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 Post subject: Re: New Creatures
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:22 pm 
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A quick recap of convo's over on Discord. The bare bones.

Jimbo (GM)Today at 04:02
There are many spells and potions in Dragon Warriors that deal with Necromancy, some of which bring back the dead to a semblance of life as Skeletons or Zombies. Yet there is little to describe what would happen if the dead were animals.

Legend has many creatures that could be transformed into Undead, be they normal Creatures such as Bears, Snow Apes and Wolves, or humanoid monsters such as Frost Giants and Ogres.

Skeletal Animals and Monsters retain their Attack, Defence, Magical Defence, Evasion and Movement of a typical member of their living counterparts, Stealth is +1 and Perception is +2 and Sight/Vision becomes Darksight. Armour Factor is 0 and 2 with stabbing an missile or thrown weapons. Health Points changes the most, retaining any D6 but reducing the bonus by a third ie:

Bear Skeleton

Attack 17 Defence 7 Magical Defence 3 Evasion 4
Stealth 11 Perception 8 Movement 10/25m Darksight
HP 2D6+7 Armour Factor 0 (2 v Stabbing & Missile Weapons)
Claws (D8, 5) Critical causes 10 HP damage (Bear Hug)


Jimbo (GM)Today at 04:03
My Article so far. Let me know what you think.

NigelToday at 04:34
Looks good. What about skeletal warriors still wearing their armour? Just for visual effect or can that add to their AF (albeit probably not as effectively as it did in life)?

simonbarnsToday at 08:46
Why would Skeletons in BES have Gloomsight, rather than Darksight. Darksight, possessed by most Undead and underworld creatures, is the reverse of normal vision: the
creature sees well in the dark but is dazzled by light

Jimbo (GM)Today at 08:48
According to Book 4 Skeletons have Darksight

simonbarnsToday at 08:55
Not in my Book 4.

Jimbo (GM)Today at 09:11
I must have misread it then(edited)

wimlachToday at 10:36
I'd go for 'panoptical' for skeletons. They don't have eyes as such, so any 'vision' would be magical in nature.
[10:41]
Though I note it is gloomsight in the books - doesn't make as much sense, but ho hum.(edited)









@Jimbo (GM) I'll have a proper think over the week. I'm thinking at the start about attack. How much of the base creatures score can be attributed to natural instincts?

Jimbo (GM)Today at 15:14
The same could be said about human skeletons.

wimlachToday at 16:29
You would need to balance this against the 'Give up the Dead' spell rules to avoid it becoming over-powered. I'd probably give all skeletons the same basic Magical Defence, Perception & Stealth (these abilities in life have no bearing here). Physical attributes such as Attack, Defence, Evasion & Health can be derived from their form in life, as big skeleton = tougher opponent. They would be lower than a living version though, in the same way a humanoid skeleton is much weaker than a 'ranked' living human. Perhaps original animal attribute (Att, Def, Eva) + base skeleton attribute, then divide by 2? HP I'd just retain total number of D6's, and always a simple +1 on top.(edited)

Jimbo (GM)Today at 17:04
You would need to balance this against the 'Give up the Dead' spell rules to avoid it becoming over-powered. I'd probably give all skeletons the same basic Magical Defence, Perception & Stealth (these abilities in life have no bearing here). Physical attributes such as Attack, Defence, Evasion & Health can be derived from their form in life, as big skeleton = tougher opponent. They would be lower than a living version though, in the same way a humanoid skeleton is much weaker than a 'ranked' living human. Perhaps original animal attribute (Att, Def, Eva) + base skeleton attribute, then divide by 2? HP I'd just retain total number of D6's, and always a simple +1 on top.
@wimlach I can see what you mean with ‘Give up the Dead’ but the drawback there is whereas it’s relatively easy to find places where there are large groups of buried people such as churches or battlegrounds, it’s a lot harder to find similar for animals. Attack, Defence however represents for the most part how the skeleton would attack based on its previous living counterpart. If this wasn’t the case then Skeletons wouldn’t be able to take advantage of weapons. Magical Defence, Evasion, Stealth, Perception and Sight/Vision would be the same as a human skeleton because it reflects the new undead state. HP is a tricky one. There isn’t much difference between a Wild Boar and Wolf in Size but there is a lot with their HP. Perhaps bonus D6 based on size but the +1 bonus for all. So Wolves and Wild Boar would be 1D6+1 whereas a Bull would be 2D6+1 and a Bear 3D6+1. The same could be applied to things such as Frost Giants as say 2D6+1 and Ogres as 3D6+1.

StarkadToday at 18:15
Physical attributes such as Attack, Defence, Evasion & Health can be derived from their form in life, as big skeleton = tougher opponent.
@wimlach I would be tempted to not increase Attack, Defence or Evasion. Doing so presupposes the skeleton of the animal retains some of its 'living' fighting knowledge - something which is explicitly denied in DW4, pg. 65: “no trace of the corpse’s former identity is retained when it is raised from its grave. The mightiest Knight becomes, in undeath, no more skilled a fighter than the lowliest peasant.” Health Points, on the other hand, might well be altered - a bigger skeleton is likely to take more chopping...

Jimbo (GM)Today at 18:18
@wimlach I would be tempted to not increase Attack, Defence or Evasion. Doing so presupposes the skeleton of the animal retains some of its 'living' fighting knowledge - something which is explicitly denied in DW4, pg. 65: “no trace of the corpse’s former identity is retained when it is raised from its grave. The mightiest Knight becomes, in undeath, no more skilled a fighter than the lowliest peasant.” Health Points, on the other hand, might well be altered - a bigger skeleton is likely to take more chopping...
@Starkad I agree but the Attack Value is also represented by size and and reach. Also as much as they are animated contracts and don’t retain knowledge of the previous life, they are representative of the creature they once were but more of a primal nature



StarkadToday at 18:27
@Starkad I agree but the Attack Value is also represented by size and and reach. Also as much as they are animated contracts and don’t retain knowledge of the previous life, they are representative of the creature they once were but more of a primal nature
@Jimbo (GM) Most animals will not have a reach exceeding that of a man armed with a weapon. DW makes no distinction between dagger and greatsword in that respect... So contrast the length limb of a bear with that of the arms of an adult man with a 5' blade...

Jimbo (GM)Today at 18:48
If that’s the case then we could just simply say animal skeletons should be the same as human skeletons for stats.
[18:51]
I’ll rewrite it

wimlachToday at 19:12
However, a large skeletal beast would have some advantage over a smaller humanoid skeleton - an skeletal ogre, for example, or an animated wyvern. There's probably some middle ground to be had - either halving the scores as per the Give Up the Dead spell, or some hybrid between basic skeleton and living animal physical attributes.

Jimbo (GM)Today at 19:15
Possibly

simonbarnsToday at 19:28
Yeah. I wouldn't discount it at all. For me, also, there's probably some mileage in having 'unique' creatures, and different ways of raising skeletons / different types. Like a skeleton that isn't animated in itself, rather by roots and plants wrapping around it.


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 Post subject: Re: New Creatures
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:27 pm 
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...Like a skeleton that isn't animated in itself, rather by roots and plants wrapping around it.
@simonbarns There is precedent: like the Fungus Men (or Black Caps) of Book 4...
[22:57]
However, a large skeletal beast would have some advantage over a smaller humanoid skeleton - an skeletal ogre, for example, or an animated wyvern.
@wimlach Yes; more Health Points for starters. You might argue that a large skeleton (like an ogre) can wield a bigger weapon, or a wyvern bite to more effect... But if you're going to "supe up" the monsters in that way, then you'd probably need more powerful (i.e. higher Rank) magic to raise them?
[22:59]
FWIW, I like giving skeletons the "speed of undeath". Without flesh and ligaments to slow them down, they move fast... I don't increase their combat stats, but they tend to act on Reflexes 18... They're still easy enough to kill (by an experienced party), but the first time the PCs encounter them they notice...

wimlachYesterday at 23:04
Oh yes - you shouldn't be able to raise anything else than humanoid skellies with 'Animate Bones'. Big creatures would need big magic.

1

Jimbo (GM)Yesterday at 23:05
The thing about suping up skeletons is that’s a homebrew rule whereas this is more a generic ruling. Also did bugger humanoids, use the regular spells but creatures are considered to represent two humanoid creatures but then Give Up the Dead doesn’t limit their size only if they are in range. Plus let’s face it the spell or the Sorcerer Spell Animate Bones are both 8th Rank. How much bigger magic do you want?(edited)

StarkadYesterday at 23:09
I'm liking that you did bugger humanoids... Is this still a PG game? (edited)

simonbarnsYesterday at 23:10
@simonbarns There is precedent: like the Fungus Men (or Black Caps) of Book 4...
@Starkad and what horrors they are...

1

StarkadYesterday at 23:12
... the Sorcerer Spell Animate Bones are both 8th Rank. How much bigger magic do you want?
@Jimbo (GM) 9th Rank, and the Sorcerer has to have killed the victim himself. Suggests to me that DM didn't want Sorcerers going round creating hordes of undead minions... (It also suggests an innate magic at certain sites that occasionally raises the dead for reasons of its own.)(edited)

wimlachYesterday at 23:21
Animate Bones is limited to a single low rank skeleton because it is a permanent minion - at that rank a Sorcerer can cast 4 such spells per day, so if they are particularly martial in nature, or evil and don't mind slaughtering random peasants, a sizeable force of skeletons can be amassed.

Give Up the Dead has spell expiry I believe, so even though it is way more powerful short-term, it's limited in that way (unless you're a Darkness Elementalist).

1

StarkadYesterday at 23:23
Animate Bones is limited to a single low rank skeleton because it is a permanent minion...
@wimlach And if you've got a stash of red gems, you can enhance their looks by putting the gems in their eye sockets (q.v. Myrkyn)...

wimlachYesterday at 23:25
Perhaps some unique stats for 'common' skeleton animals to be used in place of the 'catch-all' rule for Give Up the Dead would be handy, along with a chart detailing chance of any given animal. The original spell is woefully under-documented (as are many of the elementalist spells).

StarkadYesterday at 23:25
Checking up on “Give Up The Dead” it does say that animal skeletons have half Health Points, Attack, Defence and Magical Defence of a living version of that species. Which sort-of ends that argument…

wimlachYesterday at 23:26
Yeah, but it gives no indication of what animals, if any, are exhumed.

StarkadYesterday at 23:27
Cue random table!!
[23:27]
You could have a woodland sub-table, a mountain sub-table, a desert sub-table...

1
[23:27]
(Not to be confused with a dessert sub-table which is reserved for some types of banquet.)

Jimbo (GM)Yesterday at 23:28
Checking up on “Give Up The Dead” it does say that animal skeletons have half Health Points, Attack, Defence and Magical Defence of a living version of that species. Which sort-of ends that argument…
@Starkad the point if the article though is to give alternatives to a standard animal or monster skeleton

wimlachYesterday at 23:29
Stats and special magical requirements for 'unusual' animated skeletons could be good too. Altered versions of 'Animate Bones' that requires extra steps or components if you want to raise anything bigger than a human.
[23:33]
Maybe a simple variation - anything bigger than human adds it's rank to the effective level & cost of the 'Animate Bones' spell. Only very high ranking wizards could animate large creatures like Ogres.

wimlachYesterday at 23:49
@Jimbo (GM) Just go for whatever formula you think creates more interesting creature skeletons rather than the catch-all 'half stats' approach. Keep in mind extreme cases and consider how a 'creative' Elementalist or Sorcerer might abuse the results. Perhaps add some extra detail for 'Give Up The Dead' and 'Animate Bones' to cover these new skeleton types - a better summon chart for Give Up The Dead would be really handy, and perhaps the extra costs involved in animating anything other than a human for Animate Bones.

Jimbo (GM)Yesterday at 23:51
@Jimbo (GM) Just go for whatever formula you think creates more interesting creature skeletons rather than the catch-all 'half stats' approach. Keep in mind extreme cases and consider how a 'creative' Elementalist or Sorcerer might abuse the results. Perhaps add some extra detail for 'Give Up The Dead' and 'Animate Bones' to cover these new skeleton types - a better summon chart for Give Up The Dead would be really handy, and perhaps the extra costs involved in animating anything other than a human for Animate Bones.
@wimlach I think enterprising players can abuse all spells.

wimlachYesterday at 23:52
Yeah, but don't make it easy! They gotta work for their loop-holes!
[23:52]


Jimbo (GM)Yesterday at 23:56
Perhaps extra magic points based on size represented by HP

wimlachYesterday at 23:58
Yeah - all depends on what stats get transferred across. Either Rank Equivalent or HP would be good candidates.
Note that if animal skeletons aren't nerfed, it's much easier to acquire dogs, horses and bulls than humans as the sacrifices, and these all have better stats in general than a poor old peasant.

StarkadYesterday at 23:59
Note that if animal skeletons aren't nerfed, it's much easier to acquire dogs, horses and bulls than humans as the sacrifices, and these all have better stats in general than a poor old peasant.
@wimlach That's an interesting point. If the animals make too good skeletons, why do Sorcerers bother with human skeletons? Except that human skeletons can wield weapons... (It's also the fallacy behind "The Matrix" - why bother using humans as energy sources when you could use cows? More energy and a Matrix that's far simpler to create.)(edited)
18 August 2020

StarkadToday at 00:00
The skeleton of a bull would be quite impressive and good at blocking corridors. Now, imagine a zombie bull...

wimlachToday at 00:02
If I was a high ranked Earth Elementalist, I'd buy a herd of bulls, sacrifice them, have many days of great BBQ, and bury the corpses all around my home.

1
[00:03]
Chickens. Thousands of undead chickens....

StarkadToday at 00:04
Some Celtic "enclosures" in Gaul (France) have yielded upto 20,000 human skeletons. A collossal number for the time. Imagine casting the spell in one of those... (Which leads to considering how powerful Elementalists might have been back in the day...)(edited)
[00:05]
Chickens. Thousands of undead chickens....
@wimlach Cue at least one PC saying "Please - I've got a thing about chickens!"

wimlachToday at 00:05
Earth Elementalists would also be the undertakers of the community.
[00:06]
Ferrying the dead to the afterlife...well, keeping them around for a bit just in case of emergencies...

StarkadToday at 00:07
Once the spirit has gone, what does it matter what happens to the shell?

wimlachToday at 00:07
Recycling! Very eco-friendly. Mother nature and all that.

simonbarnsToday at 00:08
... (It's also the fallacy behind "The Matrix" - why bother using humans as energy sources when you could use cows? More energy and a Matrix that's far simpler to create.)
@Starkad The Moo-trix.

1

StarkadToday at 00:09
Perhaps the Selentine legions had to face more than just living foes... They had to come up with strategies of their own. Martial magicians. The Ordo Bellatores...

wimlachToday at 00:09
The original script had the cocooned humans as biological processors. Made much more sense.
[00:10]
Studio thought audience wouldn't get it, so 'dumbed down' to battery analogy.(edited)

StarkadToday at 00:10
You get more energy out of a cow than out of a human. Easier to keep them docile too.
[00:10]
But the fight in Zion might have been less impressive... Moo. Moo. Brattattatt. Splat.

wimlachToday at 00:11
Getting off topic somewhat now - maybe take further hilarity to #general

StarkadToday at 00:11
Ahem. Yes. Quite.
[00:13]
Someone mentioned having skeletons wear armour. Apart from issues fitting the armour (a penalty to AF, perhaps?) I've never seen a reason why not. If the money and/or kit is there, why not clad your skeletons in armour? Those that rise spontaneously from sarcophagi might still wear the bronze armour they were interred with...

wimlachToday at 00:15
The bestiary mentions they can wear armour, but it's rare (no indication why). Typically, the illustration has armoured skeletons.

StarkadToday at 00:17
The bestiary mentions they can wear armour, but it's rare (no indication why).
@wimlach Probably because armour is expensive. Battlefield casualties were quickly looted for their armour and weapons. It's not the kind of stuff you find lying around...

wimlachToday at 00:19
Yeah, but if you're an 9th rank sorcerer you can probably stretch to some ringmail for your boney bodyguards.(edited)

StarkadToday at 00:19
Very likely. You'd give them new stuff too, not rusty mail that's got more holes in it than a Braeburg cheese...

wimlachToday at 00:21
Hmm. A particularly extravagant wizard might even have plate armour custom made for his minions, form fitting to accentuate the skeletal form.

StarkadToday at 00:22
The question is whether the Sorcerer would waste his money on such frippery when he needs to acquire more parchment, rare inks, a damp-free library...
[00:22]
Hmm. A particularly extravagant wizard might even have plate armour custom made for his minions, form fitting to accentuate the skeletal form.
@wimlach I'd like to hear the discussion with the armourer hired to make the stuff. Not to mention the taking of the measurements. (edited)
[00:25]
Have you read "The Lord of Middle Air" by Michael Scott Rohan? There are a couple of descriptions in there of magic rather akin to "give up the dead" but involving insubstantial undead... But insubstantial spectres whose spears still somehow bite. The "pagan" magic is countered by summoning the remains of a Legion. It works by summoning the spirits of the land they fought in.
[00:25]
Might be interesting to have a spell that summons a host of spectral warriors... Like the Dead Men of Dunharrow. Initially harmless, but can kill when they have grown strong enough.

wimlachToday at 00:26
Or to hide the horror beneath, sculpted armour that takes on a lithe, lovely form, like some work of art. So the animated bones might look like a moving sculpture or automaton, but powered by a necromantic 'frame'.
[00:27]
I could imagine that being the case for rich powerful wizards of the southern lands.

StarkadToday at 00:27
Sounds like something the ancient Kaikuhurans might have indulged in. Bronze warriors forever guarding their tombs.

wimlachToday at 00:27
Just don't look behind the mask...

StarkadToday at 00:31


wimlachToday at 00:39
"Ooh, your bodyguards are so lovely."
"Um, yeah" * shifts nervously *


1

StarkadToday at 00:43
Hmm. I might actually use that idea. Who needs eunuchs to guard a harem if you have an utterly loyal, deathless, tireless set of guards? (It might be a rare thing... A lost magic someone has found and preserved.)

wimlachToday at 00:50
Does not need to be a lost magic - all that's required is a 9th rank sorcerer and 'willing' subjects, plus extravagant wealth. The Caliph needs guards, the Sahir needs a patron.

StarkadToday at 00:54
Very true.

PontianakToday at 01:47
Very likely. You'd give them new stuff too, not rusty mail that's got more holes in it than a Braeburg cheese...
@Starkad https://img.ifunny.co/images/b565713b72 ... d18f_1.jpg


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