Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Great Cats

NOTE: These stats have been edited to conform to the rules revisions posted on 9/8/15.
The world mourned the loss of Cecil the lion this week, and in his honor, I'm skipping ahead in the OSR material on animals to cover lions and tigers, the great cats.

Cat, Great
Among the most adored, feared, loved, and respected animals in the natural world, great cats are living symbols of power, nobility, and savagery.

One of them, the lion, is widely known as the "king of the beasts," and typically acts like it in the worst possible way.  Despite their reputation among longpaws, most male lions are lazy bullies who spend their day lounging about their prides' lair while the females do most of the hunting.  Male lions are polygamists with a tendency to murder the children of their wives' previous mates, but some stray from this behavior and strive to live up to their species' noble reputation.  Female lions, as noted, do most of the hunting and child-rearing among their kind, and are thus far more gregarious towards outsiders, often of necessity.  Indeed, lions are unique among cats in being group hunters.

Tigers, like lions, are polygamous, though far less social.  They possess such fearsome reputations that many longpaw communities actually worship them as minor deities and offer them sacrifices in the hopes of avoiding the tigers' wrath.  Sometimes, this works.  But other times, it feeds the tiger's ego and leads her to expect more from her subjects, which only makes them more terrified.

In spite of these fearsome traits, however, great cats, like their smaller kin, are highly curious and playful.  They will often track or follow a group of other animals just to see what they are up to, and this sometimes creates a sense of responsibility for these animals in the cat's mind.  They are also quite stealthy and shy, and when not hunting for food, great cats prefer to avoid confrontation even with obviously weaker foes.  If startled or attacked, they will just as often flee the area as stand and fight, particularly when they are alone.

Great cats possess amplified versions of the game traits of small cats, as noted below.

AC: 6
AT (Dam): 1 bite (1d7 [1d8]), 2 claws (1d5 [1d6]) 
Beginning HP: 9 [10]
Habitat: Tropical to temperate forest, grasslands, savannah.
MV: 10
SZ: Small

Species Traits:
  • Growth Spurt: Lions go up a Size category to Medium at 3rd Total Level, and then to Large at 5th Total Level.  Tigers go up to Medium at 3rd Total Level, as well, but do not achieve Large Size until 6th Total Levels.
  • Low-Light Vision
  • Nine Lives:  Cats can re-roll nine critical failures over the course of their career.  Often, this will mean the difference between life and death; hence, the name nine lives.  Once these “lives” are used up, they cannot be restored.
  • Scent
  • Special Maneuvers: Claw/Claw, Bite/Claw/Claw, Grapple, Pounce, Rake
  • Ultravision
  • +2 bonus on all lore checks to climb, hide in shadows, and move silently. The bonus is +4 in tall grass or other thick foliage.
  • +3 on all Warrior lore checks involving feats of strength.
  • Suitable Niches: Guardian, Runner, Scout, Trickster, Warrior 

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