"Cheese it!" or Changing Conflict Types

If, in the middle of a drive off/capture/kill conflict, can a party change it to a flee conflict? I ask because I’m thinking about including some monsters that require magic/silver/otherwise special weapons to be slain, and forcing the players to see one of these conflicts through once they discover they’re un(der)equipped to deal with it seems crappy.

I don’t have a rules reference, but I know that’s specifically disallowed in Mouse Guard. I assume it’s the same here.

I think the best way to set it up is just make sure they’re somehow armed with that knowledge beforehand.

I think, much like attempting to fight something too Might-y for you, if they have no chance, then it’s not a Conflict, it’s just a slaughter. Quickly make it clear that their weapons are useless (maybe give them a Fighter or Health test to avoid getting “Injured”) and then see if it turns into a Flee Conflict.

The GM is the one who gets to determine the conflict type, isn’t he? (Can you even have a conflict where one side gets to state a conflict goal they are not allowed to realize?)

That sounds about right to me. Alternatively, you as the GM get to pick the conflict type based on player description, so as they describe approaching the (let’s just say) werewolf with weapons bared you can choose to treat it as a drive-off since they can’t actually kill the thing. Once the conflict type is decided you can tell them why you picked that conflict, after all, it’s too late to back out now. If they lose the conflict it probably means they were forced to flee, if they win, at least they managed to chase it off even if they failed to do any permanent damage.

This seems sensible to me, and fair. The characters still have a chance to take care of the problem, just not permanently. So it doesn’t unfairly hose them.

And if they want to engage a creature 3+ steps higher in might, I’ll just say “ah, no–it’s obvious that you can’t take it on in combat; you’d need an army”. Because something like that is dead obvious “out of your range”. Otherwise, it becomes “you charge in with the intent to kill, but you’ll soon realize that the best you can do is drive them off.” Which works for me.

It isn’t clear to me how the PCs get into that situation but the text from page 149 implies it can happen: “Thus adventurers may only flee from an attacking dragon—since they cannot kill, drive off or capture it.” That implies you can end up in the situation. But given that normally the PCs set the Conflict type, I got the impression that Dragons don’t ever get to attack to set it to Kill. The given that the only path there seems, to me, to be that the PCs declare they are attempting to kill something that their Might doesn’t allow. The GM then selects Kill, and the PCs are rolling the appropriate Abilities/Skills for the actions, and can still “win” but winning means they only successfully get away (or at least some of them do, depending on the margin of their win and the consequences of partial loss of Disposition).

EDIT: P.S. The concept of the requirement of “magic/silver/otherwise” is, I’m pretty sure, all wrapped up and abstracted via Might. So in the case of the quote from 149, a Wiz or Elf that boosts the party Might to 4 prior to the combat would allow them to drive off the Dragon (Might 6) when they win the Kill Conflict. So those kick butt weapons should be boosting Might, potentially only for certain types of opponents.

I would just read that as the GM saying “No, drive off is not a valid intent.” when the party describes trying to drive off the dragon. Followed by “as the dragon descends, you are filled with the certainty that the best you can do–is run.”

So how does the dragon attacking to kill come about?

Doesn’t really matter what the dragon is doing. All that matters is how the PCs respond and the GM judging what conflict to use based on their reaction. If they reply that they charge in weapons ready, I’d say it’s fully within the GMs right to say “There’s no way the 5 of you can kill a creature that size without a small army or powerful magic. The best you can hope for is to run away and find shelter.”

You miss my point, how does the text on page 149 come about if it isn’t ever named as a Kill Conflict? That doesn’t mean that the PCs can kill the dragon, just that the Conflict is run as a Kill conflict but if the PCs win they only succeed in getting away. EDIT: But the PCs are officially eligible for Death, even if not Injured prior to starting the conflict, if they lose the conflict or even win with 1/2 or less Disposition remaining.

So you’re thinking that the players can, through their violent actions and statements of intent, initiate a Kill Conflict that they can’t win, their best hope to just “not lose”? I suppose that makes sense.

Yes, that is my suggestion.

Next thing to a question, really, as the Levels of Correctitude of this remain unverified. :slight_smile:

I’d say just like the players can’t initiate a conflict that a monster doesn’t have a specific disposition for if it comes in from a twist then players can’t initiate an invalid conflict, like trying to kill the dragon. And since the GM is arbiter of what conflict it will be based on the players’ description, I don’t think it would ever really be a problem.

Trivia; The only monster in the book with Drive Off but not Kill is Ooze. The only one with neither is Kobold. The rest all have Kill listed while some are missing Drive Off, the later including Red Dragon (which you also need to boost to Might 4 just to be able to accomplish a Drive Off, incidentally).

If the PCs try to Drive Off a Twist that only lists Kill? Or attempt to Drive Off a Black Dragon, for example, while un-enhanced (Might 3)? Seems very likely that the best ‘natural’ fit for the actions described to the legal Twist conflicts will be something that the PCs cannot legally accomplish. I’m suggesting that the rules expect the GM to start the PCs on that fool’s errand, beginning a conflict whose named goal can never be awarded to them (but can be to the monster).

And since the GM is arbiter of what conflict it will be based on the players’ description, I don’t think it would ever really be a problem.

I do not understand this. What won’t be a problem? Why?

You cannot change conflicts in the middle. Once you’re committed, you’re committed. Your only other option is surrender (see Surrender on page 75).

“Thus adventurers may only flee from an attacking dragon–since they cannot kill, drive off or capture it.” –
Asymmetric Conflict Goals, page 149.

If your players lack the Might for a particular type of conflict, they cannot engage in it. If they attempt something the rules say they can’t, tell them. “It’s too much for you.” You’ll note that the only monster in the book that doesn’t list a Flee conflict is the Lizard Man, who is Might 3…the same as adventurers.

If your players have the Might to engage a monster, but face some other restriction–it can only be killed by fire or a magic weapon or silver–that’s a different story. They can defeat it, they just can’t kill it. A spell might allow the players to enter a Kill conflict with a troll, but unless they set fire to it afterward, it will be back the next night. If they defeat a werewolf in a Kill conflict but don’t have silver weapons (or magic weapons or something), they drive it off when they win. Better find a way to kill it before it returns.

How does a dragon kill adventurers, given that no Kill conflict is possible? Pursue conflict, I would assume. Once they are captured, eating them is not a conflict ('though not eating might be the goal of a convince conflict :slight_smile: ).

I think the confusion comes from there being an “Asymmetric Conflict Goals” entry in the first place. “Asymmetric” suggests that the two sides have different goals in some meaningful way. If the PCs and the dragon are in a Flee conflict, then that’s not asymmetrical (mechanically). They’re both trying to win the chase. “Asymmetry” says to me, “Dragon is trying to kill, but PCs are trying to flee.”

Luke’s kobold encounter was offered as an example. There, the PCs entered a Kill Conflict with the kobolds. The kobolds won, but still couldn’t kill the PCs, because of their low Order of Might. That’s different, of course, because kobolds aren’t PCs, but the wording is very misleading.

This is one of the more sticky problems that I’ve never been able to wrap my head around. I think the idea is that you are captured by the dragon, and are probably injured in the process (?). Now you have to deal with a dragon that is trying to eat you, if you do nothing, he eats you, but you can try something else to escape. You probably should be allowed to try to run away again, since the circumstances haven’t changed enough (thought technically there’s no specific Let it Ride rule in TB) but you could try convincing the dragon not to eat you if you do a favor for it or something. However, since you are now injured failing here could mean death. Basically, never just kill adventurers unless they have a chance to do something heroic as they die, or unless they have put themselves into a climactic battle to the death of their own choose. To kill them off in other circumstances is just bad storytelling that makes everyone at the table unhappy. This is my current best interpretation of the rules and intent of the game, I’m still not 100% sure about it though.

It’s really not. The answer is the same as it was in this thread.

The players tried to kill the kobolds and the kobolds could not kill the PCs. Asymmetric.