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Bestiary Submit your favorite original creatures for others to use in their own Traveller campaigns.

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Old March 24th, 2016, 05:48 AM
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Default Animal Damage and Combat

I am working on a different system of handling animal damage and combat, and while the combat table is not that bad, animal damage is.

The Classic Traveller system is X number of dice to unconscious and an additional Y number of dice to death. The problem I have with that is, while my hunting library is definitely not exhaustive, I think that I do have sufficient material for a developing a reasonable system. In going through my material, aside from a couple of cases of Cape Buffalo being temporarily knocked out by hunters trying for brain shots and hitting the boss of the horns, a large eland downed temporarily by a shot hitting one of the spinal projections, and elephants where the hunter has tried for a brain shot with a heavy rifle, hit the skull but not the brain, and temporarily knocks out the elephants, I just do not find cases of animals being reduced to unconsciousness prior to being killed. I should note that, in none of the cases mentioned, was the animal anywhere near fatally hurt. For animals, it appears to be either you kill them, or you do not, although they may be able to escape to die later of their wounds. That is not a given however.

The second problem is determining damage. I understand that it is possible to kill an African Elephant with a brain shot from a 6.5mm rifle using full-jacketed round-nose bullets. To do that requires a fantastic shot, considering that Bell and Selous were using iron sights, and animals that have not really been shot up before. I have worked up a graduated damage table based on animal mass, but it still looks like some minimum power of weapon should be needed to kill a land animal. Aerial flyers are a different category, and sea creatures have an incredible size range, making them very hard to cover. If you allow for dinosaur-type fauna, then you can get into some very large land animals as well. Samuel Baker, at times, used a rifle firing a one-half pound explosive projectile on elephants, and it consistently resulted in one-shot kills. Something on that order might be needed for one-shot kills on dinosaur-sized fauna.

Then there is the type of damage inflicted verses the animal. Somehow, using a laser carbine on a full-grown mammoth just does not compute. When running it through as a thought experiment, I keep coming up with it approximating shooting through several layers of ablative armor while getting the mammoth throughly annoyed with the firer. I am not a fan of energy weapons, but using them on large animals just does not work for me at all.

Take the large 24 ton swimming grazer on page 41 or Supplement 2, Animal Encounters. The damage to unconsciousness is 36, with 4 more points needed to kill, so a total of 40. A shotgun inflicts 4D6, a laser carbine 4D6, and an laser rifle 5D6 points of damage regardless of range. Based on average rolls, 4 or 5 hits from a shotgun or laser carbine, or 3 to 4 hits from a laser rifle should kill said grazer. Note, 24 tons would be a moderate size sperm whale or a small bowhead whale. On a bowhead, you might be shooting through 12 inches or so of blubber, before even beginning to hit muscle, and that is with the laser, forget. please, the shotgun. As for the sperm whale, if it decides that you are unfavorably disposed, it might just head straight for you for an up-close and very personal visit. Take a look at the construction of the head of a sperm whale, and then try to convince yourself that you would be inflicting lethal damage with head on shots. I have three recorded cases of whaling ships of over 100 feet in length being sunk by sperm whales ramming them, and then apparently swimming off. For creatures that size, you are not considering hand weapons, except for maybe the classic harpoon, lance, and bomb gun firing explosive shells. The use of those does pose a "moderate" amount of risk to the user.
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Last edited by timerover51; March 24th, 2016 at 05:54 AM.. Reason: Correcting Wording
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