SPEAK! SPEAK! Rules for Talking Animals

I really like this post from Rotten Pulp about talking animals.

When thinking about my own campaigns set in fairytale-like settings, I too have thought about talking animals. And here are my "rules" for them:

  • About 1/6 can talk, but don't always immediately lead with this information
  • Another 1/6 have the intelligence & communication ability of a "Disney animal companion"
    • These creatures come from the union of a talking animal and a regular animal under unique circumstances
    • Knights love having intelligent horses and loath talking ones
  • Most animals will only talk to a trusted human companion out of the earshot of others or when in need
    • Frequent enough that people know animals maybe can talk, but infrequent enough that most folks still think you are crazy for suggesting such
    • Talking animals are not to be trusted- this is common knowledge
  • Talking animals find it very hard to overcome their animal natures and certainly give advice and aid through that lens. So, if you are drowning and you ask your talking animal friend to save you:
    • A lion would go to the road and demand with a kingly air that someone else help you
    • A fox would go to the road and lie saying you are a prince who can give a reward
    • A bear would just push the first carriage over and then motion for people to follow
  • Most talking animals don't have the desire to be any more human/civilized save for foxes, cats, 50% of toads/frogs, 25% of dogs, and swine (this is very dangerous)
  • Monkeys hate other talking animals and the feeling is mutual
  • Talking animals can be hirelings, but operate with a -1 moral and always want payment in something bizarre
  • Snakes, owls, and ravens are connected to magic and occult knowledge
  • Mice are surprisingly good tailors if motivated
EDIT: Why are talking animals not to be trusted? Well, because one never knows if the animal is talking because:
1 | It is just a talking animal
2 | A good person cursed by an evil person and needs help
3 | A bad person cursed by a good person and needs a fool to help
4 | Someone who tried to trick a fay and was too dumb to do so
5 | It is hungry and humans, fascinated by talking animals, are an easy snack
6 | It is a jealous animal and wants to steal your station in life (swine are notorious for this)