Fairly straight-forward question: How good should you make your monsters' combat tactics?
I recently came across a situation similar to this...
- Party attacked by monsters.
- Party is taken off guard, and as such the only healer is in melee combat.
- Monster has parry.
- I choose not to use parry and instead held the reaction for when the healer attempted to run away.
- Player (rightfully) chose to disengage, and I was left to use my parry on a later attack during the round.
My players complained that monsters would not likely have the understanding of tactics at this level, to play the meta game properly. I settled into a couple of solid arguments of my own, but am not sure if the proper conclusion has been reached:
Regardless of the monsters intellect, they would always have decent knowledge of the weapons/features available to them. As such arguments regarding the proper use of these (even very low intellect creatures) is void.
Since the "meta" game is only attempting to bring clarity to situation and provide proper guidance, using it to the fullest (as a monster) should not be against the rules. Especially considering most players will attempt to do the same typically.
Since the players overall skill level is generally quite high (all 10+ year veteran players, with a few exceptions) having more difficult encounters keeps the campaign from being boring and easy to win.
Is there a correct way to play NPC/monsters in D&D according to RAW? I am specifically looking for instances where tactics are detailed from an official source, regarding generic rules which can be applied to any encounter (such as the affect of intelligence on combat).