Been a while again, but life happens. Still looking for a gaming group, though I got into a Play-by-post game with a gnoll druid, and I’m waiting to hear back on two other games(one also PbP) that I submitted Jasmine to. I’ve also come up with a couple other characters I’d like to play in the future:
– A cheetah-styled catfolk faux-jedi that follows the Elements instead of any version of the “Force”, using a polearm wuxia-style.
– A cowardly kobold who fights with summons, and is bonded to an Outsider that acts like a personal Google search engine for anything he needs to know.
The cheetah girl is the one I’m more interested in at the moment, even if I’m still torn on names between Rahna and Kivarra. The latter is one I was toying with originally, but I keep mentally changing it to Kitiara, which wouldn’t work because then every one would call her “Kitty.” Rahna on the other hand is, like Sharilar used to be, a name I used before for certain types of characters(Sharilar was always a vixen, Rahna was originally a feline name) but never had a solid character to link it specifically to.
Anyways, to get more to the point of this post, while looking for games to try to join, I came across someone’s homebrew of Pathfinder, replacing all the normal races with Furry races. When I went to glance through it though, I was left feeling kinda bored with it all.
You’d think, given the fact that if any RPG allows furry-style races, I’ll gravitate towards them, I’d be all over that. Heck, the chakatverse could be considered an all-furry-verse, given no rubber forehead aliens or truly alien aliens have yet to show up(Side note: that’s begging for a story along the lines of the Star Trek TNG precursors one), and Ironclaw built an entire system around it, and I have no problem with either of them. Why?
They’re not bland.
True, Chakatverse does have bog-standard furry animal people, but they’re alongside other stranger creatures and baseline humans, and there are repercussions to that. They aren’t just treated like humans in funny suits, with no hook.
Ironclaw took the stereotypes and inclinations of each species they feature, then tried to figure out what a society built on that would look and feel like. Again, there’s plenty of hooks here for plot and character, rather than a bunch of ordinary animal people doing people things and no influence from what they actually are.
Basically, if you could take a wolf furry character and replace it with a kangaroo furry with no impact to the character or plot, what is even the point? If you can replace a zebra with an elephant with no impact, why are you even using a zebra?
It’s like the criticisms of a lot of standard fantasy. You got your pointy-eared human, your stocky bearded human, your short furry-footed human, and your green-skinned fanged human, and if you just add animal human to that, is there any real difference? Why play something different if it’s exactly the same, but with a different layer of paint?
To put it another way and borrow a comment from the twitter comment I made on this, one of the essences of furriness is queerness – and I don’t mean in the sexual way. It’s something different, a different approach to things from the standard human way. Again, if there’s no difference between the wolf-man and a normal man, then the wolf-man may as well be a normal man!
I also don’t mean throw in *Nuzzles* and *Pants* and “OwO wats this” and have no other difference apart from a few cutesy quirks. To play off the above example, you have both the stereotype of the “lone wolf” and the social/pack/loyalty trends of wolves – so how would either of those impact the character or race in question? If you took a actual wolf and uplifted them, what would they actually be like?
I look back at the characters I made, and each of the ones I’m proudest of would have lost something if they hadn’t factored in the uniqueness of their races. Jasmine for example – physically, she’s a tigress with dragon wings, and if I wanted to compromise to get her in a lower power setting, I could make her as a catfolk, or just have her look like a tiger. But she is rakshasa still, and doing any of that would sacrifice her story and what makes her unique and herself.
Sharilar also works as an example. She could be just another black-furred vixen gypsy, but she is kitsune. That has certain implications within various settings, and even more so for one who is also gypsy. (Side note: I know it’s a stereotype, but this is Fantasy and drunken Scottish dwarves are a thing too, so.) This not only affects her worldview, but also (and more importantly) how the world views her.
And my most recent character, Dusk. She’s a gnoll, which carries just as much weight as the races above. Gnolls are more bestial, supposedly have a touch of demonic blood, and are known for eating the flesh of other sapients. They are also known for slaves and laziness in some settings. They are born, grow quickly, live brutal short lives, then just as quickly pass away. An anthro hyena girl would have none of that, yet all of it helped form who she is, even if only by going against the stereotypes.
Basically, just because something can be described as furry, or considered furry doesn’t make it automatically good. Especially if it commits the cardinal sin you can commit in a game: