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Pupdate 5- 5000+ Backers, dogs in YOUR game world and alignment chart

 

HI everyone! Russ here with another Pupdate for the weekend and, my goodness, what a few days…

We are now a canine community of over 5000 people ready to let the dogs loose in their game worlds! That is incredible, there is no other word for it! Again, and sorry to sound like a stuck record, but I am truly grateful at the faith each of you has shown in the project

So…how DO you release dogs into your game world?

The core idea behind the rules we are creating for Animal Adventures: Tales of Dungeons and Doggies is that you can run a whole canine world if you wish, BUT we intended to make it really easy to incorporate dog characters into standard D&D campaigns and parties, fighting and adventuring alongside their elven, dwarven and other kindred souls.

To that end the companion contains a series of hooks and ideas for the impact that intelligent dogs might have on a world, from the deity worship we touched on yesterday to blacksmiths who specialise in dog-compatible armour and weapon modifications! We also touch on languages, as players can determine the means by which their dog communicates- do you speak on Common, or are you just REALLY good at letting people know the kids have fallen in the old well?

It is our intention that you can decide how common or otherwise dogs are in your game. My own campaign has them as rare, but around in enough numbers that you could have several in one party. But if you chose to make your doggy adventurer the first of her kind, that’s supported as well.

The magic items we are including will reflect this as well- some of them are useful but utilitarian items but there are a couple of legendary items which could seed the origin of intelligent dogs into the foundation of your world’s lore. The emphasis really is on you using the information as best suits your own needs.

In support of this, we have introduced a new Character Background, the Awakened Animal for creating characters. We present the initial playtest version this below and welcome any feedback you have. This could be adapted to other animals over time but has a distinctly doggy flavour right now!

Background : Awakened Animal

You are a self aware, fully sentient member of a species usually only recognised as possessing ‘animal level’ intelligence. How did such a thing occur? Some animals are exposed to arcane or divine elements that change them, some may have been deliberately altered or experimented upon, whilst others may simply be born... Different.

Regardless of the exact circumstances of your awakening, you have determined that the life of a mute companion and pet is not for you. The one place in this world where the unique and extraordinary have a chance to realise their ambition and seek answers is the path of adventure, compelling you out into the wider world.

You still retain a deeply held desire to be of use and benefit to those around you. Now, equipped with a perspective on the world few of your kind ever possess, you have set your paws on an incredible journey...

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Persuasion
Languages: any one
Equipment: An object relating to your awakening, such as the worn scroll you slept under as a puppy or a locket with the image of the family you were born to. A well chewed toy. 1d6 gp of scrounged valuables. 

Feature: A friend by every fireside

You can use the vast and often unregarded population of dogs that is found throughout society to your advantage. You are always aware of the local canine population and can seek information about the locality and goings on from the many dogs you encounter. By sniffing popular places and scents, you can learn instantly limited information about a place such as quality of water and food supplies, population levels, general mood and atmosphere. Furthermore, you can usually find a friendly local dog who can help you seek safe and welcoming accommodation, food and shelter.

Suggested personality traits.

Dogs, awakened or otherwise, are shaped by their history of development alongside the sentient races as companions and allies. Your personality is likely to reflect this history and your ideals will tend towards selflessness and the maintaining the welfare of those you see as your pack, as well as an instinctive desire to aid and comfort. Your bonds are often people or favourite objects that have great value and meaning. Your flaws may be related to being overprotective to the point of jealousy, or a deeply buried resentment at the way dogs have been treated by some unsavoury aspects of society, which conflicts with your other drives and emotions.

Personality trait 1d8 

1. I tend to the dramatic, as a creature of impulse I have few middle gears and often narrate my circumstances with great flair and florid expression.
2. I dislike conflict and try to be a calming mediator, seeking common ground in conflict.
3. I have a tendency to diffuse tension with humour and love doing silly tricks to make people like me.
4. When in a new place, I have a need to... Establish my ownership...
5. I am the one who charges into every situation with gusto, rarely stopping to think about consequences.
6. I get bored easily if I'm not the centre of attention.
7. I love to play more than anything, be it racing around with children or more cerebral fare.
8. I'm constantly delighted by fooling people into thinking I'm a normal dog, and I'm not against using this to my advantage.  

Ideal 1d6 

1. Selflessness. I believe in self sacrifice and unhesitating action to improve the lives of others.
2. Aid. My skills are a gift to the world and I must assist in endeavours where I can be of use.
3. Family. Nothing is more important than the people we love. I'd do anything to keep family together.
4. Comfort. I cannot stand to see a creature in pain and will act within my power to provide succour and lift spirits.
5. Knowledge. I have a unique gift and perspective, and I must share that, and further my knowledge of the world so maybe more like me can follow.
6. Change. My enhanced understanding of the world shows me many injustices. I have a deep desire to enact change within the world order, one day at a time.

Bond 1d6 

1. The magical writings of my lost master gave me this gift, now I bear them to the place they must be laid.
2. The one who did this to me did not expect me to escape. But my return will be even more shocking.
3. When the one who made me this way set off on their long quest, they were ignorant of what they had given me. I will find them and together we will achieve greatness.
4. I made a promise that the child I knew as a pup would always be safe. I work towards that still.
5. This object may look like junk, but it is the last tie to a lost past. One day I will return that past to the world.
6. There are others like me, for I am their kin. I will seek them out no matter what.  

Flaw 1d6 

1. I cannot escape the loneliness I feel as a singular intelligence among animals and long to meet another like myself.
2. Deep down, I am angry at the way my species is treated and I am easily offended by condescending attitudes or perceived cruelties.
3. I fear losing my companions and so I can react to strangers with mistrust and even aggression.
4. I regard myself as a superior version of my kind, and I am prone to forcing non sentient dogs into submission.
5. I've never let go of my basic instincts and can be the cause of social awkwardness with my canine behaviour.
6. My willingness to trust and follow people, even strangers, means I am easily led into compromising scenarios.

And lastly, one of our lovely backers, Monica, shared this brilliant dog alignment chart with us! Whilst I am not POSITIVE this will make it through playtesting, I thought you would enjoy seeing it as it made all of us chuckle!

 How amazing is this!?
How amazing is this!?
 
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So I can totally see these as pack animals, familiars, polymorph forms, mascots and animal companions. But player characters? Has the number one flaw to being a player character adventurer been addressed- no opposable thumbs? How do they draw, let alone properly wield their weapons? Unbuckle and buckle their armor? Pull open doors or even turn doorknobs? Uncork potion bottles without spilling them? Cast spells with a verbal component if they are holding a focus in their mouth? Take advantage of magic armor that they find if it is designed for bipeds? Pick locks? Climb a wall? Use a missile weapon? I also assume they will continue with the D&D trope that you can ride a dog even if it will seriously damage their hips and spine if you do it in real life, but for practical purposes a small dog can carry very little in terms of equipment- how does that work? You also run into the issue where a player playing a dog can easily hog the spotlight during a game due to constantly needing to have accomodations made for them, leaving other players in the cold (much like the problem of having that one player that always has to be "the evil character" in a heroic campaign). 

 

I could see a all doggy one off, and I would totally play that, but in a standard campaign it raises too many issues that can't just be hand waved away. Or is that paw waved?

 

I hate to be "that guy" but yeah, opposable thumbs. Those are pretty important if you are going to be an adventurer!

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Got in on this day one....showed my daughter the teaser pics a week ago and that was a mistake. I did not tell her how long it would be before we see them though.

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10 minutes ago, GHarris said:

So I can totally see these as pack animals, familiars, polymorph forms, mascots and animal companions. But player characters? Has the number one flaw to being a player character adventurer been addressed- no opposable thumbs? How do they draw, let alone properly wield their weapons? Unbuckle and buckle their armor? Pull open doors or even turn doorknobs? Uncork potion bottles without spilling them? Cast spells with a verbal component if they are holding a focus in their mouth? Take advantage of magic armor that they find if it is designed for bipeds? Pick locks? Climb a wall? Use a missile weapon? I also assume they will continue with the D&D trope that you can ride a dog even if it will seriously damage their hips and spine if you do it in real life, but for practical purposes a small dog can carry very little in terms of equipment- how does that work? You also run into the issue where a player playing a dog can easily hog the spotlight during a game due to constantly needing to have accomodations made for them, leaving other players in the cold (much like the problem of having that one player that always has to be "the evil character" in a heroic campaign). 

 

I could see a all doggy one off, and I would totally play that, but in a standard campaign it raises too many issues that can't just be hand waved away. Or is that paw waved?

 

I hate to be "that guy" but yeah, opposable thumbs. Those are pretty important if you are going to be an adventurer!

 

some mythical / fantasy animals have paws with a panda-bear like false thumb, in which they have a paw but still can manipulate objects (like how a panda holds bamboo)

 

i imagine it's probably something like that

Edited by Sirithiliel
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Assuming we ignore the fact that dogs aren't pandas, ignore the fact that not all dogs have front dewclaws (the equivalent of thumbs), ignore the fact that a dog's wrist structure does not lend itself to proper handling of tools and weapons, and ignore the detrimental effects of having large pads on your pamls/fingers and non-retracting claws on your finger tips would have on your ability to grip and manipulate objects you are still stuck with the relative size of the paws. Relative to the gripping parts of a human hand (which is made for grasping) a dog's paw is tiny (it is made for walking). Even if the dogs had panda thumbs the hands would be so small that it would be the equivalent of handing a full sized sword to a baby or toddler and expecting them to properly manipulate the weapon. It just won't work.

 

This also assumes that tying up one or two paws by using them as hands will have no effect on the dog's stability and ability to walk/run. Yes, I am aware that three and even two legged dogs can walk just fine, but can they do it while swinging something out in front of them with one of their legs? 

 

Also note that these are Awakened animals. Per the Awaken spell the animal does learn to speak a language but it doesn't mention anything about the animal's anatomy or physical limitations being changed. Not saying that this spell is necessarily responsible for the dog's Awakened Background, but it does sound pretty similar.

Edited by GHarris

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just pointing out a possibility. I'm mean if we're getting into the logical reality of things, there is no way a Centaur would survive its body shape, there is absolutely no way a dragon would exist and especially not fly or talk, nor a pegasus or Roc be able to exist and fly. Skeletons cannot stay together without some sort of bonding element between the bones, Giants cannot exist, elementals are just silly and on and on it goes. In the end, it's fantasy. Magic. Imagination. And trying to apply real world canine physiology to a fantasy version of a dog is probably futile, becuase you'll then have to apply it to the rest of the world in which you play and end up with exactly what we have today. And what's the point of playing in a world exactly like the one we live in?

 

not to mention adventurers would not be able to just take a short rest and heal dire wounds, or come back from the dead if revived, or even carry as much equipment as they can list on their character sheet. 

Edited by Sirithiliel
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Oh yeah, I am totally with you. It is foolish to debate the physics of fantasy creatures. But these are dogs. Very smart, very cute dogs but still...dogs. There is a reason why dogs need us to use the can opener for them!

 

Ugh. Encumbrance rules. Not exactly a bright spot of 5E, I won't argue that! But proper hands on creatures does come into play when it comes to special familiars and animals that you polymorph or shape change into. 

 

Some parts of a fantasy world are grounded in reality, some aren't. Humans are still humans, but they can heal really fast and come back from the dead because the game background specifically gives a reason for them to. Internal logic in a fantasy setting makes suspension of disbelief possible, this is why nerd rage when something makes no sense in a story- it isn't tied into how the setting works so it sticks out as being "wrong". Awakened dogs in D&D are still physically like dogs in our world, just a bit smarter and able to talk. This is the background of the setting, that is how they work within this internal logic. 

 

Not saying playing them anyways can't be fun or that you (or anyone else) shouldn't play them however you want to play them. But by default physically they are still dogs and dogs have a lot of restrictions that make being an adventurer very difficult. Heck if there is a game being played at Reapercon I'd be tempted to join you!

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54 minutes ago, GHarris said:

Assuming we ignore the fact that dogs aren't pandas, ignore the fact that not all dogs have front dewclaws (the equivalent of thumbs), ignore the fact that a dog's wrist structure does not lend itself to proper handling of tools and weapons, and ignore the detrimental effects of having large pads on your pamls/fingers and non-retracting claws on your finger tips would have on your ability to grip and manipulate objects you are still stuck with the relative size of the paws. Relative to the gripping parts of a human hand (which is made for grasping) a dog's paw is tiny (it is made for walking). Even if the dogs had panda thumbs the hands would be so small that it would be the equivalent of handing a full sized sword to a baby or toddler and expecting them to properly manipulate the weapon. It just won't work.

3

 

 I really dont know how weapon use plays out, but when I have had intelligent animals campaigns, they tend to have mage hand at will, and spells components are handwaved as part of the animal package.   (dragon spellcasters got the same package.)

 

The figures that are wielding weapons (chiua rougue) is holding a dagger in his mouth. 

im willing to use a lot of handwavium to allow dog PCs 

 

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If they end up finding magical armour I would expect that (some of) it would shift itself to fit them in the same way that it must do to fit PCs since humans come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and most armour would not fit most people either (especially not if they actually wanted to wear it all day and in combat rather than just for a swift bit of cosplay and a photo)

 

Some doors will be openable by paw and mouth (dogs can get very good at this), but some won't and that's going to be part of playing such a character just like playing something like a dark elf or orc means you're going to have a very tough time interacting with basic human NPCs in a friendly manner

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Dogs also have natural weapons. From the minis I didn't envision the dogs to be standing on hind legs welding a sword in a paw like a human. I could see them holding a weapon in their mouth, using spells to do it or simply biting someone. Natural weapons can get enhancements too (as all druids will know). There are a lot of things humans are able to do that should be physically impossible, I don't see why dogs should be different. Going into too much detail takes away from the important bit...having fun :)

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If I was going to get these - and I'm presently leaning towards not - I'd be modding them slightly for use as armored mounts/animal companions. Not because I have a hard time believing Awakened Dogs as PCs, but because I don't expect to see many Awakened Dogs as PCs.

 

I do like the sculpts. I think they'd make a great addition to a game, however they got used. Or they'd be super-cute in dioramas.

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14 minutes ago, Pochi said:

For the question of how they would do things without thumbs, they answered that in this article:

 

https://gameornought.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/dungeons-and-doggies-roll-a-d20-for-walkies/

 

Not really. It did mention that they were just normal dogs apart from being really smart, but other than "special pommels and cord operated bows" it doesn't really mention how it fixes the problem, let alone how these special pommels even work (and why they look like NORMAL pommels). Look at the equipment on the models- sure they could technically grab some of them in their mouth but use the item correctly? Yeah that needs more explaining. Heck the way some of these dogs are equipped they couldn't even draw their weapons, let alone effectively grab their stowed gear as part of an action during a round.

 

A dog won't be able to draw one of those weapons as part of an attack action.

 

They couldn't open a scroll tube, unroll a scroll, and cast a spell all as one action

 

Quickly remove their armor if they fell in deep water, let alone put it on if they are ambushed at night

 

String a bow

 

Crank back a winch on a crossbow

 

Dig out a potion, uncork it, and give it to another character as an action

 

Hold a focus in their mouth while casting a spell with verbal components

 

These are still physically normal dogs. If they can't do it in our world they can't in the game. Sure you can houserule and apply lots of "handwavium" (I like that term Evilhalfling!), and have lots of fun doing so, but you can't use their compatibility with standard campaigns as a selling point any more!

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