All Awakened Animal Party, can my furry players be happy?


Advice


So recently a group of furries from the local fur-meet decided they wanted to play Pathfinder. They do not want to be lycanthropes--that is the obvious fix--but instead they just want to be starting level characters.

So my initial idea to make this work is to set a base CR of the highest CR animal a player wants to play and have the other players level up to that. This makes it so they can play animals, but quite simply as animals with hero levels.

It wasn't shortly after that they discovered agathions and Petitioners from Nirvana--our cleric and druid are both leaning towards petitioners now--and so forth.

I offered to let the guy who wants to play a two-handed fighter play a Hound Archon, but he essentially wants to play Sif the Great Grey Wolf.
( http://images.wikia.com/darksouls/images/9/95/Great_Grey_Wolf_Sif_01.png )

So, how well does this work? The NPC and animal statistics can work, but my players are asking about customization. Furthermore can a wolf hold a greatsword of its size in its mouth? I think likely, if it has the training.

There are no standard races being played by any of the players.

So, any idea how well this can work?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

it works as well as you and your players work to make it work.


I would actually go at it from another direction ... ask what animal they want to play, then find an extant race that could reflect that. Any 'tough' animal could be a dwarf, any 'sleek' animal could be an elf. Small animals could be halflings. You could use the human stats (especially with the 'heart of the (terrain)' racial subs) for anything. Remember, you can describe your character any way you like.

Also, you could get their species, then if you have it, use the Advanced Race Guide to build something appropriate.


Zhayne wrote:
... ask what animal they want to play, then find an extant race that could reflect that...

Ooh ooh! And they can wear outfits which make them look like their animal! And go to conventions with other adventurers who look like animals and start a Pathfinder game about adventurers who look like animals...

I don't see a problem with using actual awakened animals. Since all of the players will be doing it, you shouldn't have any balance issues as long as they all get animals of the same CR. I would recommend the animal companion list as a starting point. You may want to give them fixed INT and CHA bonuses rather than having them roll. You may also want to give them Wild Speech and/ or Natural Spell as bonus feats, just to make things go smoother. Or you could get really meta and use Anthropomorphic Animal.

Also, have you heard of Bunnies and Burrows? The books can be a bit rare nowadays, but it does exactly what you're looking for.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is a really good sourcebook for animals as PCs: Noble Wild

Dark Archive

Lurk3r wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
... ask what animal they want to play, then find an extant race that could reflect that...

Ooh ooh! And they can wear outfits which make them look like their animal! And go to conventions with other adventurers who look like animals and start a Pathfinder game about adventurers who look like animals...

I don't see a problem with using actual awakened animals. Since all of the players will be doing it, you shouldn't have any balance issues as long as they all get animals of the same CR. I would recommend the animal companion list as a starting point. You may want to give them fixed INT and CHA bonuses rather than having them roll. You may also want to give them Wild Speech and/ or Natural Spell as bonus feats, just to make things go smoother. Or you could get really meta and use Anthropomorphic Animal.

Also, have you heard of Bunnies and Burrows? The books can be a bit rare nowadays, but it does exactly what you're looking for.

For their intelligence, wisdom, and charisma, I would give them a 10 point buy, or a 7 point buy.


Lurk3r wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
... ask what animal they want to play, then find an extant race that could reflect that...
Ooh ooh! And they can wear outfits which make them look like their animal! And go to conventions with other adventurers who look like animals and start a Pathfinder game about adventurers who look like animals...

*slap*

You've never heard of reflavoring, have you?


Shar Tahl wrote:
This is a really good sourcebook for animals as PCs: Noble Wild

I second this as a great option.


I'd think the best option for this sort of thing, if you want to have hands and such, would be to start off with the already existing catfolk/ratfolk/nagaji/grippli races, and fill out more with the race building rules.

Otherwise... you're pretty deep in the house rule forest on this one, and whatever you do, balance is going to get screwy,

Something to be said for looking at druids and synthesist summoners too I suppose. Just leave them in "transformed" mode full time, and fluff out whatever alternate explanation for what they are.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, like Bambi and friends, but with bloody adventures, and sexual tension?

Furcadia, the Pathfinder edition?

Animal Farm, and the Rise of the Runelords?

What is the theme/feel you going for?


This thread may be useful. I don't think there are many actual animals done yet, but it gives you an idea of how you could work it.

Are they wanting to play anthropomorphic animals or actual animals?

And why aren't you getting them to play Bunnies and Burrows?


Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
So, how well does this work? The NPC and animal statistics can work, but my players are asking about customization. Furthermore can a wolf hold a greatsword of its size in its mouth? I think likely, if it has the training.

Can it? Who cares, its a homegame and you can just make it up as you go. Personally, I think a wolf using a 2 handed weapon in his mouth is pretty awesome, but maybe that's just me.

Something to think about is not all animals are created equal(Cats get pounce...), and monsters don't always add up to great PCs. You may consider just making up your own races or something to keep things on par. Not sure how much you care about mechanical balance. I have no idea how a large cat next to a hound archon next to an awakened guard dog is going to look, but I wouldn't put my money on mechanical balance with that.

Weird question, but are we talking about people who want their characters to go on all fours and forgo hands? Because hands are useful.

LazarX wrote:
it works as well as you and your players work to make it work.

So... How do we do that? Pretty vague there.


Qorin wrote:
And why aren't you getting them to play Bunnies and Burrows?

Or Ironclaw, for that matter?


How does any group make a game work?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Why not Mouse Guard?

Shadow Lodge

There are also the basic animalistic races, such as Catfolk, Ratfolk, Kitsune, Nagaji, Grippli, and Tengu.


Zhayne wrote:

*slap*

You've never heard of reflavoring, have you?

Apologies. Perhaps my attempt at humor was a bit in poor taste. It was not my intent to belittle either you or the OP.

However, I meant what I said out of /ooc- using actual awakened animals would probably give a better experience. I have, in fact, heard of reflavoring and I don't think it works very well. A race in PF is just a collection of abilities attached to an image. You can change that image because it is only a label, attached to the mechanics by the game designer. Those mechanics- what the player can and can't roll- are where the player's real experience of a character comes from. Dwarves are hardy and have stonecunning and that makes them distinct from elves, not their beards. If you re-skin a dwarf as a badger, that PC will still do all those dwarfy things and will still feel like a dwarf during play. It'll just be a dwarf in a badger suit. Meanwhile there's a mechanically (and experientially) distinct badger in the Bestiary 2 just waiting to provide the player with a truly different experience.


I'd recommend either going into third party races (There are some anthropomorphic animal ones there, though off the top of my head I can only think of the hengeyokai ( http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/3rd-party-races/rite-publishing/hengeyokai )) or if you are willing to put in a bit more work you should use the creating new races guidelines ( http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/other-rules/creating-new-races ).

Of course, have not done those things myself, as I tend to be in groups where only half the party wants to play anthropomorphic animals, hence can get enough variety out of regular choices like ratfolk, catfolk, kitsune, ect... note: there are heritage options for both aasimar and tiefling that sound like they could end up rather furry too.


Lurk3r wrote:
Zhayne wrote:

*slap*

You've never heard of reflavoring, have you?

Apologies. Perhaps my attempt at humor was a bit in poor taste. It was not my intent to belittle either you or the OP.

However, I meant what I said out of /ooc- using actual awakened animals would probably give a better experience. I have, in fact, heard of reflavoring and I don't think it works very well. A race in PF is just a collection of abilities attached to an image. You can change that image because it is only a label, attached to the mechanics by the game designer. Those mechanics- what the player can and can't roll- are where the player's real experience of a character comes from. Dwarves are hardy and have stonecunning and that makes them distinct from elves, not their beards. If you re-skin a dwarf as a badger, that PC will still do all those dwarfy things and will still feel like a dwarf during play. It'll just be a dwarf in a badger suit. Meanwhile there's a mechanically (and experientially) distinct badger in the Bestiary 2 just waiting to provide the player with a truly different experience.

You're right, if you only change the name. Stonecunning too Dwarfy? Well now it's called Burrowcunning. Hatred of Orcs and Goblins doesn't fit? Well now it's Foxes and Rabbits.

If you relabel EVERYTHING, I really don't see the difference. Particularly since it sounds like these people haven't played Pathfinder before. And then you get to play races that have actually been playtested.


Tyal-Kelvar wrote:

I'd recommend either going into third party races (There are some anthropomorphic animal ones there, though off the top of my head I can only think of the hengeyokai ( http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/3rd-party-races/rite-publishing/hengeyokai )) or if you are willing to put in a bit more work you should use the creating new races guidelines ( http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/other-rules/creating-new-races ).

Of course, have not done those things myself, as I tend to be in groups where only half the party wants to play anthropomorphic animals, hence can get enough variety out of regular choices like ratfolk, catfolk, kitsune, ect... note: there are heritage options for both aasimar and tiefling that sound like they could end up rather furry too.

My aasimar cleric is basically a vulpinal (has vulpinal heritage about 2-3 generations back). He looks like a humanoid arctic fox, but uses the aasimar statistics. Also created a tiefling gnoll that never saw the light of play.


there are a number of raes that already fit the bill the many "folk" races. in 3.0 oriental dventures there was a race Henokgi or something like that. They were any sort of animal-humanoid.


Cool ideas here. I'll take that and have my group experience a very strange trip if they should consume too much weird stuff ingame... Or use this as a variant to the maze spell ;-)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd say just use the advanced race guide and do a custom race of the types.
In reality they are going to be the same power level as existing races, as the anthro is more flavor and less mechanics (minus obvious things like senses and attribute mods).


Gnomezrule wrote:
there are a number of raes that already fit the bill the many "folk" races. in 3.0 oriental dventures there was a race Henokgi or something like that. They were any sort of animal-humanoid.

Hengeyokai. They're shapechangers. Rite Publishing has a book with hengeyokai for pathfinder actually; 'In the company of Henge' I think.

Scarab Sages

Whichever route you take, it would be best if all the players voted and used the same method.

Having one be an awakened animal, others a kitsune/catfolk/ratfolk, and one an outsider like an agathion or hound archon would lead to a whole bunch of balance issues, and possible squabbling later, over who got the good option, and who got the shaft.

And remember the biggest rule of all, when adapting non-standard races:
CR is how good a creature is at fighting typical PCs, and has absolutely nothing to do with Effective Character Level, which is how well it deals (violently or non-violently) with NPCs/monsters, and accomplishes adventure objectives.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Are you set on Pathfinder? If not, another rpg like Mouse Guard or one of the Palladium games might work well.

Silver Crusade

I'm actually a little shocked I haven't seen anyone link to this spell although I'll admit I'm not sure if it fits what you're looking for with your characters.


N. Jolly wrote:
I'm actually a little shocked I haven't seen anyone link to this spell although I'll admit I'm not sure if it fits what you're looking for with your characters.

Yes that works, and use the rules for awaken though that leaves you with like 3HD characters, without adding class levels. But hey if everyone is on the same footing.


If the PCs want to play anthropomorphic characters than there are Outsiders who fit that bill, and Aasimar can pretty much look like any anthropomorphic animal. Add Variant forms and Boom, every build is pretty much covered for the most part.

The_Hanged_Man wrote:
Are you set on Pathfinder? If not, another rpg like Mouse Guard or one of the Palladium games might work well.

I am trying to help them learn Pathfinder, and furthermore I like this system as a DM. I find it quite fun finding out how exactly to break the system, and to provide above average mechanical content for the PCs. I am already a good writer when allowed to spend time world-building--but as we all know, since I have no evidence to back up being a great writer I'm just blowing smoke out my arse--so this is the system I like, want to use, and want to encourage the use of. Each new piece that Paizo makes available is just a new supplement to look at and use.

Plus, I can make Pathfinder as idealized or cynical as I want, but sometimes it just begs to be Dungeon Punk and feel more like Shadowrun instead of D&D.

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