Scripting Strategies for Evil GMs: Countering Attack, Attack, Attack

My players have begun scripting nothing but attacks. It doesn’t seem to have a straightforward counter like Defend or Feint. What can I do to Evil GM their predictable behavior?

Put them against weaker pack monsters with nasty compromise conditions - giant rats spring to mind, where anyone hurt by them is Sickened. This will tempt them to mix in a few Defends, especially as the monsters dwindle in numbers (and dice).

Give some weaker enemies some really horrible weapons, that they’ll be tempted to Maneuver them off.

But… yeah, Attack/Attack/Attack is a super solid strategy.

EDIT: It’s tempting to say, “Just make compromises hurt really badly, so they’ll try to avoid them!” but as far as I can tell from simulations, an all-out Attack is usually the best way to give away the smallest possible compromise.

Maneuver can be a good counter to attack. It would be a versus test, taking away some of their damage or even giving bonuses, penalties, or disarming which can give the monsters an upper hand for the next action. Also, the more you maneuver and defend the more they’ll want to feint.

This topic also made me think of a possible hack, which I posted here.

Minor compromise : lose weapon
Major compromise : lose backpack (and it full content)

check compromises table p. 75; there are nasty options.

Script Man-Att-Man, then Att-Man-Att: your side will somehow prevent to get too much hit and if things go well, it will attack with a bonus against undefended PCs. One can lose easily a fight this way.

You need a versus action (Maneuver or Defend) where you can select a weapon that gives you a higher dice pool than the PCs. Unless they change tactics, you can script occasional attacks while refreshing your disp with defends (boosted by maneuver if needed).

What are they, crazy? Are they doing this in kill conflicts? That’s a surefire way to get a PC killed! I agree with the responses that say a strong Maneuver followed by Attack can set you up to Gain Position and out-Attack them. Also, A/A/A works great against crowds of smaller enemies, but not so well against big nasties; a successful Attack against a team of minions can possibly knock out multiple helpers, but against a big monster it’s all or nothing, in terms of the opposing dice pool.

What are you doing for compromises? Check out Applying Conditions as Part of a Compromise on p.79. If my players decided to spam A/A/A in every conflict, I’d be giving them Injured and Exhausted after each one!


Best medicine is to hit them right back with A/A/A for a few conflicts. The punishment they receive will hopefully teach them to be more cautious.

Use a maneuver to take their bows away. When we have a slight die advantage, and bows or Eldrich Darts, we attack as much as possible.

I am pretty sure that is not right for Torchbearer as it was for Mouse Guard. In Mouse Guard the number of rolled dice did not change as the opposing force lost disposition. But in Torchbearer if you reduce the number of Kobolds from 6 (Might 2) and 5 helping dice to a smaller number with Might 1 and less helping dice it is possible to get your own dispo back with defend actions so you don’t have to give a high compromise. Also milking that last kobold for checks by giving him +2D could be a great strategy. If your players always script A/A/A they are not getting the best results with easy opponents that come in hordes…

If they go against one big monster A/A/A seams like a good way. But after thier first party members are out off the fight and the number of helping dice is getting smaller the monster might be able to defend to max dispo and finish them off later. So I like the change to the conflict mechanism as it makes A/A/A a good but not the best strategy.

A few suggestions off the top of my head:

  1. Try some tougher monsters that have a fair number of dice to sling and that don’t fall down too easily. And like Luke said, try some A/A/A yourself. Combine with punishing compromises (or outright beat them). If one or more of them is injured going into a physical conflict of some kind (not just Kill), remind them that death is on the line for those characters. Or make sure to saddle them with conditions as part of the compromise–make sure they get beaten up.

  2. Arm your guys with bows (and make sure they have enough dice to cause some trouble). Mix Attacks with Maneuvers. If you do it right, you should be able to fend off most of their attacks and maybe impede/gain position for a really big attack.

  3. Maneuver them into conflicts that not everyone has the skills for (like Pursue/Flee) conflicts.

  4. Use geography to maneuver them into conflicts they normally wouldn’t choose. If I remember correctly, your group tends to avoid Kill conflicts, right? What happens when the players back the monsters into a dead end? They can’t drive them off. There’s nowhere for the monsters to go except through the PCs…