Saturday, April 2, 2011

A-Z: Animal companions

This is my first entry for Tossing it out's A-Z blog challenge. Read more in the website, if you don't know what it's all about.

Anyways, for some reason I totally forgot to do this 1st of April, so I do today in this post the first entry with letter A what I should have done yesterday. And I will do today second entry with letter B to keep up to date. So, here it is, yesterdays post today!

Animal Companions, Just Buffs For Characters?

By animal companions here I mean fantasy games, where some character class might obtain an animal companion to aid him. It might give benefices being kind of a living skill or feat, or it could be even a small animal NPC for that character.

Even though animal companions are just buffs or skill set, should it just be it? I mean, that character has chosen to be that class of animal companions for a reason. Also that character has chosen his animal companion. Particularly that certain animal. How much player's character should give attention for this animal companion?

Roleplaying With Animal Companioned Character

So, character doesn't necessarily have all the skills and equipment himself, but within his animal companion. Games technically it is just a way how that character classes skills are handled a bit differently, than others. But how to flesh out the animal companion? It is a big part of character concept, so should it be roleplayed?

Of course, character class with companion or not is not as important as the character himself. But as the class might have companion, the companion is part of the character as his history and motives are. Player should not give all the attention for the companion, because it might interrupt the game. Even though player can give his character's companion a soul instead of just rules, the game or character is not about animal companionship*.

Still, player might concider playing or taking in game small parts about his character's and his companions relationship. These can be small acts, like:

- when party is eating, just telling for storytelling, how he shares bread crumbles, meat or veggies
- when character is acting, take the companion aspect in it. For example, if character could see far away with an eagle, player can describe when eagle gives the information, he pets it giving small treat and then shares what information he gained with the party

*One Player Games

One player games are different. Instead of group of people and giving them all shared time and their moments equally having fun together, in solo game it can be easier to make story for one character. If character has animal companion, all game could be about their relationship. It could be great drama from finding the companion, adventuring with it and finally loosing it (if companions are mortal). But it doesn't have to be all drama. One player character game could be also adventure, but because there are no other players one player can give everything playing character-animal companion relationship.

Might be good to experiment, and see how it changes companion from just rules, skills, stats and mechanics to something more, as it should be in character's view. True companion, not just additional powers set.

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