Monday, July 26, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Shadowcat

Here is another monster that has been rolling around in the back of my head for a bit. I am fairly certain I came up with this one while reading old Dragon magazines back in the day.  It is not 100% original, but then again nothing ever is. My take on it though I think is unique or at least new enough to merit a posting of it today.

I imagine this creature is distantly related to the Displacer Beast, but for OGL reasons I can't claim that. 

Artwork © 2021 Eric Lofgren, used with permission. All rights reserved. Sale #30805661
Artwork © 2021 Eric Lofgren, used with permission.
All rights reserved.
Large Beast, Magical

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Neutral]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Flying 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 1 [18]
Hit Dice: 7d8+7**** (39 hp)
  Large 7d10**** (46 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 1d6+2 x2, 1d8+2
Special: Fly, etherealness, hide in shadows (90%), magic resistance 30%, senses (night vision, smell), speech, telepathy 
Save: Monster 7
Morale: 10 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 2,050 (OSE) 2,100 (LL)

Str: 16 (+2) Dex: 18 (+3) Con: 13 (+1) Int: 12 (0) Wis: 12 (0) Cha: 14 (+2)

Shadowcats are, as the name implies, great cats from the plane of shadow.  They manifest in physical form on the mortal planes but can become ethereal at will.   They appear as large cats, usually panthers or lions, with shadow black coats and large bat-like wings. They can walk or fly as they choose. Shadowcats have telepathic abilities they use to communicate amongst themselves and can use it to learn the language of anyone they come in contact with. They can then speak using human languages.  Despite appearances, Shadowcats are not related to Lamassu, though they may be distantly related to sphinxes. 

Shadowcats are experts in stealth. Their superior abilities to sense prey via smell, night vision, and even taste means they can surprise on a roll of 4-6 on a d6.  Likewise, they are only surprised themselves on a 1 on a d6.   Shadowcats come to the mortal realms to hunt prey. They are carnivores and prefer to hunt magical beasts though they have been known to hunt humanoids from time to time.  

They are intelligent creatures but driven by the hunt. They will attack with a claw/claw/bite routine, often stalking their prey on the ground and then using their wings to jump and attack from above.  When fighting they typically keep their wings folded up to prevent them from becoming damaged.

A group of shadowcats is called a "pard" with an alpha female, 1 to 2 breeding males, and the rest younger male and female offspring.  Both males and females will hunt, only the alpha female does not hunt.  A pard will venture to the mortal planes to partake in a hunt that usually lasts 2 to 3 months then they will return.  Younger males are always challenging the older male for breeding rights and if a single shadowcat is encountered it will be an outcast male.  Shadowcats have no need for or interest in treasure.  

Sometimes a shadowcat can be employed by a chaotic wizard or demon lord of sufficient power.  As natives of the plane of shadow any spell that can bind a creature from other planes can be used on a single (usually independent male) shadowcat.  Members of a pard cannot be bound.  These bound shadowcats will typically agree on a length of service if they are also allowed the freedom to hunt as they choose.  Larger specimens can be used as mounts.

Shadowcats and Shedu despise each other.  This has little to do with alignment. The shadowcat's telepathic abilities can be heard by the shedu and vice versa. Heard might be putting it mildly, the abilities of one interfere with the other.  Also, the shedu are often offended at the actions of the shadowcat; choosing prey to hunt.  Shadowcats find the shedu to be pompous and arrogant.  While their fights will rarely become more than grandstanding threats, a large pard has been known to attack a shedu.  Often the shedu's greater magical ability, and their ability to make strong allies, give them the edge. 

1 comment:

Dick McGee said...

"...while reading an old Dragon Magazine..."

Wormy was a great strip. Solomoriah was more of a panther than a lion, though. :)