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Gruule The Axe
Here for a while
(3/9/03 3:43 pm)
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How tactically smart are RTTToEE NPCs and monsters?
This might be to broad a question for this board but it came up in the CRM so here it is: how tactically smart are you playing the NPCs and monsters in RTTToEE?

As an example: I have a player whose character uses an exotic reach weapon (spiked chain) and many of his feats and skills are geared towards the AoO that a reach weapon often affords. So while I don't want to rob him of the advantages of a well-made character, I also have trouble sending my NPCs and monsters though his threatened squares to receive the AoOs. I've been playing it that most creatures aren't familiar with the weapon and so will rush in if they can unless they see it in action, then they realize it's reach and are more careful. What would you say is the INT score cut-off for "common-sense" monster reactions like this?

I'm also curious in general about how tactically advantaged to make the encounters. Do I play them like I would if they were my own characters? Do I give them an INT check to see how they react to things? Do I base it on how Lawful or Chaotic they are or how combat oriented their background is?

I'd like to set up a consistent system that I could use to arbitrate any situation. Any insights would be a huge help as I think this issue is only going to become more pronounced as the campaign goes on.

Thanks,
Gruule The Axe

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(3/10/03 12:20 am)
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Re: How tactically smart are RTTToEE NPCs and monsters?
In most cases, the melee combatants are mercenaries and not insane cultists. At least that's how I play it. If they charge forward, he'll trip them, they'll notice, and stay out of his reach, if possible. Say, half of them will hang back and look for the nearest longbow, while the other half will think "He can't get all of us!" and jump in. The people you'd hate to see downed are the clerics and other main opponents.

The clerics should hang back for a few rounds. Only a select few are described as frothing meleers - most will cast a prayer or summon something first. They will mostly have the savvy to stay away from the chain wielder.

Trained fighters such as Oomarthis and Kelial will know of the spiked chain and respect it for its tripping abilities. Again, send in grunts to draw th ecounter attacks, then move in.

I don't think the CRM denizens are overly bright on a strategic level: They don't enter alliances, and they spend a lot of time fighting each other. Tactically, they're not too dim, however. They live in a dog eat dog-world and have survived. You don't do that unless you know how to handle yourself in a fight.

But I think it's a matter of balance rather than a hard-and-fast rule. Sometimes, the player should feel that his feat selection has paid off. And at other times, he shouldn't.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Gruule The Axe
Here for a while
(3/10/03 8:55 pm)
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Re: How tactically smart are RTTToEE NPCs and monsters?
Thanks Siobharek. That makes sense. The grunts can be downed without really upsetting the challenge of the encounter while the Billy Badasses do their worst. The player feels good and still gets a challange.

Cordo Crowfoot
Here for a while
(3/11/03 12:15 am)
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Re: How tactically smart are RTTToEE NPCs and monsters?
I agree with Siobharek's points.

Just a comment specific example, I assume the spiked chain expert has Combat Reflexes.

I think that unless the opposition has information on the PC then after the first creature charges through his reachable area, that it is normal and reasonable for the next one to assume it is ok to charge as he has already used an attack of opportunity. But after seeing that second creature also absorb an AoO they would get wise to the PC's capabilities and expect to have to eat an AoO. That will give him some use of the feat, but avoid having all the low level guards unrealistically commit suicide by charging into his whirling chain of death.

"They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers. They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came... They were scum who died violent deaths, hanging on to a certain cachet among the impressionable through their undeniable bravery and their occasionally impressive exploits" China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

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