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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Okay, so recently I have been reading the ecology articles in Dragon, and I find them very interesting. I think it might be fun to make new ones, mirroring the articles in the old 3.X dragons. Here is my first, the Ecology of the Dire Boar (I wanted to keep it simple, at first).


    Ecology of the Dire Boar
    When one thinks of a dire boar, the first thing that often comes to mind is their ferocity and notorious cruel streaks. Indeed, few animals can match the sheer attitude and foul temper of the dire boar. Having evolved on wide open plains, the dire boar is both an ancestor to common boars and razor boars. At one point, the dire boars dominated the plains, an alpha predator that not even the strongest of magical beasts could handle.

    History
    There are many myths about the dire boar. One states that dire boars are all the descendants of the greatest boar to ever live, a huge individual who passed on its size to its offspring. The Orcs believe that Gruumsh created the dire boars, as a worthy mount for his favored worshipers. According to this legend, the Orcs would often overwork horses, who were not enduring enough to carryout the daily tasks of the average Orc tribe. Gruumsh, wishing to aid his favored creation, bled into the mouths of infant piglets, who grew to colossal size because of the divine power entering their digestive system.

    Dire boars first evolved over twenty million years ago, on the great plains and forested regions of the Material Plane. The fact that they are still alive today is a testament to how efficient these creatures are. Originally no more than four feet long, they slowly grew over time in order to better compete with the other predators of the period. Over the process of a couple million years, they became the dominant creatures of the landscape.

    As time went on, a combination of factors ultimately led to both their decline and the evolution of several offshoots of boar. The three most common are, of course, domesticated pigs, boars, and the dreaded razor boar. The first of these offshoots was likely the common boar. Environmental changes resulted in a much cooler and dryer climate, which lead to the decline of various megafauna that shared territory with the dire boars. The smaller dire boars were able to survive the sudden shortage of food, as they needed less energy to keep their bodies functioning. Over time, they bred with dire boars with similar body types, until they shrunk into the modern boar.

    On the other side of the evolutionary scale, however, was the razor boar. In areas that were not as heavily devastated by the climate change, predators and rivals of the dire boar continued to grow. To better fight off large rivals, the dire boars developed tusks with magical properties. These tusks, best described as vorpal weapons, allowed dire boars to end confrontations with enemies quickly and effectively. To better differentiate these new magical dire boars from their mundane cousins, the boars were nicknamed “razor boars.”

    It is unknown when the first boar-based lycanthropes appeared, but what is known is that Hill Giants seemed to have a particular affinity to these unnatural fusions of giant/humanoid and animal. It fact, it is oft times theorized that Hill Giants were the first carriers of the boar-strain of the lycanthropic curse. Orcs are particularly interested in dire boar lycanthropes, both for their physical strength and spiritual meaning. Some Orcs have been known to willingly submit themselves to the bite of a weredire boar, in the hopes that the “blessing” is passed on to them.

    Orcs often interact with dire boars. They are often used as battle mounts, and are slaughtered for meals on holy days of the Orc pantheon (particularly those of Gruumsh). Orcs have a particular affinity for “terminator pigs,” a special breed of dire boar (advanced to 12 HD).
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2011-04-10 at 08:28 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Physiology & Psychology

    Physiology
    Physiologically speaking, dire boars are not too different from the modern boar. Unlike their modern relatives, though, dire boars are almost fully carnivorous. They lack the necessary tools to be a true apex predator, however. Their legs are short and stubby compared to predators of similar size, reducing their ability to pursue and kill swift prey animals. This handicap does not doom them to starvation, though; instead, they focus on scavenging.

    Dire boars are excellent scavengers, for a variety of reasons. The most important is their enlarged nasal cavities. A dire boar can smell a carcass from roughly three miles away. They follow this scent relentlessly, in the hopes of locating the food source before it is completely consumed by whatever killed it. Once it finds the food, they use their large size to their advantage, attempting to intimidate smaller predators into giving it its meal.

    If intimidation does not work, the creature has its brute strength and natural weapons to fight off most enemies. Its many teeth and tusks are arranged in such a way that their bites are most akin to goring than actual biting down. Their elongated cheekbones also help it this regard, hitting and slicing into large prey just as their nasty incisors and small tusks do. A single charging assault from a dire boar is enough to break the back of rival predators such as Hyaenodon. When facing humanoid opponents, a single gore attack from dire boars is enough to dig into and rip out large clusters of internal organs. As a result, even a single blow is usually enough to critically injure (or even outright kill) the average humanoid. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, dire boars are so ferocious that they can fight at full strength even when dying; only a killing blow will halt the attack of a desperate dire boar.

    {table]Kingdom | Animalia
    Phylum | Chordata
    Class | Mammalia
    Order | Artiodactyla
    Family | Entelodontidae
    Genus | Daeodon
    Species | D. shosonensis[/table]

    Psychology
    To understand a dire boar’s psychology, one must first look at the physiology of their brains. Their brains are small for their size, and the majority of it is dedicated to sensors that read the information the dire boar collects from its powerful sense of smell. As a result, dire boars are exceedingly stupid, even by animal standards.

    This stupidity might also explain their decline. Their rivals soon learned how to defeat the dire boars, despite their massive size. The dire boars, of course, never learned how adapt to this. They continually tried to intimidate creatures that were no longer afraid of it, and it eventually had to hunt for its own food. Still, even today, they are opportunistic scavengers. They are particularly known for attacking smaller hunters like wolves and humanoids in order to get an easy meal. Their lack of intelligence ensures that they will attack even the most powerful and heavily armed enemies.

    Dire boars rely almost completely on its instincts to survive. As a result, the attack patterns and normal behavior of a dire boar are very generic, and almost identical to the routines of other dire boars. This also means that dire boars are exceedingly hard to train, to the point that only the most dedicated have any chance of training them at all. To achieve this, the dire boars must be trained from early infancy.


    Boar Familiarity [Orc]
    You grew up around boars, and are capable of training them without much difficulty.
    Prerequisites: Orc, Knowledge (Nature) 1 rank.
    Benefits: You gain a +2 bonus to all Handle Animal, Ride, and Knowledge (Nature) checks concerning boar-like creatures. This includes pigs, dire boars, boars, and razor boars. Other creatures considered boar-like may be included to this list, at DM’s discretion.

    Training a Dire Boar
    Training a dire boar is very difficult, and a task only a professional trainer should perform. To be trained, a dire boar must have a friendly attitude towards the trainer (achieving even that is quite a feat, which requires a Diplomacy check). Training a dire boar requires six weeks of training and a DC 20 handle animal check. Rearing a dire boar requires a DC 22 handle animal check. Dire boar piglets can be sold for 7,000 gp. Professional trainers may train dire boars, but this costs 1,750 gp.

    Carrying Capacity: A light load for a Dire Boar is 1,038 lbs or less; a medium load, 1,039-2,079; a heavy load, 2,080-3,120.
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2011-05-17 at 04:29 PM.
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    Default Advanced Dire Boar

    Dire Boars almost exclusively advance through HD, but some may be trained as a war beast.

    Terminator Pig Warmount
    Large Animal
    Hit Dice:
    13d8+65 (123 hp)
    Initiative: +0
    Speed: 50 ft.
    Armor Class: 19 (+6 natural, +4 chain barding, -1 size), touch 9, flatfooted 19
    Base Attack/Grapple: +9/+23
    Attack: Gore +20 melee (1d8+15/19-20)
    Full Attack: Gore +20 melee (1d8+15/19-20)
    Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
    Special Attacks: Ferocity
    Special Qualities: Lowlight vision, scent
    Saves: Fort +15, Ref +8, Will + 12
    Abilities: Str 30, Dex 10, Con 20, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 8
    Skills: Listen +13, Spot +13
    Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Great Fortitude, Weapon Focus (Gore), Improved Critical (Gore)
    Environment: Termperate Forests
    Organization: 1 plus rider
    Challenge Rating: 6
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always Neutral
    Advancement: -----
    Level Adjustment: -----

    Some Orc tribes particularly like terminator pigs, a ferocious subspecies of dire boar. Called "Goblin-Killers" by their orcish handlers for their nasty tempers and tendency to eat weak handlers, these monstrosities are often seen as just as savage and even more deadly then the mounted raiders who often ride them. It is not rare at all for the barely trained animals to eat fallen riders. They often train them as warmounts. It requires two months and a Handle Animal check (DC 32) to train a terminator pig as a war beast.

    Ferocity (Ex): A dire boar is such a tenacious combatant that it continues to fight without penalty even while disabled or dying.

    Skills: Warmounts gain a +1 racial bonus to listen and spot checks. Riders gain a +2 circumstance bonus to all ride checks while riding a terminator pig warmount.

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    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2011-04-15 at 11:26 PM.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Added a paragraph or two in the Psychology section. Next article will probably be about the Braxat. Any suggestions for the one afterwards?
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    This is great. I completely agree that people should write more of these.

    Why hasn't it been done before?
    Last edited by Yora; 2011-04-10 at 02:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    It definitely seems odd that I've only seen one other person try to do this (and he only completed one ).

    It seems fun to do this, though.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    I like this idea and I would happily write one up in the near future, though I won't include the mechanical information.

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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    I enjoyed reading the article, though I'm not sure Terminator Pigs is very Orcish, unless they're 40k Orcs and then they'd be 'Da Terminatas' or something like that. I'd go for something like Goblin Eaters or the Gruumsh-Blooded. Terminate seems a bit wordy for Orcs, when Kill would suffice, regardless.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    I would agree with Cieyrin on the name issue. However, I do like the creature and see no problem with campaign settings where these are default mounts for advanced orcs.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Quote Originally Posted by Cieyrin View Post
    I enjoyed reading the article, though I'm not sure Terminator Pigs is very Orcish, unless they're 40k Orcs and then they'd be 'Da Terminatas' or something like that. I'd go for something like Goblin Eaters or the Gruumsh-Blooded. Terminate seems a bit wordy for Orcs, when Kill would suffice, regardless.
    You bring up a very good point. Orcs probably wouldn't refer to them as this (although I'd still like to keep the name, perhaps as its actual name, while Orcs and such have a simpler name). I see you have two suggestions. I don't think Gruumsh-Blooded would fit (as there is already a creature referred as this), but Goblin-Killer might. Any other suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Icedaemon View Post
    I would agree with Cieyrin on the name issue. However, I do like the creature and see no problem with campaign settings where these are default mounts for advanced orcs.
    I'm glad to see you like it.

    Do you have any opinions on Cieryin's specific suggestions, or ideas of your own?
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    To throw my two cents in, how about the name goblin-eater? After all, if the boar is carnivoirs, than if more than a few stupid goblins have tried and failed to tame this beast for there orcish masters, than it makes sence for the goblins who cannot train it get killed, right?

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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    I'd heard Dire Boars compared to entelodonts at the 2008 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting, but this is the first I've seen of someone carrying the concept over to an RPG.

    And actually, "Terminator Pig" is an affectionate nickname given to the group by paleontologists, not a name invented for the Orc warmounts.

    EDIT: As a side note, there are plenty of prehistoric animals that could be equivalent to the dire animals in D&D, Arctodus/Dire Bear and Panthera atrox/Dire Lion to name a couple.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokon1 View Post
    To throw my two cents in, how about the name goblin-eater? After all, if the boar is carnivoirs, than if more than a few stupid goblins have tried and failed to tame this beast for there orcish masters, than it makes sence for the goblins who cannot train it get killed, right?
    That's another vote for Goblin-Killer, then? I'll add that in, now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire Moose View Post
    I'd heard Dire Boars compared to entelodonts at the 2008 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting, but this is the first I've seen of someone carrying the concept over to an RPG.

    And actually, "Terminator Pig" is an affectionate nickname given to the group by paleontologists, not a name invented for the Orc warmounts.

    EDIT: As a side note, there are plenty of prehistoric animals that could be equivalent to the dire animals in D&D, Arctodus/Dire Bear and Panthera atrox/Dire Lion to name a couple.
    That's cool. I wasn't aware of that comparison (I just watched three documentaries about Dinohyus/Daedon, and I thought it would be a cool idea), but that actually reassures me a bit. Do you believe it is a fair comparison?

    That is pretty much the reason why I want to keep the Terminator Pig name, even if it is not used by Orcs.

    Also, you forgot to add Dire Wolf/Dire Wolf equivalent.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    This is great. I completely agree that people should write more of these.

    Why hasn't it been done before?
    This sums up everything I have to say. This should become a site project! (Like the Create A XXX projects.) You sir (if you do indeed make more) deserve Cookies and an Internet.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlanteanTroll View Post
    This sums up everything I have to say. This should become a site project! (Like the Create A XXX projects.) You sir (if you do indeed make more) deserve Cookies and an Internet.
    Well, I do like cookiees and the internet.

    I'm actually in the process of making two more (the Braxat and the Flumph), though I'm a little worried about breaking rules. I think I'll post the Advancement section for them anyway. It seems that we are allowed to post non-SRD creatures with templates slapped on, so why not class levels/better ability scores? I mean, the worse thing that could happen is that I remove it if it breaks forum rules.

    Enough of that though, there's not supposed to be any legal discussion. I think it would definitely be cool if this was to become a site project. Most creatures definitely deserve more love, especially those in random splat books and magazine articles.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Quote Originally Posted by LOTRfan View Post
    You bring up a very good point. Orcs probably wouldn't refer to them as this (although I'd still like to keep the name, perhaps as its actual name, while Orcs and such have a simpler name). I see you have two suggestions. I don't think Gruumsh-Blooded would fit (as there is already a creature referred as this), but Goblin-Killer might. Any other suggestions?

    Do you have any opinions on Cieryin's specific suggestions, or ideas of your own?
    If I were making this, I would go the same route I in some cases did when I picked an extinct animal for Walufar - take the species' full name and cut some syllables away or replace others, hopefully creating a name that'd sound like other words in the given language. For example: Entidont; Telont, Etelon ect. This might also help you flesh out part of your take on orcish.
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Quote Originally Posted by LOTRfan View Post
    That's another vote for Goblin-Killer, then? I'll add that in, now.



    That's cool. I wasn't aware of that comparison (I just watched three documentaries about Dinohyus/Daedon, and I thought it would be a cool idea), but that actually reassures me a bit. Do you believe it is a fair comparison?

    That is pretty much the reason why I want to keep the Terminator Pig name, even if it is not used by Orcs.

    Also, you forgot to add Dire Wolf/Dire Wolf equivalent.
    Daeodon/Dire Boar is an accurate comparison in terms of size and abilities.

    And I am aware of the real-world Dire Wolves, but ironically the one animal that provided the namesake for dire animals is not very much like its d20 counterpart. Unlike the "giant wolf the size of a horse" described in Monster Manuals, dire wolves are actually about the same size as regular wolves, but they have stronger jaws and are more heavily built, .
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Quote Originally Posted by LOTRfan View Post
    I'm actually in the process of making two more (the Braxat and the Flumph), though I'm a little worried about breaking rules. I think I'll post the Advancement section for them anyway. It seems that we are allowed to post non-SRD creatures with templates slapped on, so why not class levels/better ability scores? I mean, the worse thing that could happen is that I remove it if it breaks forum rules.

    Enough of that though, there's not supposed to be any legal discussion. I think it would definitely be cool if this was to become a site project. Most creatures definitely deserve more love, especially those in random splat books and magazine articles.
    If you're just providing stat blocks with different abilities, I wouldn't say that's posting copyrighted material, so no worries.

    Make some more ecologies, I especially look forward to the Flumph!
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    Default Re: Ecology of the Dire Boar

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire Moose View Post
    Daeodon/Dire Boar is an accurate comparison in terms of size and abilities.

    And I am aware of the real-world Dire Wolves, but ironically the one animal that provided the namesake for dire animals is not very much like its d20 counterpart. Unlike the "giant wolf the size of a horse" described in Monster Manuals, dire wolves are actually about the same size as regular wolves, but they have stronger jaws and are more heavily built, .
    The true dire wolf is something more like the Epicyon, specifically Epicyon Haydeni.
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