Thursday, 6 April 2017

The GM's Toolkit: Pets (Revisited)

This week, I want to come back to pets, an often-overlooked opportunity for roleplay and exploration in RPGs. The type of pets our characters might adopt, or how they care for them can say a lot about the characters themselves, and can create additional depth in the story. I want to come back to pets and animal companions in a couple of weeks - since it's a good topic to revisit, and I reckon I can branch out in some interesting directions - but for now, I'm thinking about giving pets a personality.

   

I was thinking, with D&D 5e, we already have personality traits baked into the mechanics. Every GM handles them a little differently, but for the majority of home or story-based games, most GMs will award inspiration for acting according to those personality traits. Perhaps you could add to the roleplay by describing how your character's pet behaves, or inviting the GM to make things interesting by trading Inspiration for drawing on your pet's personality quirks to make things a little more complicated for you and your allies.

Below is the Pets table in its current iteration, along with the example pets I started out with originally, I've added a new column: Personality Quirks, for you to experiment with, and see if you can make your pets more integral to the story. In the future I'm going to look into brand-new creatures that might make suitable pets for your fantasy world, putting some time into formalising the ideas in the example pet types, and perhaps discussing rules on training pets.
Click to Enlarge
For text reader users, or folks wanting to print off the table, you can find the Revisited Pets table - and watch as and when I do more with it - here at Google Sheets. Have at it.

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