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Reduce Aggro

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Items and abilities that make foes less likely to go after you. (Launching today)

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
DragonQuestZ on Dec 16th 2015 at 3:12:18 AM
Last Edited By:
Miss_Desperado on May 25th 2018 at 7:51:51 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

Thief's Ring: It subdues your presence, making it difficult to be detected by enemies.

When a character or group faces a threat, they sometimes have ways of making that threat either unable or less likely to notice them.

Two of the most common ways are:

An Invisibility Cloak is a very common method of reducing aggro (unless one is aggro-ing the enemy, just they don't know where to retaliate).

In games with character classes, the thief may have abilities (innate or gained) that reduce the chance of being spotted, or use Mobile Shrubbery to hide from enemies. Also Damagers and Healers may have this in games that implement the Damager, Healer, Tank trifecta.

Even though Draw Aggro is the opposite of this trope, they will often overlap when another character is drawing aggro in order to reduce the aggro to other characters.

The trope name comes from the fan term for these gameplay tactics in Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.

A Sister Trope to Encounter Repellant (making enemy encounters less likely or non-existent). Contrast Encounter Bait.

Will be indexed on:


Video Game Examples

MMORPG

  • Elsword: Code Electra (Eve's third evolution path)'s skill Photon Flare acts as this to the enemies affected. As they got Blinded by the Light, they'll get a Status Ailment that will not make them aggro if you attack them until the status wears off.
  • In Ragnarok Online, there are a number of skills that can reduce the chance of monsters attacking.
    • The quest skill "Play Dead" which is only available to Novice and High Novice class characters is exactly what it sounds like. The character reverts to their "dead" sprite and can't move until they turn off the skill. ALL Monsters, even MV Ps, will ignore them as if they are dead and they are also immune to almost all player attacks, but can be cancelled by Sorcerer's Dispell and Swordsman's Provoke.
    • There are a number of Invisibility Cloak type skills which let players avoid some monsters (the vast majority of them in the thief class branches) but MV Ps, Demon and Insect monsters can see through them and one can't attack while invisible. This includes the Thief's "Hide" skill, which makes the character invisible but they can't move; the Assassin's "Cloaking" skill, which makes the player invisible and able to move at 100% speed at it's maximum level; Rogue's "Stalk" passive skill, which allows some movement while using "Hide"; Assassin Cross's unimplemented "Hallucination Walk" skill, which grants invisibility and summons 'Clones'; Stalker's "Stealth" which grants invisibility and can't be cancelled by detecting skills, although footprints show up so players will still know you're there; Guillotine Cross's "Cloaking Exceed", which is an enhanced cloak and grants invisibility that can't be detected by insect or demon monsters and gives a movement speed bonus; Shadow Chaser's "Invisibility" which grants invisibility that extends to attacking, but all attacks become Ghost element. The only Invisibility Cloak attack not in the Thief tree is the Ranger's (an archer class) "Camouflage" which grants invisibility to most monsters but not players, as well as grants some stat bonuses. Many of these skills can be obtained by other classes with the use of items and cards.
    • Some classes also have skills that let them avoid drawing monsters without being invisible. The High Priest has "Basilica" which is an area of effect skill that makes a 5 x 5 square safe from monsters (except bosses), protecting anyone inside from being attacked but also from attacking. The Rogue Class also has a skill called "Slyness" which allows two or more rogues sitting together to be immune from monster aggro (except for bosses).

Realtime Strategy

  • Plants vs. Zombies: Garlic is used for this; you plant it on a lane and the zombies on that lane who eats it will switch to another lane, making that lane safe from most attacks and potentially redirecting zombies to the lane that you fill with more danger to be unleashed at the zombies.
  • Warcraft III:
    • Losing aggro is often as simple as telling an injured unit to run away. As long as there are allied units still fighting, the enemy will usually focus on them.
    • Night Elf females, heroes with a Cloak of Shadows and human bandits can use Shadowmeld, which turns the caster invisible at night, and can be used to force the caster to leave enemies alone (as attacking breaks invisibility).
    • The Faerie Dragon's Phase Shift nullifies all attacks against it while active, and it remains untargetable for the spell's duration.
    • The Blood Mage's Banish makes the target ethereal, preventing any physical attacks from damaging it (and preventing it from attacking). However, spells do extra damage, and the unit ot only remains visible, it's also slowed, making it an offensive and defensive spell. The Tauren Spirit Walker can switch between physical and ethereal forms as needed.
    • Unintentionally done with the Sleep spell, which makes the target invulnerable for a few seconds before applying the effect, forcing the caster's units to attack elsewhere.
  • Mastermind World Conqueror: Notoriety continuously increases as you perform evil acts necessary to expand your criminal empire, resulting in an attack on your base when the gauge hits maximum. Some missions allow you to decrease it by targeting journalists, buying you more time to prepare for the inevitable attack.

RPG

  • Eating a Vanish Seed in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon gives you a status condition of 'invisibility', allowing you to walk past wild pokemon without them taking any notice of you. It makes you invisible to your allies too, though, and they'll wander off on their own without you to guide them.
  • In the Dark Souls games you can use spells and items, like Alluring Skull, to make enemies temporarily go after the target spot instead of the player.
    • In Dark Souls I you can equip the Ring of Fog to reduce the range of enemies going after the player.
  • In Demon's Souls the Thief Ring reduces the range of enemies going after the player.
  • In the Dragon Age series abilities like this are a staple of the Rogue and Mage classes.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Stealth skill allows rogues to disappear from view even in the middle of combat, resetting all aggro against them from enemies who cannot see them anymore (which depends on their relative levels) after a short while. The Mages, meanwhile, have a spell called Mind Blast, which pushes nearby enemies away while simultaneously reducing their aggro against the caster.
    • In Dragon Age II, the Rogues can still use Stealth in combat, but have several new talents to reduce enemies' aggro in combat, such as Armistice (nullify all aggro against themselves or another companion), Goad (redirect all aggro from themselves to a companion), Evade (leap away, simultaneously reducing aggro against themselves), and Subtlety (passively slow down the aggro build-up against them). The Mind Blast spell returns for the mages.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mind Blast and Stealth are still the main means of aggro reduction for their respective user classes, but mages now have a passive ability called Peaceful Aura, which passively reduces aggro build-up against them, while the Rogues' aggro-manipulating abilities are reduced in number, leaving them with just Easy to Miss (same effect as Subtlety in DA2).
  • Golden Sun: The Jupiter Djinni Haze turns a party member invisible for a turn, making enemies attack elsewhere.
  • Knights of Pen and Paper 2 has the Threat stat. Having the highest in the party designates a character as the most likely to be attacked, and it can be lowered, to reduce the chance of that.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Two of Shulk's skills are designed to reduced aggro: "Forced Mercy" and "Stealth Warrior". The former lowers his aggro whenever he takes damage, thereby forcing the enemy to target another party member. The second skill simply makes him less likely to draw aggro by 30% when he uses an Art.
    • Alternatively, the player can also craft Arts Stealth gems which have the same effect as Shulk's "Stealth Warrior" skill. A level VI gem lowers the user's aggro by 25% when using an Art, but the effect caps at 50%.
  • The infiltrator class in Mass Effect series gives you access to a tactical cloak which makes you temporarily invisible to enemies, making them focus on your squadmates, or simply stand still if your squadmates are KO'd or absent.

Tabletop Games

  • In Monster of the Week, the Flake has a special move called "Often Overlooked", where they can "act all crazy" to appear unthreatening and unimportant to others (including monsters and their minions).
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The 1st Edition Advanced D&D Dungeon Masters Guide has rules for dealing with angry monsters pursuing the Player Character party. Throwing food can distract stupid monsters (who stop and eat the food) and throwing money or other valuable items can allow escape from intelligent monsters (who stop and gather them).
    • D&D has a large number of spells, magic items and psionic abilities that grant invisibility. In most cases, becoming invisible prevents monsters from continuing to attack or attacking in the first place. The only problem is monsters that have enhanced sentences other than sight, such as keen senses of hearing or smell.

Third Person Shooter Games

  • The "dummy decoy" item in MDK can be thrown to nearly instantly draw enemies' attention away from the player character, even as he ruthlessly shoots them in the back.

Wide Open Sandbox

  • Terraria has this as a benefit of the stealth effect of Shroomite and Vortex Armor, as well as the invisibility potion.

Other Media Examples

Comic Books

  • In Robin when Tim leads the Teen Titans to break into one of Lex Luthor's secret labs he uses parts from the first group of security drones they encounter to fashion devices that cause the rest of the drones to ignore them so long as they don't attack first.

Feedback: 40 replies

Dec 16th 2015 at 3:41:38 AM

  • Garlic of Plants Vs Zombies is used for this; you plant it on a lane and the zombies on that lane who eats it will switch to another lane, making that lane safe from most attacks and potentially redirecting zombies to the lane that you fill with more danger to be unleashed at the zombies.
  • El Sword: Code Electra (Eve's third evolution path)'s skill Photon Flare acts as this to the enemies affected. As they got Blinded By The Light, they'll get a Status Ailment that will not make them aggro if you attack them until the status wears off.

Dec 16th 2015 at 4:23:31 AM

This is often a class ability for Damagers and Healers in games that implement the Damager Healer Tank trifecta.

  • In Monster Of The Week, the Flake has a special move called "Often Overlooked", where they can "act all crazy" to appear unthreatening and unimportant to others (including monsters and their minions).

Dec 16th 2015 at 4:31:18 AM

^^ Please namespace those so I an put them in the proper sections.

Dec 16th 2015 at 4:35:50 AM

  • Abilities like this are a staple of the Rogue and, to a lesser degree, the Mage classes in the Dragon Age series:
    • In Dragon Age Origins, the Stealth skill allows rogues to disappear from view even in the middle of combat, resetting all aggro against them from enemies who cannot see them anymore (which depends on their relative levels) after a short while. The Mages, meanwhile, have a spell called Mind Blast, which pushes nearby enemies away while simultaneously reducing their aggro against the caster.
    • In Dragon Age II, the Rogues can still use Stealth in combat, but have several new talents to reduce enemies' aggro in combat, such as Armistice (nullify all aggro against themselves or another companion), Goad (redirect all aggro from themselves to a companion), Evade (leap away, simultaneously reducing aggro against themselves), and Subtlety (passively slow down the aggro build-up against them). The Mind Blast spell returns for the mages.
    • In Dragon Age Inquisition, Mind Blast and Stealth are still the main means of aggro reduction for their respective user classes, but mages now have a passive ability called Peaceful Aura, which passively reduces aggro build-up against them.

Dec 16th 2015 at 4:49:32 AM

Reminds me of the (possibly apocryphal) story about the research the US Armed Forces did on a "Gay Bomb"...

Dec 16th 2015 at 5:30:49 AM

Edited the DAI example in the description.

Dec 16th 2015 at 5:52:05 AM

As with Draw Aggro, the video game section needs to be divided by genre because aggro is a game mechanic.

MMORPG:

  • Star Trek Online: Consoles with the [-Th] modifier reduce the aggro drawn by the starship they're equipped on.

Dec 16th 2015 at 6:09:38 AM

^ Not until it's established as mainly about games. And if you read the Draw Aggro page you'll see it's not just about the mechanic.

Dec 16th 2015 at 8:09:04 AM

@ Dragonquestz: done.

Dec 16th 2015 at 12:43:20 PM

^ What's done? If you mean your previous post, I don't see any namespaces on the works.

Dec 16th 2015 at 2:03:25 PM

  • Warcraft III:
    • Losing aggro is often as simple as telling an injured unit to run away. As long as there are allied units still fighting, the enemy will usually focus on them.
    • Night Elf females, heroes with a Cloak of Shadows and human bandits can use Shadowmeld, which turns the caster invisible at night, and can be used to force the caster to leave enemies alone (as attacking breaks invisibility).
    • The Faerie Dragon's Phase Shift nullifies all attacks against it while active, and it remains untargetable for the spell's duration.
    • The Blood Mage's Banish makes the target ethereal, preventing any physical attacks from damaging it (and preventing it from attacking). However, spells do extra damage, and the unit ot only remains visible, it's also slowed, making it an offensive and defensive spell. The Tauren Spirit Walker can switch between physical and ethereal forms as needed.
    • Unintentionally done with the Sleep spell, which makes the target invulnerable for a few seconds before applying the effect, forcing the caster's units to attack elsewhere.

Dec 16th 2015 at 3:52:15 PM

Perhaps I clicked the pencil icon again instead of "enter changes"...

Alright, done

Dec 16th 2015 at 4:03:28 PM

^ Yeah, I still often press the wrong button here. Anyway I added them.

Dec 16th 2015 at 5:54:25 PM

  • In Ragnarok Online, there are a number of skills that can reduce the chance of monsters attacking.
    • The quest skill "Play Dead" which is only available to Novice and High Novice class characters is exactly what it sounds like. The character reverts to their "dead" sprite and can't move until they turn off the skill. ALL Monsters, even MV Ps, will ignore them as if they are dead and they are also immune to almost all player attacks, but can be cancelled by Sorcerer's Dispell and Swordsman's Provoke.
    • There are a number of Invisibility Cloak type skills which let players avoid some monsters (the vast majority of them in the thief class branches) but MV Ps, Demon and Insect monsters can see through them and one can't attack while invisible. This includes the Thief's "Hide" skill, which makes the character invisible but they can't move; the Assassin's "Cloaking" skill, which makes the player invisible and able to move at 100% speed at it's maximum level; Rogue's "Stalk" passive skill, which allows some movement while using "Hide"; Assassin Cross's unimplemented "Hallucination Walk" skill, which grants invisibility and summons 'Clones'; Stalker's "Stealth" which grants invisibility and can't be cancelled by detecting skills, although footprints show up so players will still know you're there; Guillotine Cross's "Cloaking Exceed", which is an enhanced cloak and grants invisibility that can't be detected by insect or demon monsters and gives a movement speed bonus; Shadow Chaser's "Invisibility" which grants invisibility that extends to attacking, but all attacks become Ghost element. The only Invisibility Cloak attack not in the Thief tree is the Ranger's (an archer class) "Camouflage" which grants invisibility to most monsters but not players, as well as grants some stat bonuses. Many of these skills can be obtained by other classes with the use of items and cards.
    • Some classes also have skills that let them avoid drawing monsters without being invisible. The High Priest has "Basilica" which is an area of effect skill that makes a 5 x 5 square safe from monsters (except bosses), protecting anyone inside from being attacked but also from attacking. The Rogue Class also has a skill called "Slyness" which allows two or more rogues sitting together to be immune from monster aggro (except for bosses).

Mar 13th 2016 at 4:04:11 PM

  • Golden Sun: The Jupiter Djinni Haze turns a party member invisible for a turn, making enemies attack elsewhere.
  • Dragon Quest IX:
    • One shield skill redirects an attack onto another fighter, be they friend or foe.
    • Averted by the Vanish spell (which turns the party invisible but still triggers combat when running into enemies): if an enemy notices the player and runs after them, they still move when the player brings up the menu to cast the spell, meaning it gets cast while the enemy is already in contact, wasting the spell.

Mar 14th 2016 at 1:28:10 PM

  • Eating a Vanish Seed in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon gives you a status condition of 'invisibility', allowing you to walk past wild pokemon without them taking any notice of you. It makes you invisible to your allies too, though, and they'll wander off on their own without you to guide them.

Jun 4th 2017 at 7:59:51 AM

I kinda reminded of the "bait bomb" query I made over in the Trope Finder... guess I found what I'm looking for.

May 10th 2018 at 1:00:09 AM

  • The "dummy decoy" item in MDK can be thrown to nearly instantly draw enemies' attention away from the player character, even as he ruthlessly shoots them in the back.

May 11th 2018 at 2:38:08 AM

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons And Dragons
    • The 1st Edition Advanced D&D Dungeon Masters Guide has rules for dealing with angry monsters pursuing the Player Character party. Throwing food can distract stupid monsters (who stop and eat the food) and throwing money or other valuable items can allow escape from intelligent monsters (who stop and gather the money/items).
    • D&D has a large number of spells, magic items and psionic abilities that grant invisibility. In most cases, becoming invisible prevents monsters from continuing to attack or attacking in the first place. The only problem is monsters that have enhanced sentences other than sight (such as keen senses of hearing or smell) or, even worse, can see invisible things.

May 10th 2018 at 12:36:17 PM

Mastermind World Conqueror: Notoriety continuously increases as you perform evil acts necessary to expand your criminal empire, resulting in an attack on your base when the gauge hits maximum. Some missions allow you to decrease it by targeting journalists, buying you more time to prepare for the inevitable attack.

May 10th 2018 at 1:44:04 PM

^ In the future, please namespace your example contributions, e.g. VideoGame/MastermindWorldConqueror

May 10th 2018 at 2:29:08 PM

  • VideoGame.Knights Of Pen And Paper 2 has the Threat stat. Having the highest in the party designates a character as the most likely to be attacked, and it can be lowered, to reduce the chance of that.

May 16th 2018 at 3:05:27 PM

^ Thank you.

Bumping for hats and constructive criticism.

May 16th 2018 at 5:04:40 PM

  • Terraria has this as a benefit of the stealth effect of Shroomite and Vortex Armor, as well as the invisibility potion.

May 19th 2018 at 8:38:28 PM

^ Can I have a little more detail on that example, please? Especially as to what sub-category of video games it should be filed under?

May 21st 2018 at 3:55:23 PM

Needs An Index. I'm thinking about prepping this for launch.

May 21st 2018 at 5:00:36 PM

Maybe Video Game Effects And Spells for index? Draw Aggro is listed there, so it seems right.

May 22nd 2018 at 12:24:54 PM

RPG

  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Two of Shulk's skills are designed to reduced aggro: "Forced Mercy" and "Stealth Warrior". The former lowers his aggro whenever he takes damage, thereby forcing the enemy to target another party member. The second skill simply makes him less likely to draw aggro by 30% when he uses an Art.
    • Alternatively, the player can also craft Arts Stealth gems which have the same effect as Shulk's "Stealth Warrior" skill. A level VI gem lowers the user's aggro by 25% when using an Art, but the effect caps at 50%.

May 22nd 2018 at 9:59:37 PM

  • The infiltrator class in Mass Effect series gives you access to a tactical cloak which makes you temporarily invisible to enemies, making them focus on your squadmates or simply stand still if they are KO'd or absent.

May 24th 2018 at 2:27:14 PM

^^ Examples added.

^ ...if who are KO'd or absent?

May 24th 2018 at 4:49:55 PM

^ Pretty sure it's referring to the squadmates

May 25th 2018 at 9:57:16 AM

^^^ Example added. This is getting launched today, so Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace.

May 25th 2018 at 5:49:31 PM

If non-video game examples are accepted then:

Comic Books

  • In Robin when Tim leads the Teen Titans to break into one of Lex Luthor's secret labs he uses parts from the first group of security drones they encounter to fashion devices that cause the rest of the drones to ignore them so long as they don't attack first.

May 25th 2018 at 7:48:55 PM

Hmmm... I don't see any reason to forbid non-video game examples.

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