What are the mechanics for enemies retreating from combat?

Enemies can choose to retreat from combat for many reasons, both of mundane choice and special mechanics. One that can potentially come up often is the effect of the Craven ability of some adversaries:

Craven - If at the beginning of a round the creature is found without Hate points, it tries to flee the battlefield

There are rules for how a player character can retreat from combat. However, they make reference to the Attribute Level of the opponent, which is something only NPCs have. It also uses other terms that indicate that these rules are only for PCs trying to escape from NPCs (emphasis mine):

A companion fighting in close combat stance may attempt to escape when his turn to act comes. At the end of the round, a player-hero may attempt a roll of Athletics.

The TN for the roll is equal to 10 plus the highest Attribute level among the opponents that the character is facing.

Attribute levels work on a different scale than real, PC attributes, and do not seem compatible. As such, these rules for retreating do not seem to apply in the reverse scenario in which enemies are retreating from the players, in my opinion.

What are the actual rules for the retreat of opponents? Are they specified elsewhere in the book? Do they actually use the player rules with some particular interpretation or adjustment? Or are they something else?


2 Answers 2


The Attribute Level is meant to substitute for Attributes, and vice versa.

If a Craven creature should find itself empty on Hate and locked in melee with the Companions, you wind up making pretty much the same roll that a Companion would: the Fate die, a number of Success dice equal to their Athletics Movement skill group rating (Athletics being a movement skill), and a flat bonus equal to their Attribute Level if Movement is a favored skill group. The target number is 10 + the highest Attribute Level among the Companions facing them, with a similar requirement of one or more 6s on the success dice if they're trying to escape from multiple engaged Companions.

Assuming events have shaken out such that the Craven creature can't take up a rearward stance and escape automatically, and that the Companions are out for blood and not letting a terrified foe get away unopposed, a goblin archer (3 movement, favored +2AL) has an average roll of about 17-18, and should be able to slip away, even from two Companions trying to corner them. A low-ranking orc (2 movement) has an average roll of 12-13, and might possibly evade one, but isn't likely to.

That seems about right for odds, at least on the face of it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your logic of the scenario being unlikely doesn't hold up, IMO. Low-tier orcs that are intimidated have no guarantee of having more of their compatriots to hide behind. They could just be the last ones, or perhaps half of the last ones in such a ratio that prevents them all from hiding. Considering that they only have 1 Hate point, it is hardly difficult to find this happening either deliberately or incidentally. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 12, 2019 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ This new answer seems plausible. But, are you sure that it should be "the highest attribute" of the PC that is taken into account? Enemies don't have specific attributes, but PCs do, so it probably makes more sense to use the most relevant stat. In this case, I;\'d guess that Body is the correct stat, as it's used for almost all main combat rolls. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 12, 2019 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Southpaw Hare At that point it's your call. If you want to say it's body because body backs athletics, go for it. If you want to use the results to say how they got in the way, body, heart, or wits, that's fine too. You're the GM, or whatever cute name the GM is. You've got giant piles of orcs whenever you want them. Might as well give the players a shot to do what they're after. \$\endgroup\$
    – Glazius
    Mar 15, 2019 at 14:16

There is no need for such mechanics

The combat mechanics are there simply to handle combat, to create an exciting scene for players and the Loremaster. What monsters do whenever they are not fighting is up to the Loremaster, including eating, sleeping and retreating if they feel like it.

Craven monsters don't have much choice in that regard, and whenever the creature has no Hate left, it will flee. That ability is there to represent those creatures natural cowardice. But for every other creature, the Loremaster decides what the creature should do. They may fight to the death, they may use hit-and-run tactics, they may lure the player characters into an ambush, they may try to talk to them (yes, many creatures are intelligent and not everything has to be solved in battle).

We see orks and spiders retreating in the movies, and if the PCs wish to pursuit them, they may track them down and finish them up (or fall into a trap).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am confused by what you mean. You say that retreating is unrelated to combat, but I am talking about creatures retreating from combat. As in, they are in melee combat range and start to run. Surely there is a mechanical component to this. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 11, 2019 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Only if you want to add drama to this. Its important when the PCs are fleeing, but it isn't always important when the enemies are fleeing. For the PCs, fleeing or not, they are the focus of the scenes. For monsters, they are only relevant to the scene while they are at it, once they leave they are no longer important. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Mar 12, 2019 at 12:00

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