Small Magical Beast (Chaotic, Shapechanger)
Hit Dice: 5d10+10 (37 HP)
Speed: 50 ft (10 squares)
Armor Class: 20 (+1 size, +6 Dex, +3 natural); 16 Touch; 14 Flat-footed
Base Attack/Grapple: +5 / +2
Attack: +13 2 Claws melee (1d4)
Full Attack: + 13 2 Claws +1 melee (1d4) and + 8 Bite melee (1d6)
Space/Reach: 5 ft/ 5 ft
Special Attacks: Dimension Slide, DR 5/Cold Iron or Law, Invisibility, Nine Lives, Pounce, Shapechange
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light Vision, Scent
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +10, Will +4
Abilities Str 10, Dex 22, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 22
Skills: Balance +12, Climb +14, Hide 16, Intimidate +8, Jump +8, Listen +10, Move Silently +14, Spellcraft +5, Spot +4, Survival +5, Use Magical Device +7
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Weapon Finesse
Environment: Cold or Temperate Forests and Hills
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: Standard (lair)
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Advancement: 6 (Small), 7-10 (Medium), 11-16 (Large), 17+ (Huge), or by class levels
Level Adjustment: +3
Cheshire appear as well-muscled, oversized cats with large ears and overly wide mouths. They are dusky purple in color, with lighter purple tiger-like stripes. Their fur is soft and smooth, but as tough as wire, and their teeth and claws are as strong as steel.
Cheshire are quite cat-like in habit. Incredibly vain creatures, they consider themselves to be the most important things in existence, and believe the rest of the world exists for their enjoyment. Every creature in a cheshire's territory will be considered either entertainment or food. Anything that they feel they can kill is on their diet, including humanoids, unless it proves to be more fun alive. Many a traveler through a cheshire's territory has kept himself off the menu by being clever or entertaining. Cheshire particularly enjoy good music, and will generally join in with their melodic, velvety voices.
The exception to the menu is children. A cheshire will not attack a child (anyone under the typical age of maturity for their society) under any circumstances. Cheshire have even been known to protect children in their territory and bring them gifts. This protection does not extend to adult halflings or other Small races. There is much speculation as to why, but cheshire say it is because children are inclined to give a good belly rub when given the opportunity. They often infiltrate humanoid settlements in their cat form for the purpose of playing with the children.
A cheshire enjoys a challenge, and will willingly engage in combat (physical or philosophical) with any creature they encounter. They will rarely flee combat since they know they will return to life via their Nine Lives ability. They become more cautious as they begin to run out of lives.
Since a cheshire hates to be bored, he will sometimes play games with those in his territory. They may steal items, make threats, release livestock, stalk the streets in daylight, or perform other actions to stir up those in their territory. They have even been known to put out a call for adventurers to deal with the "terrible feline menace" stalking the local woods...
Noone knows where cheshire came from. Due to their familiarity with magic, and their chaotic nature, it is speculated that they were created by a fey sorcerer. One rumor suggests that the sorcerer lamented the loss of her childhood kitten, and tried to find a way to bring it back. Cheshire scoff at such notions, stating that "No mere mortal meal could create something as wonderful as a cheshire."
Cheshire generally stand 1 1/2 – 2 ft tall and 3 ft in length and average 75 pounds in weight.
A cheshire will patrol an area of over 50 square miles per HD, often incorporating several humanoid settlements in this area. Their territories occasionally overlap, but cheshire avoid contact with each other outside of mating season. Cheshire will often allow other feline predators to live in their territory to ensure swift return via Nine Lives.
Cheshire speak Common, Sylvan, and any one other language used in the region they lair in.
A cheshire generally prefers to begin combat using their invisibility power and then pouncing via dimension slide. They will typically use invisibility at the start of each round, and will dimension slide as soon as they are able. If they feel they have a strong advantage over their opponents, they will continue to fight while visible, occasionally using their dimension slide for mobility.
Cheshire who have managed to aquire magical treasure will often attempt to use it via their skill in Use Magic Device.
Dimension Slide (Su): As a move action, cheshire may Dimension Slide as per the power (although it is a magical, rather than psionic, supernatural ability). A cheshire with 10 or more HD may bring one living creature of up to Small size with them when they Slide. Cheshire may use this power every 4 rounds. Caster level for this ability is equal to his HD.
DR/Cold Iron or Law (Ex): A chesire is resistant to normal damage. A Cold Iron weapon or a Lawful one will harm them normally. Their DR starts at 5, and increases by 5 per size category beyond Small.
Invisibility (Su): As a move action, cheshire may use Invisibility as per the spell, with the following additions: he may choose to leave any portion or portions of their body visible (teeth and eyes being the most common); he may affect only themselves plus 5 pounds of material per HD. cheshire may use this ability at-will. Caster level for this ability is equal to his HD.
Nine Lives (Ex): When a cheshire is reduced to -10 HP or below, it “dies,” and the body dissolves into mist that quickly dissipates. The cheshire is not truly dead, though. His essence lingers, and he remains fully aware but unable to affect, or be affected by, the world around him. He remains in this state until a feline comes within 100 yards of the spot of his demise. At that time, the cheshire attempts to use his Nine Lives ability to return in the feline’s body. The feline must make a DC (10 + cheshire’s HD + Cha modifier) Will save or be overwhelmed by the cheshire. The cheshire permanently gains ˝ of the HD (rounded down) of the feline body he returns in and is physically intact once more, and is fully healed. The cheshire looks exactly as it did before, although it may be larger in size due to HD gained. It takes a cheshire 3 rounds to return via his Nine Lives ability. If a year and a day pass without a feline coming within range, the cheshire may still return, if it has 8 or more HD. By sacrificing half of his HD, the Cheshire creates a new body and returns in it. As the name suggests, a cheshire may only live 9 times. He may only use his Nine Lives ability 8 times.
Pounce (Ex): Cheshire may make a full attack after a charge. Their Dimension Slide ability counts as a charge for the purposes of Pounce.
Shapechange (Su): A cheshire may assume the shape and appearance of a common cat. He always looks the same each time he uses this ability. His physical stats change to that of a common cat. He retains all of his other abilities, including speech while in this form. He may switch back and forth between his normal and cat shapes at-will, as a swift action.
Skills: Cheshire have a +4 Racial bonus to Balance, Climb, Hide, Listen, and Move Silently checks. Cheshire may use their Dexterity score in place of their Strength score for Climb checks.