Expendable Resources

I’m a fan of the idea that not every fight should be fair. A good GM shouldn’t set out to regularly create fights that the PCs cannot win. That’s a dick move. However, success should also not always be a guarantee. There should be easy fights and there should be hard fights, but there should also occasionally be unwinnable fights.

Unwinnable fights might require special tactics or a non-standard trick, so players have to think outside the box to succeed. Or they just might involve a foe beyond the PCs. This is important: if the PCs know or believe can win every combat encounter it takes some of the tension out of the game. Success becomes assumed and there’s no reason to hesitate before picking a fight.