Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-16-2020, 08:45 PM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

In the vast majority of cases, animals are little threat to an uninjured human, especially if that human possesses a big stick or a firearm. While there are exceptions when it came to megafauna in the past, nowadays humans kill vastly more animals of any given species through carelessness than animals kill through deliberate action. However, killer animals are terrifying, and they are a staple in horror stories (and horror games).

One way that I have found to make predatory animals terrifying to players (and to their PCs) is to give them Per+4, Stalker 4, and Strangler 4. In general, that means that a predatory animal will end up with a minimum of Per 16, Brawling-16, Stealth-20, Survival (X)-16, Tracking-24, and Wrestling-16. Now, imagine a bear, a tiger, or a wolf pack with such capabilities, and you can understand why they can still be terrifying.

So, how do you make animals terrifying in your games? Do you strip your PCs of their equipement? Do you give the animals supernatural powers? Or do you do something else?
AlexanderHowl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2020, 09:00 PM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
? Or do you do something else?
<shrug> I treat amimals realistically. If the were supposed to e a threat to PCs I would tell the players to make 25pt characters. That'd mostly make them realistic people.

I haven't done this yet and I'm not likely to do it in the future. It doesn't really sound like fun.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2020, 11:15 PM   #3
Luke Bunyip
 
Luke Bunyip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: The Kingdom of Insignificance
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

Given that I'm Antipodean, omnivorous mutated rabbits will be giving my PCs some grief in my AtE campaign. Those and the cyborg'd patrol camels...
__________________
Melior sonus verborum interpres velet utens Google.
Luke Bunyip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2020, 11:16 PM   #4
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

Some rare and generally exceptional animals, such as the more-accomplished man-eating tigers, probably could offer a credible threat to modestly-heroic PCs.

A realistic predator attacking humans effectively almost certainly relies on stealth and surprise. A tiger doesn't need impressive combat skills to take a human down quickly in close combat - but to do so more than once or twice it needs to get the drop on them without anybody else catching it in the act. Stealth, perception, and smart if specialized tactics. It's a furry assassin, not a frontal attack...


(And of course, large herbivores like elephants, hippos, and cape buffalo can easily be deadly to a human who fails to arrange to win the fight before it gets started - but are not too likely to launch an unprovoked attack of their own. Probably. Don't casually get close to hippos or cape buffalo though.)
__________________
I don't know any 3e, so there is no chance that I am talking about 3e rules by accident.
Ulzgoroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2020, 12:14 AM   #5
cdru
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
One way that I have found to make predatory animals terrifying to players (and to their PCs) is to give them Per+4, Stalker 4, and Strangler 4. In general, that means that a predatory animal will end up with a minimum of Per 16, Brawling-16, Stealth-20, Survival (X)-16, Tracking-24, and Wrestling-16. Now, imagine a bear, a tiger, or a wolf pack with such capabilities, and you can understand why they can still be terrifying.
Such stats are best reserved for animals who are uniquely exceptional individuals. Realistically, a high-powered party of humans with good gear will not have much issue with an animal in stand-up fights. Ambushes can still be dangerous, though
cdru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2020, 01:37 AM   #6
Opellulo
 
Opellulo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rome, Italy
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

As a general rule animals (even the predatory ones) are not interested in humans and instinctively avoid us. So unless you are running a survival focused campaign or some Howard's/Burroughs inspired fantasy adventure this is a no issue. Additionally if you play it a bit realistically animals do not even offer fun or interesting fights.

The only time I inserted fights against animals it was against pets or "dire" version, often both. But those are exceptional fantasy versions so not even proper animals anymore.
__________________
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
Opellulo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2020, 03:50 AM   #7
Michele
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Udine, Italy
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
... However, killer animals are terrifying, and they are a staple in horror stories (and horror games).

...
So, how do you make animals terrifying in your games? Do you strip your PCs of their equipement? Do you give the animals supernatural powers? Or do you do something else?
Ok, I'll suppose you are interested in horror or at least horror-tinged settings. In those cases, animals often are horror-story animals; i.e., non-realistic. Then they will have exceptional characteristics and abilities like yours, but they are more special horror monsters than actual animals.

Apart from that, there is an exception I have used sometimes, if the setting is low-powered horror (wouldn't work very well in a GURPS Monster Hunters campaign, where PCs are able to tackle medium-powered vampires). That is, make perfectly ordinary animals controlled by the enemy. This circumvents the objection raised by other posters above; the animals have normal stats, but they are homicidal (and suicidal, if that's what it takes). They are living weapons, or, in a notorious case, living projectiles (imagine a big, well, murder of crows diving down like kamikazes on non-armored humans).

With regard to the idea of stripping the PCs of equipment, in the situation above the GM easily does not need to do that. Typically, the PCs don't want to be over-encumbered, so they carry three or four additional magazines for their weapons. Throw enough normal animals at them, and they will shoot them down, yes, but they will burn through most of the ammo - leaving them in a serious worry about the soon-to-come encounter with the guy who sicced the animals against them.
__________________
Michele Armellini
GURPS Locations: St. George's Cathedral
Michele is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2020, 04:50 AM   #8
Sam Baughn
 
Sam Baughn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: United Kingdom of Great Britain and some other bits.
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

Terrain and lighting can make a big difference. A goat isn't much threat until you encounter an aggressive one while half way up a slope you need to hold on to with both hands and one good hit will send you tumbling down to the bottom. A fat-tail scorpion isn't a problem in the open, but it's very bad news if you stick your hand into its hiding place. A venomous snake lurking in long grass at night means you had better be wearing good boots or you are getting a dose. Almost anything is a threat when you're swimming. Even straight-forward desperate carnivores will usually try and attack at night, when humans are at a serious disadvantage but they get little or no penalties.

Swarms are also very nasty unless the party are prepared for them with magic, birdshot, etc. Sheer numbers work well for other creatures too; being outnumbered by highly manoeuvrable opponents is always bad news in GURPS.
Sam Baughn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2020, 05:33 AM   #9
Gnome
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cambridge, MA
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

DF 5 has stats for larger than life animals that can be a genuine threat to humans.
In addition, Combat Writ Large from Pyramid #3/77 can make size more of a threat, so that a stampeding elephant or a charging boar has the potential to knock a human to the ground almost automatically.

In DF games, animals can be threats by themselves (a pack of timber wolves can be a fun fight if they attack in the middle of the night while the party is camped), or as pets of those wood elf druids you angered by entering their sacred grove. And DF has plenty of dire beasts that can be a threat all by themselves, like the Triger (three-headed tiger), giant apes, etc.

Finally, one of the main things that makes animals less threatening to humans armed with melee weapons in GURPS is the rule for Parrying Unarmed Attacks (B376). I have never thought this rule was fun or realistic as written, so I've modified it in various ways over the years, making it harder to deal damage with a parry than to merely parry (by analogy with the Aggressive Parry technique), or reducing the damage dealt (since it seems crazy that you can deal full damage while parrying), or making it simply impossible against certain attack types.
Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2020, 06:23 AM   #10
Anders
 
Anders's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default Re: Make Animals Threatening [Basic]

Knowing Your Own Strength from #3/83 also helps animals since it evens out the difference between thrust and swinging damage.
__________________
"Is this not your natural state? It's the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled." - my cats
Anders is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.