Friday, October 1, 2021

The Amazing Inspirational Animal List (a cheap trick, detailed)

One of my refereeing "tricks" is to use a list of animals as an all-purpose inspirational source. I have a couple of such lists (e.g. the hybrid beast generator from The Gardens of Ynn, or the DMG) and alternate between them. But here's a consolidated d30 list. I think it has a good range, covers different types of creatures with a range of possible connotations, symbolism, powers, features, appearances, habitats...

  1. Ant
  2. Ape
  3. Bat
  4. Bear
  5. Buffalo
  6. Chameleon
  7. Crocodile
  8. Deer
  9. Eagle
  10. Eel
  11. Elephant
  12. Frog
  13. Gecko
  14. Goat
  15. Horse
  16. Jellyfish
  17. Lion
  18. Octopus
  19. Owl
  20. Peacock
  21. Porcupine
  22. Rat
  23. Salmon
  24. Scarab Beetle
  25. Shark
  26. Snake
  27. Spider
  28. Toad
  29. Vulture
  30. Wolf
And some examples, some more obvious/on-the-surface, some based on primary or secondary free associations:
  • NPC quirk: relies heavily on body language (Ape), always in motion (Shark), sniffs and snorts (Porcupine)
  • NPC behavior: controls a lot of pawns (Octopus), lounges while others do the hard lifting (Lion), creates very symmetrical art (Spider)
  • Monster power add-on: scaly armor (Crocodile), see in the dark (Owl), camouflage (Chameleon), hive mind (Ant), long jump (Frog)
  • Hybrid beast: a flying monster that creates cloud-like webs (Eagle + Spider), giant ape with paralyzing tentacles (Ape + Jellyfish), nocturnal toad with big creepy eyes (Owl + Frog)
  • Object: ivory comb (Elephant), bat-shaped belt buckle (Bat), soft transparent acid sack that explodes on impact (Jellyfish), shaggy hat (Buffalo), net coated with poison (Spider), chitinous helmet (Ant), coat-of-arms: three stylized golden horns on a green field (Goat)
  • Spell ingredient: giant spider eggs (Spider), last breath of a wolf (Wolf), peacock feathers, one of each pattern (Peacock), blood of a person gorged by deer antlers (Deer)
  • Location: Quill Canyon (Porcupine), The Webbed Forest (Spider), Bat Hill (Bat), Rainbow Bridge (Peacock), Twisting River (Snake), Eagle Creek (Eagle), Brass Tower (Scarab Beetle), Phantrin (Elephant), Shimmering Sewers (Rat + Peacock)

Die drop table!