For a silly D&D oneshot a few months ago, I decided to play a Dogfolk bard. Since there’s no official Dogfolk race, I started with the Tabaxi player race and went on from there.
My Dogfolk Stats
Ability Score Increase: +2 CHA, +1 DEX (instead of the other way around)
Age: Same as humans.
Size: Same as humans.
Darkvision: You can see in dim light within 60ft of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern colors in darkness, only shades of gray.
Dichromatic Vision: You can only roughly perceive colors.
Puppydog Eyes: Once per short rest, you can choose to gain advantage on a Persuasion check.
Fangs: Your fangs are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the usual bludgeoning damage for an unarmed strike.
Canine Alertness: You are proficient in the Perception and Insight skills. You also have advantage on Perception checks related to Smelling or Hearing.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.
I think these are pretty straightforward and fun. As for balancing; “Fangs” are weaker than “Cat’s Claws” in that they don’t come with a climbing speed, and “Dichromatic Vision” is obviously a downside as well. These are compensated by the added advantage on Perception checks via “Canine Alertness” (which, btw, is equivalent to the Mastiff‘s “Keen Hearing and Smell”). Whether “Puppydog Eyes” are superior or inferior to the Tabaxi’s “Feline Agility” is debatable, but it’s certainly the easier feature to remember.
My Character (Some Ideas For Extra Fluff)
My character in the aforementioned session was a biomagically created anthropomorphous emotional support dog named Howlford. We played on first level and I made him a classic bard / entertainer combo. Bardic Inspiration has never made more sense to me.
Howlford’s spell list is a perfect example of how quickly you can make a unique character by just adding some custom flavor to existing stuff: Cure Wounds was renamed Snuggle – the same could work for Heroism. Vicious Mockery? Terrifying Howl! Limit Tasha’s Hideous Laughter to touch range, removing concentration and the material components to keep it balanced, and you got yourself a Slurp Attack.
Of course, being an anthropomorphous emotional support dog (and, in the world we played in, the only one of his kind) comes with some unique existential challenges. Some of Howlford’s traits were “I try to maintain a professional appearance”, “I will never chase a stick again” (associated with a self-imposed DC 12 CHA save in case it came up), both challenged by “I get distracted easily”, and, finally, “Regular dogs disconcert and appall me, as I do them”.
It was a fun session, and I’ll definitely keep Howlford’s char sheet in my drawer for further use. If you end up using any of this, I’d love to hear your stories!