Monday, March 9, 2020

Dogs and Dolphins

 OG Dog
Two types are detailed- mighty guard dogs with 2+2HD that deal 2d4 damage, and wild dogs which are half as powerful. At 25GP a dog, a horde of slavering canines is an incredibly effective way to increase the party's combat capacity in theory, but in practice dogs are quite vulnerable to dying en-masse to dungeon traps and scarier monsters(anything that level-drains on touch comes to mind), and while it's great to have a horde of dogs vs a bunch of gnolls or whatever, it becomes a huge pain in the ass when you have to traverse a rope the thief set up over a wall or a lava pit or whatever.

BFRPG dogs have great morale and do a 'bite and grapple' dog which I think better suits how dogs attack, and are more on par with AD&D wild dogs.

3.5 Dogs can make trip attacks if trained for war, which is a good simulation of dragging people to the ground, but apart from that they are essentially BFRPG dogs.

BFRPG and 3.5 assume the 1HD dog as the baseline, and call the 2hd dogs 'riding dogs' which are typically paired with halflings as steeds, an idea that makes sense,but was not included in the original monster manual. In fact, halflings were stated to have (in the lair) 1d4 of the smaller dog variety, indicating that in original AD&D, rather than riding heroically on dog-back, the halflings much more sensibly drowned their enemies with remote dog swarm tactics. But I digress.

While one might be inclined to dismiss the Alignment: Lawful Good of these bastards as merely a naive 70's sentiment, further perusal of the entry shows that these dolphins are a fantastic departure from reality, as AD&D dolphins have either swordfish or narwhales as guard animals. They also attack sharks unless outnumbered 2-to-1. Further mechanics on dolphin-on-shark violence can be found in the shark entry but as this is already a double post with dogs, I will refrain from that tangent...

No depictions of the Jackal God hanging out with dolphins will ever be seen again

Sunset Realm Dolphin
Basically, monkeys of the sea. Intelligent and playful, but largely irrelevant to ocean politics. It is rumored that they are the souls of humans who drowned in the ocean, which is why they are prone to helping drowning mammals and have a love of music. They are considerably rarer than in real life, having much more competition from the sea-monster filled depths of fantasy oceans. Marooned sailors sometimes sing to the sea in the hopes of attracting dolphins to take them home, and ocean-adjacent wizards sometimes listen to dolphin-song in the hope of learning sea-spells. (While it would be far more efficient to contact the Ningen, those giant fish-people are quite intimidating to tiny, edible land-lubbers).
Finally, dolphins are popular among Beast Islander witches as potion ingredients- more specifically, their milk, as aquatic-creature milk is exceedingly rare and hard to get, but a vital ingredient for certain potions intended for ocean use.

Sunset Realm Dog
Simply put, dogs are basically what they are in real life, but with mythical explanations for domestication. As they are so popular with humans, there are two gods that take credit for gifting the dog to humanity. Our Lady of Gardens claims domestication of wild dogs and wolves, which seems reasonable on account of being responsible for domesticating most farmed species. On the other hand, the Jackal God of Yuba claims divine creation of dogs as a gift to humanity, which seems reasonable because dogs are a great boon to humanity, and the Jackal God having a whole 'dog reincarnation' thing going on with worshipers and dogs and being furious with those who would abuse this gift.

Of course, there are other explanations, though less popular. Elves have dogs of their own called Cu Sidhe (double-sized green-haired irish wolf setter lookin beasties) and depending on who you believe, these creatures are either sylvan simulacra of actual dogs, or dogs are actually goblinoid derivatives of these elven creatures. This line of thinking leads to the question of if humans are in fact, goblinoid derivatives of either elves or apes, a concept too shocking to be seriously considered for most people.

The heleognostic theory posits that there was a common ancestor of dogs and wolves, and the separation is a result of dogs growing orderly and lawful in the daylands, and wolves becoming monstrous due to moonlight and darktaint out in the moonlands. The variety of dogs as compared to that of wolves is the opposite of how such things usually work though, so this is one of the weaker theories from the scholars of heleologos.

The Really Good Dog of the Sunset Realms:

Levels, etc: As Fighter
  1. You're a Dog, Pedigree, Best Friend
  2. Best Friends Fight as One!, Doge Dodge
  3. Best Friends Never Give Up!
  4. Dog Quest, Takedown
  5. Talking Dog, Sniff The Air
  6. New Tricks

You're a Dog
You can't hold things in your hands. You can't climb ropes or ladders. Your Movement is 50 (Human Movement is 40). Your bite attack does either d6 and can latch on to auto-hit each round thereafter (as a dagger in a grapple) as you shake an arm or leg, or deal d8 or d10 damage as you go for the throat or belly.  You do not start with any items. You can follow (most) scents, and recognize scents you've encountered before.  You can understand the words of your fellow PCs and those that your fellow PCs are talking to (via body cues and doggy intuition), but if you are interacting with NPCs alone, you are pretty clueless.  You understand Common, but cannot speak it yet.  You speak Canine fluently.

You're an amazingly intelligent dog: roll Int normally, but be aware that this is doggy Intelligence, and isn't suitable for all things.  For example, you can spot a trap, count coins, or remember a location you haven't been to in years.  However, you probably can't solve linguistic puzzles or use tools, because smart dogs aren't smart in that way.

Best Friend
Pick a best friend. When side by side, either of you can choose to take damage/failed save effects to save your friend, typically by leaping between them and the danger. This designation is permanent (until story/DM say otherwise).  If your Best Friend dies, you can pick a new one after playing 1 full session as a sad, sad dog.
Pedigree- If you are a mundane doggo, you get +10% xp and whatever ability you can convince the GM you should have, like greyhounds being fast or chihuahuas being really sneaky when hiding under things. If you are a Blink Dog, you can teleport anywhere within 80 feet, more than that and your doggy eyes can't see very well. Darkness and blindness do indeed stop this. Furthermore, enemies must match your initiative roll exactly (or prepare to strike you and no one else if initiative is not being used) or be unable to strike you in melee before you teleport away. This replaces Dodge.
If you are a Hell Hound, you can breathe fire 10' long, dealing 1d6 per level if you spend a round doing naught but huffing and puffing. (enemy saves v dragon breath to avoid). You are also a Bad Dog so you have to be tsundere about all your best friend powers.
If you are a Wolf your shadow soul is exceptionally strong and you are immune to mental coercion, and only ever get positive mutations (but are anathema to worshippers of Our Lady of Gardens and hunters from Vint-Savoth).
If you are a Fox you don't exist (but see Blink Dogs)

Doge Dodge
While unarmored and able to defend yourself, you get a bonus to your AC equal to your level. (this does not stack with 'AC=Dex if unarmored and HP is max)

Best Friends Fight As One!
If you and your Best Friend attack the same enemy simultaneously, and both attacks hit, the enemy takes an additional +1d6 damage. In the event of attacking something like a fire elemental that's immune to normal weaponry, the +1d6 damage still applies so long as at least one of you has the appropriate tool.

Best Friends Never Give Up!
If your Best Friend is ever at 0 HP, you can lick their face to restore 1d6+1 HP.  If your Best Friend is ever paralyzed, mind-controlled, raging, or otherwise out of control, you can lick/bite them (whichever is more appropriate) to give them a new save against the effect.  Only works on things that allow saves in the first place.

Dog Quest
At a certain point, you will attract the attention of the local dog populace, or perhaps the Jackal God of Yuba himself.  They will give you a quest to prove your doggishness and earn the collar of a true champion.
  1. Slay a Cat Lord(Rakshasa) that has taken up residence somewhere within a day or two.
  2. Prevent the ascendancy of a nascent Cat Lord- a cat killing dogs, or a tiger killing humans. As cats and tigers are still mortal, a complication (like the cat being the favored pet of a witch, or a tiger being a war-animal of a bounty hunter) is almost certainly the true reason the dogs can't do it themselves.
  3. Hunt down a Bad Dog(Hellhound). Redemption is more possible than with cats, but the threat of the Bad Dog corrupting others means things are time-sensitive.
  4. Venture into the Mirror Realm and drive off a Puma-That-Walks. The peril lies more in the journey than your quarry.
  5. Aid a despairing and broken Jackal Priest to regain their vim and vigor due to them being-
    1- Unlucky in Love 2-Mourning loss of life and limb 3- Kidnapped family 4- Deep in debt 5- Drug-Addicted 6- Crisis of faith, considering cats
  6. Bark all night long, every night, for a month to ward off Darkspawn from the local lord's manor. This is a thankless task, as they will view you only as a noisy mutt disturbing their rest.

If you refuse or fail this quest, you will be shunned by the Dog Clans of the cities and cannot level up further.  If you succeed, you will win allies among the Dog Clans, and can call on their help in the cities.  Examples of help: gossip, relaying messages, safe houses, and in certain circumstances--a whole pack of mangy street dogs who will fight for you.
Sniff the Air
You can smell monsters 1 turn (10min) before they arrive. The DM rolls on the wandering monster table and describes what one of the monsters smells like.  If you've encountered that type of monster before, you can identify it.  (Communicating the information, however, might be tricky.) You may also detect poison and harmful magics within '1' if you actively sniff for them.
When you bite an opponent no larger than a human, you can force them to save or fall prone.
Talking Dog
Through magic or mutation or simply practice and observation, you can now speak the common tongue.

New Tricks- You may reset your level to 1 (reduce HP and saves accordingly), keep all your dog powers, and start leveling up as something else.
If you do not do this, you have reached the level cap, congratulations.

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