The Dogs of War (Canis Confligere)

A violent race of canines whose sole existence is to wage bloody war.
“Cry ‘Havoc!,’ and let slip the dogs of war.” ~ Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare

Their origins are a mystery. Whether the result of strong sorcery, the taint of chaos or beings from a far world called Sirius, no one can say. One thing for certain is that The Dogs of War are an extremely dangerous force that cannot be ignored, on the battlefield or off.

The Dogs of War are found in three states. Their highest (alpha) pedigree is that of the Prime Pooch, a muscular and intelligent creature which stands upright and is the size of an average human. They are calm and collected killers, who will use their strong dog jaws as readily as any weapon to damage an enemy. Although they have many humanoid features, they are still very canine in appearance. Their heads are those of a hound, with long floppy ears and strong jaws lined with sharp teeth. A dog snout allows for excellent sense of smell while eyes set to face further forward than that of a dog allow for three-dimensional vision.

The Prime Pooch’s back is partially curved, causing it to stand in a slight crouch, and terminates in a thin tail. Its shoulder blades are set further apart, to allow greater arm movement while its leathery hands have opposable thumbs allowing for weapons and such to be grasped, and used with surprising skill. Its most dog like features are its narrow hips and legs which terminate in a large, splayed paw which facilitate bipedal movement.

A Prime Pooch is a rare sight and a breeding pair even rarer. An aspirant warlord who is able to contract a breeding pair would be able to create an army within a year. They are able to breed a litter of up to twelve puppies of which there is a 10% chance that one puppy is a Prime and a 1% chance that two Primes will be born to the same litter. The rest of the litter will be of the beta pedigree – Dog Soldiers. Prime Pooches are the generals of the Dogs of War. They lead from the front and will spend much of their time training their Dog Soldier offspring in the art of war. In battle, they wear armour and prefer to fight with sword and or. They rarely use shields preferring to equip their free hand with fighting claws or a dagger. A Prime Pooch is long lived, in dog terms, with a life span which can exceed 20 years.

Dog Soldiers are a watered down version of their Prime Pooch parents. While they look alike in many ways, they are closer to their dog cousins in many ways. Their hands are more paw like, although they retain an opposing thumb and they stand in a crouch. The smaller opposing thumb means that they can only handle tow handed heavy weapons, or light one handed weapons, like the gladius. Classically Dog Soldiers will fight with a gladius and strap a target shield to their other arm, although some may opt for a bastard sword or flail. Narrower shoulders allow them to run on all fours although not as fast as a dog. Eyes face less forward than the Prime Pooch causing their three dimensional vision to be somewhat flat although their peripheral vision is enhanced as a result. Dog Soldiers have a shorter life span, averaging 15 years.

Almost as intelligent as the Prime Pooch, Dog Soldiers are loyal followers and usually take the place of non commissioned officers in the army. They are fertile and can produce a litter of up to fifteen whelps in once mating – effectively producing up to four litters a year. Up to 30% of each litter may be born as Dog Soldiers, the rest will be born ad the gamma pedigree – Skumdogs.

Skumdogs are the shock troops of the Dogs of War. While they can stand and fight on two legs, they are more at home on four. Their hands with opposing thumbs are paw like, allowing them only to grasp simple and lightweight double handed weapons like spears. Although they are not as fast whited as their higher pedigree compatriots, they more than make up for it in muscle and stamina. Standing shorter and more stooped than a Dog Soldier, with narrower shoulders and hips, they have thick muscles which run down their back and limbs, allowing them to leap far and run fast.

The Skumdog is usually trained for war by their Dog Soldier parents. They are naturally brutal and will turn on their own if locked up. While some will go on to learn how to wield spears, and even use a sling, most will only be trained in the fighting claw. Equipped with claws, leather vests and unleashed in the hundreds, they will gladly charge into the face on an enemy force, no matter what the odds, immolating themselves for the chance to cool their inbred fury with blood.

Although most Skumdogs are born sterile, a very few may be able to breed further litters of their own kind. Fertile Skumdogs who mate with Dog Soldiers, will produce Skumdog whelps 97% of the time, leaving a 3% chance to successfully produce a dog soldier. In the case of a Prime Pooch mating with a Dog Soldier, there will be a 1% chance of producing another Prime Pooch in a litter, the rest of the litter should be dog soldiers, although there is a 15% chance of the litter containing one or two Skumdogs. Like most large dogs, Skumdogs will only life for an average of 10 years, although most will die in battle long before reaching such an age.

It is thus possible for a mating pair of Prime Pooch’s to produce an army of skilled soldiers, buffered by ranks of vicious shock troops, who will tear into an enemy and leave a reeling, fatigued target for the Dog Soldiers to lay into. It should be noted that a Prime Pooch is not automatically a skilled tactician, but will also require training in the art of war.

All the above aside, the Dogs of War are extremely rare. It is unlikely that a fore to be reckoned with will occur more than once in a triad of lifetimes. The main reason for this rarity is that it is near impossible to locate a Prime Pooch, let alone a breeding pair who have been trained for war. A Pooch must be found as a puppy and be put through rigorous training to prepare it for its future as a leader. One cannot teach an old dog new tricks – an adage which is true for The Dogs of War as well. Any pedigree who is left without proper training will be of minimal use in battle.

This article was originally dreamed up XXIX August MMII

Prime Pooch

CharacteristicsAverage
STR3D6 + 212-13Move 5
CON3D6 + 212-14Hit Points 15
SIZ3D69-10Fatigue 25
INT2D6 + 613-14
POW2D67
DEX3D6 + 212-14
APP2D6 7
Hit Location Melee (D20) Missile (D20)Points
R Leg01-0401-030*/4
L Leg05-0804-060*/4
Abdomen09-1107-100*/4
Chest1211-150*/5
R Arm13-1516-170*/3
L Arm16-1818-190*/3
Head19-20200*/4
WeaponSRAttack% DamageParr%PTS
Bite1030 + 71D8 -1D4
Bastard Sword640 + 51D10 + 1D4 +112
Main Gauche930 + 51D4 + 230 + 58

Notes: The Prime Pooch can use either bite or hand held weapon in a given round. It could use both only as per normal two weapon use, thereby depriving itself the ability to parry (with the main gauche) that round.
Skills: Track 50 + 1, Listen 80 + 1, Scan 70 + 1, Human Lore 35 + 4, First Aid 20 + 4, Jump 30.
Armour: Hide offers no protection. * The Prime Pooch’s value will usually result in it being equipped with plate or similar high quality armour.

Dog Soldier

CharacteristicsAverage
STR3D611-12Move 6
CON3D611-12Hit Points 14
SIZ3D68-9Fatigue 23
INT2D6 + 413-14
POW 2D6 7
DEX 2D6 13-14
APP 2D6 7
Hit LocationMelee (D20)Missile (D20)Points
R Leg01-0401-030*/4
L Leg05-0804-060*/4
Abdomen09-1107-100*/4
Chest1211-150*/5
R Arm13-1516-170*/3
L Arm16-1818-190*/3
Head19-20200*/4
WeaponSRAttack DamagePass%PTS
Bite1030 + 7 1D8 -1D4
Scimitar740 + 5 1D6 + 2 + 1D410
Target Shield81D635 + 712
Javelin3/940 + 51D88

Notes: The Dog Soldier can use either bite or hand held weapon in a given round. It could use both only as per normal two weapon use, thereby depriving itself the ability to parry with its shield that round.
Skills: Jump 35 + 2, Throw 45 + 2, Listen 87, Scan 65, Track 40, Animal Lore 25 + 5.
Armour: Hide offers no protection. * The Dog Soldier is usually equipped with at least bezanted armour.

Skumdog

CharacteristicsAverage
STR3D611-12Move 8
CON2D611-12Hit Points 16
SIZ2D610-12Fatigue 2
INT2D67-9
POW1D64
DEX3D611-12
APP1D64
Hit LocationMelee (D20)Missile (D20)Points
R Leg01-0401-030*/5
L Leg05-0804-060*/5
Abdomen09-1107-100*/5
Chest1211-150*/6
R Arm13-1516-170*/4
L Arm16-1818-190*/4
Head19-20200*/5
WeaponSRAttack%DamageParr%PTS
Bite1030 + 71D8 -1D4
Fighting Claw835 + 51D4 + 1 + 1D4
Long Spear635 + 51D10 + 1 + 1D410

Notes: The Skumdog usually doesn’t learn to parry. The will uses their long spear until an enemy is within close quarters, at which time they will discard it to fight with claws and/or bite.
Skills: Dodge 30 + 3, Jump 40 + 3, Listen 55, Scan 35, Track 90, Sneak 10 + 2.
Armour: Hide offers no protection. * The Skumdog is often equipped with whatever armour is available, upgrading with the spoils of war wherever possible.

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