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NPCs don't think any differently than PCs; they all have a sense of self-preservation as well as wants and needs. OSR+ doesn't have rules for morale checks because the system expects you to make a fiat judgment call based on how the fiction unfolds. Even so, you can roll for this if you're not sure whether something significant happening during the encounter might make them turn tail. A simple opposed Influence check can help you make a ruling in that case.

Optional Morale Rules

Consider the below table to assess your NPCs' morale. For example, if the NPC is normally Rational, it might make sense to have him behave Cowardly if he fails an opposed check with the PCs, whereas an NPC that is Fearless might take several checks to break his resolve. An NPC that's Mindless, however, is impossible to affect in terms of morale because it has no sense of self-preservation.

Morale Table

MindlessThese NPCs are fearless because they have no sense of self-preservation: they can’t be reasoned with and are immune to intimidation tactics, so they will fight until it is physically impossible. Zombies, automatons, and enraged characters are considered mindless.
FearlessSuch an NPC will fight until near death and is nonplussed by intimidation tactics. The deaths of its comrades will only strengthen its resolve, and the NPC will not surrender unless death or defeat is a certainty. Dragons and fanatical clerics are fearless.
RationalMost NPCs are of this type: they flee or surrender when outnumbered, at less than half health (bloodied), or when the situation seems grim. They can be reasoned with, intimidated, emboldened, etc. Your average mercenary or dungeon beast is Rational.
CowardlyThe NPC flees when moderately harmed, when it faces a worthy opponent, or when the situation seems against its favor. Such NPCs are very susceptible to intimidation or negotiation tactics. Goblins and petty thieves are cowardly.

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