Help me flesh out a Catfolk Tribe


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I need help fleshing out the details of a catfolk tribe.

So far all I know is that they are nomadic and travel across the sands of Osirion, and they are led by their tribal elders.

What other ideas do you have? What small details can I add to make it more 'real'? What big details can i add to make it more immersive?

Internet brainstorming session


Presumably they're herders. Give them something different to herd though - emus or magic goats or something.

Herding cats OTOH takes a lot of work. Have a child go missing and have the tribe turn out to search for them if you want an excuse for an incident where the PCs can lend a hand, or just an excuse to introduce an NPC or two.

Cats like their relaxing time, but catfolk might like something to do at such a time - perhaps they have a favourite boardgame, whether chess or senet or something fantasyoid.

Dark Archive

Extinction Curse part 2 has catfolk ecology article which goes into lot of detail(its purely lore article without mechanics)


Let's look at this mechanically. If you're not changing any of the racial traits Catfolk have a +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Wis. They need skill to make up for their natural lack of ability with herding animals, so maybe this isn't their primary source of income. Cat's Luck - they're really good at dodging area effects; Natural Hunter; ways to overcome their racial weakness of low Wis for Survival checks; Sprinter - they're faster than most at charging into or away from danger; Low-Light Vision - obvious.

These suggest a race of people that are nimble and charismatic with powerful personalities. They are slightly less competent healers or professionals, but they make decent hunters. Catfolk excel at being fast when they need to and are preternaturally adept at avoiding mass, area attacks. They seem very combat focused.

You chose for them to be nomadic types traversing the desert. AVR suggests they could be herders and that's entirely true, with skill ranks and Class Skill bonuses to overcome their low Wis, but this wouldn't be intuitive as their main source of revenue and resource gathering. Living as hunter/gatherers might also be acceptable, but doing so in such an environment might not always be viable.

Sprinter, Low-Light Vision and Natural Hunter seem to suggest that members of a Catfolk tribe would be good ambush predators, attacking at dawn/dusk. A natural bonus to Survival means they can track their prey and efficiently distribute the kill among the tribe, but it ALSO means they'd be good with some of the alternate things you can do with the skill, stuff like taking Trophies and harvesting materials from fallen prey.

They don't get any great shakes at Int-based skills, but it's certainly plausible that Craft: Alchemy could be in a couple of the Catfolk's skillsets. What about taxidermy, or dealing in poisons harvested from giant vermin or snakes they take down on their hunts? Catfolk would make natural merchants and entertainers - bard seems like a no-brainer.

Then look at the Bard racial favored class bonus for Catfolk: + 1/2 bonus to Bardic Knowledge checks. Could be their bards just gather a lot of oral traditions and stories in their travels... or what about scrolls? Vellum is made from leather from certain kinds of prey, even prey that can be found in deserts. I'm seeing a picture in my head of a Catfolk caravan, parked around the oasis during the daytime, the hunters sleeping and some of the common-cats just tending to their duties, but one pavilion tent being several fabric pouches along one wall stuffed with the collected scrolls of the bards and other peoples of the desert seeking them as lorekeepers and oracles.

So I propose that hunting and gathering is their main form of recreation or focus, with herding or camel riding as secondary. They prize bards in their midst, but more for the lore and knowledge they hold. They use every part of their prey, from the skins for vellum to the teeth or feathers for scrivening to even the venom or organs for poisons or arcane implements. These catfolk sometimes take trophies of particularly impressive hunts and sell these and their other products in the markets throughout Osirion as wandering traders.

The bards also serve a secondary function as entertainers in these markets. They don't do so through song, though they're perfectly capable. Instead the catfolk put on dazzling displays of dexterity and skill. Some of these culminate in the Dance of the Knife Cloud, wherein several trained throwers pepper an area all at once with a hail of knives that the catfolk they're endangering seems to explode right out of harm's way! These bards insist though - only ONE show/day, for fortune only smiles upon their whiskers so often.


Natural lack of ability at herding? Handle animal is a charisma based skill. Ride is dexterity based. I'll grant you heal is wisdom based, but that's only one aspect.


This is what I have come up and written so far

Minigiant wrote:

The nomadic Mau Tribe traverse the lands of Osirion from Mount Osiki to Hor-Aha and the coast of graves; their bedoin tents making the glazen sands their home. They survive by living off this inhospitable land, wandering from oasis to oasis, and trading their livestock of emus and goats, along the way with the Yerbira garundi and desert elves with whom they share the sands but, are just as likely to be friendly to strangers and merchant caravans. In Osirion, a place where cats have traditionally been seen as very lucky, it is considered a sign of divine favour to come across and be able to trade with a tribe of catfolk.

Living with no more than a hundred members at a time, they are led by the tribal elders, for their years of experience prove invaluable when it comes to tackling the daily challenges that they face upon the desert planes. They are then organised into large extended family structures with the young being communally raised, and expected to contribute as soon as they are able. The strongest among them will be assigned to watch over the tribe as they rest, and scout ahead when in transit. A lot of the tribes structure is set around making it particularly difficult for the tiger-headed rakshasas to infiltrate their ranks; the catfolks tendency for seeking out evil, is perceived by them as a threat, and they will do what they must to steer tribes such as the Mau away from such ventures.

The Rakshasa are not and have not been the only external threat to the tribes existence, throughout their long history dating back to the founding of Osirion, there have been attempts by Lamyros, and one particularly malicious Maftet, who seek to subjugate them, wanting thematic subjects, as they set themselves up as kings; all of which have inevitably failed with a revolt.

Interestingly the only beings not to attempt to subjugate the Catfolk of the desert were the Pharaohs of old; who enslaved pretty much everybody in their kingdom they could, ranging from halflings to desert giants, but ultimately understood that the Catfolk of the sands could not be ruled by any traditional methods.

As the tribe cross the great deserts plains, they pay homage to their ancestors and to the ancient Osiriani gods such as Anubis, and Ra, but particularly Bastet. And just as with the sphinxes and the mafdets they will make sure that they leave any temple or shrine they come across along the way, in a better state than when they arrived. In many ways the cults to the old gods owe the catfolk a great much for in many ways their worship have kept them alive, and promoted their worship among the humans of the country.

That said, I really do like the idea of Bards having a special place within their tribe

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
They prize bards in their midst, but more for the lore and knowledge they hold.
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
The bards also serve a secondary function as entertainers in these markets. They don't do so through song, though they're perfectly capable. Instead the catfolk put on dazzling displays of dexterity and skill. Some of these culminate in the Dance of the Knife Cloud, wherein several trained throwers pepper an area all at once with a hail of knives that the catfolk they're endangering seems to explode right out of harm's way! These bards insist though - only ONE show/day, for fortune only smiles upon their whiskers so often.

So I think I will try and incorporate that


avr wrote:
Natural lack of ability at herding? Handle animal is a charisma based skill. Ride is dexterity based. I'll grant you heal is wisdom based, but that's only one aspect.

I'm so sorry A(T)VR - you're 100% right! I was somehow thinking that Handle Animal was Wis based! DUH, I'm dumb!


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Personally I'm a little sad no one mentioned the obvious, not even me:

They don't wander the sands because they choose, to, but because they have to. The Tribe of Fallen Jaga fled the destruction of their homeland but were thrown wildly off course, marooning themselves in the deserts of Osirion.

They brought with them talismans of the past, such as the fabled Sword of Omens. The Eye of the sword grants the bearer sight beyond sight, but the blade can only be wielded by one of noble blood. The blood of Jaga, last scion of the Old Kingdom runs through the veins of only one member of the tribe: Liono.

The boy-king leads his kinfolk as they wander the sands, pursued by the agents of Mum-Ra. The evil sorcerer who has not only been mummified but also somehow achieved a unique form of lichdom, binding his cruel spirit to his pyramid tomb. When the Tribe of Fallen Jaga first found Osirion they fell upon the tomb of Mum-Ra who sensed the power of the Sword of Omens; a power he now covets greatly.

So the catfolk are forced to wander, one step ahead of their dire enemies - the mutants, the Lunataks, a tribe of berserkers and of course the Ancient Spirits of Evil. The Tribe of Fallen Jaga seeks a rare element found in tiny amounts throughout the deserts to power the relics of their homelands. There are also those among them who still practice the old ways, such as the Forgemonks of Panthro, the Illusionists of the Tri-Tail Whip and of course the Cheetaran Staff-Maidens. One day Liono the boy-king seeks to live up to his ancestors but until that day he trudges on.

Unless there is no other choice but to fight. And fight they do. Under the clarion call of the Sword of Omens. Thunder... Thunder... THUNDER...


I'm crying. Thank you, I needed that.

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