Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lawful Beastmen

I was thinking about it in the shower, and realized that I could totally reskin bugbears as panther warriors, because they're sneaky like cats and hit pretty hard from ambush, and they're about three times tougher than a 1st-level human.

One thought led to another, and I got to wondering: if I were a high-level, lawful wizard in ACKS, and there were a horde of beastmen threatening my isolated domain, maybe I'd consider breeding me some non-chaotic beastmen.  Get some paladin volunteers, tell 'em I'll give them the hearts of lions, and do some mad science.  Sure, they'd technically come out Neutral under the crossbreeding rules, but there is a time and place for breaking some rules.

And you know, Thrassian Gladiator would be an easy, easy conversion to Lion Knight.  Swap out swimming, darkvision, ranged weapons, and maybe a little natural armor for abilities like protection from evil, immunity to fear, alertness, and roar (cause fear).  The real question is what to do about Inhumanity.  Sure, you're a 7' tall, 300lb pile of teeth and claws, but you're also plastered in holy symbols and you radiate an aura of courage.

I almost like leaving Inhumanity, though.  It's part of the sacrifice.  Sometimes you must abandon that which you wish to protect.  And if Cha is a prime req, maybe the penalty is recoverable.

Drawing from European heraldry for "good beasts", there's also room for eagle-men, and soldier-bears are already well-established in the OSR.  Dog-headed men seem more chaotic in mythology, with the notable exception of Saint Christopher (who was mistranslated; however, the section on dog-headed men in the Medieval East does have two wonderful suggestions for character names: "Reprobate" and "Abominable").

I also like this addition of lawful beastmen because I can put them on random encounter tables and stock wilderness with monastery-fortresses of lion-men.  Leaving Inhumanity means they probably leave humans alone for the most part, but they serve as a source of recruitable (strong) troops during the wilderness levels.  One issue we've had previously is that all wilderness-recruitable troops were at best very Neutral, and the only ones really available in quantity were chaotic beastmen.  Adding lawful beastmen, particularly to Borderlands regions, might make gathering a lawful army a bit more viable at the mid-levels (though they should probably be few in number, because high HD and ability to use formations is a very powerful combination).

4 comments:

susanbrindle said...

I arrived at the same conclusion! I like the idea of Wolfmen as Lawful Rude. Wolves are pack-oriented and organized.

John said...

Well that gives us Aslan and Vargr, in the Traveller tradition...

AM said...

Awesome! I love your blog - just so many good ideas pouring on here.

John said...

Thanks Alex!