I'm not convinced that a first encounter must always involve combat. Here are several reasons why:
In SciFi/Fantasy, you often have access to either a universal translator or to a "speak languages" spell. Communication is suddenly very possible. Expect your players to use this to their advantage.
Second, if you have a relatively small group of people making contact (say the PCs and few others), they can do lots of things to mitigate their "threat level". What about leaving obvious gifts -- food, jewelry, clothing -- on the ground as a peace offering? Or how about sending in a single, unarmed diplomat to appear as non-threatening as possible?
You can also play with the power balance. Have the tribe discover the party after a shipwreck, or have the PCs happen across a village that has been decimated with illness. Sure, the two groups may find each other still threatening, but there are lots of reasons NOT to throw the first punch in these cases.
So while I agree that combat certainly COULD happen in a first contact situation, I don't believe that it necessarily should. Instead, I would use the occasion to let the group flex their roleplaying muscles. If they come up with a plan -- peace offerings, magic, body language, etc -- to avoid combat, then the GM should at least try to roll with it, instead of automatically letting the whole thing go down in flames. Go to Comment
Yes, it should be possible to avoid combat. But it should be very difficult. Even with communication, you still have to account for if the other people view how your translating as evil ("a demon is in their metal case. They must be evil. Die!" or "it is unnatural for people to be able to speak my language without learning it. It must be devil magic. Die!). Even gifts could be taken as an insult (especially if you offer petty trinkets that both parties know are worthless). And a single, unarmed diplomat could appear weak, and easy prey. Yes, they are all ways too avoid combat, but they should not be taken as instant, automatic best buddy devices. Both parties must want to be friendly for lack of combat. All that helps, but if they think that you're a devil's spawn and must die, there's not much you can do about it. Go to Comment
I am not trying to force any outcome. I am simply saying that first encounters are not easy to do peacefully. If the PCs do something brilliant to get peace, then let them get peace. If they don't bother doing anything special, or do something that is simply a pathetic effort toward peace, then give them combat. History is littered with failed attempts at such first encounters (before europeans wrote books on the subject, as I wrote in the article) Go to Comment
MoonHunter- the gods are the traditional pantheon. They are just also the gods of a more rational and practical group of people, who see lightning as something that can set a tree on fire, not the divine wrath of some god. They have sacred animals/birds because they prize those animals above any other. Thus, those animals are viewed as sacred. For the next three questions, yes and yes if they want to (if they feel like telling someone something, they'll take a stroll in the mortal realm), like the Greek's pantheon (with Athena popping down for a contest with Ariadne, and Hermes giving Odysseus a magic flower). The appearances are there really for the special cases (like Mors is always a skeleton on a horse with a cloak, and Sitrof runs around with a wolfskin (like the norse berserkers). The weapons are for if the god wants to kill something (pesky human, pesky god, pesky monster, etc). And in this world, gods are not magic. They are more like an avatar of what they are god of, instead of some supernatural being who can do anything, with a speciality in whatever they are a god of. Like Poseidon being good with water, and Zeus being able to go lightning-happy. I'll throw this in there. Go to Comment
I really liked this one, I know it is just a list 'facts' but the tone I found fun and the picture made me laugh.
I have tried to make my aggressive love for fantasy flora and fauna known on this website, and this one just titers of the being a really great post. I absolutely love the idea and don't think it needs any more but it has so much potential to add more. Is there a hive mind? How long do the larva live in larva form?
Finally the kaiju genre demands, that right I said it, demands that the monster represent some other type of conflict or fear. Godzilla represented the nations fear of nuclear radiation, King Kong represented a nations fear of......, well Son of Kong represented the guilt associated with that fear. In Kaiju fiction I have read in the past five years monster attacks coincide with more persona- emo -issues. There was one story published in a paying market no less, in which the attack coincided with the progression of main character's mother's cancer, and another in which the giant wolf-chimera seemed to be responding to the bad break-up between a couple of west coasters named Reggie and Gwen. These could certainly be seen to represent the consequence of the rain forest destruction, but if your are going to cook it up you may as well put it on platter.
Like Dossta, I think they would be a singular or near singular even, perhaps some invasion from another realm, for humanity would quickly wage full scale war on these creatures and turn their hives/lairs into glassy radioactive holes.
They fit well into the crazy B-Movie world and are scary in an over-the-top way. Go to Comment
Holy crap. I really like the thought that went into this sub, and how your kaiju is actually a swarm of smaller beings. This feels somewhat similar to a zombie horde in that it is mindless and nigh-unstoppable.
I can see this working once. Maybe twice. But wouldn't humanity have developed some defenses by the next time the swarm comes around? Giant electrical fences or something? I would love to read more about a world in which the human population was forced to adapt to a seasonal threat like this.
The only thing I would change would be the nests -- they should always be defended in some way, even if just with difficult terrain. Sending a party of PCs to rescue a kidnapped human population would be an awesome adventure, so why make it too easy? Go to Comment
Thx, Dossta. Though the nest is secluded, and hard to reach by foot. I may have forgot to mention that bit. I'll throw that bit in, just to make things clear. And (reading your comment jarred this idea out of my skull) add runt shadowbeasts- five foot long beasts that guard the nest. As to humanity's defenses, they would try to make something. I'll think on that. Go to Comment
When you talk about your standard, generic D&D magic, I don't disagree at all and you point is fairly well made. You could also say another word too: dragon.
However, if you had a game or story that required a siege then there are also tons of ways to allow the incorporation of magic (or magical creatures) without overbalancing. They are way too numerous to mention and it doesn't really detract from your point.