Varis: The War of the Brand
A one-time slave race of the early human settlers of Varis, Catfolk were freed after humanity was defeated by the Daemar and forced to capitulate to a number of peace terms: freeing of slaves was one of them.
The greater part of the free history of the Catfolk has been trying to piece together a shattered, nearly forgotten past and Catfolk still do not know their origins.
In the modern era the Catfolk have changed greatly in some ways from demi-human slave stock. The island of Darinshar is the first catfolk nation, which has chosen to go its own way rather than follow the path of humanity. Darinshar catfolk tend to be suspicious of humans but catfolk who live outside of Darinshar, in human lands, are just as varied in their opinions as their experiences in life.
Some humans still cling to a sense of superiority and see Catfolk as little more than servants or half-savage beasts but most have forgotten their old prejudices and accept their Catfolk neighbors more-or-less gracefully.
Catfolk tend towards spirituality in some form and many have taken to animism or the philosophy of Jinn since the gods vanished. Catfolk are quick-witted, engaging, and emotional. The emotional catfolk have a darker, dangerous side as well, and they are as likely to meet an insult with a drawn weapon as they are to shrug it off with a jest.
Catfolk can listen to others patiently enough, but once they have expressed a clear opinion, they expect the conversation to come to a conclusion quickly. They have little time for those who attempt to persuade or debate by simply restating their opinion. They grow bored when others take a long time to reach a point or who view an exchange of opinions as a trial of endurance.
It is worth reiterating that Catfolk history is very vague and contains huge gaps, centuries of slavery before they arrived on Varis have erased much of their racial knowledge and culture. Their origins are not known to them and Catfolk scholars often devote their lives to studying their past.
There are many theories as to their origins. Most Catfolk believe they may in someway be related to lycanthropes or even created by a unknown deity long ago. Humanity, for the most part, believes Catfolk to have been modified by ancient wizards of untold power from stock humans. But in truth, no one really knows.
Catfolk living in Human lands and without prior involvement in Darinshar usually have the cultural beliefs of their human neighbors.
Darinsharran Catfolk (See Darinshar) however have drifted into a tribal direction and have rejected most mainstream human practices in favor of a form of living they believe is connected in some way to their cultural heritage before their long enslavement.
Darinsharran Catfolk also place great importance on small tokens that serve as physical connections to their memories, and they view these special tokens as having physiological importance if not true magical power. Adults carry several such tokens with them at all times, ranging from objects as large as weapons and armor that served well in past battles to items as subtle as a small brooch that they wore on an important day in the past. For them this tradition is a deeply personal experience, and the highest compliment a Darinsharran can pay someone is to present one of his tokens as a gift and explain its significance.
Catfolk characters possess the following racial traits:
• +4 Dexterity, +2 Charisma.
• A catfolk’s base land speed is 40 feet.
• Low-Light Vision: Catfolk can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
• Racial Skills: Catfolk have a +2 racial bonus on Listen and Move Silently checks.
• +1 natural armor bonus.
• Automatic Languages: Varisian Common.
Bonus Languages: Gnoll, Feline (Catfolk language), Sylvan.