mundane birds

... am I missing something?

In the mundane beast creation system in the HoH:MC (bjornaer section),
it does not list the "beak" as a weapon.

One of my players is designing her Bjornaer/Crow.

Any thoughts?


I don't think any raptors use their beaks as weapons. The claws are used to capture and kill, while the beak is merely used to dismember the corpse. I'm no biologist though.

A roc, hypogriff, or some similar creature might use a beak though...

Use the statistics for "Teeth" -- the Book of Mundane Beasts does.

A crow will not use his beack to attack. He will use his claws. The beak is too weak, and it might break on impact. That would cripple the bird, and maybe force him to starve. Birds are not stupid, so they will not use their beaks in that way.

But yes, if you fancy a living projectile diving with his beak on point (and likely to kill himself on impact... SPLAT!) using the statistics for teeth seems like a good option :slight_smile:


The Bjornaer has taken the "mythic blood" virtue, and as such is an ancestor of one of Odin's Ravens, "Thought".

Her special power and many of her spells deal with calling, creating, and controlling ravens. The birds under her control would not so much as "dive bomb" an enemy, as they would flock about the enemy's head and peck at his face, distracting him and maybe even causing some harm.

I will develop my own rule on the efficacy of such an attack, but was wondering mainly if I had missed something in the official rules regarding beaks and/or talons, since both seem to be missing from the chart.

I'll check out the "book of mundane beasts."

Think what knowledge she must have , being so ancient in wisdom. :wink:

quietly puts +05 Hat of Pedantry away

Birds don't use their beaks to attack. They're often not overly durable (the beaks), and can pushed back into the equally fragile skull, killing the bird instantly. They just don't go there.

Despite what D&D says, despite what Hitchcock depicted, predatory birds (raptor types) use their claws to grab/impale, and then their beaks to rend the (relatively) immobile prey. Carrion birds (crows, vultures, etc) simply do that latter, the "killing" already having been taken care of.

Only the second tactic would work on large, human-sized prey. The whole "go for the eyes" thing is, again, with the claws. A bird swarm (ala Hitchcock et al) would use claws, and is probably more intimidating than actually harmful. If you were to grab a bird so it can't use its claws, then, sure, the only remaining weapon will suffice. But short of a parrot or raptor, few bird beaks could achieve more than a very minor cut, nothing that would show up as AM damage.


... ahem... yes... "Descendant" might be what I was looking for...

  • wonders JUST what that Red Power Ranger's Parma might be, and if "Twist of the Tongue" might get through....*


Ah, the veil has lifted. Good point.

Okay, well, we'll potentially re-design her tactics....

Thanks all!


They can't puncture bone or even the skin of most creatures so they go for the eyes or the mouth. They are good at grasping and tearing and they tend to reach in through the soft spots and turn their prey inside out. The thing about ravens that makes them really good fighters is that they work together. They set up traps and use distractions to attack prey. They're really clever. I could bore you to tears.
Belladonna can create one (Mu An level 20 R:t D:dia T:ind) it only lasts 2 minutes, but after a "beast of outlandish size" spell, its a 4 foot kamikaze bird with a 12 foot wingspan. Thats a serious thing when its trying to pull out your eyes. Also I added "doublet of the impenatrable silk, so I can armor plate one if needed.
I'm new at this so I havent actually tried it yet. Your thoughts are appreciated. Oh, and I'm firth5's fledgling so if I'm doing this all wrong, blame him! haha.

By the way, I did find the beak listed under combat for falcons, is that close enough to use the same statistics?

Does anyone happen to know the difference between the combat statistics (for beak and talons) and the natural weapons statistics? Why are there two different stats?

Beak should be the same as Teeth. Talons should be the same as Claws.

There are two sets of stats because one set is the basic "natural weapon" stats (which do not vary) while the other do factor in the animal's own stats and abilities to yield the actual totals used in combat.

While I disagree with none of the above I justed wanted to add that I'm pretty sure that many non-predatory birds use their beaks against 'enemies', even if not a regular attack. Some birds, when mammals get too close to their nests often use a variety of tactics to 'scare' or bully them away. One of these involve using the beak to snatch at fur and pull out a few puffs of hair. Not an attack anyone would need statistics for, but still one that would make most non-determined animals or people withdraw from the bird's nesting area.

Not really. Find some place where you can see the two in comparison, and think of them as tools.

The first shows a raptor, the second a crow/raven:

If a raptor is a garden shear (capable of taking off a finger), a crow is a finger-nail scissors - sharp, perhaps, but not nearly the leverage. But in truth, a parrot is more able to do damage- their beaks have stronger cutting potential than raptors; but again, they don't go there. The reason crows/ravens are know for "pecking at eyes", as mentioned above, is that eyes have no protection. Even when scavenging the dead, a crow's beak is just not designed to breach skin/hide, and so the eye (or other exposed organ, in badly damaged corpses) alone is vulnerable.

[u]Possibly/u for exactly what I've been talking about- that the "natural" attack of a bird is not what they are possibly capable of in unusual/extreme situations. (see below)

I'm not sure what you mean by this.

Think of it this way- human teeth are not strong (not like a dogs, for instance). That doesn't mean that a human bite can't do damage- it can, given a controlled opportunity to make that bite. BUT- in a brawl, person to person, anyone who would dive in and lead with a bite is either going to get knocked cold ("leading with your face"), or lose their teeth as the target pulls away. Human teeth just can't "hold on" like a dog's can - and we know that, and won't do it. Neither will a willing bird, except in Johnny Quest cartoons & etc.

Doesn't mean we can't, or that it won't work just fine if the target can't fight back or get away (ala Mike Tyson) or as a last resort, but it's not the preferred approach. With magic, a bird can be made to do what is "not preferred", just as a human could- but that doesn't mean it's very effective, nor naturally designed to be.

Instinct can prompt animals to do suicidal things when defending their young. What a bird is "capable" of, and what they will do naturally/optimally, differs greatly.

Now, all that said... it's still in the genre. A flock of birds descends, and rips a target to shreds, oh my, the horror, the horror. If you want to go there, well, make up whatever you want. But know that it's the same as bats or (normal) rats attacking a person and rending them - it's just not going to happen in any "reality" that we know of.

I think you missed my point. This pulling of hair is nothing dangerous of sorts nor something that'll rip anything or anyone to shreds. Nor is it neccesarily suicidal - many species of birds do exactly that as a natural 'defense' of their nests/breeding area. And I doubt very much that it leads to the birds demise in very many cases.

The problem of this entire debate is the focus on combat statistics. Few animals fight - and even less with the determined mind of humans to kill. Besides hunting for food a majority of animals do not risk their life to pick a fight. And rarely fight to the death. A bird attacking, unless hunting for prey (that in any instance would be of a suitable size to be a prey in the first place), does so not to kill or seriously wound, but to scare off intruders or competitors. In that case making combat statistics is a bit useless and indifferent concerning most birds - but on the other hand this doesn't mean that those birds cant be aggressive or attack, just that those attacks (whether by talon, beak or droppings) should mainly be seen as a nuissance, even if a big one, and not one that'll seriously wound you.