Being A Good Dog, One Year Later (Pugmire)

Around this time last year, I was finishing up a pitch to Rich for what was then called “The Fall of Pugmire.” I figured he’d be interested in my doggie fantasy world as an RPG, but in my mind it was a fun side project, something that I would enjoy making, and that might also interest a few people.

Since then, just about everyone who hears about it tells me that Pugmire is so much more than that. As you’re reading this, I’m at Gen Con. I have Pugmire promo cards, posters, and shirts in hand, all based on gorgeous art from some highly talented artists. I’ll be showing a slice of the game off for short 5-10 minute demos at the booth, while the Wrecking Crew will run full sessions of the game at the Gen Con tables. It’s still early, but signs point to Pugmire being something much bigger than I expected.

The point where it really hit me (and Rich, although he always thought the game would connect with people) was during the very first game of Pugmire I ran at Midwinter, six months ago. I had introduced the idea of the Code of Man, and the tenet “Be A Good Dog.” The players were having fun roleplaying after I gave them a small amount of world detail, as they explored an abandoned necromancer’s lair in search of an ancient relic — all typical adventure fantasy stuff. The fact that the rules were based on a familiar fantasy RPG structure helped them dive into rolling dice and casting spells like old pros. As they were in the middle of the final, climactic battle with the spirits of the dead, the battle-hardened guardian (Sgt. Leo Bulldog) fell. The shepherd quickly ran to heal him, and when Leo got back up, his player cried out “I am a good dog!”

In that moment, I got tingles. What had been a half-serious religious code had turned into a battle cry, and soon into a guiding statement for the game. The players sincerely wanted to be good dogs (and many of them were experienced Vampire LARPers, so they were quite used to playing “morally flexible” characters). The rough edges in the system, the lack of setting detail, the cobbled-together nature of the playtest — none of it mattered in that moment. Something magical had happened.

Here at Gen Con, I hope it happens again. If even one player walks away thinking that they want to explore the world of Pugmire, that they want to proactively work with other characters, that they want to be a good dog, then I will feel like I’m doing what I set out to do.

10 thoughts on “Being A Good Dog, One Year Later (Pugmire)”

  1. I can honestly say that the main reason I wished I could make it to GenCon was a chance to catch a demo for Pugmire. 🙁
    That being said, I can’t wait to see what the feedback will be, and the finished product!

  2. When Pugmire was announced, I thought it was something of a joke, to be honest. Then an image popped into my head that stuck.

    A Warrior-Mastiff, bloody battle-worn, standing in front of a group of defenseless pups, defending them from some unknown dark evil. Sword ready, the warrior mutters under his breath repeatedly a mantra of determination, fatalistic yet heroic in showing that he is ready to die known he has done the right thing.

    “…I am a Good Dog… I am a Good Dog…”

    I can’t wait to see this game.

  3. I only happened across the posters for this recently and am really looking forwards to getting behind a kick starter for this. As someone that is into no end of dark fantasy rpgs and games, it all feels quite refreshing to me. The look of dog breeds makes character archetypes and imagery leap to mind even among non rpg gamers I have shown pics of the posters to.

  4. I just read the Pugmire info pamphlet you guys put up on DrivethruRPG and I’m even more interested in this game. When are you going to have a Pugmire board up on the Forum?

  5. A board to chat on would be great. This sounds really charming and I’m super interested. While I know it’s still early, I can’t help but ask if there’s any rough ETA for a release.

  6. A forum would be great. Game seems really charming.
    I know it’s still early, I can’t help but ask if there’s any rough ETA for a release.

  7. I was lucky enough to play Pugmire at Gen Con earlier today and I can report that it was fantastic! I went over to the Onyx Path booth after the game to say hi and ask about getting my hands on it when it’s published. They gave me their last poster, and a t-shirt which I will be wearing on my flight home tomorrow. Thanks also to the GM from the Wrecking Crew who ran a smooth game despite the rules still being in “rough draft” form 🙂

  8. Wish I could have made it by the booth this year but it was my first year working full time in the dealer room so i was a bit over whelmed still looking forward to hearing more about Pugmire it sounds amazing so far

  9. Echoing comments above, my main reason for wanting to go to GenCon was also for the Pugmire demo (couldn’t make it, alas. Cursed wedding getting in the way!) But thanks for putting the booklet on DriveThru, that was great to read!

    And very much agreed, we need a Forum section in which to rant about this brilliant upcoming game!


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