Random Monster AI (Stolen Idea)



A friend introduced me to a new TRPG called “Emberwind” a short time ago. I was intrigued by the mechanics engine called the “Rise System” and how it dealt with monster/NPC AI specifically for GM-less games. It’s a far stretch, but the “Rise System” made me think of a strange blend between “ICRPG” and “Powered by the Apocalypse” (e.g. Dungeon World) mechanics.

Anyway, the monster/NPC AI concept got me thinking about applying it to my ICRPG games. It basically creates a sort of hexagon matrix that relates to a random d6 roll. You follow the pattern from the center of the matrix out based on the die roll number to create the monster/NPC’s reaction. It’s like Hank’s monster AI concepts, but less structured flow chart and more random.

Here is an example from “Emberwind”'s website:

This is a rough approximation of the Agnar from Core 2e to give you an idea of what I was thinking:

Thoughts? Too complicated? I just thought it was an interesting concept and was toying with it for ICRPG. Sometimes players pick up on the more flow chart based AI and then it’s easy for them to predict my monsters responses. I thought this might make it more random and throw them off the trail, so to speak. :slight_smile:


I love the layout of the book and the mechanic. How it is used in Emberwind is really neat. The graphic is good example of Hankerins’ method… on a 5 or 6 the monster does a special ability. But how it is represented in a hex is a very good example of the use of graphics. This would make a good template for ICRPG monster AI as well (based in your example). I don’t think it would be too complicated to add in a template or sheet. I love it. It gives a whole other meaning to ‘random monster’! … I may use this for my Bullet Journal for GM’s templates… Great Idea!!!


Thanks for sharing, thats a cool way to do monster AI. The only issue I could foresee is an enemy with a healing ability. Don’t want them healing themselves when they don’t need healing. (if they intelligent that is)

Could see a simple alteration though by having have healing overrides under a certain %


Love the execution of the monster ai in an easy-to-use graphic! Thanks for the share!


I saw an add for the Emberwind kickstarter on Reddit a while back. The GM-less option was intriguing but I wasn’t sure how it would keep encounters from seeming scripted. I am curious how random actions work for an intelligent creature. Kind of like what @James_Horn said about healing when not needed.

Maybe adapting it to a random tactic selector, so like when hank mapped out Duathrax’s actions where she had a choice of targets or actions it would be randomly selected, but if some criteria are met there is a prescribed set of actions she would take.


Nice idea. Immediately bookmarked.


This is just a random generator, and the problem with it is it will make your story seem clunky and unreasonable. The monster will be all over the place, forward, backward, attack and heal… without reason. You won’t be doing anything intelligent with your monster, just random stuff, but mostly it will steal the flow of your monster. If your rolling the dice and checking the results all the time it’s going to seem slow and clunky or not make sense.

There is no run away monster your got your ass kicked option either :slight_smile:
Very cool surface idea though. I really like it. Wouldn’t use it.


All very good and interesting points, @Murder_Hobo_Show ! Thank you for your insights.

I kinda felt the same way running monsters with the AI flow chart style as well and thought the idea of randomness might help, but I see your points with the random downside as well. @James_Horn reinforces your point about the problem with monster healing as it needs if/then statements to make more sense in use. The variability is just too much to account for with structured charts.

Guess it’s better to go back to just logically running my monsters based on story, player actions, and given circumstances. :brain:


this is a basic example of how im handling AI.

Black Dragon +5 stats +5 rolls 6 Hearts

  At the start of turn apply the following

Above Half health -------------------Below half health
2 attack ---------------------------------- retreat/ heal up
see below list
---------------------------------------------------Heal 20 hp
----------------------------------------------raise room target by 1

Attack list: ether pick. or roll 1d6.

1.Breath: attack all near in front
2.Stomp: attack hit all near
3.Bite: 1 target
4.Wing flap: Gust attack knock down all in front
5.Claw: one target
6.Tail swipe: attack hit all near


hehe that’s cool, i think this could be really powerful, great work!