Claws and Effect: The War of Cats and Dogs [Realms of Pugmire]

Realms of Pugmire

Last time I talked about the fate of humanity, and how I enjoy leaving contradictory information for players to find. I get a lot of that from years of working on properties like Vampire: The Masquerade, which is a game all about endless threads, mysteries, and conspiracies. The games in the Realms of Pugmire aren’t as much about that, so I take a lighter touch, but the truth is people misremember and confuse details even within a generation. Sometimes, even within a decade or so. And there’s no better example of that than the War of Dogs and Cats.

Before I start, cards on the table: I don’t have a definitive idea of how the war panned out. But unlike last time where I refuse to detail that material, in this case I’m just leaving it open. I have vague ideas of a wargame or computer game or something set in that time period, so I want to leave something fun for Future Eddy to do if we get there. One thing I DO know, however, is that neither the dogs nor the cats are right.

Compare the details of the War in Pugmire (pp. 135-136) with those in Monarchies of Mau (pp. 149-150). Both sides agree that the war basically started over Waterdog Port. The Pugmire book claims, definitely, that it’s because the monarchy of Korat (pre-unification of the Monarchies of Mau) wanted to use the port but refused to contribute to the cost of building more ships. The Monarchies of Mau book, on the other hand, takes a more conflicted stance, saying that while the dogs claim this, in truth Korat’s accountants made the boats, but show the dogs charging excessive docking fees. But the Monarchies of Mau book ALSO admits in other sections that cats manufacture documents to justify their version of history.

Another interesting bit: Both sides agree that Waterdog Port was temporarily under the control of Mau, when it was renamed “Mau’s Glorious Waters.” The Pugmire book doesn’t detail this time much, but implies that the dogs fought to get it back. Specifically, the line is: “For several months, the Monarchies claimed control (briefly renaming it ‘Mau’s Glorious Waters’), but the dogs left behind fought them tooth and claw every chance they could. Eventually the cats relinquished control over the port as well, and Waterdog Port became a free city, unclaimed by either side.”

And yet, the Mau section goes into more detail, and implies that the cat’s control over the port was more of a sunk cost issue. The key line there is: “The cats had to devote all their resources to holding the port against the dogs who’d been left behind by the crown and were fighting back from within. Eventually, the cats ceded control and withdrew from the port.”

Both lines reinforce each other, but there’s a subtle spin there. The Pugmire narrative implies that it was their relentless attacks that caused the cats to flee. The cat narrative is that trying to control the port was simply too expensive. Both could be true, but there’s a different emphasis — one where each side is positioned to have made the right decision.

Much like the fate of humanity, what actually happened in the war is less important than what characters THINK happened. At some point I may do more content within the war that gives an even account, but for now I’m intrigued by the prospect of each side looking at a conflict that was largely a stalemate and claiming a victory out of it.

  1 comment for “Claws and Effect: The War of Cats and Dogs [Realms of Pugmire]

  1. Bluegrass Geek
    January 3, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Oh, that’s a nice point I hadn’t caught on my read through of Mau. I do love how both books portray very different views.

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