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Atgxtg

Book of Beasts

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Okay, I'm just tossing together some ideas that were mentioned elsewhere about the potential usefulness of and possible contest of a Bestiary for Pendragon. Here the stuff that could be in it. Please feel free to comment on, add to, subtract from or disagree with anything I started of with, because that's what forums are for. Maybe in the end some good could come of this?

What should be in it (just some thoughts):

  • Beasts: Basically the stats for every animal, and heraldic beast that we've seen so far, collected into one easy to reference spot. Maybe with a special section for Faerie Beasts? There could also be sections for Saxon and Roman beasts and monsters that would fit the setting. 
  • Horse, Dogs, and Birds of Prey: Yes they are beasts and would be covered but I think that as the mounts and hunting animals of knights they should have their own expanded sections, with notes and stats for different types and breeds. Something similar to what we've seen in the past, maybe not in the same exact way. 
  • Animal Training: Since this sort of stuff is important to knights. Stuff like what it takes for a courser to be able to be combat trained too (as some can be). 
  • Animal Breeding: Because a knight who gets an exception mount that has +3 STR or some such would probably want to try and breed a line of stronger horses. He might not succeed but he'd probably try.
  • SIZ adjustments: This could either mean examples of animals of different SIZes with adjustments to DEX, STR, CON and the other stats, but it could also be just a table that shows how much you increase STR when you increase SIZ , and how much you need to increase SIZ to double the weight of the creature, (per the SIZ table it seems to be around around 7 points) or what doubling all the dimensions of a creature does to it stats (per cube square law and the KAP SIZ formula it looks like something like +21 SIZ, -4 DEX, +14 STR, but  +21 STR would seem to be a better fit in Pendragon, +14 CON. ).  The idea would be than we could turn any animal into a giant sized or miniature version just by apply a set of modifiers to the stats. This could also be used to work out rough ideas to the height of giants or the length of dragons and such, which can add more drama and fun to encounters. After all, telling the players that the giant is  55 feet tall is a lot more impressive than saying the giant is SIZ 80.
  • Variable Attributes: Similar to SIZ adjustments, but basically this would mean allowing for a random die roll for stats so that not every charger, bear, boar, red deer, griffon's have the same stats. 
  • Derived Stat formulas: They sort of exist, but having them listed it would make it easier to know how much more STR or SIZ an animal would need for another damage die, or what that might mean to it's armor rating. It would also make it much easier to spot errors in the printed stats.
  • Hunting: Maybe a bit more on hunting, similar to Lordly Domains?
  • A Deck of Beasts?: The idea here would be a deck of cards with Beast stats and possibly hunting obstacles on them. During a hunt a player draw one (or maybe more than one) and that would be the prey animal he was hunting, or the obstacle he had to overcome, saving everyone the trouble of flipping back and forth though the rulebook to look up the various tables and prey stats. The deck could have animals of different sizes and the frequency of each animal could be similar to that on the tables.  This could also give us a chance to add more hunting obstacles to the mix. Players could also get and hold a face down card each turn to track the hunting turns for each day). 
  • Maybe a rough guide for adapting this to Prince Valiant? 

 

 

Okay, I started the ball rolling. If anybody else has any thoughts on the subject I'd love to read them. 

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1 hour ago, Sir Mad Munkee said:

Mentioned in the other thread, but missing here, are some adventures focussed on hunting.

Uh, yeah.I can't believe I missed that. 

1 hour ago, Sir Mad Munkee said:

I, for one, am all for this book. 🤘

Okay now we're up to 2. Another 99,998 likes are we'd probably have a supplement in the  works!

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16 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

SIZ adjustments:

I hope David won't nail my hide to the mast for speaking out, but this (having an easy way to scale the size of the animal & its stats based on its size) is something that Greg and I were talking for KAP 6, as well as overhauling the beast stats in general so that they'd be more consistent. Granted, the more fantastical beasts are fantastical for a reason, and not necessarily conform to their mundane counterparts; the poster child of this is the Lion, of course.

Derived Stat formulas are not that simple, since especially movement and damage would vary some from animal to animal. For instance, a hoofed animal's kick should differ from the bite of a wolf, for instance.

Personally, I am not burning with need for this kind of a book, but I am probably on the lighter side when it comes to beast use in my campaigns, preferring more human opponents. And I am experienced enough to tweak beasts to match what I want them to be capable of doing, or simply to individualize them. And, to be brutally honest, my campaigns already require several sessions for a year, I don't need more emphasis on Hunt to take even more time! I am even condensing tournaments to a few rolls as it is! :P

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3 hours ago, Morien said:

I hope David won't nail my hide to the mast for speaking out, but this (having an easy way to scale the size of the animal & its stats based on its size) is something that Greg and I were talking for KAP 6, as well as overhauling the beast stats in general so that they'd be more consistent. Granted, the more fantastical beasts are fantastical for a reason, and not necessarily conform to their mundane counterparts; the poster child of this is the Lion, of course.

I actually have done a lot of legwork in this regard. Years ago I was working on a bestiary with another poster here for starting up animals for BRP. The idea I went with was to use the RQ3 SIZ table and scale up or down the attributes in accordance with the cube-square law. For instance if someone wanted to stat up a gizzly bear, or megalodon, they would start with a similar animal, such as an RQ Brown Bear or Large Shark, and scale then up per the square-cube law to get the SIZ, STR and other stats. Later on, while researching dinosaurs, I discovered that this is exactly how Paleontologist do it to work out the mass for new discoveries.

I've cracked the formula for SIZ in KAP, and have SIZ tables (like so), 

SIZ Weight
1 5-14
2 15-24
3 25-34
4 35-44
5 45-54
6 55-64
7 65-74
8 75-84
9 85-94
10 95-104
11 105-114
12 115-126
13 127-139
14 140-153
15 154-168
16 169-185
17 186-203
18 204-224
19 225-246
20 247-271
21 272-298
22 299-328
23 329-361
24 362-397
25 398-437
26 438-481
27 482-529
28 530-582
29 583-640
30 641-705
31 706-775
32 776-853
33 854-938
34 939-1032
35 1033-1135
36 1136-1249
37 1250-1374
38 1375-1511
39 1512-1663
40 1664-1829
41 1830-2012
42 2013-2213
43 2214-2435
44 2436-2678
45 2679-2946
46 2947-3241
47 3242-3565
48 3566-3922
49 3923-4314
50 4315-4746
51 4747-5221
52 5222-5743
53 5744-6317
54 6318-6949
55 6950-7644
56 7645-8408
57 8409-9249
   

and and got a pretty good headstart on this, and could share what I got.  I think I've got most of the math worked out, and have spreadsheets for horses, deer, and a correlation for giants between height and SIZ.  For example:

Horse 

SIZ 4d6+14 (28)

DEX  3d6 (10)

STR 4d6+16 (30)

CON 3d6 (10)

 

Armor: Damage *3/4, caps at 5

Move: (STR+DEX)/5

Damage: (STR+SIZ)/10, d6

 

Modify for type:

Cart Horse: +-13 SIZ, -15 STR, -1 Move, -1d6 damage (probably more to lack of aggression since horses than cannot be combat trained seem to lose 1d6 off their damaage)

Charger: +6 SIZ, +7 DEX, +2 CON, -1 Move

Courser: +2 SIZ, +15 DEX, -6 STR, +5 CON

 

Note that the formatting and baseline stats could be fiddled with. For instance if we make SIZ and STR 4d6 (14), then we could simply the math by making all the SIZ and STR modifiers adds.

 

 

Quote

Derived Stat formulas are not that simple, since especially movement and damage would vary some from animal to animal. For instance, a hoofed animal's kick should differ from the bite of a wolf, for instance.

Uh, not really. At least they haven't up to now. For the most part animals followed the (STR+SIZ)/10, d6 formula for damage from KAP1, with some animals bumping the damage stat up or down a die. It wouldn't be difficult to reverse engineer the stats. I've done so for some animals already. I've even caught a few goof in the published stats such as the wrong SIZ for Camels (they aren't bigger than elephants!) or the wrong damage for coursers. For instance here is a revised table for Fallow deer (Buck) Stats. that uses the a formulaic approach, the cube-square law, and matches up more closely tot he stats Greg gave for fallow deer in KAP than the ones in Lordly Domains

    SIZ DEX STR CON   Move Armor Uncon MW KD Hit Points Heal Damage
Buck Small 13 20 13 13   9 3 7 13 13 26 3 3d6
  Medium 15 20 14 14   9 3 7 14 15 29 3 3d6
KAP 5.2 Deer, Fallow Large 17 20 15 15   9 3 8 15 17 32 3 3d6
  Great 18 19 16 16   9 3 9 16 18 34 3 3d6
  Large Great 19 19 17 17   9 4 9 17 19 36 3 4d6

BTW, the smaller SIZ in Lordly Domains is probably  more indicative of the species. 

Quote

Personally, I am not burning with need for this kind of a book, but I am probably on the lighter side when it comes to beast use in my campaigns, preferring more human opponents. And I am experienced enough to tweak beasts to match what I want them to be capable of doing, or simply to individualize them. And, to be brutally honest, my campaigns already require several sessions for a year, I don't need more emphasis on Hunt to take even more time! I am even condensing tournaments to a few rolls as it is! :P

I understand. Not every GM is into this aspect of the setting, and most experienced GM can fiddle stats a bit and work out reasonable values. But that probably could apply to just about any aspect of the game. Thats why the Book of Battle, Estate, Manor etc. aren't for everyone. 

Personally I have some use for hunts, but they aren't a major focus in my campaigns. That said, I do try to vary adventures from week to week in order to keep things from feeling the same, and not fall into monotony. 

Edited by Atgxtg
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Of course a product like this would not be for everyone: nor is the Book of Battle, or of Feasts. These are specific aspects of KAP taken and blown out with details and mechanics that a given table may find extraneous.

Or, exactly what they needed to breathe life into.

Feasts were a hugely important aspect of noble life at the time--as were hunts. Hunting served both as entertainment and as a means to demonstrate competency in marital skills while bringing back needed meat for the feasts. In the sources hunting happens quite a bit, with some significant stories following from them. Ultimately if you're plotting out expansion books, you could do Battle, Feasts, Beasts (hunting) and Tournaments, and cover the social activities of knights thoroughly with optional expansions (including killing each other).

Back to beasts:

* This would be a great place to discuss horse coloring, temperament variations, rarity and cost - something like how Ikabodo addresses it in his fantastic Oath of Crows campaign page.

* If you're doing cards, then each card could provide a picture, statblock, common area/terrain, page reference, and hunting challenge/event with tests -- idea being that the cards double as events and you don't know what you're hunting until you spot something (the next card's animal?).  

* Also the book to cover animal training, for exotic pets and the like. Of course the training is actually done by hired services, so that should be mentioned from Entourage.

 

--Khanwulf 

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You could consider adding Traits for exceptional beasts. For example one of my player knights has a black Andalusian charger by the name of El Diablo who has Cruel 17 and Proud 16.

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18 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

Of course a product like this would not be for everyone: nor is the Book of Battle, or of Feasts. These are specific aspects of KAP taken and blown out with details and mechanics that a given table may find extraneous.

Or, exactly what they needed to breathe life into.

From a strictly KAP view, there is no need for a Book of Magicians or a magic system either. But I know I'm eager to see BoM. 

18 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

Back to beasts:

* This would be a great place to discuss horse coloring, temperament variations, rarity and cost - something like how Ikabodo addresses it in his fantastic Oath of Crows campaign page.

That is a great link. I don't quite agree with some of his stuff (sumpters do get promoted to roucys and then chargers, and did it really take ten years to train a charger?), but a lot off it is good stuff.I love his traitst chart, I had something like it in the works but he went a lot further with it. 

I noticed he did something with shields that was similar to something I had in mind, although I wouldn't give a kite or oval shield lower protection that a heater. 

 

18 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

* If you're doing cards, then each card could provide a picture, statblock, common area/terrain, page reference, and hunting challenge/event with tests -- idea being that the cards double as events and you don't know what you're hunting until you spot something (the next card's animal?).  

It would spend on how much can be comfortable crammed onto one card. Maybe there could be a statblock for the prey on the card over a semi transparent silhouette? That way we could use the same space for two things. Then a hunting obstacle could be put on the top or bottom. 

As far as identifying the prey goes, hunters should probably be able to identify most beasts and get a good idea of their SIZ by looking at their tracks.  So I would be fine with the knights knowing what the prey animal is and it's approximate SIZ with a hunting roll. Even I can tell the difference between wolf tracks and deer tracks.  Now special exotic beasts would be another situation, and some of those heraldic combination beasts, like a hippogriff, could leave tracks that would be quite misleading. 

Maybe there could be a patteen of animal tracks on the front side of the cards that the GM could use to pick a track to show the PK?

18 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

* Also the book to cover animal training, for exotic pets and the like. Of course the training is actually done by hired services, so that should be mentioned from Entourage.

--Khanwulf 

Yes, although I think some animals could be trained by the PK himself.

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What I would find interesting in such a book:

- Information on the hunt. It would be interesting to be able to flesh it out to a separate adventure or let it remain to a few dice rolls.

- Give PKs the ability to build upon it. Thus like trying to breed the perfect hunting dog or try to train their own hawk. This would require some information on breeding and training and how players can incorporate that into the character. 

- Diversity in beasts. The Oath of Crows site is a good one for horses, but I would also like to see something like that for hunting prey. For instance hunting that 'sly old Stag with the uneven antlers that has eluded hunters for many years' is a nice opponent in a hunt. This could be useful to get a fleshed out adventure.

As far as a deck of cards: Maybe you could have different set of cards. One for the type of beast, but also one or more decks for quirks and special traits. This way you could randomize the hunted prey every hunt.

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