Hostage Situation

Questions and discussions about the game system.
Messages : 98
Inscription : 09 févr. 2015, 01:08

Hostage Situation

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Message par StripelessTiger » 26 août 2019, 20:33

So I have a question and proposed solution to something I ran into.

Someone surprises a PC and/or ambushes them and puts them in a grapple/hold. They hold a dagger or sword to their throat and threaten to kill the player unless the party complies.

Meta determines that the players might risk it since they won't kill the player, or they might get mad at the GM for doing a non-mechanical kill on a PC just to spite the party.

I wanted to determine a ruling for gameplay mechanics for dealing with this so they take the threat seriously and don't wiggle out of it. How should we handle this?

Since most players only have 19 HP (5+5+4+4+1) I found a rather coincidental way of making the damage to off them at full HP make sense.

One, the entrapped player gets no Defense. They can't move, retaliate, or block.
Second, the attacker will get a crit by default. This means 10+5 (10 die roll, +5 bonus for crit)
Third, with NO defense mucking up his margin, thats a flat 15, then add weapon damage on top of that. For example, a dagger has a damage of 1, sword is 2, etc.

This means that a hostage can take 16-17 HP and have just a slim chance of surviving it (2HP). If you are already wounded, you are pretty much guaranteed to die.

Since you aren't really in combat I wasn't sure if you would get to add your Close Combat domain to the score, but that would result in an insta-kill if you had 3 or more in that domain. Close Combat I guess could be considered something you might use for grappling or assassinations.

An alternative could be to MAKE them spend a Survival point to avoid being killed.

“What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”

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Re: Hostage Situation

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Message par Clovis » 28 août 2019, 20:47

Keep in mind that entirely removing someone's Defense is pretty drastic, since it means that the Attack roll + weapon's Damage will be fully subtracted from the victim's Health. In most cases, as you said, this means 15-20 damage, enough to potentially kill anyone. Personally, I wouldn't rule that unless the victim is completely vulnerable, i.e. sleeping, tightly bound, drugged, or otherwise entirely unable to react to danger.

In fact, attacking a paralyzed victim is described on p. 251: "Being paralyzed in front of an opponent can be fatal: the target suffers blows without being able to strike back, has a 5-point penalty to Defense, and loses all bonuses related to agility or to the use of a shield." This may seem metagamey, but it makes sense, in order to avoid characters getting eliminated in one hit under highly unfavorable circumstances. (And it's still a very sucky situation to be in.) As an additional reference, as described on p. 237, catching an opponent by surprise gives you a +2 to your Attack roll. This is a nice bonus, but the victim likely won't get one-shot, since they won't be completely exposed to the blow. The same applies in my opinion in the case of a grappling hold.

Also, the following should be kept in mind:

First, keep in mind that unless the grappler is considerable stronger and more skilled than the grappled, they won't just be able to casually hold them and put a dagger to their throat. The grappled will obviously struggle, which will probably require the grappler to actively maintain the grapple, leaving time for allies to intervene. If you want the grappler to both put their victim in a submission hold and do something else (like drag them away or threaten them with a weapon), you might consider giving the grappler a hefty penalty to their Attack roll; something like -5.

Second, even in a submission hold, unless the grappled is securely bound or otherwise incapacitated, they'll struggle and try to avoid getting stabbed to death, which would justify keeping at least part of their Defense. I would personally give a grappled individual a -5 penalty to Defense, to reflect their vulnerable situation while not making them sitting ducks.

Finally, keep in mind that you should avoid situations where PCs can get one-shot, if only to avoid spoiling their fun and because they'll probably try to pull off the same thing in retaliation. If you let an NPC grab one of them and deal them overwhelming damage, who's to say they won't attempt the same to easily dispatch enemies?

Obviously, it's important that the PCs feel the full weight of whatever threats befall them, but it's also important that they don't feel cheated. In that regard, keep in mind that if your PCs are getting cocky, there are plenty of fighters out there who are professional killers (like Two-Blades Nic from Book 2) and who'd be all to happy to take up a job of eliminating meddlesome troublemakers! And of course, there's also feondas, which can be on a whole different level... ;)

Hope it helps!
Allez, come on, allons-y, here we go, en avant, godspeed, hardi, let's do this!