Pugmire Bird Playtesting (01)


I’ve been discussing on my blog here how we might implement bird races or families into the Pugmire world. We know dogs and Cats are happening, so I decided to get some homebrew races in there with the birds.  As a result, we’ve got some playtesting ahead of us. Especially when it comes to flying and the physics involved. These birds are medium creatures and traditionally birds are not medium creatures. But I figure since birds descended from dinosaurs and some of them flew why not have giant flying player races?

One of the things I had to determine on the fly (get it?) while playtesting; how will the birds use their hands? Do they even HAVE hands? I’m thinking yes they have hands, but they are attached to the wings kind of like a bat or wyvern. I knew I didn’t want the arms and limbs to be separate from the wings because I didn’t want the players to argue that they should be able to fully utilize their arms while flying thus making every bird PC an artillery machine. But this lead to the next big question:

How do birds wear armor? I had to admit this caught me by surprise. Of course, now that I look at it, it seems like something I should have thought of. A full suit of armor can weigh as much as 65 lbs (according to D&D) so my first thought was “can a bird reasonably lift 65 lb while flying?” Even with the extrapolation that they’re now 3 times bigger, the answer is, of course, no. Certain birds can pick large fish out of the water, but those are only 12lb at MOST and assuming that a sentient bird can do 3x as much that’s still only Medium Armor at best. What does this really mean, though? To me, it means that bird armor must be designed very differently in order to have its max effectiveness.

Now while playtesting, this debate came and we settled on just letting it go so we could continue playing. Essentially we decided that the birds had devised a way to make armor with the exact stats but “for the birds”. But then we also noticed something else. Since birds are probably flying more often than not, how would they descend in heavy armor? Since their speed is reduced, would their decent be reduced as well? We decided that it didn’t make sense with gravity and all but for the sake of not making every bird a power-diving wrecking ball, we ended up with “you can fall 30 ft in one turn”.

Once I was able to get back to the research of how best to convert the armors I realized something about Pugmire: there really are only 3 armors! Light (11+dex), Med (13+dex), and Heavy (16). If a bird used Dex as their dump stat, they might very well want to use heavy armor and we could flavor it however we wanted. This would mean that everything in the book as written already functions well with making homebrews.

So there we go! it’s already ready for us, and frankly, I’m super stoked it was that easy so far. As always I’m really excited to play in the next Pugmire game at the Gamerati events and to see my two bird players: Jesus; the latino bisexual peacock and Lana Del Who; the ambivalent teenage barn owl.

If you haven’t had a chance to read through what I’ve proposed for bird races in Pugmire you can see all the info here:  Pugmire Google Doc. You can also see my articles by clicking on my picture down at the bottom :)

I want more!

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