Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Step Up Your Game: Reaction and Loyalty

Charisma. It’s not just a dump stat, they say. But look, if you don’t have a lot of it, you’re going to be stuck in a career as an assassin. Which is kind of funny, actually.

Of course if you were going to actually use that stat in an AD&D game, you’re going to have to flip to the middle of the combat section to find the reaction table. Why is it there right in the middle of sections detailing initiative and missile discharge? Evidently this something pretty important to consider when the players have initiative in a random encounter, right?


Dig this: It is common for player characters to attack first, parley afterwards. It is recommended that you devise encounters which penalize such action so as to encourage parleying attempts ~ which will usually be fruitless, of course!

Hilarious. It’s a tough world out there, y’all. Parleying with monsters has about the same chance of succeeding as begging for divine assistance!

The AD&D morale rules are pretty slick, though. The rules spell out when to check along with several modifiers to the roll. Henchman use their loyalty score for the check while monsters have a base morale derived from their hit dice. In the event of a morale failure, the amount the roll was failed by determines the precise behavior. This is some seriously rad stuff.

If you don’t keep up with anything else about these rules in the heat of the game, remember when morale checks occur and most everything else should fall in place. (And do note that while initiative is by side, morale checks are going to by individual for the party’s henchmen while groups of the same monster type will be rolled for collectively.)

Loyalty should be carefully tracked for the party’s various henchmen and associates. There are a bewildering number of modifiers to this vital statistic. However, if you are just starting out with a relatively friendly man-at-arms, a value of 50% plus the relevant player character’s loyalty bonus will be plenty good enough to get you through a session or three.

One last note here about the significance of these rules. While the reaction table is buried in an odd corner of the Dungeon Masters Guide, the morale and loyalty rules are repeated on the very last page. He didn’t put the saving throw tables or the combat matrices back there, he put morale and loyalty! A lot of people will have a tendency to pass over these rules, but Gygax thought they were pretty important.

Don’t let him down!

2 responses to “Step Up Your Game: Reaction and Loyalty

  1. Pingback: Sensor Sweep: Conan Companion, Star Trek, Necromancers, Stanley Mullen –

  2. Pingback: Sensor Sweep: Conan Companion, Star Trek, Necromancers, Stanley Mullen – Herman Watts

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