cymruvoodoo wrote:how lethal the world itself can be.
i feel this sums up the animal faction to a "T". but assuming we go the the non-faction idea, why are the animals fighting. i mean i guess it could be just for food, but why not hunt mostly human animals then? do the animals feel threatened by the other factions, are they territorial creatures and feel were trespassing, do "alphas" (possibly just squad leaders) feel the need to prove themselves and take down scavengers/humans/x'lanthos to prove it?
Well, in point of fact, the animals are fighting for a variety of reasons and the reason can change each time. In that respect a proper fauna-based non-faction has as much flexibility in terms of being able to say why they're there as any of the other factions, the reasons are just a bit different. That, I think, is good - if every faction has the same reason for fighting it can get a skosh boring.
So, here's a quick list:
Territoriality - the animals are local to the area and their opponents have ventured in for reasons of their own. While different species will not be operating in a coherent military structure, they also don't need to in order to all be present and a threat. Check nature programming on your local TV channels of choice and you'll see hyenas not attacking lions but still moving in to take their kills if there are more hyenas than lions. There are many different sorts of birds which enjoy symbiotic or parasitic relationships with not only other birds (egg stealing for food, leaving eggs behind for other birds to hatch) but also with other types of animals (rhinoceroses, alligators, etc.) and yet they do not operate in classically described military formations. They are just an ecosystem full of territorial opportunists.
Food - The hunter species in the Animal list is on the prowl for food and sees the locals as an easy target. Scavenger species naturally follow the hunt since they'll get second dibs on whatever the hunters bring down. It could be a short-ranged hunting expedition outside of territory or the first step in the establishment of new territory by a group or groups of animals who have been forced from their old territory by overpopulation or in-fighting among dominant males of the species.
Hunters Become The Hunted - A particularly old/clever/special example of an animal species otherwise known as a special character in game terms arranges to turn the tables on a scrounging party and with eerily supernatural co-ordination stalks those foolish enough to venture into the wilderness. Yes, it's a little iffy in terms of realism but at the same time the idea of the exceptional beast is a classic feature of storytelling and the best thing to do in this situation is simply not explain what everyone is working together. Leave a faint aura of mystery and the player will fill in the gaps there in the best way for him or her.
I would also suggest that no matter how other factions are organized in terms of what you can take in what proportions, we should look at a different arrangement for the Animal faction: Hunters, Scavengers, and Oddballs. Hunter species are aggressive, likely pack animals or at least tolerate a slightly dense population, and can be bought as an elite "core" of your force, preferably all from the same species but I won't insist on it. Scavenger species will form the bulk of the force in terms of numbers, operate in packs or flocks, and can be chosen from multiple species since all manner of scavengers will come after whatever the hunters bring down. Finally, the oddballs are those lone threats or strange things particularly unique to the DP earth setting and can be taken in limited numbers as a way to add gameplay flavor to your force. This way we have a robust and yet ecosystem-sensible way to handle having everything from packs of wolves, prides of lions, flocks of vultures, to lone enormous pythons, ancient alligators, swarms of spiders, and even mutated examples of all of the above or extraterrestrial animal species escaped from X'lanthos control.