Suggestion - Deep in the eastern jungles: There be Catfolk!

Vertexx69

Visitor
This is a submission to include the more beastial humanoids from the ARG, as playable PC races including:
Catfolk - Maew (pronounced my, is Thai for cat)
Foxfolk (Kitsune)
Monkeyfolk (Varanas)
Snakefolk (Nagaji)
Frogfolk (Gripplis)
Ratfolk - Spha (pronounced su fa', is Thai for rat)

Roughly 4,000 miles east southeast from where Venza now stands, deep in the steamy jungles beyond the mysterious lake (or maybe that's a snowcapped mountain range?) There stands an ancient wall of moss-covered wood, earth and stone more than 100' high. Long ago while adventurous missionaries were exploring the farthest reaches of the land, to find new peoples and force their religious beliefs on them, they came upon it. Covered in scratches from the ground to about eight feet up, this colossal structure stretched away into the stifling closeness of the never ending green as far as they could see, both to the north and the south.

Traveling along the divide in the world for more than 60 miles, a huge gate loomed out of the quickly approaching dusk. Intricately carved with crude tools, or maybe even claws, the yawning mouth of an enormous cat's head glared blankly out into the trees with slit eyes of some unidentifiable yellow stone. The doors inside looked to have barely withstood a savage attack at some point in the past, but whoever caused the damage must be long dead by now. So with quite a bit of work, the missionaries finished dismantling one of the monstrous gates enough to make there way beyond where they made camp for the night. This realm would become known in time to the western kingdoms as - The Beastlands.

The missionaries awake with catlike children staring into their faces and rummaging through the camp. Wide eyed and curious, these catfolk wear simple clothing and carry weapons fashioned from the surrounding landscape. When the humans begin to speak, the ears of all the catfolk swivle around to focus on the sound. Then they too begin to converse amongst themselves, but in a purring language of soft chuffs, growls and mews. They all seem very young, and some point ecstatically towards the broken gate, while others point emphatically towards the jungle, all the while carrying on in the foreign tongue, with more than a few hisses thrown into the mix.

After a while a decision is made, and the missionaries are coaxed through hand gestures to pack up their camp and come with the cat children. A few of the youngest take the hands of the humans while smiling proudly, pulling them down hidden paths through the dripping foliage. The children are so familiar with the jungle that it puts the visitors somewhat at ease. As the day wore on, the jungle began to thin slightly and structures could be seen up in the trees. The children stop at the edge of the village and send off the oldest of them to the largest hut. These cat people were going about more or less normal, every day tasks like hauling water and mending clothes. That is until they start to notice the group of hairless monkeys surrounded by their smiling children.

From the largest hut steps a heavily muscled cat man with orange and black and white striped long braided hair and beard. He carries an ornate staff with a white crystal on top, which he gently taps into the ground as he circles the band, studying their strange garments and faces. Then the lead missionary bows and begins to speak in his chattering devil language, in clam and polite tones. Raising a multi-colored eyebrow as the oldest smiling boy nods his confirmation, the elder holds up a fur covered hand for the man to stop and pulls some items from inside his robe. Drawing a symbol in the dirt with his staff, the elder tigerman casts a spell of some kind as he sprinkles the glyph with powders while intoning a few growling couples.

And with that single act, they were speaking the same language. The catfolk were called the Maew, none had ever seen the missionaries type of people before, and the missionaries would be taken to The Grand Ziggurat to formally introduce themselves to the Maew and state their reason for breaking the ancient gates. The child escort was bustled away to be replaced by warriors who growled and roared whenever they weren't obeyed, some of which sported massive claws at the ends of fingers and toes. All of the members of the village had the same orange, black and white striped hair over their slightly tanned skin, which worked very well as camoflage when they moved beneath the stippled sunlight that only sporadically broke through the dense jungle canopy.

During the weeks of travel they passed through many other villages where the catfolk had all black or white fur, or grey and yellow spots, and even a mixed village with calico multi coloring. There were villages of other fantasic humanoid creatures as well, from slimy frogfolk and scaley snakefolk around the marshes they skirted, to sly foxfolk, ratfolk and chattering monkeyfolk as the jungle gave way to a more temperate forest as they traveled north. Their guards/captors told them the names of the various peoples as they traveled, and the humans tried to teach the locals a bit of the common tongue as they passed through. The trees started to change too, as the familiar oaks, pines and spruce gave way to collossal trees with red bark that stretched hundreds of feet strait into the sky and were as big around as large buildings. These were without a doubt, the trees that the wall had been built from, and here was where a deep and solid shadow began behind yet another wall. Here they were passed off to scale armored serpentine guards, who never even blinked.

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Vertexx69

Visitor
A good hundred feet above the ground and a snaking river, actually using the trunks of the giant redwoods as supports ringed with winding staircases, is where they discovered an entire city. The Grand Ziggurat was a massive stepped pyramid city, each level containing a road lined on each side with homes, temples and shops, of each of the races they had seen on the trip, complete with manned turrets and gates at the grand stair to each higher level. The palatial city rose above the edge of the forest, facing a seemingly endless and rolling grassland that lay beyond. A veritable sea of waist high yellow grass and grain stretched for hundreds of miles over the distant eastern horizon.

While the diminutive Spha ratfolk seemed to be everywhere, most lived on the bottom tier where a pulley system raised supplies from ground level into the deepest bowels of the city's dark interior. Next up was the steamy level of the water-loving froglike wee Gripli, where the city received its water supply from pipes formed inside the actual trees and drawn up from the river far below. They purified the river water using fire and sands, and then piped it to wells on every level, which is where the visitors were cleaned from head to toe. The snakelike Nagaji plumb the depths of the city and were said to be the best guards there are, with their unblinking eyes and naturally tough bodies and minds. They live on the central tier for quick access to any level of the city, which is also where the city market is located.

This is where the final gate was located, the buidlings beyond this point more highly appointed and the whole place just seemed cleaner. The monkeylike Varanas living just beyond the final gate prize knowledge, and run several schools on this tier, many of which connect to the upper levels. The clever and foxlike Kitsune are said to traffic in information and considered the final gate and monkeyfolk to be a buffer between the lower classes and the upperclass which includes only themselves and the ruling body of catfolk, who live intermingled on the uppermost levels, save the palace.

This utopian city was crowned by a golden palace at it's peak. Lavishly gilded, the marble walls and floors had all been polished to a high sheen and covered in thick soft rugs, tapestries and lit with heatlessly everburning sconces. After waiting for several days, they were finally sent for. The catfolk heralds that ran ahead of the missionaries all had deeply tanned skin, yellow eyes, and wore their shining, golden hair in braids tight against their heads, as they were escorted into the audience chamber.

The large throne room was ringed on three sides with several tiers of benches, packed with every race in the city, who are all speaking there own languages. A strip of pulsing magical runes ring the chamber along the golden ceiling, and everyone seem to be able understand everyone else perfectly well. The back wall of the room holds a pair of staircases that wrap around a gorgeous fountain to a raised dias where the representatives of five non-Maew races sit regally staring towards the doors. Centered behind them is another stair to a heavy gold and wood throne that is framed by waterfalls that cascade silently past into holes in the floor.

Seated on the throne is a massively muscled Maew that must stand well over seven feet tall, who's strongly lined, and utterly royal face is ringed with a spectacular shoulder-width deep red mane with long braids flowing down from behind his ears. He wears richly appointed robes with several obviously magical accessories. His molten gold eyes evenly survey his people as golden ratfolk scurry about filling chalices. The royal guard are all Maew females and posted in pairs at the base of every stair and every door in gleaming plate.

As the missionary group is lead through the heavy double doors, half the room fell silent and rose to its feet to get a better look at the hairless monkeys from beyond the western border of their world. Slowly the room has fallen silent as they point and stare. The king rises as well then, as the group is lead to the double row of long benches bracketed by another beautiful pair of small fountains. The benches sit in behind a low pulpit in the center of the room. The king's mighty roar calls all attention from the strangers, and everyone falls to one knee and bow their heads before their undisputed ruler.

Luckily the strangers are smart enough to follow suit, and then take seats along with everyone else present. Though they can tell the herald is speaking the same chuffing, mewing, purring language as the first children they met, they can now magically understand it perfectly as he instructs the spokesman to state his case. So the leader of the missionary group takes the pulpit to introduce himself and fellow ambassadors of faith, and their mission to educate any who care to learn in the common tongue of the eastern lands.

More to Come...
 

Systole

Community Supporter
So I guess I'll be the d-bag judge.

I'm honestly torn here. Out of all the judges, I probably have the heaviest prejudice against catfolk and other yiffies ... but I'm willing to come along in compelling circumstances. To be honest, though, this doesn't feel like a hugely compelling circumstance. This feels like you had a catfolk character that didn't work in another campaign, so instead of tweaking the character, you found a campaign where you could maybe tweak the world.

Now, maybe your world-tweak would be a great addition to LPF, irrespective of whether this is a creepy furry fetish or not, but I need to be convinced. So here's the deal I'll offer: We already have a proposal for the Valley of the Kami. I dislike cat people, but I grudgingly like the Valley of the Kami. Make me like Valley of the Kami, and give me at least a half-assed reason to accept a furry race, and you can have my vote.
 

Vertexx69

Visitor
I just don't understand why catfolk or any of the more animalistic races are a big deal as an option. Systemically they have nearly nothing that can't be duplicated with the tiefling race, except for different stat bumps, and no demonic connotations. And the story isn't done yet.
 

Systole

Community Supporter
I assume you mean the variant heritage tieflings, which we don't allow. However, that's not the issue -- from what I've seen, catfolk aren't broken. Neither are the other humanoids with mix-and-match animal heads. My problem with catfolk is that I think that they're just lazy. They're just a drop-in that you can put in any fantasy world you care to name, because hey, cat-heads!

"Hey, animal head plus human body! Isn't that cool?"

"Yeah, but what's their backstory? Their history? How do they fit into the world?"
"Well, they've got cat heads ... on human bodies!"
"..."
"So cool, I know!"
"Should I ask what else you've got?"
"Well, I was thinking of a race of people that -- get this -- have snake heads. On human bodies!"
"..."


We've got a big, complex, interesting world already. If you want to sell me on catfolk, then convince me that they make this big, complex, interesting world even more so. Convince me that they bring something to the table that we don't already have. Give me a twist or a conflict or some lost forbidden knowledge or something. Make them unique and integrated. Most of all, make them necessary. If we accept catfolk, then a year from now, I do not want to look back and think, "If we simply removed everything about catfolk from E'n, there would be absolutely zero impact on the rest of the world as we know it."

Wayangs are a good example. I was not immediately sold on wayangs, but they are necessary for Sumbru, and Sumbru is pretty damn cool. E'n would be different and less interesting without it and without them. Make me believe that about catfolk, and you can have my vote. So far, this fascist furry utopia you're describing isn't grabbing me.
 
Okay, I have a few problems too with this proposal.
a) We already have grippi and nagaji integrated in society. The nagaji are just a conquered slave race at the moment, but still have their place and culture to the south.
b) to paraphrase, "I am going to throw all these races in at once, but I am of the ruling race". The first part is just clutter. The second looks like power mongering.
c) Palace of gold? After the first flyby by a dragon, well, it wouldn't be pretty. The following week, it would be a ziggurat owned by a dragon with many slaves of all different fuzzy races. In other words, the fuzzy races don't have the power to be a "dominant" race that shows off in that fashion.

Now for your character:
Rewrite it. Replace the picture. Rewrite it like you are playing with your sister's eight year old daughter at the table. I am not a prude. I've worked for decades in industries I cannot name here. But, even I was going, "No, just no. Not here." LPF is a PG environment and you have to assume children are reading the stories and playing. Your first draft of Valicia has a place, but definitely elsewhere on the 'Net. After that is done, I will work with you on the mechanical mistakes of the synthesist.


I like the idea of catfolk. Actually, I am half-way playing one (Tasanto) right now in essence. But he is just a synthesist. Reading up on the Valley of the Kami, it didn't get far. But it did hammer out a place and a size a bit. Now, go back to what you wrote in the first two posts, and scale them down. Pick two races, maybe three that are living together in harmony in a jungle mountain range. Secretive and skittish is a far better reason for them to be a rare race that has developed on their own than a "grand wall hiding a massive force".
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
I'm in agreement with the other judges that have commented. And your character isn't helping your proposal any with its sex-kitten pic and description. 'Catgirl' is not something I'm interested in including in LPF.
 
FYI: I have had enough complaints that I have overwritten the pic on the wiki so it doesn't show anymore.
-Satin Knights, one of the seven judges
 

Maidhc O Casain

Na Bith Mo Riocht Tá!
My two coppers worth:

I really like the pulp feel of the original proposal. I'm a big-time fan of Tarzan, Conan, Solomon Kane, etc. and the write up sparked my imagination. I liked it enough that I had to spend a day or two pondering why I was hesitant to give it a yes vote. What I finally came up with was that as much as I like it, it doesn't fit E'n - or at least, what I want E'n to be.

Regarding cat-folk in general: I could kind of take 'em or leave 'em. I don't think they're unbalanced at all, they just don't sing to me the way your write up of their domain did.

So to be clear: I'm not opposed to the idea of cat-folk in E'n. But like Systole I think they need to have a place here. Much as I like what you've written - and I do really like it - it doesn't really fit what I think of E'n.

(And I'm with the others who've spoken on it so far - the pic and write up are more than a little too racy for E'n and ENWorld. It's gotta stay PG).
 
c) Palace of gold? After the first flyby by a dragon, well, it wouldn't be pretty. The following week, it would be a ziggurat owned by a dragon with many slaves of all different fuzzy races.
I like this idea. :p

EDIT: Could lead to a potential adventure too.
 
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a) We already have grippi and nagaji integrated in society. The nagaji are just a conquered slave race at the moment, but still have their place and culture to the south.
While I agree with most of what you said, this one gave me some pause, as it suggests that only the common races can have potential multiple backgrounds, and that just doesn't sit well with me. I think that explanations for the other races definitely needs to be well thought out, but if humans, gnomes, and the other common races can have potential differences within their ranks, we need to be willing to allow that potential in the rarer races as well, even while requiring a higher level of explanation as to why those differences exist or what may have created them.
 

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