Friends Of Man
The 10 Things You Need To Know About This Campaign
1. Yes, you’ll be playing animals, but it’s still D&D. If you can find it in the three core rulebooks (PHB, DMG, MM), then it exists in this campaign in some form or another. Items, spells, feats, monsters, classes, etc., from other sources might exist, too, but you should check with the DM for approval.
2. There are supplemental rules. Other than the three core rulebooks, this campaign uses a third-party supplement that’s all about how to run animal player characters in the D&D 3.5 edition rules. Specifically, the source book details a new creature type called noble animals, which look like normal members of their species, but are endowed with greater intelligence, language, culture, and the ability to advance by character class. The DM will make a copy of this sourcebook available to you, or you can purchase your own copy online.
3. There are important house rules that change some of the ideas in the supplement about animals. Be sure to read them, as they may affect your choices during character creation.
4. Animal PCs have a lot to keep track of, but no more than humanoid ones. Many animals change Size Categories as they go up in Hit Dice, which will change their Strength scores and many combat-related modifiers. Some species of noble animal can treat their species as a character class unto itself, which represents them “growing up”; thus, it is possible for two bear characters to be described as “one 3rd-level black bear noble bear and one 3rd-level black bear fighter.” In addition, animals are eligible for special abilities called Deeds, beginning at 1st level and every odd numbered level afterwards. Instead of magic items, animals acquire magical modifications called Boons, which mimic the magic item descriptions in the DMG. So, for instance, you might meet an owl paladin with a +5 holy talon attack, or tortoise with a +2 etherealness shell. Finally, like all PCs, noble animals will gain class abilities and feats as they go up in level.
5. There is a new core character class — the greater familiar — available in this campaign, along with several animal-specific prestige classes. It can sometimes be inspirational to know about these prestige classes ahead of time, to give yourself a goal to work towards. For instance, one of the prestige classes is called the Monastery Mascot, which is an animal who becomes the inspiration for a new martial arts style. Although you cannot begin at 1st level as a monastery mascot, you can work towards that goal by making specific class, skill, and feat choices beginning at 1st level. Any of these classes is available to you, along with the standard core rulebook classes and prestige classes.
6) For the most part, animal magic is invisible to humanoids, and vice versa. This does not mean that one side is immune to the other side’s magic (except in some cases), only that the visible spell effects won’t be apparent. So, a humanoid caught in the blast radius of a bat wizard’s fireball spell will still suffer the burn damage, but won’t see the fire. This is an important thematic element of the campaign.
7. Related to that, noble animals try to keep their existence and nature a secret from humanoids. Your character is, of course, free to make her own choices, but should do so with the knowledge that most of her kind will frown heavily upon her if she reveals her true nature to a humanoid that isn’t either her familiar or her “animal” companion.
8. Noble animals of opposing predator-prey species are not necessarily enemies to each other. A noble wolf will not hunt, eat, or attack noble rabbits or noble deer (though “normal” members of these species are fair game). Noble animals of various species live under an ancient truce of common interest and mutual aid against humanoids.
9. One of the oldest questions among noble animals is, “will you befriend Man, or will you challenge him?” Your character’s attitude towards humanoids plays a central role in this world, and you should devote some thought to your PC’s experiences with and attitudes towards “Man” (which, to animals, includes most fey creatures, giants, and monstrous humanoids, along with humans, elves, dwarves, etc.). The campaign frame itself assumes that most PCs will either be friends of Man, or neutral on the overall question.
10. True dragons are mythical. No one in living memory has ever seen one, and many people and noble animals do not believe they exist. Nonetheless, dragons hold a place of high regard in noble animal culture and religion, where they are depicted as the greatest of the four-leggers, who challenged the gods when they brought Man into the world. Dragons left the world in protest (or, in some versions of the myth, were driven out by the gods) when the first noble animals failed to join them in a united front against Man. Some noble animals long for the return of dragons, others dread the prospect, but one thing can be counted on: any time rumors of dragons get stirred up, noble animals will investigate them.