The Animal Adventures Dungeons & Dragons compatible line is about to grow with a new campaign setting book featuring new subclasses and new playable animal races. Over the past several years, Painting Polygons and Steamforged Games have developed a series of 5E compatible projects called "Animal Adventures." The line started off with a series of miniatures depicting various breeds of cats and dogs as core D&D 5E classes. In 2020, Steamforged grew the line with its first campaign setting compatible with D&D and any other TTRPG, which brought the town of Gullet Cove to life and provided new rules for players to use when building their cat and doggo adventurers.
Now, Steamforged Games is preparing to launch its latest Animal Adventures Kickstarter campaign, this time introducing a strange new nautical-themed world for delightful animal adventurers to explore. The Faraway Sea builds on the campaign setting launched in last year's Animal Adventures: Gullet Cove by introducing a new region of endless islands suffused with magic and mystery. "The Faraway Sea is expanding and opening up where you can go with your Animal Adventures characters," lead writer Richard August told ComicBook.com during a video interview. "Not only where your adventures can go, but also the kind of animals you can meet. Pets are a wide and varied group, as are their owners. And we wanted to reflect that, both in the setting and in the models that we get produced for it."
In addition to new cat and dog adventurers, Animal Adventures: The Faraway Sea also adds several new species of miniatures. During our interview, co-creator Russ Charles and lead writer named several new species making their debut in the line, including alpaca, goats, otters, and even a rabbit monk. The Faraway Sea will also new playable race rules for these species, with each species having their own unique abilities. When asked how one designs a D&D race based on an alpaca, August explained that it was a combination of two factors. "You don't have to be a biologist or a zoologist, but knowing how alpacas behave in the wild or in captivity, is valuable," August said. "And then knowing what ideas do people have in their heads about alpacas."
"Goats are probably an easier example because goats have slightly more cultural cache than alpacas do," August continued. "So we know how long goats live, we know how big they can get. You've got your physical dimensions for a playable goat already ready. And then you think about what goats are famous for. Well, they're famous for being stubborn and they're famous for taking out trolls. From there, it's pretty easy to build up the basic abilities you expect from a 5E race or in this case, species-basis. You give them an advantage or a bonus when dealing with a certain enemy or you give them a rule, which means that they're not going to be frightened or something which represents that stubbornness. It's taking the building blocks for 5E and applying them to those key thoughts and ideas that everybody has about certain animals."
As for the Faraway Sea itself, the new setting starts with the new city of Flotsam, a floating city on the edge of the Faraway Sea that serves as a hub for adventurers. While the Faraway Sea is usually inaccessible due to strange storms and mists that cover the sea, every few weeks the mists part and reveal a new island. Adventurers rush out from Flotsam to explore those islands and retrieve the magical focus of the island, known as the "genius loci."
"When we were talking about this idea of the mists parting and everyone racing into the islands, we were thinking about things like in the first Brendan Fraser Mummy movie, where they're waiting for the sunrise to reveal where the entrance to Hamunaptra, and then everybody's racing on camels," said Charles. "And just imagining that, but piling into boats and setting sail and heading into the mists to try and get to the islands. We're trying to capture that spirit as Indiana Jones crossed with gold rush fever, and then sprinkling the magic of D&D on top of that. So we should have some really exciting things. I mean, who doesn't love a good treasure hunt?"
The miniatures in the upcoming set will include about the same number of models as the Gullet Cove Kickstarter, but with more unique models than the Gullet Cove set. The animal miniatures are all still animals first and foremost, as opposed to more anthropomorphized creatures. "We are very restrictive with ourselves about how much we're allowed to mess with the physiology and the anatomy of the model, in terms of how it relates to a real animal," Charles noted about the design process of the miniatures themselves. "These animals have awakened and it might mean that they're slightly bigger because often we need that for the detail on the model, but we try wherever possible to make sure that the poses are plausible. We found pictures of otters standing on their hind legs, and we took measurements of where their waist would fall and so forth, to create the otter model. And similarly, we went through several iterations of a rabbit model and looked at various pictures of rabbits jumping and kicking. We reworked the model several times until we had a pose that a rabbit can plausibly do, although most rabbits don't wear Streetfighter-inspired combat clothing and around with bamboo staffs as of yet."
Expanding both the world of Animal Adventures and the miniature line was important to the team, as they saw the models as helping to expand the storytelling potential of all DMs. "Having models like these unlocks new story possibilities," Charles said. "I think that's really brilliant because I think the more opportunities you have to tell interesting stories, the better the games are going to be."
Animal Adventures: The Faraway Sea launches on Kickstarter on July 20th. You can follow the Kickstarter to be notified when it launches.