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4/10/2017 4:57 am  #1


Beasts of Mirkwood

I would be really grateful for your check and comments - in particular from a mechanics and game balance point of view - of my bestiary for Barbarians of the Dark Ages! Thank you for any and all advice

If you wonder why I've included random minor animals like salmon, fox, swallow etc, this is basically as shape shifting options


Creatures
‘Now crept the worm down to his place of watering, and the earth shook all about him, and he snorted forth venom on all the way before him as he went’ - Völsunga Saga, Unknown


Animals

Auroch
Creature Size: Large
Normally Found: Forest, Plains
The Auroch, or ur-Ox, is the great, dark-coated cattle of the Mirkwood. It is larger and fiercer than normal cattle, and an enraged Auroch bull something to fear indeed. For many tribes, half-tamed Auroch’s are the only form of cattle.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 7 Attack +0
Agility –1 Damage d6
Mind –2 Defence 0
Lifeblood 20 Protection d6–3 (1)


Brown Bear
Creature Size: Large
Normally Found: Mountains, Forest
Common throughout woods and forests in the north, the Brown Bear is dangerous when cornered with its young, or when taken with a sudden rage as can happen to some males. Many Hyperborean tribes worship the Brown Bear, and their priests and sorcerers may learn to shift their shape to that of the Brown Bear.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 6 Attack +1
Agility 0 Damage d6H
Mind –1 Defence 0
Lifeblood 20 Protection d6–3 (1)

Boar
Creature Size: Medium
Normally Found: Everywhere
The proud and vicious boar is a model for many warriors and can be dangerous if angered. Its gnarled tusk have an uncanny knack for finding the most intimate parts of human victims. Some pagans worship the boar - under the name of Moccus or Ing.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 2 Attack +2
Agility 0 Damage d6
Mind –1 Defence 1
Lifeblood 15 Protection 0

Wolf
Creature Size: Medium
Normally Found: Everywhere
These predators can be frightening on their own, and are the subject of many tales used to frighten children. However, wolves also hunt in packs, where they become especially deadly to their prey.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 1 Attack +3
Agility 2 Damage d6
Mind –1 Defence 1
Lifeblood 8 Protection 0

Fox
Creature Size: Small
Normally Found: Everywhere
The cunning fox is a stealthy little hunter with sharp senses - in particular smell, which can provide it with precise information.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength -1 Attack 0
Agility 3 Damage 0
Mind –1 Defence 1
Lifeblood 4 Protection 0

Sparrow
Creature Size: Tiny
Normally Found: Everywhere
A swift and elegant bird that can swoop past enemies in a flash.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength -1 Attack 0
Agility 3 Damage 0
Mind –1 Defence 1
Lifeblood 1 Protection 0

Bird of Prey
Creature Size: Small
Normally Found: Everywhere
Eagles, hawks, owls or ravens - large birds feed off live prey or carcasses.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength -1 Attack 0
Agility 3 Damage 0
Mind –1 Defence 1
Lifeblood 3 Protection 0

Salmon/Trout
Creature Size: Small
Normally Found: Rivers and the sea
This shimmering fish can navigate both fresh and salt water, and make impressive leaps up rivers and rapids. Quick and easy to miss.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength: -2 Attack: 0
Agility: 3 damage 0
Mind: -3 Defense: 0
Lifeblood: 5 Protection: 0


Seal
Creature Size: Medium
Normally Found: Coasts and the sea
These marine mammals are a prime source of food for many coastal settlements, and are excellent swimmers that can cover long distances through cold waters. They are clumsy and unwieldy on land.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 0 Attack 0
Agility 2 Damage d6-3
Mind –1 Defence 1
Lifeblood 15 Protection d6–3 (1)

Horse
Creature Size: Large
Normally Found: Steppes and woodlands in the wild, domesticated
Valued and cherished companions of man.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength: 5 Attack: +1
Agility: 0 damage 1d6-1
Mind: -1 Defense: 0
Lifeblood: 15 Protection: 0


Spirits
Ghost
The unhappy spirit of a murder victim, or someone who has met some other form of untimely and treacherous death. Ghosts are immaterial, mere images and phantasms. But they have the ability to Curse those unfortunate to stray too close to them. They are often accompanied by a chill wind, and can speak portent and warnings. They cannot avenge themselves directly, and must act through humans agents to get justice.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 0 Attack N/A, Curse
Agility 0 Damage d6
Mind 0 Defence Invulnerable unless magic
Lifeblood 15 Protection 0


Barrow Wight
A Mound-dweller, Draug or Barrow Wight is an ancient lord or hero who still holds court in the barrow, mound or kurgan in which he was buried. Normally happy to spend his afterlife drinking and feasting, there are various events that can put the Barrow Wight on a war footing. This is seldom good news for the living. Meddling Sorcerers, grave robbers, farmers disturbing the burial site or irreverent descendants are all things that can bring the old Wight out of his barrow. A Barrow Wight is often equipped with whatever treasures were buried with him - a Scythian warlord may have proud stallions and war bow, a Germanic priest of Wotan may have a chariot and spear. Any great warrior will be buried with his favoured, Named, sword.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 0 Attack N/A, Curse
Agility 0 Damage d6
Mind 0 Defence Invulnerable unless magic
Lifeblood 15 Protection 0

Nature Spirit
A spirit of place, that lives in the rivers, mountains, rocks or woods of the Mirkwood. The Imperials in times long gone called them gods and Nymphs, but now think that they are malicious deamons. To the Germanics, they are known as Land Wights or Elves. They can be invoked by magic or by worship, or by those unfortunate enough to tamper with their habitat. The line between a Nature Spirit, a Wild Man and a Dwarf can sometimes be hard to draw - and they may live in similar places.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 0 Attack N/A, Curse
Agility 0 Damage d6
Mind 0 Defence Invulnerable unless magic
Lifeblood 15 Protection 0

Guardian Spirit
The people of the Dark Ages believe in a multitude of protective spirits. From the Genii of the Imperial Household, the Guardian Angel of the Christians and the Zoroastrians to the Germanic Fylgjas, who will protect an entire family.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 0 Attack N/A, Curse
Agility 0 Damage d6
Mind 0 Defence Invulnerable unless magic
Lifeblood 15 Protection 0

Folks
Dwarf
Magical beings who live under the earth and in hidden places accessible through caves, oddly shaped rocks and riverbeds. The Alps is an important home for Dwarves, where they keep secret gardens and smithies. Apart from their arcane secrets, the Dwarves are known for their excellent smithing skills. In fact, some think they are behind the legendary Norican Steel of old.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 2 Attack +1
Agility -1 Damage d6
Mind 0 Defence 0
Lifeblood 10 Protection d3

Troll
Creature Size: Large
Normally Found: Remote areas, wilderness, caves and mountains
Strong, sorcerous and dangerous beings who live in mountains, mounds and far away forests. Some mimic the societies of man, twisting or perverting the habits and laws of normal folk. Other trolls are solitary brutes who live only to kill and feed on sentient beings. Others again are cunning sages who retain lore from ages past. Trolls harbour a particular resentment of those who follow the scriptural faiths.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 5 Attack +1
Agility 1 Damage d6H
Mind 0 Defence 2
Lifeblood 20 Protection d3

Dog-head
Rumored to have strong kingdoms somewhere in Hyperborea, Scandza, Africa or past the Scythian Plains, these ferocious beings have the bodies of men but the heads of wolves or dogs. They are rumored to be cruel and vicious and communicate through barking.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 3 Attack +2
Agility 1 Damage d6
Mind 0 Defence 2
Lifeblood 10 Protection 0

Wild Man
In the depths of the forests beyond the Empire, solitary savage beings known as Wild Men live in apparent unity with the woods around them. Rumored to be entirely covered with hair or green leaves and preferring the use of a club as a weapon, these are more than just savage humans. They have the ability to appear and disappear through the undergrowth at will, and make their home among the roots of the forest. Often, the only warning you get before an attack by a wild man is his face peering through the branches of a nearby tree, the body apparently missing. Wild Men often know, and may even be forced to teach, sorcery.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 4 Attack +1
Agility 2 Damage d6
Mind 0 Defence 1
Lifeblood 12 Protection d6

Monsters
Dragon
Creature Size: Massive
Normally Found: Distant caves and hollows
Great, coiling wyrms that may have wings or feet, but certainly have fangs and venom. Revered by some pagans, most see dragons as instruments of evil. Like Gryphons, they may occasionally guard treasure or secrets. Dragons are rarely very intelligent, but may have the power of speech. Some Dragons are magical beings - the result of enchantment or a great curse. The blood and heart of a dragon often contain magical properties - depending on the nature of the Dragon.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 6 Attack +3
Agility 1 Damage d6H
Mind 2 Defence 1
Lifeblood 35 Protection d6

Giant
Creature Size: Massive
Normally Found: The edge of the world, hills
Massive, ancient and powerful - Giants are rightly feared and thankfully rare. They may sleep for centuries, being mistaken for hills or rocks, or they may live in massive halls beyond the edge of the world, feasting and tilling the soil like humans. Ancient Imperials taught that Giants live in hell, and can break free to attack the world of men. Throughout the Mirkwood, standing stones are testament that Giant’s once erected their homestead among men. In Hyperborea and Scandza, giant boulders show the marks of ancient battles between Giants. Giants often have a particular affinity with the land and with the elements - giving rise to beings like Frost Giants and Fire Giants.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 12 Attack +2
Agility 0 Damage d6
Mind 0 Defence 1
Lifeblood 25 Protection d6-2

Sea Serpent
Creature Size: Huge
Normally Found: The high seas, deep rivers
Dragons of the seas, making the raging seas even more dangerous, Sea Serpents are mighty wyrms in the habit of attacking ships and coastlines. With a massive maw of dagger-like teeth, skin like armour and a long snaking neck, these beasts are the terror of seafarers. Pagans believe a massive Sea Serpent circles the world, biting his own tail to form a ring around the oceans.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 12 Attack +2
Agility 0 Damage d6x3
Mind -1 Defence 0
Lifeblood 60 Protection d6-2 (2)

Gryphon
Creature Size: Large
Normally Found: Remote mountains
Half lion, half giant eagle, the Gryphons are fierce and proud beasts that make their home in remote mountains far beyond the Scythian plains. The occasional Gryphon may have been driven out of its homeland and made its new home in familiar mountain ranges further west. The Gryphons are well known for their greed and love of gold, and most will have a treasure trove that they guard with their life.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 6 Attack +2
Agility 0 Damage d6H
Mind 0 Defence 1
Lifeblood 15 Protection d6-2

Ercinee
Creature Size: Small
Normally Found: Hercynian Forest
This magical bird can be found in hidden glades of the Hercynian Forest. Their feathers flow with a surreal light - which can help light the way for wayward travellers.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength -1 Attack 0
Agility 3 Damage 0
Mind –1 Defence 1
Lifeblood 5 Protection 0

Standard Non Player Characters

Frontier Legionary
A Frontier Legionary or Limitanei is a lightly armoured Miles of the Empire, manning the garrisons and outposts. Often poorly equipped against the overpowering enemies he may face.
Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 2 Initiative 0
Agility 0 Melee 1
Mind –1 Ranged 1
Appeal 0 Defence 0
Careers
Warrior 1 Forager 1
Protection Light armour d6-3
Weapons Spear d6 +2/+1
Saex d6 +2
Lifeblood 6


Imperial Legionary
An Imperial or Ducal Legionary belongs to the Comitatenses, the core armies of the Empire. They are well equipped elite troops that are brought in for the toughest fights the Empire faces.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 2 Initiative 1
Agility 1 Melee 2
Mind 0 Ranged 1
Appeal 0 Defence 0

Careers
Warrior 2 Horseman 1
Protection Medium armour d6-2, Shield
Weapons 2 Spears d6 +2/+1
Spatha d6H +2
Lifeblood 8

Cataphract
Elite horsemen clad from top to toe in mail and metal.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 2 Initiative 1
Agility 1 Melee 2
Mind 0 Ranged 2
Appeal 1 Defence 0

Careers
Warrior 2 Horseman 2
Protection Heavy armour d6-1, Cavalry Helmet, Shield
Weapons Great Spears d6H +2
Spatha d6H +2
Lifeblood 9

Imperial Paladin
Elite legionaries tied to the palace of the Emperor - the Schola Palatinae.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 2 Initiative 2
Agility 1 Melee 3
Mind 1 Ranged 2
Appeal 1 Defence 0

Careers
Warrior 3 Horseman 3
Protection Medium armour d6-2, Cavalry Helmet, Shield
Weapons Great Spears d6H +2
Spatha d6H +2
Lifeblood 9

Germanic Raider
Tribal warriors belonging to the raiding forces of the great germanic tribes of the Mirkwood.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 1 Initiative 2
Agility 1 Melee 2
Mind 1 Ranged 1
Appeal 1 Defence 1

Careers
Warrior 1 Scavenger 1
Protection Light armour d6-3, Shield
Weapons Spear d6 +2
Saex d6L +2
Lifeblood 6

Last edited by Peter (4/10/2017 5:02 am)

 

4/13/2017 10:03 am  #2


Re: Beasts of Mirkwood

Wow! Nice writeups.

 

4/19/2017 3:46 am  #3


Re: Beasts of Mirkwood

roryb wrote:

Wow! Nice writeups.

Thank you

     Thread Starter
 

5/12/2017 9:28 am  #4


Re: Beasts of Mirkwood

Wow! There you are with a temporary loss of internet access and then you finally get back online and see such good stuff.

​I loved the salmon and other small critters being included as a source of shapeshifting forms. twe always need more mundane animal stats.

​As I believe I mentioned before in another thread, the Age of Atilla  is the part of your time period that mostly interests me. Therefore I'd like perhaps a more accurate list of late Roman soldier types (javlin cavalry always remained important for example) but that is easy enough to put together from easily available sources.

​Nevertheless, this is really good stuff. All I can say is...More!


My real name is Steve
 

5/20/2017 3:07 am  #5


Re: Beasts of Mirkwood

So very useful.  Thanks.


Where's my axe?
 

6/03/2017 7:31 am  #6


Re: Beasts of Mirkwood

Gruntfuttock wrote:

Wow! There you are with a temporary loss of internet access and then you finally get back online and see such good stuff.

​I loved the salmon and other small critters being included as a source of shapeshifting forms. twe always need more mundane animal stats.

​As I believe I mentioned before in another thread, the Age of Atilla  is the part of your time period that mostly interests me. Therefore I'd like perhaps a more accurate list of late Roman soldier types (javlin cavalry always remained important for example) but that is easy enough to put together from easily available sources.

​Nevertheless, this is really good stuff. All I can say is...More!

Thank you I'll definitely look into developing troop types a little (maybe both imperial and other) - although I do want to strike a balance between historical accuracy and evoking a more mythical feel, so it might still be at a pretty general level.

     Thread Starter
 

6/03/2017 9:37 am  #7


Re: Beasts of Mirkwood

Maybe this would be sufficient to cover everything from Hunnic tribesman to Equites Sagitarrius. And adding Darts/Plumbata to Cataphracts could cover the use of light missile arms by heavy Roman Cavalry

Horseback Raider
From the Horse Archers of the Scythian Plain to the light cavalry of the Empire, a horseback raider relies on his mount, on speed and on hit and run tactics. They are lightly armoured and rely on light spears and ranged weapons such as bows or darts.

Attributes Combat Abilities
Strength 1 Initiative 2
Agility 2 Melee 0
Mind 1 Ranged 2
Appeal 1 Defence 0

Careers
Horseman 2 Scavenger 1
Protection Shield
Weapons Saex d6 +2
Dart d6L/Bow d6/Spear d6
Lifeblood 6

Would this work?

Last edited by Peter (6/03/2017 9:38 am)

     Thread Starter
 

6/04/2017 4:36 am  #8


Re: Beasts of Mirkwood

I agree that retaining a mythical feel is key to your project - I very much approve.

I suppose it's just that I know a bit about the late Roman army, and also that in any game I run based at least partly in the real world, I like to start from an accurate base before adding in all the weird stuff. My comments up thread are more about my approach to games rather than a criticism of your approach. I think what you've produced is first rate.

​I think your Horse Raider/Light Cavalryman is a good addition - it does the job.


My real name is Steve
 

6/04/2017 5:48 pm  #9


Re: Beasts of Mirkwood

Gruntfuttock wrote:

I agree that retaining a mythical feel is key to your project - I very much approve.

I suppose it's just that I know a bit about the late Roman army, and also that in any game I run based at least partly in the real world, I like to start from an accurate base before adding in all the weird stuff. My comments up thread are more about my approach to games rather than a criticism of your approach. I think what you've produced is first rate.

​I think your Horse Raider/Light Cavalryman is a good addition - it does the job.

Thank you - I really appreciate the input and the expertise on the late roman army - keep it coming, I'd be really grateful for more suggestions

I think I should also have a bestiary entry covering Saxons and other north sea/rhine pirates or proto-vikings:

Sea Wolf
The shores of northern Germania and Britannia, as well as the great rivers of the Mirkwood, are infested with boat-borne raiders. Some sail small hide coracles, others row sleek longboats.

Attributes        Combat Abilities
Strength     1     Initiative 2
Agility         1     Melee 2
Mind        1     Ranged 2
Appeal        1    Defence 1

Careers
Seafarer 2    Warrior 1
Protection     Shield
Weapons      Saex d6 +2
        Spear d6
Lifeblood      9

     Thread Starter
 

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