Friday, April 19, 2013


Who doesn’t want a pseudodragon familiar?  Even I, on record for preferring bonded objects, am tempted by the idea of giving my character a dragon best friend.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that.  Because pseudodragons, with Int and Cha 10 and Wis 12, should essentially be full-fledged NPCs.  While you may have control over your owl familiar, any GM worth his or her salt ought to role-play your pseudodragon.  Not that that’s a bad thing—since they communicate telepathically, it’s a great private two-way line for your GM and you to trade information, hints, and secrets. 

Otherwise of course, they might show up anywhere from the depths of the woods, hanging out with fey like their cousins the faerie dragons do, to the spires of Korvosa.  And while they’re neutral good, think of them as intelligent flying cats: temperamental, mischievous, motivated by food, and more likely to train you than vice versa.

Oh, and one final fun thought: If a pseudodragon tags a spellcaster with its sleep poison while the wizard is flying…well, that could be amusing for everyone involved (minus the caster).

Rabbit is a thief.  She’s also eight and an orphan, so she can be excused her petty thefts, since they keep her alive. Her pseudodragon friend Stephanos watches over her, making sure she gets enough to eat and serving as Rabbit’s conscience when her fingers get too grabby.  When an attic whisperer steals her voice and spirits her away, Stephanos is desperate to find her, turning to adult (and preferably armed) help.  And if he has to attack them to get their attention, he will.

Carter is a young sorcerer with a pseudodragon familiar.  Actually, he is the familiar; the pseudodragon is an aged drake with decades of spellcasting experience, so when Carter tried to call him, the boy found himself bound in return.  Carter is humiliated by this turn of events, not realizing he is being groomed to be a metamagic specialist.  The pair engages other spellcasters in (hopefully) good-natured duels.

Pseudodragons in Tempest Wood interbreed with faerie dragons; like them their skin colors as they age, and some manifest the ability to cast cantrips.  The blue-and-white striped pseudodragons of Nestor Falls dart like swallows and are highly territorial.  Years of having their sleep venom harvested by assassins and alchemists have made the pseudodragons of Vash used to humans; they are even lazier than most pseudodragons, prone to neutrality, and some can sting with more than just sleep venom…

Pathfinder Bestiary 229

God, I hate the name “pseudodragon.”  Dragonet or drake would have been so much more elegant.  Where’s Anne McCaffrey when you need her?

“The Ecology of the Pseudodragon” was a product of Jonathan M. Richards’s heyday in Dragon, specifically #269.

I love how Korvosa is an instantly recognizable city because of its pseudodragons and otyughs (and, of course, the big evil castle on the pyramid).  That’s actually not a bad way to design a city: Where is it, what’s the most distinctive building, what two monsters do you find there, and how do all of the above add up to shape its feel?  So, for Korvosa: An oppressive castle, pseudodragons, and otyughs make for a city where adventure can happen from the sewers to the rooftops in the blink of an eye…but watch out for the law.”  Done.  If you can describe each of your cities this way—and if your players can do the same after a session or two adventuring in each one—you’re golden.

Yesterday I left out a certain aspect of the popobala myth, because this is an all-ages kinda show.  Tom Johnson did not, and got in a killer Meet the Feebles reference in for good measure.

Oh, and if you’re looking for the mighty porcupine, it’s here.

This has been a hell of a week.  Let’s end it on an awesome note, shall we?  I turn things over to my friend B. and his co-conspirator Danny Sexbang.  Yes, this is yet more shameless promotion of people I know, but for a good cause.  I mean seriously, imagine you’d had the misfortune to release a comedy album on this week of all weeks.  Ladies and gentlenerds, I give you “Unicorn Wizard” from the just-released Strawberries and Cream.

And don’t forget, tomorrow is Record Store Day!  Get there early—and you better save the swirly Porno for Pyros release for me.

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