This installment of the Animal Races-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
We kick off this pdf with a superbly-written piece of in-character prose, provided by a feline therian, extolling the virtues and peculiarities of cats and their experience – for example the custom to measure time in 12-hour-cycles. The level of detail provided for the feline therians is up to all expectations – age, height and weight-table, relationships, adventuring – all covered.
Rules-wise, we receive two different attribute arrays – medium catfolk receive +2 Dex, -2 Wis, while small catfolk receive +2 Dex, -2 Str. Small catfolk receive a base speed of 20 ft., medium catfolk the normal 30 ft. Members of the clan of the cat also receive low-light vision, scent, natural armor +1 (increase to +2 at 10th level), a primary natural bite attack of 1d4/1d3 (M/S) and have these base traits modified by the chosen clan:
Cats receive +2 to Int and may choose Cat Clan Heritage as a rogue talent, cheetahs receive +2 Cha and may use Cha as governing attribute for monk class features and receive the Cat Clan Sprinter-feat as a monk bonus feat. Leopards also receive +2 to Cha, which somewhat conflicts with the fluff, which asserts their toughness and athleticism – was Con intended here? Anyway, they may choose Cat Clan Lurker as a rogue talent. Lion Clan members also receive +2 Cha and may select Cat Clan Heritage as a rage power. Lynx Academy members who left their clan receive +2 to Int and may opt for Cat Clan Heritage as an alchemist discovery. Tiger clan members receive +2 Int and can select Cat Clan Heritage as a witch’s hex.
Now the modularity of the race goes beyond that – the three aforementioned feats (Cat Clan Heritage, Cat Clan Lurker and Cat Clan Sprinter) can be taken multiple times and allow for the progressive accumulation of additional racial traits, which include claws, climb speeds, faster movement etc. – the interesting component here would be the fact that e.g. adding the grab quality to bites, increasing bite damage etc. – the available options scale within the feats: Upon taking a feat a certain amount of times, your selection is broadened to include advanced tricks and options Pounce, rake etc. – all possible, but only at the investment of a significant amount of resources -as they should be. I tried hard to break these three feats and balance-wise, they withstood my endeavors -kudos!
Now, as with the Clan of the Dog, proper heraldry is provided for the clan, and we receive a deity-write-up, this time Ishtar, and the folkloristic take on somewhat feline monsters – from the borrowed pugwampis to shiras and silvanshees, we receive a lot of rather damn cool pieces of information that help ground and root the Clan of the Cat within the framework of a campaign. Now, if you haven’t read my review of Clan of the Dog, you should be aware that aforementioned heraldic symbols also double as traits to choose from. Relationships among sub-species and with other clans are also covered.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, easy to read and elegant two-column b/w-standard well complemented by the fitting b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.
Eric Morton’s Animal Races-series ranks among the most impressive discoveries that has landed on my virtual desk in quite a while, at least as far as race-pdfs are concerned – so far, I have read two and both provided superb content, extremely modular, balanced races – and much like the pdf on dogs, the feline therians just brim with imagination, style and wonder. Studded to an almost unprecedented brim with grand ideas, this pdf offers a varied and distinct take on catfolk – to the point where, for the very first time, I consider catfolk more than just elves with fur and will allow them in my game. Not only thanks to the rock-solid rules, but mainly due to this pdf generating a distinct, viable identity for these feline fellows. If my gushing wasn’t indication enough – this pdf is a true steal and well worth the low asking price – final verdict: 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this damn cool take on catfolk here on OBS!