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Recently, I discussed the introduction of eastern folklore and mythology to the MCU, and specifically discussed the shishi in Shang-Chi. This inspired me to crack open my new PDF of 1st Edition AD&D‘s (“1e“) Oriental Adventures, which I’d never read before. So far, I’m impressed, though I’ve just scratched the surface. Three new races, 10 new classes (10!), a bunch of new spells, and 31 new monsters. I find myself wondering whether the typical 1e player considered this book bloat, but I digress. Today is Caturday, so here are the cats that appear in Oriental Adventures.
Hengeyokai (p. 12)
One of the PC races, the hengeyokai (I’m assuming that’s also plural) are shape changers. Though not lycanthropes, they have the same three forms: animal, human, and a hybrid of the two. One type of hengeyokai is a cat, which must be chaotic (of course), and while naturally dexterous, has a penalty to wisdom (exactly what you’d expect).
Generals of the Animal Kings: Tiger King (p. 120, Level X)
Oriental Adventures states that
The oriental mind has organized the world into a unified whole. One particularly strong belief is that of the Celestial Emperor, a powerful being who heads the Celestial Bureaucracy, a type of government of the spirits. Like the bureaucrats of the real world, these spirit officials can be corrupt, disobedient, just, or incompetent.Oriental Adventures, page 116
Yes, I know. The “oriental mind.” *sigh* Anyway, one part of the bureaucracy are the generals of the animal kings, and the most powerful (by XP) type of general is the Tiger General, who suppresses rebellions or doles out punishment. He appears as a giant, anthropomorphic tiger wielding magic, scaring the hell out of characters with his appearance, and regenerating 5 hps/round. The best part, however, is that he wields a +5 vorpal sword (+8 to hit, 3 attacks/round). There could be more than one of them, and each one is always accompanied by 100 tigers. Good luck with that.
Shirokinukatsukami (p. 128, Level IX)
This one’s weird. Okay, it’s all weird, but this is really weird. The shirokinukatsukami has “the body of a horse, the face of a lion, the trunk and tusks of an elephant, the tail of a cow [intimidating!], and the feet of a tiger.” As far as I’m concerned, that’s enough to count as a cat. It’s a shame this book doesn’t provide a picture. Good luck visualizing that.
It can have up to 5 physical attacks per round, casts a lot of spells, regenerates, +3 or better weapon to hit. . . it’s a bad ass, which explains why there can be no more than four in existence at any point in time. This is also explained by how difficult it must be to build something like that. Fortunately, its lawful good, so your PCs should be okay even if it shows up.
Neither of the monsters appear on the random encounter table. They aren’t the kind of monster you’d want to randomly drop on a party. They deserve planning.
That’s it. Oriental Adventures has a ton of new material, but not a lot of cats.
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