Terror Checks Detailed


I have read some of the earlier posts and they do help clear up questions about this ability that the book leaves open, but i wonder about:

1. Groups of Terror Inducing Monsters
2. Terror Check Distance
3. Fear Duration.
4. Terrorize Ability Modifiers?

I recently ran "The Coming of Hanuman" and at the end it calls for a large group of humans vs a large group of Man-Apes with the pc's in the middle.

Well, all these monsters provoke Terror checks and the way I understand it, each monster provokes a terror check from all people around.

Clearly this cannot function normally due to the size of the battle and the number of participants.

What I am doing a group check, as in the pc's just get one roll for terror vs all man-ape's. Does this sound fair and accurate?

Secondly, at what distance does the ability have effect? Sight range from where the can see the monster clearly or only when up close and personal like in a battle?

Thirdly, if you fail and roll the 3d6, do you get another chance to save afterward or are you permanenly feared against that monster?

Lastly, Ive read that sometimes monsters may not provoke fear, such as in the case of 100 soldiers vs a single zombie.?To me this makes sense, but is it against Howardian Role Playing?

I know this is alot of questions, but i feel this would better explain the ability for me and possibly others!

Thanks in advance :D
Someone posted this variant rule regarding the monster's size affecting the Terror check:

Optional Rule variant

Them’s a big sucker, ain’t it?

A creature who provokes a Terror of the Unknown check will gain a penalty or bonus to the DC of the Terror check depending on how large or small it is in comparison to the ones forced to make the Terror test. Since almost all PCs in the Hyborian world are Medium sized humans, the following table assumes that the creature making the check is Medium sized. For individuals of different sizes, adjust the DC modifier accordingly.

Size of Creature Terror test
DC modifier
Fine: DC –8
Diminutive: DC –4
Tiny: DC –2
Small: DC –1
Medium: no change
Large: DC +1
Huge: DC +2
Gargantuan: DC +4
Colossal: DC +8

I thought it was a brilliant addition, and I plan to use it at the first possible opportunity.

Additionally, If one side significantly outnumbers the other (as, say, the PCs outnumber the beasties) then the larger party should get a morale bonus (that is the Terror Check DC would be lowered) for a certain increment that it is larger than the enemy. I have seen a similar arrangement in wargaming, IIRC. Contrary-wise, if the PCs are a party much smaller than the number of the enemy (e.g. the monsters) then there would be a corresponding morale penalty to the DC (i.e. there would be an addition to the Terror Check DC). Helpful?

How about this table...

Morale Modifiers: OUTNUMBERING, and being OUTNUMBERED

Group A:Group B...Reduction to Terror Check DC for Group A

My logic behind this is based on the size table above. If an adult red dragon is colossal sized and gets +8 Terror DC bonus, how many Hyborian tough-guys could take it down? I think that 40 is a fair number, so their morale adjustment negates the size bonus to the DC. Granted some playtesting is required...

Then, I could also argue: Should the average HD of Group A affect these considerations? Tentatively, yes.
Yogah of Yag said:
Someone posted this variant rule regarding the monster's size affecting the Terror check:

That's be me- it's from "Raven's Eraata". I like your rule so I am posting there as well so it isn't as easily lost.

Should a sorcerer need to make the same checks as say a soldier ? Should a 'monster' have a 'horror rating' and then by class and level characters a 'horror threshold' if they face a creature that is more than there 'threshold' then a save is required ?

Situational modifiers

If you have already failed one check in the past 12-24 hours +1 to DC
If you have failed one in the last 12-6 hours +2
Ditto 3-6 hours +3
1-3 hours +4
last hour +5

In a 'scary'place like a tomb +2 to dc too +5 too d.c.

If one or more of your party has been killed by IT +5
injured +2 / +3

If it is DARK +1

Horror check in a surprise round +5 DC

If one or more of your party failed +1 per fail -- fear is infectious ?

Should these checks be rolled in order of initiative ?

Or have I been watching 'The Horror channel' a little much ?
The other thought that occurs is that perhaps we ought to look at the published adventures and have a little 'how to DM <adventure>' PDF download that covered the mechanics of running the non-standard encounters (optional rules, How to record, dice rolls, etc. How to handle if players do something dumb (like sending two non-spellcasters after an escaping sorcerer)
Nice post Yogah.

I especially like the outnumbering part.

When my players faced the Demoness/Godess at the end of "Dark Dens of Iniquity" (Shadizar book III) they each rolled vs. Terror and I also had Lady Nehira roll as well as the 20 cultists with her.
She failed as well as two out of three of the player characters. I rolled for the cultists in groups of 10, so 2 rolls; 1 group made it the other didn't. The group that made it soon ran as the Demoness started tearing into them.

I would say that using the outnumbering rule would be on a case by case basis. 40 soldiers would get the bonus, because of their training and discipline; 40 peasants would not.
Sorry that I didn't acknowledge you, Raven. I had a feeling in the back of my mind that you authored those clever rules. Just don't peck my eyes out! :shock: :D

I think the original intent of the Terror check was meant for a single individual or very small group coming up against a beastie and not a whole mass of PCs.

When more and more PCs are in a group and confront such a situation, suddenly it becomes a "mass combat" scenario requiring us to dip in to some form of mass combat rules, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just more head-scratching and number-crunching.

Not to make things any worse here, but adding a "flanking bonus" for the larger party as well as an "altitude bonus" to the party who is up higher than the beastie (a hillock, or slope--not snorting the Lotus! :D ): when you can look down from a height down upon a snarling beast from the coldest depths of the Outer Dark, it might not seem any more intimidating than a barking puppy.
I like Ravens rules for this. It makes sense with the outnumbering. Im going to incorporate them into my campaign.

I just wish that mongoose would fill in the details a little more with their rules.

Does anyone else have any cool variants or do they just run the rule as is?