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So, let's start turning the tables. Previously, we talked about humans slaying gryphons, now let's talk about gryphons fighting back against humans.

Gryphons

Gryphons are hexapodal creatures, possessing two wings and four legs. The general body-plan resembles that of a cheetah and measures 135 cm at the shoulders. Their heads, however, bear resemblance to various eagle and a few corvid species. Soft, fur-like plumage covers their head, neck, the upper parts of the forelegs, as well as the chest area. The lower parts of the forelegs are covered in yellowish scales. All four legs terminate in large claws, similar to that of a harpy eagle.

Gryphons are supreme soarers with limited capacity for powered flight. They can't take off frequently, so they usually save it for emergency.

Gryphons are smaller and more vulnerable than dragons, but are also more numerous, more agile, more active and proactive, compared to their scaled competitors.

Just like dragons, gryphons possess human levels of intelligence and are able to communicate with one another through squawks and caws. Gryphons live in small packs of 5-6, two families sharing the same territory and nesting site. Families take turns, one is hunting, the other is watching over the nests.


So, when gryphon territories overlap with human settlements or royal forests, things don't get ugly, until a typically younger gryphon decides to go against the word of their elders and snatch some food. Humans consider gryphons to be a pest. The best analogy to what would be awaiting them are wolf hunts. Though there's a threshold.

If you were to recruit at around half of a village's available population (so no elderly or small children) for a hunt, you'd most likely attract the unwanted attention of Trash Man, a malicious(?) entity who can and will absolutely and irreversibly destroy your village with plagues, arson and all sorts of chemical weapons.

For this reason, there's a monster slayer guild that specializes in hunting down "monsters". Monster hunters are well-funded, since they're in a good position to extort people, and operate in squads of five. They use the methods (so, primarily traps and crossbows) outlined in this and this post.

The scope of this question is an encounter between gryphons and a squad of monster slayers. The goal of the gryphons is to 1. slow down 2.rout 3.cause moderate damage to the squad in this priority. Gryphons also want to minimalize their own casualties and injuries, preferably to zero; for once a life is gone, it can't be brought back, not even Stands have that power.

What tactics would gryphons use then to combat monster slayers in this situation?

Gryphons can't really build tools but can use simpler ones, assuming they find any. The tech level is medieval.

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  • $\begingroup$ For #2, I assume you mean rout, rather than route? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Mar 23 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre I guess? $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 23 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ Tactics are something that are applied depending on the specifics of a situation. As such this is a question about actions in an already established world rather than about how to build the world. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Mar 23 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings That's why The Art of War is only applicable to a handful of very specific situations... $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 23 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ With nuclear weapons. No one can seriously dispute the effectiveness of MAD. Humans might bluster and do the brinkmanship thing, but at the end they will back down if the consequences are global thermonuclear war. $\endgroup$ – John O Mar 23 at 21:16
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Short answer:

1) slow down: there is no sense to do it in battle, intelligent gryphons will choose the most inaccessible sites for nesting in the first place. The only thing they can do is to warn people with screeches to stay away from their territory. If humans proceed their advancement then it's a clear sign they're willing to fight. Triggering avalanches, even preparing some in beforehand like piling up rocks along most probable attack routes.

2) rout: same with p.1

3) cause moderate damage: carpet bombardments with something that's not heavy enough to kill. Stealing fishermen/hunting nets to throw at attackers (?). Tripping the attackers from cliffs.

Long (not-really-)answer:

human levels of intelligence

when gryphon territories overlap with human settlements or royal forests

1 slow down 2 rout 3 cause moderate damage

That seems quite controversial to me.

First of all an intelligent animal will definitely do its best to not hunt near apex predator's lair, even less likely nest.

Even if they do they'll nest in the most inaccessible place they can think of.

Their combat priorities are questionable too: if they're human-level intelligent then there are only two options - either fly away right from the start or kill the extermination group to win some time to flee before the next one arrives. There is no reason for them to believe that they can just scare off the slayers.

From the other side: why would humans ever wolf-hunt sentient creatures? If food stealing behavior is anomalous then they'll focus on ambushing and killing the intruding gryphon, not ruining their nest.

P.S.: Even our world ravens are smart enough to fly away from hunter with a rifle and ignore the shepherd with a stick. It's hard to think that human-level-intelligent creatures will not grasp the concept of human society, slayers, the goals/meaning of wolf-hunt or revenge.

I'm pretty sure that mentioned "young gryphon" that stole from people will be just clawed to death and brought back to the village by his pack just to make sure that nasty humans with sharp metal sticks won't visit their nest.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'd doubt that. Why would gryphons choose to outright kill their own for something like that? Sure, they'll punish the culprit but not that severely geez. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 24 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles , a lot of animals do intentionally sacrifice (trip/push) their packmates when endangered to secure pack's escape. Intelligent creature that is aware of human power and consequences of stealing from humans is IMO very likely to do so if they really have nowhere to migrate right away. Remember human tribes offering bloody sacrifices to the volcanoes/gods. $\endgroup$ – haldagan Mar 24 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ That's humans, we're talking about gryphons. I modeled them after corvids who legitimately mourn their dead and do a lot to warn each other of danger. So it'd be out of character for them. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 24 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles, probably I was confused with "human levels of intelligence". Corvids are very smart, yet they're still very far from adult homo sapiens "human level". You mentioned "dragons" to be on par with them, so I imagined your gryphons as self-aware intelligent species, that have understandings on a level of at least of tribal humans. $\endgroup$ – haldagan Mar 24 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ They do have human intelligence, but with some "differences". Plus, they've been exposed to human civilization and humans, so they would know about certain things. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 24 at 10:26
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Flight is a pretty massive advantage. One, visibility is off the charts better. A group of humans in a forest is on the lookout for bands of enemies, but griffins in the air easily see the locations of every set of troops and can concentrate on them at will.

And then there is the firepower situation. It is hard to shoot up (though not impossible with a good bow). High ground even counts today in the age of machine guns. On the other hand, dropping even a modestly large rock from 5 stories high would cause enough impact to crush any mid-evil level helmet (or probably even a modern one). But those griffins better make their one shot count.

And winged flight is mostly silent. You can sneak quietly through the woods by being careful and slow. But you can glide quietly very quickly. We're talking about having a whole regiment sneak up on you at faster speeds than a horse.

The humans are going to have to greatly outnumber the griffons, or use some pretty clever tactics, to beat them.

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Human level intelligence offers a single solution:

Avoid humans at all costs

In the words of Cohen the Barbarian:

Never enter an arse-kicking contest with a porcupine

Humans have the numbers, they have the weapons, they have the tendency to hold a grudge for generations. They expand rapidly and kill or displace all before them.

The only valid solution is to avoid conflict and hence avoid all contact. The fundamental aim of any massively outnumbered and outgunned family group isn't to "cause moderate damage" it's to survive. If soldiers or "monster hunters" approach the territory, flee.

Then firebomb the village and any crops from the air. Also panic any herd animals off cliffs, into rivers, or just stampede them through the village and generally scattering them to the four winds.

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