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Old Screeds


Two Legs Good! [15 Nov 04]

I got an interesting e-mail message the other day:

How are you doing? Good site, found it after much research and googling.

Anyway, my friend wants to play a felinoid sorceress in a 3.5 game and I want to base her off your wemic. Basically it is a two legged upright creature with a tail and a catlike face who can go on four legs when she wants to be stealthy and for travel, etc. What would you suggest to modify your 3.0 wemic to get that? Do you happen to know a more suitable character to base it off of and if so, where I can find it?

Thanks,

Justin, aka Dentlšak, half-elf druid.

Well, the real disadvantage to playing a wemic under third edition Dungeons and Dragons is all those racial hit dice. The problem with playing a five hit dice wemic is that in a group of first level PCs, the wemic is way too powerful. One solution is to play a young, one hit die wemic, who grows into his hit dice as other PCs gain levels. But for a straight mage or priest, this is a tough choice. It is like multiclassing as a fighter. By the time your wemic is a fifth level sorcerer, she is probably a tenth level PC with five wemic racial hit dice too. If you really just want to cast spells, that's a tough choice, since your Wizard 10 pal in the group is now casting Teleport and Cloudkill as you just learned to cast Fireball.

One solution is to create a one-hit-die race of wemics. That's how we handle it in The Wold. But some may balk at the lack of realism; it seems too much of a stretch that a large creature can take only as much punishment as a human or elf.

Which brings us to Justin. There's no reason not to create a humanoid feline race. The Dungeon Master's Guide talks about just such an option (page 173). Here's my take on what a lion-human race might look like:


Lionets

On the open savannah, lions and wemics live and roam. Able hunters, voracious eaters, they make it hard for other nomads to find prey. Lionets are lion-human hybrids who fit into that category; pushed out by other big-cat carnivores, they both revere and fear their larger cousins.

Lionets do not know their origins -- created by a god, a mad mage, or an act of random magic, they cannot say. But, as a one-hit-die race, they know that they are not as powerful as their tougher relations who can take more punishment. So they have come to admire and even worship lions, and emulate them even more than wemics do.

Lionets have the bodies of humans and the heads of lions. They live, like lions, in prides led by a single alpha male. Through a strange quirk of biology, only males with barbarian class levels can mate -- thus each pride is lead by a barbarian, and he allows no other barbarians near the pride. Males with other class levels are no threat, and they are welcome, since they have no mating instinct. Males, especially barbarians and bards, tend to favor the Persuasive feat.

Only males have manes, and they are both more foolish and better leaders than the females, who often counsel but do not lead. Like lions, the females do the bulk of the hunting; they tend to sneak up on prey and then pounce. They strike to kill with the first blow, since lionets in general are strong and fast, but lacking in endurance. They tend to favor the Quickdraw and Two-weapon Fighting feats.

Males inclined to magic become bards and sorcerers; female casters tend to be druids or sorcerers. All lionets start the game illiterate and must spend two skill ranks to learn to read; those who start as barbarians must either spend three ranks or multiclass and spend two ranks to learn to read.

Male

  • +2 Str, +2 Dex, -2 Con, -2 Wis, -2 Int
  • +2 Bluff, +2 Intimidate
  • Low light vision
  • Scent
  • Illiterate
  • Tire Easily
  • Move: 30
  • Languages: Common and Wemic. Pick extra languages from sylvan, gnoll, orc, gnome, and elven.
  • Height: base 4'8" + mod 2d8
  • Weight: base 120 + (height mod x 2d4)
  • Age: as human
  • Favored class: Barbarian
Female
  • +2 Dex, -2 Con
  • +2 Move Silent, +2 Hide
  • Low light vision
  • Surprising Pounce
  • Four-feet Travel
  • Illiterate
  • Tire Easily
  • Move: 30
  • Languages: Common and Wemic. Pick extra languages from sylvan, gnoll, orc, gnome, and elven.
  • Height: base 4'6" + mod 2d4
  • Weight: base 80 + (height mod x 2d4)
  • Age: as human
  • Favored Class: Ranger

Tire Easily: Lionets suffer a -2 penalty on the following checks and saves: Swim checks made to resist nonlethal damage, Constitution checks made to continue running, Constitution checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from a forced march, Constitution checks made to hold your breath, Constitution checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from starvation or thirst, Fortitude saves made to avoid nonlethal damage from hot or cold environments, and Fortitude saves made to resist damage from suffocation.

Surprising Pounce: When a female lionet makes a charge during a surprise round, it can end the charge with a full attack, not a standard attack.

Four-feet Travel: When a female lionet moves on all fours, she gains a +10 competence bonus to movement (to 40) and a +2 competence bonus on Hide checks. However, she cannot move on all fours and carry weapons or anything else in her hands.

Illiterate: All lionets start the game illiterate and must spend two skill ranks to learn to read; those who start as barbarians must either spend three ranks or multiclass and spend two ranks to learn to read.


Of course, I am not the first to make a feline humanoid. Check these out:

But I have to say that, unlike the piggies of Orwell's Animal Farm, I remain convinced that four legs are better than two! ;-)


Edit [15 Dec 04]: Here is another two-legged feline race I found, called the Miare.


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