So, there are a couple of people who have posted that while they like the idea of Pugmire, they really are more cat people and are unsure how excited they can get until Monarchies of Mau allows them to play/run cats.
I certainly sympathize with that position, being entirely a cat person myself. However, I am also really excited about Pugmire in general and thought I would share a bit of head cannon/setting element that I plan to use heavily when I run or play Pugmire, in order to help me avoid a natural tendancy to push to play the only cat in a Pugmire game or making the games I run all about dealing with cats.
I present, House Chin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Chin):
Sergei Pug, Abbot of Woodfield:
House Chin is a highly regarded companion breed, whose members have garnered great acclaim as both successful merchants and highly placed members of the Clergy of Man. Their success in both fields has also lead to a great deal of envy, especially when coupled with their well deserved reputation as the most cat-like of dogs.
House Chin has always maintained holdings in the monarchies of Mau, and have long held a near monopoly on trade between Pugmire and those fractious city-states. There are some who view the house with enmity and suspicion - older dogs, especially, are likely to harbor suspicions that the Chins profited in an unseemly manner by dealing with both sides during the former hostilities. This is often tied to a belief that their influence in the church is used to hide the fact that their faith in man is tainted by outrageous blasphemies that they picked up from their time in foreign lands.
While this may be a very uncharitable assessment of the house, it is certainly the fact that the chin’s influence abroad made them key players in brokering and maintaining the peace between our lands. They have capitalized a great deal on the debts owed them for that service to pugmire to place their family members in key roles in the church, where their inquisitive nature and exposure to foreign ideas has fueled a frenzy of philosophical debate, just as the financial resources they can call on has fueled a frenzy of expansion of the church’s holdings church-sponsored exploration. The fact that these holdings and expeditions ALSO contribute to the fortunes of House Chin is I am sure just a coincidence….
Her Grand Ladyship Matrix Von Siam, Dowager Prefect of the Fourth Seal:
Never forget that the Chins are still Dogs. They may duel with grace and precision like the most gallant of our kittens. They may attend our salons and take part in debates on the true nature of man or raptly attend to lectures on divining the guidance of the ancestors that would raise the hackles of their church back home. They may even have a surprisingly developed sense of personal hygiene. Still, they are pack animals at heart. Many a young cat has fallen destitute after gambling all on the misguided belief that they have found the one chin willing to betray her family for material gain. While they may live among us and adapt our customs in a most convincing manner, their mastery of our arts of subtlety and asymmetrical negotiation is only ever applied to outsiders.
Evelyn Chin Von Pugmire, Archbishop of Stratford, instructs a young nephew:
While it is true that we place great value in visiting foreign lands, you will soon learn that travel itself is highly overrated. That is why your first responsibility when establishing a new venture is to secure a suitable estate, or at least make some rich friends, so that your family members will have a welcoming place to visit.
Many will question whether your fist loyalty is to your family or to Pugmire. Always remember that this question is meaningless. Thanks to our great success, the good of our house and the good of Pugmire are one and the same. By working for the good of one you ensure the strength of the other. Our wealth has allowed the Church of Man to expand, and the benefits of that expansion allow our family to continue it’s good work. It is those who would seek to alienate us from our current position of influence that are truly working against Pugmire.
Finally, I have no idea where you could have gotten the idea that I am a student of forbidden manuscripts on possible ties between Man and the cult of the White Mice. It’s absurd. Such relics would certainly be forbidden and most likely forgeries. That said, you’d better tell me any rumors about them you come across, so I can get this whole mess straightened out and ensure that they don’t spread.
Sooo… my inspiration for house chin draws heavily on the Borgias, especially as presented in the Showtime series of the same name, starring Jeremy Irons. From what I have read about the Monarchies of Mau, the renaissance italian city state flavor is probably a good fit for a heavily Mau-influenced companion breed. This gives an out for someone to play a cat-like dog without being too much of a special snowflake, and gives an option for game masters who want to work some Mau -centric themes into their games without flooding it with cat NPCs. Plus I really like the idea of a breed that is incredibly wealthy and influential, but not entirely trusted, because of their more catlike views on religion and loyalty. I also feel that you can add some depth by emphasizing that they believe that they are Good Dogs, by playing up their loyalty within their family and fact that they really do believe in the church of Man, they just tend to be more accepting of a wider range of of interpretations of that faith.
I hope this gives some of my fellow cat people some hooks to get them fired up about baseline Pugmire, or gives people who are already onboard some ideas for stretching what it means to be a good dog.