Enemy strategy ideas

Discussion in 'General Modification' started by anatoliy, Jun 20, 2021.

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  1. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Administrator

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    All but the most simple-minded monsters should make some effort to avoid being hit, unless they are at least 2 size categorys larger (ie would just bash through) or have tumble, obvious AC advantage or a strategic reason to risk an AoO. Scripting that, of course...
    Yes, well. But the fact that 3 goblins may well look at four adventurers larger than themselves and just run for it is something ToEE doesn't deal with, unfortunately. Not sure if Temple+ has a proper flee / surrender feature but its very much needed. Zombies, of course, flee at very high speeds when turned, just like PnP.
    The "target high ac / target low will" etc elements of the strategy.tab have always struck me as being the games way of handling basic observation. Ie, enemy looks at party and thinks:
    Target High Ac - "that guy in armour is probably big, strong and dumb: target Will save spells at him"
    Target Bad WIll - (the same)
    Target Bad Reflex - "that guy in armour can't possibly dodge my Reflex save spells..."
    Target Low Ac - "Me crush girly man in robe!" (draws big axe)
    Target Nospell - "that big barbarian can't possibly counterspell my nastiest Save-or-dies!"
    Target Nearby Buffed - "that tank with all the sparkly spell effects around him will need to be Dispelled or my meat shields won't last long"
    Agree with every word! (Except the 'fascinate' thing.)
    OP for players - problematic for monsters, as NPCs hit with it don't easily come back to the party afterwards. Not sure if it has been overhauled but if not, should be cast on PCs only. If done this way, very good spell for monsters, indeed.
    Mage Armour should be pre-buffed, as it lasts for ages.
    Gnoll rangers are bad enough to contemplate - a Gnoll bard suggest a hyena fascinating you by howling in an interesting way. Please don't.

    Now, for my suggestions.

    Re the Goblins - well, how do Goblins fight? Zerg rush? The MM says they use sheer numbers, malicious inginuity, ambushes, sheer numbers and dirty tricks. These three would run, or swarm, I think, but your use of flanking is fine considering they are favoured class rogue.

    My personal feeling on AI in general is, monsters should fight according to type / Int, not just good AI - otherwise, what is the difference between your Gnoll Sorceress and any other Sorceress? So, Goblins should swarm, Kobolds should use traps /ambushes etc, Bugbears cunning, Hobgobs discipline, Orcs as raging heroic individuals. Animals should fight like 'dumb animals', striking at the nearest target and withdrawing, at least temporarily, when struck, but also recognising that some will fight in packs - so wolves will circle you (flank) and trip. Intelligent monsters will keep an eye on the casters at the back, dumb monsters (brainless undead etc) will be oblivious.

    I have many, many good recollections of KotC's AI, which was superb, but my main memory (which I have shared before) was a bear adjusting with a 5' step, while trying to get around the tanks who were hitting it in the face to target the spellcaster at the back. That was ridiculous.

    My main suggestion would be throw in some chance of randomness, so the enemy won't always do the same thing in the same order. That in itself will give the player pause.
     
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  2. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    Yeah, I think it's important to consider that "good AI" isn't just optimally lethal in every scenario. I've seen complaints about e.g. Icewind Dale's AI because although it is more difficult than BG in some ways, it also acts on knowledge it shouldn't have. It will have enemies follow invisible characters precisely even though they can't attack them, for instance. It ends up with the best ways of dealing with the AI being more contrived and less satisfying for the player, whereas the tactics necessary for 'dumber' BG AI make more sense with respect to party roles.

    Obviously it'd be good if ToEE AI didn't just run through AoOs and AoE spells as if they weren't there. Beyond that, it might be more enjoyable if the player has to deal with a variety of tactics that need to be managed in different ways, even if the tactics aren't always optimal.
     
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  3. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Thank @Shiningted, very good thoughts!

    I think species specific behavior would be next logical step. It would be as a preference to some of already defined roles.

    Goblins
    I would program them to behave in the following way - run towards the weakest routable PC, with FD (Fighting Defensibly) enabled, ignore AOO. If change getting hit by AOO would be to high (>50%) then make Withdraw movement towards easy victim (Wizard or so). This is "dirty" part, meaning they are not fighting fairly.

    They would also prefer Withdraw from adjacent melee to 1.8 of their move from the melee (who can hit in melee, not the Wiz) combatant after round or two (determined randomly) and then charge again. This is also sort of dirty trick.

    I could define such role as trickster or whatever.

    Kobolds
    They would fight mostly in skirmisher mode, on throwing range distance. And would Withdraw if in melee in 2x distance.

    Not having land-mine-like traps implementation in ToEE, I would modify them a little by granting Alchemy and poison resistance instead. Some of them could have smokestick of nausea, or simple Acid or Alchemical fire or Burning Dust. Alchemy lists: https://orbitalflower.github.io/rpg/rules/dnd3-extended-alchemy-items-list.html, https://www.realmshelps.net/magic/items/alchemy.shtml.
     
  4. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Intellect and animals.

    Personally I consider Wisdom as intuition, meaning that most animals have Wis 12, so they could "feel" like to Withdraw or flank or Grapple or whatever. Also most animals would fight defensively against tough enemy or when they are hurt. But I agree that animals should not pick casters because they are casters. Instead dexterous animals could target "easy" prey, meaning less metal on them, not knowing of Magic Armor.

    Hobgoblins
    I'd say they are Tanks and Aggressors. No special AI needed. Typical warriors.

    Bugbears
    Mostly warrior style fighting. But more prone to grapple and unarmed strike when it's implemented in ToEE. Charge and Power Attack. Also some of them could have Improved Overrun, when it's implemented in ToEE.
     
  5. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    Charm person is a spell with a narrow focus. It's only as useful as the targets you can successfully use it on, but when it's useful, it's very useful. If used against PCs, I recommend using it only when people can effectively dispel it or/and have the charm effect end when combat is over but the charmed PC is still alive.

    In another game, our level 1 party took out a Shambling Mound with little difficulty because we used entangle then killed it with ranged attacks while it couldn't escape. Just yesterday in ToEE, our level 3 team used entangle + grease to destroy the Emridy Meadows Hill Giant + Bear with reach weapons, enlarge person, and little harm to ourselves. In short, tactics and efficiency help greatly to win fights!
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
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  6. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    I've been rethinking roles tactics, especially the Tank's and Aggressor's.

    TANK
    I think Fighting Defensively and flanking aim is not enough. Trip and Disarm comes in mind. Essentially Trip will not provoke AOO if made by a weapon. Light Flail (1d8) can be used, so instead of attack the Tank could do it every round, plus tripping AOO.

    Plus, every time PC is inactive (stunned or paralyzed) then Disarm would also be very good option. Even without special feats.

    AGGRESSOR
    This dude should do damage dealing instead. Power attacking the victim with two-handed weapon.
     
  7. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    Since you mentioned stunning and disarming, I've been wondering...

    Is stunning someone supposed to disarm them unless they have some special equipment that would prevent it (locking gauntlet)? How do people actually play that part of the rule?
     
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  8. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    Personally I never encountered such in my PnP games. Probably due to foes never had stunned any my PC.

    But I agree that Disarm over stunned is overkill ))

    I think Dazed is better candidate to Disarm.
    dazed: Unable to act normally. A dazed character can take no actions, but has no penalty to AC.
     
  9. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

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    Stunning Fist should make foes drop their stuff. It would make Monks marginally more useful.
     
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  10. anatoliy

    anatoliy Established Member

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    I do not see any source code in stunned condition related to dropping weapons and shield.
     
  11. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    Yeah, it doesn't. It's easy to add, though.
     
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  12. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Administrator

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    This should (imho) definitely be done. I added a very simple 'drop stuff' script in KotB to Sound Burst when stunned (for memory the only 'stunned' function in ToEE is attached to Sound Burst) and it definitely steps up the game. It brings secondary weapons like daggers and claws / teeth to the fore, and also lets the monsters do it to the PCs.
     
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  13. hammyh

    hammyh Established Member

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    Isn't this a bit overkill for stun? Stun doesn't necessarily mean you lose all muscle control like RL electrocuted. And Stun is already a serious tactical condition by itself.

    I'd think it could be a new spell invention such as "grease spray" with a DC check to drop the weapon. Or a target point for a "Magnetic Focus" area effect spell that has a DC to pull the weapon from the hand to it. etc.
     
  14. FDR4PREZ

    FDR4PREZ Established Member

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    Yeah, let's magnetize the armor and we'd be able to recreate this scene :)

     
  15. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    The P&P grease spell already has an option to target an item for a disarm-like effect. You can also grease someone's armor for better defensive grapple checks. I might try to implement those at some point; I think the main problem would be the UI for choosing between all the options.

    Anyhow, that's why I asked. Stun is already pretty serious.
     
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