I was looking at Fire in the Jungle’s post on hunting, and decided that, since I use a different ruleset and have a different focus, I’d come up with my own hunting system for Hari Ragat. Here’s a summary:
First, some premises. While hunting is usually resorted to as a means of survival, we also have to consider the cultural background. For the Vijadesans, hunting not only puts food on the table, it’s an athletic sport and training for warriors, and a means to increase Renown.
Hunting is thus an Orang Dakila, or warrior caste, activity; if all you wanted was food, you’d simply trap your prey, an Orang Malaya (freeman caste) activity. Trapping is far easier and more likely to get you something, but for our heroes that’s not the point.
There is another aspect to hunting that is unique to Hari Ragat, and that is the continuous quest for spiritual power. Certain beasts offer increases in Bala, spiritual power, if they can be caught and their flesh consumed.
Lastly, there’s the potential of a hunt to serve as a springboard for further adventure, usually as the outcome of a complication.
So, what questions must our hunting system answer?
- Where do we go?
- Did we find anything?
- What did we find?
- How much food did we get?
- What else did we find? (Complications)
This is a highly simplified hunting procedure with only five steps:
- Players decide on hunt objectives
- Players decide on hunting ground
- Hunting Roll: Hunter or Orang Dakila + any bonus dice
- Combat vs. prey
- Resolve Complications, if any
The player who takes the role of tracker or guide gets to make one Hunting Roll per day; if anyone has hunting dogs, however, they may tap that Asset to make another roll. If you had Hunting Dogs 3, for example, you could tap that to get 3 additional Hunting Rolls.
Steps 4 and 5 can be switched in order, depending on the complication the GM rolled up.
The hunt begins with the choice of hunting ground. This is where the mechanic of Risk Dice becomes really useful. I’m tying Risk Dice to your choice of hunting location: the more dangerous the place you want to go, the more Risk Dice I’ll offer you. For example:
- Outskirts of the village: +0 Risk Dice
- Way upriver from the village: +1 Risk Dice
- The depths of the jungle: +2 Risk Dice
- Mountain home of the diwatas: +3 Risk Dice
Risk Dice are bonus dice that add to your roll, improving the chances of getting a good result. However if any Risk Dice come out 1 (these are d6’s btw), there’s also a complication.
Players may contribute to the game’s setting by suggesting hunting ground descriptions and how many Risk Dice they’re worth, as well as what they’re looking for there.
Risk Dice can also be given out to reflect conditions at different times of day instead of changing location. This is also appropriate, since many game animals come out at dawn, dusk, or during the night, but hide during the day. For example, here’s a profile of a single jungle clearing:
- Daytime: +0 Risk Dice
- Dusk: +1 Risk Dice
- Dawn: +2 Risk Dice*
- Dead of night: +3 Risk Dice
*Dawn is worth more Risk Dice than dusk because to get to your hunting ground by dawn, you’d be traveling in the wee hours of the morning.
The next question is what kind of game was encountered, if any. Here we simply look at the dice rolled and find the best result:
1 -- Nothing in range
2 -- Nothing in range
3 -- Poor Game
4 -- Small Game
5 -- Small Game, swarm
6 -- Large game
Multiple 6’s – Noble Prey!
small snakes, frogs, fruit bats, squirrels, civets, critters you’d rather not eat unless you had no choice!
spotted deer, ducks, pheasants, wild doves, monkeys, pythons 10’ long or less, monitor lizards 4’ long or less, etc. – not a lot of meat, but good eating!
Small Game, swarm:
you’re in luck, with a whole flock of birds or similar group of small creatures;
sambar deer, wild boar, anowang (wild water buffalo), large monitor lizards – big enough to provide for a small feast!
wild boar or anowang of unusual size or supernatural nature, or supernatural beasts like bannog (the Philippine roc), etc etc. Noble prey are not only worth Renown, they may also yield Bala.
The system is adaptable to both survival and sport hunting modes, and reflects the abundance of wildlife in the Hari Ragat setting. If all you want is something to eat, a result of Poor Game is enough; if the hunt is for sport and Renown though, you may want to keep rolling until you find Noble Prey.
The actual encounter with the prey is resolved as combat, which I’ll not go into here. Suffice to say success in the Hunting Roll means you’ve managed to sneak up on your prey, so the very first attack, if it’s ranged, is against the difficulty of distance/visibility only; after that, if the prey isn’t dead, it’s full combat.
For example, Dimasalang and Musang Hagibis go hunting for boar, and find one. Musang takes the first shot, being the better archer, and rolls vs. the range; Dimasalang’s thrown spear however must be rolled vs. the boar’s ability, as it’s now alerted.
The GM may decide the complication, if one was rolled, based on the setting and story, or use the table below:
- Big Snake!
- Angered a Nuno!
- Monster attack!
- Angered a Diwata!
- King Cobra
Big Snake Table:
- Big Python
- Big Python
- King Cobra
- Elder Viper
- Elder Cobra
- Elder Python
- Orang Bakawan hunters
- Tulisan bandits
- Dimalupi Headhunters
- Blood enemies*
- Invasion force
*Blood enemies being those someone in the party has a blood feud with.
- Busaw (ogre)
- Tikbalang (horse-headed demon)
- Hungry Trees
- Sarangay (minotaur-like demon)
*The Vijadesan definition of dragon includes any huge supernatural reptile of serpentine or crocodilian nature. I’m still researching Philippine mythology dragons for inspiration, since the Bakunawa is too big for this kind of encounter (and is unique in the Hari Ragat setting).
Dragons will thus include the Nono, a gigantic crocodile thousands of years old and grown into human or even superhuman intelligence; the Markupo, a serpent that breathes venomous vapors; and various kinds of Naga.
To know how much meat you got, simply tot up the die ratings of the creature killed, not counting special abilities. This rating x3 for big game, or x1 for small game, is the number of days it can feed one man, and the rating x3 for small game, or x5 for big game, is the number of men it can feed for one meal.
For example, a Wild Boar 4/3 is big game, so it can feed one man for 21 days (7x3), or up to 35 (7x5) men at one sitting.
A Cobra 2/0, Poison 3, however is worth only 2 days’ food for one man (x1, because it’s small game). The Poison 3 doesn’t figure in our computation.