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Old 04-15-2018, 05:41 PM   #1
Jim Kane
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Default Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

I have been pouring through years of old TFT Labyrinth adventures in my file cabinet, and due to the type of game-world I used to write for, there (was) is a huge amount of natural (and giant-sized) beasts (wolves, bears, snakes, dangerous flora) populating that world; over the population of classic fantasy monsters.

If I had to put a ratio on it, I would hazard an estimate of 80-20 population balance of beasts-types over classic fantasy monster-types.

Therefore, I am wondering what ratio others feel best fits their In The Labyrinth game-world and their adventuring preference.

Thanks.

JK
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:05 AM   #2
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

Far more natural beasts than fastastic ones. Most fighting was against humanoids.

Except when going places with a specific population of something fantastic, I'd say overall for every hostile fantasy monster encounter, we probably saw at least five hostile natural beast encounters, and at least twenty hostile humanoid encounters.

And as far as populations go, the ratios would be steeper, since the fantasy monsters were more likely to be hostile, and non-hostile natural animals and humanoids were seen all the time and didn't even bear mentioning.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:00 AM   #3
David Bofinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
balance of beasts-types over classic fantasy monster-types.
I guess you're trying to make fights different in interesting ways while not stretching suspension of disbelief. There are lots of ways to do that, e.g.:
  • Different kinds of critters
  • Different environments, both natural and built
  • Complicating factors (you just woke up and aren't wearing armour, if either side makes any noise the sevastokrator's guards will hear and join in, etc.)

Looking at the kinds of monsters you might encounter:
  • Humanoids are phyiscally similar to each other but derive variety from their society, they build temples and houses and castles and what have you so that can be fun.
  • Ordinary beasts come in different shapes and sizes, but stress suspension of disbelief in multiple ways ("Why are there so many predators in this land? And why do they commit suicide against heavily armed knights?") and unless you let your naturalist come up with clever tricks it's simplistic from a roleplaying point of view.
  • Magical beasts definitely have some advantages. They allow variety of opposition and kinds of fights. The aggression is easier to explain, the number of powerful threats is easier to explain. There's a new kind of suspension of disbelief, that an animal with the head of a donkey and the body of an ostrich even exists, let alone is capable of farting napalm. But it's a fantasy story and we should be able to come up with explanations.

My opinions, partially deriving from this:
  • Fighting natural beasts is generally not very interesting. Avoid it.
  • When you build your world, come up with reasons why there are big scary magical things. Then fight them.

So I guess I'm coming down on the opposite side from Skarg. Who wants to fight a bear?
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:20 PM   #4
ecz
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Far more natural beasts than fastastic ones. Most fighting was against humanoids.

Except when going places with a specific population of something fantastic, I'd say overall for every hostile fantasy monster encounter, we probably saw at least five hostile natural beast encounters, and at least twenty hostile humanoid encounters.

And as far as populations go, the ratios would be steeper, since the fantasy monsters were more likely to be hostile, and non-hostile natural animals and humanoids were seen all the time and didn't even bear mentioning.

This.
Also I have in my part of Cidri an high density of dungeons, labirinths, caves, catacombs, forgotten sewer systems buried under the towns, secret cellars, underground passages and tunnels that are a magnet for strange creatures.

So in such places the percentage of unhealthy enconters with unhealthy people increases
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:37 PM   #5
Kirk
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

What I like about TFT is the ability to populate a world with ¨normal¨ things that make me feel comfortable about the world.

Taking a party off the road and into the forest could mean natural terrain issues such as weather, dead-end cliffs, etc. and natural animals that may not want to mess with you under normal circumstances, but if you are weak or outnumbered or stumble into the wrong places, will put up an interesting fight.

Animals, with their knowledge of the lay of the land and superior senses and abilities always make for interesting interactions, IMO. And trainable animals can be quite a combination, hunting-wolves paired with humanoids is a powerful combo. Predator birds and their trainers can track you down more easily, etc.

Even a well-armoured fighter can be no match for thousands of wasps, it´s hilarious to watch players´ faces when bested by ants, for instance.

I love the animal and natural world, and always thought it was a cheat to populate with unbelievable and supernatural creatures except for the rare plot exception. I avoid it, and love TFT for making the world of Cidri a ¨believable¨ one, for me at least.

A wolf pack dogging your trail day and night looking for opportunity while overhead fly a murder of crows possibly spying for a wizard can be a source of suspense that no fantastic creature can match, IMO.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:32 PM   #6
JLV
 
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Location: Far northern California
Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

Hmm. Generally, I would assume that most players join a "fantasy" game in order to deal with "fantasy" things. Throwing endless waves of wolves and badgers at them seems...un-fantasy.

Sure, my players SEE lots of normal animals. They may even interact with them from time to time (riding that horse, avoiding that cave bear, noting the circling vultures), but generally, actual FIGHTS would be with more fantastic creatures that they either couldn't avoid for some reason (it's hard to avoid a griffin when you're there specifically to steal its eggs), or they stumbled across the creature in a confined place where avoidance wasn't an option ("Darned Dragon; why did it have to show up RIGHT HERE in the great hall after the tunnel collapsed behind us?!?")

After all, if you want to deal with normal animals, you can just head out into the deep woods and wait for a mama bear to show up (disclaimer: I don't recommend that action), or pat your dog. The point of fantasy is to, well, do fantastical things... Or so it seems to me, anyway.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:50 PM   #7
Jim Kane
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Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
I guess you're trying to make fights different in interesting ways while not stretching suspension of disbelief.
Not at all. I am, as stated above, simply and only asking what ratio of Natural Beasts to Fantasy Creatures others feel best fits their In The Labyrinth game-world and their adventuring preference (i.e 80/20, 505/50. 10/90, etc).

That's all, nothing more.

JK
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:10 AM   #8
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

Initially I thought I had a higher ratio of "fantastic" creatures, but on further thought, most encounters in my games have been with humans, animals or natural obstacles like cliffs, rivers etc. As someone said above, "fantastic" encounters are often confined to special areas like dungeons, haunted castles etc. I suppose the amount of truly fantastic stuff is 20% or maybe less.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:16 AM   #9
Chris Rice
 
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Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

Initially I thought I had a higher ratio of "fantastic" creatures, but on further thought, most encounters in my games have been with humans, animals or natural obstacles like cliffs, rivers etc. As someone said above, "fantastic" encounters are often confined to special areas like dungeons, haunted castles etc. I suppose the amount of truly fantastic stuff is 20% or maybe less.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:21 PM   #10
Kirk
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Monster and Natural Beast Population Question

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Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Initially I thought I had a higher ratio of "fantastic" creatures, but on further thought, most encounters in my games have been with humans, animals or natural obstacles like cliffs, rivers etc. As someone said above, "fantastic" encounters are often confined to special areas like dungeons, haunted castles etc. I suppose the amount of truly fantastic stuff is 20% or maybe less.
Right on. An occasional odd creature keeps it fantastical. And what we all like about TFT is that it is just a smaller stretch with the magic from somewhat conventional medieval weapons, technology, and lifestyle, without just re-living
an oppressed peasant's life of misery and drudgery.

Creating an adventure that is intriguing, challenging, and fun without resorting to fantastical creature inflation is the way we like to play, and what always seems to separate our play from D&Dish superhero style environments.

When one of us happens across a magical sword, for instance, it is a BIG deal, not a daily happening.
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