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DM questions about animals vs spells


Beginner Box


I am DMing a group that has been battling boars and wolves and I am wondering how to properly play the animals. If a grease is cast between the monsters and the players, will the animal walk around it?

How will they react to illusionary sounds? A big bang I don't think would scare them. The players tried to get them to chase the sounds of people talking. Any other tactics that should work?

This is their first time playing so I am going to give them hints of what works and what doesn't.

Shadow Lodge

Animals are minimally intelligent, but they're not completely mindless. They're smart enough to walk around a grease spell if they notice the grease, though if the animals are already charging forwards they might not see it in time to stop. In this case, you'd probably catch at least the first one or two animals, with the others changing course after that.

A suitably loud sound might scare them, especially if it's the sound made by a natural predator. If the boars in a particular forest are frequently hunted by a nearby dragon, for example, a dragon screech might cause them to bolt. I don't know of any animal that would chase the sound of people talking. Normally, it's advisable to talk loudly when hiking in order to scare away animals that normally avoid people. Of course, animals that are bold enough to attack a group of armed humans are probably not going to scare as easily as most real-world creatures, so the last two points may not hold for the animals your players are fighting.

General advice: If your characters come up with something clever, err on the side of letting it work. You usually want to reward good strategy.


Also note which animals have the Scent ability (assuming beginner's box has that... if not, make a good guess; for example wolves and cats do; mainly any predator will). Creatures with this ability will not be tricked as easily by purely visual or auditor illusions as they don't put much faith in eyesight.

Also remember with animals, if the players run away then the animals will probably not follow. They are going to be guarding their nests or dens or young ones or recent kill more than trying to kill players.

As for Grease... They'd probably steer around it if they have time to notice, but as Weirdo said, it wouldn't be noticed by a charging boar.

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