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#1 Gollum

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:38 AM

Hi!

Here is another thread about animals... Yes, that is the first time I pay enough attention to them to need their full stats. And the answers to my previous thread about little creatures constitution were so bright (thanks to everyone) that I don't hesitate to post this new one.

So, here we are...

Though there is no doubt than the amount of damage inflicted by a character is linked to his strength (I prefer standing a little child punch in the stomach than the one of a 7' and 300 lbs muscle man), the damage bonus system sometimes gives very strange results.

A horse (big golden book page 336), for instance, is far much stronger than a wolf (big golden book page 340). No doubt with that. So, logically, he has a huger damage bonus (horse: +2D6; wolf: None) And as long as it is for kicks, there is no problem with that. A wolf kick may harm, but not as much as a horse's hoof blow.

But now, suppose that our horse bites. He does much more damage than the wolf!

  • Horse biting damage: 1D3 + 1/2 DB = 1D3 + 1D6. Range, 2 to 9; average 5 to 6.
  • Wolf biting damage: 1D8 + 1/2 DB = 1D8. Range 1 to 8; average 4 to 5.
I do agree with the fact that a horse biting can be harmful. It can even sever a finger. But this still has nothing to do with a wolf's bite! Wolves kill with their jaws. Horses don't.

#2 Conrad

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:03 AM

Wolves kill with their jaws. Horses don't.

Yes, but horses don't bite you on the throat do they? Well not any horses that I've encountered...shudder. :(
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#3 NickMiddleton

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:42 AM

I'd have no problem with allowing Wolves full DB on their bite damage - the entry regarding Damage Bonus at the beginning of that chapter clearly suggests that if the GM regards a creatures strength as playing a significant role in an attack they can allow a full DB...

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#4 auyl

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 11:51 AM

I'd have no problem with allowing Wolves full DB on their bite damage - the entry regarding Damage Bonus at the beginning of that chapter clearly suggests that if the GM regards a creatures strength as playing a significant role in an attack they can allow a full DB...

Cheers,

Nick


I'd have to agree with this. Giving wolves their full DB on bite attacks would be prudent since their bites naturally are so deadly. Not that a horses can't be harmful, but a wolf is more trained to hunt/kill with their bites than a horse is.
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#5 nclarke

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:25 PM

Yes, but horses don't bite you on the throat do they? Well not any horses that I've encountered...shudder. :(



Sorry, tell that to my Laundry group that had one PC lose his ear, one get trampled to death, one get a chunk out of his buttocks and one who lost much of his face.

True, the creature weren't exactly a horse but a juvenile Equoid (uprated a bit from basic horse stats).

#6 Gollum

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:27 PM

Thank you again for these very fast answers.

Some notes, though…

Of course, horses rarely attack throat, unlike wolves (except outstanding ones like those living in the quite strange world of Laundry! ;D). But the problem precisely arises when the GM doesn't use hit locations – which is what I do.

As soon as hit locations are used, the problem is quite solved. The horse will bite a finger, an ear, the nose, or something like that, and it will be severed. That's perfectly realistic.

Now, if hit locations are not used, the horse can kill an average man with only two or three bites. Not just severely harm him. But really kill him. Which becomes not only unrealistic but also unbelievable.

In reality, horses bite a lot. Especially savage ones. And they do it one again each other. If their biting was so powerful, they would surely bite wolves… and win the fight.

So, one solution could be, as said above, to use full Damage Bonus for wolves.

But Damage Bonus for wolves is None, so it wouldn't change anything. And using full Damage Bonus for carnivores would have another unexpected impact: it would make the tiger's bite, for instance, as powerful as an assault rifle (1D10 + 1D6 vs 2D6 + 2; average result 9). Brief, predators would become more dangerous than they are supposed to be…

Another solution would be to systematically use the pulling blow rule for herbivores' bite… But the question would inevitably be: why? A horse in a life or death situation would certainly bite as strongly as he can…

Edited by Gollum, 28 January 2014 - 01:31 PM.


#7 Zit

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:36 PM

May be the main difference between horses and wolves is simply their skill level. A horse can do a lot of damage when biting, but does not do it as often and naturally as a wolf and in any way are not as good as wolves in biting.

#8 Gollum

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:46 PM

Yes, I thought about it... But the problem still remains during the game (even if it corrects things in the statistical average of results).

The horse bite a character... Critical success. Oh my! 9 points of damage and armor is ignored! That's not anymore a horse but a terrible monster!

Edit: note that if the horse was biting a dog or even a wolf, he right killed him in only one bite! =| "Every knight around makes a sanity roll... And the horse owner a difficult one, please!", said the GM.

Edited by Gollum, 28 January 2014 - 01:54 PM.


#9 el_octogono

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:03 PM

In Stormbringer 5th horses do 1d10 damage, no db, Wolves 1d8+db... still, average wolves do less damage. I would simply give no db to bite atacks and vary damage according to size and bite quality. So a BGB horse bite would do 1d3 and a wolf bite 1d8.

#10 Atgxtg

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:27 PM

Gollum, maybe Erasmus and I should get you to join our bestiary project?

The problem with the bite here is that while horses are stronger than wolves, the muscles horse use to bite are not at strong as those wolves use to bite. Plus, horses are herbivores and their teeth and designed to grind and mush vegetable matter, while wolves are carnivores and their teeth are designed to tear flesh and kill prey.

IMO, the solution is to reduce the horse's bite damage. Something like just using db in d3's might fix this. I just don't see a horse bite doing much more damage than a light mace, tops.
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#11 Gollum

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 04:25 PM

Gollum, maybe Erasmus and I should get you to join our bestiary project?

I'm afraid not knowing animals enough. I know some tricks about them because I studied biology and I am very interested by animal documentaries... But that's about all.

The problem with the bite here is that while horses are stronger than wolves, the muscles horse use to bite are not at strong as those wolves use to bite. Plus, horses are herbivores and their teeth and designed to grind and mush vegetable matter, while wolves are carnivores and their teeth are designed to tear flesh and kill prey.

IMO, the solution is to reduce the horse's bite damage. Something like just using db in d3's might fix this. I just don't see a horse bite doing much more damage than a light mace, tops.

Yes, the best solution could be to make vary the Damage Bonus according to the attack. An elephant may be far much stronger than a dog, he won't do more damage with its tail because elephants are not used to hit with their tail... Crocodiles, to the contrary, are used to hit with their tail. So, even if they are much weaker than elephants, they will do much more damage with it...

This example shows us clearly that the Damage Bonus do not have to be applied regularly on every possible attack. It may vary from 0 to full Damage Bonus, and not just from half to full Damage Bonus.

#12 Atgxtg

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 05:19 PM

I'm afraid not knowing animals enough. I know some tricks about them because I studied biology and I am very interested by animal documentaries... But that's about all.


Well, you're doing pretty good so far! In the last few days you've hit some of the issues that we've been discussing and dealing with.

Yes, the best solution could be to make vary the Damage Bonus according to the attack. An elephant may be far much stronger than a dog, he won't do more damage with its tail because elephants are not used to hit with their tail... Crocodiles, to the contrary, are used to hit with their tail. So, even if they are much weaker than elephants, they will do much more damage with it...

This example shows us clearly that the Damage Bonus do not have to be applied regularly on every possible attack. It may vary from 0 to full Damage Bonus, and not just from half to full Damage Bonus.


LOL! That's pretty much what we came up with. What we did was note the various ways db was implemented (full half, in d3s, etc.) as well as the various types of attack and their corresponding damages. Eventually we came up with a damage class/weapon class psedostat, based mostly on critter SIZ and diet that we use the scale the damage, and determine how much of the db (if any) should apply. In some cases, such as very small critters we even ignored the damage penalty. Frankly, I'd love to tweak some of the damages a bit more, but we are also striving for our final stats to be pretty close to official BRP/RQ3 stats.
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#13 Gollum

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:49 AM

Well, you're doing pretty good so far! In the last few days you've hit some of the issues that we've been discussing and dealing with.

Thanks.

LOL! That's pretty much what we came up with. What we did was note the various ways db was implemented (full half, in d3s, etc.) as well as the various types of attack and their corresponding damages. Eventually we came up with a damage class/weapon class psedostat, based mostly on critter SIZ and diet that we use the scale the damage, and determine how much of the db (if any) should apply. In some cases, such as very small critters we even ignored the damage penalty. Frankly, I'd love to tweak some of the damages a bit more, but we are also striving for our final stats to be pretty close to official BRP/RQ3 stats.

You're rules sounds very interesting.

But, in my humble opinion, a lot of arbitrary fiat from the GM is also required in that topic. Indeed, there are so many possibilities that it seems impossible to take all the factors into account. Diplodocus, for instance where as herbivore and peaceful than elephants but had a tail made to hit opponents and surely did a lot of damage with it while elephant's tail damage is very close from 0. Likewise, some carnivores are hunters while others are just scavengers; their biting damage are not necessarily the same even when their strength is. The tyrannosaurus rex had very little arms and thus, despite of its strength, did very little damage while scratching with them... And so on. Things sounds to depend much more on the animal exact morphology and habits rather than on its diet and size.

Having said that, to twist numbers, the GM has to start from somewhere. And then, a generic rule becomes a mandatory!

When will we have the luck to see it?

Edited by Gollum, 29 January 2014 - 07:52 AM.


#14 rust

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:32 PM

I very much doubt that any generic rule could cover all or even most animals' natural
weapons and combat tactics, there seems to be too much variety for any simple rule.
I think that in the end the referee will have to know a bit about every type of animal
he introduces into his setting and will have to make specific decisions for specific ani-
mals and circumstances.
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#15 Atgxtg

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 02:28 PM

Thanks.


You're rules sounds very interesting.

But, in my humble opinion, a lot of arbitrary fiat from the GM is also required in that topic. Indeed, there are so many possibilities that it seems impossible to take all the factors into account. Diplodocus, for instance where as herbivore and peaceful than elephants but had a tail made to hit opponents and surely did a lot of damage with it while elephant's tail damage is very close from 0. Likewise, some carnivores are hunters while others are just scavengers; their biting damage are not necessarily the same even when their strength is. The tyrannosaurus rex had very little arms and thus, despite of its strength, did very little damage while scratching with them... And so on. Things sounds to depend much more on the animal exact morphology and habits rather than on its diet and size.


Having said that, to twist numbers, the GM has to start from somewhere. And then, a generic rule becomes a mandatory!




Yup. What we did was classify most critters alone the lines of a generic body type (canine, bovine, feline, pachyderm, theropod, etc.) and linked the attacks available to the body type. While it does require a bit of GM fine tuning here and there, it holds up fairly well. And since the damage class scale is a ladder, it's easy to customize a critter's damage by moving it up or down a rung on the ladder.

When will we have the luck to see it?


Depends on when Erasmus and I can get out acts together and finish it. We're working on putting together a sampler of critter stats. Some of the "behind the scenes" mechanics that we've been using to generate stats are available for anyone who is interested. We used a mathematical approach to generating stats, based on a creature's body type and mass, which we use to extrapolate stats for similar creatures.
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#16 Gollum

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 04:36 PM

Depends on when Erasmus and I can get out acts together and finish it. We're working on putting together a sampler of critter stats. Some of the "behind the scenes" mechanics that we've been using to generate stats are available for anyone who is interested. We used a mathematical approach to generating stats, based on a creature's body type and mass, which we use to extrapolate stats for similar creatures.

Wow. Amazing. Tell us as soon as it will be finished.

Even if I do agree with Rust, a good start is always better and doesn't prevent the GM to change numbers whenever required.

#17 Atgxtg

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 05:35 PM

Wow. Amazing. Tell us as soon as it will be finished.


it's not so much amazing as it is me being lazy and methodical. I don't like "eye-balling" stats for a lot of things. It tends to take longer, and inconsistencies tend to crop up. But a foruma method means that I can just plug data into a spreadsheet and it can spit out game data. I started doing that with vehicle stats awhile back and (once I did my homework) started to get good results.

With animals it's mostly a case of using existing RQ3/BRP animals as the default archetype stats for that type of animal, using the average body mass of a similar animal to get it's average SIZ, and then using the difference in SIZ and the cube-square law to determine the adjustment to STR and CON. It works out that you should alter STR and CON by 2 points for every for every 3 points you alter SIZ.

Since most animal stats (hit points, damage bonus, and even armor points) in BRP/RQ3 were derived from it's attributes, most of the work can be automated with a spreadsheet. In the long run it's actually easier and faster to use a method such as this rather than "eye-balling" it, as once you have the formula you cna just plug in body mass for lots and lots of animals. I think Erasmus current database has stats for over 1200 animals. Since we used existing animal writeups as defaults, our stats are mostly consistent with what's already out there. And with a formulaic method the STR, CON and SIZ scores are all rated consistently relative to each other.

Tell us as soon as it will be finished.

Once I can work out a reasonably good formula for MOV things should speed along again. In theory movement speed for animals can be worked out from body mass (SIZ), muscle mass (STR, but can be approximated from SIZ), and a factor based on body shape, but I haven't been able to reverse engineer a formula that holds up, yet.

Even if I do agree with Rust, a good start is always better and doesn't prevent the GM to change numbers whenever required.


Yup. Some sort of start, using some sort of method gets the ball rolling. Lots of examples makes it easier for the GM to find what he is looking for, or at least something close enough. With multiple examples of similar animals he might not have to change the numbers but instead just pick a similar animal that is larger or smaller. Plus, since we did use some sort of method to get stats, our results can be reproduced by anyone else who uses the same methods, giving us all a common baseline to work from. And knowing the method used makes it easier for a GM to adjust the method used. So if a GM doesn't like our stats he can see how we cam up with them and see for himself how and where we went wrong!
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#18 Gollum

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:52 PM

Once I can work out a reasonably good formula for MOV things should speed along again. In theory movement speed for animals can be worked out from body mass (SIZ), muscle mass (STR, but can be approximated from SIZ), and a factor based on body shape, but I haven't been able to reverse engineer a formula that holds up, yet.

Oh, be careful here. I watched a documentary about dinosaurs. The interviewed scientists tried to calculate the speed of dinosaurs from their footprints, weight of bones, height, shape, and so on... They came to a quite good formula. Then they tried to apply this formula to living animals, to verify it... The formula said that dolphins weren't able to move at all.

So, don't try to be more precise. There are times where taking into account too much precision makes the results very far from reality. What I learn at school is that biology doesn't work like physics. Life is often surprising and far to be mathematically predictable.

#19 Atgxtg

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:04 PM

Oh, be careful here. I watched a documentary about dinosaurs. The interviewed scientists tried to calculate the speed of dinosaurs from their footprints, weight of bones, height, shape, and so on... They came to a quite good formula. Then they tried to apply this formula to living animals, to verify it... The formula said that dolphins weren't able to move at all.


Yes, I've seen that. The major problem with calculating that kinda stuff is STR. While STR is based on mass (SIZ), just how much muscle mass a creature can have can vary considerably from species to species or even from individual to individual. And that can make a big difference in speed.

So, don't try to be more precise. There are times where taking into account too much precision makes the results very far from reality. What I learn at school is that biology doesn't work like physics. Life is often surprising and far to be mathematically predictable.


But we need some sort of MOV score. We can't have all the animals just stand there. I'm not even looking for precision (at least not yet), but just something that gives a good ballpark figure.

I am aware of a formula that was used for animals that actually did a good job, but I can't seem to find the actual formula. I run into a few of these roadblocks in the past while working on this project (and some others) but up to know have been able to find a reasonable solution. So far this one's eluded me. But...I had an idea the other day for another way to attack the problem and I think I might have something. I won't be perfect, but hopefully it can get me speeds to within 20% or so of actual value for most animals.
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#20 Gollum

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:34 PM

But we need some sort of MOV score. We can't have all the animals just stand there. I'm not even looking for precision (at least not yet), but just something that gives a good ballpark figure.

And that is really what is interesting, indeed. After that, every GM will be able to twist these good ballpark figures to his very special creatures and decide, for instance, that the jaguar has a much higher running speed than a panther of the same size.




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