I had another weird idea this morning, related to creature behavior and wandering monsters. This is another idea that came to me as a result of watching cookiemonger play Quest for Glory. These games are seriously growing on me with each passing day. *ponders* I wonder how they respond to fungal spray.

Anyway, I’ve long wondered how to make combat a non-lethal affair, where the players brush up with some kind of creature or enemy, and the outcome isn’t necessarily about one side annihilating the other. I thought about CM slaughtering hordes of wandering bandits and killer rabbits, and asked “why do they wander?”

Sometimes it’s about asking the right question at the right time, I suppose, because it isn’t like this is the first time I’ve asked a question like this — but it’s the first time I had an answer I thought I could really use. “Maybe the creature is hunting? Maybe they’re guarding something? Maybe they’re just territorial? What if they’re just resting?”

That got me to thinking about how the day is divided up, and what creatures or characters do with the majority of their time in the day. I figured what I should probably do is narrow it down to about five major activities that define whatever mode or state a creature is in when the players encounter them, observing the 80-20 rule.

This ought to be ridiculously easy, actually. Creatures and characters spend the vast majority of their time resting — which includes eating, drinking, lounging, sleeping, grooming, playing, and making light conversation with friendly acquaintances. They’re engaged in low-energy activities, which may include hobbies, but light activity only.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have creatures or characters who are working. This may be hunting or taking care of any of their other needs. It’s when they’re most prone to attack or defend someone or something, and maybe even fight to the death — but even then it’s a rare thing. Most animals or beasts will flee.

When you encounter a creature, most of the time they will be resting. After that, they’re most likely to be engaged in moving or traveling. Creatures or characters in the process of moving from one place to another are only interested in reaching their destination, so they’re likely to avoid an encounter all together.

The concept still needs some work, but I think I’m on to something here.