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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by Alcore View Post
    I personally just do not see dogs being used as a main household pet like it is in the real world when it comes to a fantasy world. Most of the things that would plague a normal farmer in a fantasy world is not going to be deterred by a dog at all. While the normal animal might actually be intimidated and run from a dog there are a number of creatures that are just so powerful they'll eat the dog eat the farmer and then eat anything else.
    At the very least, the dog can be the proverbial canary in the coal mine to warn you of danger coming if it suddenly barks excitedly than is silenced with a yelp.

    Otherwise the rationale is "Well the monster is just going to eat me anyway, I don't want to drag an innocent dog into this too."

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    Can rats be domesticated?

    Or more accurately, do rats have the same pack hunting and friendship instincts dogs have that make them such good partners with humans? I know rats can make good pets, but what about good partners?
    In a fantasy setting, ANYTHING can be domesticated if the story requires it.

    I'm not sure about making domesticated giant rats omnipresent but enough cases have been made expounding on their potential uses that I at least one or two regions or cultures to use them.



    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Dog Whistles

    Silver Whistle: summons a War Dog with barding to faithfully serve its master for 10 turns.

    Wooden Whistle: summons a wolf.

    Iron Whistle: summons a Hell Hound.

    Whistles are either charged or single use items. Although all three summon Lawful creatures, how the creature obeys may be affected by differences along the G-E axis between summoned and summoner.
    Clever and punny

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Guard Dog:

    This statue depicts a large canine patiently waiting. When an event triggers it, usually when a protected space is entered, the statue animates and either barks or attacks. The statue is a 2hd war dog with a stoneskin effect.
    Since gargoyles supposedly ward off evil (and I really like the 1990s Gargoyles show) I had the same concept for Gargoyles statues that come to life in temples and wail on foes with their stony fists.

    I suppose not every statue guardian needs to look like an ugly gargoyle. One my goddesses as dogs as one of her sacred animals so her temples might have guard dogs.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    It’s worth noting that dogs are also labor animals. ‘Turnspit dogs’ would run in a hamster-wheel gizmo attached to meat cooking on a spit, turning the spit to keep the meat cooking evenly. Great Danes were bred to pull carts. Saint Bernards are literally living blankets, bred to track down people lost in the snow and lie on them to warm them with their body heat until they were recovered enough to follow the dog back to the Monestary.

    A 1st-level guard with wisdom 10 and 1 rank in Perception/ Spot, Search, and Listen isn’t really a threat to a 3rd level rogue, or a sorcerer who can cast invisibility. Pair him with a dog trained to sniff out intruders - invisible or otherwise - and he becomes a lot more dangerous. A dog could be trained to silently sneak back to the boss and then bark like a madman if it scented orcs or trolls or something. There are a lot of things you can do with dogs.

    Also, dog poop is useful for a lot of industrial uses prior to the development of a robust chemical industry. In Victorian England, people actually made a living collecting dog poop and selling it to be used in various processes (I think tanning was one of them, which was part of why tanneries smelled so infamously bad).

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Has anyone talked about the mabari of Ferelden?
    The Cranky Gamer
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  4. - Top - End - #34
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by Alcore View Post
    I personally just do not see dogs being used as a main household pet like it is in the real world when it comes to a fantasy world. Most of the things that would plague a normal farmer in a fantasy world is not going to be deterred by a dog at all.
    If dogs are irrelevant because things are too dangerous then so are Level 1 Commoners...

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    Dogs are natural sprinters, not long distance travelers.
    Are you sure about that? My impression was that dogs / wolves are cursorial hunters, ie even if they don't outsprint their prey, they outlast it. "It doesn't matter if you win the 100 meters, as long as I beat you in the 1000."

    Depends on the breed of dog, of course. I don't imagine dachshunds are optimized for long distances.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by DeathbyFlossing View Post
    It’s worth noting that dogs are also labor animals. ‘Turnspit dogs’ would run in a hamster-wheel gizmo attached to meat cooking on a spit, turning the spit to keep the meat cooking evenly. Great Danes were bred to pull carts. Saint Bernards are literally living blankets, bred to track down people lost in the snow and lie on them to warm them with their body heat until they were recovered enough to follow the dog back to the Monestary.
    I really like this kind of trivia. That's awesome.


    Quote Originally Posted by DeathbyFlossing View Post
    A 1st-level guard with wisdom 10 and 1 rank in Perception/ Spot, Search, and Listen isn’t really a threat to a 3rd level rogue, or a sorcerer who can cast invisibility. Pair him with a dog trained to sniff out intruders - invisible or otherwise - and he becomes a lot more dangerous. A dog could be trained to silently sneak back to the boss and then bark like a madman if it scented orcs or trolls or something. There are a lot of things you can do with dogs.
    That's a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeathbyFlossing View Post
    Also, dog poop is useful for a lot of industrial uses prior to the development of a robust chemical industry. In Victorian England, people actually made a living collecting dog poop and selling it to be used in various processes (I think tanning was one of them, which was part of why tanneries smelled so infamously bad).
    I understand that human poop carries a fair number of diseases and parasites but I don't see how dog poop would be more useful for industry than say the manure of cows, sheep, pigs, and goats. My world has lots of goats and pigs.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Has anyone talked about the mabari of Ferelden?
    I have no idea who or what that is.


    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    Are you sure about that? My impression was that dogs / wolves are cursorial hunters, ie even if they don't outsprint their prey, they outlast it. "It doesn't matter if you win the 100 meters, as long as I beat you in the 1000."
    That is how Neolithic humans beat their prey too. Though in their case they might track their quarry over 5,000 to 10,000 meters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    Depends on the breed of dog, of course. I don't imagine dachshunds are optimized for long distances.
    Dachshunds were bred to hunt rabbits. Their builds let them crawl into burrows.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Quote Originally Posted by Laserlight View Post
    Are you sure about that? My impression was that dogs / wolves are cursorial hunters, ie even if they don't outsprint their prey, they outlast it. "It doesn't matter if you win the 100 meters, as long as I beat you in the 1000."

    Depends on the breed of dog, of course. I don't imagine dachshunds are optimized for long distances.
    Part of why dogs were domesticated is because they can keep up with humans reasonably well in the long haul. That is rare among creatures with higher top speed than us. That they are have different senses and are social makes them all the more useful.

    All the things people have traditionally used dogs for are done in stereotypical fantasy worlds. People raise cattle, sheep, and goats and probably find it useful to have dogs to help with some of that. People have problems with normal rodents. People hunt various animals.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
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  8. - Top - End - #38
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    https://dragonage.fandom.com/wiki/Mabari

    Mabari war hounds are a breed of intelligent dogs magically created by the mages of the Tevinter Imperium. When the Tevinter mages brought the mabari to help subdue the local barbarian tribes of Ferelden centuries ago, the dogs defected to the barbarians. Ever since then, Fereldans and their Alamarri ancestors popularized the mabari as attack dogs, status symbols, and lifelong companions.
    Basically, Mabari are not quite human-smart, but very intelligent, able to understand language, and communicate pretty eloquently with their limited vocal and physical apparatus (i.e. they can't speak, but they can follow your conversation, let you know if they agree or disagree, and so on). They're so loved in Fereldan that the Fereldans are often called "Dog Lords" by others (at least, in Kirkwall in the Free Marches).
    The Cranky Gamer
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    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    There was a breed of dog that existed solely to turn the rotisserie spit over a fire. The rat terrier was bred to murder the crap out of rats, and they're way better at it than cats are. Retriever breeds are there to catch game birds shot by hunters, hounds are bred to chase game, and pointers to alert hunters to the presence of game. The Newfoundland and Saint Bernard are both bred to rescue full grown men, one from water and one from snow. There are dogs for every different job you can think of. So a lot of things would need a different breed for the different races but a lot of things could be handled by the same breed regardless of the race of the handler.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Canine Familiar:

    Coming in a wide variety of coat patterns and builds, these animals are more than simple companions. They are as intelligent as an average human, and though they cannot speak, they can understand the master's spoken language and can communicate a wide variety of concepts through body language and emotional context.

    All Canine Familiars have all of the abilities of a dog and of a familiar. In addition, any Canine Familiar can track via scent as a ranger of the mage's level.

    Beginning at third level the Canine Familiar gains a feat, and may choose any non-combat feat available to a Ranger or one from the list below.

    Detect Magic as a wizard (-2 to Spellcraft check)

    Detect Etheral via scent/tracking check (-4)

    Sense Hostile Motive of beings which interact with its master as the skill at one rank per 2 levels of the master

    Find Master. If separated from its master it can, even in the absence of any means of tracking, know the general direction and distance it must travel to reunite with its master

    Find Home. As above, but it will go to its master's last residence.

    Flank Attack any being which is attacking its master for an additional d6 damage per 5 levels of its master. This damage stacks with any other damage type.

    At Level 6 the Canine Familiar gains access to the Ranger's combat feats, and the following list.

    +1 Bite. This is an Enhancement Bonus.

    Detect Shadow via scent/tracking check

    Spellcraft at one rank per two arcane levels of the master. This skill caps at the master's skill level -2

    At level 12 the Canine Familiar gains access to the following feats.

    +2 Bite

    Cast Cantrip. A chosen cantrip can be cast once per day as if by a Sorceror. This feat may be chosen multiple times to allow multiple castings of the same cantrip or to allow the casting of another cantrip.

    At 18th level the Canine Familiar gains access to the following list.

    +3 bite

    Planar Adaptability. This ability allows the familiar to travel to exotic planes and adapt so that environmental conditions do not harm it. This is not to be confused with elemental damage reduction; it applies only to the natural effects of a plane. While on the Elemental Plane of Fire the familiar with this feat takes no damage from the environment, but does take fire damage from attacks. The same familiar would burn if it tried to stand in a campfire.

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    So... Two reasons not to use giant rats:

    - They are rodents. Which means they have to keep using their teeth. IRL, normal rats cost tens of thousands of dollars in infrastructure damage. Imagine what large rats could do... A single group of strays could cause massive damage.

    - AFAIK they form social groups, but not hierarchies. So they don't really have that "follow the leader" instinct for breeders to exploit.

    - Short lives. Rats have very short life spams. Which may limit how much use of their intelligence and training one can make... Even if a giant rat lives twice as long.

    - They wouldn't be as good for hunting and protection. Rats eat meat, but they aren't dedicated hunters. Their primary instinct would be to avoid/run from other animals and intruders.

    Now... You can obviously change these things, but then you're just reinventing dogs.
    Homebrew Stuff:

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Lvl 2 Expert's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Dwarves and other underground dwellers may have specially bred dogs or other animals for hunting tunnel vermin, or just tunneling animals you want to eat. Real life wiener dogs were bred for chasing foxes out of their dens. The stubby legs are essentially a way to get a bigger, more powerful animal down to the size where they can just squeeze into the fox tunnels. Depending on how many rats, foxes, weasels, badgers, dire moles and feral drow they have to deal with down there they may keep similar animals, bred specifically to match the size of all the important pest/prey species. Weasels may form a particularly interesting creature to breed a predator for, because they are essentially already evolved to fit the same concept. In fact, maybe for all of these just start from domesticated weasels rather than dogs. Special breeding may also be done to obtain animals that get along with donkeys, and don't freak out when they stumble upon one hauling a load of mined goods around.
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  13. - Top - End - #43
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Historically speaking, by the time we get to even early medieval times, we see the variety of dog breeds that is effectively the same as the modern one is. Pugs and shiba inus pre-date Charlemagne.

    Seriously, check these out:

    Spoiler: Is that... an authentic medieval female archer? 1325
    Show


    Spoiler: That's a big one, ~80 cm at the shoulder, ~1410
    Show


    Spoiler: Two tons of rage in a two-kilo body, ~1380
    Show


    Spoiler: Pretty big guard dogs, ~1375
    Show


    Spoiler: In case you thought those "handbag dog" breeds are a modern thing, 1316
    Show

    It's the far left and far right guys, look at their hands


    Spoiler: They let this one into the bedroom, ~1350
    Show


    Spoiler: A hunting dog breed small enough to get into rabbit burrows, ~1310
    Show


    Spoiler: A good boy with a floofy tail, ~1285
    Show


    Spoiler: A sad labrador-like boy, 1250
    Show


    Spoiler: Your typical hunting dog, ~1230
    Show


    Spoiler: Looks like a rottweiler-like breed, ~820
    Show


    So yeah, you can absolutely give a Yorkie to your dwarven king and be pretty authentic. Okay, not really, Yorkie is a 17-18th century breed, but you know what isn't?

    Spoiler
    Show
    Such medieval, much king, very dworf
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    The Duke's Dogs

    The estate of the Duke of Barentithe was guarded by his pack of hounds which were famously ferocious and unrelenting once they were in a chase. As they died they were made immortal through his magic.

    The first was Luci, the foremother of most of his hounds. It was said that she never returned to the kennels until she had caught her prey.

    Her likeness was carved in stone and her spirit was used to create a hound-golem which is bound to obey the heir of Barentia. Once commanded she will seek out and slay any target and return with it or a piece of it which she will drop at the base of her pedestal before she resumes her usual statue-like pose.

    Sounder was famous for his baying while on the chase. Now he patrols the estate by night as a ghost, sounding a warning when he encounters anyone who is not supposed to be there.

    Every third round he can howl as his attack action resulting in a Fear Spell effect to any who hear it, excepting the heirs, servants, and retainers who are allowed to be on the estate. His bite does not inflict physical wounds, but instead inflicts 1d3 negative energy damage.

    The pack alpha was called Rex, and he was the leader of every hound on the estate. Loyal to the bone, even after death he answered his master's call. Rising from his grave, the skeletal pack leader summons 3d6 other skeletal hounds to answer the call and obey the commands of the heir of Barentithe.

    Rex is a 4HD skeleton whose bite inflicts d12 damage. 1 out of 4 of the skeletal hounds which answer his call will be 3HD skeletons which inflict d8 damage, 1 of 2 will be 2HD and inflict d6 damage with each bite, and the remaining 1 of 4 will be 1HD with a d4 bite.

    They all have double the movement of a normal humanoid skeleton. Other than as mentioned above they have the strengths and vulnerabilities of normal skeletons. Summoning Rex requires d3 rounds, and his pack will arrive over the next four rounds.

    When destroyed the skeletal hounds turn to dust, but after one full cycle of the moon a destroyed Rex can reform. Rex can otherwise be summoned once per 24 hours.

    Dianna was a fiercely loyal pet of the Duke's daughter. She now exists as a stuffed exhibit in the third floor hallway.

    When the family quarters of the estate are entered, Dianna animates as a flesh golem. She will capture burglars and kill assassins. Essentially, she will do to the intruder what he intends to do to the household. As an example, one would-be thief was chased out of the mansion after Dianna had shredded his clothing and removed everything valuable on his person.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    Regarding monster detection.

    Commoners would use dogs to tell that there's a jabberwocky in the woods, and then just avoid a few square miles until they hire an adventurer to deal with it.

    In a second-to-worst case scenario, a commoner might run while the monster is fighting their dog.

    Adventurers have to sleep outside, which is dangerous enough in the real world. Many dogs are light sleepers and can by woken up by scent alone or sounds people can't hear. A realistic dog wouldn't take a shift (they need more sleep than humans and it would be difficult to train them to stay awake when alone and idle).


    Regarding hunting/ fighting.

    Dogs have been traditionally used to oppose bears and lions, so it's not out of the question that they'd help deal with lesser monsters (that commoners might survive). But outside of bloodsport, dogs wouldn't be left alone to fight. People would be there with bows or spears having the dogs basically tanking the target while a group of armed people actually finish it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scalenex View Post
    Would gnomes and halflings breed smaller dogs or would they like to have huge dogs?
    Riding dogs would have to be big.

    Working dogs would have to be sized to match their work. Probably used for stuff that is difficult for halflings to do with their small size (i.e. chase sheep around).

    Pure companion animals are a modern thing, and still largely shaped by what they were once used for. I'd give gnomes birds that can also sing and carry messages. I'd give halfling rabbits that can also be shaved for wool.
    What kind of dogs would dwarves keep?
    Underground is not a good place for dogs.
    What kind of dogs would orcs keep?
    What does an orc's domestic situation look like? Do they farm, herd, hunt/gather? Are their diets like humans? or are they obligate carnivores?

    Would dogs be able to bred to do anything fantasy like be trained to "bark if you smell magic"
    Dogs can (at least in fiction) detect aggression itself. Even if a dog (and it's owner, for that matter) has no idea what a wizard is doing, the dog will be able to know that it tried to do something to it's master.
    Quote Originally Posted by Various
    Rats
    I would plain make up a fantasy rat species that's more domestic. Civil rats can be easily identified by thier blue fur.

    Civil rats aren't owned by a specific person, but live alongside a community or people.

    Much more fastidious than wild rats, they leave their waste in specific places and sharpen their teeth on specific things. They're intolerant of wild rats, mice, roaches, and some other pests.

    They will cuddle kittens, puppies, babies and such, which socializes other domestic animals to their presence.

    People living alongside civil rats will often intentionally leave out (or event create) table scraps for the civil rats.
    Last edited by Quizatzhaderac; 2021-04-12 at 03:42 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dogs in medieval fantasy worlds

    So a while back I was pondering what to make my fantasy humans and demi-humans look like.

    Humans, elves, dwarves are gnomes are species. The culture someone was raised in determines ethnicity, but I hadn't touched race.

    I created four fictional races, Earthy, Fiery, Watery, and Airy.

    Each race has a stereotypical hair color and type, skin tone, eye color range, body build, etc. There are cultural stereotypes, both good and bad for the four races.

    And the vast majority of people in my world are mixed so they will embody traits from two or more elements.

    40% of a child's elemental makeup comes from their mother, 40% comes from their father, and 20% comes from the landscape near where the child was conceived and where the mother dwelled while pregnant.

    Overtime, populations that live far inland become more earthy, populations that live near the coasts become more watery, populations that live in cold environments become more airy and populations that live in warm environments gradually become more fiery.

    It occurred to me that if this elemental genetics affects humans, why it wouldn't it affect animals?

    You can artificially breed dogs a lot easier and with fewer ethical concerns than artificially breeding humans.

    I got a full World Anvil article here, but the core points are below.


    Earthy dogs tend to be large and strong if a bit slow in both senses of the word. They tend to have brown, dusty, roan, or black fur.

    Fiery dogs are very spirited and aggressive and have great endurance. They tend to have reddish orangish fur. As they get older, their fur is streaked with dark greys.

    Watery dogs are intelligent and inquisitive and are naturally strong swimmers. They tend to have light blue or vaguely greenish fur.

    Airy dogs are very fast but they are geared for sprinting not long term endurance. They are a bit flighty and have low attention spans. They tend to have white, golden, or silvery coats.


    You want a dog to pull a heavy sled a long distance, go with a fiery/earthy mix. If speed is important, cross breed with an airy dog though you lose a bit of raw power when you do that.

    You want a hunting dog to find the birds you shot down? A watery dog with a pinch of earth will probably get the job done.

    I figure a dog balanced between the four elements would be pretty good at sensing the supernatural. Because they themselves are metaphysically balanced, they can sense when things are out of balance.

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