Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Pathfinder Society


Starfinder


Starfinder Society

Dire Squirrels vs Riding Geckos?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


In an otherwise medieval fantasy world there is a city that is built vertically as much as horizontally. The people live in obelisk-like towers of iron and glass, rising above the toxic vapors they produce industrially.

In such a city, it doesn't make much sense to use horses for transportation- they can only move along the ground. They stand no chance of climbing the glass obelisks. But clearly humans can't scale the towers carrying great loads.

So I am left to decide what beast of burden these people use. It can't be high CR (I'm thinking CR 2 at the highest), it can't be carnivorous (otherwise the cost of upkeep would be too great), it can't have more than two INT, it must have a climb speed, and it must be awesome/memorable for the players without breaking the grimdark atmosphere of the city.

Riding Geckos fail on criteria two. Dire squirrels fail on criteria last. Dire snails are vermin, so mindless in pathfinder.

Can you think of an animal or magical beast that fits the criteria? Or an earth animal that can be made dire?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Giant worker ants could be good ordinary beasts of burden, but not for riding since they are size medium. However, you could apply the giant template on the ones being ridden. (Maybe the inhabitants of the city have two breeds - one for riding and one for light draft animals.) Besides, the ants could help with construction.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What about animated objects?


Hmm... how about dire apes, giant chameleons, or giant weasels?


Ants are vermin, so they can't be trained. If you know a way to get around that on a city-wide scale (vermin empathy only works for the person who has the ability) then ants win on cool factor.

Animated objects require highish level magic- something that the average citizen in this setting doesn't have access too. But they'd definitely work for the aristocracy. Probably going to put the aristocracy on them.

Dire apes seem like they should be hard to saddle up and ride. I love the giant chameleons, I'm going to put some wealthy criminals on them. But they're carnivorous, which makes upkeep to expensive for the average citizen.


What about Flying instead of Climbing?
Vapor Wasps have a low intelligence, you could come up with a mutual beneficial agreement with the Queen.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

depends on how smooth and polished the iron and glass surfaces are.

Polished glass is difficult to create enough friction for traction without breaking the surface. Sticking to the surface with suction might go - so;
* air breathing giant ocotopodi?
* air breathing fast moving giant starfish or sea urchins?
* lizard/amphibian with sticky feet
squirrels are right out as they have claws for rough soft textured surfaces (bark).

maybe they can use suction tubes like banks to blow/suck up canisters of people. Just don't stop too fast.

Alternatively, you could fill a vertical tube with water, then people in a glass bubble would naturally rise in it. Buoyancy. You'll need stages as water pressure at the bottom will be very high.

Hot air balloons might be a simple answer.

alternatively - habitrails

All in all you are fighting gravity. A lot of energy to go up.


Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
Ants are vermin, so they can't be trained. If you know a way to get around that on a city-wide scale (vermin empathy only works for the person who has the ability) then ants win on cool factor.

Headband of Vermin Control [1,000 gp]: Spend 10 minutes with vermin of Medium or larger size allows Handle Animal and Ride checks to influence or control that vermin as if it were an animal and had animal-level intelligence.\

Headband of Vermin Control.


A little necromancy could solve your carnivory problems. PF zombies and skeletons don't need to eat, just keep a few alive as a breeding population.

If that doesn't suit look up the giant hissing cockroach.


Ooh, how about megatherium? A giant sloth with a climb speed and herbivorous diet that can carry up to 4800 lbs. as a heavy load. A bit above your preferred CR range, but it would be perfect for mass transport or hauling supplies.


Modify the intelligence of the creature and say its a city-breed of mounts, then use worker ants or giant black widows (without poison or web to lower CR).

Constrictor snakes or riding rats.

Hippogriffs though flight doesn't seem to fit your theme.

Dumber Kirrixes without the disease abilities.

Have specialized bags for people to ride dire apes (like the baby carriers you strap to your chest/back).

Young (renamed Shrunk) Megatherium with an additional -2 to all rolls and no trip/rake as a specific breed made to carry people/goods. Or rebuild with fewer HD.

Giant Frog/Toad that jumps up to platforms or uses pull on specialized patches on the side of the buildings to go up obelisks.


In a setting with as many giant insects as pathfinder, maybe the gecko and/or chameleon can just be put out to graze and thus reduce the cost of upkeep? I must admit, I would work hard to make the geckos work just for the cool factor.


Elevators? (and chutes to drop mass materials)
I mean, there can be other means of transit besides those,
but having those be primary means of transport seems amenable to story-telling.
Not making 3-d transit casual and fully equivalent of normal 2-d transit, but instead a precarious organization subject to limits and controls.
Making 3-d transit completely solved, not a big deal, just not-horses that go up & down too
is just reducing the difference vs. a normal setting, so I'd be less interested.
Whatever those creatures are is a surface detail that you notice once and then don't really care about.


Azothoth wrote:
Squirrels are right out as they have claws for rough soft textured surfaces (bark).

Yesterday I would have agreed with you. That was before I saw videos of squirrels scaling vertical brick and concrete walls. Apparently their claws can find purchase even in the miniscule pits and bumps of flat stone.

Avr wrote:
A little necromancy could solve your carnivory problems.

I quite agree. Sadly, the people of this city are an intolerant lot.

Avoron wrote:
Ooh, how about megatherium? A bit above your preferred CR range, but it would be perfect for mass transport or hauling supplies.

Yes.

Paradozen wrote:
Young (renamed Shrunk) Megatherium with an additional -2 to all rolls and no trip/rake as a specific breed made to carry people/goods. Or rebuild with fewer HD.

Yes.

Quandary wrote:
Elevators? (and chutes to drop mass materials)

Well, elevators are hard to work without electricity, fossil fuels, or magic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You can make a slow elevator with a box, rope, pulleys, a great big wheel, and oxen in the basement. No modern/magic stuff required. (Substitute your favorite beast of burden for oxen.)


Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:

Ants are vermin, so they can't be trained. If you know a way to get around that on a city-wide scale (vermin empathy only works for the person who has the ability) then ants win on cool factor.

Animated objects require highish level magic- something that the average citizen in this setting doesn't have access too. But they'd definitely work for the aristocracy. Probably going to put the aristocracy on them.

Dire apes seem like they should be hard to saddle up and ride. I love the giant chameleons, I'm going to put some wealthy criminals on them. But they're carnivorous, which makes upkeep to expensive for the average citizen.

Best way I can think of to get around the vermin level intelligence of the ants is to control the queen.

Grand Lodge

Why climb to the bottom of a tower into the toxic smoke and back up when you can just fly between them?

Dire bats pass most of those criteria, though they are again listed as carnivores in the fluff text. I don't see why you couldn't fluff them as giant fruit bats instead.

Scarab Sages

I disagree that squirrels can't work in a grimdark-style fantasy. They just have to be sufficiently scraggly, wirey, and feral looking.

Dark Archive

I'm a fan of the Lizards and personally would just try and find a way to consolidate a way to feed them into the narrative. Maybe there is a readily available food source nearby that the people generally consider unfit for eating or pests. Also, some lizards are herbivores, many are omnivores. Iguanas and spiny lizards are both strictly herbivores.

Silver Crusade

Mechanical black widow spiders powered by the souls of executed criminals.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
You can make a slow elevator with a box, rope, pulleys, a great big wheel, and oxen in the basement. No modern/magic stuff required. (Substitute your favorite beast of burden for oxen.)

Hydrolifts would work just fine as was previously mentioned. They are tubes filled with water, the pressure in the tubes can be adjusted with pumps and what not. Or you can use ballasts. Very low tech cyberpunk.


Arutema wrote:

Why climb to the bottom of a tower into the toxic smoke and back up when you can just fly between them?

Dire bats pass most of those criteria, though they are again listed as carnivores in the fluff text. I don't see why you couldn't fluff them as giant fruit bats instead.

You can actually traverse most of the city without touching ground; a lot of the buildings have bridges between them. (This place has pretty lax building codes; when people run out of room they just build up and out.)

I'd already considered dire bats, and making them fruit bats, but fruit is a hard crop to grow in bulk, and it's pretty expensive too.

Davor wrote:
I disagree that squirrels can't work in a grimdark-style fantasy. They just have to be sufficiently scraggly, wirey, and feral looking.

x) I actually agree with you. In my mind, giant squirrels add to the feel of the city. But probably not in the players' minds . . . which is what matters.

Backpack wrote:
I'm a fan of the Lizards.

So am I! I intend to use them, too. In fact, I plan to use almost every suggestion people have made in this thread. They're too awesome not to. But I plan to use them as exotic mounts, a status symbol like an expensive car.

For the masses, I really think I'm going with the megatherium. Thanks for the ideas everyone. :)

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / General Discussion / Dire Squirrels vs Riding Geckos? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.