Hypothetical: Kill vs coup de gras


advertise with rpgnet

John Out West

Registered User
Validated User
#1
I'm writing something new which has a lot of high-tech stuff in it, but I've come across a question that I'm not sure about how players would react to, so I could use some opinions.

Question:
"In a world where the only way to kill a character were to Coup de Gras them after they have been defeated, how often would you kill?"

This question can be extended to: How often do you think others would kill.

In the world I'm building now, you'd essentially have to stab the heart of a humanoid to keep them from slowly reviving over the course of a week, but they can lose everything else and still revive. Flesh, blood, brains, nothing matters except for the heart. My players have always been ruthless, cannibalistic psychopaths, and they gave me predictable answers. The design of my this project is reflective of its lore, so I would like to know how others answer this question.
 

-orestes

Registered User
Validated User
#2
I don't think it even needs to fit in the lore. It can just be something that exists to encourage some kind of drama... "Describe the killing blow or deign to spare them". People do similar things with all kinds of systems.
 

LuciusAlexander

PalindromedaryRider
Validated User
#3
I'm writing something new which has a lot of high-tech stuff in it, but I've come across a question that I'm not sure about how players would react to, so I could use some opinions.

Question:
"In a world where the only way to kill a character were to Coup de Gras them after they have been defeated, how often would you kill?"

This question can be extended to: How often do you think others would kill.

In the world I'm building now, you'd essentially have to stab the heart of a humanoid to keep them from slowly reviving over the course of a week, but they can lose everything else and still revive. Flesh, blood, brains, nothing matters except for the heart. My players have always been ruthless, cannibalistic psychopaths, and they gave me predictable answers. The design of my this project is reflective of its lore, so I would like to know how others answer this question.

What makes that specifically a "coup de gras" requirement? A heart can be stabbed in the heat of combat.

Lucius Alexander

The palindromedary also wonders about the purpose of building a world this way, especially if your players are ruthless cannibals.....
 

Victim

Registered User
Validated User
#4
I've seen a sorcerer in DnD carry around a Greataxe he wasn't proficient in for killing enemies disabled by Sleep. I don't see needing to take an extra step as a huge impediment for many PCs.

OTOH, a lot depends on the tone and premise of the game. If the PCs are superheroes or cops or something that with the ability to hand off defeated enemies fairly painlessly and have them generally stay incarcerated, then it's easier to stay non-lethal. Of course in such cases where there is player buy in to taking people alive, you hardly need special regeneration to have them do it (and in fact that would seem to encourage a lot of reckless behavior.
 

Dagor

Registered User
Validated User
#5
I don't think it would change much for me if I was a player in a game using that setting. If I felt that I really needed to kill an NPC, I'd do my level best to do that, whereas if I normally didn't, I'd rather have rules that allow me to win fights without undue bloodshed (and so less reason for those opponents to come back later carrying a grudge) in the first place than ones that go all "it's a-okay to graphically chop people into pieces and piss on the remains, as long as you leave their kill button alone they'll be back after a week or so anyway".
 

Xander

Registered User
Validated User
#6
What is the risk/reward of killing an enemy in the setting?

I think it was The Sixth Day where all the enemy agents were cloned and killed again and again by Arnold, which got kind of silly.

If everyone in the "business" were fine with non-lethal takedowns, that might be "professional courtesy" ala John Wick 2.

Or I got the feeling from Three Musketeers that it is okay to duel, and if someone got killed in a duel, that was okay, but a gentleman wouldn't run his downed opponent through the heart unless serious revenge was on the line.

There could be a code of sanctioned kills, like versus those that harm innocents, or a contracted hard kill approved by whatever ruling body.

Then there could be a definite consequence to an unsanctioned kill (like a PC being marked okay-to-kill). Do unto others... don't cap others unless you are ready for someone to cap you, when your time comes. :)
 

HardKore Keltoid

RAW Cultist
Validated User
#7
What makes that specifically a "coup de gras" requirement? A heart can be stabbed in the heat of combat.
In theory, sure. In practice. stabbing somebody right through the heart mid-combat is such a vanishingly rare stroke of dumb luck that I'd be fine with a ruleset where it was essentially only possible as an execution.. Especially if they're wearing any kind of armor. Double-especially if everybody knows you've only got one vital organ in this world.

How much would I kill? About as often as I met ruthless psychotic cannibals, probably. I mean, if my objective isn't specifically to kill somebody, nobody really needs to die. which eliminates a lot of deaths. Not all of 'em, though - sometimes you're dealing with somebody that won't stop being an evil prick, and those guys still have to go.

How often would other people kill? Probably a whole lot less - deaths don't happen by accident, and it's actually easier to incapacitate someone than kill them, so bar brawls and muggings pretty much never go wrong. This also means that whatever justice system you've got (even if it's just clan justice meted out by relatives) treats any and all killings with draconian harshness.

I expect to see a lot more kidnapping and potential ransoming, especially if I can just keep the hearts of my prisoners in jars until I'm ready to give them back.
 

Alban

Registered User
Validated User
#8
Nitpick : It's Coup de Grace.
"Coup de Gras" really read like you hit someone with something greasy, or your own fat.

Sorry for being so pedantic... :oops:
 
#10
Interesting. My question would be: is there a way for the downed opponent to return to fighting? My would I kill or not would probably correlate with how easy that return to fighting was.
 
Top Bottom