D&D General Mundane animals - do you use them in game?


A suffusion of yellow
So mundane animals: ranging from tiny butterflies flitting amongst the cabbages, pigeons in the town square, flocks of sheep grazing the hills, deer in the forest and seagulls squawking over the sea cliffs - do they ever appear in your games, even just as background flavour? Do you use any real world animals (ie not giant or magical forms) as hazards or even as encounters - a swarm of squirrels? a pack of normal wolves? a hidden tiger?

Or are all animals consigned to being familiars, animal companions, mounts and wild shape candidates?

Do you want to use more mundane creatures or is the fantasy of quantum butterflies and wild herds of alicorns more compelling?

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Horse. I need horses to be more prominent in my games.

On rare occasions, the random deer, rabbit or other creature might get a mention if the group is out in the wilds and hunting for food. Otherwise, not so much. But then again, when the group walks into a civilized area I don't go out of my way to describe the various NPCs that are likely wandering about, they're just assumed to be there - generally it's only the NPCs the characters want/need to interact with get pointed out.

I'm A Banana

Evil druids need minions, too. And, it's useful when you've got a corrupting effect that's like making all the squirrels into murderers or something. Swarms of rats also feature prominently in my Snow White / Dark Souls game at the moment (y'know, Disney)


Getting a hang of this!
I've been meaning to include more mundane animals. After all, a unicorn or whatever can be more exciting to the players if they've seen many normal animals prior.


Victoria Rules
Mundane animals are a near-constant here.

Best mundane-animal story I have: a party was at a farm and the farm got attacked by raiders. One of the PCs wanted to hide among the dozen-or-so horses in a small corral and cast Invisibility on himself.

Except he didn't have Invisibility memorized. But he did have Invis. 10' Radius, so - forgetting it would also affect the horses - he cast it. Now he's invisible, in the middle of a bunch of invisible and increasingly-freaked-out horses...

Yeah, that was messy. :)


Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
Sure do. Coming up with an entire set of alien flora and fauna is way too much work for me, even on the rare days I'm feeling ambitious. Not to mention that common Earth animals are really strong symbols and tropes; divesting your world of them means you can't use them in puzzles, heraldry, even just visual description. (I'm not going to say "This monster is the size of a grizzly bear" if I've taken time to explain that this setting doesn't have bears.)

I'll alter them sometimes for flavor, just to add a twist of the fantastic. Wild turkeys are blood-red, for example, I added it as a detail one time as a lark and kept using it whenever I mentioned turkeys.


Also, we tend to not appreciate what horrible monsters we share the world with. From moon-worshipping titans with lances for teeth, to a bird that murders and hangs its victims around its nest, to a mobile algae ecosystem, spiders who throw their hair in your eyes, a shrimp with a sonic cannon in its face, to a variety of creatures who are mobile chemical factories producing acid, burning liquid, and biometal.

And yet a bear with an owl face is the monstrosity?

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