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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Adventure Pets!

I love having pets. That is why I felt it necessary to allow them to be included in the campaign. It's like that bumper sticker that says "Animals are people too". Inclusion of pets in a campaign is a salute to our own pets or the pet we might wish to have.

Pets can keep us company, make us laugh, comfort us when we're low, and keep us sane. But in a Star Frontiers game, we can adopt pets that can do much more, such as protect us, transport us, or retrieve things for us. They can help us in a great many situations and add flavor to the campaign.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed writing the article, especially since I'm the first one that I know of who has ever done such an article. I love delving into the roleplaying aspects of my subject.

Roleplaying Instruction
This article was my first opportunity to instruct on actual roleplaying. I don't think there are enough such articles in the industry. Crunch seems to be what everyone cater's to, but really, there are a lot of people out there who need roleplaying instruction, but particularly for the subject in this article, since it's not a subject that many people think about and for which most couldn't imagine what could be fun about roleplaying an animal.

Whether a beginning roleplayer or an old school gamer, the player is still left to "wing it" in regard to roleplaying. Sure, the more the play, the better they get at it from watching others and practicing what they learn, but they don't often give careful consideration to their roleplaying. Thus, articles are needed that instruct roleplayers in the details. But more importantly is being able to see how to make roleplaying more fun. Some may be robotic die rollers who enjoy taking part in the character reacting to his environment, while others may take an active part in shaping the adventure and the campaign. The key is learning how to express that ambition when roleplaying a seemingly uninteresting living being or computer device. And so I now try to provide roleplaying instruction wherever possible.

Expanding the Pet Roleplaying Concept
In this article I also provided several animals that can be used as pets of one kind or other, ranging the gamut of ways in which animals can improve life, from the small to the great, and from the grounded to the soaring. Pinar's Ant seemed to be a hit. It's my favorite as well. The Fazer Wolf was a close second for me, and I intend to do some stuff with it in the future.

This seemed to be the article that hit some amount of appreciation by the community, but I have yet to hear anyone put it to good use. I hope someone finds that opportunity. What I regret about the Adventure Pets! article is that I did not include pictures with the animals. So I hope to be able to provide those images eventually. Perhaps I'll revise them in a new creature list article.

When writing this article, I had the intent to do a Beast Riders article that would accompany it in the same issue, but I ran out of room. Instead, I introduced the Animal Trainer skill with subskills, and how to put your pet to good use. I will probably amend this skill later to trade out some Explorer skill, which already has the other subskills listed in the article.

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