I love that idea of using pets to boost stats. Depending on the pet type, different stats might be boosted –
- foxes could boost intelligence (or maybe just the curiosity or inventiveness attribute?)
- racoons boost the other intelligence attribute (so if foxes boost inventiveness, racoons boost curiosity; and vice-versa. I guess it comes down to which animal is more curious, and which is better at finding cunning solutions…)
- squirrels could boost dilligence
- bunnies boost spirit, or maybe just compassion
- pet wolves boost attack damage
- a pet baby varanus could boost courage, and as it grows up it could also act as a tank/defender in combat
That would open the door for more pets from traders, as you say @Puripity, and some of those more “advanced” pets might also have skills they can use to aid their hearthling companions. Ultimately, I’d love to have the trapper catching and taming some of the more animalistic monsters, like varanus and wolves – I really love the idea of hearthlings learning to live in harmony with the local wildlife.
I also really love the idea of pets being a sign of a thriving town. In large, built-up cities, the crafters keep intelligent animals like foxes or racoons to inspire them into making better products; while the guards keep loyal companions which will help protect their home; and even the farmers learn a thing or two from the local fauna in order to be more productive.
Of course, pets also need feeding and probably other kinds of looking after… so it would take a little time out of the hearthlings’ day (although ideally it comes out of the “resting by the fireside” time when all other work is done). Imagine having animal beds, food bowls that need filling (with either fresh veggies or jerky), and pets that grow/level up with their companions…