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How could ‘running away’ not be a viable option in the rules? That is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. Anyway, I make the rules for the books we sell here. Running away is “A+OK”.
Check out the rules for exiting combat in 1e AD&D.
I think one of the problems of 3.5e and 4e were that they tried to turn tabletop gaming into a copy of a MMORPG, rather than taking advantage of the things that are possible face to face but hard or impossible to code. Its easier to code an endless stream of random fights to the death than political intrigue over who will become the next mayor or negotiations with the gnolls to beat up the bugbears together.
Opponents with mind-control magic are rare in most games! The way many players object to lack of agency is something observed, not a theory. In our games the party got captured and enslaved pretty often to avoid a TPK (or just locked up for sundry felonies) but that requires trust.
And there were a lot of player-character deaths (so many deaths!) I think I ran one campaign where players reached about 5th level in D&D.