Thursday, 17 January 2013

Animals Mauling, CLOUD GIANT

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 Animals are horrible and I love them. I love putting animal encounters in my games.
Notes about animals:
the difference between an animal and a monster is a monster always wants to kill you

Predators will want to kill you if they are hungry and think that they can get away with an easy meal. I think a lot of people have predators attacking well armed parties and sticking out combat that's going against them.

Which is fine because wahey the bears are just really angry in this world.

But if you wanna be more accurate about it, predators hate fights. In the wild a predator cannot afford to get injured, because even a minor scratch or broken tooth could mean  an infection preventing them from hunting, and then starving to death. If you heard about people fighting off a  bear by wacking it on the nose, this is why.
I can't remember the exact number,  (1 in 5 maybe) but a minority of lion attacks on prey animals actually result in a kill.  They are used to waiting for a better shot at something.

If they have brought down a large game (mostly they seek out prey in the range of 50 to 300 kilos) they will gorge up to 30 kilos in one sitting, sometimes then sleeping , before eating more. They will then go days without eating.

When starving they will take far more risks and consider going for much smaller prey (it's not as energy efficient).

There is inter predator violence as well, where predators will kill and not eat another animal which it shares an ecological niche.

Herbivores are only wanting to kill you if you are in the way of them passing on their genes. I.e they have kids and you are too close, or it's mating season and they need to defend a territory in order to get laid.
Hippos are notorious for being over zealous defenders of the tiny patch of river each male proclaims as his own. Cape buffalo and hippos kill more people in Africa than lions  because of this.

Note they do not need to be hungry to be aggressive, you just need to go near them.

(predators are also going to kill you if you come near their kids, except in some animal like komodo dragons, which have been known to eat their own kids if they don't get out of there fast enough after hatching)

Also a cornered animal is a dangerous animal.

Double also diseases or injections can make an animal violent and unpredictable. Some of these diseases maybe transmittable (rabies)


Have predators ignore, but still observe parties, then attack them when they look weak. IF they can't get an easy meal (Pack animals) they will try and isolate the weakest member of the herd to kill and carry away if necessary (halfling bard anyone). Jaguars are renowned for being able to sneak up to sleeping people and animals, kill silently with out rousing the others and then carry the victim up a tree to finish at their leisure. Tigers will sneak up to point blank range and then ambush from behind.

The presence of super-predators like displacer beasts could force other animals to attack dangerous prey (ie parties)

Animals might  try and warn you off before defending their young or territory (in the case of herbivores, predators have territorys but its more about the access to prey than just the physical environment), or they might just go you right away. If you run they are unlikely to follow , but will slaughter all of you if you do not leave.

ONE more thing:
This is my personal pixel bitch (okay as well as tree monsters taking more damage from fire)
claw claw bite attacks are stupid, okay the combat in d&d s meant to be abstract and especially if the round is a minute round, but still, it bugs me because multiple attack is a big deal mechanically and it seems annoying that it seems just merrily tacked on to monster stats (the infamous peasant killing house cats)
It's really jarring when its a 2 legged bird with a claw claw peck routine. How is it staying upright?
Like to me it seems like if one could double ones dagger damage by attaching another blade parallel  to the first.

A claw claw bite routine suggestions the animal is darting around like boxer , with the right and then with the left and then with .. the head? Bites do not have the reach of a claw attacks. The claws of big cats used to
either kill smaller game, or grab hold of prey and then finish with a bite (often suffocating by clamping on to the face). So I like to run it the animal attacks with a single claw attack (a swipe) the other paw staying on the ground for stability and leverage  or goes for a pounce (which does more damage, knocks you prone, but you can attack first if you have a longer weapon than the animal) and if the pounce is successful it gets a bite attack, and if the bite attack hits it inflict bite damage every round.


Here are some more mechanics I use in my games for animals and monster non-standard attacks and some stuff for how I cover situations that always come up

Anyone running can be charging. This means you don't really bother to slow down at all before attempting to hit them. Both you , and the person you are trying to injury get +2 to their damage.(on each other).
IF both you and that other guy are charging into each other, yes it stacks.

if you have a weapon with longer reach than someone , and you are trying to hit them before they are hitting you or someone within your reach, your attack resolves first, ignoring the initiative order.

If however, someone is attacking you , and is closer than your weapons functional range (as decided by d.m fiat or maybe someone weapon tags) before you can attack them you must make a successful attack roll to get them clear, (doing no damage) and then you can do your regular attack roll. This extra attack roll is a freebie and does not use up your action for the round.

Hit and running/swooping:
Some creatures naturally attack and move at the same time, like sharks or a swooping bird. In this case if you are not moving faster (i.e covering distance movement not reacting than them movement) (and flying in the case of the bird) you can't attack them unless you have a reach weapon , or get a better initiative result, and hold your action until they are in range.

some animals pounce. This might count as less reach than your weapon but certain super leapers might (big cats) count as normal reach.
 Pouncing means if you attack them this round you get  +2 damage. If they hit they  get additional attacks, automatic damage each round or do more damage depending on the animal.

Cats: swipe with paws or pouncing. If they pounce  they inflict the damage for their bite attack instead, automatically inflict bite damage each round and make an attack on you each round with their back leg rake attack damage. Oh and you are prone

Disengaging: you are engaged with an opponent.  You want to get the fuck out of there. That's fine, but you are either going to have to engineer an opening or just risk it. Engineering an opening is you make a standard attack but instead of doing damage you can leave the melee.
Risking it means the opponent gets a free attack on you.

Some things can hang on once they bite you. This means anyone is +2 to hit them , but they inflict their bite damage each round but at one dice size smaller. Also see the dragging down rules, this might be applicable as well.

If animal is big enough , it can shake you around. This means you have to succeed in a strength check in order to do anything other than be shoke around.

Swallow whole:
Some big ass things will need to get a successful bite attack, and then on the next round succeed on another one to chew you a couple of time and swallow you.

Other animals will swallow you whole anytime they succeed by 5 or more on a bite attack.

Generally you then be suffocating and taking 1d6 per round acid damage. Cutting your way out requires a suitably size weapon and inflicting atleast 2 points of damage per hitdie on the monster to cut your way out. Some things will require a strength check to successfully inflict damage in that round (cause you are getting squished by muscularly  contractions)

You can also get a free attack on an opponent if you declare that you trying to prevent them from attacking someone or going somewhere, and in the course of this action they are going to be moving past or near enough to you , so that you have an opening. THis free attack is resolved before what ever they were trying to do happens.
If you just want to body check them, it's resolved like a pinning attempt.

If you are bigger than people you can move through where they are. They take 1d4 damage per size category bigger than them you are (so 1d4 for horse , 2d4 for bears etc) . This increases to 1d6 if they are charging. You may make a dex check (ref save, save vs breath weapon) to take half damage.

This counts as movement but your move is resolved after any attacks on you by the things in your way. And your attack is resolved after your trample.

If you are 2 sizes bigger than people you can go for distance when you hit them. Half the damage you inflict, but use the full amount x2 as the amount of feet they fly in a random direction away from you. If they hit something they take damage as per falling.

Again if you are 2 sizes bigger than some people/things you can just attack everyone of the little bastards in area (rule of thumb your size mod X2 in square feet). Resolve your attack against everyone in that area, but halve the damage.

Drag Down:
Animals that hold on with a bite attack can drag you down. This means they are latched on and pulling you down. Each animal hanging off you gives everyone +1 to hit you. If there is enough animals on you that you could not carry them without encumbrance penalty you are now you are now prone (or assume it takes 2 dogs to pull down the average human and each strength mod you have increases the amount of dogs needed by 1).  In any case your movement is halved. If you attack the animal it is at +2, but if you miss them you are now prone.

Sigh. Oh and here is grappling..
Because it's gonna come up. Let's try and make this as painless as possible.
Okay so unless you have octopus appendages the opponent gets to attack you first. (the reach thing).

If they are so much bigger than you they get damage resistance, then you are not grappling them, you are climbing on them, and that is covered else where.

Then you get to attack them. If you succeed, they have to make their choice of either a strength or dexterity roll under check modified adversely by how much you succeeded the attack by. If they fail, they are now..
say what were you trying to do again?

Just tackling the motherfucker!:
Okay you are both prone now (must use move action to get up, -2 to hit, +2 to be hit). Happy?

Pin them!
Okay so starting on the next round they have to make a opposed strength check. If they succeed in 2 in a row THey are free! If they fail 3 in row they are now completely pinned and can't make anymore strength checks. If they have a dagger or claws or something they can attack you as normally, but they are still being grappled and assumed every time they lose a strength check they lose one attack option
FOR example if they pulled a boot knife on you they could be stabbing you until they fail a strength check, then you are hanging off that arm or whatever. But if they got a knife out for the other hand, then you would have to win another strength check to stop them stabbing you.

Choke them out: Okay they now are suffocating. They can attempt to break out each round with an opposed strength check , but they have until there constitution in rounds - however much you initially succeeded by in that attack roll before they pass out

Batter them:
like choking but inflict 1+strength modifer damage each round from banging their head into the ground, making them hit themselves, bear hugging etc. Succeed in a opposed strength to break free.  Each size category bigger than them you can improve that 1 to a 1d4 then a 1d6 then a 1d8 etc. So a bears bearhug will do d6+strength each round.

I decided these are actually spooky owl moth headed guys who wear grey robes and descend down from the clouds on the mist and steal and eat people


  1. love the cloud giant! and many thanks for the rules bit! may steal/adapt some of it next I run anything as I find the claw,claw bite etc a bit mechanical and prefer to say what the creature is doing but didn't have anything to represent it effectively.

  2. Yes, the variety of attacks assigned to individual animals is utterly silly - am I wrong in my remembrance of elephants/prehistoric pachyderms getting a ridiculous stomp/stomp/trunk/tusk/tusk combo attack series such that the logic is any appendage that can cause damage must be allowed the capacity to cause damage or it will be substantially less awesome.

    Swatting and sweeping are actually particularly awesome when it comes to giants and other huge creatures which feature so prominently in the game and may go some way towards modelling that hyper-kinetic shit-be-flying-through-the-air effect beloved by the makers of contemporary action/adventure cinema. Even when said cinema is based on a much loved 75 y.o. children's book.

    Anyway, beautifully manic, exuberant and clever as usual milady :)

    1. AH YEAH PEOPLE AGREE WITH ME the weird thing about the all appendages must attack thing is to balance it the damage would often be surprisingly low , like high level demons doing a 1d4 with a claw attack and no strength bonus. Which arguably represent the demon just windmilling away trying to get a hit in... yeah flicking through the monster manual 2 numerous monsters have the option of attacking once with a weapon + strength mod, or 3 or 5 or whatever times doing like a 1d6+1 1d4 etc.

      I still find it inelegant though