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    Default Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Elephants have long played a significant role in warfare, particularly in Asia and the southern Mediterranean. Formidable heavy cavalry, elephants terrified opposing armies (particularly horses) and crashed bodily through pike lines that would stop smaller beasts. Martial traditions of India are particularly rich in their depictions of elephants as cavalry; the strength of a "traditional" Indian army was often described according to how many elephants it could field.

    Despite this rich tradition (not to mention the awesome imagery that war elephants conjure), the D&D literature is, to the extent of my knowledge, fairly sparse when it comes to rules for the use of elephants. I can think of a number of reasons why this might be the case, but the idea is just too cool to pass up.

    Incidentally, most of my ideas are, so far, not particularly fanciful. If anyone has anything to suggest by way of new ideas or things I've missed, please let me know. Now, with that out of the way, I present...

    Elephants in Fantasy Warfare!



    Creature Variant: Baby War Elephant


    {table]
    Size/Type:
    |Medium Animal
    HD:
    |2d8+4 (13 HP)
    Speed:
    |30 ft. (6 squares)
    Init:
    |+2
    AC:
    |14 (+2 Dex, +2 natural); touch 12; flat-footed 12
    Base Attack/Grapple:
    |+2/+4
    Attack:
    |Slam +4 (1d6+2)
    Full-Attack:
    |Slam +4 (1d6+2)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft/5 ft.
    Special Attacks:
    |--
    Special Qualities:
    |Low-light vision, scent
    Saves:
    |Fort +4 Ref +5 Will +2
    Abilities:
    |Str 14, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 7
    Skills:
    |Balance +4, Listen +2, Spot +2
    Feats:
    |Improved Toughness
    Environment:
    |Warm plains and forests
    Organization:
    |Solitary or herd (6-30)
    Challenge Rating:
    |1
    Alignment:
    |Always neutral
    Advancement:
    |3-5 HD (Medium), 6-10 HD (Large), 11+ (Huge)
    Level Adjustment:
    |--[/table]

    A younger version of the elephant as presented in the Monster Manual, baby war elephants are almost always found under the tutelage of a mahout. They grow as their mahout gains experience. A 1st level druid can select a baby elephant as her animal companion.

    Notes:
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    This variant was constructed almost entirely by reducing the hit dice of the standard elephant and sizing it down to medium. It's stats reflect the changes associated with these modifications. I used the variant for the smaller but more-commonly trained Indian elephant suggested in the Monster Manual.


    Alternate Class Feature: Mahout


    You have been raised from childhood to train, care for, and direct elephants in battle.

    Prerequisite: Fighter, Ranger or Barbarian level 1, Handle Animal 4 ranks

    Replaces:
    • Fighter: If you take this alternate class feature as a fighter, you lose your 1st level bonus feat and your proficiency with heavy armor. Additionally, you are only proficient with the following weapons: all simple weapons, short sword, scimitar, glaive, guisarm, halberd, lance, ranseur and shortbow.
    • Ranger: If you take this alternate class feature as a ranger, you lose your 1st level favored enemy (though you continue to progress this ability at later levels). Additionally, you are limited to a ranged combat style.
    • Barbarian: If you take this alternate class feature as a barbarian, you lose your fast movement and uncanny dodge abilities.

    Benefit: You gain a baby war elephant as an animal cohort. This elephant has been your companion since its birth and is generally friendly toward you and willing to follow you as you travel and adventure.

    You can use the Handle Animal skill to handle your elephant as a free action rather than a move action and to “push” your elephant as a move action rather than a standard action. You gain a +2 bonus on all Handle Animal checks made to direct or influence your elephant. If you are able to ride your elephant (or gain that ability as your elephant grows), you gain a +2 bonus on all Ride checks while mounted on your elephant.

    Your elephant grows alongside you as you age, gain skill, and continue its training. For every level you gain, your elephant gains one hit die, including the accompanying feats, skill points, and ability score increases. It also gains special abilities as shown on the following chart:

    {table=head]Character Level|Bonus Tricks|Special Abilities
    1st-2nd|1|--
    3rd-5th|2|DR 5/-
    6th-8th|3|Stamp, Trample 1d8
    9th-11th|4|Combat Mount, DR 10/-
    12th-14th|5|Gore
    15th-17th|6|DR 15/-
    18th-20th|7|Trample 2d8[/table]

    If your elephant is killed, you may acquire another by capturing it from the wild and training it to be a war elephant. You can train an elephant with hit dice less than or equal to your character level plus 1. If your new elephant has fewer hit dice than you can train, it gains two hit dice for every level you gain (instead of one, as normal) until its hit dice equal your character level plus 1.

    Elephant Special Abilities
    Damage Reduction – An elephant’s skin is thick and tough, able to shrug off attacks that would wound or kill smaller creatures. Your elephant gains damage reduction as shown on the above table. This damage reduction increases at 9th and 15th levels, as shown above.

    Stamp – Your elephant gains two stamp attacks it can use on a full attack. These are considered secondary natural attacks, are made at a -5 penalty on attack rolls, and only add half the elephant’s strength modifier to damage rolls. Your elephant’s stamp attacks deal 1d8 damage at 6th level and 2d6 damage at 11th level.

    Trample – Your elephant gains the trample ability, dealing 1d8 points of damage plus 1.5 times its strength modifier. Reflex half, DC 10 + half your elephant’s hit dice + your elephant’s strength modifier. At 16th level, your elephant deals 2d8 points of damage plus 1.5 times its strength modifier when trampling.

    Combat Mount – Accustomed to being ridden in battle, your elephant responds almost instantly to your commands. Once per encounter, you can grant your elephant a re-roll on a single saving throw using your saving throw modifier instead of its own. You must use this ability before learning the result of the original saving throw.

    Gore – Your elephant gains a natural gore attack it can use as a full-round action. This gore attack deals 2d8 points of damage plus 1.5 times your elephant’s strength modifier.

    Alternate Class Feature: Blessed Mahout


    Raised from childhood to train, care for, and direct elephants in battle, you have an edge over other mahouts; a powerful magical connection with the elephant in your care.

    Prerequisite: Fighter, Ranger or Barbarian level 1, Handle Animal 4 ranks

    Replaces:
    • Fighter: If you take this alternate class feature as a fighter, you lose your 1st level bonus feat and your proficiency with medium and heavy armor. Additionally, you are only proficient with the following weapons: all simple weapons, short sword, scimitar, glaive, guisarm, halberd, lance, ranseur and shortbow.
    • Ranger: If you take this alternate class feature as a ranger, you lose your 1st level favored enemy (though you continue to progress this ability at later levels). Additionally, you are limited to a ranged combat style.
    • Barbarian: If you take this alternate class feature as a barbarian, you lose your fast movement and uncanny abilities.

    Benefit: You gain a baby war elephant as an animal cohort. This elephant has been your companion since its birth and is generally friendly toward you and willing to follow you as you travel and adventure.

    You can use the Handle Animal skill to handle your elephant as a free action rather than a move action and to “push” your elephant as a move action rather than a standard action and you gain a +2 bonus on all Handle Animal checks made to direct or influence your elephant. If you are able to ride your elephant (or gain that ability as your elephant grows), you gain a +2 bonus on all Ride checks while mounted on your elephant.

    Your elephant grows alongside you as you age, gain skill, and continue its training. For every level you gain except levels 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 19, your elephant gains one hit dice, including the associated feats, skill points, and ability score increases. You and your elephant also gain special abilities as shown on the following chart:

    {table=head]Character Level|Bonus Tricks|Elephant Abilities|Mahout Abilities
    1st-6th|1|--|Speak with Animals
    7th-11th|3|Stamp|Barkskin
    12th-16th|5|Combat Mount, Gore|Greater Magic Fang
    17th-20th|7|--|Animal Growth[/table]

    If your elephant is killed, you may acquire another by capturing it from the wild and training it to be a war elephant. You can train an elephant with hit dice less than or equal to your character level plus 1. If your new elephant has fewer hit dice than you can train, it gains two hit dice for every level you gain (instead of one, as normal) until its hit dice equal your character level plus 1.

    Elephant Special Abilities
    Stamp – Your elephant gains two stamp attacks it can use on a full attack. These are considered secondary natural attacks, are made at a -5 penalty on attack rolls, and only add half the elephant’s strength modifier to damage rolls. Your elephant’s stamp attacks deal 1d8 damage at 6th level and 2d6 damage at 11th level.

    Combat Mount – Accustomed to being ridden in battle, your elephant responds almost instantly to your commands. Once per encounter, you can grant your elephant a re-roll on a single saving throw using your saving throw modifier instead of its own. You must use this ability before learning the result of the original saving throw.

    Gore – Your elephant gains a natural gore attack it can use as a full-round action. This gore attack deals 2d8 points of damage plus 1.5 times your elephant’s strength modifier.

    Mahout Special Abilities
    Speak with Animals – You are constantly under the effect of the Speak with Animals spell, but can only use this ability to speak with your elephant.

    Barkskin – You gain the ability to use Barkskin as a spell-like ability thrice per day. However, you can only use this ability on yourself or your elephant. Your caster level is equal to your character level for the purpose of adjudicating this effect.

    Greater Magic Fang – You gain the ability to use Greater Magic Fang as a spell-like ability thrice per day. You can only use this ability on yourself or your elephant. Your caster level is equal to your character level for the purpose of adjudicating this effect.

    Animal Growth – You gain the ability to use Animal Growth as a spell-like ability thrice per day. You can only use this ability on your elephant. Your caster level is equal to your character level for the purpose of adjudicating this effect.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-04-15 at 08:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    General Feats


    ELEPHANT GENERAL
    Prerequisites: At least one Marshal or Dragon Shaman aura, Diplomacy 8 ranks, Ride 4 ranks
    Benefit: When mounted on the back of a Huge or larger creature, the radius of your Marshal auras increases by 30 feet. Additionally, the benefit granted by your major auras increases by +1. For every five Marshal levels you have, the bonus to your major auras increases by an additional +1 and your auras' radius increases by an additional 10 feet.

    HOWDAH ARCHER
    Prerequisites: Weapon Focus (any bow or crossbow), Ride 8 ranks
    Benefit: Accustomed to shooting from the back of a Huge or larger mount, you are skilled at using your superior vantage point to make each shot count. You gain a +2 bonus on attack rolls when shooting from higher ground. Additionally, you deal an additional +1d6 points of damage on ranged attacks made from higher ground. These bonuses apply whenever you are attacking from higher ground. If you are mounted on a Large or larger creature, the bonuses increase by +1/+1d6 for every size category your mount is above Large.
    Normal: Ranged attacks gain no benefit from attacking from higher ground.

    TENT PEGGING
    Prerequisites: Proficiency with a hafted reach weapon, Ride-By Attack, BAB +5
    Benefit: When attacking a Huge or larger creature with a hafted reach weapon, you may take a -2 penalty on your attack rolls in order to target the sensitive tissue around the creature’s feet, hobbling it and causing it to rear. If your attack hits, in addition to taking damage as normal, the creature’s speed is reduced by 10 feet until it receives at least one point of magical healing. Additional tent pegging hits do not reduce its speed further. Additionally, the creature must make a Fortitude save (DC = damage dealt) or spend the next round doing nothing but rearing or thrashing. Any creatures riding on its back must make a DC 25 Ride check or fall prone adjacent to the rearing creature, taking falling damage as appropriate. Even if a rider successfully remains mounted on the rearing creature, it spends the next round simply trying to stay on and can take no other actions.

    Monster Feats

    Sidebar: Elephants and the Snatch Feat
    Elephants cannot benefit from the Snatch feat as published in the Monster Manual (MM, p. 304). The feat specifies that it must be used with a claw or bite attack, neither of which are included in an elephant’s attack routine. However, this ruling does not take into account the unique nature of an elephant’s trunk. When they reach Huge size, elephants can select the Snatch feat and use it in conjunction with their slam attack. This represents the elephant striking and grappling a creature with its trunk.
    AERIAL BLOW
    Prerequisites: Huge or larger size, Awesome Blow, four or more legs
    Benefit: As a standard action, the creature rears up on its hind legs, stretching as high as possible to bat a nearby flying creature out of the sky. The creature makes a single attack using its Awesome Blow feat. If the attack hits, in addition to the normal effects of the Awesome Blow, the target is knocked to the ground. The target takes falling damage as appropriate for the distance it falls plus 10 feet and is knocked prone.

    A creature with this feat can attempt to use it on any target within its reach. For this attack, the creature has reach appropriate to a Tall creature of its size, rather than a Long creature. A creature with this feat can attack flying creatures of any size, but is only able to use the "knockdown" effect on targets its size category or smaller.

    CRUSHING BULK
    Prerequisites: Huge or larger size, Improved Grapple or Improved Grab ability, four or more legs
    Benefit: As a standard action, the creature slams down heavily on top of a single enemy. The creature makes a single slam or stamp attack. If it hits, the target takes damage as normal, is knocked prone, and must make a Reflex save (DC = damage dealt) or be pinned. The creature can maintain the pin as normal thereafter. If the target succeeds on its save, it still takes damage and is knocked prone.

    FRIGHTFUL TRUMPET
    Prerequisites: Elephant or similar creature
    Benefit: As a standard action, the elephant raises its trunk and releases a deafening trumpet. All enemies within 60 feet are deafened for 2 rounds. Additionally, all enemies within the radius must make a Will save (DC = 10 plus half the elephant’s hit dice + the elephant’s Constitution modifier) or be shaken for one minute. Creatures of size Large or smaller with Intelligence scores lower than 3 take a -4 penalty on this save. At the DM’s discretion, creatures from a different environment than the elephant may take an additional -2 penalty. If a creature fails this save by 5 or more, it is frightened instead of shaken. Whether or not they successfully save against this effect, a creature can only be affected by an individual elephant’s frightful trumpet once in a 24 hour period.

    TUSK FLAIL PROFICIENCY
    Prerequisites: Elephant (of some type), BAB +5
    Benefit: Through long and rigorous training, the elephant gains the ability to effectively wield tusk flails.
    Normal: Unlike other weapons, tusk flails cannot be wielded by elephants who have not taken this feat. Attaching tusk flails to the tusks of non-proficient elephants grants them no benefits.

    New Items


    Elephant Spikes: These spikes, affixed to one or more of an elephant’s natural weapons, alter the type of damage an elephant can deal. When affixed to the elephant’s stamp or slam attacks, the damage dealt is half bludgeoning, half piercing. Additionally, when affixed to the elephant’s stamp attacks, the damage for its trample ability changes to half bludgeoning, half piercing as well. When affixed to the elephant’s gore attack, the damage dealt is half piercing, half slashing.
    Craft (Weaponsmithing) DC: 25, Cost: 100 gp per set (enough to alter one of the elephant’s natural weapons)

    Tusk Flails: Long chains ending in heavy, spiked weights are attached to the elephant’s tusks. When properly trained, an elephant can whirl these chains with deadly accuracy. While wielding tusk flails, the reach of the elephant’s gore attack increases by 5 feet. An elephant must have the Tusk Flail Proficiency feat in order to wield tusk flails.
    Craft (Weaponsmighting) DC: 25, Cost: 500 gp per set
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-04-15 at 08:55 AM.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    I love this! Elephants definitely didn't get enough love in D&D.

    It seems well thought out, but I'm not very good at balancing, so I don't know.

    I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on this.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Thanks! This is great!

    Just the kind of Homebrew I'm looking for!

    Some nice east to use stuff about something that already exists in the game, Elephants.

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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Now it is just a question of time until someone stats out an oliphaunt...
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Thanks everyone for the replies!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ilmryn View Post
    Now it is just a question of time until someone stats out an oliphaunt...
    I'd just suggest using the Dire Elephant from the MM2. Unless I'm forgetting something, Oliphaunts don't have any special abilities other than being really really big. If you don't have the MM2, you could always use the stats for Woolly Mammoth from Frostburn (maybe fluff away the "woolly" part) or advance the hit dice of the standard MM elephant and bump it up a size category or so.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2010-10-27 at 04:32 PM.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Advanced 35 HD Dire Elephant. Duh.

    EDIT: Ninja'd.
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2010-10-27 at 04:20 PM.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    One thing I forgot to mention in the first two posts but wanted to note, just for the sake of interest. Tent pegging is an actual equestrian sport that some scholars think originated in India as practice for fighting elephants. Cavalrymen who kept their heads around the elephants would ride their horses as close as they could and try to stab the elephants just above their toenails. If they hit, the elephants would usually rear, throw their riders, and careen back through their own armies in pain and fear.

    Another interesting thing to note is that, as ridiculous as they sound, tusk flails are actually real things. Apparently elephants in Sri Lanka used to be trained to whirl long chains from the end of their tusks and could actually wield them with significant skill.

    Who knew?
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    You wouldn't happen to have a link to the tusk flails, would you? I tried googling it, but this was the first thing to pop up. It sounds really interesting.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Very interesting, fluff- and crunch-wise. Why do Barbarians have to give away so little though, while Fighters must give away much more?

    Next up, camels in fantasy warfare?
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    This has great stuff here. FYI, Tome of Horrors (Revised) has the 3.5 stats of the Oliphant.

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    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-10-27 at 05:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by LOTRfan
    You wouldn't happen to have a link to the tusk flails, would you? I tried googling it, but this was the first thing to pop up. It sounds really interesting.
    Shazzam! Look under the "Tactical Use" heading. Not a particularly authoritative source perhaps, and that specific item isn't cited, but the rest of the article seems...decent. I made the name "tusk flails" up. I wish I had something better for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by M-Bark
    Why do Barbarians have to give away so little though, while Fighters must give away much more?
    I'm not sure. I think I've always viewed class abilities in general as more valuable than feats. Obviously this isn't always true, but I think that fast movement is worth more than just a feat, particularly given all the other stuff you can trade it for. Ultimately, fighter's aren't giving up that much, imo. Feats are easy to come by and they retain proficiency in most of the weapons they would probably use from the back of an elephant anyway. I'd consider returning their medium armor proficiency, but I've found medium armor to be rather underwhelming.

    I'm open to arguments either way, though.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    My only beef with this is the low rate at which Hit Dice are acquired. Even with all its other add-ons, an elephant is still an animal and the amount of supernatural abilities you can give it are next to none. It seems like it would need Hit Dice to remain not only competitive, but just not an eventual liability to the party. I like most of the abilities and all, but I think it could do with a boost to the HD. And I mean a really big one. Like "2 HD per character level" big, since HD are a very poor judge of power by themselves. I feel that the elephant's survivability is severely compromised without those Hit Dice, which would also give it feats and larger DC's in addition to being bigger. All of those things are what it needs in order to kick some ass without entirely replacing the party.
    Last edited by Cidolfas; 2010-10-28 at 11:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    I'm not sure. I think I've always viewed class abilities in general as more valuable than feats. Obviously this isn't always true, but I think that fast movement is worth more than just a feat, particularly given all the other stuff you can trade it for. Ultimately, fighter's aren't giving up that much, imo. Feats are easy to come by and they retain proficiency in most of the weapons they would probably use from the back of an elephant anyway. I'd consider returning their medium armor proficiency, but I've found medium armor to be rather underwhelming.

    I'm open to arguments either way, though.
    Their giving away medium armour proficiency whilst Rangers and Barbarians retained it was one thing that seemed odd to me, yeah. Mostly I figured that it can never hurt to give Fighters more, due to the general lack of anything for them.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Heroes of Battle has the Tusked Behemoth- a magical beast, looks like a four-tusked elephant, and is Gargantuan. It can be advanced in Hit Dice, (starts at 20HD, ends at 30HD) but it can't be advanced in size past Gargantuan.

    There are quite a lot of elephantine D&D creatures.

    MM2: Grizzly mastodon, Dire elephant
    MMIII: Mastodon
    Frostburn: Woolly mammoth

    Only the Dire Elephant comes in a Colossal size though- and even then only when advanced.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Curse you for being ever so relevant to my interests, Mephibosheth!

    I like the inclusion of this stuff. I agree that Fighters seem to be giving away a lot more than the barbarians on the Mahout ACF; i'd've just been inclined to make it a two feat chain, but that's me.

    If you'd like, I could conjure a writeup for these things using my squad based combat system...[it's intended for the OGL, unlike some of my other stuff so i'm happy to post it here] but that will take a little while because of the fact i'll basically have to copy and format that whole section of my rulebook in another thread before hand...

    For Tent-pegging, i'd be inclined to replace the Reflex save to avoid falling with a Ride check of higher DC, or Balance for unattended ones, simply because it actually allows the rider to influence things.

    Fantastical ideas:

    • The seige armour that i've seen in some textbooks [i did a lot on Indian religion and history] that's designed to repell siege fire and flaming wadding that folks used to like to throw, possibly with enchantment opportunites.
    • I forget in what context i've seen them, but some vehicles had hanging rider boards on the sides for melee combatants to ride on and take swipes while the thing barrelled through the ranks.
    • Some kind of calming visor to keep them from getting spooked by fireballs and such
    • Rules, or at least feats, for boarding the things Legolas style
    • If Savage Species lacks one, rules for a really loud harrumpf to scare away enemies
    • A spell to amplify said harrumpf into a sonic attack
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    OP:
    Mahout probably needs rules for replacement if it dies. This weakens the fluff, but I really can't see it being viable in the level bands between say... level 7 and and level 17 without either this or a clause about not losing HD when revivified (which would be even worse from a fluff perspective).

    Also, you seem to have a column break missing on the last line of both charts (Mahout and Divine Mahout).



    If Savage Species lacks one, rules for a really loud harrumpf to scare away enemies
    Sounds like 1d20+HD+Con Mod rolled as if it were an intimidate check. Probably a feat.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Cidolfas View Post
    My only beef with this is the low rate at which Hit Dice are acquired. Even with all its other add-ons, an elephant is still an animal and the amount of supernatural abilities you can give it are next to none. It seems like it would need Hit Dice to remain not only competitive, but just not an eventual liability to the party. I like most of the abilities and all, but I think it could do with a boost to the HD. And I mean a really big one. Like "2 HD per character level" big, since HD are a very poor judge of power by themselves. I feel that the elephant's survivability is severely compromised without those Hit Dice, which would also give it feats and larger DC's in addition to being bigger. All of those things are what it needs in order to kick some ass without entirely replacing the party.
    I agree in principle. It would be a shame if the elephant completely lost its relevance at higher levels. The only concern I have with faster HD acquisition is that I wanted to keep it fairly comparable to a druid's animal companion. A druid can get an elephant at 13th level, at which point it has 11 HD, set (and really sub-par) feat and skill selections, and no really significant supernatural abilities. A 13th level mahout's elephant has 14 HD and customized feat and skill selections. It's a little bit more powerful than a druid's elephant, but not overwhelmingly so, and I'd like to keep it that way.

    I definitely see your point and would consider adding some extra defensive abilities. Perhaps damage reduction or some save re-roll abilities based on the mahout's saving throws...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive
    I like the inclusion of this stuff. I agree that Fighters seem to be giving away a lot more than the barbarians on the Mahout ACF; i'd've just been inclined to make it a two feat chain, but that's me.
    I gave fighters their medium armor back. Hopefully that fixes it. I started work on this a while ago and remember having reasons for not making it a feat just like Wild Cohort, but can't remember what those reasons were. I think I wanted it to be just available to certain classes, but you can do that sort of thing with feats too...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive
    If you'd like, I could conjure a writeup for these things using my squad based combat system...[it's intended for the OGL, unlike some of my other stuff so i'm happy to post it here] but that will take a little while because of the fact i'll basically have to copy and format that whole section of my rulebook in another thread before hand...
    Go ahead. That's be awesome to see. I haven't had a chance to check out your squad-based rules, but I will definitely do so soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive
    For Tent-pegging, i'd be inclined to replace the Reflex save to avoid falling with a Ride check of higher DC, or Balance for unattended ones, simply because it actually allows the rider to influence things.
    Fixed. Good call.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive
    Fantastical ideas:
    • The seige armour that i've seen in some textbooks [i did a lot on Indian religion and history] that's designed to repell siege fire and flaming wadding that folks used to like to throw, possibly with enchantment opportunites.
    • I forget in what context i've seen them, but some vehicles had hanging rider boards on the sides for melee combatants to ride on and take swipes while the thing barrelled through the ranks.
    • Some kind of calming visor to keep them from getting spooked by fireballs and such
    • Rules, or at least feats, for boarding the things Legolas style
    • If Savage Species lacks one, rules for a really loud harrumpf to scare away enemies
    • A spell to amplify said harrumpf into a sonic attack
    Nice. Some really good ideas. I especially like the "harrumpf" idea. I initially thought of including a fear aura in the basic progression. All of the sources I've read cite the terror elephants induce (especially in horses) as a major benefit of elephant cavalry. However, I figured, in a world with dragons, elephants are pretty mundane. The trumpeting idea, though, is a good one.

    Can I ask in what capacity you've done research on Indian religion and history? I'm a South Asian history grad student myself and am always excited to talk about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei
    OP:
    Mahout probably needs rules for replacement if it dies. This weakens the fluff, but I really can't see it being viable in the level bands between say... level 7 and and level 17 without either this or a clause about not losing HD when revivified (which would be even worse from a fluff perspective).

    Also, you seem to have a column break missing on the last line of both charts (Mahout and Divine Mahout).
    Fixed and fixed. Thanks for the heads up. Hopefully the replacement rules work for you. It actually isn't too big of a hit to the fluff, since elephants were hardly ever truly domesticated. They were (are? not sure how that works nowadays) almost always captured in the wild and then trained.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    Can I ask in what capacity you've done research on Indian religion and history? I'm a South Asian history grad student myself and am always excited to talk about it.
    You certainly may; I chose to focus my degree course in Theology and Religious Studies in the fields of Buddhism and Asian Religions [which is a way of saying "Hinduism and the wacky Chinese stuff" though Shinto was a bit of a rude word in the department]. As you can't really learn about a religion without context, I had to study social mechanisms and that led to a lot of Gupta history [in vague terms] and a lot of North Indian and migratory history as well.

    I actually asked for permission to write my dissertation in the form of gaming information, as it was supposed to be accessable for new students, but it was refused on the grounds that external examiners might have thought i was taking the piss...
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    Fixed and fixed. Thanks for the heads up. Hopefully the replacement rules work for you. It actually isn't too big of a hit to the fluff, since elephants were hardly ever truly domesticated. They were (are? not sure how that works nowadays) almost always captured in the wild and then trained.
    Looks fine to me. I am not PARTICULARLY inclined to ever use these personally (nothing again them, just doesn't happen to go with the character concepts I have in my head), and my philosophy as far as homebrew in my campaigns is "Eh, throw it in, and if it doesn't work we will fix it."

    Quote Originally Posted by Mulletmanalive View Post
    I actually asked for permission to write my dissertation in the form of gaming information, as it was supposed to be accessible for new students, but it was refused on the grounds that external examiners might have thought i was taking the piss...
    To bad... but perhaps a few years after it is finished you could start a translation?
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Balance considerations:

    Elephant General and Howdah Archer are very weak feats at higher levels. For better results, attach a mechanic that scales with level in some way. For example, Elephant General might increase aura range by 10' per Marshall level, and Howdah Archer might provide +1 to hit and +1d6 damage for every size category the mount is above Large.

    Aerial Blow's adjustment to reach is a little odd. To simplify it and reconcile it more closely with existing rules, you might change it to "For this attack, the creature has reach appopriate to a Tall creature of its size, rather than a Long creature." Additionally, make it usable against creatures of any size, but only deliver the "swat" effect against flyers smaller than the attacker. It's implausible to suggest that the elephant could strike a hippogriff, say, but couldn't hit a roc because "it's too big". Also, I think you'd be perfectly fine to make this attack usable against any foe, and deliver a knockdown effect against ground-based foes smaller than the attacker.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    To bad... but perhaps a few years after it is finished you could start a translation?
    I did actually plan to write it anyway, but the workload of producing the godawful dissertation I did put an end to that. That and the fact that I couldn't get any players interested in it [I was the only Arts student in the gaming society].

    I might get around to it eventually, though it was basically going to hev Qin [an existing game] but with OGL d20 rules and a much more accurate setting [and longer explanations of how things work...]
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    I agree in principle. It would be a shame if the elephant completely lost its relevance at higher levels. The only concern I have with faster HD acquisition is that I wanted to keep it fairly comparable to a druid's animal companion. A druid can get an elephant at 13th level, at which point it has 11 HD, set (and really sub-par) feat and skill selections, and no really significant supernatural abilities. A 13th level mahout's elephant has 14 HD and customized feat and skill selections. It's a little bit more powerful than a druid's elephant, but not overwhelmingly so, and I'd like to keep it that way.

    I definitely see your point and would consider adding some extra defensive abilities. Perhaps damage reduction or some save re-roll abilities based on the mahout's saving throws...
    Fair enough. My only response to that is that I think the druid's animal companions is really one of its more sub-par class features; it can just get away with having a weak one because its full casting and other abilities make it awesome. The weaknesses of core rules mounts/familiars/companions comes through with the paladin, where it actually has to enter combat instead of sit in the back. So I don't think you should have any problem justifying a stronger animal companion.
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Cidolfas View Post
    ...So I don't think you should have any problem justifying a stronger animal companion.
    I tried an idea that granted companions their master's BAB and HP as a simplicity measure. That worked pretty well. Perhaps if we used that, combined with the critter's Con? Heck of a lot more hp than their master [probably]...

    For reference, it works ok, though my intention was to make them into attack dogs and stuff, no game changing effects [though watching a 12th level character go down when attacked by dogs owned by master trainers is hilarious..
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    I like it, though I do have one nitpick:

    Barbarians give up absolutely nothing to get elephant mounts.

    Fighters give up a bonus feat, Heavy Armor and a good number of weapons. While the last two are of dubious value (multi-classing will get it back quickly, and the elephants abilities are based off of character level so there is really no reason not to at some point), the feat is definitely valuable for a low level character, and can count as prerequisites for higher level feats (and some feats will be useful at all levels, such as Stand Still). So you limit the character beyond the players decision to ride an elephant.

    Rangers give up a favored enemy. In addition, you're forced into using ranged attacks, or losing the use of a feat. So you limit the character beyond the players decision to ride an elephant.

    What do barbarians lose? Trap Sense, which is traded away by anyone who can trade it away anyway, and Fast Movement, a normally useful ability... rendered worthless the moment you can ride your elephant. For a medium character this is 6th level, but a halfling gets it right off the bat. I'd think about getting rid of Uncanny Dodge and either Fast Movement or Trap Sense instead.

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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    The Lord of the Rings is of course the standard text here, with the mamukil at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. I don't think Tolkien really intended the whale-sized behemoths you see in the movie, only Imperial Mammoths or some such (5m rather than 3m high).
    The Pelennor Fields battle is in turn clearly inspired by battle scenes in the apocryphal First Book of Maccabees between the armies of Antiochus and the Jewish rebels:
    • And the number of his army was an hundred thousand footmen, and twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two elephants, trained to battle.
    • And they went through Idumea, and approached to Bethsura, and fought many days, and they made engines: but they sallied forth and burnt them with fire, and fought manfully.
    • And Judas departed from the castle, and removed the camp to Bethzacharam, over against the king's camp.
    • And the king rose before it was light, and made his troops march on fiercely towards the way of Bethzacharam: and the armies made themselves ready for the battle, and they sounded the trumpets:
    • And they shewed the elephants the blood of grapes, and mulberries to provoke them to fight.
    • And they distributed the beasts by the legions: and there stood by every elephant a thousand men in coats of mail, and with helmets of brass on their heads: and five hundred horsemen set in order were chosen for every beast.
    • These before the time wheresoever the beast was, the were there: and withersoever it went, they went, and they departed not from it.
    • And upon the beast, there were strong wooden towers, which covered every one of them: and engines upon them: and upon every one thirty-two valiant men, who fought from above; and an Indian to rule the beast.
    • And the rest of the horsemen he placed on this side and on that side at the two wings, with trumpets to stir up the army, and to hasten them forward that stood thick together in the legions thereof.
    • Now when the sun shone upon the shields of gold, and of brass, the mountains glittered therewith, and they shone like lamps of fire.
    • And part of the king's army was distinguished by the high mountains, and the other part by the low places: and they marched on warily and orderly.
    • And all the inhabitants of the land were moved at the noise of their multitude, and the marching of the company, and the rattling of the armour, for the army was exceeding great and strong.
    • And Judas and his army drew near for battle: and there fell of the king's army six hundred men.
    • And Eleazar the son of Saura saw one of the beasts harnessed with the king's harness: and it was higher than the other beasts: and it seemed to him that the king was on it:
    • And he exposed himself to deliver his people and to get himself an everlasting name.
    • And he ran up to it boldly in the midst of the legion, killing on the right hand, and on the left, and they fell by him on this side and that side.
    • And he went between the feet of the elephant, and put himself under it: and slew it, and it fell to the ground upon him, and he died there.
    • Then they seeing the strength of the king and the fierceness of his army, turned away from them.

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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    I love the concept and I actually am using an elephant in a current campaign so I might see if my dm will allow it but my elephant already endeared itself to my fellow players and dm when in coup de gras'ed the final enemy by sitting on it *sniff* good times
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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Just letting you know that I made some changes to the original posts. I altered the requirements so that barbarians have to give up fast movement and uncanny dodge while fighters only give up heavy armor proficiency. I added damage reduction and a once/encounter re-roll ability to hopefully boost the elephant's survivability at higher levels, at least a little bit. I also made Jiriku's suggested feat changes and added Mulletmanalive's "harrumph" feat.

    NakedCelt: Thanks for that rundown! I saw a lot of wood carvings and paintings of Eleazar killing the elephant when I was researching this. I think there are already feats to do that sort of thing, but it's something I should look into. Great information, though. I didn't know that Tolkien based his elephants so heavily on Apocryphal sources.

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    Default Re: Elephants in Fantasy Warfare [3.5]

    Real-world, elephants (whether for war or for heavy lifting) are captured from the wild as full-grown adults. They are never reared from young, as it is simply too resource-intensive - you'd be looking at 15 years or so until the elephant is grown enough to be productive, during which time it is consuming a huge amount of resources.

    Given this, the fluff about rearing them from young can be dropped. Also, this justifies how easily a character can replace a slain elephant. On the down side, this makes it at least a level 4 class feature, unless you envision characters with a particularly runty specie of elephant.

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