Lions, Tigers, and Catfolk, Oh My! - Tabaxi 5e
Wanderers from a far-off land, precocious minstrels and thieves, the are the quintessential of the D&D multiverse that we got introduced in Volo's Guide to Monsters . This can range from lion-esque noble felines to mangy alley cat pickpockets and everything in between. can make for some wonderfully flavorful and fun characters, so let's take these cats out of the bag and go through everything you need to know.
Wherever your adventure takes place, the the or any other campaign setting. always comes from somewhere far away. They're meant to be wanderers, visiting the here and now out of curiosity and wanderlust. life in their distant homeland is tribalistic and simple, where they are content with their patron deity, The . However, their god blesses them within innate curious nature that compels them to explore. you meet along your adventures are all essentially on a walkabout, following their curiosity to wherever it takes them. Because of this, it's easy to work them into
put a lot of emphasis on stories. They appreciate gold and trinkets as much as the next race, but what they're really after is the stories. The story of the daring delving is far more important than the actual treasure at the 's end. This is where a lot of their chaotic nature comes in, as they'll likely be up for anything if they think it'll make for an exciting adventure.
curiosity can come in a lot of forms, and that gives you a plethora of options and easy introductions into campaign settings. has strong but fleeting obsessions that can easily line up with the next leg of the adventure. Is the adventure about fighting a demon lord? Boom, your new has become obsessed with fiends. Is the adventure about recovering a long-lost relic? Guess what's your 's greatest fixation. Some folks like to play them as having a to account for this fixation.
are described somewhat generically as "catfolk" and there's a good reason for that. Everything under the wide definition of "cat" is ripe for you to play with in your design of these .
Lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, housecats, bobcats, pumas, panthers, or jaguar-esque characters are all at your fingertips.
5e races are templates, they're 90% finished ideas and they've left all the fun customization options open for you. What is the color of your fur? The length of your whiskers? How about the length of your tail? Are you fluffy and poofed up? Or are you sleeker and well groomed? What about your ? Are they ? What about your eyes? Do they carry a that looks, or they call a claw? There's so much space here to work with on the appearance alone beyond a generic "cat".
Make a leopard ranger who's fresh from the wilderness and prowls the city outskirts, suspicious of civilization like it was a dangerous beast. Make an alley-cat whose patchy fur and flea bitten itch belies a deft claw and unparalleled sleight of hand. Or make an arrogant tiger barbarian, brilliant in orange and black stripes and ready to tear his opponents down with his bare . This stuff writes itself, and it's a great creative canvas that only takes a little creative spark.
Pop Culture Comparisons
For your next it's sometimes helpful to take inspiration from similar races and characters from outside of D&D. There're quite a few variations upon the theme of "cat person" so it can be good to figure out what direction you're coming from.
Khajiit - Elder Scrolls
If you've ever heard "Khajiit has wares if you have coin" you've already got a pretty good concept of characters. Khajiit are a pretty darn close approximation of , with maybe just a bit more devious thievery and cunning instead of curiosity and wanderlust. Most Khajiit have a fur pattern quite like a lynx or bobcat but are otherwise quite -like. If you've always wanted to play a Khajiit, the are a great opportunity to do so.
Neko/Catgirls - A ton of Different Animes
From respectable shows to the most cringy, you've almost certainly seen a neko girl floating around some anime or another. Neko catfolk are defined by very light features, often only including a set of catlike ears and a tail, or possibly including eyes, whiskers, and sometimes paws. have significantly more features than most neko representations. If you're coming at a from this direction, you may need to have a talk with your DM. Neko designs are only different at an aesthetic level, and if you're in love with the look some DMs might allow it.
Thundercats - Thundercats
Thundercats Hooooo! Strangely enough, these 80's icons aren't too far off the mark when it comes to building a . Particularly if you go off of the 2011 remake rather than the original. About the only thing missing is the faces, which in are very but in thundercats were practically human. If you've always wanted to challenge Mumm-Ra in a 5e campaign, you can easily use the as your springboard. They don't inherently gain a bonus to their Strength, but that doesn't have to stop you from creating your own Lion-O.
have a single gender-neutral name that is chosen by their . They're based on a wide range of factors including astrology and prophecy and typically take the form of a short descriptive sentence and most utilize a shorter nickname derived from it. Try to think of both of these aspects when creating your new 's name and remember that the short nickname is what most other players will know you by.
Following that they have their name, which is usually a simple description of some geological feature in or around their home territory.
The following list of sample includes nicknames in parenthesis.
: Crescent Moon (Moon), Fire in the Distance (Fire), Game of Chance (Game), Gift of a Guest (Gift), Kite in the Wind (Kite), Lost Guide (Lost), Scratch on Wood (Scratch), Single Drop (Single), Three Coil (Three), Wave on the Shore (Wave)
Clans: Angelic Ridge, Anchored Glade, Echoing Mountain, Grieving Fields, Mumbling Morass, Tranquil Bayou, Twisting Fjords, Weeping Cave.
Your has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase: Your score increases by 2, and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age: have lifespans equivalent to humans.
Alignment: tend toward chaotic alignments, as they let impulse and fancy guide their decisions. They are rarely evil, with most of them driven by curiosity rather than greed or other .
Size: are taller on average than humans and relatively slender. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision: You have a , especially in the dark. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
: Your reflexes and agility allow you to move with a burst of speed. When you move on your turn in combat, you can double your speed until the end of the turn. Once you use this , you can't use it again until you move 0 feet on one of your turns.
Cat's : Because of your , you have a of 20 feet. In addition, your are , which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the normal for an .
Cat's Talent: You have proficiency in the Perception and Stealth skills.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.
Let's go through these one by one and see what they mean for your new :
Ability Score Increase: +2 to and +1 to Charisma is a damned fine useful spread. is pretty universally useful, and Charisma is of particular import for Bards, Paladins, Sorcerers, and Warlocks.
Age: Nothing special here, move along.
Alignment: Chaotic, not typically evil, and prone to giving into curious fancies. Remember you don't have to play your to type, so your lawful evil puma necromancer build is still just as valid.
Size: Medium sized, nothing special, move along.
Speed: Solid respectable 30 feet movement speed. This is significant because the other common +2 race (halflings) are limited by their 25 foot speed. For an innate +2 race at full (normal) speed, you're choosing between or Kenku .
Darkvision: Pretty standard goodie but it's always useful to have, especially if you're going for a sneaky build that would appreciate the cover of darkness.
: This is probably the most unique tool in the arsenal and it's a good one. It lets you double your speed in a turn without using any kind of action cost, but at the cost of staying still on another turn to recharge the ability. This lets you close the distance amazingly quick when you need to.
There're a couple things to note here.
First, doubling your movement speed is different from just +30 feet. If you were to move and then use your action to dash, that speed is still doubled, meaning you'd move a whopping 120 feet in your turn!
Second, it also applies to any speed, not just your natural movement speed. So that absolutely works on magical flight or other spells that give you a magical movement speed. A with the fly using and dashing moves 240 feet in a single round! And all this gets way crazier with the haste or expeditious retreat . At a certain point you become less a cat and more of a vaguely cat shaped blur.
Cat's : The aren't particularly useful , but they're nice to have in a pinch. The is worth noting though. The climb speed inself is only slightly faster (5 feet) than most creature's normal climbing (half of 30 feet is 15 feet). But having a natural climb speed means you automatically pass a lot of checks that would normally call for Strength (Athletics) checks while climbing. Particularly nice for 's ignoring the Strength stat.
Cat's Talent: Two proficiencies in the first place is nothing to sneeze at, and Stealth and Perception are the top shelf picks. Getting these two vital proficiencies really frees you up and allows you to specialize with your other options.
Languages: Common and a bonus language of your choice rather than a racial language. Potentially quite useful as you pick one up that seems likely in your following adventures.
5e is amazingly flexible and you can make anything you can think of, but here's a few builds that take advantage of the stats and abilities that might spark some inspiration.
With the bonus to and Charisma, make for ideal -based paladins. paladin builds can be surprisingly effective. By taking medium armor, dueling style with a shield and rapier, you statistically do the same damage as a Strength based paladin, but at slightly less AC (literally 1 AC lower). But in exchange you get a high initiative and as a your will let you get stuck into combat instantly. One might imagine a leading their people and to a better land, or leaving on a quest to help them.
work fantastically well, particularly if you take the swashbuckler archetype and take full advantage of that +1 bonus to Charisma. Most everything the gain slot nicely into the build, and you could even play it off as they are just naturally . Another option is that ou could play them as having a with stealing items. The climb speed for scaling walls, the proficiencies are perfect, and the darkvision is a nice touch for those late-night robberies. also comes into play here again, getting you out of a tight spot fast or maneuvering yourself into the perfect sneak attack position.
A can gain a huge boost over other bards, particularly if you take a more combat oriented bardic college like the college of swords or the college of whispers . Your +2 bonus to is extremely helpful for any bard that's looking to get into a bit of combat. Specifically, the college of whispers bard with a bow can deal psychic damage from downrange and have the ability in their back pocket to escape anything that gets close.
warlocks get quite a bit of use out of the traits, especially if you go for the pact of the blade. The +2 bonus is essential for warlocks getting in and swinging a sword around. And again, it's the ability that really clicks here, as your warlock will get a lot of mileage out of the speed boost when they really need to escape a situation or position themselves to get the maximum value out of a . Sneaky warlocks are also a viable build and you'll be hard-pressed to find a better fit for one than a .
A can work insanely well; with their ability to move quickly, adding in the step of the wind from , these humaniods could zip around the battle field. You might imagine snow puma style, leading a .
King of the
can work well too; with their stat buffs and other things you could see a ranger being a leader of a , or one that wanders the forest to protect their from from the young green that's recently taken up residence.
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Last updated: January 27, 2019
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