[RPG] Do different monsters cooperate? Do I need to justify it when they do


I'm new to GMing, and am having difficulty with understanding how often different types of monsters interact cooperatively (so to speak).

In keeping with trying to give my PC's variety, and to also make sure they are being appropriately challenged, I have been using the following monsters (in order appearance) together in a beginners dungeon. (Lvl 1-4)

  1. 3 Kobold
  2. 4 Kobold with 2 Gnolls above ground way-laying travelers
  3. 2 Gnolls with 1 Ogres and 2 Kobolds in Dungeon guard room (Ogres bossing around Gnolls & kobolds)
  4. 2 Gnoll & 2 Goblin Guards in hallways of dungeon.
  5. Gnoll Cleric with 4 Gnoll guards in dungeon temple.
  6. 10 skeletons come alive in sacrificial chamber of temple.

I feel the story line is getting bogged down by the inconsistency of the monster encounters, but I want to keep the encounters evolving and interesting. Perhaps I'm taking the story telling too seriously.

Have you ever put together so many monster types? Or is this perhaps a rookie move on my part?

Best Answer

You have gnolls working with goblins, kobolds, and ogres.

Does the party perhaps have a human, elf, dwarf, and gnome? Because that’s exactly the same level of variety. I’m serious, it can help to think of things in those terms: the “bad guys” can be just as cooperative as the “good guys.”

There’s nothing wrong with this at all. Best is if there is a good reason that they are working together (shared culture/history, or a warlord from among one of the races press-ganging others, or enemies banding together out of desperation, or...), but ultimately the PCs may never learn the reason; you may have just thrown these together because it seemed fun, and the PCs may never even question it and just kill them all, and then the PCs will never learn (and you’ll never have to decide) why they were together to begin with.

But when you notice something in particular about your encounters (or any other part of the setting), it’s good practice to explain it at least to yourself, to have some idea in mind for why things are that way. This will allow you to keep the world more consistent (maybe these particular races are always found living and working together) and/or help to come up with plot hooks (maybe this is very unusual, which leads you to invent some reason why it’s happening, which becomes a situation that the PCs might uncover as they adventure and it gets more revealed).

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