View Full Version : Tooth and Claw

2013-03-09, 01:31 AM
They killed swiftly, without fang or claw.
Hunted like wolves, but honored no law.

In the days before names all things followed the will of the old gods. Beasts lived and died only with their permission. Even trees flowered and bared fruit at their will, and the fruit nourished the faithful. In this time there was relative peace. The world was in balance.

The old gods were the elements, the seasons, and even primordial concepts like strength, hunger, and fear. The animals worshiped them and through pacts gained power. The birds made an oath with the wind to carry them high. The jaguar made a pact with the night so it might never be found. Rabbits made an oath with each season in turn to provide for them. So it went, oath by oath the laws were forged. Each species was bound in contract with the gods to act according to the law. There was balance.

Then the apes formed a pact with fire. It was taboo. It was forbidden. They were changed by it. Blinded by hubris they sought to turn their contract around on the god fire. They succeeded. Fire was bound to their will, to be their slave.

This was actually partially inspired by Frathe's voting thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=274008) >.> The non-humanoid races and pact magic options just seemed like a lot of fun and led me to this. I would consider it Bunnies and Burrows crossed with Changling. Though a friend of mine described it as Lovecraft's take on Red Wall.

In Tooth in Claw players will be animals. One of the primary themes would be survival, so unless a whole habitat is in danger it might be best for parties to be family groups. This setting is strongly influenced by the Humans are Cthulhu (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fridge/HumansAreCthulhu) trope, especially at lower power levels (read: when the players are rabbits). Higher power levels would be animals like Cougar or Bears, basically the farther up the food chain it is the higher power level it represents. The strongest mice are still food for owls and cats.

If there is any interest in this we'll see where it goes.

2013-03-09, 12:57 PM
Glad I inspired something.:smallbiggrin: I will be following this with interest.

Admiral Squish
2013-03-09, 01:01 PM
So, as you increase in level, you'd change characters? I dunno if I like that.

2013-03-09, 02:38 PM
So, as you increase in level, you'd change characters? I dunno if I like that.Oh, is that what Zabbarot meant? Not what I got. Took "power levels" to mean more like CR. Then again, if you want to advance, I guess you couldn't while remaining a mouse... and Zab did say "when the players are rabbits". Huh. That does seem weird. I don't wanna switch characters just when I've grown attached.

I'd rather gain power through my pact with a god, like the apes did with fire. Higher levels mean a closer bond and more power, until you become almost like an animal-god yourself.

2013-03-09, 02:55 PM
Sorry if that was misleading. I didn't mean you'd switch, just that a wolf is inherently more powerful than a mouse. Your mouse character could become incredibly powerful. Maybe they fight and best an owl (which is probably comparable to slaying a dragon) but I wouldn't start a party with a couple squirrels and a wolf. Since the wolf should be much stronger. Basically compare it to a level adjustment.

2013-03-09, 03:00 PM
VERY cool concept. I can't wait to see how this turns out. :smallbiggrin:

Admiral Squish
2013-03-09, 06:01 PM
Ahh, I see. Well, in that case you'd need a couple tiers of play, each with stats for different animals.
You'd have low, which would be rabbits, squirrels, mice, and the like. Small, usually herbivorous animals, though possibly insectivores could be included. At this level it'd be kinda like redwall or mouseguard. It's a big, terrifying world out there, and everything is looking to eat you.

Then medium, which would be slightly larger critters. Raccoons, cats, foxes. Small predators, scavengers, and the like. Larger predators and such are still threats, but you're at least above some of the smaller critters.

Then you'd have large stuff, like wolves, some mid-size cats, maybe small bears, possibly deer or boars. This level, you're a big deal, but there are still plenty of dangerous animals, and of course, you start getting attention from humans.

Then you'd get into true megafauna. Lions, tigers, grizzlies, horses, rhinos, and suchlike. At this level, humans become the main enemy because the rest of the natural world knows better than to pick a fight.

You could also include a level below mice and squirrels where you would play as insects, but I'm not sure how much interest that would get.

Also, flight's a challenge. A sparrow's pretty clearly in the range of mice and such, but the fact they can fly puts them in a different category, I think.

Overall, it's an interesting idea, but I do not envy the amount of work it's going to take.

2013-03-10, 11:42 PM
This is really the biggest hurdle to leap. It basically requires making a new system because none of the ones that exist really handle this well. I mean they handle fighting things bigger than you, but if you are playing the big thing the numbers get out of hand.

I'd say flight isn't a problem in this system to be honest. It's pretty well balanced since there aren't ranged attacks for the most part. Let's say you have two players, a mouse and a swallow. They're trying to find out where the mcguffin went to save the forest. The swallow is faster and can get a better view of the surrounding which is a bonus, but let's say they hear the cry of a hawk. A hawk could eat them both and the swallow isn't sure he can out run it. The mouse is well hidden, moving through foliage, but the sparrow is out in the open if it keeps flying. At this point it's safer to walk. The main point is that this isn't going to be DnD. There won't be any adventurers flying around and kiting with ranged weapons and fireballs. If the sparrow wants to attack he has a beak and talons.

I'll need to work out what all the contracts will do, but I think I'll stick to avoiding real ranged attacks to keep this minimized.

2013-03-11, 10:15 AM
Looks pretty cool... I think I'd play a weasel.

Sir Swindle89
2013-03-12, 08:31 AM
I doubt you could say there are NO ranged weapons. Depending were we are sitting on the Anthropomorphism slider. One would at least be relativly smart (if possibly lacking hands) but an intelegent mouse and say somthing like a bluejay could still figure out how to drop acorns on folks (possibly with some sort of pact boosting the damage up.)

I like admiral squish's tiers pretty well. But i think the top 2 tiers might be ill defined (they could possibly be combined into one). Like a Wild boar could seriously mess you up. Maybe just all the solitary apex predators could be on one tier (sharks, big cats, bears?, alligators, etc.)

I think system wise layering FATE on somthing like WoD could work pretty well. A narrative system could let the elemental pacts a lot more versatile. But you kind of need somthing crunchy to make the tier disparity work. Thats just a gut suggestion tho.

2013-03-12, 10:12 AM
I'm using a mash up of GURPS and WoD for the system just because I know GURPS very well. It was the first real system I learned. I'm not really familiar with Fate. There were a few systems that I thought about because of how I want this game to feel. I want combat to be quick and brutal. A couple good hits between evenly matched opponents should win a fight. There are a few systems that manage this well, GURPS and Dark Heresy to name some. But the d100 system Dark Heresy uses makes the characters just a bit better than awful at a bunch of skills where as GURPS is pretty good about making people half decent at a bunch of skills. DnD doesn't really perform well on either of these points even if I make a ton of custom classes. I definitely want the narrative feel of WoD but it can't quite handle the crunch that'll be needed for this.

So far I have a 5 stat system. Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Bravery, and Wits. Which partially comes from a joke with my friends about there only being 5 stats(usually we call them strongth, hard, runnin, thinkin, and bull****). Bravery is a stat mostly because of how important it is to the setting. Bravery is needed to challenge creatures 100 times your size, and fear checks will run rampant. Strength and Constitution will use the regular numbers for things like skill checks, but health and damage will be adjusted based on the animals size. So a mouse and a cat both have a decent chance to climb a tree with a strength of 10 but the mouses strength of 10 doesn't do near as much damage.

Also I'm not sure blocking is a thing in this. Animals don't really block. Combat is mostly attacking, dodging, and grappling. I'm still unsure on ranged attacks for the most part. Throwing really is primarily a human trait. It is one of our first evolutionary successes. Other apes throw and so do monkeys. It seems like other than that it'll mostly be melee attacks. Dropping things on someone isn't so much an attack as a trap. A bunch of rabbits could push rocks down a hill to take out a pack of wolves. Avoiding a rock dropped by a bird would be more about reflex than the birds aim.

Edit: About anthropomorphism, this is on the same end as Watership Down and Bambi. Animals can talk to each other and are intelligent. Some use simple tools (tools that can be made with out other tools.)