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.

2 comments:

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.