Australian homebrew monster thread....

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Right, now as we were discussing the bunyip recently...got me interested in making a Gondwana part of my world..(will get round to my water elemental/fey bunyip with Lair Actions soon...). But first up, adding in a cassowary - thinking of role-playing. A low level critter that if annoyed might impale a PC quite badly...if the PCs didn't listen to local people who warned to give their area a wide berth...

modelled cassoway on axe beak but is smaller (size M), slightly more dextrous, and has its crit hit ability based on its real-life ability to disembowel opponents with a well-aimed kick.
 

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Cleon

Hero
pinging @Cleon :LOL: (this one should be relatively straightforward)

I'd already noticed this thread, just hadn't got around to replying.

Hmm, I'd consider giving it lower hit points but having the kick do more damage. Compared to a Wolf it's got 50% more HP (3d8+3 vs 2d8+2) but does less damage (1d6+2 vs 2d4+2).

I'd think the damage output should be roughly similar to a wolf, so maybe 1d8, 2d4 or 1d10 for the base damage and reduce the HD to 2d8+2?

One interesting trick cassowaries have is they're build to run through thick undergrowth - their bodies are wedge-shaped and they have reinforcements to push through thorny bushes and vines.

That sounds like a Special Trait to me!

Bush-Running. If a cassowary moves through difficult terrain caused by thick undergrowth such as thorn bushes or vines, every 2 feet of movement costs 1 extra foot.

So it travels at 2/3rd speed through undergrowth rather than 1/2 speed.
 

Cleon

Hero
Bush-Running. If a cassowary moves through difficult terrain caused by thick undergrowth such as thorn bushes or vines, every 2 feet of movement costs 1 extra foot.

Upon reflection, I prefer 3/4 speed to 2/3 speed. That'd be:

Bush-Running. If a cassowary moves through difficult terrain caused by thick undergrowth such as thorn bushes or vines, every 3 feet of movement costs 1 extra foot.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
The trait is good. HD alteration makes sense. I was just using axe beak template in dndbeyond for starters - I like a d8 or d10 for damage, to reflect the increased randomness - i.e. the kick might just knick a victim or really slash them up bad. Maybe d10 - reflects you REALLY don't wanna make it angry and local folks will be telling players that. So when a party is carrying one of their own back, they'll get the villagers' looks.."We told yers they was dangerous!"
 

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Cleon

Hero
The trait is good. HD alteration makes sense. I was just using axe beak template in dndbeyond for starters.

Well Axebeaks are considerably heftier than a cassowary.

They're Large and 7+ feet tall. The official 3E version the Arms and Equipment Guide is even bigger, it (and I quote) "stands 9 feet tall and weighs 400 pounds."

Considering that they can be ridden as mounts it's not surprising they're big!

I was just using axe beak template in dndbeyond for starters - I like a d8 or d10 for damage, to reflect the increased randomness - i.e. the kick might just knick a victim or really slash them up bad. Maybe d10 - reflects you REALLY don't wanna make it angry and local folks will be telling players that. So when a party is carrying one of their own back, they'll get the villagers' looks.."We told yers they was dangerous!"

Yes, 1d10+2 is probably unrealistically high but so is the 2d4+2 bite damage of a wolf and I prefer them to be in the same ballpark. Besides, getting stabbed in the guts by a 5-inch claw is bound to do at least as much damage as a hefty canine's fangs!

Anyhow, I think the cassowary's finished mechanically. I'll post the numbers in an Enworld Draft and then we can put a final polish to the Description.
 

Cleon

Hero
Cassowary
Medium animal, neutral
Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 11 (2d8 + 2)
Speed 50 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
14 (+2)​
13 (+1)​
12 (+1)​
3 (–4)​
10 (+0)​
5 (–3)​

Senses passive Perception 10
Languages
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP) Proficiency Bonus +2

Adept Striker. The cassowary scores a critical hit on a kick attack if the d20 roll is a 19 or 20.

Bush-Running. If a cassowary moves through difficult terrain caused by thick undergrowth such as thorn bushes or vines, every 3 feet of movement costs 1 extra foot.

Jungle Camouflage. The cassowary gains advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks in its native rainforest habitat.

Actions

Kick. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d10 + 2) slashing damage; critical hit on 19 or 20.

Description
Cassowaries are flightless birds with black, hairy feathers that live in tropical forests. They stand 5 or 6 feet tall and weigh around 100 pounds. A cassowary has bright blue bare skin on its neck and head, which is also adorned with red wattles and a greyish horny head crest called a casque. Despite these areas of bright colours, a cassowary blends in well with its natural habitat. The bird has long strong legs with three-toed feet, all its toes have sharp claws but the innermost claw on each foot are enlarged into formidable dagger-like talons.
 Wary Rainforest Avians. Cassowaries are usually shy and avoid contact with humanoids, hiding or fleeing from potential threats. Their wedge-shaped bodies, thick feathers and toughened heads allow them to run through thick undergrowth at high speed. A provoked cassowary will defend itself with its taloned feet, and its powerful legs and skill at placing lethal hits makes them very dangerous. Local people know to leave an angry cassowary well alone.

(Original monster designed by Casimir Liber and Cleon on the Creature Catalog Monster Homebrews forum)
 
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Cleon

Hero
Well it spoke prematurely like usual, since I though of some tweaks to the wording:

Adept Striker. The cassowary scores a critical hit on a kick attack if the d20 roll is a 19 or 20.
Stealthy at Home. The cassowary gains advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks in its native rainforest habitat.

The above follows the phrasing of the SRD better, i.e.:

SRD said:
If the d20 roll for an attack is a 20, the attack hits regardless of any modifiers or the target’s AC. This is called a critical hit.
SRD said:
Underwater Camouflage. The octopus has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made while underwater.

Come to think of it, perhaps we should mention the habitat it's stealthy in in the trait's title? i.e.:

Stealthy in the Jungle. The cassowary gains advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks in its native rainforest habitat.​
or​
Jungle Camouflage. The cassowary gains advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks in its native rainforest habitat.​

It also seems prudent adding a mention of its special critical hit rule to the Kick attack:

Kick. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d10 + 2) slashing damage; critical hit on 19 or 20.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Have adopted the tweaks and rewritten the description thus:

An cassowary is a flightless bird up to 6 feet tall and weighing 100 pouunds. It has black hairy feathers and bright blue bare skin on its neck and head, which is also adorned with red wattles and a greyish casque. It has long strong legs and its three-toed feet are equipped with sharp talons. Despite its bright colouring, it is able to blend in well in its surroundings.

Territorial Defenders. Inhabiting tropical jungles, it is usually shy and avoiding of contact with humanoids, but becomes highly aggressive and territorial if its home habitat is invaded, particularly if it has young. It is skilled with its feet at finding lethal hits on opponents, and nearby people know to leave it well alone.
 

Cleon

Hero
Have adopted the tweaks and rewritten the description thus:

Couple of typos in the first paragraph "An cassowary is a flightless bird up to 6 feet tall and weighing 100 pouunds" and I think some of the wording could be tightened up. Also it could do with an explanation as to what a casque is.

Don't care for the "Territorial Defenders" subtitle as is suggest they have a role or niche as defenders of the rainforest. Real-life cassowaries are quite shy and prefer to run away, breaking out the murder-claw only under duress.

Cassowaries are flightless birds with black, hairy feathers that live in tropical forests. They stand 5 or 6 feet tall and weigh around 100 pounds. A cassowary has bright blue bare skin on its neck and head, which is also adorned with red wattles and a greyish horny head crest called a casque. Despite these areas of bright colours, a cassowary blends in well with its natural habitat. The bird has long strong legs with three-toed feet, all its toes have sharp claws but the innermost claw on each foot are enlarged into formidable dagger-like talons.​
Wary Rainforest Avians. Cassowaries are usually shy and avoid contact with humanoids, hiding or fleeing from potential threats. Their wedge-shaped bodies, thick feathers and toughened heads allow them to run through thick undergrowth at high speed. A provoked cassowary will defend itself with its taloned feet, and its powerful legs and skill at placing lethal hits makes them very dangerous. Local people know to leave an angry cassowary well alone.​

Does that look OK to you?

I notice that the Cassowaries Wikipedia entry says "They are good swimmers, crossing wide rivers and swimming in the sea."

Should we do something with that?
 

Cleon

Hero
I notice that the Cassowaries Wikipedia entry says "They are good swimmers, crossing wide rivers and swimming in the sea."

Should we do something with that?

After thinking it over, I wouldn't bother.

Elephants are good swimmers who cross rivers and swim in the sea and 5E doesn't bother doing anything with it, so why do something with a cassowary's swimming ability.

Most animals are decent swimmers, D&D tends to only bother if they live in water or can swim all day or night before they need to return to land.
 



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