Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Origins of Dinomen

Over on Dungeons on Automatic, the PCs in their campaign fought 16 dinomen.

Dinomen actually originate in my previous GURPS campaign. That game was set on the Known Worlds of D&D, used 3rd edition (revised) GURPS with the two Compendiums and GURPS Martial Arts 2e, and had 150+40+5 point characters. The power level was good, but it's worth noting that most DF character start with ST and skill levels that people ended the game with in my previous game. That game did feature the world's first Heroic Archer (once we'd made a partial changeover to 4e), just as a historical note.

Back in that game, I'd adapted Garks from Rolemaster (specifically, from Cloudlords of Tanara). I used them to replace most generic little fodder - kobolds, xvarts, goblins (since we used GURPS-style PC goblins), mites, etc. I took the idea of small, annoying, animal-like fodder creatures that attack en masse and ran with it. I kept the name "garks" for that game, but didn't really do much stat-wise to convert them. I just liked the idea of them.

When it came time to write Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 1, I knew I wanted to use these guys. I decided they were easier to deal with at SM 0 as a GM than at SM-1, so I moved their size up just a touch so they'd fall into SM 0. I also decided they'd be more fun and more unique as little dinosaur-headed humanoids, and so I made that change. All that really remained of their original inspiration would have been a directly-stolen name, so I changed that as well.

Thus, dinomen.

Their stats are identical to the stats I used in my 3e game. Their leader and champion stats, same thing.

In my previous game, I put a half-dozen 150+40+5 point guys optimized for campaign play, not just straight dungeon-bashing (of which they did little), in tight tunnels against more than 30 of them coming from multiple angles. The PCs beat them, but it was brutal, and included one PC panicking from a spell-induced fear effect and falling down a pit and others getting slashed and bashed by hatches and clubs. It was a tough fight, and "the gark fight" was talked about for a while in that game.

One of the PCs got the leader's magic axe, which was a Quick-Draw hatchet he'd use until the close of the campaign as a fight-starter (and thus, occasional fight finisher as it killed a very surprised foe outright.)

In any case, since I thought 5:1 odds against non-optimized PCs who'd probably have been in the 185-200 point range in 4e (maybe a bit less) was good enough to make them fun, I should emphasize that in the description. Hence the dozens, scores, dozens of scores comment. Against DF opponents, dinomen really need to be deployed in large hordes to even be a little scary.

You can see that too in the Dungeons on Automatic fight description - 16 dinomen resulted in a total massacre. Had they not been surprised . . . it probably would have still been a total massacre. Dinoment are really the picture-perfect DF fodder. Low stats, low damage, low defenses . . . but there are a lot of them, and it only takes a 3 here and a 4 there to inflict sudden, surprising, upsetting damage on the PCs. But you need to deploy a lot of them for this to happen. And if they can't ever come to grips with the PCs, well, they won't even rank that.

My tip on using them would be:

- open spaces, so the PCs can't bottleneck them.
- very large numbers, so the PCs have to worry about FP, HP, and Luck being ablated away as sheer probability results in hits.
- provide them non-dinomen support. An evil wizard*, some trolls who pal around with them, actual dinosaurs, an unholy cleric or two, swarms of giant rats that accompany them looking to feast on the slain, opportunistic ogres. That can force the PCs to put their better fighters against better threats, and risk flank shots or overrun by dinomen.
- overrun. Dinomen who march up to the PCs and slug it out toe-to-toe are dead. So are most of ones who rush into close combat, try to Evade past big front rankers to attack the weaker folks behind them, rush around flanks, push right up into the PCs and make it impossible to drop Area spells on them without collateral damage (simply because they're in the same hexes as your friends), etc . . . but those tactics make these guys a bit scarier.

* Is there any other kind?**

** No.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...