Rules Index

Chapter 10: Game Mastering / Running Modes of Play / Encounters

Choosing Adversaries' Actions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 493
Players often coordinate and plan to be as efficient as possible, but their adversaries might not. As the GM, you’re roleplaying these foes, and you decide their tactics. Most creatures have a basic grasp of simple tactics like flanking or focusing on a single target. But you should remember that they also react based on emotions and make mistakes—perhaps even more than the player characters do.

When selecting targets or choosing which abilities to use, rely on the adversaries’ knowledge of the situation, not your own. You might know that the cleric has a high Will save modifier, but a monster might still try to use a fear ability on her. That doesn’t mean you should play adversaries as complete fools; they can learn from their mistakes, make sound plans, and even research the player characters in advance.

Adversaries usually don’t attack a character who’s knocked out. Even if a creature knows a fallen character might come back into the fight, only the most vicious creatures focus on helpless foes rather than the more immediate threats around them.

Running adversaries is a mix of being true to the creature and doing what’s best for the drama of the game. Think of your encounter like a fight scene in a movie or novel. If the fighter taunts a fire giant to draw its attention away from the fragile wizard, the tactically sound decision is for the giant to keep pummeling the wizard. But is that the best choice for the scene? Perhaps everyone will have more fun if the giant redirects its ire to the infuriating fighter.