Intelligent Animal Races
GURPS Fantasy Folk includes two races of "Enhanced Beasts" or Intelligent Animals - that is, otherwise-normal animals with the intelligence of humans. These are the Great Eagles (after the Eagles of The Hobbit) and Exalted Horses (inspired by, once again, Tolkien, as well as The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, countless mythological examples and old cowboy movies). Dolphins were also developed as a character race, as an adjunct to the Merfolk civilization.
There are many more possibilities for enhanced animals -- as unique and interesting characters, as opponents, NPC encounters, or even as player characters for those wanting a new roleplaying challenge.
Enhanced beasts are among the simplest character races to create, particularly if the player already has a copy of the GURPS Bestiary. If not, there are also stats for several animals on pp. B141-144.
The GM sets the race's base IQ at 10, then translates the animals' normal natural abilities into existing advantages and disadvantages. Most enhanced animals will get the disadvantages Mute, No Fine Manipulators, Poverty and Social Stigma (humans will be reluctant to treat an animal, no matter how intelligent, as an equal). Most animal races will be Primitive as well; the descriptions below assume that the race is three TLs below the campaign norm. Buy this off for an animal character that will use higher tech equipment.
Players with animal PCs are allowed to buy off some or all of the poverty and primitive disadvantages, if the character has the points to spare. The GM will allow and players should seriously consider having the character buy off the Mute disadvantage as well. A talking snake or ferret would be considered freakish by its own people, but that would merely provide it with an incentive to go and live among humanity.
Generally, animal mages are possible, even to mute characters. Such characters fall under the following rule...
Restrictions on Magic
In this campaign, the standard method of casting a spell is to gesture with both hands, make certain ritual foot motions (like dance steps) and speak the appropriate incantation in a firm, clear voice. Mages may choose to omit parts of this ritual, at a penality to their effective skill:
-2 for soft speech
-4 for no speech
-2 if gestures are made with only one hand
-4 if no gestures are used
-2 if no foot movements are made
-2 if gestures are made with by a character with the No Fine Manipulators disadvantage
So for instance, an Mute Intelligent Animal Character with No Fine Manipulators would normally be casting spells at -6, he would be at -8 if only one hand were used and -10 if no hands were used. If his feet were not used he would be casting at -12!
Intelligent Animal Races
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