This short piece is taken from the unpublished Advanced Players’ Guide for the Gas-lamp Fantasy RPG. It is presented here for those players who have bought that system, although the article might be of interest to other players, as well.
The supplement introduces an advantage called Exotic Pet, costing ten character points. Here are the details:
The character has an animal companion, one which has abilities which set it above the normal animals which might otherwise be owned. See the section on Examples of Exotic Pets. A character should be careful that his pets do not get loose.
Here is the next section, mentioned above:
Examples of Exotic Pets
A character could have a pet snaked, such as an anaconda. He might have a gorilla as an exotic pet – and it is only a few decades since gorillas have been known to science. Or he might have something as simple as a highly trained attack dog.
On his adventures a character may acquire some strange animal as a companion. This is fine, as long as the player character pays the points for the advantage. If he has the points spare, he should be allowed to gain the animal companion immediately. Of course, unless the animal has been trained, the character will have to spend some time training it, if the animal is to be of any use during adventures.
There are some creatures which are totally unsuitable for a character to acquire as an exotic pet. Among these should be the animals which are purely aquatic – while bottle-nosed dolphins are, without doubt, very intelligent, having one as an exotic pet is simply not practical for some gentleman who resides in the West End of London. To dolphins should be added all creatures which do not have intelligence or a proper brain – jellyfish might be deadly, but they are hardly something which a character would have as a pet.
The Gamesmaster has details of animals which might be considered as exotic pets in Animals and Monsters. The player should not get to see the statistics of his exotic pet – he should never know precisely how able it is, although he should have a rough idea.
Animals which the Gamesmaster might want to consider – although he is by no means forced to include any of these – are bears, non-venomous snakes, chimpanzees, gorillas, dogs, orang-utans, wolves, and possibly even certain species of big cat. Should such creatures exist as the yeti, greater ape or shunka warakin, the Gamesmaster should consider including them, as well, as possibilities (although some such creatures might be almost intelligent enough to qualify as a Faithful Servant, rather than Exotic Pet).
One thing which a character should consider is that, using Influence, it is easier to affect the minds of most animals than those of humans. A character does not want to acquire some powerful exotic pet only to have some evil wizard turn his animal friend against him…