A crocodile and all that it entails (entails, get it?), but also one that is loyal as a dog. That is a cool twist. I can immediately picture a lizard-man village where sedate, even tender, crocs, wander around freely, or follow their owners from place to place, patiently waiting for scraps or loving rubs. They are loyal to their particular owners and families unto death, can perform basic, semi-useful tasks (“Fetch” would be interesting with a gator. “Sic” would be lethal), and are loved in turn by their masters, who have bred and trained them over the years.
This gift, a hatchling croc, with a dog’s personality and mindset, would be given by the lizard-men to a chosen PC during the raucous ceremonies of the Hatching Festival in late spring.
It is considered a great honor to receive one as a gift by the lizard-men tribes. And besides, only the most callous of PCs would not fall in love with their very own baby croc soon enough.
Yes, adventuring around the world with your pet crocodile may prove difficult over the long haul, but the benefits of owning one are (slight exaggeration coming, wait for it...) endless! I can think of 30 benefits. But this can and WILL go 101 someday!
1. Don’t want to chase those pesky kobolds into the sewers again now that you finally bought that silk jerkin? Have “Salty” slither down instead. Get em boy! Good boy.
2. Crossing rivers would never be a problem again. Just hang on. Or surf.
3. You’d always have some loose teeth around to make a gruesome necklace, most barbarians would envy.
4. The animal would only relieve itself outdoors. (if properly trained)
5. It might outlive you. That is pretty cool. Ask the parrot owners. Of course, it probably won’t outlive most dwarves and elves.
6. In a pinch, you can ride one. Onward into battle! Or, run away into the muck!
7. You can scare the CRAP out of people! (You have a pet croc!)
8. You will never have to worry about getting a ‘negative’ reaction upon first encountering lizard-men ever again. The pet croc means you’re good people.
9. It will defend you unto death. That is one darn impressive quality in a croc.
10. It will always want to be with you or near you. (Granted, this may not always be a benefit)
11. You can definitely count it as a “party member” once it grows to a certain size. And yes, before you ask, it can also withstand enemy damage
12. You will have at least one more adventure in some rank, dank, swamp (full of monsters and treasure!) because eventually the croc will want to mate.
13. If it dies, at least you’ll have good leather (PETA, only if it is dead already!). And a good amount of it to boot (to boot, get it?). More teeth too.
14. You can pass yourself off as a shaman or some wild-person from the bogs, or even a druid in some circles. (There is a pet croc standing beside you)
15. You never have to go up into the cold mountains ever again! That is to say, you will never be able to go up into the cold mountains ever again. (unless you know a good croc-sitter)
16. You will never look upon ungulates the same again. They are not cute, innocent, grazers. They are merely hot dogs and hamburgers.
17. The croc won’t bother your fellow part members much, as long as you socialize it with them, while it is still young. Newer party members, well, they’ll be on their toes for a while, which is how you want newer party members to be anyway.
18. Water-based campaign? Rivers, lakes, oceans, seas, mangroves, lagoons, swamps? You have a valuable friend.
19. All kidding aside, at the end of the day, a fully grown crocodile is no joke in combat. Chomp, twist, roll.
20. If you happen to be bestowed a saltwater crocodile by the lizard-men, see #19, but multiply damage
21. If you fall overboard, all is not lost. See #18
22. It makes only a so-so familiar, unless of course you find yourself at a wizards convention, comparing whose familiar is more ‘bad-ass’ with your colleagues. You win hands down, unless the imp starts doing really fancy tricks.
23. You will learn not to rush. And hence, live a longer life. Definitely a benefit.
24. Can’t find that elusive spell component? Just swab Junior’s eye for that “crocodile tear”. A loose scale may help as well.
25. Riding horses is mostly out for you. You will do a lot of walking. See #23
26. Whether you want to or not, you will learn valuable stalk & ambush techniques.
27. Reptilian monsters will at least pause before attacking. See #8
28. Little birds, plovers to be precise, will hang around your croc, acting as dentists (for your croc) and lookouts (for you)
29. You will learn to better gage “hives of scum and villainy”. If you walk into any given establishment with your croc on a leash, and are not thrown out or asked to leave immediately, you will know that this here dive is the place for some real trouble! (Which is usually what you are looking for anyway. Trouble.)
30. The croc won’t bore you with dialog, like the cleric will, when you just want some peace and quiet. Darn good listener though.
Additional Ideas (17)
31. With a scroll containing the giant growth spell you have giant beast more then the equal of a small band of brigands.
32. Keeping unruly prisoners under control won't be a problem any longer. (Interrogations will be much easier as well with a hungry croc at hand.)
33. Haggling with shopkeepers will be easier then ever before!
34. You can impress anyone in town by "wrestling" the croc into submission.
35. If properly trained, a mini catapult can turn your pet into a deadly airborne projectile!
36. "My Croc ate it." The perfect excuse for forgetting to bring along any item on a quest. (Also good for explaining what happened to that small pouch of gems, or magic ring you'd just as soon keep for yourself.)
37. Makes purse cutting in a crowd tons easier. (People are far more likely to watch the croc in their midst then their coin purse and your hands.)
38. Can easily bust open any small locked treasure chests you come across.
39. Room service at any inn is guaranteed to knock before entering your room.
40. A perfect guardian for night watch that will easily blend in with the fallen logs in the forest near your camp. (Or anywhere else with a little paint/dye and some skill)
41. Cuts down on ration wasting. (Any rancid and rotten meats your party owns can be fed to the croc rather then thrown away.)
42. If you're a gal, a croc at your side is guaranteed to keep anyone from feeling you up in a crowded market.
43. Anyone who owes you money is sure to pay up after the first visit.
44. Every adventurer will want to buy you a drink and maybe even dinner to hear the tale behind how you acquired such a rare pet.
45. Bards will want to compose songs about such a legendary warrior and their croc pet!
46. Worrying about muggers while staggering back to the inn blind drunk is no longer a concern!
47. Add a makeshift bearskin rug over the top of your croc and you have a crazed beast of legend sure to frighten dim witted barbarian and goblin tribes!
48. With a little ventriloquism you have a reliable witness/interrogator no ones going to second guess.
49. Assuming the croc's female and has mated you have priceless baby crocs to sell. Who wouldn't be willing to pay a fortune for a croc pet of their own?
50. If possessing fewer scruples then the average person you can also regularly sell ostrich or other monster eggs for a hefty profit, claiming they're the fertile eggs of your croc. (And when they never hatch, well gee, that's too bad, must be the new owner didn't care for the egg properly, not your fault, too late now!)51. With some special training a saltwater croc can make one seriously wicked surfboard.
52. Incredibly cute when you rub him just right in the belly and get that back leg kicking.
53. Can clear a path in a busy city either by sight or plowing depending on circumstances.
54. If you can find him some friends you can use its head to cross lakes just like in Pitfall.
55. If you lose a party member or accidentally kill a local you can easily dispose of the evidence, in its mouth.
56. You shouldn't have to buy license plates again, just check its feces.
57. Hard for any female to resist the adorable crocodile tears, instant charisma enhancement
61. If your campaign is inspired by Ancient Egypt, you may as well be walking a god on a leash. Surely, you must be the chosen of Sebek! Adjust NPC reaction rolls accordingly.
62. Extra recreation activity- train your pet croc!
63. Opens up a new career path as animal trainer
64. Provides a quick way of earning some money when short on cash- surely the novelty of seeing a croc performing ‘tricks’ on command will draw some spectators
65. Be renowned for the entirely new unique “fighting with a croc at your side” style of combat
66. Perfect for creating paranoia in pirate captains. Simply feed your croc his hand, and you'll never have to worry about it again.
67. It's a ready made (if rough) canvas for your artwork, paint on some ancent war cries in orcish and stick figures and you have some "fracking voodoo magic mon" sure to terrify the ignorant enemies.
68. Collect the droppings and sell them as fertilizer to the farmers.
69. Or dry them for fire wood!
70. Those little birds that love to pick the bits of flesh out of the crocs mouth (Egyptian plover) can be tasty in a stew.
71. The bird feathers can be nice for blow guns or small arrows too.
72. Evasion: Rub up against the crocidle and you'll have a musky scent to keep those blood hounds off your trail.
73. Smear soem croc droppings on your weapon/arrow head and you can make some nasty wounds sure to get infected and kill or slow down an enemy over time.
74. By (falsely?) claiming the croc is your chosen romantic partner/mate you can easily avoid those pesky arranged marriages or annoying proposals from rescued damsels in distress.
75. Croc breath, the quickest way to make your own questionable personal hyegine no longer a noticeable issue.
76. Adding Croc teeth to your club/clothing/necklace will be much easier then ever before! (The average croc regrows over 3000 teeth in their lifetime.)
78. Along the same line as 77, this is an effective way to join a travelling circus/entertainment caravan which you might need to get close for some purpose (eg. murder investigation, need to get close to a particular member to retrieve sth or get info etc.)
79. Hire your croc out as a mount for a river-side cruise when you need money
82. Green Retriever. Train it to act like a retriever and you'll never again have to go tromping into the bog to grab up that bird you just shot down.
83. Clearing tracks. Have the croc follow along behind the party while everyone walks single-file and your beloved pet will wipe away all tracks.
85. Disposing of the witnesses. I'd like to see you raise the vizier as a zombie now!
86. Picking up chicks. Although the chicks might be lizardfolk/dragonkin/naga. Tell them they can ride ol' Greeny back to your place.
87. Turning winches. Crocs are really good at rolling/turning.
88. Ambushing stuff near water. Alternatively, begin the Great Zebra Genocide. Were-zebras don't have a chance. (I have an idea for a campaign!)
90. Spellbook. Crocodiles have a lot of durable surface area. As a bonus, you'll look a lot more badass than the other wizards with their toads and whatnot.
91. It gets a lot easier to fake your own death.
93. Pioneer a new fashion in camouflage wear- croc-skin suits (to be used when swimming along your pet croc on vessels spying missions). Of course, said suits are made of normal clothing materials instead of real croc-skin (you don't want to upset your little pet croc on its sensitive spot)