[RPG] How to make the PCs flee


My players never run away or avoid conflict. Ever. I throw them ridiculous encounters, they will stay and fight. If I tell them, "You know you're not gonna make it, just run," they stay and fight and blame me, the GM, for the casualties. They complain my encounter was too hard etc. When I tell them they should simply flee if they get into something too powerful, they accuse me of railroading them. They once went to attack a dragon even though I told them that it's common knowledge that dragons are way above their level. They expect me to adjust the environment to their level. I don't. I think if you go in hell to attack a Balrog, he shouldn't be a level 1 encounter.

So how do you make the PCs run?

Best Answer

Give them options, or a hiding place perhaps. Trying to tell them out of game to run is (unfortunately) well into the realm of railroading. On that note, there is one option: Show them in-game that running is their best option. This can be accomplished by having a known-powerful NPC friend defeated by said baddie, or an appropriate knowledge check about them lacking the proper tools, or even displaying it's strength against buildings or other foes clearly more powerful than the PCs.

Blaming the GM for stupid casualties isn't a roleplay problem, that's a game dynamic problem. They need to learn, just like my players had to learn, that their characters (while special) are not unique, and not gods. Another option to this is consequences. If they face impossible odds and someone dies, that's part of the story. Also related to this part of the problem is an out-of-game discussion. Tell them that sometimes you just need to put in big encounters like that which are currently insurmountable but won't be for the whole campaign. Things like "you know that dragon that destroyed the town you all ran from? Now you're strong enough to take him down." Seems they want to play through combat to combat with little room for flexible plot on your end, and this is the problem you should address out-of-game.

By trying to get you to conform to their unrealistic standards on combat difficulty, they are in essence railroading you.