Drow are jerks, and should be treated as such. Of course, Fighter is also jerk, so maybe it all balances out from a karmic standpoint.

Being captured by the enemy is an old trope, and super useful for GMs who want to avoid a TPK. What adventurer can honestly say they’ve never found themselves slowly coming to in a filthy dungeon without any of their equipment? It’s an opportunity for daring escapes and stealthy maneuvers, and when the guards inevitably spot you it’s a time for monks and natural attack specialists to shine.

The problem is one of railroading. If you’re captured and tied up you lose a lot of player agency. Oftentimes you don’t get to escape until the helpful NPC shows up to spring you, or until you fight your way out of the gladiatorial arena for the millionth time. Alternatively, your captors just happen to forget to take the rogue’s lock picks or that the party sorcerer can, ya know, cast spells. At that point your jailers become bumbling fools, and the whole scenario degenerates into farce.

Or worse and worse, suppose that the players really are helpless. They’ve got to sit there and listen to some evil dude monologue at them. And being helpless, they’re supposed to play along and be all scared and desperate, right? WRONG! Ten times out of the ten they’re going to sass that lieutenant. And when they defy him to do his worst, you have only two options left. You either follow through on the threats and kill an animal companion, chop off a limb, etc., or you invent some reason to keep the party alive and unspoiled. The former option pisses off players, and the latter option makes your evil NPC seem like a wuss.

I remember one particular session of Exalted where Laurel had captured our merry band of deposed kings of the universe. We were going to be executed publicly for the glory of the Scarlet Empire, blah blah blah. Laurel desperately wanted us to invoke a time travel item and trigger the next part of  her story line. It was going to be an epic trip to the past with forking timelines, evil versions of our characters, etc. What did we decide to do instead? “Guys! I’ve got healing powers. I’ll just bite my arms off, regenerate, and then spring us!” Players, man.


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