I love Pugmire. So far I’d say it’s one of my favorite things to come out of the OGL for 5th Edition D&D. That being said, I do respectfully disagree with a design choice when it comes to the Mutts. Now, keep in mind that this is prior to the final release of the book, and this opinion is based off of the early access rules and the gamma playtest. It appears to me that the way the rules are written, the only difference between a mutt and any other breed, is that a mutt may split their +2 across their stats. When choosing Breed Tricks as a Mutt, you must stick with whatever breed you choose when you choose your first trick. That might allow a Worker (+2 to strength) to instead gain a +1 to Dex and Con, but everything else is the same.
Ultimately I felt like Mutts should also have their own tricks to make them feel like a more interesting choice for breed. I feel like Mutts are underutilized as characters (in my games at least) and this may be the reason. When I sat down to create the bird Families I had a thought to do a “Mutt-like” family. I came up with Keen Birds. I made a trick that allowed them to use tricks from another chosen class, but also give them options that they can use on their own as well.
This also allowed me to have a catch-all for other birds that don’t seem to really make the cut in other families. Sure this might allow a Kiwi to get the “Fowl Beast” trick, but that kind of fun is already present in Pugmire’s Mutts as well :)
Keens are birds with heightened senses beyond what a normal bird might otherwise achieve. These birds are usually scouts, finders, merchants, or hunters. Their actual species range is much larger than most bird families resulting in a more inclusive family structure beyond immediate relations. Keen birds are often skilled. Some choose to take a variety of skills while others specialize in a singular skill usually pertaining to their profession based on their natural talents.
Examples: Owls, Woodpeckers, Penguins, Kiwis
Ability Bonus: +1 to two abilities
First Trick: Specialization
Keen Bird Tricks:
A keen bird with this trick may add 10ft to their movement speed.
Sound Mind and Body:
You may choose a basic stat and receive 1d4 to all non-combat skill checks and saving throws. This can only be taken once.
A keen bird with this trick may choose from the following bonus attributes during character creation: Darkvision 30ft, Tremorsense 15ft, Blindsight 10ft, Resistance to one elemental damage type (cold, fire, poison, acid, radiant, lightning, thunder or force). You can only take this trick once.
Choose one: Gain two new skill proficiencies, or gain half your proficiency bonus (rounded down) again to a skill you already are proficient in.
A Keen bird with this ability can dive underwater and can even swim for a time. You are considered proficient in athletics when asked to make a swim check. You fight and function normally under water, and ignore armor penalties to remain swimming. Furthermore, your ability to hold your breath is doubled.
Things in Common:
The Keen bird who takes this trick may choose a family trick in another family. If this trick is taken multiple times, the 2nd, 3rd, and so on trick must be from the same family. Tricks that add 1d4 to non-combat skill checks and saving throws are excluded.
When you take this trick you may gain a weapon proficiency of your choice. Furthermore, you are considered proficient with improvised weapons and they now do 1d6+stat damage.