Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fantastical Draught Animals

Elementals: only the Earth Elemental looks like a winner here. Air can be great, but your stuff will be whirled about violently, the Water Elemental will soak things, and Fire? Only if your cargo can take the heat.

Insects: renowned for their amazing strength. Easily led, as well; you just sprinkle a trail of guiding goo on the ground in front of them, and they’ll go wherever you lead them. Also, may be able to climb even vertical “slopes” and some may be able to fly.

Giant Flightless Birds: nothing says you’re not in Kansas anymore more better than these. Carrying capacity tends to be not as good as a horse, though they may be faster in a sprint.

Giant Frog: amphibious, but on land, your stuff will arrive well-shaken from all that hopping.

Giant Lizards: tough, strong, and possibly omnivorous, so easier to feed. At dinosaur size can carry insane amounts of cargo. Generally not terribly swift, however, and might not be good for much when it gets cold enough to snow.

Giant Snakes: possibly amphibious. Will need to avoid the frozen wastes, due to being cold-blooded.

Giant Turtle: it’s slow, and it’s already lugging around that giant shell, and it has the same cold issues as other reptiles. Still, if you need the added protection of the shell, I suspect there’s nobody better.

Roc: can supposedly fly off with fully grown elephants or serve as mounts for storm giants, so these are your go-to critters for heavy lift. Keeping them well-fed may be a challenge, however.

Spiders: how much they can carry depends on their size. Plus, can go up vertical walls, and might even weave their own packing/belaying material.

Wyverns: flying, but nasty, vicious, and just how much can they carry on the wing? Probably better for courier services. Ditto for hippogriphs, gryphons, pegasi, and similar winged critters.

Art by Charles Theodore Frere.


C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

Don't forget Dragons. If I remember correctly, those are warm blooded, flighted, versions of Giant Lizards at near dinoaur size.

Roger G-S said...

And, if you can't use Baluchitheria for draft animals then why the hell are they in the Monster Manual?

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

Also, this leaves out underwater creatures entirely.

Maroon said...

"Easily led, as well; you just sprinkle a trail of guiding goo on the ground in front of them, and they’ll go wherever you lead them."

Great idea. You could also establish paths by leading a giant ant along a route leaving their scent, and any ant following the route would reinforce the scent. These giant ant caravans would practically lead themselves. Or, if you've got giant bees, and a destination upwind, you could condition them to follow a specific perfume someone has left wafting in advance (and that's a murder mystery I'd very much like to see: "He's covered in bees!").

trollsmyth said...

C'nor: Yeah, I left out dragons because, in my campaigns, none would consent to such use, but I should keep in mind that's a peculiarity of my own style. As for underwater critters, yes, that's a completely different kettle of fish, as it were. ;)

Roger: Oooo! And they would fit perfectly in Doom & Tea Parties. Thanks for pointing them out; I can't believe I overlooked them.

Maroon: Thanks, and I completely agree. Also, could a trained bee be made to dance in such a way as it gives directions to where the shipper wants goods taken? That would be a very useful ability.

Dan said...

A Sphinx. You'd probably have to answer its riddle before it takes you anywhere. It's like having your transport password-protected!

Undead - whether humanoid or undead beasts of burden. If you can stop them attacking people (some kind of muzzle? A severed arm-on-a-stick?) then you have power that can keep on going and going without even the need for food.

Ditto with golems. But why not make a golem that has wheels and is actually built into the cart? BAM! You just invented the fantasy automobile (short for automatomobile).