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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    Mar 2019

    Default Presenting NPC/Monster Motivation/Morale?

    I've been re-reading some scenarios and was struck by the 'fight to the death' motivation implicitly expected from participants on both sides. I got to this point by reading a few comments on motivation and morale on other threads. I've looked at motivation rules in 5e and morale in the old AD&D DMG and think I'm getting a good feel for this as a way to make NPCs/Monsters behave a little more rationally.

    I'm curious as to how you present these motivations in your notes. Does anyone have a good way to annotate the motivation/morale of NPCs/Monsters? Do you have a way to track it? Check it?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Presenting NPC/Monster Motivation/Morale?

    The fox is running for his dinner, the rabbit is running for his life.

    In scenario notes if you note down what the enemy is fighting for, how hard they will fight is implied.


    You should probably track morale at the group level rather than the individual level for brevity. Give each encounter a morale HP level equal to some percentage of its total group HP, which reflects how hard they'll fight for whatever the scenario says they're fighting for.

    Then just deduct morale HP as the group takes damage with an extra deduction for deaths based on the intensity of the fight.

    You could even do cute things like making save for half damage still take full morale damage, but that would be fiddlier to remember to do.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Presenting NPC/Monster Motivation/Morale?

    I don't do it formally. If needed, I'll look at dramatic events and start doing a straight d20 roll against a floating DC depending on my subjective feeling. Some won't run, others would take longer to run than the combat will last (if they're dead in 3 rounds, that's 18 seconds. Not enough time to really register the shock a lot of times). Humanoids and beasts are much more likely to run than "monsters", while trained troops or fanatics are much less likely to run.

    Dramatic events (illustrative, not exhaustive, list) that might trigger morale checks:
    * a 1-round slaughter. If the first person who goes nukes half the squad of bandits, the others are going to have issues.
    * loss of a charismatic leader.
    * massive losses (usually more than 50%)
    * flashy spells or abilities that are way above their pay grade
    * intimidation attempts by the PCs
    * watching the PCs no-sell "powerful" attacks
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Italy
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Presenting NPC/Monster Motivation/Morale?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I don't do it formally. If needed, I'll look at dramatic events and start doing a straight d20 roll against a floating DC depending on my subjective feeling. Some won't run, others would take longer to run than the combat will last (if they're dead in 3 rounds, that's 18 seconds. Not enough time to really register the shock a lot of times). Humanoids and beasts are much more likely to run than "monsters", while trained troops or fanatics are much less likely to run.

    Dramatic events (illustrative, not exhaustive, list) that might trigger morale checks:
    * a 1-round slaughter. If the first person who goes nukes half the squad of bandits, the others are going to have issues.
    * loss of a charismatic leader.
    * massive losses (usually more than 50%)
    * flashy spells or abilities that are way above their pay grade
    * intimidation attempts by the PCs
    * watching the PCs no-sell "powerful" attacks
    Same here. If the pcs drop half the team in the first roynd, the other half is likely to flee or surrender.

    I'll add expectation here among the factors. If the npcs expect the players to be merciful, they are more likely to surrender. If they know their friends will spare the diamonds for a resurrection, they are less likely to be intimidated.
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