Monday, July 4, 2016

RPG Musing: The Dog Days

The Dog Days.  A Quick Fae Disaster Survival RPG romp.

Theme Song, yep, I went there.

Fireworks launch on the 4th of July.  When the explosions end, though, human civilization is no more.  You wake up after the electricity is gone.  You wake up after most of the people have fled in the night.  Your eyes blink open, your ears sting.

The earth is exploding around you.  But you aren't human.  You are a dog.  A dog that had hidden from the fireworks only to find the 4th of July also was the end of their home.

Dog Days is a little RPG about a pack of domestic dogs during the worst summer for humanity.  Do they aid their former masters, or do they go wild in the face of survival?


Dog Days uses FAE (Fate Accelerated), cuz I'm lazy at the moment.  What follows are most of the alterations.  This is mostly an un-playtested musing.  I don't know if I ever plan on running it, but here are the bare bones of the rules I'd use for it.

Dogs have the following approaches available to them instead of the normal six: Hungry, Curiosity, Playing, or Barking.

Use this array instead of the normal one for stating them out.  Choose one at Good (+3), one at Fair (+2), one at Average (+1) and one at Mediocre (+0).


These aren't precise breeds, but sets of aspects to choose one from.
Breed Aspects to Choose:
Absent-Minded Hunting Dog; 
Mongrel; Energetic Tiny Dog; 
Paranoid Attack Dog; 
Smartass Terrier; 
Lazy Retriever;


Each dog has a problem aspect.  These are a problem the dog overcomes or is a intrinsic part of their character.   Choose one from the following list.
Rescued From a Shelter; 
Homesick For Humans; 
Generous to a Fault; 
Very Fugly Dog; 
More Bark Than Bite; 
Rude and Crude; 
Soul of a Killer;


Lastly, each dog has a Taste aspect.  This is something the Dog always has a temptation for, something that even calms them in the face of disaster.  Whenever a human gives a dog something that fits with their Taste aspect, it removes 1 feral stress from their Feral Stress track.


Dogs have Conditions, instead of a physical or mental stress track.

Mild Conditions: Bruised [], Hungry* [], Angry []
Moderate Conditions: Hurt [], Ravenous* []
Severe Conditions: Broken [], Wounded []

*These conditions you can be rid of by eating something, anything edible you've found.

Hunger is a constant concern with canines.  Almost always, you mark off your Hungry condition after any scene where you didn't eat anything.


Feral is a separate stress track.  These are separate instances that you can choose to take a point of Feral Stress, with an immediate benefit.
1. Attack a human.  You take a point of Feral stress and immediately lose the Scared condition if you have it, and gain 1 Fate point.
2. Go a whole day with the Hungry condition.  You take two points of Feral stress.
3. Eat a dead human.  You take two points of Feral stress and immediately lose the Hungry or Ravenous conditions if you have them and gain 1 Fate point.
4. Hunt humans for food.  You take three points of Feral stress and gain 1 Fate point.

You have four feral stress boxes, if they all fill-up, you immediately gain three points you can spend on your approaches.  As long as your Feral Stress track is full, you have the Feral aspect.

Feral Stunts.  

When your Feral stress track is full, you gain the following two stunts.

Scent.  Whenever you Hungrily track something's scent, you gain a +2 to the roll to find that prey.
Vicious.  Whenever you Barkingly try to dodge something attacking you, you gain a +2 to the roll to avoid being hit.


After the fireworks on the 4th of July, you've managed to stay hidden from the noise.  You wake to find your home is gone, destroyed by something you don't understand.  The front door is wide open.  Nothing is holding you back.  Your people aren't around.  You can go anywhere now, but you have no idea what has happened to your home or to your people.

Players at the start of the game begin with a Brainstorm session (see Atomic Robo).  But this uses whatever Approach their dog is best at instead of a skill.  The Brainstorm is to try to explain what happened, what the nature of the disaster was and what happened to their humans in particular.  Players and the GM should feel free to use this to help sketch out the disaster they're dealing with.

The core question of these rules is to ask whether the players go feral or aid humans they encounter.  Attacking "bad" humans can lead a dog down the feral path, but so can going without food for awhile.


This was just a musing, not a fully fleshed out thing.  I could do more.  But if this is enough for you to run this and you do, please let me know how it worked out for you.  I might revisit it, or I might just leave it up here like the other many things I muse about.