Players may always consider their characters to be death-dealing fearless machines; however, while the player may force the issue, and have the character dive into battle willy-nilly, the character himself may not always feel so very certain about the results! Thus, PC Morale is an important issue.The table below determines the base Morale of the Player Character, based on the PC's Charisma Score:
Player Character Morale Table
Score ....... Base Morale
1 ...................... 3
2 ...................... 4
3 ...................... 5
4-5 .................. 6
6-8 .................. 7
9-12 ................ 8
13-15 .............. 9
16-17 ............. 10
18 ................... 11
19 ................... 12
A paladin adds his level to his base Morale; a knight adds half his level, rounded up, to his base Morale. A fighter, mystic, or ranger adds 1 to his base Morale every three levels (3rd, 6th, 9th, etc.) [Note: a ranger instead adds his full level to his base Morale when facing goblinoids and giants].
Any magical bonuses that apply to fear effects instead affect a character’s Morale (as does now the bless spell). Note that any character that is immune to fear need never make a morale check! If Morale, after any modifiers, remains at 12 or better, there is no need to check Morale, as the character's morale cannot break (but neither can he gain the benefit of becoming Resolute, see below).
Note: Any time the player responds to surprise or other such events by exclaiming, “I’m scared!” or “I piss myself!” it is an automatic Morale failure, save in the case when the character is a knight or paladin, in which case the player may make a Morale check unmodified by level (but certainly negatively modified if applicable) to not break Morale.
A player must check Morale for his character under the following circumstances:
- Whenever he is surprised; if surprised by an obviously superior foe (numerically or supernaturally), he suffers a penalty to his Morale of -2 or half the difference in EHD/Levels between him and the most obviously powerful foe, whichever is greater;
- Whenever encountering certain supernatural or potent and mighty creatures, such as dragons, giants, demons, and devils, or culturally terrifying legendary creatures (i.e., “boogie-men”), whether surprised or not;
- If a non-spell caster, he must check Morale the first time in an encounter that an enemy spell caster uses obvious magic against the PC party (+2 bonus if his own party has a spell caster);
- Whenever he is first struck in combat for Hit Point damage;
- Whenever he falls to less than 1/2 his full Hit Points;
- The first time a comrade-in-arms/party member is slain or flees in the current combat;
- Whenever half or more of his party is slain or has fled.
A player character never need make more than three Morale checks in any one encounter; if he makes all three successfully, he is Resolute, and gains a +2 bonus to hit, to damage, to all saving throws, and to all ability checks (+10% to %-based skills) for the rest of the encounter.
The first time he fails a single Morale check, however, he is Shaken, and suffers a -2 penalty to hit, to damage, to saving throws, and to ability checks for the duration of the encounter (-10% to any %-based skills), and spell casters casting spells while shaken suffer a 10% chance of spell failure (base if normally no chance, or increases normal chances); if he successfully makes two subsequent Morale checks, he is no longer Shaken, but he is not Resolute.
If he fails a second Morale check in the same encounter, he is Frightened; he suffers double the penalties as per Shaken, above. If he succeeds at the third Morale check, he is merely Shaken and is no longer Frightened.
Finally, if the character fails his third Morale check in an encounter, he is Panicked; he must drop anything he holds and flee at top speed from the source of his fear, as well as any other dangers he encounters, along a random path. He can’t take any other actions. In addition, he suffers the penalties outlined in Shaken, above. If cornered, a panicked character acts confused, as per the spell confusion. A panicked character can use special abilities, including spells, to flee; indeed, the character must use such means if they are the only way to escape.