D&D: Monster Motivations

This was my entry for Fight On!’s fantasy gaming tables contest, spruced up and tweaked a bit since the initial entry.

Roll a d% on this table for a monster or group of monsters to discover what its primary motivation is when it encounters a group of player characters.  Roll a d% on the most appropriate column, depending on if the monster is Chaotic, Neutral or of low (animal) intelligence.



Animal Intelligence





Evil.  The monster simply enjoys killing and causing pain.  If reasoned with, the monster will look for opportunities to betray the player characters or otherwise gain the upper hand.




Fear.  The monster is as afraid of the player characters as they are of it.  An assurance of good intentions before blood is drawn could turn an enemy into a friend, or lull the unsuspecting brute into a false sense of security.  This monster may (d% 1-40) have a -1 to its usual Morale.




Glory.  The monster is out to defeat worthy opponents and take trophies from them as evidence of its victory.  If the player characters appear to be beneath the monster’s valor, it may hold them in contempt but let them alone, or it may decide to kill them anyway, out of pity.  This monster has a +2 to its usual Morale.



Greed.  The monster is keen on the player characters’ treasure and items, and is willing to kill if necessary, but it will also look for easier ways to get the player characters’ valuables.



Hatred.  The monster has a deep antipathy for humans (d% 1-30), elves (d% 31-60), dwarves (d% 61-90) or halflings (d% 91-00).  The monster will refuse to parley with the object of its hatred, and is unlikely to be willing to parley with any adventurers who associate with the object of its hatred.  In combat, the monster will attack the object of its hatred and will continue to attack it until it is dead.




Hunger.  The monster is looking for something to eat.  Combat can be avoided if the player characters can somehow provide a more suitable meal.  If the player characters pose a significant threat, the monster may be willing to look elsewhere for an easy meal, but if food is scarce, the monster may be desperate, thus the monster may have -1 (d%1-40) or +1 (d% 91-00) to its usual morale.



Machismo. These swaggering monsters want to impress each other.  As long as more than one of them is present, these monsters have +2 to their morale.




Pain. The monster is wounded and lashing out in pain.  The wound may be obvious (d% 1-60) or hidden (d% 61-00).  In either case, the players have a chance to make an ally if they heal the wound instead of causing more wounds.  But pain can cause the monster to act unpredictably, and thus the monster may have -1 (d% 1-30) or +1 (d% 71-100) to its usual Morale.




Rage.  The monster is in a killing frenzy and is unlikely to retreat or bargain unless somehow calmed first.  The monster’s rage may be its natural state (d% 1-60), or a result of disease (d% 61-80) or magic (d% 81-00).




Territory.  The monster is defending what it thinks of as its territory, and sees the players as trespassers or invaders.  Although the monster may be unlikely to be willing to parley first (d% 1-25), it will be satisfied with merely driving the player characters away.



Vengeance.  Whether correctly (d% 1-30) or incorrectly (d% 31-00), the monster blames the players for a great wrong that has been done to it, and seeks vengeance.



Zealotry.  The player characters are an affront to the monster’s faith, and it is willing to sacrifice itself to scour them from the earth.  This monster has a +3 to its usual Morale.

One Response to “D&D: Monster Motivations”

  1. Hmm, it occurs to me that some sort of revision to take NPC reaction rolls into account is in order…

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