Organization Tag Solitary: “It lives and fights alone”

Organization Tag Solitary: “It lives and fights alone”

Organization Tag Solitary: “It lives and fights alone”

Organization Tag Group: “Usually seen in small numbers, 3-6 or so”

Does anyone use a tag that means something like “Appears singly in mixed groups”?

I’m think specifically something like Leader or Individual. There will only be one of them, but they’ll appear in a group of other monsters. Not necessarily as an NPC, but more special, like a lieutenant or sergeant: A group of soldiers lead by a sergeant.

12 thoughts on “Organization Tag Solitary: “It lives and fights alone””

  1. I don’t usually bother. To me, the solitary/group/horde tag is specifically about how it usually hunts or fights. I know the solitary tag specifically says “lives and fights alone,” but I’ve always basically ignored the “lives and” part.

    So… if we’re talking about a champion that wades into battle by itself, it’s cohort giving way behind it and watching it shatter enemies by itself… it’s solitary (even if it surrounds itself with a horde of its lesser fellows). But if it’s a leader among the group or horde, I’ll usually give it the group or horde tag, HP and damage per those tags, and maybe an extra move or tag or modifier.

    For example, the lieutenant of a hobgoblin warband would be horde but also organized (with an appropriate move) and maybe “known for deft strikes” (1 piercing). By contrast, the alpha worg would be group (like the rest of the worgs) but also “skilled in offense” ([b]2d8 damage) and known for “uncanny endurance” (+4HP). But the Witch King of Angmar is solitary as hell, even though he rides a winged horror and leads a horde of Ringwraiths.

    With that said… you could easily add a new step to the monster questionnaire, under Which of these describe it?

    * It commands a group of lesser, similar monsters: leader, +3 HP, increase damage die size by one, write a move about how it motivates or takes advantage of its followers.

  2. Thanks Jeremy Strandberg, those are great examples! What I’m using it for is Tiered Hobgoblins (so I like your hobgob example): Commandos > Sergeants > Warlord. In this case, the Sergeant gets the Leader tag, but the Warlord gets Solitary. I have basically done what you describe for the additional question, just without the question. At least I know I’m on the right track. THANKS!

  3. Jeremy Strandberg I’m working on the next issue of Session Zero (issue 5… issue 4 is on Patreon now and DriveThru after Christmas).

    Do you mind if I use that bit about adding a step to the questionnaire verbatim in the issue (with proper credit of course)?

  4. Thanks! Honestly, 1-3 are not that good, and you wouldn’t really be missing anything if you skipped them! Issue 4: The Destroyer of Ages is by far the best, and Issue 5 is shaping up to be really good as well. 4 & 5 are original material with an adventure, while 1-3 were basically converting things from popular media (The Princess Bride, Skyrim and parts of Harry Potter, respectively) and were just… stuff lol

  5. In the handbook, you can see in the ravenous hordes chapter that a leader is considered an individual. For example, we get the orc bloodwarrior as a horde and the orc warchief as solitary. Same for the gnoll alpha, who is specifically described as the leader of the pack.

  6. Alessandro Gianni, fictionally it makes 100% sense that these “leaders” lead a group of “lessers”.

    So, what I’m getting at is, how much do you adhere to the definition of Solitary? If you picked up a “published module” and a Hobgoblin Sergeant had the solitary tag would you say “well, lives and fights alone, so that’ll be a party-against-one fight” or would you say “He’s a sergeant, so it obviously makes sense that he’s fighting with that group of Hobgoblin Commandos“?

  7. Hey, fiction first! Those tags are intentionally vague. What do we know about gobbos on our setting? What about that specific sergeant? That tag cannot describe on its own an encounter. It’s just part of the procedure on how you build a monster. When framing a scene that includes that monster, you consider its tags, the situation, and the setting. If two dragons ally themselves, it’s not like they magically change into group.

    For example, I ended up rebuilding orcs in our setting for my current campaign: there are endless orc berserkers, so they are horde; there are just a bunch of orc chiefs, lieutenants, and shamans, so they are group; and there is only one Gharn that leads all the tribes, so he’s solitary.

Comments are closed.