In the game I have running right now, one of the PCs have had a run in with a local "gang" of sorts. An encounter between the two is approaching, but I'm struggling to think of the best way to set up the encounter.
I'm not sure how aggressively I can/should frame the scene that starts the encounter. My question is, how far can a DM go with playing out a cut scene/situation without giving the PCs a feeling of no control? A very simple example:
As you walk down the darkened streets, 5 large men appear from the shadows. Before you can assess the situation, your knees buckle beneath you as something hard strikes a blow to your head from behind. As you twist and fall, you catch a glimpse of one of the attackers' sneering face before blacking out.
In the above example…
- Would a PC feel robbed to not have the chance to dodge, perceive the danger, have a chance that their AC would block the blow?
- Or are cut scenes like this perfectly acceptable in the interest of developing story?
- If not, how is it possible to pull the PCs into such a threat without dice rolling and mechanics getting derailing the encounter's setup?
We're playing D&D 4th edition, but I don't think this is really specific to any game or edition.