Last time we tackled cuteness it was a fiendishly clever critter pulling the bait-and-switch. Today of course, the jelly beans are on the other foot. I guess that’s what happens when your adventuring party only has two PCs. I swear to Gygax, it’s got to be stressful for Druid and Arcane Archer always being one bad crit away from a TPK. You’ve got to get creative with that kind of party composition!

Of course, I doubt anyone is going to make being adorable a full-on playstyle (unless of course you really want to reflavor the crap out of the sanctuary spell). But more generally, I do think that surrendering ought to be a legit option for players.

Here’s where I’m coming from. We all know that players tend to prefer the direct approach. Charging in guns blazing is straight up fun, and running away or surrendering feels suspiciously close to failure. That’s why I wish more players would remember: You get XP for overcoming encounters, not for defeating monsters. When combat is going poorly and the TPK looms, giving yourselves up may be the only path to eventual victory. That path generally winds through some kind of prison, the subsequent prison break, and a rematch against your captors. It’s either that or gladiatorial combat. In both cases though, surrender is better than futilely swiping another few HP from the thing that’s about to kill you.

Will it work all the time? Of course not. In 3.5 D&D for example, “Diplomacy generally takes at least 1 full minute (10 consecutive full-round actions).” The implications are spelled out over in Pathfinder 1e: “Diplomacy is generally ineffective in combat and against creatures that intend to harm you or your allies in the immediate future.” That means talky solutions aren’t the best against frothing barbarians or fanatical cultists. In practice though, I’ve found that most GMs will ignore the RAW and let the scene play out fast and loose. And when it’s your last few hit points (and your lives!) hanging in the balance, a bit of leeway is probably a good thing.

So what do you think? Should players feel comfortable surrendering? Should that kind of mid-combat diplomacy be freely available, or would your rather rely on mechanical solutions like call truce? Sound off with tales of your own attempts at surrender down in the comments!


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