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harpy
2009-12-09, 04:39 PM
I'm just joining the crowd going down old-school memory lane. Why was morale yanked from 3e? The structure and math behind 3e seems like it would have easily accommodated morale, along with rules that would trigger a cascade of effects.

You do have several levels of fear in 3E, but they are all condition effects that tend to come out of magic, never out of just the reality of seeing your side getting defeated in combat.

Ravens_cry
2009-12-09, 04:43 PM
Because how a character feels should come down to the player? Besides, you feel pretty bad anyway when the fight isn't going your way.

nepphi
2009-12-09, 04:44 PM
Same reason they dropped speed factor - it adds a step that isn't necessarily adding to the experience. Lots of people neglected morale and speed factor just because of the extra time they added, so they were tossed out on the premises that a - someone familiar with their weapons will probably be very quick with them, and b - people like to roleplay their own reactions to fear and demoralization, rather than allowing the dice to tell them.

FoE
2009-12-09, 04:45 PM
As an old 1E DM, I tended to ignore the rules concerning morale. I prefer to stay in control of my monsters, not having some arbitrary value deciding whether they flee or fight. And it didn't even come into play half of the time.

imp_fireball
2009-12-09, 04:47 PM
What the heck is speed factor?

nepphi
2009-12-09, 04:49 PM
In 2nd ed, weapons had a speed factor.

You rolled initiative on a d10. Higher inits went later. Speed factor added to the D10.

So say you had 17 dex, which I think granted a -1 to initiative. Longsword was speed factor 5. Roll a d10, get 6. 6 + 5 -1 = init 10. Larger weapons had greater speed factors.

This was one reason for choosing smaller weapons as a fighter, since higher levels of proficiency could reduce the initiative penalty of speed factor. High level, high dex fighters with short swords could become a proper terror in their own right at always going first.

Eldariel
2009-12-09, 04:51 PM
What the heck is speed factor?

One of the more interesting weapon traits (and well, other actions as well). Basically, it's a modifier to your initiative as to when your action actually happens.

For what it's worth, I also like Morale; it gives you something to easily base off Charisma and...well, it's pretty damn integral to any true combat scenarios. Also, it makes fear-effects more brutal due to stacking; if you drop to Shaken and get hit by fear-inducing effect, you'll be running. One more and you'll just plain panick.


I appreciate the RP side as much as the next guy, but fact is that a person is not (to a great degree) in control of when he's afraid and when he isn't; as such, I feel having a die to arbitrate that functions better in a non-freeform game.

Optimystik
2009-12-09, 04:51 PM
I would guess, that mechanically telling players (and monsters) how to react to situations without mind-affecting magic involved wasn't good roleplay.

What if my character concept has my character get more determined when my side is being decimated, rather than turn craven? The morale rules would have had me running for the hills anyway, unless I was a paladin.

deuxhero
2009-12-09, 04:51 PM
Morale exists in 3e, it's just only brought up by fear effects and rare types of bonuses.

Fhaolan
2009-12-09, 04:55 PM
Morale was a holdover from D&D's wargaming roots. While the idea of a 'how easily is this species frightened' score wasn't that bad of an idea, it wasn't really integrated into D&D very well. When 3e was initially being assembled the writers didn't want to have morale overriding PC actions all the time, or being a NPC-only trait (as they were trying to get rid of NPC-only traits).

Eldariel
2009-12-09, 05:00 PM
What if my character concept has my character get more determined when my side is being decimated, rather than turn craven? The morale rules would have had me running for the hills anyway, unless I was a paladin.

*shrug* I'd give you a feat for that. Maybe a Trait, even. Seems the kind of thing those two should cover. Normal person is going to get demoralized when all his friends die and enemies' numbers just grow. An iron-willed character can still continue fighting, of course.

nepphi
2009-12-09, 05:04 PM
*shrug* I'd give you a feat for that. Maybe a Trait, even. Seems the kind of thing those two should cover. Normal person is going to get demoralized when all his friends die and enemies' numbers just grow. An iron-willed character can still continue fighting, of course.

It's a case of not needing the mechanic, for the most part. First, most parties I know tend to retreat when the casualties pile up, rather than sticking things out, just like real combatants would. Second, there are people and groups that can and will fight no matter the odds, and if the party wants to play them, let them. In short, not everything needs to be modeled by an in-game mechanic. The game works generally fine without a morale mechanic, just as it functions without speed factor. Does verismilitude suffer? A bit, depending on your PoV, but not enough to break the state.

Eldariel
2009-12-09, 05:09 PM
It's a case of not needing the mechanic, for the most part. First, most parties I know tend to retreat when the casualties pile up, rather than sticking things out, just like real combatants would. Second, there are people and groups that can and will fight no matter the odds, and if the party wants to play them, let them. In short, not everything needs to be modeled by an in-game mechanic. The game works generally fine without a morale mechanic, just as it functions without speed factor. Does verismilitude suffer? A bit, depending on your PoV, but not enough to break the state.

You say that as if there were some standard for what's an acceptable breach of verisimilitude and what needs mechanics, in every person's opinion. Rest assured, that's not the case. There's a lot of variance on peoples' opinions on the matter for that very reason.

To me, it does matter that such fundamental parts of warfare are modeled somehow; it allows me to model mass combats with the base combat system. Fear is frankly the only major military factor that's not modeled at all in the game.

It's also a tool in warrior characters' repertoire that's exceedingly handy to have; fear is basically the only way for a warrior to attack enemy's mind. As such, I personally find that mechanically representing it in the game is worth the effort. Also makes fear immunity more interesting and relevant.

Zombimode
2009-12-09, 05:09 PM
Because how a character feels should come down to the player? Besides, you feel pretty bad anyway when the fight isn't going your way.


I would guess, that mechanically telling players (and monsters) how to react to situations without mind-affecting magic involved wasn't good roleplay.

What if my character concept has my character get more determined when my side is being decimated, rather than turn craven? The morale rules would have had me running for the hills anyway, unless I was a paladin.

Eh... do you actually know what you are talking about?

Morale is an NPC and Monster stat. In no way player characters have it. Not in 2e at least.

Please, check your information before posting.

Besides, morale dont dictate actions. It is a tool of decision making for the DM.

"Hm, the cave bear has lost over 50% of his HP. He was just out hunting normal prey, maybe he backs of to find something easier to kill. But maybe he is very hungry too. Gosh, I will just make a morale check."

I like it. I use it for situations were I dont have every possible outcome thought out.
If I dont feel like to make a decision based on a roll, I dont. Its easy as that.

nepphi
2009-12-09, 05:13 PM
You say that as if there were some standard for what's an acceptable breach of verisimilitude and what needs mechanics, in every person's opinion. Rest assured, that's not the case. There's a lot of variance on peoples' opinions on the matter for that very reason.


Well, I'm not so much suggesting a universal standard, believe me when I say I understand that everyone has different tastes and opinions of what's acceptable or suspendable. However, given the overwhelmingly positive reception of 3e (as measured by the metric of its financial success and enduring positive press), it's pretty clear that -by and large- the neglect of certain classic elements didn't seriously hinder the verisimilitude of the game.

Eldariel
2009-12-09, 05:16 PM
Well, I'm not so much suggesting a universal standard, believe me when I say I understand that everyone has different tastes and opinions of what's acceptable or suspendable. However, given the overwhelmingly positive reception of 3e (as measured by the metric of its financial success and enduring positive press), it's pretty clear that -by and large- the neglect of certain classic elements didn't seriously hinder the verisimilitude of the game.

That's saying little since edition switch has always been a trade-off rather than a strict upgrade. I guess people just found enough good in 3e to make the switch (though I'd like to point out that there was a relevant-sized contingent of adamant AD&D 2e players who stuck to their guns).

Frankly, I don't think Morale isn't the main reason for peoples' edition preferences one way or another and as such, this switch is saying little.

nepphi
2009-12-09, 05:19 PM
Well, put it this way, I never heard morale being one of the primary reasons cited for sticking with the extant materials over the new ones. That said, it's probably a moot point nowadays, but it expresses my general reasoning behind the switch - it's an element that was peripheral enough to what the designers perceived to be the core DnD experience that removing it seemed logical in the effort to streamline the game.

Mark Hall
2009-12-09, 05:20 PM
What if my character concept has my character get more determined when my side is being decimated, rather than turn craven? The morale rules would have had me running for the hills anyway, unless I was a paladin.

I can't think of a time when morale was suggested to apply to PCs... it shows up in the DMG only for a reason, and the green sheets didn't have a space for them (that I recall). It was a way of saying "Are these orcs going to keep fighting, or run away" not "Your character is a craven coward and flees from combat." If your NPC character concept is that you get more determined when the chips are down, you either assign an arbitrary bonus to morale or you simply ignore morale for that NPC.

It's a tool. You don't have to use it in every situation, but it's a useful one when you do.

jmbrown
2009-12-09, 06:15 PM
Morale was never implied to be used on PCs and 2E specifically said that PC's never roll for morale.

Morale was removed for several reason I can think of:

1) It's another mechanic the DM has to keep track of in an already complex system that requires lots of paperwork.

2) Action economy in 3E is restricted. AD&D was basically "Is there a clear path and are you faster than the enemy? You successfully run away." In 3E you have to manage the individual movement of every single creature and worry about things like difficult terrain and AoO's.

3) 3E is focused on small groups unlike AD&D. You were expected to go adventuring with a handful of followers to face-plant traps or act as a diversion. The cheaper your hired help, the more likely they were going to flee when the guy standing next to them was swallowed whole by a behir. 3E follows a "too many chefs spoil the soup" style where large groups are more of a liability than a benefit and since morale doesn't apply to PCs, well, you see where I'm going with this.

I loved the morale system but it has little place in 3E.

Slayn82
2009-12-09, 07:35 PM
Tests of Intimidation or diplomacy can be used to cover most situations where morale used to apply in the 2nd edition, if you really need those. Also, in 2nd edition, a lvl 1 mage used to put -4 in enemies morale, if my memory doesnt falter. Even if he just had light spells memorized. Weird, no?

Eldariel
2009-12-09, 08:09 PM
Tests of Intimidation or diplomacy can be used to cover most situations where morale used to apply in the 2nd edition, if you really need those. Also, in 2nd edition, a lvl 1 mage used to put -4 in enemies morale, if my memory doesnt falter. Even if he just had light spells memorized. Weird, no?

Well, characters to whom Magic is alien are obviously intimidated by facing magicians; most likely much more so than by facing simply particularly muscular specimens (which is what low-level PC warriors amount to). It seems quite logical to me as long as it's limited to groups not very familiar with magic.

I mean, that kind of intimidation is the prime weapon of most magicians from the classic folklore who frankly lack the "world ends in 1 minute"-powers D&D Magicians have; what you can do isn't really important, it's what your enemy fears you could possibly do. A simple Light-spell can easily be used to portent doom or whatever as long as your adversaries don't know what you're doing.

ericgrau
2009-12-09, 08:37 PM
Morale was a holdover from D&D's wargaming roots. While the idea of a 'how easily is this species frightened' score wasn't that bad of an idea, it wasn't really integrated into D&D very well. When 3e was initially being assembled the writers didn't want to have morale overriding PC actions all the time, or being a NPC-only trait (as they were trying to get rid of NPC-only traits).

IIRC morale stayed in D&D miniatures, probably for this reason. But I think they removed it in 4E D&D minis to help the systems converge.

Mark Hall
2009-12-09, 08:50 PM
Tests of Intimidation or diplomacy can be used to cover most situations where morale used to apply in the 2nd edition, if you really need those. Also, in 2nd edition, a lvl 1 mage used to put -4 in enemies morale, if my memory doesnt falter. Even if he just had light spells memorized. Weird, no?

Don't recall the numbers, but it was if they used magic and you didn't have a magic-user on your own side... and they might have had to have injured someone to get that.

Gnaeus
2009-12-09, 08:57 PM
I wish we had some morale rules. The NPCs my DM runs never surrender, and never retreat unless forced to by the fear rules. It is like everyone in battle is satisfying some kind of perverse deathwish. Every fight, I offer the opportunity for surrender, back it with good skill rolls, and watch my enemies throw themselves on my sword. When we have NPC allies, they are just the same. If I want a porter to carry my luggage, I have to specify that I want the most cowardly porter they have in order to keep the wankers from charging monsters all the time.

Optimystik
2009-12-09, 09:05 PM
*shrug* I'd give you a feat for that. Maybe a Trait, even. Seems the kind of thing those two should cover. Normal person is going to get demoralized when all his friends die and enemies' numbers just grow. An iron-willed character can still continue fighting, of course.

PCs aren't "normal." They're heroes. Forcing them to waste a feat to act heroic is extremely counterintuitive.


It's a tool. You don't have to use it in every situation, but it's a useful one when you do.

If you want it to apply to monsters, bully for you. You're the DM, you decide when/if they flee or not. If you want to roll some dice beforehand for some strange reason, knock yourself out.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-12-09, 09:11 PM
PCs aren't "normal." They're heroes.
Eh....
That's ambiguous.


If you want to roll some dice beforehand for some strange reason, knock yourself out.

Well, if you want to roll those dice (I don't), it would be nice to have rules for them, especially because they were in the edition immediately before 3e.

Mark Hall
2009-12-09, 09:14 PM
If you want it to apply to monsters, bully for you. You're the DM, you decide when/if they flee or not. If you want to roll some dice beforehand for some strange reason, knock yourself out.

It's also a tool that isn't in 3rd edition. Even if one isn't dicing for morale, knowing the morale of your NPCs and monsters is a useful piece of information.

jmbrown
2009-12-09, 09:50 PM
Don't recall the numbers, but it was if they used magic and you didn't have a magic-user on your own side... and they might have had to have injured someone to get that.

2E says you only check in that case when a creature is slain by magic but they do get a penalty when magic casters are involved in combat. I like the idea because magic is supposed to be fantastic and awe inspiring. 3E brought along this feeling that magic is commonplace and even the smallest, poorest towns are lit by everburning torches and mages run cleaning services with their prestidigitation.

I liked that you had a chance to scare off a dangerous predator simply by making your campfire magically flare up into the sky.


I wish we had some morale rules. The NPCs my DM runs never surrender, and never retreat unless forced to by the fear rules. It is like everyone in battle is satisfying some kind of perverse deathwish. Every fight, I offer the opportunity for surrender, back it with good skill rolls, and watch my enemies throw themselves on my sword. When we have NPC allies, they are just the same. If I want a porter to carry my luggage, I have to specify that I want the most cowardly porter they have in order to keep the wankers from charging monsters all the time.

Same here. Even the most canonically cowardly foes like kobolds and goblins seem to fight to the bitter end under most DMs. Even when I DM 3rd edition I'll hesitate to make monsters flee because it's such a hassle handling a retreat.

I do like how 4th edition gives more maneuverability options for monsters especially for elites and solos. In 3E, it was near impossible to allow the BBEG escape from combat unless he was a spell caster, could fly, or had teleportation because the PCs would just corner him and rip him apart. 4E I can have important NPCs spend action points on "Getting Out of Dodge" and the PCs just accept that they probably won't catch up to them.

harpy
2009-12-10, 12:06 AM
I hardly played 2E so I'm not sure how morale was handled in that version, I'm going off of AD&D.

Flipping through to page 67 of the DMG it was made quite clear that morale was only used for "non-leader NPCs" and "intelligent opponent monsters", just to clear up any confusion people might have that morale was intended for PCs.

Looking over the rules it looked like the DM I had that used it often must have had a much simpler system, because I know he didn't use all of the percentages and modifiers that the official rules used. My foggy memory recalls something more like:

If the leader is slain and there are more PCs standing than monsters then 50% each turn the rest will run.

I know he was just rolling a d6 to see if they fled.

In the games we played the morale only seemed to be used for intelligent humanoid types, like orcs, town guards, goblins, etc.

One of the big perks of morale was that if you did break the enemy and made them flee (and to point out, the morale roll was for the whole group of monsters) was that you'd get a free attack with huge bonuses to hit as they fled, using the rules pg. 70 of the DMG. So when those goblins freaked out and ran it usually meant all of them getting hit and mowed down as they turn and fled.

What also allowed morale to give a lot of flavor was that while some monsters did have morale, others did not. Skeletons and zombies were more creepy because you couldn't break them, they just kept marching forward and you had to smash and slash them all to pieces.

I do think it is unfortunate that they discarded morale. I think with all of the other math that got pumped into 3E that they could have come up with a streamlined system with strait forward conditions, and also be able to factor the creature's "break" value into their final CR value.

While DMs can and do toss off the cuff morale into their games, the fact that the rules don't highlight standard psychology creates the overall effect that there isn't any, and so it's only been in 3E that I've seen the standard situation is that creatures fight to the death. The only times I've seen DMs use morale was usually when they wanted to bring a scene to a close, knowing that it was only a mop up situation at that point. It never seemed to be weighed as a real strategy to try and break the enemy, which is unfortunate as that is a big factor in real conflicts.

The funny thing I've noticed is that what is left of morale in 3E is mainly only applying to PCs and not to monsters. For the most part the fear effects are things monsters perform on PCs. The end result is that most fear effects involve a player running from an encounter and the player have tons of fun waiting for several minutes to pass in-game before they can get back in the action. Thus they have to sit around, or go grab something to eat, or play on the xbox, while everyone else plays.

True, you can demoralize with intimidate, and spellcasters can cast some spells, but... come on... how often are spellcasters casting those spells, and you can't (surprise!) see the fighter driving his enemies before him.

Another effect is that in living games like Living Greyhawk and Pathfinder Society, because you need to stick to RAW as much as possible, it also disinclines DMs to use off the cuff morale house rules and thus even more games go without guidelines that would help breath a bit more realism into the fights.

I certainly wouldn't have wanted to see the rules in the AD&D DMG retained after all of these years, but a revised system would have been great, offering a viable mundane strategy to the game and making things feel less like a video game where the icon of the monster just keeps swinging until its health bar is gone.

FoE
2009-12-10, 12:16 AM
PCs aren't "normal." They're heroes.


Eh....
That's ambiguous.

Well, heroes by the standards of Greek mythology, at any rate.

And by which I mean, "special." Not necessarily "heroic", just "special".

jmbrown
2009-12-10, 12:30 AM
long interesting post

Couldn't agree more. 2E took it a step forward by having you roll 2d10 and checking against the creature's base morale. A wild predator like a lion would have morale of 7 while intelligent, average creatures had a morale of 10 and trained warriors would have 11 or 12. Undead were fearless and some monsters gained bonuses to morale because they just didn't care.

The system made sense. Animals are only attacking the PCs for food and if their surprise attack fails they're not going to stick around attacking something that's hitting just as hard. A group of hobgoblins has a bit more than 50% on average to stick around in a fight with no clear victor but they're not going to keep pressing on when their toughest warrior was easily slain by an acid arrow and they haven't landed a single hit.

So, yeah, I think fear and demoralizing took a really big hit in 3E because it has a static penalty. You intimidate someone into peeing their pants and they get a whopping -2 to attacks and saves for 1 round then go right back to hacking and whacking.

Asbestos
2009-12-10, 12:34 AM
IIRC morale stayed in D&D miniatures, probably for this reason. But I think they removed it in 4E D&D minis to help the systems converge.
Well, it was odd that it was in the original version of the game but not in 3.x. Anyway, it was an annoying as hell mechanic in DDM. For those uninformed, whenever one of your creatures was at half hp (bloodied as it were) it had to make a save or flee the battlefield as quickly as possible. Certain 'commanders' allowed a bonus to the saving throw or allowed the fleeing unit another chance at the save in the next round, but plenty of times having your unit reduced to half hp meant it was out of commission. Undead and Constructs were pretty powerful because they weren't subject to the morale save.

Optimystik
2009-12-10, 12:35 AM
Well, if you want to roll those dice (I don't), it would be nice to have rules for them, especially because they were in the edition immediately before 3e.

"It was in the edition before 3e" isn't a very compelling argument for something's existence, like THAC0 and multiclass restrictions.

And if you want rules for them, make some.

kjones
2009-12-10, 12:53 AM
I never really used morale rules back in 2e, and I don't mind adjudicating that sort of thing manually in subsequent editions, but they were cool rules and I wouldn't mind seeing them show up as an optional thing in 3e/4e.

Asbestos
2009-12-10, 12:59 AM
I never really used morale rules back in 2e, and I don't mind adjudicating that sort of thing manually in subsequent editions, but they were cool rules and I wouldn't mind seeing them show up as an optional thing in 3e/4e.

It does exist for monsters in 4e, at least in a sense. Its an official rule even, but I don't know of a single person that plays with it. You can attempt to make an Intimidate check against a bloodied opponent to get them to surrender, some argue that the DC is never stated by RAW and others (such as myself) feel that, unrestricted, it can make fights a bit stupid.

Mystic Muse
2009-12-10, 01:54 AM
It does exist for monsters in 4e, at least in a sense. Its an official rule even, but I don't know of a single person that plays with it. You can attempt to make an Intimidate check against a bloodied opponent to get them to surrender, some argue that the DC is never stated by RAW and others (such as myself) feel that, unrestricted, it can make fights a bit stupid.

I actually use this occasionally. If I can get the guy to surrender and end the fight there why shouldn't I? especially since I'm a Paladin.

My DM rules that after a monster is bloodied your intimidate score has to exceed their will and they'll surrender. Although there are different rules for bosses.

also, why do people keep mentioning THAC0 like he's lame? THAC0 is the greatest Goblin ever! Although big ears is good too.

bosssmiley
2009-12-10, 06:50 AM
I'm just joining the crowd going down old-school memory lane. Why was morale yanked from 3e? The structure and math behind 3e seems like it would have easily accommodated morale, along with rules that would trigger a cascade of effects.

Some DMs are too lazy/attached to D&D-as-magic-tea-party to think about why monsters may actually choose to run and fight another day.

Proper D&D has - and needs - morale rules as a labour-saving device for the DM.

With concrete morale rules you have a quick-and-easy way to model all the randomness and chaos of a real fight ("Where are those cowards going? We have the enemy at our mercy!"). Without a morale system you've got a deterministic world run by DM fiat and/or Diablo levels of monster interactivity (if ADVENTURER=yes, then FIGHT2TEHDEATH). I know which I think is better for verisimilitude. :smallamused:

IMO the BECMI morale system was never bettered.
2d6 roll, equal or under the morale score of the monster type to pass.
Check once when the first person on a side dies/is rendered hors d'combat.
Check again when half the side are dead/incapacitated.
Does not apply to PCs.

This simple little system lets you have all sorts of hilarious and unexpected antics, like having your NPC bearers or henchmen flee at the first arrow and having to go look for them when/if ambushing enemy horde finally breaks. Likewise it means the BBEG's minion legions may suddenly decide that this is not their fight any more. Thus leaving the villain high-and-dry when his troops surrender, switch sides, or rout. ("Attack, oh my warriors!" "Me am no paid enuff for dis...")

Emergent complexity: gotta love it.


You do have several levels of fear in 3E, but they are all condition effects that tend to come out of magic, never out of just the reality of seeing your side getting defeated in combat.

That's because 3E Hates Muggles and won't let them have nice things. Any decent version of D&D allows non-magic characters to cause status effects too. Heck, even BECMI and the ginger stepchild that is 4E cater for that!

An aside: back in the original D&D combat rules (Chainmail) 9th level fighters caused fear in 1HD monsters by their very presence on the battlefield. Put simply, your Orc or Militiaman knew that going up against a Lancelot/Fingon/Elric/Kane/Druss/Kharn the Betrayer type was nothing but a quick ticket to the afterlife, and they acted accordingly.

"High level fighters. Very dangerous. You go first." -- Salah

@Gorilla: Modified level check might work:


Roll d20+level/HD vs. TN of N+their HD.
(N = 0 if they are a pushover, 5 if they're notably weaker than you, 10 if even matched, 15 if they outclass you, 20 or more if they horribly outclass you)

Pass = continue fighting
Fail = surrender/flee like sissy little gurly girl

Gorilla2038
2009-12-10, 07:02 AM
Does anyone have any morale rules for 3.5?

Swordguy
2009-12-10, 07:09 AM
Does anyone have any morale rules for 3.5?

Yup.


1) Check to see if you're a full spellcaster.
-yes: continue to fight
-no: Roll 1d20. On a result of less than 21, run away or surrender.

Frog Dragon
2009-12-10, 07:25 AM
Morale is well enough represented in player decisions.

DM: The tentacled monster swipes at Qurum. Take 21
Player 1: Ow! I only have 13 hp left now.
Player 2: I don't think were gonna win this. I don't have any more third level slots left
Player 3: I think we should run.
Player 1: Good idea.

*PC:s run from the monster*

See?
They probably aren't going to have their characters stay and fight if they don't think they can win. Translates pretty well to the characters ****ting their pants and running away.

Zombimode
2009-12-10, 08:48 AM
See?
They probably aren't going to have their characters stay and fight if they don't think they can win. Translates pretty well to the characters ****ting their pants and running away.

For the 100ths time: morale is NOT for PCs
It was never the case, please stop insisting.

Optimystik
2009-12-10, 09:12 AM
For the 100ths time: morale is NOT for PCs
It was never the case, please stop insisting.

If it's only for monsters, then what exactly is the point of it? The DM can choose to make them run or not at his discretion, no dice roll or convoluted mechanics are needed.

Mindless creatures are easy to figure out, but how about monstrous humanoids? Monsters with class levels? Aberrations and Outsiders? Do we make a separate table for all of them? It just seems like a colossal waste of time and space to me.

Tiki Snakes
2009-12-10, 09:34 AM
It does exist for monsters in 4e, at least in a sense. Its an official rule even, but I don't know of a single person that plays with it. You can attempt to make an Intimidate check against a bloodied opponent to get them to surrender, some argue that the DC is never stated by RAW and others (such as myself) feel that, unrestricted, it can make fights a bit stupid.

DC is stated by raw, actually. I looked it up, for use with a warlord of mine.

The target is either a DC set by the DM or their Will Defence. HOWEVER, if they are 'hostile' then they get +5 to their will defence for the attempt, and if you don't share a language, they get +10. I'm pretty much assuming they stack, too.

Also if you fail, they become hostile if they weren't already, and this can only be tried on a creature once during a combat. Over-all, pretty well balanced, I'd say, really.

nightwyrm
2009-12-10, 10:54 AM
You know what will happen when you introduce morale rules. They will start introducing powers and mechanics to interact with it. Morale will become just another type of "hp".

Mark Hall
2009-12-10, 11:36 AM
If it's only for monsters, then what exactly is the point of it? The DM can choose to make them run or not at his discretion, no dice roll or convoluted mechanics are needed.

Mindless creatures are easy to figure out, but how about monstrous humanoids? Monsters with class levels? Aberrations and Outsiders? Do we make a separate table for all of them? It just seems like a colossal waste of time and space to me.

Why make a separate table for everyone? The basics of good tactics remain the same across species, and it's just a measure of how willing to keep fighting one is... and, if there's basic morale mechanics, then there's a reference for how willing someone is to keep fighting as the tactical situation changes. Of course one can wing it... but one can also wing combat. Or decide not to roll in a social situation. This doesn't mean that having rules for these are "a colossal waste of time and space".

dsmiles
2009-12-10, 11:37 AM
I would guess, that mechanically telling players (and monsters) how to react to situations without mind-affecting magic involved wasn't good roleplay.

What if my character concept has my character get more determined when my side is being decimated, rather than turn craven? The morale rules would have had me running for the hills anyway, unless I was a paladin.

IIRC, Morale was only for NPCs and monsters. PCs determined their own breaking points.

Fhaolan
2009-12-10, 11:43 AM
You know what will happen when you introduce morale rules. They will start introducing powers and mechanics to interact with it. Morale will become just another type of "hp".

You say that like it's a bad thing. :smallcool:

Actually, I've on occasion thought of having two 'hp'-like stats for each character. Basically a physical one and a mental one. That way you could 'attack' a creature's morale/willpower with things like psionics, magic, morale-altering things. Everytime I've wandered down that path though, it cascaded into a mess of alterations to the core mechanics and I just abandoned it as 'too much work, too little return'.

harpy
2009-12-10, 12:16 PM
You know what will happen when you introduce morale rules. They will start introducing powers and mechanics to interact with it. Morale will become just another type of "hp".

That is exactly what I'd want to see!

Just as you'd have other strategies built into the game, you'd also have strategies built on breaking opponent's will, which is a huge aspect of real conflict.

Optimystik
2009-12-10, 12:23 PM
Why make a separate table for everyone? The basics of good tactics remain the same across species, and it's just a measure of how willing to keep fighting one is... and, if there's basic morale mechanics, then there's a reference for how willing someone is to keep fighting as the tactical situation changes.

No, they don't. For mindless species maybe, or hive-mind species like Illithids, but for a race with a lot of individuality between members (Dragons, or Devils, or Beholders, for instance) having a blanket "braveness score" is pointless.


Of course one can wing it... but one can also wing combat. Or decide not to roll in a social situation. This doesn't mean that having rules for these are "a colossal waste of time and space".

Those are diametrically opposing examples - combat is very rarely a "social situation." Social situations call for individuality and expression of personality, whereas combat is easier if tactics are standardized, and monsters behave more homogeneously.

"Morale" combines the worst aspects of both; it's attempting to standardize individuality. Worse, the 2e system is based purely on hit dice, rather than another mechanic that would make more sense, like will saves, mental ability scores, opposed Intimidate checks, Sense Motive etc. Granted, some of those things didn't exist in 2e, but that's yet more reason for them to have looked at the system and decided if it really worked or not.

About the only justification I can think for the system is that it gives the DM a passive-aggressive way to end encounters prematurely. "Hey guys, the dice says they ran away and you don't get to loot them - it's not in my hands." Except it IS in his hands, and always has been.

It's a holdover from D&D's roots when players would have NPC hirelings that would (rightfully) soil themselves and hoof it when real monsters showed up. 3e isn't about that - it's about the PCs being heroic, conquering obstacles that would daunt many lesser men, and not relying on boosting the flagging resolve of weak-kneed cohorts. And I think the game is better for it.

harpy
2009-12-10, 12:54 PM
I have to agree with Mark Hall, I don't see anything inherent in 3e/4e design that wouldn't allow for some kind of morale rating to be figured out for monsters. It doesn't have to be what was used in older editions, but a more complex formula taking into account a lot of factors. That rating would then be just another line item on the stat block and not something that the DM would have to calculate on the fly. The rating could likewise be factored into the CR value.

If the creature(s) hit the threshold for needing to make a morale check then they'd have a x% chance to run, and that percentage could be translated into one of the many factors that make up the monsters difficulty rating.

As for heroics, I'd think that if lots of creatures run screaming from you that it would just emphasize your awesomeness, not diminish it.

I think the major problem I see with a lack of morale is that it makes DMs not really consider it. Some might, some might not, or it just gets used now and again.

The combat rules include details on all sorts of factors, such as cover, body armor, flanking, etc. From any student of history and warfare, would place morale right up there as being of at least equal if not higher importance than all of the physical terrain. The "psychological terrain" just isn't detailed, and that's a shame, because only some DMs are going to pay attention to it, and that aspect can provide a lot of rich elements to an encounter.

Mark Hall
2009-12-10, 01:15 PM
No, they don't. For mindless species maybe, or hive-mind species like Illithids, but for a race with a lot of individuality between members (Dragons, or Devils, or Beholders, for instance) having a blanket "braveness score" is pointless.

You mean like having a blanket Strength score, Wisdom score, or Charisma score? Like all of the ones currently have?


Those are diametrically opposing examples - combat is very rarely a "social situation." Social situations call for individuality and expression of personality...

And a roll of a d20 + Charisma Modifier + Bluff, Intimidate, or Diplomacy.

The system already abstracts social situations into a roll. It abstracts most combat situations to a series of rolls. It's possible to abstract loot selection to a roll. What it doesn't do is provide reasonable abstractions for when a group of enemies will decide "Enough is enough, I'm running."

taltamir
2009-12-10, 01:21 PM
does anyone feel that the game has actually been diminished due to morale not existing?

less work + more roleplaying = a good decision IMAO

nightwyrm
2009-12-10, 01:30 PM
You say that like it's a bad thing. :smallcool:

Actually, I've on occasion thought of having two 'hp'-like stats for each character. Basically a physical one and a mental one. That way you could 'attack' a creature's morale/willpower with things like psionics, magic, morale-altering things. Everytime I've wandered down that path though, it cascaded into a mess of alterations to the core mechanics and I just abandoned it as 'too much work, too little return'.

That's what I think would happen. Sure, attacking "morale points" instead of HP would be a different "strategy", but mechanically it might be very similar to attacking HP. Also, you might get into the situation of having half the party attacking morale and the other half attacking hp. Or if attacking MP is much easier, attacking MP might become the dominant strategy and you'd just have MP replacing HP. I just don't see a whole lot of benefit to creating "morale points" where you can just expand the definition of hit points to include some morale component (which it already does, in a way).

Asbestos
2009-12-10, 01:36 PM
DC is stated by raw, actually. I looked it up, for use with a warlord of mine.

The target is either a DC set by the DM or their Will Defence. HOWEVER, if they are 'hostile' then they get +5 to their will defence for the attempt, and if you don't share a language, they get +10. I'm pretty much assuming they stack, too.

Also if you fail, they become hostile if they weren't already, and this can only be tried on a creature once during a combat. Over-all, pretty well balanced, I'd say, really.
Oh, I agree the DC is stated by RAW, but some individuals argue otherwise, because 'hostile' isn't 'in combat' or some nonsense. I do feel that certain creatures should be immune though otherwise the PCs are cowing Oozes, Zombies, and Golems.

Roderick_BR
2009-12-10, 01:42 PM
Hmm. A lot of people are saying that they don't want their characters actions divtated by dice roll, but as far as I remember, it was used more for NPCs than PCs. There's even an example of a character being attacked from every side and staying cool, because his player said so, but the DM could use it to simulate how well random NPCs reacted to some situations.
I think it might have been an optional rule.

Speed factor was played back then because everyhing had a speed factor. Spells, too, had casting speed, meaning that a quick fighter or rogue could run up to a wizard or cleric, and ruin his day.
All action decisions were taken before rolling initiative, and changing actions would cost you added initiative penalty. 3e on the fly action choice made weapon/casting speed not practical at all.

Optimystik
2009-12-10, 01:51 PM
You mean like having a blanket Strength score, Wisdom score, or Charisma score? Like all of the ones currently have?

You're confusing biology with psychology here. Let's take dragons - at equal ages, most broods have specimens with identical ability scores, as you mentioned.. But their disposition, outlook, behavior - in short, their tendency to stick to a fight or choose retreat - vary wildly. Is one morale score for an entire variety of dragons appropriate? One glance at any D&D book tells me no.


And a roll of a d20 + Charisma Modifier + Bluff, Intimidate, or Diplomacy.

The system already abstracts social situations into a roll. It abstracts most combat situations to a series of rolls. It's possible to abstract loot selection to a roll. What it doesn't do is provide reasonable abstractions for when a group of enemies will decide "Enough is enough, I'm running."

That's because it's impossible to boil that down to a roll for an entire race. What makes one person quake at the knees, may galvanize someone else. Backing someone into a corner and then relying on a table instead of their character to determine their next move, smacks of poor roleplay to me.


does anyone feel that the game has actually been diminished due to morale not existing?

less work + more roleplaying = a good decision IMAO

Very much this.

Mark Hall
2009-12-10, 01:53 PM
does anyone feel that the game has actually been diminished due to morale not existing?

less work + more roleplaying = a good decision IMAO

Yes, because your equation is false.

"Less work" is not necessarily the case. Less numbers, perhaps, but morale isn't exactly "work." In 2e, it's a single roll of 2d10 against a number that you can leave static. As with most things 2nd edition, the modifiers could be ignored if you wanted to.

"More roleplaying". How is it "role-playing" for monsters to NEVER run? Or to run only on fiat, especially when every other aspect of social or combat interaction is dictated by a die roll? Are you scared of the wizard? Roll a will save. Are you scared of the fighter? Roll a modified level check. Does the king believe your story? Roll a bluff. Even if you role-play out your intimidation or your bluff... you're still expected to roll.

taltamir
2009-12-10, 02:17 PM
because fiat is far more sensible and realistic than a computer program...
when you play CRPGs there are "WTF" moments when something completely wrong happens... for example, an animated sword gets feared, or something of the sort.

By leaving the decision on whether to run or fight to DM and PCs (and btw, the DM can override a PCs "courage" if needs be, for example, using magical fear) you have more sensible situations and more tools for the DM to create a believable world (without "fudging rolls")

More "numbers" being "just roll another D20" means more work, more stats to track, and more time spent on rolling dice that are not really needed.

Optimystik
2009-12-10, 02:35 PM
Yes, because your equation is false.

"Less work" is not necessarily the case. Less numbers, perhaps, but morale isn't exactly "work." In 2e, it's a single roll of 2d10 against a number that you can leave static. As with most things 2nd edition, the modifiers could be ignored if you wanted to.

"Hang on guys, you're mopping the floor with these monsters, but I have to check to see whether they stick around or not." How is that not more work than simply deciding if they run?

When do you roll the check? Everytime a monster dies? When a certain percentage of them die? If a PC lands a fatal critical hit?

Is it a fear effect? How does morale interact with fear immunities? How about abilities that trigger when a monster is scared? If they can't run, do they fight or cower, and would that be in character?


"More roleplaying". How is it "role-playing" for monsters to NEVER run? Or to run only on fiat, especially when every other aspect of social or combat interaction is dictated by a die roll? Are you scared of the wizard? Roll a will save. Are you scared of the fighter? Roll a modified level check. Does the king believe your story? Roll a bluff. Even if you role-play out your intimidation or your bluff... you're still expected to roll.

Even within your own example you're being inconsistent. First it's will saves to see if the monster is scared, then level checks. Without magic, nothing should be able to dictate what a creature is afraid of besides its own disposition.

harpy
2009-12-10, 02:38 PM
One of the things that I also find unfortunate with 3e/4e not having morale rules is that there are a lot of elements in these newer systems that could play into a "break their morale" strategy as they currently exist.

Cleave or Whirlwind feat - with both of these feats you could potentially drop several opponents in a single round. Depending on how the morale rules were structured, these kinds of instances could cause a morale check, increase the likelyhood of one, or modify a check.

Massive Damage Threshold - This is another rules instance that could trigger morale in some manner. If a PC dumps out 50+ damage, not only is a creature have to save vs dying, but that impressive blow could also cause some kind of morale effect.

It's an area of the game that would have potentially bolstered the martial characters further, giving them a psychological attack that would help lessen the gap between the martial and spellcasters power scales. It wouldn't solve it, but it would play into what being a bad ass is all about.

Mark Hall
2009-12-10, 03:10 PM
Even within your own example you're being inconsistent. First it's will saves to see if the monster is scared, then level checks. Without magic, nothing should be able to dictate what a creature is afraid of besides its own disposition.

And Intimidate checks, which function off a level check; a failed level check against Intimidate results in the target being shaken. Spells function, usually, on Will saves. I'm not being inconsistent, I'm being non-specific.

Anonymouswizard
2009-12-10, 03:34 PM
Marole check= 1d20 with a bonus equal to your level-the level of the highest opponent+modifiers based on how well your side is doing-modifiers based on how their side is doing.

Modifiers could include: % of hit points lost, amount of allies felled in the last X rounds, amount of Xth level spells cast in the last Y rounds, and so on. Characters have to check whenever they lose 10% of their hp or similar conditions.

Optimystik
2009-12-10, 03:47 PM
And Intimidate checks, which function off a level check; a failed level check against Intimidate results in the target being shaken. Spells function, usually, on Will saves. I'm not being inconsistent, I'm being non-specific.

Right, but now you're just reiterating what I said - there's already ways to model fear in this game - Why do we need another table for "morale?" And notice that those things (Intimidate, Fear effects) are overt actions; morale is a passive reaction to a mundane situation based solely on an NPC's race. The homogeneity it implies - all monsters of a given type or NPCs of a given profession react equally to a losing situation - is too 2-dimensional for my tastes.

Thane of Fife
2009-12-10, 04:18 PM
Right, but now you're just reiterating what I said - there's already ways to model fear in this game - Why do we need another table for "morale?" And notice that those things (Intimidate, Fear effects) are overt actions; morale is a passive reaction to a mundane situation based solely on an NPC's race. The homogeneity it implies - all monsters of a given type or NPCs of a given profession react equally to a losing situation - is too 2-dimensional for my tastes.

But the dice make it so that all monsters react differently. Without Morale scores, the DM either has to decide bravery ahead of time for every monster (Orc with sword #4 is exceptionally brave) or will often have all similar monsters respond similarly in similar conditions. For some monsters, this isn't too much work - it isn't that hard coming up with a personality for one dragon, for example, but it is considerably harder doing so for an entire tribe of orcs.

How is it not easier to say "The average orc has a morale of 7" and then leave it to the dice to decide if this particular orc is brave or cowardly?

Mark Hall
2009-12-10, 04:52 PM
Right, but now you're just reiterating what I said - there's already ways to model fear in this game - Why do we need another table for "morale?" And notice that those things (Intimidate, Fear effects) are overt actions; morale is a passive reaction to a mundane situation based solely on an NPC's race. The homogeneity it implies - all monsters of a given type or NPCs of a given profession react equally to a losing situation - is too 2-dimensional for my tastes.

Because, as I pointed out, and YOU reiterated, intimidate and spellcasting are overt... and usually standard... actions. If I do not take the time to intimidate someone, there is no mechanical reason for them to be scared. While you can role-play it (by which you seem to mean "DM decides whatever he wants" which frequently means, as anecdotes have shown us "Everything fights to the death"), that's only as nuanced as the DM. Mechanics, however, provide a way of seeing how things react... which the DM can then decide is reasonable.

However, you've repeated the same arguments for several posts now, so I think I'm done.