensed over the line property on railguns, which we know perfectly well do go through lots of matter like cheesecloth even with current technology. It's not the only example of a mistaken understanding of reality being invoked against the rules, but it stuck out.

On the latter front, denying reality as applied to some conventions of Starfinder, we have the current argument against the clear rules granting the ability to attempt stealth when in cover because the objector has a hard time reconciling one line of text in some GM guidance with the clear rules. Assuming this failure of comprehension isn't caused by whatever resulted in the truly extraordinary number of typos, strange punctuation, and random emphasis that has characterized a lot of the argumentation, it seems grounded in a certain view of reality - he doesn't think you can hide in cover because of course if you're staring at someone in real world cover they don't have enough space to hide and break your observation of them.

But this ignores a key convention of Starfinder - there is no facing and you're never staring at someone constantly. You're in a dynamic, 360 degree combat environment, constantly swiveling your head to avoid being flanked by a single opponent, and you don't and can't "in reality" maintain a constant observation on anyone. So in the abstraction of the rules, stealth skill allows you to use that scrap of cover to try to hide, and this is quite grounded in reality, provided you accept a fundamental premise of the game. And if you're not, why are you playing?

For myself, I find reality arguments useful when the rules don't say anything at all or have a big lacuna. I find them mildly annoying when they are invoked to try to ignore a clear rule, and a bit vicariously embarrassing when the proponent just doesn't know what he's talking about.


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When a rule allows something I don't believe to be realistic, I just go with the rule, then say something like: "well, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, oh well."


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The big problem I have with Starfinder concerning realism is not the rules, some abstractions will always happen, but with the setting and fluff. It doesn't even remotely makes sense and doesn't even try to. Be it the official population figures, the entire economy with its exponential prices and level restrictions for even mundane, everyday items or the exorbitant chargeing rates for energy cells (which for some reason is not possible to do on your own spaceship) to the general lawlessness of modern and futuristic societies where it is perfectly normal to walk around with heavy armor and weapons equivalent to a tank (no exaggeration). At least thats the assumption the adventures make.
And when you try to rewrite the setting, a big effort in its own, to make more sense you quickly realize that you will likely break something else in the process (the poor soldier was never designed to leave his weapons at the door while the operative is fine wherever he goes). That makes it very hard to interact meaningfully with the setting (meaningful doesn't mean saying yes to everything the players want to do because common sense doesn't apply to the setting). Very quickly you come to the realization that it is a lot less of a headache to leave all civilization behind and to kill things in faraway dungeons which, concidentally, is how most APs play.

Also, there are some rules which are too unrealistic for me and that is starships and to a lesser degree vehicles, mainly because how disconnected they are from everything else. That means both the economy (not being able to buy or sell equipment for the starship but once the PCs level up they can have a never ending supply of nuclear weapons for their starship because reason) and the interactions with other levels of gameplay (starships which can easily hit a coffin sized corpse fleet glider in space not being able to accurately track people or dragons on the ground and PCs not being able to damage starships despite having the same weapon as a hovertank or even better).

How do I solve this? I don't know. But I am starting to flirt with Rifts Phase World setting in place of Starfinder with a large side dish of Shadowrun. And when you look to Rifts for realism it should tell you something about the state SF is in.


Yeah, I try to avoid any calls to realism. Generally it doesn't make the game more fun for players.

The only real problems my group has had with it, is when the rules are unclear and we're trying to figure out what to do/what's intended. That's when calls to realism are usually the most common.


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To answer the OP.

1. When realism comes into conflict with the game, we tend towards realism or in the face of any real life examples or first hand knowledge what we believe would be a more realistic out come.

Section 2: This was all in a single Saturday session at the beginning of our Starfinder playing careers.

2a. My player snuck up behind an enemy soldier, who had his his gun pointed at the ground, and put a gun to his head saying "drop your weapon now or your dead". The enemy spun right around, did a full attack and shot the player critically, stunning them (we use the critical hit deck).

2b. My players rigged a 40 foot bridge with explosives over a steep gully and waited in cover with a detonator. The said the intended to blow the bridge when the lead enemy vehicle was 5 feet past the bridge edge. Needless to say the convoy rolled right across the bridge, then proceeded to shoot up my players.

2c. The BBEG looking at 3 of the players during the pre BBEG battle speech instead of firing at one of the 3 people he was addressing spun a full attacked the most dangerous PC standing behind him.

2d. My players were chasing the BBEG through a high rise building. The BBEG jumped out of a 10th story window (150 feet) onto the ground and ran away.

3a. Yes this caused much grief at the table. My wife did not talk to me for a week.

3b. Yes this caused much grief at the table. My daughter did not talk to me for a week.

3c.Yes this caused trouble. Our best gaming friend would not talk to me for a week.

3d. Yes indeed this caused much problems. My players all quit the session and demanded I clean up a few things before playing again.

4 Solutions employed during the session reboot (These are a combination of house rules and / or my interpretation of the rules).

4a. Provided the PC used a ready action during his turn, the PC gets to pull the trigger and attempt a coup de grace attack. If the enemy survives then the enemy can spin around and make a single attack.

4b. The PCs have planned and placed the explosives properly. Provided the person holding the detonator has used a ready action, they may press the button as stated.

4c. The BBEG still leaps out of the 10th story window and still takes 15d6 damage (15 foot per level). But now every 6 rolled results in a draw from the critical hit deck. So now falling damage can run from almost no damage at all to the humpty dumpty splat.

4d. We use facing rules. No more eyes in the back of your head and you have to see / be aware of targets you wish to shoot. So now the BBEG has to make a perception check to be aware of the person behind him and changing facing is a swift action, so the BBEG can only make a single shot.

5: Outcome Phase

5a thru d: My players are extremely happy with how I adjudicate and house rule the rules. Our game is running incredibly smoothly and we have no issues.


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For those of you who have lives, what Hawk Kriegsman is having trouble with is the readied action rules, which specify that offensive readied actions go after of the event that triggers them. That rule was put in to keep spellcasters from getting interrupted, but leads to a couple of things like not being able to go "stop or i'll shoot" without them being able to shoot you in the face in response, effectively making a readied action skipping your turn.

Readied actions by raw are a bit borked.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

For those of you who have lives, what Hawk Kriegsman is having trouble with is the readied action rules, which specify that offensive readied actions go after of the event that triggers them. That rule was put in to keep spellcasters from getting interrupted, but leads to a couple of things like not being able to go "stop or i'll shoot" without them being able to shoot you in the face in response, effectively making a readied action skipping your turn.

Readied actions by raw are a bit borked.

If you assume attacks break stealth (which I do given the assumptions behind the stealth skill sniping action, but should have been spelled out more clearly), readied action are an effective counter to people who try to shoot/cast and then move/stealth after every attack. You might drop back one action in the initiative order, but you maintain parity of standard action attacks and negate their stealth attempts as long as they keep fighting.


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Of Hawk Kriegsman's example the only one I have trouble with is the bridge one.

The example of you coming up behind the other person should have been treated as a surprise round. The PC doesn't ready to shoot if the other person doesn't surrender, but tells them they will. They effectively forgo their surprise round. On the next turn, both characters roll initiative to determine who acts first. If the NPC acts first it works fine, regardless of whether or not they surrender or attack first. They were able to act more quickly than the PC. If the PC acts first, I would allow a sense motive/perception check against the NPC's bluff to determine if they intended to be hostile or surrender and if they succeed then they know what the NPC is going to do and can act appropriately. I think all of that is within the realm of the rules and doesn't require a rework of the readied action rules.

But I do agree that readied action rules do have quirky problems, such as the bridge example. Which allows fast moving vehicles to cross the bridge before the players can "react" to send them all to the bottom of the gorge/river/etc.


Claxon wrote:
But I do agree that readied action rules do have quirky problems, such as the bridge example. Which allows fast moving vehicles to cross the bridge before the players can "react" to send them all to the bottom of the gorge/river/etc.

If the vehicle is moving fast enough and the bridge short enough, I have no problem with the first getting to the other side before the boom.

But really, most of those examples are actions readied before initiative is rolled. I've normally allowed some leeway there anyway, not for 'realism', but to allow PC plans to work.


I don't think there's ever one answer on what you should go with but there are some definite guidelines.

Are you deciding between rules that could be read one way or the other? Realism could help.

How closely are we modeling something adventurers do? The created world we're dealing with was made specifically for adventuring. So it spends a lot of time modeling adventury things and does most of them fairly well. Something like jumping or climbing is fairly realistic. If something is far removed from adventuring (like the society or macroeconomics) ... just go with it.

I don't think I've ever had a fight at a table, but we have wound up with a few "hold my beer moments"

-You can't break a 2 by four with your hand they use thinner wood for practice and usually score it to boot- HAMMER FIST!!!!

You can't drink a potion under water- argument about air pressure here. *splash. Glug glug glug "gravity seems to have something to say about it*


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You can solve the bridge problem by treating moving from square A to square B as the trigger you go after rather than the convoys entire movement being a trigger.

Claxon, the problem with the suggested fix is that it makes zero sense to try to sneak up on the guard when what you wind up with, at best, is the same as just running up to him and shooting at him.


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In my opinion, running up on them and shooting them should be much easier than trying to get to surrender and shooting them if they don't.

The rules for surprise rounds work just fine. You run a risk when you don't immediately shoot the enemy, that risk is that might be faster than you once they're aware you're there.

I'm not saying you should never try to get people to surrender, but I am saying don't be surprised when it doesn't always work and you eventually get shot.

I see this as a case of working as intended.

Just because you had the jump on him, doesn't mean anything. You gave up that advantage when you talked to him for surrender rather than shooting him.


not in starfinder (yet), but had a droid soldier in a Star Wars Saga game that got a good lethal steam cleaning in a steam trap because he was surrounded by Ugnots (sp?) and without Acrobatics there are no rules for moving thru another creatures space that isn't an ally.

and because Rifts got mentioned, had a character float in the deep abyss forever after falling off a boat because there are no drowning rules in Rifts...


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Claxon wrote:

I'm not saying you should never try to get people to surrender, but I am saying don't be surprised when it doesn't always work and you eventually get shot.

I see this as a case of working as intended.

It's an iconic thing to do in an adventure and the rules are terrible at modeling it.

You can sneak up behind someone and.. gain no advantage over them.

You can ready to shoot someone, but they ALWAYS shoot before you then. You're not risking getting shot you're guaranteeing it.

You can see it not working in the stewart archetypes demand surrender, an ability to make you better at holding to fire becoming absolutely terribad.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I think the most frequent "realism" issue is with characters wearing armor with environmental seals engaged. These environmental seals have to be the most vaguely defined things in the entire book. I've tendered dozens of questions about how they're supposed to work, including:

  • How do we recharge our environmental protections while on-the-go?
  • Can I drink or inject a serum while they're up?
  • Can I use my bite attack while they're up?
  • What about breath weapons?
  • Can I treat someone's wounds with medicine while they have their seals engaged?

    In most of these cases, we're forced to assume that the environmental protections are some kind of nonsense active force field that blocks some things but not other things.

    And beyond that, adventure writers continuously either forget that seals exist, OR decide that their mechanics are allowed to trump seals for no obvious reason. (See: Dead Suns Books 2 and 3, for example)


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    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    On the matter of trying to sneak up on guards, my gut instinct? Assuming the guards are supposed to be a threat for setting off an alarm, not for their fighting ability? They don't need to have a high CR relative to the party, and thus don't need to be treated as a combat encounter at all.

    A CR 2 security guard that a Level 7 party is trying to bypass is a scenario obstacle, effectively a sentient mobile part of the environment. He's weak enough that if they did choose to fight it shouldn't be rolled out anyway, thus there is no problem with resolving the challenge as a skill check.

    As an aside. . . why, exactly, is it a problem for a superhumanly capable foe to survive a ten story fall? The PCs could do it if they were sufficient level certainly. Do your players have the mistaken idea that they are playing as realistic baseline humans? Because they aren't, they are playing as preternaturally capable heroic badasses, who would by most standards be considered superheroes.


    Metaphysician wrote:


    As an aside. . . why, exactly, is it a problem for a superhumanly capable foe to survive a ten story fall? The PCs could do it if they were sufficient level certainly. Do your players have the mistaken idea that they are playing as realistic baseline humans? Because they aren't, they are playing as preternaturally capable heroic badasses, who would by most standards be considered superheroes.

    No problem with surviving it at all. Never being incapacitated by it is their issue for both the BBEG and themselves.

    Yes they believe themselves to be the cream of the crop of their respective species, not superheroes. There are other RPGs that are actually for superheroes. This is not that game. They are not mistaken in their belief, they just don't have the same belief as you.

    They believe themselves more in the action style heroes like James Bond, Rambo, John McClane, John Wick, Beatrix Kiddo.....etc.

    Extraordinary individuals generally without Super Hero powers (mystics, technomancers, solarians not withstanding).

    So yes they want their action heroes and villains to be subject to some laws of reality and physics, while still doing what they do.

    I don't have a problem with giving them what they ask for.

    Its a style of play they like and I enjoy running.


    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    Claxon wrote:

    I'm not saying you should never try to get people to surrender, but I am saying don't be surprised when it doesn't always work and you eventually get shot.

    I see this as a case of working as intended.

    It's an iconic thing to do in an adventure and the rules are terrible at modeling it.

    You can sneak up behind someone and.. gain no advantage over them.

    You can ready to shoot someone, but they ALWAYS shoot before you then. You're not risking getting shot you're guaranteeing it.

    You can see it not working in the stewart archetypes demand surrender, an ability to make you better at holding to fire becoming absolutely terribad.

    Even if the readied action let you fire before they did, it would still be mostly meaningless, because in general a single shot from a weapon will not kill most enemies, unless they are significantly below your level.

    The rules just don't handle the situation well whatsoever, regardless of how the readied action rules work.


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    Claxon wrote:


    Even if the readied action let you fire before they did, it would still be mostly meaningless, because in general a single shot from a weapon will not kill most enemies, unless they are significantly below your level.

    The rules just don't handle the situation well whatsoever, regardless of how the readied action rules work.

    This is why in this situation I allow a "house ruled" coup de grace as a readied action. Be it with a gun to the head or a knife to the throat.

    If my players can pull off getting in behind someone like that, they deserve to be rewarded.

    And yes they are aware it can happen to them.


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    Claxon wrote:
    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    Claxon wrote:

    I'm not saying you should never try to get people to surrender, but I am saying don't be surprised when it doesn't always work and you eventually get shot.

    I see this as a case of working as intended.

    It's an iconic thing to do in an adventure and the rules are terrible at modeling it.

    You can sneak up behind someone and.. gain no advantage over them.

    You can ready to shoot someone, but they ALWAYS shoot before you then. You're not risking getting shot you're guaranteeing it.

    You can see it not working in the stewart archetypes demand surrender, an ability to make you better at holding to fire becoming absolutely terribad.

    Even if the readied action let you fire before they did, it would still be mostly meaningless, because in general a single shot from a weapon will not kill most enemies, unless they are significantly below your level.

    The rules just don't handle the situation well whatsoever, regardless of how the readied action rules work.

    I mean, you could go for an Intimidate check with a high circumstance bonus, then if that check fails into a Surprise round with both of them counting as aware (for the action limitations); it covers for the situation where it turns into a fight in a far more reasonable fashion than just turning around for an instant full attack.


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    See I wont implement that rule, because if I didn't kill the entire party I would feel like I'm not doing my job.

    If the PCs can catch an enemy party off guard and wipe them out or almost wipe them out with readied actions then the same thing should happen to the PCs. Which isn't fun.

    Especially because it is relatively easy to have a group of enemies that the players have a low chance of detecting before they could pull something like this off.

    Having easy methods of killing someone, while realistic, is usually very bad for game mechanics.


    Nerdy Canuck wrote:
    Claxon wrote:
    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    Claxon wrote:

    I'm not saying you should never try to get people to surrender, but I am saying don't be surprised when it doesn't always work and you eventually get shot.

    I see this as a case of working as intended.

    It's an iconic thing to do in an adventure and the rules are terrible at modeling it.

    You can sneak up behind someone and.. gain no advantage over them.

    You can ready to shoot someone, but they ALWAYS shoot before you then. You're not risking getting shot you're guaranteeing it.

    You can see it not working in the stewart archetypes demand surrender, an ability to make you better at holding to fire becoming absolutely terribad.

    Even if the readied action let you fire before they did, it would still be mostly meaningless, because in general a single shot from a weapon will not kill most enemies, unless they are significantly below your level.

    The rules just don't handle the situation well whatsoever, regardless of how the readied action rules work.

    I mean, you could go for an Intimidate check with a high circumstance bonus, then if that check fails into a Surprise round with both of them counting as aware (for the action limitations); it covers for the situation where it turns into a fight in a far more reasonable fashion than just turning around for an instant full attack.

    This works out in basically the same way I suggested. By effectively skipping your turn in the surprise round it basically comes down to "are you or the enemy faster". Which is how I feel it should be.


    Claxon wrote:
    Nerdy Canuck wrote:
    Claxon wrote:
    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    Claxon wrote:

    I'm not saying you should never try to get people to surrender, but I am saying don't be surprised when it doesn't always work and you eventually get shot.

    I see this as a case of working as intended.

    It's an iconic thing to do in an adventure and the rules are terrible at modeling it.

    You can sneak up behind someone and.. gain no advantage over them.

    You can ready to shoot someone, but they ALWAYS shoot before you then. You're not risking getting shot you're guaranteeing it.

    You can see it not working in the stewart archetypes demand surrender, an ability to make you better at holding to fire becoming absolutely terribad.

    Even if the readied action let you fire before they did, it would still be mostly meaningless, because in general a single shot from a weapon will not kill most enemies, unless they are significantly below your level.

    The rules just don't handle the situation well whatsoever, regardless of how the readied action rules work.

    I mean, you could go for an Intimidate check with a high circumstance bonus, then if that check fails into a Surprise round with both of them counting as aware (for the action limitations); it covers for the situation where it turns into a fight in a far more reasonable fashion than just turning around for an instant full attack.
    This works out in basically the same way I suggested. By effectively skipping your turn in the surprise round it basically comes down to "are you or the enemy faster". Which is how I feel it should be.

    Right, but at very least that initial "who's faster" moment has to deal with the action limitations that come with a surprise round - so you can't just have the person you were threatening full attack you before you get to act.

    The thing I'm debating is whether I'd let the person doing the threatening have a readied action trigger to fire if they came out slower on the initiative roll, in addition to their surprise round action. Feels like it gives them enough of an advantage for the strategy to still make sense, maybe?

    Sovereign Court

    Claxon wrote:

    See I wont implement that rule, because if I didn't kill the entire party I would feel like I'm not doing my job.

    If the PCs can catch an enemy party off guard and wipe them out or almost wipe them out with readied actions then the same thing should happen to the PCs. Which isn't fun.

    Especially because it is relatively easy to have a group of enemies that the players have a low chance of detecting before they could pull something like this off.

    Having easy methods of killing someone, while realistic, is usually very bad for game mechanics.

    Yeah, this. I'm not likely to change the rules to allow the players to do something that they wouldn't be okay with the NPCs also being capable of. Like really easy coup de graces.

    Because if you can really threaten those, the next thing is just sneaking up to people, not even threatening them, and directly going for the coup de grace. And there's plenty of enemies evil and vile enough that they would do that.


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    Claxon wrote:
    See I wont implement that rule, because if I didn't kill the entire party I would feel like I'm not doing my job.

    I suppose we differ on what they GMs job is. If you are out to kill them, then I can see how you would not to use this.

    Claxon wrote:
    If the PCs can catch an enemy party off guard and wipe them out or almost wipe them out with readied actions then the same thing should happen to the PCs. Which isn't fun.

    If the PCs can sneak up on a guard take him out and then get everyone else while they are in their sleeping bags you absolutely should reward the PCs. What they did was hard to do. It was not be easy to pull off.

    The game sort of has this built in situations where the CR is 4 less than the party. You don't even go into combat.

    BTW they have yet to pull it off, but they have tried.

    Claxon wrote:
    Especially because it is relatively easy to have a group of enemies that the players have a low chance of detecting before they could pull something like this off.

    I do not think that is relatively easy a group of any characters (PC on enemy) to sneak up on another group of equivalent level. Too many die rolls involved. Could it happen? Yes. Is it likely no?

    Claxon wrote:
    Having easy methods of killing someone, while realistic, is usually very bad for game mechanics.

    It is not about mechanics. It is about challenge, story telling and fun. At least to us it is.


    Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
    I suppose we differ on what they GMs job is. If you are out to kill them, then I can see how you would not to use this.

    It's also a problem if you're out to present a consistent world, where the enemies have the same options as the players and use them intelligently.


    Nerdy Canuck wrote:
    Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
    I suppose we differ on what they GMs job is. If you are out to kill them, then I can see how you would not to use this.
    It's also a problem if you're out to present a consistent world, where the enemies have the same options as the players and use them intelligently.

    I agree that this is a problem. I do strive to have a consistent world, where if the players can do it then the bad guys can do it too.

    I try to model the bad guys behavior as intelligently as possible. They look to win the fight, by any means possible and if it goes bad they look to flee and fight another day. Some surrender, some don't. etc..., etc...


    Hawk Kriegsman wrote:
    Metaphysician wrote:


    As an aside. . . why, exactly, is it a problem for a superhumanly capable foe to survive a ten story fall? The PCs could do it if they were sufficient level certainly. Do your players have the mistaken idea that they are playing as realistic baseline humans? Because they aren't, they are playing as preternaturally capable heroic badasses, who would by most standards be considered superheroes.

    No problem with surviving it at all. Never being incapacitated by it is their issue for both the BBEG and themselves.

    Yes they believe themselves to be the cream of the crop of their respective species, not superheroes. There are other RPGs that are actually for superheroes. This is not that game. They are not mistaken in their belief, they just don't have the same belief as you.

    They believe themselves more in the action style heroes like James Bond, Rambo, John McClane, John Wick, Beatrix Kiddo.....etc.

    Extraordinary individuals generally without Super Hero powers (mystics, technomancers, solarians not withstanding).

    So yes they want their action heroes and villains to be subject to some laws of reality and physics, while still doing what they do.

    I don't have a problem with giving them what they ask for.

    Its a style of play they like and I enjoy running.

    I like this sentiment. If needed, I would houserule the game to the point of being practically unrecognizable so that the group could have the fun that they are looking to do.

    --------

    To throw my two credits into the mix for the readied action to demand surrender:

    There is the steward officer archetype that has an ability that is geared towards allowing this to happen. I would use that as a basis for any houserules that I made for this event. Whether that becomes a general feat that a character can take, or just becomes a natural part of the readied action rules available to any who want to do it.

    I don't have much experience with coup de grace, so I can't comment on that.

    As for rewarding characters who attempt to demand surrender, I agree that they should get something for the effort. I am thinking that the character doing the sneaking/demands should be able to add their total bonus in sense motive (or maybe just their ranks in it) to their initiative roll if the target decides to fight instead of surrender. Just another option to throw into the mix.


    Claxon wrote:
    This works out in basically the same way I suggested. By effectively skipping your turn in the surprise round it basically comes down to "are you or the enemy faster". Which is how I feel it should be.

    So why bother with the surprise round at all and why not just skip to who's faster?


    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    Claxon wrote:
    This works out in basically the same way I suggested. By effectively skipping your turn in the surprise round it basically comes down to "are you or the enemy faster". Which is how I feel it should be.
    So why bother with the surprise round at all and why not just skip to who's faster?

    I won't comment for Claxon, but my thinking is that by handling both characters' actions as being in a surprise round, it prevents the response from being something like a full attack.

    I don't see a lot of value in saying "there was a surprise round, but you spent it talking, so now you just eat a full attack", though.


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    There's a couple of solutions

    1) the guard isn't a combat encounter he's functionally a trap you can bypass with a stealth check or a bluff check (to get close to him) and an engineering check (to disable his radio) a slight of hand check (to steal his radio), an intimidate check (you're being paid less than the price of a happy meal for this job. Is it worth one or two of your kidneys?)

    2)House rules but... If you ready an action over someone you get a +10 bonus to your initiative. Means someone can TRY to shoot you first or take the knife away from you or hit your elbow and flip you over their shoulder or whatever but its RISKY.


    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    1) the guard isn't a combat encounter he's functionally a trap

    OK. That is very slick. I like it. I may have to remember that one.


    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    Claxon wrote:
    This works out in basically the same way I suggested. By effectively skipping your turn in the surprise round it basically comes down to "are you or the enemy faster". Which is how I feel it should be.
    So why bother with the surprise round at all and why not just skip to who's faster?

    That's effectively what I'm suggesting, if you want to attempt to get the enemy to surrender. You skip your turn in the surprise round, the enemy doesn't get one and if they're not going to surrender your roll imitative and proceed in normal combat, with a sense motive/perception check allowing the PC to know how the NPC will act if they go before the NPC.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Claxon wrote:
    If the PCs can catch an enemy party off guard and wipe them out or almost wipe them out with readied actions then the same thing should happen to the PCs. Which isn't fun.

    If the PCs are surprised and held at gunpoint at close range, having rules that make surrendering the most sensible course of action doesn't sound too bad.


    Matthew Downie wrote:
    Claxon wrote:
    If the PCs can catch an enemy party off guard and wipe them out or almost wipe them out with readied actions then the same thing should happen to the PCs. Which isn't fun.
    If the PCs are surprised and held at gunpoint at close range, having rules that make surrendering the most sensible course of action doesn't sound too bad.

    For that you have to rewrite the entire HP and combat system into something more sensible. No matter how you handle readied actions, you are almost always better off to take the hit and either flee or fight back.


    Dungeons & Dragons and all it's iterations from it's humble beginnings (including Pathfinder and Starfinder) have always been a simulation. The rules are a abstract way to simulate what happens. So to try to make a D20 roll "realistic" you'll rip your hair out and look like me, a bald middle aged man.

    Because of the abstract simulation nature of the game, you need to have some creativity.

    For example, many high level character could survive a jump of a 15 story building, that of course is not realistic buy because of the abstract simulated nature of the rules of falling the could.

    So what do you do? Well it depends on the character and style of game you want to play.

    Lets say they did in the in a Call of Cthulhu game? They would be dead

    Let's say they did this in a high fantasy super heroic Pathfinder game? Well it might be allowed, the character had done a few things to prevent his out right dead (ex used some acrobatics to parkour down the building, slowing themselves a bit and landing in a hay stack, they got hurt, but are not dead).

    I can give you a in game example. So myself and my kids and nieces and nephews are play D&D 5.0. My daughter is a Druid. She is on top of a 100' cliff, while the other player characters are down the bottom of the cliff chasing the big bad. Daughter tells me she wants to shape shift to a bear and jump of the cliff landing in front of the the Big Bad. She knows she has chance surviving the fall as a bear. What do I do? Well this is awesome cinematics, so she jumps, survives, and land right in the path of the Big Bad, and roars. If she took enough damage, she would be dying. I allow it because it was good thinking and interesting use of the her powers . . the rule of cool.


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    Malach the Merciless wrote:

    Dungeons & Dragons and all it's iterations from it's humble beginnings (including Pathfinder and Starfinder) have always been a simulation. The rules are a abstract way to simulate what happens. So to try to make a D20 roll "realistic" you'll rip your hair out and look like me, a bald middle aged man.

    Because of the abstract simulation nature of the game, you need to have some creativity.

    For example, many high level character could survive a jump of a 15 story building, that of course is not realistic buy because of the abstract simulated nature of the rules of falling the could.

    So what do you do? Well it depends on the character and style of game you want to play.

    Lets say they did in the in a Call of Cthulhu game? They would be dead

    Let's say they did this in a high fantasy super heroic Pathfinder game? Well it might be allowed, the character had done a few things to prevent his out right dead (ex used some acrobatics to parkour down the building, slowing themselves a bit and landing in a hay stack, they got hurt, but are not dead

    If it were Call of Cthulhu, they wouldn't be high level in the first place to survive that fall.

    I mean I'm all for realism, but people seem to forget that all this should be relative to your level.

    A lower level character is probably closer to an action hero like Rambo or John McClane. A 20th level group, however, makes planetary threats, like a Dhalocar or a Living Apocalypse, into average challenges. So I think it's important to keep scale in mind and not to shoehorn high level beings into situations that ordinarily wouldn't be threatening.


    BigNorseWolf wrote:

    There's a couple of solutions

    1) the guard isn't a combat encounter he's functionally a trap you can bypass with a stealth check or a bluff check (to get close to him) and an engineering check (to disable his radio) a slight of hand check (to steal his radio), an intimidate check (you're being paid less than the price of a happy meal for this job. Is it worth one or two of your kidneys?)

    2)House rules but... If you ready an action over someone you get a +10 bonus to your initiative. Means someone can TRY to shoot you first or take the knife away from you or hit your elbow and flip you over their shoulder or whatever but its RISKY.

    Outstanding!


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Malach the Merciless wrote:

    Dungeons & Dragons and all it's iterations from it's humble beginnings (including Pathfinder and Starfinder) have always been a simulation. The rules are a abstract way to simulate what happens. So to try to make a D20 roll "realistic" you'll rip your hair out and look like me, a bald middle aged man.

    Because of the abstract simulation nature of the game, you need to have some creativity.

    For example, many high level character could survive a jump of a 15 story building, that of course is not realistic buy because of the abstract simulated nature of the rules of falling the could.

    So what do you do? Well it depends on the character and style of game you want to play.

    Lets say they did in the in a Call of Cthulhu game? They would be dead

    Let's say they did this in a high fantasy super heroic Pathfinder game? Well it might be allowed, the character had done a few things to prevent his out right dead (ex used some acrobatics to parkour down the building, slowing themselves a bit and landing in a hay stack, they got hurt, but are not dead).

    I can give you a in game example. So myself and my kids and nieces and nephews are play D&D 5.0. My daughter is a Druid. She is on top of a 100' cliff, while the other player characters are down the bottom of the cliff chasing the big bad. Daughter tells me she wants to shape shift to a bear and jump of the cliff landing in front of the the Big Bad. She knows she has chance surviving the fall as a bear. What do I do? Well this is awesome cinematics, so she jumps, survives, and land right in the path of the Big Bad, and roars. If she took enough damage, she would be dying. I allow it because it was good thinking and interesting use of the her powers . . the rule of cool.

    I know this is the wrong system, but. . . why, exactly, would she by dying? IIRC, Druid animal forms have separate HP from the character's normal pool. No matter how bad the fall, she'd just revert to her normal form with the HP she had before she transformed.


    Metaphysician wrote:

    I know this is the wrong system, but. . . why, exactly, would she by dying? IIRC, Druid animal forms have separate HP from the character's normal pool. No matter how bad the fall, she'd just revert to her normal form with the HP she...

    I believe damage over the form's health carries over.


    Wait, in 5th ed druids animal forms have separate HP pools?

    That's uh...different. But I think I like it.


    Metaphysician wrote:
    Malach the Merciless wrote:

    Dungeons & Dragons and all it's iterations from it's humble beginnings (including Pathfinder and Starfinder) have always been a simulation. The rules are a abstract way to simulate what happens. So to try to make a D20 roll "realistic" you'll rip your hair out and look like me, a bald middle aged man.

    Because of the abstract simulation nature of the game, you need to have some creativity.

    For example, many high level character could survive a jump of a 15 story building, that of course is not realistic buy because of the abstract simulated nature of the rules of falling the could.

    So what do you do? Well it depends on the character and style of game you want to play.

    Lets say they did in the in a Call of Cthulhu game? They would be dead

    Let's say they did this in a high fantasy super heroic Pathfinder game? Well it might be allowed, the character had done a few things to prevent his out right dead (ex used some acrobatics to parkour down the building, slowing themselves a bit and landing in a hay stack, they got hurt, but are not dead).

    I can give you a in game example. So myself and my kids and nieces and nephews are play D&D 5.0. My daughter is a Druid. She is on top of a 100' cliff, while the other player characters are down the bottom of the cliff chasing the big bad. Daughter tells me she wants to shape shift to a bear and jump of the cliff landing in front of the the Big Bad. She knows she has chance surviving the fall as a bear. What do I do? Well this is awesome cinematics, so she jumps, survives, and land right in the path of the Big Bad, and roars. If she took enough damage, she would be dying. I allow it because it was good thinking and interesting use of the her powers . . the rule of cool.

    I know this is the wrong system, but. . . why, exactly, would she by dying? IIRC, Druid animal forms have separate HP from the character's normal pool. No matter how bad the fall, she'd just revert to her normal form with the HP she...

    My point is RAW vs. Realism. No bear would survive jumping off a hundred foot cliff in the real world where RAW says they might.


    Claxon wrote:

    Wait, in 5th ed druids animal forms have separate HP pools?

    That's uh...different. But I think I like it.

    When you transform, you assume the beast’s hit points and Hit Dice. When you revert to your normal form, you return to the number of hit points you had before you transformed. However, if you revert as a result of dropping to 0 hit points, any excess damage carries over to your normal form. For example, if you take 10 damage in animal form and have only 1 hit point left, you revert and take 9 damage. As long as the excess damage doesn’t reduce your normal form to 0 hit points, you aren’t knocked unconscious.


    That's neat though because you get an extra HP point pool, making you tankier.

    I'm not really familiar with 5th ed rules, but this one is interesting.

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

    Malach the Merciless wrote:
    I can give you a in game example. So myself and my kids and nieces and nephews are play D&D 5.0. My daughter is a Druid. She is on top of a 100' cliff, while the other player characters are down the bottom of the cliff chasing the big bad. Daughter tells me she wants to shape shift to a bear and jump of the cliff landing in front of the the Big Bad. She knows she has chance surviving the fall as a bear. What do I do? Well this is awesome cinematics, so she jumps, survives, and land right in the path of the Big Bad, and roars. If she took enough damage, she would be dying. I allow it because it was good thinking and interesting use of the her powers . . the rule of cool.

    Stupid question (since I don't player/own 5E), was there a reason she could not change into a flying creature?


    Lord Fyre wrote:
    Malach the Merciless wrote:
    I can give you a in game example. So myself and my kids and nieces and nephews are play D&D 5.0. My daughter is a Druid. She is on top of a 100' cliff, while the other player characters are down the bottom of the cliff chasing the big bad. Daughter tells me she wants to shape shift to a bear and jump of the cliff landing in front of the the Big Bad. She knows she has chance surviving the fall as a bear. What do I do? Well this is awesome cinematics, so she jumps, survives, and land right in the path of the Big Bad, and roars. If she took enough damage, she would be dying. I allow it because it was good thinking and interesting use of the her powers . . the rule of cool.
    Stupid question (since I don't player/own 5E), was there a reason she could not change into a flying creature?

    Flying forms limited by level, action economy, the usual.


    Garretmander wrote:
    Lord Fyre wrote:
    Malach the Merciless wrote:
    I can give you a in game example. So myself and my kids and nieces and nephews are play D&D 5.0. My daughter is a Druid. She is on top of a 100' cliff, while the other player characters are down the bottom of the cliff chasing the big bad. Daughter tells me she wants to shape shift to a bear and jump of the cliff landing in front of the the Big Bad. She knows she has chance surviving the fall as a bear. What do I do? Well this is awesome cinematics, so she jumps, survives, and land right in the path of the Big Bad, and roars. If she took enough damage, she would be dying. I allow it because it was good thinking and interesting use of the her powers . . the rule of cool.
    Stupid question (since I don't player/own 5E), was there a reason she could not change into a flying creature?
    Flying forms limited by level, action economy, the usual.

    Not high enough level, I believe if remember correctly, you need to be 5th level to access flying creatures


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    Also, flying down as bird? It works, but a little pedestrian? Diving off a cliff and landing like an angry bear meteor? That's kickass

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