Catfolk (Races of the Wild)

"Wherever the plains take me, that is where I will wander" - Marrosh of the Flying Eagle Tribe, catfolk scout

The great tribes of the catfolk roam where they will, putting passion into every day of their varied lives.

Catfolk nomads roam the grassy plains, living in tribes segregated by their visual differences. Catfolk tribes range from friendly to hostile; encounters with catfolk depend more on an individual catfolk's mood and the circumstance more than any tribal mind-set. Quick in movement and thought, the catfolk rely on short bursts of energy to accomplish nearly every task, making the other races seem plodding and dedicated in comparison.

Catfolk Racial Traits

Catfolk resemble a cross between a large predatory cat and a human, with a sleekly muscled humanoid body and the head and mane of a feline. Most male catfolk wear their thick hair in braids, while females keep theirs short and sleek. The most common catfolk have feline characteristics reminiscent of lions, including thick manes for the males. Other groups have the characteristic markings and appearance of leopards, tigers, or cheetahs. Catfolk have thicker nails than other humanoids, but not the powerful claws of their feline counterparts, and they make unarmed attacks just like humans. Many catfolk favor the use of charms and totems that they braid into their hair for luck in battle, success on the hunt, and good fortune in other such endeavors.

Catfolk speak Common and a language called Feline (each tribe speaking a dialect). Brighter catfolk often learn the languages of gnolls and halflings.

Catfolk characters possess the. following racial traits:

Catfolk Society

Catfolk maintain a tribal society similar to that of many nomadic human cultures.

Lands: Catfolk roam the open grasslands in temperate and tropical regions, shunning the colder lands even in the heights of summer. Wandering tribes of catfolk rarely come close to the large cities of other races, but they occasionally camp within sight of a smaller town or village in order to trade. Catfolk roam great distances in their travels and do not become attached to a specific range or territory the way that nomadic tribes of humans sometimes do.

Settlements: Catfolk encampments balance defensibility with ease of escape from a dangerous area. Generally circular in nature, catfolk encampments center on a communal area where children play and the elders care for them and practice their crafts. The tents and lean-ros of individual families range out from this center, with the most able warriors occupying tents on the perimeter of the encampment.

Power Groups: With no large nations or powerful alliance of tribes to bind them together, catfolk experience little of the politics and power struggles that define the societies of other races. Instead, most tribes receive guidance from three sources: the outriders, the druids, and the chieftain. The outriders are the most skilled scouts of the tribe, and they govern the direction that the tribe hunts and travels, unless the chieftain overrules their choice. The druids, the primary source of healing and magical power within the society, hold a great deal of influence over most aspects of catfolk life and often advise the chieftain on important matters. The chieftain makes decisions on everything that affects the tribe as a whole.

Beliefs: A deeply spiritual people, catfolk usually worship one deity to the exclusion of others. Most catfolk follow the precepts of Obad-Hai, and their most prominent religious figures are druids devoted to the service of the god of nature. Catfolk revere Obad-Hai more for his connection to nature s power and his governance of plants and animals than for his connection to the primary elemental forces such as fire or water. Other catfolk, particularly adventurers and travelers, pay homage to Fharlanghn. While most tribes of catfolk move around in a nomadic fashion, a few travel much more than others and keep Fharlanghn as their primary deity.

Relations: Catfolk get along well with members of just about every other race. They admire those who live in the wild more than city dwellers. Because of this, they seek out the company of halflings, wood elves, and gnolls. Catfolk have a hard time understanding the slow, steady approach that dwarves take to life, and the two races have little in common. Because they are such opposites in both temperament and physical abilities, catfolk and dwarves rarely enjoy the other's company, although no real animosity exists between the races.

Catfolk Characters

Agile and charismatic, catfolk characters make excellent rogues and rangers.

Adventuring Catfolk: Adventuring catfolk feel the restlessness common to their people more acutely than most. The thrill of discovery and a great sense of curiosity drive these adventurers to break from their tribes and wander other lands. Beyond simple wanderlust, some catfolk find the heat of combat exhilarating, and the rush of danger draws the catfolk adventurer ever onward.

Catfolk admire adventurers and see accomplished adventurers as great assets to the tribe. The nomadic life of the catfolk is fraught with danger and unexpected encounters, and the life of the typical catfolk is more akin to that of an adventurer than the life of a typical human or elf.

Character Development: Catfolk should select feats and skills that take advantage of their high Dexterity or mitigate the drawbacks of their +1 level adjustment. The easiest way to do this is through ranged combat - it turns the catfolk's high Dexterity into a bonus on attack rolls and keeps the monsters at a distance, minimizing the catfolk's lack of a Hit Die relative to other characters of the same ECL.

Character Names: Catfolk favor names that begin with "D," "M," or "N" and contain multiple "s" and "r" sounds. A catfolk clan name translates into Common as a participle (a verb made into an adjective by adding "-ing") followed by a noun.

Male Names: Densharr, Mersharr, Nermissar, Therrass.

Female Names: Dessirris, Mianissa, Morasha, Nera, Thessana.

Clan Names: Flying Eagle, Hunting Tiger, Running Brook, Screaming Arrow.

Roleplaying A Catfolk

Catfolk respond to the varied experiences of life with passion and emotional intensity. They accomplish as much in their quick but short-lived bursts of activity or emotion as other races do at their relatively plodding pace. Catfolk relish both the heated ferocity of battle and the warmth of a quiet meal with trusted companions.

Personality: Catfolk share a quick and engaging confidence that makes them seem always ready for the next challenge. Quick to anger and just as quick to forgive, catfolk live a life filled with emotion. Members of most races find catfolk pleasant company despite their mercurial temperament, finding their free-flowing emotion and enjoyment of life refreshing and captivating. The emotional catfolk have a darker, dangerous side as well, and they are as likely to meet an insult with a drawn weapon as they are to shrug it off with a jest.

Roleplaying Application: let your emotions come to the surface at every opportunity. When you form an opinion, express it. React passionately to most encounters, drawing weapons when a fight is eminent and offering welcome to those who seem friendly. Don't be shy about criticizing the things you don't like. Don't be stingy with praise for those things you enjoy.

Behavior: Catfolk move in quick bursts of speed rather than in one steady gait. Even when covering long distances, they intersperse short dashes with short periods of rest. Members of other races find this style of movement almost impossible to emulate, but to catfolk it's much less tiring than simply trudging on at a steady pace. Catfolk also place great importance on small tokens that serve as physical connections to their memories, and they view these special tokens as having physiological importance if not true magical power. Adult catfolk carry several such tokens with them at all times, ranging from objects as large as weapons and armor that served well in past battles to items as subtle as a small brooch that the character wore on an important day in the past. For catfolk, this tradition is a deeply personal experience, and the highest compliment a catfolk can pay someone is to present one of his tokens as a gift and explain its significance.

Roleplaying Application: If you use miniatures while exploring a dungeon, you can represent your actions visually by moving a short distance ahead each time the group clusters or falling behind a bit as the group moves on and then catching up in a burst of speed. If you don't use miniatures, or if you only use them during combat, emphasize the way you move by describing your movements as jumping or dashing rather than walking. Take the time to be clear about your character's position relative to the rest of the party. You should pick a minor token that has special meaning to you at least once a level. Although these tokens may sometimes be weapons or items that helped you or your companions through a trying battle, most should be simple items that others would never suspect hold such meaning. As a sign of great respect and friendship, you can present one of these items to another character or to an NPC, but you should do this at most every few levels. Such tokens might include the dagger a friend gave you a long time ago, the fletching from the arrow that killed the first game animal you took down, or a well-worn bowl that your grandfather carried with him on his adventures.

Language: Catfolk have their own language, which they use primarily for conversation with other members of their race. Regardless of whether they communicate in Feline, Common, or some other language, catfolk express their opinions quickly and expect others to do the same. Catfolk can listen to others patiently enough, but once they have expressed a clear opinion, they expect the conversation to come to a conclusion quickly. They have little time for those who attempt to persuade or debate by simply restating their opinion. They grow bored when others take a long time to reach a point or who view an exchange of opinions as a trial of endurance.

Roleplaying Application: Don't debate - take the time to listen to others and then express your opinion or view. Only express your opinion once, but don't be abrupt or blunt. Maintain an open attitude toward the thoughts of others. Express your emotions openly in conversations, magnifying most responses to represent greater heights of emotion.

Catfolk Encounters

The two statistics blocks presented below represent likely encounters with catfolk.

Catfolk Scout: Catfolk ranger 1; CR2; Medium humanoid (catfolk); HD 1d8*-2; hp 10; Init +3; Spd 40 ft.; AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +1; Grp +3; Ark or Full Ark +4 melee (1d8+2/19-20, masterwork longsword) or +5 ranged (1d8+2/x3, masterwork composite longbow); SA favored enemy (orcs +2); SQ low-light vision, wild empathy +1 (-3 magical beasts); AL CG; SV Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 14, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Handle Animal +4, Hide +7, Knowledge (nature) +4, listen +7, Move Silently +9, Survival +5; Point Blank Shot, Track(B).

Languages: Common, Feline.

Possessions: Masterwork studded leather, masterwork longsword, masterwork composite longbow (+2 Str bonus) with 40 arrows, 5 silvered arrows, 5 cold iron arrows, elixir of hiding, elixir of sneaking, elixir of vision, 2 potions of cure light wounds.

Catfolk Infiltrator: Catfolk rogue 3; CR 4; Medium humanoid (catfolk); HD 3d6+3; hp 16; Init +4; Spd 40 ft.; AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16; Base Atk +2; Grp +4; Atk or Full Atk +5 melee (1d6+2/18-20, masterwork rapier) or +7 ranged (1d6+2/x3, masterwork composite shortbow); SA sneak attack +2d6; SQ evasion, low-light vision, trap sense +1, trapfinding; AL CG; SV Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +2; Str 14, Dex 19, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Climb +8, Jump +12, Disable Device +7, Hide +9, Listen +8, Move Silently +11, Open lock +9, Spot +6, Search +7, Survival +0 (+2 following tracks); Dodge, Mobility.

Languages: Common, Feline, Gnoll.

Evasion (Ex): If a catfolk infiltrator is exposed to any effect that normally allows her to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, she takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Sneak Attack (Ex): This catfolk infiltrator deals an extra 2d6 points of damage on any successful attack against flat-footed or flanked targets, or against a target that has been denied its Dexterity bonus for any reason. This damage also applies to ranged attacks against targets up to 30 feet away. Creatures with concealment, creatures without discernible anatomies, and creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits are all immune to sneak attacks. A catfolk infiltrator may choose to deliver nonlethal damage with her sneak attack, but only when using a weapon designed for that purpose, such as a sap (blackjack).

Trapfinding (Ex): A catfolk infiltrator can find, disarm, or bypass traps with a DC of 20 or higher. She can use the Search skill to find, and the Disable Device skill to disarm, magic traps (DC 25 + the level of the spell used to create it). If her Disable Device result exceeds the trap's DC by 10 or more, she discovers how to bypass the trap without triggering or disarming it.

Possessions: +1 studded leather, masterwork buckler, masterwork rapier, masterwork composite shortbow (+2 Str bonus) with 20 arrows, 5 silvered arrows, 5 cold iron arrows, cloak of resistance +1, potion of cure moderate wounds.

Height, Weight, And Age

The following tables can help you determine your character's starting height, weight, and age. Remember that you are also free to simply choose these descriptive elements of your character, but you can roll on the tables below if you wish.

Random Starting Ages
14 years+1d4+1d6+2d6
Aging Effects
Middle AgeOldVenerableMaximum Age
35 years53 years70 years+2d10 years
Random Height and Weight
GenderBase HeightHeight ModifierBase WeightWeight Modifier
Male4' 10"+2d10120 lb.x (2d4) lb.
Female4' 5"+2d1085 lb.x (2d4) lb.
¹ At middle age, -1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
² At old age, -2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +2 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
³ At venerable age, -3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +3 to Int, Wis, and Cha.

Catfolk Adventures

Adventures featuring catfolk are likely to focus on problems that the catfolk encounter while wandering the plains. The catfolk discover or confront any number of hazards through their nomadic lifestyle, and occasionally they require the help of adventurers to deal with them.

Other Races and Monster Races
Races of Faerûn
Character Creation

Source: Races of the Wild