Saturday, December 18, 2010

Animal Arena

Weeks in the making, with a cast of hundreds, I bring you Animal Arena!

Resplendent in silks and hennaed patterns, radiant with gilded hooves and tusks, the animals are led into the amphitheatre to the peal of bells and horns. And those placed together are often so exotic and absurd, it all seems more a holy pageant sacrifice or display of decadence than a fighting event.

In a nutshell:
  • roll to see which of the almost 100 animals will enter the arena
  • Each has an attack die of different strength-- roll these to see which bests the other
  • Three rounds determines the winner
We had a session last night that involved a kudu goring a camel, a tortoise bitten to death by rattlesnakes, and a grizzly fighting a walrus. Players seemed to enjoy it.

Okay, it's still Beta if you want to bet on the outcomes.  I envision players getting to bet at the announcement of the first animal, at the end of round 1 and at the end of round 2.  But the odds should really adjust based on the attack power of each animal involved and how the rounds have gone so far.  Unfortunately, I am neither mathematician nor bookie.  Maybe someone can offer a system/chart of odds I could include in a revision.


  1. Interesting.
    I use a similar system to handle NPCs fighting each other while the PCs are also fighting (like in a big military battle).

    (I made it simpler)

    Each NPC or monster gets a die. If it's a tie, they both live for that round, if somebody rolls high, the other guy wins.

    I like yours though--I feel like the betting odds should just be the ratio of the dice to each other.

    Like if it's a d6 animal vs a d8 animal then just have the odds be 6 to 8, that is, 3 to 4.

    You bet 3 on the weak animal and it wins you get 4 more, if you bet 4 on the strong animal and it wins you get 3 more.


  3. What's the next match up? I'd like to bet a few gold on it.

    Oh, by the way: I used a Blood Dove recently. (

  4. (Elaborating a bit on Zak S's post)

    For every round lost add one point to the odds against that creature and subtract one from its opponent. Do the same for each additional hit die a creature has, with the exception that if there is a large (3 or more hit die) difference subtract two points per, instead. Repeat for each extra point of damage.

  5. Thanks folks.

    @Zak: That helps a lot, thanks. Your method of resolving mass combat, along with using spots of tactical importance being fought for off camera is really worthy of my next Receding Rules.

    @joesky:Grizzly Wins! But I do not endorse animal fighting in any way, so kids please do not start raising fighting walri.

    @C'nor: The Blood Dove does seem almost festive, doesn't it? As for the odds, this is simpler than what you suggest; it's abstracted to not use HD but just attack dice. And each round an animal loses it steps down in die. So, if we base the odds on the dice ratio they adjust themselves as the battle goes on.

    The Grizzly-Walrus matchup would have started out at d20 vs d12, or 5 to 3 and the next round, after the walrus lost the first, would have gone down to d20 vs d10, or 2 to 1.

  6. Makes sense. And, yes the blood dove is rather festive isn't it? Though I think I balanced it out with the Night-ghast. Still, perhaps a less evil portrayal is in order at some point.