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So in my game of D&D 4e, the PCs are going to travel through the woods and the swamps, and an idea I have for this section, is that there's a type of creature in there that is more agressive than usual at this time of the year (either it is mating season, or they got driven mad due to the magic that is currently going throughout the place, I'll see). So there are going to be more risks for the PCs.

I want to specify: the creatures are not HYPER-agressive to the point where every single step taken by a PC puts them in mortal danger. It would still be possible to go through the woods and swamps and avoiding those creatures, but it would be more difficult.

Now, something I wonder is: what could attract the creatures towards the player characters? A very classic example would be shiny objects. Another example could be overreliance on arcane magic. Maybe magic could disturb them and make them more agressive. Or maybe a specific type of sound. In all cases, it needs to be something that the players can have an influence upon.

I have also planned a side quest that the players can choose to do if they want to get a guide. A guide would then help them avoid the creatures the best he can. And basically, I wanted the adventure to be tougher for them without that guide, and easier with the guide (it would still be possible to attract the attention of the creatures even with the guide, however. It's just that the risk would be decreased).

Any ideas would be welcome.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems like something of an "idea generation" question, which doesn't typically work well with our format. Your question may be better suited for a traditional discussion forum, see here for our curated list: I've been told my question is better suited to a forum, but where should I go? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 16:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ As currently written, I agree with Thomas, but if there are any specific monsters they might have specific reasons that would fall in the realm of our expertise and might make the question stackable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 17:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think we need to know what the hostile creatures are. There may be specifics in their biology/history/lore that drive an answer beyond idea generation reasons. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 17:55

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Animals ususally attack due to fear, hunger, aggression or to protect their young or territory

Of course you can come up with other reasons in a magical world, but essentially these are the normal reasons animals attack:

  • The first and primary reason is fear. This may be caused by being surprised, being approached too closely, due to noise, or if they are hurt or ill. Cape Buffaloes are a classic example for this. So if the party is not careful about where they move, and keep their distance, they may trigger attacks. A guide can warn against this.

  • The second is for food. Bears for example are sometimes attracted to food, which may lead to a dangerous encounter. If the PCs are not careful with their camp sites, and are cooking, it could increase the chances of an attack. A guide again can warn against this.

  • The third reason is aggression. Male elephants in season exhibit "musth". They become sexually hyperactive and show excessive aggression. This seems closest to what you have in mind. The best way to counter this is likely to avoid encountering them, or attracting them, which would mean moving stealthily, and avoiding their stomping grounds -- a guide could help a lot with either.

  • The last is protection. Hippos for example are territorial, and will attack deliberately if you get too close. Similarly, many animals will protect their young, and will attack you to scare you off. For the game, both of these are related: if the PCs get too close to the wrong territory or the young, they may be attacked. A guide could help to avoid this, knowing where the animals are encountered; or skill checks in a survival skill could also help.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This will help me a lot! Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, there's also the "not-so-much aggressive as very, very amorous". Say female-<creature> pheromones are provided as mosquito repellent, which makes the male-<creature> very, very...interested in the PCs. Which could work excellently with a jaded veteran guide popping in. \$\endgroup\$
    – From
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also: Parasites or illness. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 23:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Something to think about here regarding question closure, one of the primary utilities of closure is that it provides some extrinsic motivation for revising the question to improve its quality and/or make it on topic for the stack, so one of the reasons we prefer to avoid answering questions that need to be put on hold (even if our answer is a good one) is that providing an answer can remove that motivation to fix the question, and we potentially deprive the stack of a good, on topic question and deprive other users of the opportunity to answer a good, on topic question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 10:02

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