Saturday, December 29, 2018

Number Appearing & Distribution

With this and the one before, I'm working on a few side-pages for the Bestiary to explain the descriptions on the monster charts I put up last year.  I've been lax about doing this, but I get to everything eventually.  However, Pandred asking me to make some monsters earlier in the month whetted my appetite so I'm trying to get these things together.  This is a work in progress, but we have to start somewhere.

On any monster chart in the Bestiary, the number appearing indicates how many individuals of that monster will normally appear within a two-mile hex. Thus, in the example on the right, the number of camels that would be foraging in a hex of that size would number 3-12.

This number will be distributed in various patterns depending on the behaviour of the monster. These patterns include:
  • Tight group: in a cluster moving closely together, usually less than one body length apart, frequently touching one another.
  • Group: in a body moving one to three body lengths apart, usually in the same direction, highly conscious of one another.
  • Loose Group: in a collection moving four to seven body lengths apart, generally in the same direction with stragglers. Beta-male groups are sometimes distinct from the alpha-male with females group.
  • Scattered Group: creatures gather in groups of 2-4, often out of sight or unrelated to each other, foraging or hunting over a very wide area. Separate groups gather together seasonally for mating.
  • Scattered: creatures may appear singly or in family pairs, mating with other singles or remaining alone through their lives.
  • Widely scattered: nearly always encountered as individuals.
The chances of any camels being in such a hex (because often a hex should have no monsters of that type at all) is equal to the relative power of the monster. For that we use the following formula:

"SA" denotes special abilities, so the formula below the line for the wild camel would be 1 special ability (spit) plus the square root of 3 HD, a total of 2.73. Then, 2 to the power of 2.73, over 1, equals 0.151, or a 15.1% chance that the two-mile hex includes a herd of wild camels.

Desirably, once we could calculate all the creatures present in a given hex, a ranger with sufficient sage knowledge would be able to explore such a hex in a few days and identify the spoor of most of the natural animals present, even if they were not actually seen. Should a particular kind of monster with many appearing be indicated, obviously these would be quite easy to find. However, a single highly dangerous monster might take a long time to root out ~ if its presence could even be detected.

For what monsters appear in what environments, I need to make a page for Range (monster habitats), which I'll be working on this afternoon.


Ozymandias said...

Stealing this formula.

Any chance you can expound on the reasoning behind it?

Alexis Smolensk said...

The formula is untested. I'm simply looking for a formula that will make some sorts of simple monsters & animals virtually always present (deer, for instance), while precluding the possibility that every urban hex would include, say, at least one iron golem. Having a calculation that will fit across the board for every kind of monster imaginable is probably nigh impossible, but the idea would be that creatures with a lot of special abilities should occur with much less frequency ~ whereas something like an elephant, which is more hit die than special ability, won't be shut out in the process.