Monday, August 5, 2019



Baboons are basically just another flavor of 1HD-ish humanoid, with low damage but high mobility. They appear in numbers of 10d4, with half being noncombatant young, and have no treasure, meaning their inclusion seems to be more for inclusive ecological verisimilitude rather than any directed gameplay goals. As such, they're missing something. At best they could be 'nuisance encounters' for low level parties, stealing ropes and treasure, but unless the party includes Jane Goodall to speak out against the poaching of endangered ape species, a few arrows and/or a sleep spell is likely to be the end of most monkey business.


All baboons are actually mandrills because mandrills are more colorful and therefore instantly superior to regular potato colored baboons.
i suppose some baboons like hamadryas can show up too, but look at that mandrill, it's so cool
Compared to other monkeys/apes (i know there's a difference IRL but they're all just hairy people and the distinction is pointless in the context of D&D campaigns), baboons stand out due to their jealous natures. They were jealous of the sunset, and the First Baboon stole some colors from it to wear on their faces. They are jealous of the self-proclaimed 'Gods' that rose up to favor humanity in the war to overthrow the Alf oppressors, and so frequently establish cults to worship various lesser-known entities (usually the First Baboon, but various local spirits such as 100 year old dryads, ancient dragons, and so on get a lot of mileage out of baboon cults) instead. They are jealous of the might and respect gorillas get, and so establish various sham martial arts schools in Yuba and the Black Desert and purport to have mystic techniques that they will share to gullible students in exchange for servitude and treasure. These 'Monkey Styles' are derided as a joke amongst those who are actual masters of combat, but there are just enough ignorant peasants, delusional nobles, and actual monkey martial arts masters to keep these sham schools going.

Baboons in the Beast Islands have a similar fascination with combat, and the prestige that may be gained from it. Beast battlers favoring them as gladiatorial partners who are intelligent enough to be conversed with, but also free of human concerns about mutation, spirit-pacts, and other sketchy means of enhancing battle efficiency. They also work as pirates occasionally, either as agile ancillary crew for human ships, small mercenary troops that work for bananas and corpses, or as entirely baboon-run ships typically stolen from humans. These ships are the terrors of the sea, not because baboons are particularly skilled sailors, but for the matter of fact way that they occasionally eat people. Hey, protein is protein on the high seas. It's not the baboon's fault that humans are susceptible to ghul spirits and so have cultural taboos on cannibalism. In fact baboons would totally become ghuls if they could, like, why wouldn't you want paralysis spit and disease immunity?

In Saresare and Yuba, baboons(and many other animals) live amongst humans in the shadows, serving as the 'thieves guild' leader for smaller monkeys, and occasionally working as servants for bored nobility. Baboon servants are simultaneously more and less trustworthy than other humans- they are 'too dumb to fool' in some aspects (like good luck explaining blackmail over embezzlement to a baboon), but also more motivated by instinct than ideology and will choose self-preservation over such nonsense like honor almost every time.

Due to their twisted jealousy and ambition rivaling that of humans, the occasional baboon magic-user or evil high priest (a Monkey Mystic) arises, dominates their peers, and goes mad with power. This is no different from human wizards, but these baboon sorcerers operate on baboon morality rather than human morality, and see no particular problem with, say, eating puppies alive if they fancy a quick snack. Humans tend to get fed up with this sort of thing pretty quick, and so mandrill wizards tend to reside either in the vast moonlands or on forgotten beast islands as the baboons reclaim ancient Gorilla temples and convert them into wicked temples of doom or arcane laboratories (The equivalent human behavior is some human cultist/sorcerer reclaiming elvish ruins and declaring themselves Dark Lord of So-and-so). Occasionally one gets warped enough by wicked old magics that they attempt to turn a human town into baboons or something, but the same can be said of human wizards so peasants are usually equally suspicious of powerful wizards regardless of how hairy they are.

So what's the point of all this? Basically, baboons are a goblin/bandit replacement for varieties sake, different tactical or diplomatic considerations, or just avoiding complicated baggage that alf-related goblins or civilization contextualized humans bring.
everything is better with monkeys

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