View Full Version : Winter Wolf Mounts, LA and crack consumption at WotC

2008-05-20, 11:06 AM
Once ago, during my very first D&D campaign I DMed, The quaint heroes of my story, the pyromaniac 1/2-Elf Yarra, Hark the 1/2 Orc Cleric in a can, and the foul-mouthed conscience of the group, the Tiefling Xativar, ventured through the winter forest and plains of their kingdom, on the way to stop a Barbarian invasion.
On the way there, they met a rather worried, but equally strange Aasimar Paladin named Illina Theyn, who, as her special gimmick, not only attempted the cliche of the white knight, but was seated atop a brilliant white Winter Wolf as her mount. Which was serious fun, not only because of the asthetics, but also seeing as the Tiefling nearly attempted to shoot the Winter Wolf and was nearly smitten in turn before one of the group actually managed to befriend an NPC, a rare occurence in that campaign. Good times.
Back then, I was DM, and didnīt have to worry too much about total adherence to the rules (It was a Core campaign. I wanted something not immediately obvious to my players. Sue me)

Anyway, making up a new character for a different campaign (Shackled City, with a high mortality of the more squishy characters, usually mine, because the Monk gets ignored and the Paladin always saves his as at the expense of the rear echelon), I thought Iīd might want to build a mounted archer, and, groping through the MM1, the Winter wolf came up once again.

Now theyīre cool, seriously, but what is it with the LA? Especially compared to Worg or Giant Owls/Eagles?

Worg: LA +1
Giant Birds/Pegasus: LA +2
Winter Wolf: LA +3

Why? oh why? Their ability scores are, at best, slightly better if not better at all (the Pegasus has better scores.....). Their attacks? A single natural attack, even if awesome because of the free trip, is not superior to a Full Attack routine with 3 natural weapons.
Cold subtype? As much disadvantage as advantage if one knows the weakness, if not worse. Cold damage and the breath weapon? Nice, I give you that (that is, if the breath were actually becoming better), but still.....a fly speed beats that, at least to me. Which leaves us with a slightly higher Natural Armor bonus. Yee!

Now optimize the Worg: advance him with 3 HD (itīs legit, even for a cohort) and heīs Large, yet only ECL 8 against the Winter Wolf's 9. Yet superior in almost any regard. Why, pray tell me then, has the Winter Wolf such a high LA? Making it huge wonīt help unless youīre a giant, since you canīt ride it anymore, yet itīs the only way I can imagine a Winter wolf coming even close to earning the LA.

I donīt get it. All I know is Iīd never use it as a Cohort that way, especially not in a dangerous (read: dungeoncrawl+hack&slash) campaign like shackled city.


2008-05-20, 12:50 PM
Wizards has the mistaken belief that low damage breath weapons are OMFTWTFBBQ! Its really that simple, and its really that sad.

Don Beegles
2008-05-20, 01:13 PM
Thrawn hit it pretty much on the head.

Wizards never really got the hang of LA, I think, because an extra 5 points damage on each attack and the breath weapon are worth two LA for the WW over the worg, but flying, which is more useful in a mount than either of them, is only worth one. It's inconsistent, yes, but that's probably why they're scrapping LA in 4ed.

2008-05-20, 01:51 PM
Wizards has the mistaken belief that low damage breath weapons are OMFTWTFBBQ! Its really that simple, and its really that sad.

Sad indeed. Very sad indeed. With an LA of +2, itīd actually be okay and preferrable to the Worg-on-crack(7 HD large Worg) - not mechanically, simply in relation to the rest of the group and PCs. I think they find it only remotely funny to be outclassed by a Str 30+ Worg who trips and grapples anything but giants and dragons to death. Whereas the Winter Wolf is actually flavorful and not overwhelming. I mean okay, Shackled city deserves any twinkage leveles at breaking the adventure, but the rest of the group doesnīt.
Going with LA +3, the WW would be dead meat. Sadly.

I mean an Aasimar Paladin in white astride a "usually evil" intelligent wolf the size of a horse is just awesome......