Animals, weapons, and armour

Ashtagon's homebrew rules set.

Animals, weapons, and armour

Postby Sock Puppet » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:36 pm

The various Weapon proficiency and Armour proficiency feats have no minimum requirement in terms of Intelligence. However, animals don't have a surplus of feats, and so cannot easily acquire them. Even warhorses are technically non-proficient with barding, and should by RAW suffer the appropriate penalties. Note that if an animal somehow acquires Armour Proficiency or Weapon Proficiency, the animal does gain the full benefit of the feat (subject to physical limitations; EWP (spiked chain) still isn't much use to a cat, and they still can't dress themselves even with Armour Proficiency). Likewise, if a higher-intelligence creature gets reduced to animal intelligence, then do not lose the feat.

The fix: animal training tricks

Animal Training Trick: Throw Stuff (I, II, III): Certain higher primates have been known to throw stuff. They lack the higher brain functions needed to aim at a moving target, but this talent can be trained into the ability to throw grenade-like weapons at a target space. Their range increment is 5 feet. If they are expected to be able to distinguish between two different ammunition types in the heat of combat, a second animal training trick must be used; distinguishing between three ammunition types in combat will require a third animal training trick. Among real-world animals, only primates can be taught this animal training trick.

Animal training trick: Weapon Use (specific weapon): A single melee weapon can be acquired as a proficient weapon. Such a weapon must be Simple, Light or One-Handed, and its damage type must be either Bludgeoning or Piercing. If it also has a Slashing damage type, it cannot be used in that mode by the animal. A separate animal training trick is required for each such weapon. Among real-world animals, only primates and bears have anything approaching paws suitable for this animal training trick.

Animal training trick: Wear Barding: An animal that is not proficient in an armour suffers the normal penalties for armour non-proficiency. In addition, they will probably resist, and may panic, when their handlers attempt to dress them in the barding. Once dressed, a non-proficient animal may get baulky or attempt (futilely) to remove the armour. Such creatures impose double the usual armour skill check penalty on Handle Animal and Ride checks on their handler or rider.

Note that no animal can ever don or remove their own barding or armour, or use a shield, due to a lack of manual dexterity (manual dexterity is not the same as the Dexterity ability score)

This animal training trick should be considered an integral part of the combat riding animal training trick suite.
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Re: Animals, weapons, and armour

Postby Gecko » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:26 am

Sock Puppet wrote:The various Weapon proficiency and Armour proficiency feats have no minimum requirement in terms of Intelligence. However, animals don't have a surplus of feats, and so cannot easily acquire them. Even warhorses are technically non-proficient with barding, and should by RAW suffer the appropriate penalties. Note that if an animal somehow acquires Armour Proficiency or Weapon Proficiency, the animal does gain the full benefit of the feat (subject to physical limitations; EWP (spiked chain) still isn't much use to a cat, and they still can't dress themselves even with Armour Proficiency). Likewise, if a higher-intelligence creature gets reduced to animal intelligence, then do not lose the feat.

The fix: animal training tricks

Animal training trick: Wear Barding: An animal that is not proficient in an armour suffers the normal penalties for armour non-proficiency. In addition, they will probably resist, and may panic, when their handlers attempt to dress them in the barding. Once dressed, a non-proficient animal may get baulky or attempt (futilely) to remove the armour. Such creatures impose double the usual armour skill check penalty on Handle Animal and Ride checks on their handler or rider.

Note that no animal can ever don or remove their own barding or armour, or use a shield, due to a lack of manual dexterity (manual dexterity is not the same as the Dexterity ability score)

This animal training trick should be considered an integral part of the combat riding animal training trick suite.


I had never thought about barding needing proficiency before your post.

One thing to keep in mind is that an animal "uses" barding differently than a trained combatant utilizes armor. Barding is just there as a physical barrier - the animal doesn't actively use it. Meanwhile a proficient combatant knows, for example, that they can trust that their Manica (armguard) is strong enough to partially absorb an incoming swipe and direct the rest of the force into the couter (elbow guard) which they trust to absorb the remainder of the force of the blow. How would an proficient animal actively use barding?

though the bits about the animal panicing or balking make sense (I just never would of thought to specifically spell it out). Some creatures might just refuse to move until it the barding is removed - ie there's a slew of funny videos where if you put a sweater on a cat the cat will just fall over. Other animals might walk funny - ie again, various funny videos of dogs or cats after someone puts socks/boots on them.

Animal Training Trick: Throw Stuff (I, II, III):


I understand that there is something like this in Dragon Magazine 323, page 101 (I love those index's from Crystalkeep, too bad they made 'em take 'em down)
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