Thursday, December 8, 2011
Dungeon Dogs and Dungeon Cats Living Together… Mass Hysteria!
In Monster Manual 2 they included stats for a normal Cat giving it AC 6, 1-5 hit points, a bite attack for 1-2 damage and a claw attack that does 1 point of damage. They can also get all up in your grill with a rear claw attack for an extra 1-2 points of damage. Keep in mind the average person only has AC 9 or 10, 1-4 hit points, and a single attack each round. Simply put it's more dangerous being attacked by a house cat than it is by the local ruffian.
And I think most people would agree those are ridiculous stats. The AC and hit points aren't that bad (fast, agile, 9-lives, whatever) but it's attack should be at most 1 hit point of damage a round. Maybe something like d2-1. Cat's really can hurt people if they want to… but let's not be silly.
However the other over powered animal companion that seems to get less criticism is a dog.
A wild dog is 1+1 hit dice, AC 7 and does 1-4 damage. Okay… I can maybe see that for a large dog. Although it's still sort of crazy powerful when you compare it to the village tough guy. I guess if you want them to be scary it's okay though.
Now a war dog has 2+2 hit dice, AC6 (armour?) and does 2d4 damage. WTF? That's *better* than a soldier wearing leather armour with a sword and shield. Against an unarmed villager or wounded combatant then a war dog is pretty scary stuff… but against someone with a sword & shield? Maybe if it's a mechanical dog or something… but not any sort of non sci-fi / magical dog.
So not surprisingly players wisely bring packs of dogs with them on adventures instead of hiring retainers. They're twice as good and they don't ask for any treasure!
In the same way that cats needed to be seriously scaled down in power I think dogs do as well. I'll be using the wild dog stats for wolves and war dogs and lowering those numbers for smaller less aggressive animals.