Morale

Monty python run awayNote: This only applies to NPCs. PCs are free to make their own decisions about whether to run or fight.

Check Monster and NPC Morale When:

  • The foes have been surprised, but only on the first round after surprise.
  • Faced by an obviously superior force.
  • An ally is slain by magic.
  • 25% of their group has fallen.
  • 50% of their group has fallen.
  • A companion is slain after more than 50% of the group has fallen.
  • Their leader deserts or is slain.
  • Fighting a creature they cannot harm due to magical protections.
  • Ordered to attempt a heroically dangerous task.
  • Offered temptation (bribe, chance to steal, etc.)
    • In this case, the morale check can be used to see if they agree or refuse.
  • Told to act as a rear guard, such as covering a fighting withdrawal.
  • Directed to use up or use a charge from a personal powerful magical item.
    • In this case, the morale check can be used to see if they agree or refuse.
  • Given a chance to surrender (and have met the conditions for one other morale check).
  • Completely surrounded.

To roll a morale check, find the rating that most closely matches the creature. Add or subtract the modifiers that apply to the situation. Some modifiers, such as the number of Hit Dice can be calculated in advance. Roll 2d10.
If the total rolled on the dice is equal to or less than the morale rating, the creature is unaffected and keeps fighting. If the roll is greater, the creature panics and flees, or it takes some other appropriate action.

Creature Type Morale
Non-intelligent monster 18
Animal, normal and peaceful 3
Animal, normal predator 7
Animal intelligence monster 12
Semi-intelligent monster 11
Low intelligence 10
Average 0-level human 7
Mobs 9
Militia 10
Green or disorganized troops 11
Regular soldiers 12
Elite soldiers 14
Hirelings 12
Henchmen 15
Situation Modifier
Leader is present + Leader’s Charisma modifier†
Abandoned by friends -6
Creature lost 25% of its hp* -2
Creature lost 50% of its hp* -4
Creature is chaotic -1
Creature is fighting hated enemy +4
Creature is lawful +1
Creature was surprised -2
Creatures are fighting wizards or magic-using foes -2
Creatures with less than 1 HD -2
Creatures with 4 to 8+ HD +1
Creatures with 9 to 14+ HD +2
Creatures with 15 or more HD +3
Defending home +3
Defensive terrain advantage +1
Each additional check required in round -1
Leader is of different alignment -1
Most powerful ally killed -4
NPC has been favored +2
NPC has been poorly treated -4
No enemy slain -2
Outnumbered by 3 or more to 1 -4
Outnumber opponent 3 or more to 1 +2
Unable to affect opponent -8
Wizard or magic-using creature on same side +2

† For hirelings the DM should use the Charisma of the player calling the shots (not necessarily the PC with the highest Charisma).


Failing a Morale Check

When a creature or NPC fails a morale check, its first concern is to escape or avoid whatever situation caused the check in the first place. If it is being overpowered in combat, it tries to flee. If the party’s mage is blasting lightning bolts about, it tries to get away from him.
If there is no place to go, the NPC or monster, if it is intelligent enough, falls down and surrenders—provided it thinks the party is likely to spare its life. A goblin is not about to surrender to a bunch of bloodthirsty dwarves because it knows how kindly those dwarves treat captured goblins! Now, if there just happened to be a nice, compassionate-looking human there, the goblin might give up if the human could promise it safety.
How drastic a panicked creature’s flight is depends on the DM’s judgment and how much over the base morale the modified die roll was. If the roll was close to what was needed, the creature tries to back out of the combat and find safety nearby. If the morale check was blown badly, the creature just forgets everything and bugs out, casting aside anything that slows it down.
Lawful creatures normally try to fall back in some sort of organized manner—keeping together as a group or, at least, all fleeing to the same place. Chaotic creatures tend to break and run in any direction that promises safety.

Morale

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