An Adventurer's best Friend
One of man's most successful domestications has been that of the dog. Even in our world, the variation that has been bred is truly astonishing. It only seems natural that a world filled with magic and the supernatural could yield even greater variety. This is a collection of some of these possibilities.
1. Deepwuld Sentinel
The Deepwuld Sentinel is a breed of dog originally bred by elves to keep deer and other animals from destroying particularly important herbs and other plants. Exceptionally disciplined and self-reliant, these loyal beasts would guard sizable plots of land for weeks on end without help or feeding. Capable of foraging for themselves, as well as occasionally taking a deer or rabbit, they needed little help from their elvish masters. Humans have acquired the dog, and find it invaluable for guarding their fields.
2. Black Osswathing
Bred by the cult of Maarune, this dog is a massive creature, with powerful jaws and an exceptional skill at digging. It is also very good at sniffing out the fresh dead, so critical to the despicable rituals practices by the Maarunites. Its fur is a matt black, to aid in avoiding detection, and its eyes do not reflect light back when illuminated. As a last resort, the dog is quite capable of providing a distraction while the cultists make their escape.
3. Imp Terrier
The legendary Mound of Hulathin has attracted treasure hunters by the hundreds over many generations, but the massive infestation of imps and other small nasty creatures has prevented much from being extracted from that grave of an empire. The Imp Terrier is a large terrier bred to kill small humanoids and follow them into their burrows. Parties equipped with packs of these creatures have been finding better success looting this treasure trove.
The breed is unsafe around unfamiliar children and is slain on sight in many villages.
4. Balsavian Sniffer
The Balsavian sniffer was a breed created to assist alchemists in the great city of Balsavia. The small dog has a prestigious ability to discern materials, and can be trained to find hundreds of different inorganic materials on command. It can even find specific metals such as gold, and does so from dozens of feet. The dogs have an unremarkable appearance, appearing more of a generic mutt. They have hardy constitutions to allow them to work in the dangerous labs that are so common in the city of Balsavia. Oddly, the breed is utterly insensitive to organic scents.
Bred originally from large sheepdogs, these massive creatures were intended to guard against the depredations of undead. The physically powerful dog is involved from puppyhood in clerical rituals that provide the adult dog with powers similar to a paladin. These rituals provide some protection from the supernatural attacks of undead as well as allowing the dogs to bite at even immaterial spirits. The dog has long, grey to white fur and resembles a Saint Bernard.
This animal is often teamed up with a Yird-Swine, where available.
In the long wars between The Twin Kingdoms , mages of various types are employed along with regular troops. As a means of countering the spellpower, the magehound was developed. A medium to small dog, it is equipped with powerful jaws and great agility. It is trained to weave quickly though enemy formations and to seize upon the hands or throats of magicians, and then hold until its victim drops, it is called off by its handler, or it is slain. It resembles a cross between a pit bull and a whippet.
Salatrian Mages have taken to keeping fighting dogs close by to guard against the Magehound threat.
7. Mulavian Kidney-dog
The Mulavians have bred this dog to facilitate their frequent interrogations, and it has also seen some use as pets by Nobility.
These small dogs have a demonic appearance - small, nearly hairless with long, thin muzzles and an abundance of sharp cutting teeth. The fur has a reddish cast, often enhanced by its handler with natural dyes such as blood. Similarly, before being used, the eyes are irritated to be bloodshot. It is a myth, spread by the Mulavians, that the dog can sniff out specific internal organs and can find them on command. The Mulavians do much to enhance and distort the capabilities of these creatures, to increase their effectiveness in interrogations. The small critter is very good at gnawing though flesh and bone, and has bred-in knowledge of torture.
8. Dog of the Seeing Eye
This dog has been bred to take advantage of the animal's sensitivity to the spirit world. It is capable of seeing through illusions and seeing otherwise invisible creatures. Coupled with this ability is careful training that enables the dog to point to the invisible creature. The dog is small and possesses no attack instinct; instead it points, growls and bristles when it detects such a creature.
9. Nurathunian Troll-Hound
The Grey giants of Nurathune have for centuries hunted trolls for sport, and to help them in this, they have bred this animal. They are very wolf like in their appearance, but are larger with shorter muzzles. As well, their fur is very thick and heavily matted, providing some protection from trollish claws and fangs. The dog is usually employed in small packs, capable of tearing a single troll to shreds.
The dog is occasionally traded by the giants with other peoples, but the expense in feeding such large dogs makes them quite uncommon.
There are some packs of feral Troll-hounds in the Nurathunian highlands, and these are very dangerous to human travellers.
Also known as Soul-hounds, these medium sized dogs are capable of tracking the passage of souls and spirits. This ability allows them to track beings across running water, after inclement weather or in very smelly environments. They are bred by the Ulthavians and are never sold outside of their people. Even within their society, the dogs are permitted to be handled only by a select order of trackers. These trackers hire themselves out to other peoples, as they are unparalleled in their ability to hunt down fugitives. Creatures without proper spirits or souls are undetectable to the Alshavian.
Uhthavian folklore includes legends of a ghostly Alshavian which bites at men's souls, bringing illness and bad luck.
11. Seyaardian Retriever
The Seyaardian retriever is a dog with powerful mystical abilities, particularly the ability to see and enter the spirit world. On our world, it appears as a small, jet-black dog with close-cropped hair and small ears, but in the spirit world, it appears as a horse-sized mastiff. It is capable of overpowering lesser spirits and dragging them back to our world. It is sometimes used by necromancers to retrieve the spirits of the dead from hell. Sometimes this fails disastrously, as fell beings from there follow the dog back to our world.
12. Netarii Winged Terrier
This winged terrier was first used to control the dangerous Carnhawks and later to hunt birds on the wing. Not the fastest of fliers, the magically endowed dog is capable of great endurance, harrying even faster birds when they stop to rest. The nobles of Netarii have trained the terriers for racing, mounting rings on tall poles to define the courses. The terriers are also trained to retrieve objects, making them quite useful for thieves.
13. The Packhound
The packhound is a magical dog which has the ability to vary its form from a large, pony-sized beast of a dog, to a pack of terrier sized mutts. It is capable of splitting or joining very quickly, allowing it to pursue its prey though virtually any terrain. Its large form is both the most powerful and fleet of foot, but its pack form allows it to enter small openings, search broad areas and easily corner its prey. When pack members are slain, the packhound is diminished and it takes 2-3 months for it to recover from each such loss.
14. The Ustianii Geardog
This dog has very high dexterity and a prehensile tail. It is used primarily by the Machinists of Ustian, helping them maintain the Great Machine that enables life in that cursed land. Highly intelligent as well, it serves to help retrieve parts and tools by name, and to serve as a third hand when needed. Some can even operate simple devices and carry out extensive commands.
15. Blackmaw Pincher
Bred by the foul Monks of the Black Hand, this small, grey-furred dog is quick and has a most unpleasant bite. It carries a form of the plague, transmissible only though blood and saliva, that will quickly fell even the heartiest of individuals. The dog is very good at homing in on specific scents, and is naturally stealthy. The dog is used for assassinations, usually when the mark is in public areas where dogs will not arouse suspicious. They are also quite capable of sneaking into homes and biting sleeping victims. It should be noted that the Monks themselves are as susceptible to this disease and so the dogs are very carefully trained.
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? Responses (9)
Val this is awesome. I always wanted to write 30 Dogs but you beat me to it :) Now I have to go find that half-finished, fantasy canines, Word Doc. I'm adding 5 breeds!
Some great ones here! Good variety. Blackmaw Pincher, Ustianii Gear Dog, Balsavian Sniffer, Black Osswathing, and Seyaardian Retriever being my favorites. Imp Terrier is gold!
I like that these breeds are 'fantastic', but not overly so, retaining some verisimilitude.
To me, this is what a 30 is all about!
I'm gonna agree with Murometz on this one. Spectacular in every way. Only giving you a 4.5 because it's only half of a 30! Well done, and I hope you add more to this post soon.
Though technically I didn't label it a 30, both because I didn't have 30 ideas I was happy with. I could have filled it with 30, but they would have been filler. So, I posted it as is to attract additional entries. Perhaps if it hits 30 I'll rename it and you could revise your vote :P
I think this post if fine the way it is, why would 15 more dogs make it that much better? If you have done good ideas, isn't that enough? Do you often feel that lists are padded just to make them nice round numbers? I think the forces of convention are getting a little restrictive.
Some of them are a bit too high fantasy for me, but it is a great list, plus I like doggies!
Watch out for those retrievers.
I like the idea of 30 Dogs, it's quite brilliant IMHO. I look forward to what the others come up with.
Oh my, I DO like this one.
This has been so over looked, but it has always been right there. For so long the only breeds of dog gamers had were hunting, war and hell hound. While I am with Manfred in that these are too high fantasy for my taste, developing game specific dog breeds that would be endemic to the gaming universe is a great idea and a well executed post to boot.
You know, this is one of my favorites of my own submissions.