Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dungeons and Dragons, "My Favorite Animals"

Standard Introduction
            I have been writing about Dungeons and Dragons semi-regularly this year and in the course of writing those I found a 30-day blog challenge.  As I have done those a couple times before it seemed remiss not to jump on this one.
            If you want here is a link to my 30-day challenge on Disney Movies, here is a link to my 30-day challenge on Video Games, and here is a comically out of date 30-day challenge on Movies (it is old and the writing is rubbish).

Day 13- My Favorite Animals and Vermin
            Continuing the Top 5’s with perhaps the most boring of monsters, today is Animals and Vermin.  Really, this should be less boring than it is.  Animals are the monsters that people feared thru most of our history.  Sure CANCER is the monster that hangs over the heads of modern humanity, but in previous eras it was the howl heard to a glowing moon that caused the hair to rise on necks of the village.
            Let’s go.

#5: Lions, Tigers, and Bears
            Bears are kind of the only real life monster that is big enough to be a serious threat.  In 3rd edition they were actually tougher than the semi-iconic monster “The Owlbear”.  But aside from just being a somewhat tough and damaging opponent, they are nothing special.  I guess they had the Snatch ability, but it is about as boring an ability as can be expected.
            Lions and Tigers are more interesting, because they often have the Pounce ability.  With Pounce, they can quickly close ground, take numerous shredding attacks on the target they hit.
            I wanted to point out these guys at the start to establish a baseline.  Animals are boring, but they don’t have to be.  Having an interesting small ability is all it takes to separate a common ball of hit points from something more interesting.

#4: Wolves
            What sets these guys apart from my baseline are Pack Tactics and Tripping.  Totally in theme for these creatures.  Wolves work best when working as part of a pack, they gain advantage.  But they also grant advantage in other ways by killing movement, they trip the ever-loving hell out of people.
            If you are fighting wolves, you will almost certainly spend a good portion of it watching the GG throw a ton of dice and seeing your miniature laying on its side.

Dire Rats are not real.
They are animals?
#3: Dire Rat
            This has more to do with 3rd edition as these are for most, probably 99% of games, a player’s first encounter with the disease rules.  Filth fever was never a game breaking element, or an entirely necessary one, but it is part of a whole cornucopia of disgusting things.
            Unlike “Skyrim” in which you catch a new disease every time you walk outside (or maybe I just hold on to diseases for a long time because I don’t notice I have them) in DnD getting sick is a rarely touched upon issue, unless the GG makes it part of the game’s larger story… Ooh, getting ideas for a plague world campaign.  Maybe the image of an old-time plague doctor mask being the party’s symbol.  That might be cool.
            Digression, Rats are typical of low level play, but they provide a necessary introduction to a larger rule set and that makes them better than many other low level monsters.

Giant Spiders are kind of a staple of this genre.
As if people might have some kind of deep seated fear of the little buggers.
#2: Spiders
            Two narrow bandwidths of new rules for players to deal with, Webs and Poison.  While poison is the more robust topic that will remain present and relevant throughout the game length, webs also deserve a mention.  They are a means to control the map a bit, providing a superior movement to the spider while tripping up the players.  What is more, the webs are what put spiders ahead of vipers, scorpions, and centipedes for a mention.  Poison, like I said is everywhere, shooting sticky nets from a butt, that is a spider only thing.

#1: Swarms of all Kind
            This is a stretch, but I am already distorting the original rules of this 30-day blog thing by having top lists at all so rules are made to be broken.
            The rules for swarms are fascinating to me.  Maybe I am alone on this but the idea that it is not one singular creature but a collection of creatures sets them almost as non-monsters.  They are more like an environmental factor like brown mold or acidic slime (though slimes are also monsters).  The damage dealt is not just killing individual bats, but also about dispersing their cohesion.  Beyond that they can provide additional aspects, like poison, like flying, they are dynamic.
            What is more this whole concept is terrifying.  Being covered in something chewing away at you is up there with being set on fire or being buried alive on the most horrifying things to imagine.

Coming Tomorrow
            Tomorrow I am going to talk about Fiends.


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