Discussion:How Should a DM decide who a monster will attack?
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 As a DM, how would I decide who the monster attacks?
Will it's intelligence score play a part? Will a dumb monster attack whoever attacked him last, and will a smarter one attack the weakest player? I have no idea.
 Maalpheron 20:52, 20 May 2008 (MDT)
The easy answer is the monster should attack the player dictated by the story. Your first impulse should be enough. If its a dumb monster have it attack the most impressive looking or the largest PC, or if you want to challenge the players have it focus on an obviously wounded character (as real world predators often do). Have it switch targets when it makes sense or when another character goes out of his way to draw its attention. Just keep in mind that the game is for the enjoyment of the players and the DM and good stories aren't told with dead groups, so don't always just go for the kill. Fights are used to create dramatic tension and give the illusion of danger. Any target that will do that for you is a good one.
Thank you very much for your answer and for sorting my text out lol. I have never been very tech knowledgeable. Greatly Appreciated.
 Maalpheron 21:02, 20 May 2008 (MDT)
No problem, just remember on discussions to sign you posts using the button for it in the formatting tool bar above the edit window and indent your replies using colons. A well composed question will go a long way in getting an intelligent reply.
I think it is best to try to think like the monster. Incorporating the Int score is a start, but you also need to think of its training, experiences, etc.
A human regiment will have a much different composure than a orc tribe. Depending on the situation, the orcs may not want to fight the whole group. I don't think a tribe who wants any chance of survival would actually fight to the death against every group they meet. They would likely instead challenge one of the PCs and have a battle of leaders.
A regiment on the other hand would have coordinated actions and likely fight to the death against members of an enemy state. It is worth their lives for their country.
If the orcs got into a large battle, they would likely randomly pick targets, probably swarming the bigger guys first. At the first sight of magic, they might get weary and when the tables begin to turn, they will probably try to flee. Most of their tribe is likely non-combatants, and they are the only ones who can take care of them.
Most people would probably throw orcs in as purely aggressive monsters that just try to kill groups of adventurers. Maybe orcs part of a larger orc empire, but I like to look at things less 1 dimensionally.
 Summerscythe 17:38, 21 May 2008 (MDT)
In my campaign, I tend to utilize each PC's role. I send the big creatures to the tank and so forth. then i tend to switch it up during the very heated important battles with people who have heard of the party. The Evil fighter charging down the wizard and the evil wizard casting hold person on the fighter. So i more or less make the easy battles easier to increase the tensions of the harder battles. It gets really sinister when you make the held fighter watching his wizard comrade being slaughtered.
Thank you both for the advice. Finally, I would like to know whether I should ever try and purposely kill (all the way to -10hp) ANY player EVER? Is it necessary so the PCs don't think they are getting of easy, or feel immortal?
I usually restrict lethal encounters to level 9+. At that point there is Raise Dead available. Death costs a level and 5000gp. They have about 9 days to cast it. More than enough time! At level 7 there is a druid spell Reincarnate available.
Often I will have predatory monsters carry away unconscious PCs and they will munch on them later. I use a variant rule for dying though -- that way they can make a recovery (possibly). Instead of -10 being death, I make it -(bab * con_mod), with -10 being the maximum. For example, a 10th level dwarven fighter with 22 con will die when he hits -60 hp, but a 10th level wizard with 16 con will die at -15.
 Demosthenes 16:34, 23 May 2008 (MDT)
 Summerscythe 17:48, 23 May 2008 (MDT)
I dont think you should ever deliberately kill anyone, if your players caught on they would think your out to get them for some strange reason, which if you are trying to kill them, then you are out to get them. I do believe however that certain monsters would continue attacking a PC even when he's down till he dies. Don't be afraid to Coup De Grace a PC if your monster killed him fair and scare and would do that. Some monsters would just make sure the PC is unconscious before moving to the next. But sinister beings, like devils, would full out kill PC's if necessary. Also, if your character thinks there immortal and does something stupid, he deserves to die. I had a lvl. 10 fighter who thought he was invincible, put him up against two shadows and they decimated him. It was a big surprise when the Party of the fighter had to fight his shadow form. hehe. But no, i don't think you should ever Deliberately kill anyone, but if they die, they die.
I agree -- don't deliberately kill per-se. Play the NPCs as they seem appropriate. The PCs may gain a reputation for killing a certain group of orcs, for example. Perhaps one of those PCs even killed one of the generals. It would be logical for other members of those orcs to try to kill that PC that killed their leader. They may even focus all their power on doing that. They are intentionally killing the PC. You are not. That is the way it should be done. I think the game should be separate from real life in every way possible...