D&D 5E Better Beasts?


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SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
I had a Rock Climbing Rattlesnake once. Twice the size, and had a climb speed on even near vertical cliff faces. Great for chasing PC that are trying to mountain climb.

There was also a Tyranthraxus Spider. Very small, hard to hit, high AC. And a incredible jump range (like 20 feet) so it could jump from brush onto PCs. (deadly poison, scaled to kill most 0 level NPCs, hence the deadly rep, but still a threat up to 3rd levels)

I think a person on these forums inspired me to create a very flat "Bookscorpion". Standard scorpian, but you did not expect it inside your old book.
 



Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
There's an issue with beasts

Real beasts are boring on purpose

Real animals have what I call "palette swap" issues. Real animals are not interesting in combat. They are mostlyeither tough brutes, fast brutes, strong brutes, flying brutes, swimming brutes, or brutes with extra attacks. They are much like the same 4e-style stat block leveled up or down and given a level and given an movement quirk or extra senses. 3 versions of the same bears, canines, raptors, and felines.

That being said, there are somethings you can still do. There are lesser used animal families like weasels, hippos, skunks, mongoose, and large lizards that are not heavily used.
 



dave2008

Legend
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Great White Shark Drawing by stevegoad

Giant Shark
Huge beast, unaligned
1599650551489.png

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 126 (11d12 + 55; bloodied 63)
Speed 0 ft., swim 120 ft.
1599650553083.png

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
22 (+6)11 (+0)21 (+5)1 (-5)10 (+0)5 (-3)
1599650554207.png

Saving Throws Str +9, Con +8
Skills Athletics +9, Perception +3, Stealth +3
Senses Blindsight 60 ft., Passive Perception 13
Languages --
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3
1599650555429.png

Aquatic. The shark has advantage on attacks against creatures in water that do not have a swim speed. Additionally, while submerged in water it has a Dexterity of 16 (+3) and gains a +6 bonus to Dexterity saving throws.

Blood Frenzy. The shark has advantage on melee attack rolls against any creature that doesn't have all its hit points.

Water Breathing. The shark can breathe only underwater.

ACTIONS
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d10 + 6) piercing damage. If this attack is not made after a charge, the target is also grappled. While the shark has a creature grappled if cannot make a bit attack against another target. If the shark moves at least 20 feet straight toward the target immediately before the hit, the target takes an extra 16 (3d10) piercing damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target not grappled by the shark. Hit: 18 (3d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

REACTIONS
Chomp. If a creature ends its turn grappled by the shark, the shark can make a bite attack with advantage against the target.
 
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dave2008

Legend
There's an issue with beasts

Real beasts are boring on purpose

Real animals have what I call "palette swap" issues. Real animals are not interesting in combat. They are mostlyeither tough brutes, fast brutes, strong brutes, flying brutes, swimming brutes, or brutes with extra attacks. They are much like the same 4e-style stat block leveled up or down and given a level and given an movement quirk or extra senses. 3 versions of the same bears, canines, raptors, and felines.

That being said, there are somethings you can still do. There are lesser used animal families like weasels, hippos, skunks, mongoose, and large lizards that are not heavily used.
I disagree. I think we can find ways to mimic some of the unique ways creatures fight (or flight). The crocodilian death roll for example, or the feline neck bite, or a gorilla's bluffing charge, or better represent their quickness. Jungle ambushers attack differently than open plains stalkers. There are lots of ways to had some variety. Plus, some should have skills and save bonus at least.
 

Made a couple of further tweaks to the furious ape.

1) Rage should give advantage on grapples, but, because of the way creature grapples work, this wasn't automatic. Added text to correct this.

2) With it's strength reduced it didn't qualify for CR3. Rather than reduce it to CR2 I gave it an extra hit dice.
 

Attachments

  • Furious Ape Mk 3.pdf
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Is there room to give ravens, dolphins, elephants, etc, slightly higher Int than most beasts? I don’t recall what the point is where spells like Beast Bond won’t work on a beast? Int 6?

So is int 4 or 5 too high for a beastie?
Made a couple of further tweaks to the furious ape.

1) Rage should give advantage on grapples, but, because of the way creature grapples work, this wasn't automatic. Added text to correct this.

2) With it's strength reduced it didn't qualify for CR3. Rather than reduce it to CR2 I gave it an extra hit dice.
hell yes. Exactly as scary as I’d want an ape to be.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Should apes be faster? Or have some sort of sprint ability?

In general, maybe a lot of ambush and chase predators should have sprinting abilities? Even if it’s just “dash as a bonus action, and ignore difficult terrain while dashing”?
 


Should apes be faster? Or have some sort of sprint ability?
If I was doing a gorilla rather than a chimpanzee I would give it a charge attack. I would probably make it large too. But gorillas aren't psychos like chimps and humans.

According to sources a chimpanzee can run faster than a human, although I suspect it couldn't keep it up for long. Could make it's speed 35 ft, just so the players can't outrun it, or give it a bonus action dash.

Edit. I've both increased it's speed to 35' and given it a "bonus action dash whilst raging". But I won't post Mk 4 just yet.
 
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dave2008

Legend
If I was doing a gorilla rather than a chimpanzee I would give it a charge attack. I would probably make it large too.
I would definitely give it a charge attack (and a charge intimidate maybe). But why make it Larget? A silverback gorilla is not. on average, larger than the largest humans. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, AKA "The Mountain" is 6'-9" tall and 415+/- lbs. An adult male gorilla is typically 300-500lbs and around 6' tall (Gorilla). They seem squarely Medium to me.
 

dave2008

Legend
Should apes be faster? Or have some sort of sprint ability?

In general, maybe a lot of ambush and chase predators should have sprinting abilities? Even if it’s just “dash as a bonus action, and ignore difficult terrain while dashing”?
I think a lot of animals should have a sprint ability. Dash on a bonus action works well for that IMO
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If I was doing a gorilla rather than a chimpanzee I would give it a charge attack. I would probably make it large too. But gorillas aren't psychos like chimps and humans.

According to sources a chimpanzee can run faster than a human, although I suspect it couldn't keep it up for long. Could make it's speed 35 ft, just so the players can't outrun it, or give it a bonus action dash.

Edit. I've both increased it's speed to 35' and given it a "bonus action dash whilst raging". But I won't post Mk 4 just yet.

Yeah the gorilla definitely deserves powerful build, greater speed, and perhaps an intimidating roar?

I do wish humans had some sort of endurance trait in D&D related to exerting effort over extended periods, which we are much better at than most critters.
 

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