Hellcat - ROM, 10/Nov/00


Prime Requisite: Strength
Requisites: Int 15+, Dex 15+, Con 12+, Wis 11-

These take the form of a coal-black cat resembling a normal cat except for its aura of magic and faint evil (past associations, actually totally Neutral). They intensely dislike most canines and rodents and are usually stand-offish to others though they may befriend those who speak Cat. As innate abilities they have Infravision 6" and very sharp senses, Detect Hidden and Invisible (enemies) 1"range/level, and the climbing ability of cats. Their quiet movement makes them -2 (-30%) on being heard, also giving the ability to Hide in Shadows. In addition they are only surprised 1 in 12 and their magical nature makes their attack equivalent to +1 magic at 4th level, +2 at 6th and +3 at 8th though no actual bonus is gained. They naturally speak Common, Neutral and Cat. The prime requisite is strength whilst a minimum intelligence and dexterity of 15, as well as constitution of 12 is required. Wisdom must be less than 12 as they are uncontrollably curious. Fighting ability, hit dice and saving throws as fighters, gaining all fighter bonuses (i.e. exceptional strength, constitution hit point bonuses, dexterity AC bonus -1). Weapon proficiencies and NWP's as magic-users.

Move 15", Attacks: 2 claws 1D2 each, bite 1D4.

Level   Experience  HD    AC   Hide   Abilities
  1     0           1      6   25%    Gaze Lock
  2     2,000       2      5   35%    1st level MU
  3     8,000       3      4   45%    General
  4     16,000      4      3   55%    Read Magic and Languages
  5     32,000      5      2   65%    Giant Size
  6     64,000      6      1   75%    3rd level MU
  7     120,000     7      0   85%    General
  8     240,000     8     -1   90%    General and Human Form
  9     360,000     9     -2   95%    5th level MU
 10     480,000     9+2   -2   max    General
 11     600,000     9+4   -3   max    7th level MU
 12     720,000     9+6   -3   max    General
 13     840,000     9+8   -4   max    9th level MU
 14     960,000     9+10  -4   max    Vanish
 15     1,080,000   9+12  -4   max    11th level MU

Hellcats have up to 9 lives, one gained at each level up to 9th. Hellcats get out of dangerous situations with at least 1 hit point left thus using up a "life" (possibly more than one in a totally deadly fix). The DM should devise a way out for the hellcat, divine intervention to be avoided if at all possible. Hence a 1st level hellcat has 1 life, a 9th up to 9 remaining. If the 9 lives are all used the hellcat is permanently dead, though a Wish or Reincarnation could be used; hence a 1st level hellcat could die once.

General Abilities

Roll D100, if roll a previously gained ability then re-roll
(except Bite/Detect).

01-25   Telekinesis     81-85   Levitation
26-50   Change Self     86-90   Hiss of Fear
51-60   Gaze Fear       91-95   Shadow Door
61-65   Invisibility    96-98   Gaze Blast
66-70   Bite/Detect        99   Power Link
71-80   Gaze Charm         00   Magic Resistance

Explanation of Abilities

Telekinesis: as spell, may (un)tie knots, move objects, etc; range 2"/level, 20gpwt/level, usable at will.

Change Self: as spell, but base is cat form (or human if 8th+ level), usable with Giant Size, usable at will.

Gaze Fear: a Fear spell affecting one creature and requiring eye-to-eye contact, range 12", usable half level times/day.

Invisibility: may not fight invisible, usable at will.

Bite: when roll this may select Detect instead; allows injecting of poison of half level dice if choose so on bite. If roll twice instead get paralysis venom, again half level dice.

Detect: a 5'radius detection aura automatically senses magic and traps, may detect magic and/or traps 1"range/level at will.

Gaze Charm: a Charm Person/Monster spell affecting one creature and requiring eye-to-eye contact, duration as spell/until sleep/until reuse ability, usable half level times/day. Range 12"

Levitation: as spell, no maximum range, 12"/turn, usable at will. At 9th+ level becomes Fly at 18"/turn.

Hiss of Fear: as a Fear spell, usable 1/3rd level times/day, 2"x 2" cone.

Shadow Door: may instantly move 3"/level while Hiding in Shadow to another visible shadow, are no longer hiding when arrive, usable half level times/day.

Gaze Blast: twin energy blasts doing 2D6 damage each, save V magic for half damage (for each blast), may be two targets if close (1' per 1" range) together, range 1"/level, usable half level times/day.

Power Link: enables sharing of power with a well-known (ESP, Telepathy, or considerable acquaintance) magic-user/magic-using creature. Spells and mental powers (TK, psionics, etc.), level of things shared is average of levels +2. If both use ESP or Telepathy then can use other's senses and also voice with permission. Range is 1"/level, both using ESP gives double range, Telepathy triple range. If both use ESP or Telepathy one may attempt to dominate, sum Str, Int and Con; highest dominates the link and +2 on level is lost, if 6-9 dominance may force (save V death ray) use of others voice, if 10+ dominance gain automatic use of others voice and may force (save V death ray) use of others body (intense concentration required). Both in link automatically "hear" the others speech and surface thoughts. Usable at will, long use causes exhaustion.

Magic Resistance: gives an extra save for no effect against magical effects, of 10 against effects of own level, +1 per level below/above. May share this ability by Power Link. Also roll another ability. Operates continuously, usually before normal save V magic/wands, etc.

Other Abilities

Gaze Lock: requires eye-to-eye contact, victim save V magic or does nothing until link is broken, hellcat may only move slowly and only attack with Gaze abilities or use mental powers/spells (e.g. ESP). If the sum of the victims Int and Wis is above hellcat's then may re-roll saving throw once/2 rounds, may re-roll if hit or life visibly threatened. Usable level times/day. Range 12".

Read Magic & Languages: as spells, usable at will. Also gives Communication Telepathy (no common language required, range 3"), again usable at will.

Giant Size:

Level  Height  Claw  Bite  AC  Damage taken
 5th     2'     D4   1D8   -1  Half
 8th     4'     D6   2D6   -2  Third
12th     8'     D8   2D8   -3  Quarter

Allows an increase in size to a maximum size based on level, 2' tall at the shoulder, then 4' and at 12th level 8'. Gain increased damage on attacks, a worse AC and take reduced damage from blows and other attacks. Basic size 2x level rounds/day, 4' two/one, 8' three/one.

Human Form: may take human appearance (as Polymorph Self) at will, does not prevent use of abilities except Giant Size, AC is 3 worse. Weapon proficiencies can now be reasonably trained.

Vanish: may move from the shadows to and from the Ethereal Plane and other planes accessible from it at will. Without shadows takes 2D12-level rounds to open the gate, in certain areas or "weak points" in reality, may take up to one other with them (up to twice/day).

Spells: as magic-user of that level, roll for known spells as MU, but no verbal or somatic components, gestures or spell books are required. DMs may interpolate spell use if desired.

Equipment

This is restricted by the hellcat's form, in Human Form could use all equipment as a magic-user, in cat form a collar is probably the limit. The collar could be jewelled (removably) and hence carry wealth, or a Wizard could possibly be persuaded to enchant it with various powers.

Note on Familiars

A hellcat could be a familiar, in this case Power Link would be gained as the first General Ability, probably with the "owner" being +2 on the link dominance sum and taking 2D10 damage if the hellcat dies while linked.

Origins

Hellcats may come from a variety of sources. A few are listed here.

One origin is that they start as normal cats that are taken as familiars by those who are not Good and have 15+ intelligence, either using the Find Familiar spell, or something similar, and remain a familiar of that person for at least three levels. When the magic-user dies the cat must make a system shock survival roll, and if they do they gain the human level intelligence of their ex-master, and all the abilities of a first level hellcat. Hellcats of this variety are often looking for someone compatible to become the familiar of, but with the balance tipped far more their way, this time around.

Various Higher Powers (very rarely those that are Good) sometimes grant familiars to people like witches, which are tied to them by needing a drop of blood from their owner once/week to retain their intelligence else they go rabidly insane for 1D6 days (do not have the disease) then revert to normal animal. If the owner dies then it is very likely that the familiar will go rabidly insane, possibly beserkly attacking the killer if violence was involved, and willing itself to death in any case; roll 2D6, and only on a 12 will the familiar survive. Even then the familiar will go rabidly insane and revert to a normal animal as it can no longer get the blood it needs, unless it takes at least a little flesh and blood from its ex-owner before the body cools, say within one hour. Some owners on dying deliberately get their familiar to eat some of their flesh and blood, to give them a better chance of surviving. Eating their ex-owner like this, after the successful roll of a 12, grants the familiar some of their ex-owners power, and changes them into a first level hellcat. Hellcats of this variety are frequently rather unhappy about what they did to survive, and are resistant to the idea of becoming anyone's familiar, ever again.

There is a secret combination of spells and alchemical potions that with the right training can make a normal black kitten into a first level hellcat that is a familiar, but the owner gains no advantage from this until the hellcat reaches third level (see above), gaining Power Link. This process is not completely reliable, unless the cat is of a special breed, and if it goes insane and dies, sometimes it takes its owner with it.

Some hellcats are of a special breed, and have (possibly distant) ancestors that were from the Outer Planes. Another source is that on occasion familiars inter-breed with normal cats, and while there is very rarely any issue, some potential might be inherited. These seem to be normal kittens, if quite intelligent ones, but if they come into contact with certain sorts of mental powers before they become adult, that can cause them to become a first level hellcat (DM option). Also see use of spells and potions above for reliably forcing this process. This variety of hellcat is typically the most independent sort, unless it has been force-developed into a familiar.

Note that hellcats are very rarely fertile, though they can enjoy the process of trying, and live 'naturally' as long as humans, or if they reach 15th level, Wizards. If they do have offspring, these will not automatically become hellcats, though use of Power Link is likely to help a lot.


(c) Rory O. McLean, Nov. 2000
    Permission granted to use for non-profit making purposes