View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Fifth Edition Catfolk Race

2017-03-24, 05:57 PM
This is a Catfolk race that I put together for my group to use. I wanted to get some other opinions on the homebrew job before really using it, so it'd be great if you let me know what you think. I took inspiration from a lot of sources and cobbled it together and made some stuff up. For the most part we play just normal out-of-the-book stuff, but I've started homebrewing some other items and thought it best to see what more experienced players might have to say on it. It's in the spoiler below.

NOTE: I realized that the Panther Catfolk subrace is pretty much a high elf duplicate (I even said they were haughty...), so ideas for what I could switch around in that specific area would be most appreciated! What I'm trying to get out Panther is a kind of catfolk that people might want to play as rogue, or possibly even a wizard. I know it won't be the most played, but I wanted the option of it, especially the rogue part. Cat rogue. Seems logical to me.

Thanks for looking!

Lean and Furry
Catfolk have ancient feline heritage, and still retain much of their feline ancestorsí looks. They are bipedal with fingers and thumbs, and their torsos are humanoid. Although their faces are generally shaped more or less like a catís, and their legs are bent like those of a catís hind legs. Their colors range from browns and blacks to whiter colors, and oranges. A catfolkís fur can range in color, thick or thin hair, stripes, socks, and a whole assortment of markings. Catfolk take extreme pride in their fur, and keep it well groomed and impeccable. Their size depends mostly on what kind of cat their heritage leads back to. They can range from 4 feet tall to well over 6. Catfolk are generally very lean, weighing anywhere from 60 to about 200 pounds. They have thicker nails than most humanoids, but not the powerful claws of their ancestors.

Driven by Curiosity
Catfolk are very curious creatures. They love to explore things. For some this means a life of contemplation and study, never going far from their tribe. For others it means a life of adventure and always pushing to the next horizon. They are very loving creatures, and few catfolk are vicious to others. The ones that do lose their love, however, often become quite feared by those they come into contact with. They are playful as well and love to have a good time. This combined with an insatiable natural curiosity can sometimes lead to impulsive decisions that might hurt them, but a catfolk sees these failures as just another opportunity to learn about the most exciting subject of all - life. Catfolk are also quite superstitious. They will often wear talismans around their necks, put beads in their fur or their mane if they have one, for a large variety of effects such as to ward off evil, gain good fortune, have success on the hunt, etc. Catfolk are very loyal, and always a trustworthy, good friend to have around. Once a bond is made with a catfolk, it is never forgotten, good or bad.

Neat and Lavish
A catfolk home is always kept neat and immaculately clean. Everything is kept just in place. A catfolk also likes to display its wealth in its home. They have grand windows, large curtains, ornate beds, opulent furniture. They wear their clothes in a similar way. Fashion and style are important to all catfolk, and they take pride in their homes and wardrobe. Their clothes are usually fancy, but not overdone. A catfolk may not be very well-off, but theyíll still do their best. For all their pride and ostentatiousness, however, they will never sacrifice comfort for pretension. Their clothes are fine, but soft and well-fitted, their beds are ornate with soft mattresses, and there is at least one velvet cushion in every room. Catfolk who take to the road are aware they must sacrifice some of these comforts, but they still make an effort to have a home away from home. If discomforts are experienced by a catfolk, this will often lead to annoying, albeit harmless, complaining. This doesnít make them any less apt to be adventurers, hunters, or travelers however. Catfolk are known to be much tougher than they let on when the time comes. Catfolk can even become more inclined to the rough life over time, and depending on the tribe they come from, some are even born without many of these comforts. These catfolk still enjoy these comforts, they just donít feel they are expected.

Blood Bonds
All catfolk are born as part of a tribe. That doesnít mean they are any less civilised, they just live in smaller groups. They enjoy hunting, and see things like agriculture as a boring profession to pursue. Some tribes are nomadic, and they move their homes to other places, other tribes choose to settle in one spot, perhaps due to greater wealth, perhaps due to the professions practiced there. Whatever the case, tribe always comes first. A catfolkís tribe is its family. Immediate family members arenít put above the rest of the tribe in any way at all, really. The tribe is one cohesive unit, and all are treated like a human might treat their immediate family. A tribe can be anywhere from 15 people to 100 for the biggest ones. No matter where a catfolk is, it will always cherish its relations to its tribe, and tribe members are never forgotten. If a catfolk leaves its tribe to pursue something, for example adventuring, it will always return to its tribe near the end of its life. Itís considered one of the worst fates to die apart from your tribe. If it happens, it is believed your soul may be lost and forever kept apart from your tribeís ancestorsí souls. Sometimes a catfolk may leave their tribe on a spiritual journey to lead a tribe memberís soul back to their homeland so they can be at peace. A catfolk never truly leaves a tribe, it is a bond that can never be broken. An attack on any tribe member is a personal attack on them all.

Catfolk Names
For catfolk, names are not an expression of heritage or a summary of accomplishment. Names are used to express each catfolkís individuality. Because of this, no two catfolk have the same name. Each catfolk is given a name at birth, in Feline. These given names are not indicative of gender, and are constructed largely of vowels, with consonants used somewhat sparingly. Most given names, when spoken, sound vaguely like catís cries. Later in each catfolkís life, he or she might adopt a nickname that is easier to pronounce for the benefit of races who donít speak Feline. Sometimes, this nickname is based on appearance or behavior. On other occasions, a catfolk might adopt a name from another culture, just as the humans often do.

Given Names: Aeroun, Amir, Behaou, Bhisha, Caarreia, Gerran, Grawl, Heeze, Khaobiri, Mioi, Naeafas, Raaol, Tiyeri, Yourau

Catfolk Traits
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Age. Catfolk mature slightly faster than humans, and reach physical maturity at about 16. They live until around 150 due to the magic in their ancient ancestry.
Alignment. Catfolk can be either lawful or chaotic depending on their upbringing, although most have an innate disposition to good.
Size. Catfolk range from 4 feet to well over 6. Catfolk are generally very lean, weighing anywhere from 60 to about 200 pounds. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. Thanks to your feline ancestry, you have superior darkvision in dark and dim conditions. 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 canít discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Nimble Fall. You can fall 20 feet and suffer no adverse effects. Past that, you have resistance to bludgeoning damage as the result of a fall, and you always fall on your feet.
Feline Grace. You have proficiency in the Acrobatics skill.
Strong Legs. Your powerful legs and feline abilities make you an amazing jumper. You can add your Dexterity modifier on top of your Strength modifier when you make a Long Jump or High Jump.
Keen Smell. Whenever you make a Wisdom (Perception) check based on smell, you are considered proficient in the Perception skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Feline. Feline is a smooth language made up mostly of a variety of vowels.
Subrace. There are three subraces of catfolk with very different skills: leopards, panthers and lions. Choose one of these subraces.

As a leopard catfolk, you are remarkably intuitive, and an expert hunter. Your built around the size of a human, possibly slightly bigger or smaller. Leopards are taught to be close with nature, and to treat it with respect. Many leopards become rangers, monks, or druids.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Prowler. You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.
Hunter. You have advantage on any Wisdom (Survival) check made to track an animal or humanoid.

As a panther catfolk, you are the smallest of the catfolk, but also the most shrewd. Panthers are taught that their mind is one of the most important things, and often take part in the magical arts. Some become wizards, some use their natural abilities to reach other ends, becoming rogues. Panthers can be fairly elitist and haughty towards other races. Although like all catfolk, they are loving and kind at heart.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Cantrip. You know one cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for it.
Natural Climber. You have advantage on any Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check made to climb something or keep your hold while climbing something.
Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write on extra language of your choice.

As a lion catfolk, you are the biggest of all catfolk. Lion catfolk are very proud, and any verbal assault on them may be taken as harshly as a physical one. Despite their prides, they are very gracious to others as well, never missing an opportunity to be kind. Lions are also known to be quite loud, with their roars in combat, singing in taverns, and other times yelling their words for an unknown reason.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Roar. Once per rest, you can roar as a bonus action. Your next attack until the end of your next turn has advantage. Additionally, the next attack made against you has disadvantage. The roar is loud, and audible out to a distance.
Subtlety. Maybe not something most lion catfolk are known for. Still, whenever you are wearing heavy armor, the armor does not impose disadvantage on your Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

2017-03-24, 11:57 PM
One metric of whether a race is balanced is comparing it to a similar race. For example, let's compare a high elf and a panther catfolk, since their stat boosts are the same.

High Elf
Perception proficiency
Weapon Training
Advantage on charm saves and can't sleep

Panther Catfolk
Resistance to fall damage/no damage from 20 feet or less
10 feet faster
Bonus Language
Acrobatics proficiency
Powerful perception ability (Keen Smell)
Better Jumping
Better Climbing

Now the question is, would you weigh +10 movespeed, Getting more skills (athletics and a powerful boost to perception), Better Climbing, Better Jumping, and Resistance to falling damage as being equivalent in power level to advantage on charm saves, a few weapon proficiencies, and not being able to be put to sleep/only resting 4 hours a night?

The correct answer is no.

When weighing a leopard catfolk vs a wood elf, the difference is even more dramatic, because the catfolk is faster than the default race whose PRIMARY APPEAL is its speed, and has more outside utility to boot.

Here's a list of the wood elf features
Ability score improvement (catfolk has this)
Darkvision (catfolk has this)
Speed Increase (catfolk has this better)
Hiding when lightly onscured by weather or foliage (catfolk has this)
Perception proficiency (catfolk has acrobatics)
Fey Ancestry (No equivalent)
Trance (no equivalent)

In addition, the catfolk have their falling feature, their jumping feature, and keen smell, any one of which I would trade trance out for in a heartbeat.

I know that from a flavor perspective, catfolk should be good at all these things, but they probably just have too many features. Removing the universal speed increase would go a long way towards balance, since it's about 1/2 of a feat for free right out of the gate, and is probably the feature that makes the least sense for them to have, since I don't tend to think of cats as great in a dead sprint.

2017-03-25, 07:39 AM
Volo's Guide beat you to it anyway.

2017-03-25, 10:09 AM
I know that from a flavor perspective, catfolk should be good at all these things, but they probably just have too many features. Removing the universal speed increase would go a long way towards balance, since it's about 1/2 of a feat for free right out of the gate, and is probably the feature that makes the least sense for them to have, since I don't tend to think of cats as great in a dead sprint.

Thanks for all the feedback! I had the speed high because I wanted catfolk to be fast, but come to think of it, it would really only make a bit of sense for the leopards anyway (lions being bulky and panthers being smaller), and they're mostly the size of a human anyways. I'll certainly be changing that.