Following my previous post about wandering monsters, restful or playful states and such, I think I’ve devised a preliminary table for determining what “mode” a creature or character maybe be in at a given time. Per the 80-20 rule (the Pareto Principle), you can reasonably assume a creature you encounter will be resting.

The five I came up with, in descending order of probability are:

Rest – Almost no activity. Eating, sleeping, or grooming.
Play – Light activity. Curious, exploring, or recreating.
Work – Moderate level of activity. Hunting, or searching.
Move – Moderate level of activity. Relocating self or stuff.
Alert – Light activity. Watching, listening, and waiting.

Each mode gives way to the following mode of operation. A creature or character who gets tired of working will move around, perhaps becoming distracted, or will grow tired and rest. Moving around may cause them to become alert and move back into work mode. Resting may cause them to grow distracted and play, or “mess around.”

Generally speaking, rest requires the least energy, while play and alert modes require minimal activity. Alert can include things like watching a play, but the creature is more likely to be critical and less likely to simply “enjoy” what they’re looking at. They may even jeer or be crude in this mode, depending on their general personality.

Work obviously requires the most energy and is where you are most likely to catch a creature in a state where they will lay down their life for something. The other are “play,” where they may not realize they are even in danger, and “move,” where they may be so focused on their goal that they waltz right into some sort of problem.

Exploration takes place in either the alert or play mode, with various benefits and drawbacks to each. Changing modes tends to require a small expenditure of energy, and some creatures or character may be more adept at quickly changing between a couple particular modes, and tend to get trapped in a third.

Obviously, some modes are more conducive to certain activities than others. Don’t fight when you’re trying to rest. Don’t poke around a dungeon when you’re trying to catch your breath after a fight. Don’t sit down in front of the television when you need to jog across town, and so forth. Some are more intuitive than others.