Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Signs, Omens, & Encounters: Ape

I have a couple of ideas that I'm having difficulty moving forward, so here's another re-posted bestiary entry. 

The primary change from the original post is that I removed the morale rules. I thought they were necessary but now I'm not so sure. They've worked beautifully for me in BX but I think that PnP benefits from a focused ‘less’. Essentially, in designing my game, I have come around to the idea that I don't necessarily want to pile dice throws upon dice throws, and instead to simply consider the motivations.

As I write the encounters, I have begun to learn how each of these situations might play out. Encounter 4 and encounter 7, for example, need no dice help. Like abilities, where knowing that a character is wise or strong is enough to inform the specific mechanic, I am enamored with how language determines play. Morale is simply knowing that an enemy is “cowardly” or “determined”.


  • Fruit seeds gathered in clumps and piles.
  • Small branches and leaves stripped from trees and brush.
  • A pile of fresh skat near a tree, flies buzz noisily nearby.


  • Incoming feces strikes the ground nearby. An almost human, suspiciously mocking laughter follows.
  • A powerful, rhythmic screeching, joined by others, and more still from the trees in all directions. Then silence.
  • Branches swing wildly across the PCs direction of travel, then to the sides, and behind. Not a sound beyond the rustle of leaves.


  1. A squad of 2-12 apes (LL: 1/+0) flank the PCs and attempt to drive them back. Attacking, retreating, and pushing relentlessly forward. With each attack they become more numerous until they close in and a single large ape (LL: 3/+1) attacks directly with focused, aggressive attacks from the flanks.
  2. The PCs stumble onto a terrible war between two communities of apes. In the immediate conflict, competing groups (2d6 apes per side) of large combatants (LL: 2/+0) make no distinction between their opponents and the PCs. The combat will rage until the PCs are well away from the brutal mess.
  3. A large, carnivorous ape (LL: 4/+1) attacks with viciousness and determination. Will fight, pursuing as necessary, to death.
  4. 2d6 apes (LL: 1/+0) emerge from the treeline and puff their chests, gesturing loud and with menace. Roll 1d6 and add +1 following every PC action. On a roll of '6' the apes attack. If the PCs don't advance the conflict, they will simply hold their position, preventing any further progress forward.
  5. A bonobo, with wide friendly grin and an erect penis, moves rapidly/lustily towards a random PC. Player must respond NOW.
  6. A single ape (LL: 2/+0) with three more peering from the treeline (LL: 1/+0) attempts to awkwardly assert dominance. He will attempt to stand tall, pound his chest, and dominate the PCs. Following any and every aggression from the PCs, roll a save. On a fail he will retreat to catcalls.
  7. Swinging low from the trees, an agile young ape will attempt to snatch/wrestle free a random PC's backpack. Roll DEX or STR (PCs choice) at -1 if the PC doesn't possess either ability, to avoid or prevent. PC loses everything but their weapon and armor.
  8. A female mother, startled while feeding her young backs away from the PCs, screaming and threatening. 1d3 apes appear but none will respond unless there is further aggression from the PCs.
  9. A pair of eyes, noticed among the foliage, peer out at the PCs. This is followed by another and another and another, until scores of apes are seen hidden among the trees. Nothing happens but it sure is unnerving.
  10. 1d6 small apes beckon, then lead the PCs to a clearing where abundant food (local fruits and nuts) are available. PCs each acquire 1d6 rations.
  11. An ape approaches with an excited cackle. In its outstretched hand a treasure (Mixed Magic III).