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Death to all Cat People!!

smilinggm

First Post
"Cat People" as you call them have been around since the begining of RPG's.

The oldest "Cat-Person" race in RPG's that I am aware of are The Aslan from Traveller. The Aslan (to humans) appeare to be Lion Like in appearacne, but have no relations at all to any Terran feline stock. The Aslan have a long and detailed culture. BTW, Mark Miller the creater of Traveller has stated that the word "Aslan" is the Turkish word for Lion and should not be confused with a character from C.S. Lewis Novels. You can find the D20 stats for Aslan in T20 the Travellers Handbook.

Several Sources have borrowed and modeled their "Cat People" from the great science fiction author Larry Nivin. The Kzin (plural Kzinti) are a fictional, very warlike and bloodthirsty race of Felinoid aliens in Larry Niven's Known Space series. Star Trek and Wing Commander both used the Kzin in various forms in their works. As for Stats the 1st ed stats can be found in Dragon magizine Issue #50. Also in Dragon #104 are the stats for the Kizinti for the original Star Trek Game. I am sure that you can find more recient stats for the Kzin in the other Incarnations of Star Trek RPG's, I just do not have access to them.

Also IMHO The character Ka D'Argo the Luxan from Sci-Fi's "Farscape" was derived from the Kzin. The Luxan have many of the Kzin traits but the writers had to make enough changes to them to avoid stepping on too many legal toe's. But that is just my opinion.
 

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lukelightning

First Post
Of course the Kzinti are not really cat people. They were aliens that remotely looked like tigerish humanoids, as in they looked more like cats than they did turtles. They had some big-cat-like traits due to convergent evolution (they evolved from plains carnivores). Long naked rat-like tail, completely non-cat-like ears (they looked more batwingish).

Plus the females were non-sentient; I can't imagine a catperson fan-girl wanting to be a kzin.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Wil said:
I don't know if this has been brought up, but the tendency of (for example) Japanese to put cat ears and a tail on a girl is grounded in their mythology, where there are numerous demons and spirits that can shift shapes between human and cat (or fox or whatever) form. Many of these demons will often try to seduce or trick unsuspecting people - and one of the few ways to tell is the ears and tail (at least in anime, it's been a while and I don't recall if this is the case in the legends themselves).

I'm somewhat familiar with these legends myself. While fox spirits (kitsune) or tanuki spirits (raccoon-like creatures) were tricksters who weren't necessarily malevolent, the only cat spirits that I'm aware of, nekomata, were decidedly evil, having necromantic powers in addition to their illusions, and usually led people to a bad end. I can't think of any Japanese mythology to explain nekomusume/nekomimi.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are precedents for having cat people (or fox people or whatever) beyond "I saw it in a videogame and thought it was cool." I'm personally neutral towards them, but I thought I'd point out that modern RPG designers did not invent the cat person by any means.

It's far older than even that. Egypt's deity Bastet was the goddess of sex (among other things) and she was a woman with the head of a cat.
 

kenobi65

First Post
smilinggm said:
Star Trek {snip} used the Kzin in various forms in their works.

IIRC, the Kzinti were first introduced into the Star Trek universe in an episode of the animated Trek series that Niven wrote, called "The Slaver Weapon."

http://www.danhausertrek.com/AnimatedSeries/SW.html

In that episode, Niven used the Kzinti, as well as another of his "inventions", the Slaver Stasis Box.

I imagine that the existance of the Kzinti in Star Fleet Battles can be traced back to this episode.

As the animated series is often considered to be non-canon by many Trek fans, I don't know if Kzinti are considered to officially be part of the Trek mythos.
 

Krypter

First Post
JustKim said:
Cat races are the racial equivalent of the kewl ninja, a dumping ground for what I guess you'd call cat fanboyism. Cats are graceful so let's give them +2 Dex. They're pretty so let's give them +2 Cha. Sometimes they stare at the wall after licking their butts so they must have some really deep sixth sense, +2 Wis. Also they should always land on their feet, slow fall 10'. And a bite attack, and a claw attack, and hey, how about some natural armor? Cats are mildly active in the 6 hours a day they aren't sleeping so let's give them +2 to all physical skills.. etc., etc..
Couldn't have said it better myself. They're uber-popular (especially among teenage girls) because everyone wants to be a sleek, sexy, agile yet powerful and refined creature...and cats embody that to many people. And that makes cat-girls fetish objects to many boys/men. I really don't know how they belong in rpgs at all. Or sci-fi novels.

I'm all with the starter of this thread: Death to All Cat People! :)

Uhhh...ignore the avatar in the corner. I'm a dog-demon, really I am.

(except Kitsune. For some competely irrational reason I love kitsune. it's their gnome-like mischieviousness)
 

Enamel_32

First Post
Cat-like races... meh. They're okay, but I'd never play one. For me, the yuan-ti abominations and anubis (jackal-headed god) are more interesting.
 

painandgreed

First Post
smilinggm said:
The oldest "Cat-Person" race in RPG's that I am aware of are The Aslan from Traveller. The Aslan (to humans) appeare to be Lion Like in appearacne, but have no relations at all to any Terran feline stock. The Aslan have a long and detailed culture. BTW, Mark Miller the creater of Traveller has stated that the word "Aslan" is the Turkish word for Lion and should not be confused with a character from C.S. Lewis Novels. You can find the D20 stats for Aslan in T20 the Travellers Handbook.

Which I'm sure are just homage to the Kzin. Most everything in the old Traveller has its roots in old sci-fi novels. IIRC, the Sword Worlds and Darrian Confederation and the names of other planets in the Spinward Marches come straight from old sci-fi stories.
 

Tolen Mar

First Post
Well, for the record, I could care less either way. I enjoy them when they are there, don't miss them when they aren't.

However, I did use them in a homebrew of my own a few years ago. They were plains folk set against the Oriental-esque empire to the south. They had been fighting a war for centuries. I called them Murovai, and based them more on the panther than anything else (appearance-wise). These guys were not cute and cuddly.

Males were rare. Virtually all you would meet were female, and thats because the males lived off the female's work, like lions. The females were the hunters, the males were kept mainly for breeding stock (though they got all the perks a male lion gets, and responsibilities).

To top it all off, it was a matriarchal society. Even the male of a pride was ornamental. The females were vicious warriors. Their rite of passage involved bathing in the blood of their first foe, staining their fur red. You could tell how recently they had killed by how new the stain was. They kept a band on their arm shaved at all times, and tattoos of rank enscribed there.

And then all Murovai when they killed might succumb to bloodlust which gave them a boost very similar to a barbarians rage.

So there you go, not furry cuddly kid friendly cat people.
 

Dark Jezter

First Post
I tend to judge anthropomorphic races on a case-by-case basis. Of course, any type of anthropomorphic race designed to appeal to furries automatically creeps me out. :)

One anthropomorphic race that I like are the tauren from Warcraft. They're basically minotaurs with a culture that resembles that of various American indian tribes. I also like the Kilrathi, who are great as a vicious, evil, brutal alien race in the Wing Commander games.

As others have mentioned, I don't like cat-people who are all good and noble and uber in every way. Cat people should be lazy, vain, hedonistic, ill-tempered, and superior-acting. ;)

And finally: I also hate anime cat-girls, which seem to be primarily designed for the fantasies of sexually-frusterated anime fans. :p
 

Imret

First Post
I realize this thread has drifted into "historic fictional references to/psychological impact of" cat-folk, I figured I should chime in myself, since I'm putting the polish on a race of catfolk for my own homebrew, dwellers in an alpine forest. They're spoilered below because not everybody wants to read the sum-up, I'd imagine.

[SBLOCK]They're Small, with Intelligence and Strength penalties. Yes, there's a bonus to Dex and Charisma, but see the "force of personality" argument for why they get a Cha bonus. Their claws are climbing aids only, and yes they get bonuses to most of the sensing and Dex-based skills, but then, everything I use would be LA +1 anywhere else.

If I had a scanner on hand, I'd link to the one my fianceé drew for my world book, but suffice to say they're a lot more "cat" than person; closer to the hybrid form of a werelynx with digitigrade legs. They're also incredibly primitive, using stone, wood, and occasionally copper tools. The concept of 'clothing' is 'something the bald-skins cover their hides with', and is never worn in their ancestral lands; when they wear anything it's leather or braided wood fibre, typically a bandoleer for their fetish carvings, a loop for their stone knife or spear, and maybe an ornamental item of copper and semi-precious stones.

They're an inherently mystical species, yes; they see the spirits of the world with greater ease than the elves. They're also paranoid, superstitious, vain, easily distracted, awful swimmers, skittish, territorial, utterly without an economy or government, incredibly averse to pain and effort, and not so much cruel as amoral (if you ask the humans). They 'play' with their food, and that food could easily include another intelligent species if they're particularly hungry.

They have almost no social structure, dwelling alone or in twos or threes, congregating only for ceremonies, to remove an otherwise implacable threat, or to kill something extra-large so several of them can eat for days; they consider it bad luck to be in any group larger than four (which is the base of their counting system; they count only their claws, never the thumb) of them, believing the spirits become jealous of them in such large numbers.[/SBLOCK]

They're not sexy, enlightened, utopian, or "proud"; they're not even particularly dangerous as a PC race goes. They need racial class levels to get Scent and slow fall, they suffer extra penalties in armor or carrying weight...they're more interesting to roleplay than they are a power-gamer race.

I don't think that the sexy catfolk has a place in D&D, though Alzrius' idea has definate merit. :D
 

Sejs

First Post
As others have mentioned, I don't like cat-people who are all good and noble and uber in every way. Cat people should be lazy, vain, hedonistic, ill-tempered, and superior-acting.
Interesting aside. Expanding on that somewhat, and drawing off the fact that two general traits of cats that most people can agree upon is that they're both A) proud, and B) territorial as crap, it would seem to suggest that a society of cat people would, just a point of course, developed a healthy dose of barbarian manners.

Which is to say that their social interactions would be quite ritualized and exceedingly polite. Similar to how in certain eastern cultures it's considdered very rude to outright tell someone 'no', only moreso. They themselves know that they're ill-tempered, territorial, snobbish, violent thickheads, and so when dealing with one another they're very careful to stick to etiquette so that neither party has the excuse to rip the other a new one, halfway up their spine. Not offending the party being addressed while at the same time doing their best to not show weakness themselves.

"You rock, and you're a total badass, but so am I, so we shouldn't screw with eachother otherwise we're both going to wind up dead on account of our completely equal awesomeness. Also, I am here to barter for a bolt of cloth and some iron pins, for which we will find a mutually agreeable price."

Anyway, just a thought.
 

helium3

First Post
JustKim said:
Cat races are the racial equivalent of the kewl ninja, a dumping ground for what I guess you'd call cat fanboyism. Cats are graceful so let's give them +2 Dex. They're pretty so let's give them +2 Cha. Sometimes they stare at the wall after licking their butts so they must have some really deep sixth sense, +2 Wis. Also they should always land on their feet, slow fall 10'. And a bite attack, and a claw attack, and hey, how about some natural armor? Cats are mildly active in the 6 hours a day they aren't sleeping so let's give them +2 to all physical skills.. etc., etc.

Then of course comes the cat race society, which is of course proud, enlightened and utopian because cats are not territorial wrecks who pee on your couch if they so much as suspect another cat is nearby. Their only weakness is a compulsion to bat around balls filled with rare, sacred herbs.

Having seen this exact same approach no less than a hundred times, any cat race that I don't have at least ten years of nostalgia with is impossible to take seriously. And if I ever hear your rakshasa say "nyu", I'm keying your car.

So what you're really saying is that the only way to create an acceptable cat-race is to give them the personalities of beholders?
 

Sejs

First Post
helium3 said:
So what you're really saying is that the only way to create an acceptable cat-race is to give them the personalities of beholders?

Yes. Also, conversely, the only acceptable beholders are the ones that behave like 5-month-old kittens.

Little energetic buggers, zooming around, floating up to places they're not supposed to go, chasing their own eyestalks, you know how it is.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
I'm in the 'dislike cat people' camp on the grounds that more often than not it is merely lazy design of a new race. I was incredibly disappointed that Monte Cooks AU contained cat people and dog people; it probably put me off the setting more than anything else. On the other hand I was delighted to find Eberron populated with changelings, kalashtar, shifters and warforged new and distinctive races which owed nothing to anthropomorphised animals.

Cheers
 

jeff37923

First Post
Before joining in all the cat people hate, could it be the way the cat people race in particular has been played instead of the race itself? There seems to be a lot of stereotyping here about the felinoid races.

Stop the bigotry! Learn to accept your Cat people brothers and sisters!

You can all still hate Kender, though. They were designed to be annoying.
 

Sejs said:
"You rock, and you're a total badass, but so am I, so we shouldn't screw with eachother otherwise we're both going to wind up dead on account of our completely equal awesomeness. Also, I am here to barter for a bolt of cloth and some iron pins, for which we will find a mutually agreeable price."

Anyway, just a thought.

Wow. Sejs wins again.
 

Henrix

Explorer
I think Plane Sailing has hit the nail on the head, a lot of anthropomorphic races are just lazily designed, the cat people from MiHB/RotW included.

But there are some really good cat people races around in fantasy, like the insidious, moon sugar smuggling khajiit race in The Elder Scrolls CRPGs (DaggerFall, Morrowind, etc.). (Perhaps they're more tiger or lion than cats, though.)
 

Ripzerai

First Post
I think there may be a little confusion in this thread.

Rakshasas are a race of fiends with backwards hands who often have heads similar to those of beasts, usually tigers or apes.

Rakastas are a race of proud, intelligent, neutral-aligned catlike humanoids from the Mystara setting. They're fine artisans, have a code of honor called the Sri'raka, and ride sabre-toothed tigers into battle. The Sri'raka compels them to never refuse to fight, to either carry their wounded back with them when they retreat (or, if this is not possible, to kill them), to hope to die in battle as the most honorable form of death, to neither give nor accept mercy, to retreat only to regroup, to attack again after a retreat within two sunrises, and to never, ever surrender. They first appeared in an adventure called Castle Amber in the early '80s.

There is also a race of leopard people called tabaxi. They were in the 2e Monstrous Manual.
 


BaldHero

First Post
okay, there is enough information here to get started...heres my plan.
i suggest we pool our money, put up flyers, and gather together the most capable band of snobbish, unnaturally immortal, we-live-for-ever-becuase-we-are-so-close-to-nature, elves; along with a group of drunken, axe wielding, scottish stonemasons and metalsmiths of short stature; and a few chubby halflings incapable of anything but thievery and Napolean Syndrome. Once we have such a group, we can send them to spay and neuter as many cat people as they can find.
Or am i being to hard on them?
Seriously, i dont think the way any cat people are played has influenced my personal opinion, its mostly just the background and write up that kills me. For every race that is written up well with a well thought out background and culture, there is a handful of people that want to cast the Thundercats into a setting. After a while you just stop looking at the interesting ones because there is so much crap.
As for Rakashas, nasty critters of legend, and pretty tough to boot. Evil things. Those are pretty good cat people as long as the DM has no intention of making them into furry happy things.
 

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