The thing about intelligent animals is that it only surprises the party once. The second that familiar gets identified as a spy or that suspicious cow is outed as a druid, the paranoia sets in. And once the suspicion is there it remains for the rest of the campaign.

This is exactly what happened to me last time I played Exalted. We were a bunch of newly-minted Solar Exalts out to kick ass and take names. Being a bunch of deposed kings of Creation (and so possessing all manner of god-like acumen and superhuman senses), we were embarrassed to get taken in by the first adorable pupper to cross our path. Dude turned out to be someone’s Lunar Mate in shapeshifted form, and we were so busy scratching his ears and trying to find the poor, scrawny mutt a snack that no one so much as rolled to notice his decidedly un-doglike intelligence.

Despite the Lunar in question being a solid dude, we resolved to never be fooled again.

From that point on we questioned each and every animal we ran into. Wild foxes, random rats, the occasional passing yeddim… it didn’t matter! They were all the targets of our unreasonable assumption that each and every creature that appeared in our journey had a hidden, shape-shifting past.

And so we asked each suspicious critter we passed: “Are you always a horse? What about on weekends? Under the full moon? How can we be certain that you aren’t just really good at bluffing that hay tastes delicious?”

What about the rest of you guys? Have you ever discovered animal spies in your midst? And if so, what did they turn out to be? Sound off with your best talking critter tales down in the comments!


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