Animal RPGs — 25 Anthro Adventures
Tabletop roleplaying games give us the opportunity to live lives not our own. We can be brave warriors, wise wizards, and canny thieves without risking life, sanity, or freedom. We can even step out of our human skins and try on new identities as elves, dwarves, or gnomes. Or, maybe you’d like to take a walk on the even wilder side, and play an anthropomorphic animal. Or even a regular critter like a mouse exploring a dangerous world. Good news! There are tons of RPGs that give you a whole new perspective from the eyes of your favorite animals. Here are 25 Animal RPGs, new and old, that you might want to give a try.
Raccoon Sky Pirates
As animal RPGs go, Raccoon Sky Pirates has a special place in our hearts with its perfect balance of hilarity and chaos. This is a narrative, GM-less role-playing game for 3 to 6 players that takes about three hours to play. Take to the skies, loot a suburban home of all the trash you can carry, and try to keep your ship from exploding.
Unlike in most games, what you do is random—you’re a raccoon, after all. The fun comes in narrating a scene out of your random action, whether it was helpful or not, and all the complications you or others have introduced. When multiple raccoons act in concert, you can trade dice to get a result that works better for you. Get your goofiest friends together for Raccoon Sky Pirates and you’ll have an absolute blast!
Ironclaw: Squaring the Circle
Originally published in 1999, Ironclaw: Squaring the Circle has managed to stay firmly nestled in the fuzzy hearts of Furries and anthro fans ever since. Players take the roles of anthropomorphic animals including dogs, cats, cheetahs, boars, bats and more! You’ll be adventuring in a detailed, high fantasy setting. If you’re looking for a one-volume, popular, well-supported tabletop RPG to scratch an anthro gaming itch, then Ironclaw is probably going to be your best bet. Not sure? Check out a preview PDF here.
Maybe Ironclaw sounds good, but you’re more of an anime and manga kind of gamer. No sweat—Ironclaw publisher Sanguine Games has you covered. Single-volume, standalone RPG Jadeclaw places you in a fantasy version of China. It’s technically out of print—although nothing really is these days—but you’ll probably want to grab this if you don’t care at all about exploring the European-flavored setting of Ironclaw. While Jadeclaw and Ironclaw exist in the same milieu, they’re not compatible, systems-wise.
Alright, so you’re not so hip on the fantasy thing—Eastern or Western. How about neo-noir? Yes, that’s right: Sanguine Games’ Urban Jungle is your opportunity to explore the Furry mean streets, tail to tail with two-bit vulpine hoods, and kitty femme fatales. Honestly, Sanguine Games might just have the Furry RPG market cornered.
Realms of Pugmire RPG
Is Realms of Pugmire a gateway drug for Anthro roleplaying? It may well be, because—as dog lovers and roleplayers—we picked this up without even thinking “furry” or “anthro.” In Onyx Path Publishing‘s d20-based game you take the role of sword and spell-slinging Good Dogs who have inherited a fantasy world mysteriously abandoned by now-legendary human beings. It’s just a freaking adorable concept, but the world of Pugmire is a dangerous one! Any dog who hopes to have his day will have to tread ever so carefully.
Monarchies of Mau
What, not a dog lover? Oh, don’t worry, we love cats just as much as we do pooches. Monarchies of Mau is a one hundred percent compatible stand-alone game featuring, yes, you guessed it, cat characters in the same setting as Pugmire. Cats, as anyone who has one will tell you, have their own way of doing things. And Monarchies of Mau does a great job of using that fact to make this title distinct from Pugmire. This is very much a full-fledged game that you can play separate from Pugmire. (But why would you?)
Albedo: Platinum Catalyst
Before Albedo: Platinum Catalyst, the original edition of Albedo first hit shelves in 1988, making it very likely a good bit older than many of you reading this piece. Speaking as somewhat elder gamers, we remember Albedo being well-regarded even among fans of Dungeons & Dragons, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, and other more mainstream games. Though, it was a bit harder to find at your local games shop.
What is it about?
Without getting too deep into the weeds, the Albedo roleplaying game is based on the comic book series by Erma Felna of the EDF, a military science fiction comic book series created by Steve Gallacci, a former technical illustrator for the Air Force, which was, in turn, part of a comic book series called Albedo Anthropomorphics.
Albedo caught fire with those of us who were hip to anime back in the eighties. And Gallacci’s near-future, realistic military art and depiction of a nuanced future of war and geopolitics still caught the eye of a wider audience—even if they didn’t really get a chance to play the game. While the original edition of Albedo is long out of print, your friends at—yes, Sanguine Publishing—have you covered with Albedo: Platinum Catalyst.
Like Albedo, Mouse Guard is spun off from a very popular graphic novel series, albeit a fantasy one rather than science fiction. Written and beautifully illustrated by David Peterson, Mouse Guard takes place in the periphery of the Dark Ages. Mouse soldiers brave snakes, enemy warriors, and other dangers for the sake of their communities. It’s a thoughtful, mature setting, and the Mouse Guard RPG’s low complexity, story-focused rules do a great job of getting players into Peterson’s wonderful world.
My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria
Tails of Equestria’s solid game engine, production quality, and fidelity to the core values of the My Little Pony universe make it worth seeking out for anyone even vaguely interested in the toys or cartoons. While we’ve not had a chance to flip through it ourselves, MLP fans seem to really like it. If we have one problem with this property, it’s that we can’t see “My Little Pony” in print without hearing the malevolent ear worm that was the eighties commercial jingle, so enjoy that while you read the rest of this article.
Bunnies & Burrows
Inspired by Richard Adams’s wonderful fantasy novel Watership Down, Bunnies & Burrows sees players stepping into the paw prints of ordinary, albeit highly intelligent rabbits, living their lives in a deceptively dangerous rural countryside. The first edition was released in 1976, making it nearly as old as the fantasy roleplaying hobby as a whole. That edition (as well as a GURPS adaptation, because of course there’s a GURPS adaptation) is long out of print and likely to cost a pretty penny to acquire. Frog God Games published a new edition quite recently, gorgeous and true to the original material.
Also Check Out The Warren
Speaking of bunnies, The Warren from Bully Pulpit Games is also worth a mention.
You play as intelligent rabbits trying to make the best of a world filled with hazards, predators and—worst of all—other rabbits. It is a game about survival and community.
There are many creatures, humans included, that are bigger, stronger, meaner, or more numerous than rabbits. The seasons and the elements do not care that rabbits are only little things. Rabbits cannot hope to meet these threats head on. Only through speed, wits, and keeping a cool head can rabbits bypass the dangers of the outside world.
The Warren is designed for 3-5 players and can be played in a single 2-hour session or over multiple sessions. Campaign play follows the passing seasons and focuses on changing generations of new rabbits each with their own stories.
Wanderhome is a diceless roleplaying game inspired by the works of Brian Jacques and Hayao Miyazaki that focuses on the day to day lives of regular anthropomorphic characters: travelers, farmers, etc—rather than wizards and warriors—in a beautiful, enchanted world. We’ve seen it described by its fans as “pastoral,” “chill,” and “relaxing,” and the illustrations certainly seem to convey those moods.
Root: The Roleplaying Game
Do you like the idea of wandering anthropomorphic animal adventurers but want a little more derring-do? You might want to look at Root: The Roleplaying Game. Based on the popular tabletop board game, the Root RPG sees players taking the roles of woodland vagabonds roving from one adventure site to another in a furry fantasy world. Character creation and gameplay setup is quick and easy, since the game is based on Maguey and Vince Baker’s ever-popular “Powered by the Apocalypse” rules engine. Grab a character “book,” familiarize yourself with your “moves” (special abilities) and get going, vagabond!
Humblewood is a Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition-compatible fantasy animal RPG set in a creature-world on the brink of chaos. Fires have come to the forests of Humblewood! As destruction draws near, tensions rise between the Humblefolk (woodland mammals) and the Birdfolk of the cities. Meanwhile, monsters, bandits, and evil elementals lurk in the shadows, ever ready to take advantage of the chaos. If you’re a 5E gamer already, then this is likely to appeal you. It’s an easy jump using the same system. But there are plenty of new races, spells, and other cool stuff that will make the game fresh and new. Plus material you can use for another campaign if you opt out of the Humblewood setting as a whole.
Michtim Fluffy Adventures
According to its creator, Zev Mir, Michtim Fluffy Adventures is inspired by cartoons like Ewoks and David the Gnome, and michtims themselves are highly intelligent, hamster-like beings. Players explore a world that’s dangerous, but full of wonder. You’ll be using a system whose attributes are based on emotions rather than physical strength and dexterity. As you might imagine, non-violent solutions to problems are valued highly in this setting. Mindfulness about other people’s experiences, perspectives, and needs is an important part of Michtim. Mir designed the game to be an oppression-free, tolerant, and welcoming experience amongst the other animal RPGs.
Golden Sky Stories
Golden Sky Stories is a Japanese roleplaying game in which players take the role of “henge,” magical animals with shapeshifting powers. Like other animal RPGs Michtim Fluffy Adventures and Wanderhome, Golden Sky Stories is decidedly non-violent in tone. It is supported with a full line of supplements for integrating more animal spirits, new magical creatures like faeries, ghosts, and kappa, as well as optional settings to explore.
Wild Lands is a fantasy game of anthropomorphic woodland creatures exploring a straightforward world of high fantasy. Where it stands out is the gorgeous illustrations (Redwall artist Troy Howell may come to mind) and original d6 rules engine. It’s a bit of a sleeper for some reason. It seems like people aren’t picking up on it as much as other Furry fantasy games, but it’s definitely worth a look!
Furry Pirates might be one of the most niche games on the animal RPGs list, next to Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse, but wow… if you’re looking to play an anthropomorphic animal in the real Golden Age of Sail, this game has your number. Featuring a character generation system that offers multiple animal options, magic, and a world that’s wide open for adventure, Furry Pirates delivers exactly what it promises: swashbuckling animal adventure.
In Justifiers you’re a Beta: an animal-human hybrid shock trooper in the employ of a far future corporation whose assets lie flung across the galaxy. Justifiers features a skill-based class system, multiple options for character species stock, and plenty of guns, gear, and gadgets. It’s a classic (first published in 1988), that’s bound to satisfy gamers who like a little crunch at their tabletop!
Based on an original comic series by Stan Sakai that first appeared in Albedo Anthropomorphics, Usagi Yojimbo is the story of a noble rabbit swordsman in Feudal Japan. In the roleplaying game—if you can find it, Sanguine Games lost the license this year—you take on the role of another animal adventurer in Sakai’s wondrous world. Another classic on the list of animal RPGs.
Magical Kitties Save the Day
You are cute. You’re cunning. You’re fierce. You are a magical kitty, and it’s time to save the day!
Every magical kitty has a human. Every human has a problem. In Magical Kitties Save the Day, you and your friends use your magical powers to help your humans. But kitties live in hometowns that are filled with even bigger problems like witches, aliens, and hyper-intelligent raccoons. So kitties go on adventures to save the day!
Magical Kitties Save the Day is family-friendly and great for leading kids through their first roleplaying adventure. Even if you’ve never lead or played an RPG before, MKStD includes plenty of tools and guidance to give you the confidence you need to adventure forth. There’s even an included solo-play module to get you started!
Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse
Somewhere between Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Sons of Anarchy, exists Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse: the adventure roleplaying game of friggin’ mice and their friggin’ motorcycles. Using Fred Hicks’ FATE system, Heavy Metal Thunder Mouse is the RPG of motorcycle mice in our animal RPGs collection. Accept no other!
Your stories are set in Thunder City, USA. For small creatures existing in a place which doesn’t belong to them, these stories will be filled with the drama of their lives, and the trouble, both inside and outside, of a biker gang. Will your gang be Robin Hood-like doers of good, springing cheese from unwatched refrigerators and delivering it to needy widows—or will you be thugs and thieves exploiting the weak? Your mouse, your bike, and your gang all belong to you and the stories you tell at your table. Throw on your cut, have a nibble of cheese, and fire up the engines!
Big Ears, Small Mouse
Big Ears, Small Mouse is a mouse-centric gaming supplement for the Big Eyes, Small Mouth anime/manga roleplaying game. You can spin the setting anyway you’d like with a small amount of work. As designed, though, this animal RPG is written for adventures in a contemporary setting called Mousetropolis. The setting comes complete with mouse-built analogues of modern technology.
“Gee Brain, what are we gonna do tonight?”
“The same thing we do every night—try to take over the world!”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness
Oh, gosh, did we have fun with this one. Based on the original graphic novels/comic series by Eastman and Laird, the RPG is built upon Palladium Games’ in-house (and sadly, incredibly clunky) game engine. TMNT & OS is a no-holds-barred gaming experience where you can play the Turtles themselves, or just about anything else you can think of. Our last character was a humanoid commando frog with a high-powered sniper rifle if that tells you anything.
Rounding out the end of our animal RPGs, Woodland Warriors is a d20-based fantasy roleplaying game inspired by Brian Jacques’ Redwall. Find your place as a brave mouse or stalwart squirrel in a wonderland beset by evil rats, weasels, and more. Woodland Warriors uses the Swords & Wizardry core rules with some adaptations for the setting.
Written by Rob Matthews
Rob Matthews is a writer and lifelong gamer. When he’s not rolling dice or herding words, you can find him drawing, training in the martial arts, or planning his next tattoo.
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