D&D 5E Better Beasts?


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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Tbh I see no reason to think it’s attack wouldn’t work on a horse regardless of normal usage, but it’s fine I can just change it for my own use.

I am thinking about doing a short story arc of wilderness survival and travel for my D&D group, using many of these creatures!
Cheetah prey consist of small to medium animals (hares, gazelle, young impala) as they are generally weak, don’t have the bite strength to kill large prey and would get injured if they tried.

in making animals more fun it’s still important to have them differentiated so it doesn’t just become ‘big cat build A - Leopard, Cheetah, Lynx”. I was even iffy about cheetah having pounce And would probably give them disengage instead (cheetah lose most of their prey to theft by larger predators and need to run away so they aren’t killed)

unlike leopards and lions, cheetah aren’t generally a threat to humans.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Cheetah prey consist of small to medium animals (hares, gazelle, young impala) as they are generally weak, don’t have the bite strength to kill large prey and would get injured if they tried.

in making animals more fun it’s still important to have them differentiated so it doesn’t just become ‘big cat build A - Leopard, Cheetah, Lynx”. I was even iffy about cheetah having pounce And would probably give them disengage instead (cheetah lose most of their prey to theft by larger predators and need to run away so they aren’t killed)

unlike leopards and lions, cheetah aren’t generally a threat to humans.

In the context of D&D , I don’t think they’re that interesting if they can’t even try to trip a horse. To me, that is more important than realism, and they’re not any less different from tigers if they can trip a horse vs if they can’t.

Also, again, they don’t prey on larger animals, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t take one down.
 

dave2008

Legend
Tbh I see no reason to think it’s attack wouldn’t work on a horse regardless of normal usage, but it’s fine I can just change it for my own use.
Absolutely, you can do whatever you want. For me it is issue of size. The cheetah was 100-160lbs and a horse weighs 1,000-2,000lbs. I am probably biased because I have been up close and personal with cheetahs (in my youth) and they are really not that big or strong. They are extremely fast though!
 



Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
In the context of D&D , I don’t think they’re that interesting if they can’t even try to trip a horse. To me, that is more important than realism, and they’re not any less different from tigers if they can trip a horse vs if they can’t.

Also, again, they don’t prey on larger animals, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t take one down.

if I’m wanting to trip a horse (and rider) I’d probably opt for puma or leopard (leopard for the stealth+pounce routine), leaving the spectacular big hits for lions and tigers*

cheetahs fit somewhere else in the narrative (chasing fleeing halflings maybe) but shouldn’t just be another big cat.

* leopards irl I’d argue are better predators, but lions and tigers are the superstars of big cat legend so can keep the glory
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Absolutely, you can do whatever you want. For me it is issue of size. The cheetah was 100-160lbs and a horse weighs 1,000-2,000lbs. I am probably biased because I have been up close and personal with cheetahs (in my youth) and they are really not that big or strong. They are extremely fast though!
I mean, horses trip themselves on uneven terrain sometimes. And die. Not often, but it happens.
Cheetahs don’t wanna fight a horse, or fight over a horse (or any meal, they aren’t really fighters), and don’t need that size of animal to survive, but a skinny person with a hooked blade could take down a horse with enough practice at the tactic of tripping them with a strike to the ankles with a sharp blade. The horse’s size just isn’t a defense at all against that tactic.
Interesting, what is the horse hang up? For me as long as it can trip a PC I'm good with it.
What else is gonna ever be relevant to whether a monster can trip another creature? I guess cheetah animal companions, but then that cheetah is exceptional so I’m fine with it tripping an ogre. Also, a gnome can trip an ogre.

But mostly it’s a weird mechanic. Giving large + creatures advantage on the save would at least not feel like a weird game widget, and I like my game widgets to only ever be there to add to the game, not just restrict an option that wouldn’t be especially powerful without the restriction.
I’m wanting to trip a horse (and rider) I’d probably opt for puma or leopard (leopard for the stealth+pounce routine), leaving the spectacular big hits for lions and tigers*

I mean, I doubt anyone is designing an encounter thinking “imma trip that horse.”
 

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.
This is a philosophical point: are we designing the animal of reality or the beast of the imagination? The beast of the imagination being, in this case, the proverbial 800 pound gorilla.

There are already plenty of fantastical elements in 5e beasts - some are giants, some can talk. And frankly our group would be uncomfortable fighting against animals that where too realistic, and are happy with a degree of anthropomorphism in their animal friends.

On the other hand, if you are playing a very grounded game you would want your animals to be as realistic as possible. But that would mean they shouldn't have much of a chance against heavily armed humans.
 
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Cheetah
Medium beast, unaligned
If we are being realistic, I would say cheetahs are borderline small - body length around 4 feet, weight about 50 lb.

And they are not one of the big cat species known to predate humans. (Leopards are the ones to go for after tigers and lions).
 
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