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[V5] What is up with animal stats?

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  • [V5] What is up with animal stats?

    They just don't seem all that sensible to me in the slightest. Don't get me wrong, I understand it could be a balance concern to give a bear a physical pool of 12 and a special awareness check of 8 or something, but even still, what the actual f**k?

    A Guard Dog has an exceptional Awareness skill of 4. A wolf has 3. These are the levels where your average person with a skill level of "Able to avoid notice by casual observers" is on equal footing or even *better* than the animal? You mean to tell me that an exceptional martial artist is easily able to go to to toe with a goddamned bear? Not to mention that the way these animal stats are presented none of these things has a die pool better than 1 for survival, which is also exceptionally questionable.

    So I guess the point of that rant was to proceed the question "Why are animal ststs like they are, how can they be fixed, should they, and what issues might that cause?"

  • #2
    I'm no expert on V5 systems, but in older editions one thing that could be done to increase realism and really flesh out the stats it's to play with the difficutlies. I think that may be ported, perhaps with even greater effect, to V5

    An ST assigns the difficulty/number of successes any task requires. Without that data the Traits are meaningless, as they fail to affect the world. So, instead of thinking using the fluff of the Traits, think in terms of Dramatic Actions:

    If a dog wants to follow the scent of an intruder he has dice and a difficulty. Let's say that the difficulty it's 1 (the dog can follow the trail with one success, most likely wouldn't even need to roll). If a human that has more dice wants to do the same, let's say the difficulty it's 9 (trying to follow someone by smell it's outlandish for a human, but ordinary for a dog)

    However if the dog tries to distinguish something by color or sight...then the person may have the advantage (or at least wouldn't be disadvantaged).

    In my opinion this is more realist than providing "superhuman" Awareness to animals because animals aren't superhuman in every aspect. Keep in mind that the system it's VERY abstract. Traits are never one thing. Bears may be stronger than any human, but there are humans capable of defeating a bear in melee. And humans are better at a some Physical tasks, like those that require fine motor skills and opposed thumbs.

    In combat this may be trickier, but I think I have seen bonuses and penalties apply in the advanced combat section for special tactics. Maybe some of that can be adapted. Also you can determine that not everything that causes Aggravated to humans (that's almost everything) causes Aggravated to Bears. Bears may be able to soak small weapons.
    Last edited by Aleph; 08-05-2019, 08:11 AM.

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    • #3
      I think its because if something has more then 5str its supernatural. So if a human and a bear both have 5 str it would seem like they are as strong as the other but they compensate that with the dmg the bear can do vs human. The bears dmg outshines a humans dmg by far even if they have the same str level because the bear gets a bonus for the claws and teeth with +6 or +7 depending in claws or teeth. At least in V20 and they ger a bonus in climbing etc.

      Taket heed that i might just be stupid since im relative new to the different rules.
      Last edited by Slayerkarin; 08-05-2019, 10:17 AM.

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      • #4
        Exceptional stats replace basic stats. Therefore, if the dog is just performing a mental stat, their dice pool is 1 (from memory). If they're using Awareness specifically, their dice pool is 4.


        Matthew Dawkins
        In-House Developer for Onyx Path Publishing


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        • #5
          Just add dots where you feel its necessary. Or better, yet, to cut down on rolls of the SPC dog, bear, etc. Just assign a difficulty for the PC to beat. For example, "to avoid the wolf that's tracking you, you'll need 5 successes on your roll because of the wolf's superior senses". You can also give higher stats and routinely take half, for the SPC animal, establishing higher difficulties to beat, but not impossible difficulties, to reflect the advantages certain animals have in specific situations.

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          • #6
            Unlike some game systems, which need to model adversaries like Blink Dogs and Dire Rats, the World of Darkness is almost exclusively about humanoid v. humanoid encounters. In practice, it's mostly encounters that are physically non-violent, at that.

            Since animals aren't a major focus of the game, the rules haven't been built for running them. What's in the corebooks are approximations, at best, and mostly consist of a sidebar here or there. They require a great deal of handwaving. Bygone Bestiary has some useful info, but focuses more on dragons and such. I believe Ghouls: Fatal Addiction has a section on animal ghouls. Werewolf: the Apocalypse probably has the most info, once you include all the fera. Lupus form is hardly a standard animal, though.

            Frankly, this topic would be an excellent idea for a supplement, either official or through the Storyteller's Vault for someone with the knowledge of biology, ecology, and animal behavior necessary to write it. Given that all the major splats have a means of communicating with or changing into an animal, it would make for useful little book across all the product lines.

            Plus, I would look forward to some of the standalone monster types which would come out of such a book. Lots of mythologies have supernatural animals!

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