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  1. #1

    Morale Checks by Monsters and NPCs

    First off my apologies if this is not the correct place for this post or if this is something that has been brought up before in a previous thread, but I was too lazy to scour the existing threads and a search turned up nothing on the topic.

    Does anyone employ NPC morale checks during battles in their games? I ask this question first because if this aspect of the game is not in play in a lot of people's games, then the need for some kind of programming here is mute. However, if this is an aspect of the game that is widely used, then automating it would make for a nice inclusion or extension to the 2E ruleset. (Or for any DnD ruleset for that matter!)

    I poured over the documentation in the 2E DMG and it seems to me that automating this would need to consider the following:

    1. When to make the check? - This would have to be a mathematical formula. (Total NPC HP - Total NPC Wounds)/Total NPC HP. Once that value is less than or equal to .75, a morale check is made. (Another check is made at .50) A reminder pop up would be good here.
    2. How to make the check? - The DM would open a form with a list of situational modifiers to activate where applicable to the base morale value for the NPC or the group of NPCs. The DM would push a button to roll 2d10. The outcome would display in the chat window to the DM (fight or flight).
    3. If the NPC(s) pass both checks, they fight to the death.

    Such a system as I have described alleviates the following burden from the DM:

    1. Remembering when to make a morale check.
    2. Looking up the base morale value for an NPC(s) to be utilized in the next step below.
    3. Addition and subtraction of the situational modifiers to the NPC base morale value for the check.

    What I am proposing does put the burden on the DM to set the correct situational modifiers prior to making the 1st and 2nd check. The DM would need to revisit the situational modifiers prior to making check #2 as battle conditions may have changed between checks.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    JohnD's Avatar
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    DMG pages 97-99 and 157.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    DMG pages 97-99 and 157.
    Are you suggesting that all of the content found on those pages regarding morale in the DMG be included in the 2E ruleset or coded as part of a mod or extension?
    Ultimate License Holder
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    May your dice rolls be ever in your favor.


  4. #4
    I tend to only make morale checks for monsters when I feel it is beneficial for the story.

    Most PCs will chase down a single goblin to the ends of the earth so I don't tend to use it for every fight.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by 5xad0w View Post
    I tend to only make morale checks for monsters when I feel it is beneficial for the story.

    Most PCs will chase down a single goblin to the ends of the earth so I don't tend to use it for every fight.
    So has an NPC ever escaped your blood thirsty PCs? Sometimes PCs run themselves into trouble by chasing down that elusive goblin. :-)
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    May your dice rolls be ever in your favor.


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron28 View Post
    So has an NPC ever escaped your blood thirsty PCs? Sometimes PCs run themselves into trouble by chasing down that elusive goblin. :-)
    The last (literal) goblin to escape from the pursuing party (by lucky dice rolls) came back as their nemesis at a rather inopportune time.
    "There is no knowledge that is not power."
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  7. #7
    I run Hackmaster, where everything has +20 hit points, so morale checks are extra important to keep combats from turning into long slogs when the outcome is probably already known.

    I've had the same thought as you... it would be nice to automate morale checks somehow. The problem is that it would be a LOT of work to do it right, and there would still be quite a few cases you simply can't automate. I do make morale checks often, but usually I'm just getting a gut feel of "were the dice high, low, or average", because I usually don't want to click through every monster to find out what their morale scores are, and I also never remember what all modifiers should apply. So if I ever get around to adding something like this to my extension, it would be less of a full automation of morale (super difficult to do properly!) and just more of a thing that might help you keep track of what morale modifiers are appropriate (has one side lost half their combatants since combat started? Are they outnumbered 3 to 1? Did their leader just die?) as well as some sort of button that will roll morale for all the NPCs for me at once, with whatever modifier I specify, and spit out the results for me (or maybe just put a "Failed Morale" effect on them or something, or an icon in the CT). Basically, something that doesn't take the decision-making process around morale out of my hands, but does make it easier to actually perform the checks when I want to.

    Mainly haven't done this because I haven't through of a great UI for it. Maybe a window that pops up that brings up the "Situational Modifiers" chart for morale from the DMG with a bunch of checkboxes where you can select the ones you think apply, then hit a button to roll for all the monsters? Not sure.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron28 View Post
    Are you suggesting that all of the content found on those pages regarding morale in the DMG be included in the 2E ruleset or coded as part of a mod or extension?
    Morale isn't automated in the 2e ruleset. It's a very subjective value to check and depends on far to many variables. It would be almost like trying to automate alignment.

    I make the checks when I feel it's appropriate.
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  9. #9
    JohnD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron28 View Post
    Are you suggesting that all of the content found on those pages regarding morale in the DMG be included in the 2E ruleset or coded as part of a mod or extension?
    No, automating morale would be significantly more trouble than it's worth IMO. Morale is a subjective determination, highly situation dependent. When I first read your post, somehow it didn't come through that you were wondering about automating it, so I just pointed you to where morale is discussed in the DMG.

    Also, what happens when morale checks are failed is also situational in my experience - broken morale doesn't always cause opponents to flee the battle in full rout (although it certainly can).
    "Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech."

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

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    "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too."

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sterno View Post
    I run Hackmaster, where everything has +20 hit points, so morale checks are extra important to keep combats from turning into long slogs when the outcome is probably already known.

    I've had the same thought as you... it would be nice to automate morale checks somehow. The problem is that it would be a LOT of work to do it right, and there would still be quite a few cases you simply can't automate. I do make morale checks often, but usually I'm just getting a gut feel of "were the dice high, low, or average", because I usually don't want to click through every monster to find out what their morale scores are, and I also never remember what all modifiers should apply. So if I ever get around to adding something like this to my extension, it would be less of a full automation of morale (super difficult to do properly!) and just more of a thing that might help you keep track of what morale modifiers are appropriate (has one side lost half their combatants since combat started? Are they outnumbered 3 to 1? Did their leader just die?) as well as some sort of button that will roll morale for all the NPCs for me at once, with whatever modifier I specify, and spit out the results for me (or maybe just put a "Failed Morale" effect on them or something, or an icon in the CT). Basically, something that doesn't take the decision-making process around morale out of my hands, but does make it easier to actually perform the checks when I want to.

    Mainly haven't done this because I haven't through of a great UI for it. Maybe a window that pops up that brings up the "Situational Modifiers" chart for morale from the DMG with a bunch of checkboxes where you can select the ones you think apply, then hit a button to roll for all the monsters? Not sure.
    "Maybe a window that pops up that brings up the "Situational Modifiers" chart for morale from the DMG with a bunch of checkboxes where you can select the ones you think apply, then hit a button to roll for all the monsters?" This was the sort of UI I was thinking about as well that would provide a tool for the DM to use in game. I understand that automating morale checks would be difficult to program.

    I created an Excel Spreadsheet where I enter the NPC base morale value, check boxes next to the situational modifiers, and have a formula to calculate the DC. What I don't know how to do take what I've done in Excel and program it as an extension. Is there an FG College course for this?
    Last edited by Baron28; May 4th, 2021 at 20:21.
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