In RPGs, "tanking" is where one heavily armored character forces a monster to attack him or her, permitting the rest of the party to attack and kill the monster without fear of taking damage.
Is there a plausible way for this to happen without arbitrary video game mechanics? In other words, are there any real-life techniques to force an animal's attention on oneself?
Assume this is a low-magic, medieval setting -- your typical fantasy genre world.
The line between "arbitrary video game mechanic" and "magic spell" can be blurry, so for clarity's sake, I'll lay out an example scenario:
Suppose humans are low on the food chain, and therefore hunting extra-large animals has become a squad-based military endeavor.
I'm not talking dragons, but creatures about this size:
Let's say some hunters want to kill a monster using an RPG-style tanking strategy: Team A reliably holds the monster's attention, keeping it from noticing Team B who circles around and severs its arteries, maybe mounts it and pierces its spine or brain.
Is there a way for Team A to reliably (not perfectly) hold the monster's attention? (In other words, is there some plausible way that RPG-style tanking could exist?)
- Assume the monster is unable to run away -- chained to a bear trap or something.
- Assume that magic can be used to, say, cast a fireball or construct a whip that magically deals painful shocks, but not to force the monster to attack someone (or otherwise cheat the mechanic).
SOLUTIONS I'VE TRIED:
The good news is that wolf packs basically do this in real life when they hunt large prey (or fight with bears): Surround and jab. This grounds the idea in reality.
The bad news is that I don't know how one wolf could hold the prey's attention the entire time. If another wolf started climbing on the prey, you can bet the prey would switch its attention to the climber, and not the aggressor in front of it.
I'm speculating that, if the "tanking" hunters use some flashy, shocking, painful weaponry -- maybe a small fire spell that's high in pyrotechnics, or a magic whip that delivers electric shocks -- then they can reliably hold the attention of this ferocious, desperate, giant animal (that probably wants to run for its life). That the shock and pain and noise of a bombastic frontal assault will keep the beast's attention off the speedier, stealthier hunters nipping its arteries or crawling on its back. Something like:
- Team A: EXPLOSIONS, PAIN, SHOCK
- Monster attacks Team A. ("How dare you!")
- Team B: someone dashes in, spears an artery, dashes out.
- Monster whirls at whoever speared it. ("Who did that!?")
- Team A: MORE EXPLOSIONS, PAIN, SHOCK
- Monster returns to attacking Team A. ("You're the biggest threat! Die!")
- (repeat until monster bleeds out)
But that's pure speculation, and I'd really like a concrete precedent, if one exists. Is there a plausible way to do this?