One of the less talked about gamer-types is the “pet maniac.” For whatever reason I have a couple of friends who NEED pets for their characters. To them a pet is somehow emblematic of their character’s true or inner nature. It doesn’t matter on the genre, nor the appropriateness of the animal’s presence in the game – some players just aren’t content if their character doesn’t have a loyal companion. I picked up Daniel Proctor’s “Dogs in the Dungeon” which is a “Labyrinth Lord” supplement. I can’t wait to import some of his ideas into my group’s sci-fi campaign. By simply re-fluffing the breed of each dog archetype he presents, it would be easy to create a sci-fi appropriate dog pack. The rules he suggests keeps the role of dogs in check, but still allows them to occupy a real and meaningful place in the game.

My buddy Mike desperately wanted to play Palladuim’s “Rifts” so that he could roll up a bipedal psionic dog. I purchased “The Noble Wild” just in case someone really wanted to have a role-playing challenge and play an actual animal in one of my games. I hope someone does, “The Noble Wild” deserves the ennie attention it enjoys. What’s great about playing games under the OGL is that you can combine aspects of many game rules and supplements into one perfect game that fits your group.

Right now my starship sandbox epic will be full of yogsothery and dogpackery. Who knows, if my players get creative enough they might be able to convince me to let them play a “dog-man.” I’m wondering if “Mutant Future” might be the place to start with this idea.

I’m really excited about running a game where animals are integral to the story rather than a distraction. Proctor’s game is a useful set of rules, especially if your characters consistently undergo activities that dogs are predisposed to.

I’ve played with some creative players – one of whom tried to convince me to let him have an 800 pound Gorilla-ghoul accompany him on missions in the streets of Boston. Another managed to convince me that his family dog followed him into the fey-wilds, and manifested all sorts of bizarre changes. I figured, why not? If his dog didn’t detract from the game balance, why wouldn’t I allow his dog into our story?  Now if someone wants a pet, I’ll simply hand them Proctor’a supplement. What’s you’re feeling about pets in RPG’s? Are you a “pet maniac” yourself? Do you have or remember any successful game-pets?

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