Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Ravens of Erebor

The ravens of Erebor have once enjoyed a special relationship with the dwarves under the mountain. First of all, they can speak Westron at the accented level. They live freely, but are strongly motivated by the promise of getting rewards from their dwarven mate. They will pay close attention to what their mate tells them, and make the best possible effort to find bits of information that will get them a shiny reward. Once trained, however, they are treated as free agents: they will cater to the most generous and consistent dwarven mate with no particular sense of loyalty.

A raven will never leave its area, which is about a 5 leagues in radius (30km, or 17 miles for my non-metric friends).


ST 1; DX 12; IQ 7; HT 11
HP 2; FP 10; Will 8; Per 12
Move: 2, speed: 7
Traits: Flight (Wing, air move 12), Language, Westron (Accented, illiterate), greedy, likes (Dwarves)
Skills: Observation-12, Survival(Woodland)-14, Stealth-11, Acting-13, Area Knowledge-18

Training a raven

Only characters that have ravens as allies (base 12 pt, adjusted by frequency) can convince them to speak in Westron, let along cooperate. Wild ravens must be trained as per the rules in B175 and B458. Looking for such ally can be done at most once per day (rolling against allies' frequency). Gaining familiarity to an IQ 7 animal take a base of 4 days (see B458). Each Animal handling check must be accompanied with a tribute worth at least 1 celebin (and be shiny somehow). Once familiar, treat ravens as sentient rather than animals.

Ravens are wild, free-thinking animals. They will bring information that they believe will get them a rewards. They do not know a priori what is interesting to their dwarven mate. Many of the information will be of little or no importance to a character, but would be useful to a raven. It must be rewarded, but the reward may be smaller for useless information (shiny things, no real value). The mate should explain why things are important (or not) so that the raven learns how to maximize its payoff. Unrewarded ravens are even less likely to come when called (1 frequency level less than paid for). Ravens are competitive: a dwarf maintaining a relationship with more than one raven deals with ravens at a full frequency category lower than its advantage implies. 

If a mate wants the raven to find something in particular, he/she must call for the raven (frequency check). This roll is made at most once per day. A gift must be made for coming forth, and a larger gift must be shown and promised. Each day, they must resist a Will or succumb to greed and proceed with the request. Especially shiny and valuable gifts should negatively affect their Will check (-1 to -4). Any instructions suitable for an IQ 7 individual is possible. A request must not involve the raven speaking Westron and must be limited to the area where the it is familiar. 

Once on a quest, a raven will use Area knowledge or Observation to locate specific locations/cues. They will  use stealth as best as they can and will fall back to Acting to pretend that they are not eavesdropping. 

Thrush variant

Humans from Dale can substitute ravens for thrushes. Their IQ is 6 and their likes (dwarves) is substituted for likes (human)