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Author Topic: Poison-taster Terrier  (Read 2095 times)
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Rookie Brownbark
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« on: 30 April 2008, 03:39:03 »

You know...every so often I like to take a break from developing Brownies and do something different!  Garret happened to mention that we could do with a few more working/companion dogs, as well as terriers...which is where the idea for this animal came from.  I thought Marcogg might work as the place where it originated, as it had both the Krakenweed poison and a history of some dodgey-dealing nobles.  But I have to admit I don't know much about that area, so I thought I would see what people thought before actually writing the entire thing :).

Here is the overview...

"The Marcogg Terrier (also know as the Taster or Kraken Terrier) is a tiny, short-haired animal originating in the city it was named for but now common throughout the wealthier sector of Southern Sarvonia.  It was bred to require as little space, food and looking after as possible, so although it is not a cheap dog to buy, it is very affordable to keep.  It was originally developed as a cheap alternative to a human food taster, and as an attractive table decoration to boot.  The breed is completely mute – a mutation no doubt brought on through inbreeding but one which proved popular with buyers.  Nowadays it is more often used as a companion pet, and is a desirable fashion item in some circles."
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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #1 on: 30 April 2008, 06:38:16 »

That's a cool idea to have a dog try your food instead of people. Maybe it is/was more vulnerable regarding poison and detected it better than a person? (You can make up a nice story about a dog saving his masters life.. the first of its line...)

Just check the other dogs we have around, maybe connect them somehow (if needed, if we have already another terrier) . I know there is a picture of Judy, I mean from a terrier done by Judy around..
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Finnael
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« Reply #2 on: 30 April 2008, 06:43:53 »

Maybe they were descended from a certain geographic area where through evolution they required to adapt to cetain poisons. Therefore, they tend to be more immune to such poisons or more attuned to them?
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« Reply #3 on: 30 April 2008, 07:40:26 »

I personally would like to see them be immune to the poisons, or atleast less harmed by them. It feels... I don't know, morally wrong to keep this animal and treat it as a companion, with the knowledge that every night it might be taking a bullet (metaphorically speaking) for you. If I grew in any way attached to a dog like this, I certainly wouldn't want it to be testing my food and risking its life for me. cry

Just my thoughts though, feel free to disregard this if you feel differently, or perhaps what I'm saying has been resolved already somehow. :)

Oh! Great Idea! Want don't you have nobles use them as testers, but have the common people be in open protest of it. Turn it into kind've a moral issue. A point of contention between the two social classes. Perhaps we could create a group. (SAD: Save a Dog  :P) Focused on protecting these cute guys from being used. Anyway, this would open a bunch of avenues for development.

Whaddya think?
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« Reply #4 on: 30 April 2008, 07:43:29 »

Would it not be a poison-sniffer rather than taster?  Seems like a bit of a hazardous proceeding otherwise which would surely cause the mutation to die out pretty quickly... or the whole breed if they were bred for it...

It doesn't even have to be solely nasal - the dogs could have a 'sixth sense' (this IS a fantasy world) for things that cause illness, and Santharians perceive it as 'scenting poison'.   

Perhaps more a small whippet-type - fast, nervous/nervy, sensitive, slim....   that way if we ever get an illustration it will be a type of dog we don't have.  I'm not promising anything, but one day I'll get the tablet back up again... (sigh)
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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #5 on: 30 April 2008, 07:49:05 »

Dru, I think that's not thinking medieval. Where death is waiting at the next door, what do you care for a dog? Maybe the kids will get attached to it. Maybe the owners who use them as food taster don't care, but others do. Not all people will need food tasters..

Rookie wrote anyway:
"It was originally developed as a cheap alternative to a human food taster"
So it is used now not only as "victim"

The death of such a dog cold be the cause of a major decision in a political situation, because the owner was attached to itsdog and it died.. (not just because somebody wanted to poison him)--


Ah, Judy was faster..

Well, would the dogs then only sniff? or sniff and eat? There are different poisins, maybe they don't sniff all, even with a sixth sense, but that is up to Rookie..
« Last Edit: 30 April 2008, 07:51:31 by Talia Sturmwind » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: 30 April 2008, 09:34:18 »

Point taken, I was obviously caught up in the picture of poor puppies dieing left and right. ;)
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The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach,
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Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.


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« Reply #7 on: 30 April 2008, 19:58:19 »

Ok, let me explain a little further...

I was thinking the dog could have been bred specifically for this purpose (possibly from some sort of wild dog with some natural imunity/specialised sense of smell towards poisons - thankyou Finnael).  So for a long time it is not a companion pet - the servants who look after it might get attached to it but to the noble it is completely diposable.  He doesn't care if it dies, otherwise how would it fulfil its function.  On the other hand, how often would an attempt on the noble's life happen?  And of those times, how often would it be through poison?  Not *too* many dogs will die.

They are only the pets of nobles who fear poison, there are better dogs for hunting, guarding, ratting...so only the nobles have them.  Thus they become a status symbol, in a weird way - "I'm rich enough that someone might want to poison me"...um...never mind, there have been weirder ones in the real world I'm sure.  Anyway, people buy them as a status symbol, and naturally take them around everywhere with them to show their new status symbol off.  Thus they become attached to the rather cute looking creatures and make the transition to companion pet.

I really like the idea of having them be able to smell most detectable poisons too.  How about, they only were fed from the noble's table, so you knew that if the dog refused it, you really shouldn't touch it.  As a back up, if the dog did eat it, then the animal is still a taster.  Also, should the poison take a long time to take effect and the noble has already eaten some by the time you notice the effects, then at least it is far more ethical to disect the animal than the noble themselves, and there is more chance of getting some details on the poison so help in the search for the culprit.  Both the dog and noble dieing is also fairly good proof that it was in fact poison and not any failure of heart or brain which they would probably not fully understand or know how to diagnose. Um....can you tell I don't really like small dogs....sorry Dru :P.

However, I don't think the breed would completely die out through being used in this way - as I said before, how many poisonings would there actually be?  The fear is great, but the number probably not that high.  Probably not as high as dogs wounded or killed through hunting incidents for example.

Yes, I could make it different from a terrier - we do already have the Rimrunner Terrier from not too far away.  We also have a whippet-type creature though, the Zeiphyrian hunting hound.  However, that's quite a bit bigger.  Perhaps something really tiny along the lines of a "toy" dog?
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« Reply #8 on: 30 April 2008, 20:24:47 »

Exactly what I had in mind, actually.  Here's a quick sketch in Paint of the sort of thing I envision....

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« Reply #9 on: 30 April 2008, 20:36:51 »

Hehe, cute!  I'll go with that then, keeping the fur short (less brushing) and the proportions not too strange.  However, I might try and see what colours of fur would be reasonable, because it should be pretty too if people are going to have it just aas a pet.
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« Reply #10 on: 30 April 2008, 23:26:31 »

I think thats a great idea, Rookie, but please tell me you won't have the wealthy ladies carrying them around in posh bags! grin

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