Coup de Grace in LFR

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In a home game, there may be times when a GM uses Coup de Grace because character death is dramatically appropriate and/or helps the storyline.  In LFR, character death by Coup de Grace does not advance the story and, in my opinion, is not part of what the module writers plan for.

How acceptable is it for a GM to use Coup de Grace in your LFR group?  Are there rules or accepted guidelines?  If Coup de Grace is taken off the table then do you consider the GM to be playing "softball"?
In my group, GM Coup de Grace is not acceptable in most circumstances.  GMs are supposed to referees with the primary responsibility of making sure the players have fun.  It is not fun to be CdG'd out of a module in the first fight.  There is some acceptance of using CdG if the players have set up a way to repeatedly return dropped PCs to their feet, like Consecrated Ground.  Otherwise, it is considered a sign of a killer GM and poor sportsmanship.
In my group, GM Coup de Grace is not acceptable in most circumstances.  GMs are supposed to referees with the primary responsibility of making sure the players have fun.  It is not fun to be CdG'd out of a module in the first fight.  There is some acceptance of using CdG if the players have set up a way to repeatedly return dropped PCs to their feet, like Consecrated Ground.  Otherwise, it is considered a sign of a killer GM and poor sportsmanship.



Its fully accepted in my group. For example Aglarond mods the Stone Bears CdG elves. Usually there is some reason for it (dazed creature thats only action available it to attack a down PC). The more powerful the PC, the more likely the CdG %.
It doesn't contribute to a loss of fun for me and I dont consider it poor sportsmanship, but thats just me personally.

The penalty for death in a mod is very generous, I think, so it considerably "softens the blow."
There's no special guidelines for it in LFR because it's in the rules, we play by the rules, so it's usable by both PCs and NPCs alike.  Now, a DM that runs around CdGing everything in sight is likely to find themselves without players, but there's nothing restricting them from doing it.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
There was some discussion on this in a previous thread, and no there is no official reason to not use Coup de Grace.  However, the DMG recommends against it and as a judge I would only use it in highly unusual circumstances and I won't play with a judge that uses it on a regular basis.

I judge a lot and I have used Coup de Grace exactly once ... the BBEG was trying to escape so he grabbed a helpless PC and told everyone that he would kill the PC if they didn't let him go.  The party ignored the threat so the BBEG carried through with his readied action.  Fortunately the PC survived. 

Allen.
It is a legitimate tactic. Nice? Probably not. Too much? Depends on the situation.

I have to agree that it should be used sparingly, and in the right circumstances. For instance, when the BBEG has managed to drop a character next to/within reach of him and has the action to be able to threaten the rest of the PCs. A "Leave, or your friend dies! (ready action to CdG)" kind of thing. Or as a means of negotiating an escape.

To have it happen in the first fight of a module, seems rather a poor way to use it. Certainly it doesn't seem likely to serve the story or the player's fun.

I liken it to people who object to certain PCs or monsters being willing to turn tail and run in the middle of a fight, thus escaping and perhaps causing the PCs to be unable to claim a certain reward. Sometimes the NPCs are chicken. Or evil.
For instance, when the BBEG has managed to drop a character next to/within reach of him and has the action to be able to threaten the rest of the PCs. A "Leave, or your friend dies! (ready action to CdG)" kind of thing. Or as a means of negotiating an escape.



The one time I saw this happen, one of the players reckoned that the monster could not do enough damage to kill with a CdG. So he ignored the threat and attacked.
Rather poor use of metagame, imo.
But it happens, and it really undermined such threats.

CdG is a legitimate tactic, rules-wise.  Also, the examples of its use are fitting.  I especially like the hostage scenario -- it still leaves the party in charge of their own fate.

The story that prompted this thread was posted by Elder Basilisk in another thread.  I would cross-link but I don't know how.

 For instance, one of the PC deaths I observed was a fellow player. His tempest fighter rode into the room on round 1 and got hit by a couple bad guys for relatively low damage. Then the rest of the party moved. Since he wasn't very injured (not bloodied, I think he was down by a little less than one healing surge), we didn't heal him. Then, at the bottom of the round, an owlbear came out of hiding, smacked him twice on its standard action, grabbed him, then spent its action point to do automatic bite damage, dropping him. The fighter's turn came up and he made a death save. Then all of the remaining soldiers coup de graced the fighter. He survived two, but the third coup de grace dropped him below negative bloodied. Then the rest of our team got to go.



In this case, it was the first fight of the module.  While legitimate, it seems gratuitous to me.
Depends on how far down below 0 the PC is. Certainly most monsters can't knock a PC from -1 to -Bloodied in a single crit. It might be metagame, but what can you do?
One CDG probably won't kill you, but five will.  The original case mentioned multiple badguys doing it. 

The reality is, in any adventure, the DM can always kill one character - especially if that character is a striker or controller (the squishiest).  He can accomplish this by making it his #1 goal.  All bad guys attack that PC, no matter what.  Especially if the bad guys go in a clump (denying the PC-allies the opportunity to help/intervene).  Just make sure to keep hitting him while he's down - hit him until he's dead, not till he's unconscious.

Marks (the -2 to hit, plus possible ill-effects) cannot (in most cases) prevent an attack (especially a ranged attack).  They are deterrents.  The net result of not "obeying the marks" is that monsters tend to die faster.  But if the DM doesn't care if his monsters die in the first round (and die stupidly) he can almost guarantee to kill one PC.

This is why I consider it bad form for a DM to focus fire on a single PC with the intent to kill (not to drop).  It's trivial, and takes no skill, intelligence, tactical ability, or real knowledge of rules or the game.  Anyone can do it.  You're not special.  You're just a giant jerk.

Yes, there are thematic times and reasons for the BBEG to threaten a CdG to get a chance to flee, or what have you. But to have badguys routinely use it as a common tactic, is bad form and bad sportsmanship.

This is a heroic game.  The PCs die at negative bloodied, the badguys die at 0.  The game is mechanically designed so you DONT die very often, but you DO get dropped to "dying" at some frequencey.  DM's using the CdG action routinely are having their monsters meta-game that it is a heroic game (i.e. that the PCs are "special" and don't die at 0 like everybody else).  That's going against the mechanical and intended design of the game.

Over-use of CdG, or intentionally hitting down Pcs to "kill them", is (IMHO) bad sportsmanship.  I won't play with DMs that routinely do this, nor do I encourage this behaviour.  If you want a more brutal game, I can suggest many other role playing systems.


However, the DMG recommends against it and as a judge I would only use it in highly unusual circumstances and I won't play with a judge that uses it on a regular basis.



I would prefer to avoid a judge that does this, but as a player you don't always have a choice. Well, you do, but your choice is frequently accept your judge or go home. At a convention you've already paid your entry fee and at some stores you've already paid your entry fee before you find your judge. I think organizers need to address this with their judging group should it become a problem.

Fortunately where I play, the judges don't seem to have any interest in arbritrary CdG, so this isn't a problem for us.

It is not common in the SF Bay area. As far as I can tell, there are two players who occasionally judge at Endgame who follow the "all coup de grace all the time" principle and have every monster drop whatever it is doing to coup de grace the first character to go down in the hopes of getting a kill. It is not common at Endgame, however, and most judges there share Grandpoobah's opinion. There is one frequent judge at Black Diamond Games who offers players the "endgame" difficulty option (AFAIK, no-one has been dumb enough to take him up on the offer) but generally goes out of his way to avoid hitting downed characters (presumably that would change if players specifically asked for it. Given that it is only two occasional judges there, neither of whom have judged for several months, I don't think it's fair to call it the endgame option.

I mostly share Grandpoobah's opinion. I would use coup de grace when the bad guy has nothing else he can do (perhaps if he is immobilized until the end of his next turn (and therefore has no chance to escape by readying an action to charge when he can move) next to a downed PC with no ranged attacks), very occasionally for a hostage situation, if the PCs were going down and getting up every round due to an effect like consecrated ground, or if it seems especially in character for monsters (like ghouls or brain eating horror movie style zombies). And even then, it would be a very ususual situation indeed if I had the bad guys provoke OAs or trigger marks in order to coup de grace a downed character.

The reason that I have mentioned that particular scenario in a couple of threads is not because it is common or because I think it commendable (in fact, I think it is generally poor sportsmanship). Rather, I generally mention it for one of a few reasons:
A. it is probably the most extreme example of DM tactics making adventures more difficult than they would be otherwise.
B. it is a classic example of what I would call "team monster" play where behavior that is extremely advantageous for all of the monsters in an adventure is extremely disadvantageous for the specific monster in question.
C. it is probably the clearest example of how it can be more deadly to have all of the monsters go at once than to have the monstes running on separate initiatives interspersed between the PCs.
I don't generally CdG, but I'm contemplating changing that.

From an in-game POV, after the first time a PC goes from dying to "not even close to bloodied" after one healing word, I don't think it makes much sense for the bad guys to knock a PC unconscious and then count him out of the fight and move on.

From a metagame POV, I'm starting to see player behavior that indicates they're counting on the DM leaving them alone after they drop, such as a squishy melee striker who comes back with limited hit points (e.g., a dying PC who had a healing potion poured down his throat) who stays and fights rather than backing off and playing more cautiously.

I'm considering changing my policy to "One freebie, but the second guy who goes down, intelligent bad guys are going to make sure he stays down."

Then again, I also think NPCs can choose to subdue instead of kill just as easily as the PCs, and intelligent bad guys that bring a PC to negative bloodied can choose that option, rendering the PC unconscious (regardless of any further healing) until after a short rest.  I've never had a player argue that interpretation, since winning means "You're right, I can't do that; I guess you're just dead."

I would tend to go out of my way to avoid killing a PC prior to the last combat, since sitting around doing nothing for half of a module isn't much fun and you can generally always come up with a reason why the other side would want to keep the PCs alive.


I'm considering changing my policy to "One freebie, but the second guy who goes down, intelligent bad guys are going to make sure he stays down."



Then again, I also think NPCs can choose to subdue instead of kill just as easily as the PCs, and intelligent bad guys that bring a PC to negative bloodied can choose that option, rendering the PC unconscious (regardless of any further healing) until after a short rest.  I've never had a player argue that interpretation, since winning means "You're right, I can't do that; I guess you're just dead."




Both of those match my policy. Monsters aren't idiots; once it's obvious there's healing floating around, they're capable of doing something about it.
How acceptable is it for a GM to use Coup de Grace in your LFR group?

I would normally expect DM's for follow DMG p.40:
"Monsters and Fallen Characters
Don’t hit people when they’re down. When a character falls unconscious, monsters turn their attention toenemies who are still up and fighting. Monsters don’t usually intentionally deal damage to fallen foes."


That said, if say an effect made a PC helpless for a round, I would still expect nearby monsters to try to get the free crit.

If the monsters realize that healing magic is preventing PC's from ever staying down (which is usually how combat is supposed to work anyway), then I would probably first have them try to eliminate the healer before resorting to double-tapping.

I would consider it poor form for a DM to go against the DM advice for a fallen character unless provoked to it, such as by powers like Consecrated Ground, or unable to take another action due to control (immobilize, divine challenge, certain 'cannot attack anyone else' effects, etc). I don't consider "someone could use a heal" as provoking - that's a reason to go after the healer, not to CdG the fallen.

Now, CdG on Helpless? Absolutely.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
With the minimal penalty for death in 4.0, I don't think CDG is as big a deal.  That is, unless it is in the first fight of a mod and someone who died would have to quit.  I have never CDG in a mod, but if I did and it was the first combat I would allow the PC to be raised after the fight.  No one wants to have to stop a mod half-way or less through.

I do like the idea of at least some semblance of the threat of PC death though.  I play in a home game at mid-paragon (16th level) and our DM CDG our cleric last fight -- and he barely (within 3-4 HPs) survived.  It was the first time (in 8 levels of play - we started at 8th level) the DM had CDG and I was like "Whoaaa" but it made the fight much more epic and meaningful.  It made saving the Cleric and defeating those monsters feel that much better.

Daren
I play in a home game at mid-paragon (16th level) and our DM CDG our cleric last fight -- and he barely (within 3-4 HPs) survived.  It was the first time (in 8 levels of play - we started at 8th level) the DM had CDG and I was like "Whoaaa" but it made the fight much more epic and meaningful.  It made saving the Cleric and defeating those monsters feel that much better.

fwiw: I've heard of a DM using a CdG to build up animosity towards a particular BBEG in his home game. But even then it was a rare, memorable exception done mainly for dramatic purposes. Such occasions would be pretty rare in RPGA games.

Its fully accepted in my group. For example Aglarond mods the Stone Bears CdG elves.



I normally do not Coup de Grace. But if I read the tactics in a mod and it specifically says the enemy kills PCs, then I do it. AGLA 1-3 and AGLA 1-6 are perfect examples hence in the tactics it says (in short), "Stone Bears hate arcane characters. They hate anyone not human. Kill all non-human arcanist using efficient tactics."

DMs are encouraged to read the DMG (as are authors and Writing Directors).  I would not expect a Coup de Grace to be a routine or normal practice.  That said, there may be time due to either the situation or the dramatic buildup it might be appropriate.  If the PCs are warned up front that Group X is entirely ruthless and the DM is advised to show no mercy in their portrayal, I think it has story merit.  If you just see it as a combat tactic to make the adventure more challenging, because you think dead PCs equals fun, then I have some concerns.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
I think it's ironic that it's bad form for the "bad guys" (the monsters) to attack someone when they're down; but the "good guys" (the PC's) do it all the time (with Knockout, Sleep, etc.) and that it's just fine.  I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and I think the game works better that way.  I just thnk it's funny.  Bugbear stranglers, mind flayers, and zombies would never do anything unsporting, but a paladin will always kick a guy when he's down.
I think it's ironic that it's bad form for the "bad guys" (the monsters) to attack someone when they're down; but the "good guys" (the PC's) do it all the time (with Knockout, Sleep, etc.) and that it's just fine.  I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and I think the game works better that way.  I just thnk it's funny.  Bugbear stranglers, mind flayers, and zombies would never do anything unsporting, but a paladin will always kick a guy when he's down.

It's a very different context, though. CDG while under an Oni's unconsciousness breath effect would be kosher, but not while dying.
I think it's ironic that it's bad form for the "bad guys" (the monsters) to attack someone when they're down; but the "good guys" (the PC's) do it all the time (with Knockout, Sleep, etc.) and that it's just fine.  I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and I think the game works better that way.  I just thnk it's funny.  Bugbear stranglers, mind flayers, and zombies would never do anything unsporting, but a paladin will always kick a guy when he's down.



That's what happens when you don't force paladins to be lawful good anymore and give them stats that synergize well with pit-fighter.Tongue out
I would consider it poor form for a DM to go against the DM advice for a fallen character unless provoked to it, such as by powers like Consecrated Ground


It would seem that clerics are the primary targets for CdG, due to their variety of powers like consec ground that make all teammates automatically stay up and active. Since dispelling isn't an option for most monsters, CdG is the only plausible way they have of dealing with most such powers.
I think it's ironic that it's bad form for the "bad guys" (the monsters) to attack someone when they're down; but the "good guys" (the PC's) do it all the time (with Knockout, Sleep, etc.) and that it's just fine.  I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and I think the game works better that way.  I just thnk it's funny.  Bugbear stranglers, mind flayers, and zombies would never do anything unsporting, but a paladin will always kick a guy when he's down.

The only time I've seen a PC try to attack a monster that was at 0 hp or lower was when it was a troll. When all the world falls down at 0 hp and doesn't get back up, then you don't attack people who are down. Indeed, even when monsters have a way to get back up such as a Deathlock, they go after the creature that can revive its comrades not trying to take extra actions to dismantle the body to prevent it from being used.

Now, using it on a Helpless foe, a creature using it because it literally has no other tactical options or would be punished for taking any other option, or threatening to use it to cover a retreat in normal villain fashion? Absolutely. But proactively CdGing because the monsters no longer care about winning the fight but are trying to take down as much PC gold as they can before dying? Poor form.

Fwiw, I was quite worried last month when I divine sanctioned a burst 3 of monsters then was Critical-ed and dropped that some that were sanctioned were going to CdG me. That's one example where I'd understand it, since sanction persists into unconscious. I'd not have faulted the DM if he'd chosen to - thankfully he didn't
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
How acceptable is it for a GM to use Coup de Grace in your LFR group?

I would normally expect DM's for follow DMG p.40:
"Monsters and Fallen Characters
Don’t hit people when they’re down. When a character falls unconscious, monsters turn their attention toenemies who are still up and fighting. Monsters don’t usually intentionally deal damage to fallen foes."


That said, if say an effect made a PC helpless for a round, I would still expect nearby monsters to try to get the free crit.

If the monsters realize that healing magic is preventing PC's from ever staying down (which is usually how combat is supposed to work anyway), then I would probably first have them try to eliminate the healer before resorting to double-tapping.




I'm not disagreeing with you, but I do have a question.

Would you make a distinction between "monsters" and humanoid races?  I could see a rage drake losing interest once a human goes unconscious, but I could also see an orc (or elf, or halfing) making the CdG to make sure the meatbag stays down. 

From a player perspective, I've been in one situation where my character "died" (and then the DM reversed himself realizing that for the table size, that particular monster should not have been in the fight), and I had not problems with the death. 

It's not LG make-a-new-character death.  It's simply no-further-xp death.  Without that risk of some downside, the fights just seem (looking for a word - uh...) pointless?  a grind?  If I know that my character might suffer some _real_ penalty (even as minor as forfeiting xp for the adventure), then the fight seems more interesting to me.  It's like the difference between playing a game in an arcade, and playing the rom in LAME with unlimited quarters.  When you are actually dropping quarters, your performance matters.
Would you make a distinction between "monsters" and humanoid races?

Naw. The writers often use the term "monsters" to mean "enemies of the PC's". A semantic differentiation does not appear intended here.

 



Would you make a distinction between "monsters" and humanoid races?

Naw. The writers often use the term "monsters" to mean "enemies of the PC's". A semantic differentiation does not appear intended here.

 






[visualizing the conversation]

"Der, Boss.  I knocked one o' dem hero dudes out cold, shoulda I uh finish im off?"

"No Vinnie.  You've read the DMG, you're suppose to lose interst in im and move on to someone else."

"But Boss, if I do dat, one of the cleriky guys'll haveim on his feet in no time.  Can't I just kill him this once?"

"No.  Only heroes kill their enemies.  We're the monsters and we just move on."

"Duh.  Okay... Yer da boss, but I don't feel like a monster, I feel like a half-orc thug."




[visualizing the conversation]

"Der, Boss.  I knocked one o' dem hero dudes out cold, shoulda I uh finish im off?"

"No Vinnie.  You've read the DMG, you're suppose to lose interst in im and move on to someone else."

"But Boss, if I do dat, one of the cleriky guys'll haveim on his feet in no time.  Can't I just kill him this once?"

"No.  Only heroes kill their enemies.  We're the monsters and we just move on."

"Duh.  Okay... Yer da boss, but I don't feel like a monster, I feel like a half-orc thug."



"How many healing surges do you have?"

"Er... der nobody named Serge in our band, boss. Da eye of Gruumsch over there sometimes heals me, but he's Guido"

"No Vinnie, 'healing surges.' Look at your statblock then think back to the DMG"

"Oh yeah. I gots one healing surge. What's dat for anyway?"

"Vinnie, if you've got one healing surge, you're a monster. There are only two kinds of people with stats in this world: PCs and monsters. Monsters get 1, 2, or 3 surges depending on how good they are. I've got two surges. That means I'm the boss monster around here."
"Duh.  Okay... Yer da boss, but I don't feel like a monster, I feel like a half-orc thug."

"Vinnie, I already tol' yuz a plethora o' times: there be no semantic differentiation."

"Duh.  Okay... Yer da boss, but I don't feel like a monster, I feel like a half-orc thug."

"Vinnie, I already tol' yuz a plethora o' times: there be no semantic differentiation."



"Gee boss, ders no reason ta be swearin at me.  Yaz hurtsd my feeling."
Well, this all explains why the townsfolk being attacked by Gnolls aren't afraid of Gnoll PCs... they're all monsters!

Wait... maybe they should be afraid of all PCs... hmm...
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
"Duh.  Okay... Yer da boss, but I don't feel like a monster, I feel like a half-orc thug."

"Vinnie, I already tol' yuz a plethora o' times: there be no semantic differentiation."



"Gee boss, ders no reason ta be swearin at me.  Yaz hurtsd my feeling."



XD, I was about to say, 'plethora' seems like an awfully big word for these two guys.

I heard about a DM who, after knocking a PC unconscious with drow poison, had all of his monsters provoke from a striker (pursuit avenger) in order to gang coup-de-grace the unconscious PC.  Trying to kill a PC who has zero chance of being a threat in the combat anymore (kicking a guy when he's down and can't get back up) seems like really bad form to me.  Also, it makes no sense for the monsters to do that - why would they risk their lives to kill someone who can't possibly hurt them anymore while ignoring all the PCs that can hurt them?

It turns out it was a really bad tactic too.  The unconscious PC was still close to full hit points before the coup-de-graces, so the leader just healed all the wounds and undid the monster's turns (while the rest of the party continued to beat them up). 

Sorta goes against the "make the game fun for everyone" guideline when you try to kill PCs just to kill PCs.

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

In my group, GM Coup de Grace is not acceptable in most circumstances.


In some groups I play in, *not* Coup de Grace - ing is unacceptable.

Coup de grace is often the "correct" tactical thing for a monster to do.

For the monster *not* to do it, then, is . . . what?  For the DM to force the monster to be stupid.

If you want a "role-playing game" in which everything that opposes you is just naturally stupid, then, I don't know, maybe you should be clubbing helpless baby seals or something.
I would normally expect DM's for follow DMG p.40:
"Monsters and Fallen Characters
Don’t hit people when they’re down. When a character falls unconscious, monsters turn their attention toenemies who are still up and fighting. Monsters don’t usually intentionally deal damage to fallen foes."



So if the DMG told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?

In some groups I play in, the expectation is that the DM is going to run the adventure with integrity, attempting to kill PCs whenever appropriate, which is usually the case when the monsters are in combat with the PCs.  For the DM to do otherwise is condescending.

Of course, that is *SOME* DMs.

Other DMs think role-playing "fun" means a largely consequence-free environment in which player decisions have no real impact on the characters lives.  Attack the guards, intimidate the king, and the monsters somehow never manage to bring the PCs down; it's brings a whole new meaning to the word "fantasy", if you understand what I mean.  True, it's not "all or none", but I respect DMs that coup de grace more than those that simply won't.

(Note:  DMs that coup de grace SHOULD make clear to the players what they intend to do *before* starting an adventure, and why.  If the players object, the DM shouldn't do it.)
I heard about a DM who, after knocking a PC unconscious with drow poison, had all of his monsters provoke from a striker (pursuit avenger) in order to gang coup-de-grace the unconscious PC.  Trying to kill a PC who has zero chance of being a threat in the combat anymore (kicking a guy when he's down and can't get back up) seems like really bad form to me.  Also, it makes no sense for the monsters to do that - why would they risk their lives to kill someone who can't possibly hurt them anymore while ignoring all the PCs that can hurt them?

It turns out it was a really bad tactic too.  The unconscious PC was still close to full hit points before the coup-de-graces, so the leader just healed all the wounds and undid the monster's turns (while the rest of the party continued to beat them up).



This strikes me as one of the few times I would definitely CdG someone. If they were helpless but near full hit points, hitting them a bunch of times with auto crit-like damage would seem to be a way to cause a lot of damage. It might not kill them but it will sure as heck scare the party. And given the piss poor damage that some monsters deal, it might be one of the few times in their sad little monster lives that they get to do that much damage.
If you want a "role-playing game" in which everything that opposes you is just naturally stupid, then, I don't know, maybe you should be clubbing helpless baby seals or something.

So if the DMG told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?

It's heartening to see that D&D can still attract young players.

Well this is LFR we are talking about. The idea is that the DM follows the guidelines in the module along with the tactics for the monsters during encounters. A wise DM would look at his/her monster stat block and play at their intelligence.

A good example is a Drow Daggermaster (not the PP) and a Guard Drake.

The Drow is intelligent and knows her poison will take the PC out of equation once it settles in. She'll move onto her next pray instead of killing the PC.

The Guard Drake sends a PC unconscious after ripping off a chunk of flesh. He'll keep doing so because it's a dumb creature and very hungry, CdC'ing the PC basically.
I heard about a DM who, after knocking a PC unconscious with drow poison, had all of his monsters provoke from a striker (pursuit avenger) in order to gang coup-de-grace the unconscious PC.  Trying to kill a PC who has zero chance of being a threat in the combat anymore (kicking a guy when he's down and can't get back up) seems like really bad form to me.  Also, it makes no sense for the monsters to do that - why would they risk their lives to kill someone who can't possibly hurt them anymore while ignoring all the PCs that can hurt them?

It turns out it was a really bad tactic too.  The unconscious PC was still close to full hit points before the coup-de-graces, so the leader just healed all the wounds and undid the monster's turns (while the rest of the party continued to beat them up). 

Sorta goes against the "make the game fun for everyone" guideline when you try to kill PCs just to kill PCs.


This is what I would do if I thought the encounter was looking too hard, or was taking too long.  It's a great way to introduce fake difficulty: the PCs think you're out to get them, but instead you've made an incrediably stupid tactical move (because what you saw is what will happen.  Monster crits don't do much extra damage, PCs have a big HP buffer before death, healing starts at 0, and the extra attacks from provoking to move over will shorten the combat.)

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

why would they risk their lives to kill someone who can't possibly hurt them anymore while ignoring all the PCs that can hurt them?




Well sounds like the PC did get up again and hurt them. So the CdG makes sense from a monsters perspective. 

Its not a stupid tactic, probably just a series of bad rolls that kept the PC alive-and thats part of the game too.

I could have CdGed several times at DDXP - I thought of this conversation every time it came up. I don't think it would have contributed anything to the combats. Rather, it would have likely detracted from the enjoyment of the players. This is true even in combats where the PCs used CdG on the monsters.

I can see it working in some situations, but very seldomly.

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