Trained Dogs (v1.0) - Feedback welcome

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zcthu3
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Inscription : 13 juil. 2014, 00:14

Trained Dogs (v1.0) - Feedback welcome

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Message par zcthu3 » 12 oct. 2014, 04:22

So, a couple of weeks into my SoE game (going well so far!), a couple of the PCs are wanting trained dogs to accompany them. I actually quite like this idea as it seems to fit with my vision of the world, but having been thinking about how to model it. Here is a draft of what I have come up with so far. I did consider whether there should be an xp cost, but in the end decided that the PCs would be needing to spend xp investing in the skill (and dogs, using wolf stats are reasonably fragile).

Play testing this tonight, but feedback welcome.

Training Dogs v 1.0
Dogs can be trained to do ‘tricks’. Each ‘trick’ takes a month of intensive training, and requires a successful Animal Training roll against the listed difficulty. If purchasing adult dogs (per the price list in Book 1), Dogs start with the Common Commands already trained. Guard dogs start with the Common Commands and the Guard trick. If the trainer obtains the dog as a puppy their gain +2 on their Animal Training rolls but the dog comes untrained in any tricks.

Issuing a command in a combat situation reduces the character’s Speed by 2 for that turn. Where the target is particularly fearsome (e.g. some feonds), the character may also need to make an Animal Training roll against a difficulty set by the GM. GMs should use the Mental Resistance chart to determine the difficulty. If the character did not train the dog personally (i.e. they bought it trained), then they are at -2 to the roll. If they personally trained it from when it was a puppy, they are at +2 on the roll.

Tricks
The following tricks can be trained by anyone using the Natural Environment skill.

• Common Commands (Standard: 11): Sit, Stay, Come and Heel. If trying to train multiple common commands at once, the difficulty is increased one grade per additional trick (i.e. training Sit and Stay is Complicated (14), while training all four at once is Very Difficult (20).

The following tricks can only be trained by someone with the Animal Training Discipline.

• Attack (Complicated: 14): The dog will attack a particular target when commanded by its master, ignoring other targets to do so (including anything attacking the dog). The dog must choose an offensive stance while attacking in this way.

o Hold & Worry (Difficult: 17. Prerequisite = Attack): The dog will attack a target (as per Attack) but will not release the target if successful. The initial attack does damage normally but the dog cannot attack again until its target is either dead or it otherwise releases its target. The dog is at -2 Defence until it releases the target but continues to do its base damage (2) each round it holds on. The target is at -2 to Speed, Defence, Feats and any attack rolls with a weapon larger than a dagger. Treat attempting to shake off the dog as if it were a disengage action, although the target does not manage to escape the fight completely, merely to dislodge the dog.

 Take Down (Very Difficult: 20. Prerequisite = Hold & Worry): The dog attacks (as per Hold & Worry) but targets and holds the legs in order to drag its target to the ground. The target takes must make a Feats roll v the dog’s attack. On a failed roll the target is pulled prone. While the dog continues to hold and worry the prone target they suffers an additional -2 penalty (stacking with Hold & Worry; i.e. -4) to Speed, Defence and attack rolls with anything larger than a dagger. The target cannot stand up until it has either shaken off the dog or killed it. The dog will continue to Hold & Worry the target until commanded to release them.

 Disarm (Very Difficult: 20. Prerequisite = Hold & Worry): The dog attacks a target (as per Hold & Worry) but will target whichever hand is holding something (excepting a shield). Where the target is holding an item in each hand, dogs are typically trained to target the right hand first. The target must make an Attack or Feats roll versus the dog’s attack (whichever is more appropriate). On a failed roll they drop whatever they are holding in the targeted hand. The dog will continue to Hold & Worry the target until commanded to release them.

• Guard (Complicated: 14): The dog is trained to “Guard” a location/thing. While guarding they maintain a heightened level of alertness and can add their Potential to Perception. While guarding however, they subtract their potential from Defence as they are limited in how far they are willing to move. After the first round of a fight, they are considered to no longer be “guarding”.

• Herd (Complicated: 14): The dog is trained to herd a target or targets without harming it/them. The dog cannot assume an offensive posture while doing so. If a roll is required to determine success, the dog uses its Attack roll as a ‘persuasion’ roll.

• Track (Complicated: 14): The dog is trained to track a particular scent. While guarding they maintain a heightened level of alertness for the particular scent they are looking for and can add twice their Potential to Perception while looking for that particular scent. While tracking however, they subtract their potential from both Speed and Defence if they are surprised as they are not focused on their surrounds. After the first round of combat, they are no longer considered to be “tracking.”

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SeigneurAo
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Re: Trained Dogs (v1.0) - Feedback welcome

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Message par SeigneurAo » 12 oct. 2014, 07:56

This is very interesting and nicely done work, indeed.
I wonder if anyone would ever try it on Feondas... In which case, I highly doubt anyone would live to tell the tale.

Very well thought and put, nonetheless, bravo !

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Clovis
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Re: Trained Dogs (v1.0) - Feedback welcome

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Message par Clovis » 13 oct. 2014, 16:36

I think that's good design! As far as XP costs are concerned, I believe whatever the Character chooses to invest in the Animal Training Discipline (which should, in my opinion, be necessary to be able to train a dog; general knowledge through Natural Environment is not enough) is sufficient.

However, in that regard, I think Animal Training rolls should also be required to issue orders to a trained dog: having him be fully trained should not be enough for anyone to give it orders, as doing so still requires some knowledge about animal behavior.

My suggestion is that the Difficulty Threshold to order a trained dog to perform a Trick should be the same as the one to train the dog into knowing said Trick, minus two Difficulty increments. For example, ordering a dog to Sit would require a Routine (5) (I know there is no "Routine" Difficulty Threshold according to the book, but let's just say it's the one right below "Easy") Animal Training roll (since it's a rather basic order) whereas ordering one to Disarm would require a Complicated (14) Animal Training roll.

If the roll is a failure, the dog is simply confused, or reluctant to perform the task. On a critical failure, the dog reacts erratically, doing the opposite of what it has been instructed, running away, baying wildly, or even attacking its owner, depending on the circumstances. A critical success may mean that the dog understands the instructions and is willing to carry them out particularly well, resulting in a +4 bonus for its next action.

I think it would be an interesting addition to your system, and would make the Animal Handling Discipline all the more interesting for Players to develop.


On a side note, you may also want to add XPs for the dogs (or any other trained animal). A trained animal gains between 0 and 3 XPs each scenario according to how involved it was; 0 if it was not present at all, 1 if its presence had no particular significance, 2 it it proved helpful, and 3 if its presence made a big difference. The XP can then be spent to improve the animal's stats: 10 XPs for +1 in one of the animal's skills.

This is similar to what iznurda has described in his very interesting thread about familiars, called Playing with Familiars. If you can read French, it's an interesting read!


I hope you'll find my suggestions helpful!
Allez, come on, allons-y, here we go, en avant, godspeed, hardi, let's do this!

zcthu3
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Inscription : 13 juil. 2014, 00:14

Re: Trained Dogs (v1.0) - Feedback welcome

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Message par zcthu3 » 13 oct. 2014, 18:41

Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately I am one of those unfortunate mono-lingual people (other than a smattering of Maori being a Kiwi), so can't read French :oops:

I have incorporated your suggestions into v1.1 (below). I have capped the increase to Speed at +5 and Attack, Defence and Skills at +10. I was pondering whether the cost should increase (like PC increases to Speed and Defence), but decided that the lesser amount of XP should off set that.

---------------------------

Shadows of Esteren – Training for Dogs (v1.1)


Dogs can be trained to do ‘tricks’. Each ‘trick’ takes a month of intensive training, and requires a successful Animal Training roll against the listed difficulty. If purchasing adult dogs (per the price list in Book 1), Dogs start with the Common Commands already trained. Guard dogs start with the Common Commands and the Guard trick. If the trainer obtains the dog as a puppy their gain +2 on their Animal Training rolls but the dog comes untrained in any tricks.

Issuing a command in a combat situation reduces the character’s Speed by 2 for that turn and requires an Animal Training (Natural Environment) roll at two difficulty grades less (i.e Difficult (17) becomes Standard (11), Very Difficult (20) becomes Complicated (14)). Where the target is particularly fearsome (e.g. some feonds), the difficulty may be higher as determined by the GM. If the character did not train the dog personally (i.e. they bought it trained), then they are at -2 to the roll. If they personally trained it from when it was a puppy, they are at +2 on the roll. If the roll is a failure, the dog is confused, or reluctant to perform the task. On a critical failure, the dog reacts erratically, doing the opposite of what it has been instructed, running away, baying wildly, or even attacking its owner, depending on the circumstances. A critical success may mean that the dog understands the instructions and is willing to carry them out particularly well, resulting in a +4 bonus for its next action.

Improving Dogs
A trained animal gains between 0 and 3 XPs each scenario according to how involved it was; 0 if it was not present at all, 1 if its presence had no particular significance, 2 if it proved helpful, and 3 if its presence made a big difference. The XP can then be spent to improve the animal's stats: 10 XPs for +1 in one of the animal's skills (up to a maximum of +5 for Speed and +10 for Attack, Defence and skills).

Tricks
The following tricks can be trained by anyone using the Natural Environment skill.

• Common Commands (Standard: 11): Sit, Stay, Come and Heel. If trying to train multiple common commands at once, the difficulty is increased one grade per additional trick (i.e. training Sit and Stay is Complicated (14), while training all four at once is Very Difficult (20).

The following tricks can only be trained by someone with the Animal Training Discipline.

• Attack (Complicated: 14): The dog will attack a particular target when commanded by its master, ignoring other targets to do so (including anything attacking the dog). The dog must choose an offensive stance while attacking in this way.

o Hold & Worry (Difficult: 17. Prerequisite = Attack): The dog will attack a target (as per Attack) but will not release the target if successful. The initial attack does damage normally but the dog cannot attack again until its target is either dead or it otherwise releases its target. The dog is at -2 Defence until it releases the target but continues to do its base damage (2) each round it holds on. The target is at -2 to Speed, Defence, Feats and any attack rolls with a weapon larger than a dagger. Treat attempting to shake off the dog as if it were a disengage action, although the target does not manage to escape the fight completely, merely to dislodge the dog.

 Take Down (Very Difficult: 20. Prerequisite = Hold & Worry): The dog attacks (as per Hold & Worry) but targets and holds the legs in order to drag its target to the ground. The target takes must make a Feats roll v the dog’s attack. On a failed roll the target is pulled prone. While the dog continues to hold and worry the prone target they suffers an additional -2 penalty (stacking with Hold & Worry; i.e. -4) to Speed, Defence and attack rolls with anything larger than a dagger. The target cannot stand up until it has either shaken off the dog or killed it. The dog will continue to Hold & Worry the target until commanded to release them.

 Disarm (Very Difficult: 20. Prerequisite = Hold & Worry): The dog attacks a target (as per Hold & Worry) but will target whichever hand is holding something (excepting a shield). Where the target is holding an item in each hand, dogs are typically trained to target the right hand first. The target must make an Attack or Feats roll versus the dog’s attack (whichever is more appropriate). On a failed roll they drop whatever they are holding in the targeted hand. The dog will continue to Hold & Worry the target until commanded to release them.

• Guard (Complicated: 14): The dog is trained to “Guard” a location/thing. While guarding they maintain a heightened level of alertness and can add their Potential to Perception. While guarding however, they subtract their potential from Defence as they are limited in how far they are willing to move. After the first round of a fight, they are considered to no longer be “guarding”.

• Herd (Complicated: 14): The dog is trained to herd a target or targets without harming it/them. The dog cannot assume an offensive posture while doing so. If a roll is required to determine success, the dog uses its Attack roll as a ‘persuasion’ roll.

• Track (Complicated: 14): The dog is trained to track a particular scent. While guarding they maintain a heightened level of alertness for the particular scent they are looking for and can add twice their Potential to Perception while looking for that particular scent. While tracking however, they subtract their potential from both Speed and Defence if they are surprised as they are not focused on their surrounds. After the first round of combat, they are no longer considered to be “tracking.”

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Erich
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Re: Trained Dogs (v1.0) - Feedback welcome

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Message par Erich » 18 oct. 2014, 04:59

We're starting a new campaign today that focuses on investigation (inspired by Cadfael), so I'll ask my GM if he'd be willing to run these rules too for my character. If he allows it, I'll definitely leave feedback. The style of this GM is very non-combat, so I'll also bring up what the more common "tricks" become in such a style.

zcthu3
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Message par zcthu3 » 18 oct. 2014, 10:33

That would be awesome thanks. I am sure there are other tricks; these were just the ones I thought of when talking to what my players were looking at. Currently they still haven't seen much use to be honest (they're not good enough trainers).

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Clovis
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Message par Clovis » 18 oct. 2014, 14:29

I think there is no limit to what you can teach a dog, as long as it's a reasonably routine task. It's just that for some things, the task to accomplish can be unintuitive that a lot of time and talent will be required to make the dog grasp what is expected of it.

Additionally, keep in mind that Animal Handling rolls should also be requested in situations where the dog may be prone to disobedience, such as keeping it in check when it is starving, or making it cross a very narrow ledge. Playing such details will make the dog more than just an asset on the PC's character sheet; it will make it an integral part of the game!
Allez, come on, allons-y, here we go, en avant, godspeed, hardi, let's do this!

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