I need a critter. :)

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
cunningrat
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I need a critter. :)

Postby cunningrat » Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:56 pm

Newbie referree here, still trying to figure out how best to balance opposition.
I need a critter that is (a) small enough to take residence in a crashed starship, (b) can (en masse) pose a serious threat to characters in combat armor, (c) is not psionic and (d) isn't a chamax. (I am saving Chamax for an adventure centered around them).

I could, of course, just throw some stats together. But, in a hard-ish sci-fi setting I am having trouble justifying any medium-sized critter biting for more than 4D damage, or having AP jaws, or anything like that. Especially since the planet is a shirtsleeves environment. So I guess what I am looking for are "innovative ways of inflicting harm" that can bypass armor.

Published critters would be best -- I own most 2E materials -- but I will gladly take other ideas.
PsiTraveller
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Nov 21, 2021 12:18 am

A cute critter with a tongue that has a surface like a gympie gympie plant, the plant that makes you kill yourself. The cute little critter is found in the ship, and is taken back to the players ship. Once the players remove armor and play with the cute critter it licks them and the pain starts, and does not end.

https://www.discovery.com/nature/Suicide-Plant

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg-GLwJ8Emk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrocnide_moroides
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Arkathan
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby Arkathan » Sun Nov 21, 2021 12:32 am

The Chamax.
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NOLATrav
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby NOLATrav » Sun Nov 21, 2021 5:27 am

Some kind of boa constrictor that does increasing damage per round after it hits. It’s small to medium, they attack in groups of 1D3+1, 1D per round cumulative damage each, you have to kill it to stop the constriction. If you miss it you might hit yourself… Alternatively locking jaws that increase in damage once a successful hit is achieved.

Stampede attacks to knock their prey down, once down they trample the prey gaining extra damage/attacks…

Pretty butterflies that flutter about and land on a limb, hypnotically pulsing wings creating a velvet swirl of colors. They seem harmless but after a few rounds, like mosquitos, they can bypass protections for small damage stings or stun damage or if enough hit, a level of fatigue…

A symbiotic twosome where one creature traps or entangles the prey and it’s adjunct poisons/stuns the prey. Probably they emit pheromones to attract others to the prey…
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ShawnDriscoll
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sun Nov 21, 2021 7:09 am

cunningrat wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:56 pm
But, in a hard-ish sci-fi setting I am having trouble justifying any medium-sized critter biting for more than 4D damage, or having AP jaws, or anything like that. Especially since the planet is a shirtsleeves environment. So I guess what I am looking for are "innovative ways of inflicting harm" that can bypass armor.
Without knocking the Travellers out first before eating away at them, it is pretty tricky if using hard-ish sci-fi. Do a Google search for Sirene Geest Worm and see if it has a cousin.
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby Gavain » Sun Nov 21, 2021 10:24 am

You can always do the damage before the players put on their armour. I had cat sized creatures that invaded the players ship and took out the wiring. If that happens to be the recharging point for the battle dress then the players will have to fight without.
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IanBruntlett
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby IanBruntlett » Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:13 pm

cunningrat wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 9:56 pm
Newbie referree here, still trying to figure out how best to balance opposition.
Published critters would be best -- I own most 2E materials -- but I will gladly take other ideas.
Coming from an AD&D 2e background, most of my previous adventures were relatively combat heavy.

Combat in Traveller is, in my opinion, lethal. So, you may get player characters wandering around in combat armour annihilating any opposition in a blaze of fury.

However, there are a few ways around this:-
* If the PCs are massacring any opposition on a regular basis, eventually someone survives and informs the authorities. Or incriminating CCTV evidence was found afterwards. The PCs get pursued, caught, and sentenced and suddenly you've got them in prison. This module might help: https://www.mongoosepublishing.com/adve ... ebook.html

* If the PCs are storming around a space port, local Police will call up SWAT teams for help who in turn will call up the local Marines for help. That should make for an interesting combat heavy scenario :)

* Even if the PCs are minding their own business, the authorities in a space port might not allow visitors to wander around in combat armour.
-- My writings : https://sites.google.com/site/ianbruntlett
-- ACCU - Professionalism in programming - http://accu.org
-- Free Software Page : https://sites.google.com/site/ianbruntl ... e-software
cunningrat
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby cunningrat » Sun Nov 21, 2021 11:23 pm

IanBruntlett wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:13 pm
Combat in Traveller is, in my opinion, lethal. So, you may get player characters wandering around in combat armour annihilating any opposition in a blaze of fury.
That's not actually the problem I'm having. :) My players don't do that, *ever*, not in any game that we've played. The worst thing they've come up with in that arena is 3D printing disposable crappy body pistols to carry in high-Law areas, just in case. They don't wear combat armor unless they're (a) in a place where that's appropriate and (b) actively expecting trouble.In this case -- trying to find a crashed starship within a jungle that teems with very active, aggressive and toothy wildlife -- combat armor is entirely appropriate.

When I said I was having issues with balancing opposition, I simply meant "I don't have an intuitive sense yet of how all the numbers work together; I don't know whether a certain set of stats would be lethal, somewhat challenging, or a cakewalk." And, in this case, "I am having trouble coming up with a set of stats that I think would be challenging given the paradigm."
Garran
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby Garran » Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:03 am

The problem that I see with the scenario that you're proposing is that anyone not in combat armor is going to get slaughtered by anything that's geared toward threatening anyone who is in it.

If everyone's in combat armor at all times, fine, but that's a fairly unusual circumstance in most games.

The other issue is that if opposition is always calibrated to deal with the best defenses the PCs have then they might as well not bother with defenses. (It's the automatic level scaling problem from CRPGs in tabletop form.)


It is probably better to have creatures that aren't much of a threat to people in combat armor but a menace to anyone who isn't protected so that the people in combat armor actually have something to do with their fancy kit (protect the weaker ones), bearing in mind that most creatures don't want to get killed and will back off in the face of serious opposition - which the PCs have to be vigilant about maintaining. That's a scenario that manages to be threatening (or at least ominous) without simply turning it into a "who runs out of health first" slugfest.
cunningrat
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Re: I need a critter. :)

Postby cunningrat » Mon Nov 22, 2021 4:34 pm

Garran wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:03 am
It is probably better to have creatures that aren't much of a threat to people in combat armor but a menace to anyone who isn't protected so that the people in combat armor actually have something to do with their fancy kit (protect the weaker ones), bearing in mind that most creatures don't want to get killed and will back off in the face of serious opposition - which the PCs have to be vigilant about maintaining. That's a scenario that manages to be threatening (or at least ominous) without simply turning it into a "who runs out of health first" slugfest.
Oooh. That is an excellent idea, thank you!

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