Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Using Dire Creatures

Dire creatures are to heroic story games what heroes are to heroic story games - larger than life.  You didn't just fight a rat, you fought a DIRE RAT - still only has 5 hit points.

Take a moment and compare what you do in your game to the real world.  When was the last time you saw any non-domesticated creature with more than 1-2-3-4 hit points, outside of a zoo or on TV?  When was the last time you saw something that viewed you as a potential meal?  Would you really want to get close enough to poke it with a sword?

I'm lucky, I live in a *relatively* developed area of the United States (Northwest Arkansas), but I can go 20 miles in just about any direction and be in a heavily wooded, adventure-type setting.  I also lived in northern Arizona for several years, where I got to see some Javelinas running wild (they even look a little like dire rats).  As such, I've been deer, squirrel, rabbit, duck, and quail hunting - maybe a deer has more than 4 HP...  I have seen bear, coyote, wolf, wild boar and wildcat tracks all around areas where we regularly camp - yes, you can drive there, but you need a 4-wheel drive.  What I have never seen is a Dire Bear, Dire Wolf or Dire Boar - which I'm grateful for, though I'll take my .30-06 rifle over a sword/shield any day.

So think about this the next time you decide to put a dire animal in a game - it is the heroic adventurer of that species.  Try not to let it be just a *filler* fight or useless random encounter that doesn't get across the importance of the fact that at 1st-level, a dire rat isn't just a big rat, it's a DIRE RAT (the heroic 1st level Fighter of the rat kingdom) - that still only has 5 hit points (more than the party wizard).

No comments:

Post a Comment