Travelers in the western half of North America know to fear the mountain lions that stalk the rocky Cordillera region from British Columbia down to Jalisco, and are even found occasionally back East. Mountain lions are solitary predators who follow their prey for some time and often surprise unwary victims. Mountain lions look like giant house cats, standing 3' tall at the shoulder and measure 7' from nose to tail. They have short tawny fur that turns white around their mouths and down their bellies. Their ears and nose are outlined in black, as are their paws and the tips of their tails.
If PCs encounter a mountain lion, roll 1d6 to determine the type: (1) ball-tailed cougar; (2) cactus cougar; (3) mountain-lion cougar; (4) sabretooth cougar; (5) wampus cougar; (6) were-cougar.
If the characters all stop attacking and throw down all their rations, kill an animal or person for the lion to eat, or allow the lion to eat someone who has already died, any mountain lion will take its meal and retreat to its den immediately.
Signs: Some characters are skilled trackers and can discover the presence of wilderness creatures before they're encountered. Judges may allow their players to encounter clues about the identity of local monsters before encountering them directly. Use the portents below if players are potentially likely to encounter a mountain lion. A character hearing a distant wail as a sign of a nearby lion will be the first character targeted by the wail during combat. I recommend playing Ratatat's "Wildcat" quietly on repeat from the time the characters encounter a sign (or roll initiative for combat) until the end of the encounter.
Ball-tailed cougar: The PC hears a sound like a child bouncing a ball, over and over and over.
Cactus cougar: The PC smells tequila in the wind and hears caterwauling like a drunkard singing on the walk home. The character who drank alcohol most recently is now drunk again and can feel the hangover coming already.
Mountain-lion cougar: The PC smells ammonia in the wind, and for a moment everything goes silent as the birds stop singing and insects quit their buzzing. After a short period the natural sounds resume.
Sabretooth cougar: The PC feels a sudden chill in the air, like breeze blowing in off a glacier, and hears what sounds like distant thunder.
Wampus cougar: A cloud crosses the sun and throws the PC into shadow. The PC hears a caterwaul like a mother's cry for lost children. The character with the lowest Luck and lowest hit points faints and immediately comes to after losing 1 hit point.
Were-cougar: The PC hears a woman singing. He can't make out the words, but it sounds like a lonely woman singing about her cat. The male character with the highest Personality and highest Luck is sure the singer is the most beautiful woman in the world.