Thread: Pathfinder Bestiary Preview II
Thursday, 10th June, 2010, 01:51 AM #41
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
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ř Ignore mach1.9pants
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The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
ř Ignore Steel_Wind
An adult male non-sissified human, is the dominant predator on earth for some very good reasons.
1 - We're big. DAMNED big. There are some other land predators larger than an adult male human, but not many. The great cats and bears (oh my). But looking at the list of Apex Predators, there are not many on there larger than us.
Our dumber great primate cousins are admittedly FAR tougher one-on-one, and the gorilla is also bigger to boot. Until we add in some pointy sticks, my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl. Then we kick all their asses too.
2- Because we're smart. DAMNED Smart. Yes, that allows us to develop computers, nukes and bic lighters.
But far more practically, it allowed us to develop and learn to use the most important weapon ever devised on planet earth: the spear.
When the fight is between fingers and claws? Fingers powered by a brain win - because our claws (our spears) are longer.
Give a healthy male a good 6 foot long spear with a sharp end? Your german shepperd does not stand a chance. Take the spear away? Provided the dog does not get the adult male by the throat - my money is still on the adult male human hunter. We're FAR stronger than any dog. Armed even with a knife, I'm not sure that result changes if it's a wolf (though longterm, I doubt either actually survives the fight after infection sets in).
One on one? The Lion, tiger, and bear will probably win. Even then, with a good spear, training, and provided we are not surprised? That result is not a foregone conclusion against any one of those predators.
Of course - we don't comes in ones and twos. When we show up to kick some ass, we bring friends and family (along with their pointed sticks).
Which is why we wore tiger and bear skins for clothing and used to complain about how those creatures taste.
We're WAY meaner than you give us credit for. There is a REASON you are sipping coffee and typing on a laptop. The bronze age was just the beginning of our victory lap. We WON this planet with sharpened sticks and muscle -- and a mighty big brain.
Last edited by Steel_Wind; Thursday, 10th June, 2010 at 03:59 AM.
Co-Host of (the ENnie Award Winning!) Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Also, since we're discussing humans vs animals, you have to account for the fact that we're geared more towards endurance. A human being can run a marathon in a day. I read that ancient hunters would hunt animals by simply keeping up the hunt until the animal tired itself out.
"At best and at worst, it is a waste of time." A Mormon bishop on Dungeons and Dragons
That's not a Pathfinder criticism....more about observation about these monsters in D&D rulesets in general.
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
ř Ignore Psychotic Jim
A bird in the bush is worth two killed while stoned. - Some Barmy
You'll never know the true meaning of "The truth is out there" until you visit the Far Realms.
Yes, we have fantastic brains. We're the dominant predator for that reason. But physically, we're very weak. The muscle and bone configuration that allows for upright walking is *not* set up for the generation of nearly as much power as quadrupeds have. We're slower than many other animals on foot. We have endurance. But try running away from a bear, and see how far it'll get you.
In dog attacks, injuries, in the absence of our advanced medicine, would be largely life-ending.....things like getting someone's face ripped off their skull. Heck, even coming face to face with a bull, or a male deer, or even something like a coyote can easily be life ending for most humans.
I'm not saying that humans are inferior......I'm just talking about how, in relation to the game, giving all medium sized animals 1 HD (for instance) is not realistic, given the *physical* power discrepancy. Yeah, the human is smart enough to invent and dress up in plate mail, and create a sword or spear, or invent firearms and kill from a distance. But strip away the tech, and go unarmed, and physically, we're vastly inferior. That's what I was getting at.
A 1 HD human with AC 10, a BAB of +0, and damage of 1-3 subdual would have a relatively even chance of coming out on top in a fight against a 1 HD medium animal (ie. a leopard)....and that's just not very realistic, IMO.
Even size is of limited matter. So we're bigger. We don't have fangs, claws, the muscle power of many animals, natural armor, or speed. Our brains can help us invent replacements to all of these...but, pound for pound, we're weak. The smallest dog that's been recorded to have killed someone was a Pomeranian, I believe. *A Pomeranian* mauled someone to death. At their biggest, that's about an 8 lb dog. Far smaller than anything but an infant or child.
There's a reason why in countries *not* in North America, where they have problems with man-eaters, people, are, well....scared of those animals. Because physically, we're at a significant disadvantage. Walk through the jungle in India, near a village where they're having trouble with a declared man-eating tiger, and see how long that person will last. I'm not going to bet on the human. Now, have the humans go in with a bunch of guns, and the story changes. But the point I was responding to only had to do with the suggestion that animals be 1 HD for small and medium, regardless of animal type. That's where I had the issue.
We know from the fossil record that for thousands of years, Homo Sapiens and their ancestors, were part of the food chain, in that we were predated on by other top predators such as lions, leopards, wolves etc. As humans got smarter, in terms of developing better weapons and technology, and organizing themselves into villages where numbers themselves became a defense (ie. the herd advantage), the situation changed.
But even into the 1700's and later, there were plenty of events showing their physical superiority.....the beast(s) of Gevaudan killed how many people? 99? Now, only 6 of those were men. Was that because men were stronger, and better able to fight them off? Or because men tended to carry weapons, whereas women and children didn't?
Depending on accounts, the man-eaters of Tsavo killed anywhere between 35 to 140 people, depending on which reports are read. Then, after pissing off the humans enough, hunters with superior brains, and the use of firearms and tactics managed to hunt them down and kill them. But this was *2* lions. How many humans did they kill, and how many humans did it take to hunt them down and kill them?
Naturalists who study man-eaters suggest that some animals start eating people because we're relatively easy prey. Animals are smart enough to avoid the humans with guns, and eat the ones not carrying guns. Usually gun-carrying humans kill them in the end....but the number of humans a man-eater can kill before being caught can be staggering. Look up man-eaters on Wikipedia. Not counting the idea that numbers may be exaggerated, the Panar Leopard supposedly killed *400* people before being caught. That's *one* cat that was too unhealthy to hunt its regular prey.
Wasn't it in Toronto last year that some idiot stuck his arm in the cage where wolves were kept at the zoo, and had it ripped off for his troubles?
It's easy in North America to overlook the fact that wolves, which have very rarely attacked people here, have a very different history in Europe, where they killed humans on a much more regular basis.
In the grand scheme of things, humans with our bigger brains have killed far more animals than have probably *been* killed by animals.....so I'd agree that the human brain is a far more effective weapon than claws and teeth...in the long term. But put the unarmed man in a cage with an enraged lion, and it's going to be a very short fight. If you want to jump in the cage and try a hypothesis that an unarmed man would win that fight, fill your boots I find lots of people *say* "well, this is what I'd do"......but would they? Really? We don't really know until we're faced with the situation. Most human-predator attacks end up with a dead human, and park officials hunting down the killer animal and shooting it. I guess I'm a chicken, but I have no desire to place myself anywhere near a pissed off animal. I live in the burbs, and was walking home from the theatre one evening, and came across a coyote. There's lots of development going on in our area, the theatre and related stores are right on the edge of town, and beyond that it's forest and deer/wolf/coyote habitat, and I guess he came in to check out the sights. Anyways, it was night, I was on foot, there were no convenient 6' long spears around, and I had no other weapons as I'd been at the the theatre. I wasn't going to take chances, because though I outweigh a coyote, I can't outrun it, and I don't really want to lose any fingers or a hand fending it off. So, I backed away very, very slowly, he moved off, and we both lived happily ever after.
My main contentions are that I don't think it makes sense to have all small and medium animals being 1 HD, and that physically, pound for pound, many animals are more powerful than humans. Just stronger. Stats-wise, I've always felt that 3E did animals right for once...in previous editions, they were pushovers, and really, just window dressing after level 2. In 3E, animals were a lot more dangerous than they were in earlier editions. A party could still easily beat them when outfitted, armed, and working together......but animals were no longer punching bags for anybody over lvl 1. Doesn't mean they're better. That capability to have 18 INT instead of 2 leads to leather armor, chainmail, half-plate, spears, greatswords, and parties of 4 PCs with complementary skill sets working together to defeat the physically superior, but mentally inferior animal.
Same thing like how I wouldn't necessarily say Mike Tyson is *better* than Bill Gates....but he'd definitely beat the tar out of him in a fight. But I'm pretty sure Bill Gates has a heck of a lot more money.....garnered via his brain. So who wins in the long term?
As to the non-sissified point...that's somewhat debatable. There's a reason animals like that are used by police and military. They are very good at taking down criminals (as well as detecting explosives, drugs, etc.). Maybe that just means that most adult humans in western society nowadays are sissified. I don't know. Lots of the guys I know are average or higher on the level of physical activity. Strong enough, but most don't have military or martial arts training, and, being in the city, very few of them have firearms licenses. A friend of mine had a friend of his killed by a bear a few years back. Just outside the city. She probably didn't have much of a chance. He said she came across it on a hiking/jogging trail. She couldn't outrun it, she was definitely weaker, and all it took was one bite, and it was over, from what he told me. More than likely she surprised it accidentally or something.
All this having been said, I didn't realize I'd committed thread necromancy until after I posted...I think I found this thread through Google. I was looking for something else, started reading, got interested, and didn't even check the dates before I posted.
Last edited by Banshee16; Thursday, 10th June, 2010 at 07:47 AM.
Apes are one animal I *haven't* used in my games.
Scout (Lvl 6)
- Join Date
- Dec 2007
ř Ignore Kaisoku
HD is mostly about training. You can make up most physical combat stuff by slapping on a lethal attack (any form of natural weapon), and pump the strength, constitution and dexterity.
A 1 HD, standard (all 10s in ability scores) unarmed and unarmored human has AC 10, 3 hitpoints, an attack bonus of -4 to cause lethal damage with his bare hands, and does an average of 2 damage on an attack that provokes an Attack of Opportunity, and doesn't threaten.
By contrast, a simple small sized dog has an AC 13, 6 hitpoints, a +2 to attack lethal damage bite that deals an average of 3.5 damage (meaning, the human is unconscious in an average of 1 attack).
The dog lands his attack on a 8 or better (65% chance), while the human needs a 17 or better (20% chance). Note that the human needs to hit about 3 times at that abysmal chance to just get the thing unconscious (let alone kill).
The dog will likely knock out the human in round 1 (counting the attack from the attack of opportunity), dead in the next round or two (depending on coup-de-grace), while the human would need 15+ rounds on average to knock out the dog.
And that's a small sized animal (the size of your average dog), with only 13s and a 15 in his physical stats.
Considering how weak Humans are at defending themselves against natural attacks, and at dealing damage unarmed, I think that 1 HD is plenty if you give the animal even a modicum of bonus to his physical stats.
Note how a leopard has a bite and two claws, plus pouncing and rake, and 16 Str, 19 Dex and 15 Con. Now granted, he has 3 HD (which isn't far off to the quote, granting an extra HD for solitary predators), but even at 2 HD he'd be a human killer... easy.
It would require a human with exceptional physical stats (13s-17s), and at least a little bit of armament (a leather jacket and a crowbar), to have a "chance" at surviving an encounter with such an animal that was crazy enough to want him dead (rabies, starving, etc). Given that a lot of these creatures have great stealth in their favored environment, and pouncing attacks, and a proclivity for attacking the "weak or injured of a herd", these animals would get a lot of kills in before the humans knew what hit them.
If you have different information that indicates an unarmed human has a "relatively even chance" against a leopard (even at 1 or 2 HD for the leopard), I'd like to see it...
The math, from where I'm looking at it, doesn't support that at all.
So, you're saying an elephant should have 1 or 2HD because it's not trained? I've always drawn a line in the sand (to a degree) with hp, between humanoid PCs and monsters (and animals). Nobody really expects an elephant to be tough because it's lifting weights and practicing katas in campaign off-time.
It's tough because it's bloody well 12' tall at the shoulder, and weighs 8000 lbs (compared to the average 190 for a human male). That's 42x as much mass.
I'd expect an animal like that to have a fair bit more HD than a humanoid.
Animals like wolves? Maybe a lower number of HD is appropriate...but they only had 2 HD to start with, so I'm not really convinced that lowering it is really necessary.
I've seen animals take a fair bit of punishment. I hit a deer with my car once. It kind of ducked, took the bumper on the shoulder, and then got up and jumped away. I figured maybe it was wounded, and got out to look for it, but it was long gone.
The coyote my wife hit didn't get back up though.
The bear my parents hit destroyed their car, then walked away.
I was reading about a German Shepherd in Iraq that was rescued by some American soldiers. It had been tortured, had both ears cut off, and I think a leg severed. They nursed it to health, but the platoon was transferred to another base 70 km away. The dog tracked them by scent across the desert, on three legs, to show up at their new digs looking for his "friends".
They can be pretty resilient.
If you drop animals to 1 HD, you lose other measures of resiliency....you lose BAB, skill points, and feats. Some of these things are somewhat necessary to give the animals the traits needed to simulate their abilities. Unless you want to do it all via bonus feats and skill bonuses. You *could* do it that way, but IMO the more exceptional bonuses you give out, the more swingy the creatures are for their CR.
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