Animals are an inescapable part of medieval life. The vast majority of the population lives off the land, works fields with the help of beasts of burden and raises fowl, pigs and goats for meat, eggs and cheese. Wild beasts, from boars and deer to bears and wolves, roam the unending forests. Even in the cities, animals are omnipresent, not only in the form of rats and carrion birds, but in the dogs, pigs, goats and fowl that are part of households of any size. And of course, the medieval knight derives much of his status from his steed. The following bestiary details the more common beasts along with some of the arcane things which haunt the night.

Animal Traits

Like people, animals are represented by a set of traits that quantify their abilities in Dark Ages. These traits are similar, but slightly different than those used for mortals and vampires.

  • Attributes: Natural animals have five Attributes instead of nine. Their Physical Attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina) function as with mortals, although animals may not be capable of some feats of strength because of their inability to lift things. Animals have only two Mental Attributes: Perception and Wits. Perception is essentially the same as with mortal humans, that is an aggregate of their various senses. Most animals have a quite high Perception, and it can reach levels higher than 5. Wits is a basic measure of the animal's instincts and survival skills. In rough terms, it measures a prey animal's ability to escape predators and a predator's ability to catch prey.
  • Willpower: Willpower is essentially the same for animals as it is for people: a measure of mental fortitude and resistance to outside influences. Animals cannot spend points of Willpower.
  • Health Levels: Depending on their size, animals have a varying number of health levels. These are expressed in terms of each level's dice-pool penalty. Animals whose health levels include Incapacitated can survive longer than those without it. Others die when they run out of health levels.
  • Attacks: Most animals have some form of natural weapon or form of attack, from a horse's kick to a wolf's bite and claws. Biting, clawing and goring generally causes lethal damage. Trampling and kicking causes bashing damage.
  • Abilities: Animals have ratings in Abilities to represent their natural proficiencies in such things as tracking (Alertness and Survival), using their natural attacks (Brawl) and escaping harm (Athletics, Dodge). Abilities listed in brackets are thsoe typically resulting from training at the hands of humans. (Use common sense in applying these Abilities: Regardless of its Athletics rating, a cat cannot throw a spear.)
  • Control Rating: Used with riding animals and other beasts of burden, Control Rating is a rough measure of how ornery the animal is. The higher the rating is, the more skill is required of the rider to use the animal effectively.
  • Blood Pool: Animal blood provides Cainites with significantly less sustenance than mortal vitae. A single point of blood from a cow represents significantly more volume of liquid than a point of human blood, so even large animals have lower blood pools than mortals.

Horse/Mount Table

Mount Control Rating Trample Damage Move (y/turn) Notes
Riding Horse 3 6B 15 X
Arab Horse 2 5B 20 Available in Iberia or Saracen lands only.
Warhorse 3 7B 12 X
Camel 4 5B 10 Available in Saracen lands only. -1 difficulty to avoid being trampled.
Elephant 4 9B 10 -2 difficulty to avoid being trampled.

Animal Ghouls

At the Storyteller's discretion, any of the following natural beasts can be turnd into ghoul retainers with occasional meals of vampire blood. Such companions gain Willpower, a dot of Potence, a blood pool of 10 and some "trained" Abilities that wild animals lack.

Beasts of Home and Farm

Creature Stats Willpower Health Levels Attack Abilities Control Rating Blood Pool
Cat Str 1, Dex 3, Stam 3, Per 4, Wits 4 3 OK, -1, -2, -5, Incap Claw or bite for 1 die (lethal) Alertness 3, Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Dodge 3, Climbing 3, Intimidation 2, Stealth 4 (Empathy 2, Subterfuge 2) X 1
Cow/Ox Str 3/5, Dex 2, Sta 3/5, Per 2, Wits 1/2 2 OK, OK, -1, -1, -3, -3, Incap Bite for 3 dice, gore for 6 (both lethal) Alertness 2, Brawl 0/3 2 8
Dog/hound Str 4, Dex 3, Stam 3, Per 6, Wits 3 5 OK, -1, -1, -2, -2, -5, Incap Bite for 5 dice, claw for 4 (both lethal) Alertness 3, Athletics 2, Brawl 3 (Dodge 3, Empathy 2, Intimidation 3, Stealth 2) X 2
Horse Str 4, Dex 2, Stam 3, Per 3, Wits 3 2 OK, OK, -1, -1, -2, -2, -5, Incap Tramble or kick for 6 dice (bashing); bite for 3 (lethal) Alertness 3, Athletics 2, Brawl 1 3 6
Warhorse Str 6, Dex 2, Stam 5, Per 3, Wits 3 4 OK, OK, -1, -1, -2, -2, -5, Incap Trample or kick for 7 dice (bashing); bite for three (lethal) Alertness 3, Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Empathy 2, Intimidation 2 3 8
Mule Str 4, Dex 2, Stam 3, Per 1, Wits 1 6 OK, OK, -1, -2, -4, Incap Kick for 5 dice (bashing); bite for two (lethal) Alertness 2, Brawl 2, Dodge 2 4 4
Pig/Boar Str 2/4, Dex 2, Stam 4/5, Per 3, Wits 3 3 OK, OK, -1, -1, -2, -4, Incap Bite for 2/4 dice (lethal); boars gore for 5 (lethal) Alertness 2, Athletics 3, Brawl 2 (Intimidation 2) X 3/4
Rat Str 1, Dex 2, Stam 3, Per 5, Wits 4 4 OK, -1, -5 Bite for 1 die (lethal) Alertness 2, Brawl 1, Dodge 3, Stealth 3 X 1/4 (1 blood point equals 4 rats)
Sheep Str 2, Dex 2, Stam 2, Per 1, Wits 1 2 OK, -1, -1, -3, Incap None, though rams can gore for 3 dice (lethal) Alertness 2, Empathy 2 X 3

Beasts of Wild and Wood

Creature Stats Willpower Health Levels Attack Abilities Control Rating Blood Pool Notes
Bat Str 1, Dex 3, Stam 2, Per 6, Wits 2 2 OK, -1, -3 Bite for 2 die (lethal) Alertness 3, Dodge 3, Stealth 2 X 1/4 (1 blood point equals 4 bats) X
Bear Str 5, Dex 2, Stam 5, Per 3, Wits 3 4 OK, OK, OK, -1, -1, -1, -3, -3, -5, Incap Claw for 7 dice; bite for 5 (both lethal) Alertness 3, Brawl 3, Intimidation 2, Stealth 1 X 5 X
Birds of Prey Str 2, Dex 3, Stam 3, Per 7, Wits 4 3 OK, -1, -1, -2, -5 Claw for 2 dice (lethal) Alertness 3, Athletics 2, Brawl 1, Dodge 2, Intimidation 2 (Brawl 3, Empathy 4, Intimidation 4) X 1/2 (1 blood point equals two large birds) The template can represent a hawk, crow, raven, owl, or even vulture. A bird can typically fly at 25 to 50mph.
Deer Stag Str 1/3, Dex 3, Stam 2/3, Per 4, Wits 2 3 OK, OK, -1, -1, -3, -5, Incap None/gore for 5 dice (lethal) Alertness 2, Brawl 2, Dodge 2, Empathy 2, Stealth 2 X 5/7 X
Hare Str 1, Dex 3, Stam 2, Per 5, Wits 5 1 OK, -1, -2, -3 Bite for 2 dice (lethal); rear claw kick for 1 in desperation (bashing) Alertness 2, Dodge 2, Empathy 1, Stealth 4 X 3 X
Wolf Str 3, Dex 3, Stam 3, Per 6, Wits 4 3 OK, -1, -1, -3, -5, Incap Bite and claw for 4 dice (lethal) Alertness 2, Athletics 1, Brawl 3, Dodge 1, Stealth 2 X 2 Vampires who turn into wolves move at double normal running speed.

Packs and Swarms

Although the traits listed here detail individual creatures, some animals attack en masse. Also, it's quite atmospheric for a vampire elder to overwhelm his victims with rodent or canine minions. If a swarm of hornets or horde of rats accosts the characters, use the rules that follow.

Instead of trying to determine what each and every member of a pack or swarm does, simply roll to see if the swarm itself harms a character. Narrate the results from there.

Each beast is given a listing on the following chart. Roll the damage dice pool listed once per turn (difficulty 6) and allow the characters to try and dodge or soak the result. This damage is lethal, or possibly bashing in the case of small or weak creatures. Packs attack once per turn per target and act on the initiative given on the chart.

If a character dodges, he can move normally for the remainder of the turn. Otherwise, his attackers slow him down to half his usual movement. If they score more than three health levels worth of damage in one turn (after the target soaks), or if the player botches an appropriate roll, the character is knocked down and overrun. He can move only one or two yards per turn, and the swarm's damage difficulty falls to 5. Efforts to get back up and continue moving have higher than nromal difficulties (typically difficulty 6 or 8).

The health levels listed reflect the amount of damage it takes to disperse a pack or swarm. An additional two health levels destroy the attackers completely. Arrows and small melee weapons (knives, claws, bare hands) inflict a single health level per strike, no matter how many attack or damage successes are rolled (that is, the strike hits only one creature). Large melee weapons (swords, staves, boards) do normal damage (each damage success rolled eliminates one health level of the swarm as a whole), as do large-area attacks (Greek fire, frost storms, gusts of wind). Swarms and packs don't soak.

Depending on the size of the pack, two or more characters might be affected by it and can attack it in return. Anyone who helps an overrun character can be attacked as well. A human can outrun some packs or swarms (those consisting of rats or bugs), but can't hope to outrun some packs or swarms (those consisting of rats or bugs), but can't hope to outrun others (those consisting of hyenas or birds).

Animals Damage Health Levels Initiative
Small bugs 1 5 2
Large bugs 2 7 3
Flying bugs 2 7 3
Birds, bats 4 9 5
Rats 3 7 3
Large rats 4 9 3
Feral cats 4 6 6
Wild dogs 6 15 4