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Old 07-02-2012, 04:11 PM   #21
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

I think realistic animals based on biome. Then you just have to pull out the book for the right area.
Non real creatures could go in specific setting books as they do now or be organized along whatever theme seems appropriate to the author.
Something like Creatures of the Night, by category like bugs, genre or maybe even mix. Especially genre.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:14 PM   #22
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
(Not divided by biome. Much too arbitrary and hard to find.)
What's arbitrary and hard to find about it?
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:21 PM   #23
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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What's arbitrary and hard to find about it?
Remembering the biome before the animal isn't how we think. What about animals in more than one clime? What if i think something is in the wrong climate? Having a list by climate in the back is best, but keep the animals in alphabetical order. By biome causes problems while solving none.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:26 PM   #24
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by Mr_Sandman View Post
Thanks for pointing out DF5 as a source for animal stats. I'm less interested in animal allies, than templates for Morph, so I never thought to look at that. After checking out the table of contents, I realize I'll probably have to pick that up soon. I'd still love to see lots more real world animals stated out.

I don't really need monsters, I can make up imaginary things on my own, or stat up fictional creatures. There's no concern then whether I'm getting it exactly right, because they don't really exist. I find coming up with templates of real animals on the fly for a shapeshifting character much more intimidating.
Yeah, shapeshifters are the main thing that makes me want a bestiary. DF5 solves most of the issues though.
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I think I'd be most interested in a book of realistc stats (with or without points) for real animals. Like Kuroshima mentioned, it's nice to know what "strong as an ox" really means. I'd find the most utility, though, in what sensory advantages and general disadvantages animals have. Do bees qualify for Ultravision? How many levels of Acute Hearing should a sheep really have? Wolves and bloodhounds get Discriminatory Smell, but would a dingo? I'm not a zoologist, so these sorts of things would be of great use. Even if I don't use the animals directly in a game (I usually include a lot of animals as scenery and the occassional encounter in a fantasy game, but eh...not always), they would be excellent benchmarks for creating my own monsters and racial lenses.

If the books won't be in one volume (sounds like that's not going to happen), I'd really like volumes like Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibions, Birds, and Arthropods. Perhaps fish should probably get some love, but personally, I don't do enough aquatic stuff to want that one.
Yeah. Then again, been a while since I ran a realistic game where that would have mattered (highly cinematic games like DF, Action, Supers or Monster Hunters can gloss over the details)
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I'd want biome based. Desert and mountain creatures, woodlands and plains, etc. Base it off of the survival specialties.
That gets my vote too. That way, you can have a mix of interesting animals, and animals you need to have there but are not interesting enough to make a book out of them.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:36 PM   #25
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

Except the DF5 is stated for the reality of DF. what's good for DF is often not good for any other genre
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:55 PM   #26
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Except the DF5 is stated for the reality of DF. what's good for DF is often not good for any other genre
Then again most shapeshifters I have in my games are from the DF reality...
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:13 PM   #27
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
Remembering the biome before the animal isn't how we think.
I think, "The party has to travel across the Alps/the subarctic desert/the plane of Torment. What sort of animals are to be found there?"

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Having a list by climate in the back is best, but keep the animals in alphabetical order. By biome causes problems while solving none.
Your pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking. PDFs don't have to have "a list in the back", they can have, for example, maps with areas that click through to a collage of animals pictures that click through to the detailed text on the animal.

The index already has the animals in alphabetical order, arranging them in alphabetical order again is redundant unless the index is not correctly set up to click through.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:19 PM   #28
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Sure I can develop stats for all the creatures my players might encounter. Realistically? I won't. I'd rather be spending that time developing NPCs and building out the plot.

It's a glaring omission from the list of must-have hardback supplements.

The way I'd do it would be to group animals by their general category (I'll resist saying genera, order or family, since it varies). So the land predators chapter would include a section for felines, for example. This gives you the animal's typical behavior, especially when stressed or frightened, where it's found, how it lives, etc. Then you get the general big cat template, with lenses for different species like cheetahs, lions and cougars. Plus fantasy and sci fi variations like riding cats.

It keeps things simple and quickly searchable, is concise, and lends itself to developing your own templates for new animals. Chapters are easily searchable and you can whip up a unique animal very quickly or play out off the shelf.

The main bottleneck for this is finding the right writer, and the huge editing resources required to get the stats, game play and verisimilitude right. My understanding is that this is the main obstacle to getting it released. For guns we have Douglas Cole, for social sciences we have Bill Stoddard, Peter dell'Orto is the MA guy, etc etc. To my knowledge, we don't have a "zoology guy" who combines real-world science, game design skill, and is a great RPG writer to boot.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:19 PM   #29
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
I think, "The party has to travel across the Alps/the subarctic desert/the plane of Torment. What sort of animals are to be found there?"
Yeah. It's "ease of use in play", IMO.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:25 PM   #30
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by Humabout View Post
I think I'd be most interested in a book of realistc stats (with or without points) for real animals. Like Kuroshima mentioned, it's nice to know what "strong as an ox" really means. I'd find the most utility, though, in what sensory advantages and general disadvantages animals have. Do bees qualify for Ultravision? How many levels of Acute Hearing should a sheep really have? Wolves and bloodhounds get Discriminatory Smell, but would a dingo? I'm not a zoologist, so these sorts of things would be of great use. Even if I don't use the animals directly in a game (I usually include a lot of animals as scenery and the occassional encounter in a fantasy game, but eh...not always), they would be excellent benchmarks for creating my own monsters and racial lenses.
Prezactly!

What's needed isn't combat stat for fighty stuff. Because there's a limited number of ways in which you can combine, ST, DX, HT, HP, DR and SM. And a -1 here or a +2 there doesn't make that much of a difference.

If a GM wants worthy foes for a badass crew of PCs, he's better off designing a counter-party of humanoids, than going for cavebears or dinosaurs, or a pride of lions.

That which makes animals interesting is all the special things they can. Sensory capabilities, as you mention, but also mobility-related abilities. Various flight charactiristics. Stealthy movement, on land or in the air. Their ability to visit exotic places, such as underwater.

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Originally Posted by Humabout View Post
If the books won't be in one volume (sounds like that's not going to happen), I'd really like volumes like Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibions, Birds, and Arthropods. Perhaps fish should probably get some love, but personally, I don't do enough aquatic stuff to want that one.
I think dividing up by special ability type makes the most sense. Sensory, Mobility, Aquatic, Manipulatory?
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