Creative ideas for dealing with party wipe that don’t involve killing your player characters.

Capture, Don’t Kill X: City Guard

Now that we’ve covered a few kinds of criminals, why not the other side of the coin? For city guards, whether they be sinister or honorable, capturing people and depositing them in the jail is all part of a day’s work, whether it be putting a drunk in a cell [...]

Capture, Don’t Kill IX: Thieves

Thieves are similar to bandits in a few ways and like raiders in a few others, but they are mostly unique since they usually operate inside of settled areas, and especially densely populated cities. Like bandits they will sometimes ambush the unwary in alleyways or at blind corners, and like [...]

Capture, Don’t Kill VIII: Raiders

Wait, raiders? But I did pirates and bandits. For the sake of clarity, I’m using raiders to mean those who predate not by ambush or chasing down victims as they travel, but by attacking stationary settlements whose defenses they think they can overcome, striking from outside before slipping swiftly away [...]

Capture, Don’t Kill VII: Pirates

Didn’t you just do bandits? What’s the difference? In the last entry in this series I covered bandits, which I defined as those who perform opportunistic attacks on land-based travelers far from centers of power, primarily via ambush. By contrast, pirates usually operate by large crewed vehicles and attack other [...]

Capture, Don’t Kill VI: Bandits

Bandits? Pirates? Raiders? Thieves? What’s the difference? For a number of reasons I will be distinguishing various types of marauding humanoids by their tactics, motives, and circumstances. For the purposes of this post, I am treating bandits as those who primarily engage in opportunistic victimization of land travelers outside of [...]

Capture, Don’t Kill V: Kuo-toa

The kuo-toa are strange, vile inhabitants of the wetter sections of the Underdark. They are flabby, slimy humanoids that resemble enormous cave fish, and are akin to to the Deep Ones of the Lovecraft Mythos.

Capture, Don’t Kill IV: Drow

And now, we begin the meat of the series. Actual application instead of just cerebral Gamemastering Theory. I’m hoping to begin to cover the specifics of how and why various common sorts of enemies would engage an adventuring party non-lethally.

Capture Don’t Kill III: Is This a Sex Thing?

This question has a short answer with a long explanation, and as such expect this entry to be largely meta-commentary and a bit light on direct gameplay-related content. No, this series of articles or blog posts or whatever you want to call them isn’t about sex or bondage or other [...]

Capture, Don’t Kill II: How?

Now part of this depends on what system you’re using and if it even has any meaningful support for non-lethal defeats without houseruling, but there’s a number of things that can be done regardless of rule set. Communication is important, for example. None of this stuff will have much impact [...]

Capture, Don’t Kill I: Why?

Many encounters in tabletop RPGs tend to involve all sides engaging in “Fight to the death, take no prisoners” tactics, for a variety of reasons that are probably a topic for a different piece. However, there plenty of enemies where there is greater verisimilitude if they actively try not to [...]