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cpteveros

Companions from Survival

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Hello everybody, I've got another skills question for everyone to weigh in on. For as long as he's been playing, one of my gaming buddies has pining for a pet in OW. From a trained rat to a giant alien steed, he has not stopped asking. This want comes from him reading the rules entry on survival, which lists one of the uses of the skill as training animals found in the wild.

 

While it says that, there are quite obviously no rules for this in the standard game, nor does it really make sense from a logical perspective. I mean, you didn't see British soldiers training bears in Germany, or desert foxes in Egypt. Regardless, it's in there so he wants it.

 

I reckon that this particular skill was copypasta from Dark Heresy, but as I don't own the book I can't confirm. Is this particular aspect dealt with in any way in DH, or is it just a vague thing for the GM to work out? Do any of you guys have experiences with player pets/companions?

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nor does it really make sense from a logical perspective. I mean, you didn't see British soldiers training bears in Germany, or desert foxes in Egypt

 

Right... nor did you see them with Lasguns fighting Orks. I would steer clear of literal comparisons to historical and even contemporary real-world events. They are too limiting when it comes to enjoying a fictional universe. I would argue that the laws of the 40k universe would state that by sheer numbers alone, the probability of a guardsman having a trained animal companion is very high. This is talking about countless TRILLIONS of soldiers on countless MILLIONS of worlds in as many systems.

 

Point being: there is a precedence for this to happen.

 

If it was me, I would hear him out. Make him do the leg work as to what type of pet he wants, what uses he wants from it, and create a very logical stat block based on what he comes up with. I would make him have a detailed backstory as to why he has this pet and what its purpose is.

 

At the very least, this would be an awesome role playing opportunity. But, then again, I try to be a GM who figures out many different ways to tackle a problem as opposed to those who simply say "no." Creativity is key. Good luck!

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Also, while they didn't train bears, they did train and own cats and dogs and other more "normal" pets.

Plenty of examples here.

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Yes, definitely.

 

But while making references to real world events is a good way to get basic ideas of things for your games, it should not set the precedent for what goes and what doesn't go in your games.

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I suppose I would say "what does he want? What lives on this toilet of a world we might be assigned to?" You could work in crap with him needing to get clearance; animals need food, space, and such, and are possible carriers of pathogens and vermin. If he just brings one back, the Command might just say "shoot it!", because of such threats, or because they want to. Some regiments might not have pets; the Armageddon Steel Legions don't even value themselves, so they might not value a pet beyond it's military applications. If you get one, will you have the extra resources for it? Will it give you away at inopportune times, etc.

 

One of my problems is simply not knowing what sort of animals live in 40K, to say nothing of on individual planets. I like the Gyrinx from RT, but doubt you'll find one too many places. I could go on and on, but I won't. I'd say if the player can tell me something they want, with a real reason NPC superiors wouldn't care, and can then find one, assuming their current mission has time allotment for this, go for it. If not, then I hope he'll accept that this is a war game, where even PCs have a decent chance of dying "just because", meaning that this animal might be a snack for the marooned party before too long. Maybe they just don't have time and such to add this little eccentricity to everything. If they do get a critter, or two, good job, and I hope that they are fun to have around. 

Myrion and Lynata like this

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I largely agree with you venkelos, but we can at least assume that cats and dogs are still around, since we know that the words are still there. We know that the Krieg ride a horse-descendant, so I think that on human worlds, we brought Terran animals with us, then adapted them to the world.
Of course, there are xeno species as well, and as long as they're not intelligent, the IoM doesn't mind using them.

That should leave you with a wide variety of potential pets.

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One of my problems is simply not knowing what sort of animals live in 40K, to say nothing of on individual planets.

 

You can literally make up and justify just about ANY type of flora and fauna. Every single creature that is on the planet Earth... times a million worlds. Fill the gaps and vagueness with your imagination.

 

The supplement Hammer of the Emperor has a TON of various Mount Types - and that is just one specific purpose animal. Start there.

Edited by pearldrum1

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I largely agree with you venkelos, but we can at least assume that cats and dogs are still around, since we know that the words are still there. We know that the Krieg ride a horse-descendant, so I think that on human worlds, we brought Terran animals with us, then adapted them to the world.

Of course, there are xeno species as well, and as long as they're not intelligent, the IoM doesn't mind using them.

That should leave you with a wide variety of potential pets.

True, but many things we keep as "pets" are somewhat domesticated, and many of those can't survive without people, at least in the long run. There was a fun show Discovery used to play, where they showed how the world might change, incrementally, and most of our pets had difficulty surviving much past our disappearance. So, on a planetwide warzone, you might not find a cat or dog, or you might find some feral version that is "damaged". Wild animals sure, but they might be very hard to get on your side.

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And even the domestic variants may be "burned" on humans, having been mistreated. All I'm saying is, if the player clearly wants it, the GM can easily fulfill his wish and have a nice RP hook without any bad conscience about violating the setting :)

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True. if they player wants one, and a reasonable story can be made to get and maintain it, absolutely. Hell, if a player REALLY wanted to, I could be bothered to figure out a way to replace his Comrade with a different type of one, such as a cyberhound, or some animal, the same way a Tech-Priest gets a Servitor, rather than another Guardsman. it could take some work ,but I could see it done, and I'm not a huge fan of Comrades, as is, so I could be happy to try and stir it up, just a little.

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^^ THIS. The best GMs are the ones who find interactive solutions to their player's interests rather than just shutting them down outright because they aren't creative enough to figure out a solution.

 

I am not saying that is the OP, but I have dealt with GMs like that before and it is a huge disappointment.

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In this new campaign, I am the Sergeant and not the GM any more. I made the thread as he has brought it up several times, and the description of Survival so I myself was curious. I will pass this along to him and the GM, too. I think it would be interesting, but I worry it would be a case of, "This is my attack dog with WS 50 who can sniff out drugs orks chaos dirty underwear and can see in the dark because future so there" sort of thing.

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Which, in his case, is likely to be what happens. I was texting him earlier, relaying essentially what was said here. I mentioned that if he could give a logical, convincing reason for why he has a pet, where he got it, how it's allowed, and the stats for it, he would probably be allowed to have one. His response, and I quote:

 

"I was on the home planet as a hobo and it became my companion. Damage 3d10 + 4. Maximal blast concussive melta tearing lol with sysnskin and force fields toughness 5 armor 5"

 

Now he was mostly kidding but that's the sort of thing I dealt with as a GM and now as a player. It's fun.

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More seriously, why would you let him make up stats, particularly if you expected an answer like this?

I'd either make the stats up myself or say "has none, is no use in combat".

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I`d treat it as a non-standard comrade with a weak unarmed attack (natural weapon) that provides a bonus to awareness and survival (by alerting the player to danger or sniffing out food) if specifically used for the test and justified to the GM.

 

Essentially like a low rent hunter servoskull. Of course it would need food, permission to keep it, specialised mediacl care when it got injured and if it was "too alien" it`d posssibly need hiding from the regimental commissar and other IG units.

 

Also it`s worth pointing out a rodent-like creature would take an awful lot of training to be useful in combat as it`s instincts would be to run and hide they are hardly apex predators.

 

In short if it doesn`t look like a man wearing the correct uniform and facing the correct direction it`ll probably die in a hail of friendly fire. After all it`s a big universe and there are Xenos out there. Far better to be safe and shoot anything nonhuman dead than be shot for negligence when command learns you didn`t when you had the chance.

Edited by Askil
Lynata likes this

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Well I am not the GM and I am not on this player's side as he is clearly trying to have some uber god dog thing, and not caring too much about how that would happen. There was a reason I said "no" to this when I was GM. 

 

I think that is a good way to handle it, Askil. It really should be some small passive bonuses, while creating more work for him as that would be realistic. I will definitely pass that along to both him and our GM.

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I am familiar with that bear story, and quite sensibly did not tell my friend about it as it would only encourage him. For our current campaign, I wrote up some creatures that inhabit the jungles we are fighting in, which he got very excited about. Once he saw the rules for mounts and mounted combat, his pining for a pet has thankfully abated. It was too complicated for him  :P

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I am working on an advanced specialty for my squad of Counter-Vox Warfare Drop Troopers based on Ranger operators with combat dogs. I'll post it when I finish tommorrow, but the idea is to make a cyber-mastif/cyber-eagle/servo-skull standard equipment for the specialist. I would allow someone to train a pet, all the better to impart insanity points when I frag the mutt or it mutates nurgle rot and has to be Ol' Yeller'd.

But that's me.

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