Do Haerunwoln Have Pouches? by Matthew Lang
October 01

Do Haerunwoln Have Pouches? by Matthew Lang



“Random thought,” Erik said. “While looking for images of thylacines, I forgot that they are marsupials, thus they have pouches. Knowing that haerunwoln are based off thylacines, a thought accord to me: do we have pouches?” 

Before Dragonslayer was contracted for publication, when it was sitting on the shelf and I wondered if it would ever see the light of day, I decided to dust it off and run a Dungeons and Dragons game in the world. I’d literally written over eighty thousand words of world building and story, so I might as well use it, right? Turns out, if you give people the option of playing an anthropomorphic marsupial forest tiger, a good number of them are going to decide to do just that.

“We do not speak of it” Rachel says, the italics popping up in my discord chat server. I can picture her behind her keyboard in Oregon, working on an adventure module for other people to play and enjoy. She’s been contracted to do something with the Conan the Barbarian IP. It sounds cool. Hopefully I get to play it one day.

“With how I interpret them, no.....?” Mark says. Mark isn’t on Facebook, so it’s sometimes hard to get in touch with him. He’s already taken to drawing all the characters people are playing though. Given how uncommon anthropomorphic thylacines are in the art world, that’s been a blessing.

“That'd be a call to be made by Matt,” Spells writes. “Though I wouldn't doubt he'd at least consider it for the lols,” Spells lives in Maryland. He’s thought of moving to a city, but isn’t sure how he’d cope with that many people around. Cities are huge. Me? I can’t imagine not living in one.

“Think how handy it would be,” Rachel says, grinning. Or at least, I picture her grinning every time I read that.

“Like having a personal coin purse,” Erik says. Erik lives in Pennsylvania with his husband. When I first met him, he’d never played a tabletop roleplaying game in his life. Now, he’s talking to me weekly about this new character idea he has for the game.

“Sure. Coin. I was imagining a small one. Sure. *cough*” Rachel says, accompanying her post with an image of a baby kangaroo in its mother’s pouch.

Eventually I get around to answering. “Haerunwoln do not have pouches. The thylacine pouch was much more rudimentary than most marsupials, and being a humanoid morph, you don't have one at all. Yes, I've thought about it. Smiley Face.”

Basically, you’re still a placental mammal because all humanoid haerunwoln start out as human. 

The replies come thick and fast.

“Haha!” Spells writes.

“Pouches would have been cool,” Jac writes. She’s the only other Aussie in the game and lives about fifteen minutes from me, so she’s at an advantage knowing what thylacine are.

“Ah good, now I can sleep well at night knowing the mystery of whether there's pouch or not has been answered,” Erik says, following up with the laugh-crying emoji.

Rachel just posts another gif. It says “Boo! Boo!”

I love being able to share stories with friends. I love that a world I created is a space that we gather in once every two weeks to tell stories and have adventures. When I tell them I’m writing this post, Erik is the only one both awake and on discord. 

“Oh the sleepless nights pondering that question,” he says.