Scenario Based
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May 8, 2010, 1:50 pm

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Cheka Man

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The Riot Dog


Summer riots are a fact of life in the Cities of The Peninsula.  So are wild city dogs.  Yet, this one seems different.

The Background

Summer riots are a fact of life in the Cities of The Peninsula. It is hot and uncomfortable in The Cities during the summer. Every few years there will be too little food (or its prices would be too high), there will be too little water in the wells, there will be too little work, taxes will be harsher, or there will be some event that angers the common men.  The young (and a few others) will take to the streets. The Loud Ones they are called. They will chant, they will break things (and the occasional fire), they will threaten, and occasionally in the worst cases, they will viciously attack people and property - especially those of the noble caste who they see as the cause of all their problems (or responsible for not doing anything about them).  

The Loud Ones are one of the reasons the Nobles have summer homes.

The civic leaders will of course send the militia after any Loud Ones who riot outside the lower quarters. They do little except threaten. In some cases the Loud Ones go around them and still make a mess of better parts of the town. It is the rare riot that sees much blood. After the riots, it is traditional for the civic council or the noble lords to apologize and seemingly do something (or publicly try) to address The Loud One's concerns. The people accept this and calm down. It is the way of thing. Life continues on.  

Yet the riots in The City seem to be happening more frequently these days. They are growing worse. They are growing more bloody.

Summer is coming. It is going to be very hot.


In the last few years, a few people have notice a dog that has been with The Loud Ones. That should not seem unusual. A city has always had its share of street dogs.   This one has a distinctive reddish color (think Irish Setter). The Riot Dog seems to be bigger than most, with the more pointed traits of the imported dogs that Nobles are using to guard their compound (think German Shepherd).  He also seems to be wearing a blue scarf tied about his neck. (The Scarves seem to be the item to wear when "being loud". They are also worn when attending civic/ political events. Blue is the city color).  However this one seems to be "where the worst of it" happens.

In fact the local garrison commander has his men looking for during any unrest, as it is his "flag" for finding the trouble.  He originally thought one of the owners was a Loud One ringleader. That is not the case. No one claims to own the dog, know its name, or where it normally lives. 

Since the Riot Dog seems to have a Noble Guard Dog's blood in him, people will quip about even noble dogs will diddle with the common folks and abandon their young.

Some of the smarter Loud Ones have noticed The Riot Dog too.  They have taken it as their mascot.  Some of the Loud Ones have taken to calling themselves The Dogs.

In fact, they do know where it lives. The Dog, which they call  Smart Dog, tends to live in The River Quarter where the wine shops and cafes are where the young and idle rich hang out.  The University students and scholars often frequent the quarter. It is from the wine shops that the young firebrands and future civic leaders come.  

Campaign Use

The Dog is obviously more than a mere dog. There are several ways you can use The Riot dog. 

1) He is a guardian spirit for the peoples of the city, ensuring that the riots don't get too out of hand. He will try to shepherd crowds away from scared militias. He will lead cooler and smarter leaders to places where they will do the most good.  He will lead the militia on a merry chase if he can.  He is also hanging about the wine shops to influence the young leaders.  He might even bring PCs into the area because he thinks they might be useful when the times come.  (Hey, this dog.. I think it likes me.   You want me to follow you boy?)

2) He is the form some demi-deity or demon that feeds off the chaos.  The Dog will continue to be "where the action is" to absorb the chaos, the pain, and energy.  The Creature absorbs energy and uses it to influence things.. making people do things they will regret.  Eventually the city will be in flames (or close enough) and it will have enough energy to manifest its true form (or its master's true form) upon the world... bringing untold suffering into the world. Of course the PCs will want to stop this.  So they need to find the Dog and keep it from the chaos.  They then need to find some way to banish it.  

3) He is a creature that causes the chaos, the avatar form of some chaos demon or god. This takes number two to a new extreme. Where the dog is unrest seems to happen. (Strange, there was no reason for that..) So as the dog seems to sleep near cafe's and wine shops where young firebrands get started about the price of food and the taxes from the nobles. They get the idea to do things "violently".  Well you see how this goes.  Find the Dog and then stop it. (Of course, it will have some other form that will be dangerous that it will change into when cornered). 


Notes: These kinds of riots were common in Italy, Greece, and many mediterranean areas, from the Renaissance on. As are the City Dogs (google Athens Stray Dogs or go here ). As for urban spirits or demonic things that absorb chaos, that is just good magickal folklore.

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Comments ( 9 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
May 8, 2010, 18:41
*strokes the dog*
Voted Drackler
May 9, 2010, 14:45
I like the note at the bottom. With the three uses in your campaign, this one almost seems like something from Tales of Terror. Altogether, it sounds useful and interesting. I could see using it as a way to get the characters into an adventure, or even becoming the adventure itself.
May 9, 2010, 23:18
Hence the reason it is a "Scenario Based" NPC.

Well it is a good piece taken from Urban Fantasy or a modern fantasy. Good folklore taken by a modern approach. It would be a horror thing, in a world where "magic", "demons", and "elder beings" are not accepted as "real".

And the extra bits at the bottom are those educational or explanatory bits I always like to add. Without them, there are unanswered questions. Add the bits and you don't have to add the questions.

The reason for the 3 approaches is classic GMing. The first, gives you various options as it fits your campaign. If you play it somewhere in the middle, you can go with any option until the last moment. (Go with what your players believe, unless you are playing the red herring card.) The second, should your players get ahold of your write up, they still don't quite know which way it will go.
Voted valadaar
May 10, 2010, 11:12
I like this idea - and how it is not too terribly tied to specific locale. Anywhere where riots could happen are appropriate. There could even be a technobabble reason for such a creature to be in a modern/magic free world ("Stress pheramones").

May 10, 2010, 11:21
If you want, there could be.

My original throughts for the Riot Dog was for an Urban Fantasy setting, useful for a number of spots. However, I mixed to straighter fantasy as that is more palitable and useful to most members.
May 10, 2010, 22:07
OMG. I thought the riot dog was an avatar for a god as well, it is so strange that he is seen so often in the presence of the riots. I hope he is the Greek version of the French Marianne
Voted Silveressa
July 29, 2011, 20:53

A nice way to enhance an otherwise nondescript part of the cities and make for a refreshign change. Plot hooks #2 & 3 would fit perfectly into a WFrp campaign, and #1 can make for a nice (temporary?) animal companion for a rogue or other street dweller.

Voted Murometz
January 15, 2016, 14:34

Not what I was expecting. I really like the concept of a guardian-spirit riot dog dispersing mobs and shepherding those caught up in the fray to safety. The reverse is a good idea too. His sinister appearence (now picturing huge mastiff) puts everyone on edge...the riots are coming!

Can think of a bunch of uses for the dog besides! Good one.

Voted Cherry
June 16, 2016, 0:41
finally, there is something, the Campain useage suggestions. These gives ideas.
Sadly, I have a problem following the previous 'text' to where he dog came in.

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