July 01, 2004

The Breeds of Beast

Here are the breeds of Beast which are found in the Verde. There are other breeds elsewhere, but these are the ones normally available as PCs.

First Generation Beasts (Wolves, Cougars, Bears and Oxen)

Wolves (total 9.5)
Free Edges: Echoing Cry (1/2), Keen Nose (1), Pack Hunter (1), Very Fast (1)
Innate Flaws: No Hands (-4)
Starting Skills: Awareness (d10), Endurance (d10), Stealth (d10), Tracking (d10), Wilderness (d10)

Wolves tend to be gregarious, social folk and rarely deal well with continued isolation. They are not as physically powerful as other First Generation breeds, but they make up for it through cooperation and clever tactics. Their mournful howls keep packs in touch even at great distances.

It's a special point of pride for most Wolves that the First Folk (supposedly the very first clan of Beasts to enter the world and the guardians of the Sacred Hills) are Wolves.

Cougars (total 8)
Free Edges: Big +1 (1), Night Vision (2), Very Fast (1)
Innate Flaws: No Hands (-4)
Starting Skills: Acrobatics (d10), Awareness (d10), Stealth (d10), Wilderness (d10)
Fiercely independent and largely self-sufficient hunters, Cougars are more powerful than Wolves but rarely work well in large groups. A Cougar is generally happier with a small group of close friends than being part of a large pack. Even when they form into clans, they generally live far enough apart that they don't feel crowded. Most of them hate living in densely populated cities.

Bears (total 8)
Free Edges: Big +2 (2), Bloodlust (2)
Innate Flaws: No Hands (-4)
Starting Skills: Endurance (d10), Herbalism (d10), Wilderness (d10), Wrestling (d10)
While these huge grizzlies aren't as fast as the other first generation Beasts, they are immensely strong and powerful. The Bear clan known as the Mountain Fangs actually claims that they were the first Beasts and that the First Folk tricked their ancestors into committing a heinous crime so that they could take their rightful place instead. This brought down a curse upon the Bears such that they would always be ruled by their anger. While only the Mountain Fangs still blame the First Folk for their condition, even modern Bears still suffer from berserk rages when injured or angered.

Musk-Oxen (total 7)
Free Edges: Big +2 (2), Very Fast (1), Herd Defense (1), Cold Adaptation (1)
Innate Flaws: No Hands (-4)
Starting Skills: Endurance (d10), Herbalism (d10), Wilderness (d10)
These massive hooved Beasts sometimes seem out of place amongst their kin. Commonly referred to as just Oxen, Musk-oxen have long, heavy coats that leave them quite comfortable in even the coldest of winters. In fact, during the summers they sometimes suffer from heatstroke during the hottest days. Few predators can threaten a herd of Oxen, as they are skilled at forming an impenetrable defensive line around the weak and vulnerable. During the winter months, when heavy snowfalls hinder the travel of other breeds, the Oxen are still active and often act as messengers for less snow-worthy Beasts.

Second Generation Beasts (Mice, Squirrels, Bats and Otters)

Mice (total 11)
Free Edges: Small -2 (2)
Innate Flaws: None
Starting Skills: Awareness (d8), Burrowing (d8), Contortionist (d8), Craft (d8), Stealth (d8), Thievery (d8)

Most Beasts think of Mice as meek and placid, but really they're just very cautious around larger creatures. Among themselves they can be extremely vicious, although they rarely fight to the death. Unlike most Beasts, they prefer to live underground either in burrows of their own creation or in Man-made Deeps. Many suffer from actual Agoraphobia and hate being out in the open but most are willing to travel above ground.

Mice are extremely skilled craftsmen, and their clever hands produce a large proportion of all of the woven goods in the Verde. They are a gregarious and chatty folk; it's a rare Mouse who is actively unfriendly to strangers.

Squirrels (total 11)
Free Edges: Small -2 (2)
Innate Flaws: None
Starting Skills: Acrobatics (d10), Awareness (d6), Herbalism (d8), Stealth (d8), Thievery (d8), Wilderness (d8)
Much more acrobatic than Mice, Squirrels prefer to live in the treetops. They are very skilled climbers, often able to travel from tree to tree along branches that would break under the weight of a larger Beast. They tend to live in smaller groups than Mice and are often loners.

Bats (total 11.5)
Free Edges: Flight (2), Keen Ears (1), Night Vision (2), Silent Speech (1), Small -2 (2)
Innate Flaws: High Metabolism (-1)
Starting Skills: Acrobatics (d8), Awareness (d8), Wilderness (d8)
Envied by many other Beasts for their ability to fly, Bats have a privileged position as the fastest messengers in the Verde. Combined with their keen senses and ability to see in conditions of minimal light, they make extremely effective scouts, but their high metabolic rate means that they have to eat about twice as much as other Beasts of their size.

Some Bats look down upon their land-bound cousins, but most realize how difficult it would be for them to survive on their own. Their light-weight bodies are comparatively frail, making them easy prey for any predators that do manage to catch them on the ground. Because of this, most Bats prefer to nest hanging upside down from some high place difficult to reach without wings.

Otters (total 8.0)
Free Edges: Small -1 (1), Water Adaptation (1)
Innate Flaws: None
Starting Skills: Herbalism (d8), Swimming (d12,d4), Wilderness (d8)
If Bats rule the sky, then Otters rule the waters. Fast and graceful in the water, baby Otters generally learn to swim before they learn to walk. The few Otters who live in dry areas tend to long for open waters and take every opportunity to swim. They are extremely skilled at detecting poisons in the water, which is good; it doesn't take much oil (or similar sludge) to ruin the insulating effect of their fur.

Otters are notorious for their playful attitudes and light hearts, but in times of crisis they generally become as grim and serious as any other Beast in danger.

Third Generation Beasts (Hyenas, Lions, Elephants and Cheetahs)

Hyenas (total 7.5)
Free Edges: Echoing Cry (1/2), Improved Bite (1), Night Vision (2), Pack Hunter (1), Scavenger (1)
Innate Flaws: None
Starting Skills: Awareness (d6), Endurance (d6)

Fierce and independent as a whole but gregarious amongst themselves, Hyenas tend to chafe under the leadership of any breed but their own. They are skilled hunters and scavengers and are notable for their ability to eat even rotting meat without harm. Their powerful jaws can even chew bone, allowing them to devour their prey completely. They are notable as being the only Beasts able to survive by eating creatures and plants from the Blight.

Lions (total 6.5)
Free Edges: Big +1 (+2 for males), Echoing Cry (1/2), Night Vision (2), Pack Hunter (1)
Innate Flaws: None
Starting Skills: Awareness (d6), Stealth (d6) [females receive Wilderness d6 as well]
Fierce and proud but prone to infighting, Lions prize both independence and loyalty to the group at the same time. The males are generally bigger and lazier than the females. It's common for a pride to have a male Alpha but a female Lorekeeper, with the Lorekeeper being the power behind the throne.

Moreso than most other breeds, Lions often settle internal conflicts with hand-to-hand combat, usually wrestling. The loser submits and the winner gets their way. These conflicts rarely end in serious harm; low-ranking lions who injure or cripple a fellow Beast in such a combat will often be cast out of the pride, and they know it.

Elephants (total 7.5)
Free Edges: Big +2 (2), Echoing Cry (1/2), Keen Ears (1), Prehensile Trunk (1), Tusks (1)
Innate Flaws: None
Starting Skills: Endurance (d6), Herbalism (d6)
While Elephants are enormously strong and possess human-like hands, their massive size actually hinders their ability to use ancient human devices. Their fingers are often too large to use buttons or triggers, at least not without first modifying the device. Furthermore, since they walk upright they have lost a lot of their ancestors' ability to travel great distances.

Elephants are herbivores and require an enormous amount of roughage to survive. Most Elephants live in small families, often as part of a mixed-breed clan or tribe. There are very few all-Elephant tribes... they have too much trouble finding enough food to feed everyone for it to be practical. Elephants tend to be very soft-spoken and polite, but they can be very dangerous when crossed.

Cheetahs (total 8)
Free Edges: Burst of Speed (2), Keen Ears (1), Keen Eyes (1), Night Vision (2)
Innate Flaws: None
Starting Skills: Awareness (d6), Stealth (d6)
Over a short burst, even first generation Beasts can't match a Cheetah for pure speed. They are very skilled and independent hunters, sneaking up to close range with their prey, then running them down. Tribes and clans tend to consist of small, nuclear families scattered over a wide area.

Even the most well-fed of Cheetahs tend to be thin and lanky due to their metabolic rate. Most are quiet and thoughtful folk, preferring their own company to that of large groups.

[Cost note: Right now I'm assuming that a d6 is worth 1, a d10 is 2, and Edges are either 1 or 2. The totals are just rough guesses at the moment, since the values of various Edges may change. My original version said that a starting skill was always worth 1, regardless of how big it was... that may change. The idea is to eventually use these values to balance out the races. I want them all to be roughly equal, instead of using the Ironclaw method of having them cost different amounts.]

Posted by Kiz at July 1, 2004 10:47 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?