Why would a monster not use it's best attack every time?


Monsters and Hazards


For example why would a dragon not bite three times and use it's claws instead (melee attacks only)?

Dark Archive

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The bite isn't agile. -1 to hit is actually really significant in this game.

Scarab Sages

Monsters have such large hit values I dont think it'll matter that much


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Mergy wrote:
The bite isn't agile. -1 to hit is actually really significant in this game.

Actually making bite/claw/claw optimal much of the time, which I hadn't noticed before and kind of love.


I would suggest all monsters get a standard attack grouping (such as claw claw bite) that takes two actions and all attacks have a -2 to hit instead of the usual penalties. Otherwise you are going g to see bite bite bite, stab stab stab etc.


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Kodyboy wrote:
I would suggest all monsters get a standard attack grouping (such as claw claw bite) that takes two actions and all attacks have a -2 to hit instead of the usual penalties. Otherwise you are going g to see bite bite bite, stab stab stab etc.

Rules written for no reason but to attempt to prevent the GM from being boring usually don't actually achieve any positive results.

Making a 3 attack routine action that costs 2 actions instead of 3 and has better accuracy would, however, achieve the negative result of making it so that a GM that isn't boring enough to desire just spamming the one best-looking option without nuance is stuck with having to choose between the genuinely best option or having the monster be wildly ineffective by comparison for the sake of "seemed like a cool thing to do".

As is, the difference in typical damage between bite/bite/bite and bite/claw/claw is very small (1-3 levels worth of HP). The change you suggest would make that difference much larger, while also increasing the already high damage output (the level 7 black dragon in the bestiary has roughly 100 DPR against a 22 AC right now) by a not-insignificant amount by making the 2nd and 3rd attacks significantly more likely to hit/crit.

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Angel Hunter D wrote:
Monsters have such large hit values I dont think it'll matter that much

If the monster is hitting easily, maybe he would like to crit for often as well.


thenobledrake wrote:
Kodyboy wrote:
I would suggest all monsters get a standard attack grouping (such as claw claw bite) that takes two actions and all attacks have a -2 to hit instead of the usual penalties. Otherwise you are going g to see bite bite bite, stab stab stab etc.

Rules written for no reason but to attempt to prevent the GM from being boring usually don't actually achieve any positive results.

Making a 3 attack routine action that costs 2 actions instead of 3 and has better accuracy would, however, achieve the negative result of making it so that a GM that isn't boring enough to desire just spamming the one best-looking option without nuance is stuck with having to choose between the genuinely best option or having the monster be wildly ineffective by comparison for the sake of "seemed like a cool thing to do".

As is, the difference in typical damage between bite/bite/bite and bite/claw/claw is very small (1-3 levels worth of HP). The change you suggest would make that difference much larger, while also increasing the already high damage output (the level 7 black dragon in the bestiary has roughly 100 DPR against a 22 AC right now) by a not-insignificant amount by making the 2nd and 3rd attacks significantly more likely to hit/crit.

The game now would have bite/bite/bite or whatever instead. Definitely worse


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Agile.

Attacking with your biggest and best attack for your first and sometimes second attack depending on how easy of a target you're after. But, for many second and virtually all third attacks you'll want to use your agile attack for -4/-8. Some monsters like Dragons can get even more attacks.

Lets look at an Ancient White Dragon. It has three actions.

Option 1- Bite Bite Bite
+27/+22/+17

Option 2- Bite Frenzy(Tail, Claw, Claw)
+27/+22/+19/+19

Option 3- Frenzy(Tail, Claw, Claw) Claw
+27/+23/+19/+19

Especially against higher AC foes you can maximize your chances to land a strike by useing your agile weapons. Or you could need the reach of the Tail, etc.

Scarab Sages

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Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Monsters have such large hit values I dont think it'll matter that much
If the monster is hitting easily, maybe he would like to crit for often as well.

Good thing the monster's enjoyment of the game is a non factor


The frenzy is similar to the standard attack array that I postulated so that is what I was thinking.
Still a bite does 4d8 +14 +3d6 cold vs claw 5d6 +14 and tail 5d6 +7
I also thought the agile was already in the attack bonus in which case the claw attacks you listed should be one less
Without the frenzy three bites should only be 1 off of the 3 claws
In which case the bites are far better


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Angel Hunter D wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Monsters have such large hit values I dont think it'll matter that much
If the monster is hitting easily, maybe he would like to crit for often as well.
Good thing the monster's enjoyment of the game is a non factor

Except it does when you remember that there is a human GM behind the monster.

Dark Archive

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Angel Hunter D wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Monsters have such large hit values I dont think it'll matter that much
If the monster is hitting easily, maybe he would like to crit for often as well.
Good thing the monster's enjoyment of the game is a non factor

My enjoyment as a GM is a factor. Crits are fun on either side of the screen!

Scarab Sages

Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Monsters have such large hit values I dont think it'll matter that much
If the monster is hitting easily, maybe he would like to crit for often as well.
Good thing the monster's enjoyment of the game is a non factor
My enjoyment as a GM is a factor. Crits are fun on either side of the screen!

I GM all the time, when I GM I am absolutely NOT there for big numbers or crazy crits, I am there to run a fun game and let the players get their hero moments and forget our dull, almost-30 lives. I have yet to see someone getting their face smashed in have fun, unless they were built to have it smashed and keep going.

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Angel Hunter D wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Monsters have such large hit values I dont think it'll matter that much
If the monster is hitting easily, maybe he would like to crit for often as well.
Good thing the monster's enjoyment of the game is a non factor
My enjoyment as a GM is a factor. Crits are fun on either side of the screen!
I GM all the time, when I GM I am absolutely NOT there for big numbers or crazy crits, I am there to run a fun game and let the players get their hero moments and forget our dull, almost-30 lives. I have yet to see someone getting their face smashed in have fun, unless they were built to have it smashed and keep going.

Fair enough. You and I can enjoy GMing in different ways. I'm not sure I like the implication that I'm wrong to enjoy critting while GMing, but maybe that's not what you mean to say.


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I have been GM'ing for years, and though I root for the players, I also enjoy my monsters crits and the tension it causes.

K-Ray

Scarab Sages

Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Monsters have such large hit values I dont think it'll matter that much
If the monster is hitting easily, maybe he would like to crit for often as well.
Good thing the monster's enjoyment of the game is a non factor
My enjoyment as a GM is a factor. Crits are fun on either side of the screen!
I GM all the time, when I GM I am absolutely NOT there for big numbers or crazy crits, I am there to run a fun game and let the players get their hero moments and forget our dull, almost-30 lives. I have yet to see someone getting their face smashed in have fun, unless they were built to have it smashed and keep going.
Fair enough. You and I can enjoy GMing in different ways. I'm not sure I like the implication that I'm wrong to enjoy critting while GMing, but maybe that's not what you mean to say.

You dont have to like it. I've rarely seen a crit happy GM run as well as one that isn't, that kind of fun is for the players.

Dark Archive

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We'll have to agree to disagree. I'm not going to continue talking to someone that is going to call my playstyle badwrongfun. Gatekeeping isn't cool.


I agree criting as a GM is fun, if it is fair. I also agree that GM's that slaughter players all the time are terrible, but they generally lose players quickly. If their is no danger to the players the game is boring.

Scarab Sages

Mergy wrote:
We'll have to agree to disagree. I'm not going to continue talking to someone that is going to call my playstyle badwrongfun. Gatekeeping isn't cool.

Oh no, I disagree. Better toss out buzzwords.


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Critting as DM can be fun and memorable.

we still laugh about the 1st conversion to ravenloft I did back when 3rd edition first came out.

a bunch of cr2 wolves massacred a full level 6 party after I rolled 2 auto-kills on their two frontliners (critthreat into 20 into 20) (i wasn't even using a DM screen at the time!)

we still talk about how we abandoned insta-death rules after that :D

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shroudb wrote:

Critting as DM can be fun and memorable.

we still laugh about the 1st conversion to ravenloft I did back when 3rd edition first came out.

a bunch of cr2 wolves massacred a full level 6 party after I rolled 2 auto-kills on their two frontliners (critthreat into 20 into 20) (i wasn't even using a DM screen at the time!)

we still talk about how we abandoned insta-death rules after that :D

No, I'm pretty sure we've agreed in this thread that GMs who enjoy rolling high numbers aren't playing right.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Mergy wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Critting as DM can be fun and memorable.

we still laugh about the 1st conversion to ravenloft I did back when 3rd edition first came out.

a bunch of cr2 wolves massacred a full level 6 party after I rolled 2 auto-kills on their two frontliners (critthreat into 20 into 20) (i wasn't even using a DM screen at the time!)

we still talk about how we abandoned insta-death rules after that :D

No, I'm pretty sure we've agreed in this thread that GMs who enjoy rolling high numbers aren't playing right.

seriously though now,

From what I can tell, even players enjoy more when something goes wrong.

unplanned crits, knockdowns and etc, that sent the party flying into a frenzy of how to deal with that i hadn't planned for are much more enjoyable than scripted encounters where you always hit, always do the same things just because they work, and serve only as trials that you know are designed to be beaten already.

and as a DM, i enjoy watching them struggling to find a solution, because i know that that's when they put their best self forward and discover what their characters (overoptimized pieces of !$%$!#%) can actually pull off with a bit of creativity.

That only happens when they get critted a lot ( or when loot almost slips away from them!)

Silver Crusade

%PrimaryweaponAttack %PrimaryweaponAttack %PrimaryweaponAttack is totally worth it if you want a challenging battle encoutner, and totally unnatural if you think deeply how your npc tiger/manticore/dragon/whatevermonster should fight for his life.
Our playtest party games showed no mercy to NPC in fight encounters, despite my pushing the NPCs to their limit ambushing, ganging PCs, hunting easy targets etc.
Probably, next session I'll test my idea of one-action or two-action special attack that allows a multi-naturalweapon creature use it's attacks properly (imagine a manticore descending upon a PC foe with it's teeth and claws towards).

#MAKEFULLROUNDATTACKGREATAGAIN

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