“Predator or prey?” hisses the snake, slithering past fire.
“Predator or prey?” whistles the bat, her voice too high to hear.
“PREY!” howls the wolf, calling his kin to the feast.
They don’t attack because they hate. They don’t attack for the thrill. They don’t attack out of jealousy, or spite, or anger; no, they attack because they must, because that is the order of things. Predator or prey? It’s the only question relevant to the animals.
Many would argue that Animal is perhaps the most boring of the creature types, its only whimsical quality being a tendency towards growth. The “dire” and “giant” designation is the fantasy spice that’s been added to the Animal category and it’s just enough to make many otherwise innocuous creatures dangerous encounters for PCs.
DMs (myself included) tend to use animals as a go to contextual clue for the danger level in an area:
Plentiful animal life = moderate safety.
Moderate to little animal life = moderate danger.
No animal life = get the fuck out of there!
It’s a simple scale, one that varies in accuracy given your DM, but I’ve found it to be extremely precise.
Part of the reason I’m going through the creature types is because I’m of the opinion that many of them don’t need to be types at all. You will see this in future posts, but for now I’ll just say that Vermin as a creature type should simply be a subtype of the Animal category.
Not much to say, really. Animals, from fluffy to feral, lend a little reality to the campaign environment and are an essential piece to the RPG puzzle. Without them for inspiration I doubt the role-playing community would have such creations as the Griffin, the Sphinx, or (and who could ever forget) the Owlbear.