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Monday, July 20, 2015


Dogs: one of the most devoted companions of mankind for around the last 30 millennia. I have two dogs. There's a fairly decent chance that you have a dog. And it's almost a guarantee that one of your close friends or family members owns a dog. So, why don't we see more of humanity's best friend in our RPGs?

My best guess is that people don't like to see violence against cats, dogs, horses, and other common, domesticated animals. This extends to books, movies, video games, and (I would bet) tabletop games, too. And because violence is the central focus of many RPGs, real-life animals are less likely to be involved so that we don't have to deal with violence against them. It's much easier to fight hell hounds and night mares than Great Danes or Clydesdales.

But say that you want to include dogs (or other animals) more frequently in your game. After all, lots of people own dogs in the modern world and throughout history. If dogs exist in your setting, why shouldn't they be as common? To that end, here are some ideas for introducing dogs in your campaign.

Dog Names

If you've got dogs, you've gotta have names, right? And if you don't want to use Fido, Rover, Rex, or Spot, here's a quick table of ideas.

  1. Runda
  2. Argos
  3. Valla
  4. Zunn
  5. Stoic
  6. Laika
  7. Hruntling
  8. Brutus
  9. Chevron
  10. Stella

Dog Duties

So, now your PC or NPC has a dog. What exactly does that dog do?

  1. Supports someone with a disability
  2. Keeps watch
  3. Herds other animals
  4. Hunts game
  5. Tracks humanoid prey
  6. Performs
  7. Fights
  8. Delivers aid and/or messages

Dogs in Combat

This is less of a random rolling table and more of a list of ideas and suggestions. But you could just roll and go with whatever comes up, if time is pressing.

  1. Fight (solo): The dog has its own combat statistics and is controlled by the player or the GM. It can be the target of enemy attacks and spells.
  2. Fight (coop): The dog attacks alongside its owner, granting a bonus. It cannot be targeted by enemy attacks or spells.
  3. Hide: The dog knows to find safe shelter during combat, placing it safely out of the reach of enemy attacks and spells. It returns to its master after combat.
  4. Handwave: During combat, everyone pretends that the dog does not exist. It does not attack and cannot be the subject of attacks or spells, even ones with an area of effect.

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