Tag Archives: strategy sheet

Tactics for Terrors

Welcome to part 4 in this series focused on solo and GMless infiltration games. Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 if you missed out.

 

“The secret of success in battle lies often not so much in the use of one’s own strength but in the exploitation of the other side’s weaknesses.”
John Christopher, When the Tripods Came

 

I like those little snippets of monster tactics you sometimes find in published adventures. They give you a better idea of why the monster is in the adventure, and they provide you with a framework for making play decisions.

Monster Lair with unknown enemies.
“This should be a safe place to camp!”

In a solo game, it’s just as helpful to have a plan for the monsters, otherwise I tend to fudge their decisions in my favour. “Oh, I know I could easily kill the hero with my sneaky attack. But I’ll come out of hiding, being the brave goblin that I am. I’ll even let Hero-Man have the first swing.” If the goblin has a plan, many of my choices are made, I can focus on playing the star of the show, my optimized and much loved character with the dog eared character sheet.

I came up with the following simple strategy sheet to help me out:

Goblin Strategy Sheet

Here’s a brief description of each entry:

Role: a word to describe the monster’s tactics, such as sniper, assassin, wrestler, commander or artillery.

Morale: If the creature tends to be brave, cowardly, or something in-between.

Ease: How the monster acts when there is no threat.

Alert: What the monster does when they become aware of any danger or enemies.

Melee: What the monster does when engaged in, or within range for melee combat.

Range: What the monster does when engaged in, or within range for missile combat.

Blood: What the monster does when they have taken significant damage. You can decide what “significant damage” means, but I usually go with 50% and below of their HP as the crossover mark.

 

Playing, you will have some idea of how a given monster will react to your actions, eliminating some of the surprise; a problem I’d still like to solve. Furthermore, you have to play as the GM, especially during setup. But this turns setup into a game on its own; how do the goblins think? What are they fighting for? Would they rather fight from far or up close with a sharp blade? These questions bring story and tactics together, giving you a chance to add to your narrative, as discussed in part 2.

Have you tried something similar? I’d love to know what you think.  I’ll leave you with a quote from Mr Tzu:

 

“Conform to the enemy’s tactics until a favorable opportunity offers; then come forth and engage in a battle that shall prove decisive.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

Till Later, Tell more Thrilling Tales!