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Apt companions for player characters, and associated headaches

Kaor all,

One of my player’s characters is an Explorer from Okar with an Apt for a companion animal, in line with the rules presented in the Prince of Helium book. Trouble is, the game takes place outside of the natural habitat of the Apt. The player characters are based out of Hastor.

How do we make this work? Does the Apt stay in a freezer-cage or wear some kind of a cooling garment? Is it just constantly miserable from the heat? Maybe I’m overthinking it but it just doesn’t make logistical sense in my head- like force marching a Polar Bear across the Sahara.

I’ve already had another player have his character leap onto it’s back and attempt to ride it into battle. I reach for another aspirin.

I’m inclined to just tell the player the character has an Apt, but he had to leave him home in Okar because it would be too cruel to drag him away from the ice. But because he missed the Apt so much picked up a Calot to serve as a traveling companion until he returns home.

But in a way, isn’t that saying “Sorry, you can’t have your Polar Bear, here’s a puppy”?

How would you play it?

I’d let them have it, but apply penalties…

Why? The horse’s natural habitat is the steppes… and yet, all my 50-some hours on horse have been in temperate rainforest.

the Donkey is a desert animal, and, again, they’ve been used in almost all climates, including tundra and rainforest.

Annabelle the Elephant thrived just fine in the Alaska Zoo for decades… and made a lot of paintings, too…

So, many a working animal can be used outside their habitat in the real world, so why not on Barsoom?

The campaign I’m planning includes an Okar beastmaster player character with an Apt ally purchased with renown. Since the Apts were technically culled early in series from the northern regions after the Carrion caves were cleared and my campaign takes place three decades after Carter and Dejah Thoris disappeared on Sassoom, at this point the only large populations of feral animals are those that have migrated away from the polar regions where they would have otherwise been culled. In this way I hope to justify my characters encountering both Apts and Plant men (traditionally confined to the Valley Dor) across most of Barsoom. Hastor is quite far south, but he could have been crated on an airship. Also, Hastor is less than 80 karads from the Olympus mons plateau which has arctic temperatures.

Thank you for your insights gentlemen.

I will have the Apt miniature painted and on hand for the next game… originally I wasn’t expecting to need to paint the Apt for a long time, but I think I have to demonstrate to the player exactly how big this critter is so he can consider it’s upkeep. I’m going to impose an out of environment penalty and start a running gag about if / how many servants get eaten every time they have to leave it in someone else’s care. Or maybe we’ll hand-wave that he has it trained to sleep on command.

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