After listening to Fear the Boot’s recent episode on playing animal characters, I wrote yesterday about playing something approaching a true animal (i.e. no thumbs, no pants). Today, I want to pick up on the other part of FtB’s episode. Role playing more human-like animal characters. Y’know, furries.
The hosts of Fear the Boot only scarcely touched on this aspect in episode 143. Popular examples of Anthros include Bugs Bunny, Marvel’s Tigra and Dreadstar’s Oedi. Animals with thumbs and perhaps some optional clothing.
FtB spoke about the attraction to the distinctiveness of these character types, especially their unique appearances.
Dan said something in episode 143 with which I completely agree: “I’ve got three dogs… I have seen a greater diversity of personality between those three dogs than I have in any three elves in most DnD games.”
I have four dogs and a cat, each with his or her own VERY unique personality. If they had thumbs… sweet fancy Moses, the trouble that they’d cause. I could generate some bad-ass characters right there.
For instance my Maine Coone Cat? A stone-cold killer. Ridiculously sloppy, and mercurial in his moods, Cecil has few loved ones. Even they aren’t safe. He is prone to spontaneous bouts of sobbing, choking down mood altering drugs which only serve to take the edge off. When the eyes go dark, shit happens.
The two terriers? Bettye is happy, perky, a gifted dancer. And Walter? He’s a handsome young fellow, good-natured and well-liked. Together? They delight in the killing of things, taking their pleasures slow… drinking deep of the suffering they inflict.
Pearl’s a big girl, wide and proud with a generous chest. A Beagle, she concerns herself only with three things: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. God help anyone who gets in her way at supper time. She’s got a booming voice, loves to sing. At the top of her lungs. No matter the hour.
Homer is widely known as a good guy. He’s kind to little ones, protective of his family, and loves a good road trip. He won’t hesitate to set things right when he perceives a wrong, but fighting is not his first choice. He’s happy just to stare the other party down. He is tender to those who’ll let him be so. He’s a cuddler.
Interesting party dynamic right there.
My experience with Anthros is exclusively within the old Word of Darkness game. There were any number of shifting breeds… from werewolves to weresharks, werebears to weartigers, there was a lot of opportunity to play these animal-people. Beyond that, there were the Pooka from Changeling: The Dreaming (my favorite oWoD game) who have animal characteristics. Each of these character types have a deeply unique background lore and, plus, they look cool.
In my This Empire Earth game, I recognized that there are just some folks that wanna play the furry guy (Mr. Pinilla, I’m looking at you). So, I tasked the group to develop a feline race of aliens. And thus were born the Ikati.
Truly, I don’t think there’s much difference in playing a dog-man than playing any other alien race. The trick is to find the unique aspect to the character, the character’s “truth” and roll from there.