Journey: Threat Mechanics

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This is where we talk about threat and aggro mechanics for creatures.

This is specifically a subsystem under Combat, and intended for use only when the Combat system is engaged.


This subsystem is intended for two uses.

New LMs

New LMs are not expected to have a solid understanding of how creatures should act in combat situations. As such, we provide a solid system for enabling these new LMs to acquire a grasp of how different kinds of creatures react to different kinds of situations.

Experienced LMs

Sometimes, an experienced LM runs a creature he is unfamiliar with, or simply wants to run things "by the books" rather than "winging it." Threat and aggro mechanics allow for an LM to track exactly how a given creature will react to events in a combat.


Here's where we define our terms.


Every PC involved in a combat has threat. This is a single number that increases over the course of a single encounter.

Threat Perception (TP)

Every NPC involved in a combat has a threat perception, or how they perceive threat. How the creature perceives threat changes who acquires their aggro.


A PC acquires aggro from a creature if that PC has the highest threat value, as the creature perceives it. Aggro comes in two varieties.

Weak Aggro

A creature that has varying levels of threat perception may grant weak aggro. A creature who grants weak aggro will move towards its target while defending itself from nearby enemies.

Strong Aggro

A creature that has varying levels of threat perception may grant strong aggro; alternatively, creatures whose threat perception does not cause varying levels of threat will always grant strong aggro, with no chance of weak. A creature who has granted strong aggro will move towards its target as quickly as possible, ignoring all other creatures.

Hate Table

Some creatures with more unusual threat perception will not pay attention to all creatures present in the encounter. The creature maintains what is called a hate table, and only creatures that meet certain requirements are present on it; the creature will attack the creature on the hate table with the highest threat.

Threat Basics

This is where we describe how threat works, in more detail.

Note that only PCs have threat, and can (and should) track their own threat. Certain disciplines give access to specials that allow PCs to determine the threat other PCs cause, and as such PCs should not freely give out this information (though they can deduce it through what happens in-game).

Base Threat

A PC always has Threat dependent upon the kind of armor he wears, as well as the kind of weapon he is wielding.

Acquiring Threat

Any action in a combat produces Threat, though some actions produce more than others. The following (incomplete) list indicates how much Threat actions produce.

Action				Threat
Deal Damage			1/pt
Inflict a Wound		10
Inflict Trauma			Base trauma value of inflicted trauma
Make an Attack			Attack roll
Heal (Health)			1/pt

Heal (Wound)			10/wound
Heal (Trauma)			Trauma value
Break Equipment		DM of item x 5
Use a Special			Tokens spent
Move				1/square or hex

Cause Buff or Debuff		2/rank of effect
Retrieve Item			5
Revive a Dead Creature		Threat (that is, double your current threat)

Aggro Basics

This is how aggro works.

Strong vs. Weak Aggro

If a creature has acquired weak aggro from a creature, it will begin moving towards that creature. If it is threatened, the creature will move slowly past whatever is currently threatening it, only disengaging when it has a clear path to the target of its aggro.

If a creature has acquired strong aggro from a creature, that creature will immediately begin moving towards the target of its aggro, regardless of other creatures present.

Types of Threat Perception

If a creature has multiple kinds of threat perception that would multiply a creature's threat multiple times, add together all the multipliers, then subtract one for each multiplier beyond the first.

Example: If Dale is both wounded and in melee range of an Animalistic Bloodthirsty creature, Dale's threat is tripled (x2 for being in melee range, x2 for being wounded, 2 + 2 = 4 - 1 for one multiplier beyond the first, end result = x3).


An intelligent creature treats creatures outside melee range as having half threat.
If a ranged combatant's actual threat is highest, but their effective threat is not, that creature has acquired weak aggro.
If a ranged combatant's effective threat is highest, that creature has acquired strong aggro.


A bloodthirsty creature treats all creatures with a Wound token as having double threat.


Once a focused creature has acquired a target, that creature has strong aggro until it is downed.


An animalistic creature treats all creatures within melee range as having double threat.


A motion-sensitive creature maintains a hate table, which is cleared at the end of its actions.
If a creature moves, it goes on this creature's hate table.

Blind Spot: [Location]

A creature with a blind spot maintains a hate table. Given creatures will specify a specific arc for this threat perception.
Creatures in the specified location are not present on the creature's hate table.
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