Sunday, December 23, 2018

GFA18 - Were Cougar

The last entry in my series of mountain lion variations for the 2018 Gongfarmer's Alamanc is the were-cougar. Traditionally, the ability to shapeshift between human and feline forms is associated with the wampus cat, but I thought it was an interesting enough ability to stand alone. For roleplaying monsters, I think it may be better to have just one really stand-out ability, and for the wampus cougar, that was already the mourner's wail, and the were-cougar was born. 
She's the only mountain lion with a real alignment, and I thought giving her a demon's crit sort of fit well with her supernatural aspect. While I wanted her to shapeshift often so the players could see it (well, or at least imagine seeing it) I didn't want that to create any kind of confusion involving a second stat-block. So she has one stat-block, one hit-point total, and her shapeshifting is basically cosmetic, which is fine with me. I added the coin-toss to make her shifting random. I didn't want it to happen every round, but I thought it might be harder to remember instructions like "every third round."

The association of the word "cougar" with older women who want to date younger men led me to the idea of the lover's wail. I probably wouldn't have thought of that if I'd chosen a different cat, but I'm glad I did. It reminds me of some of the early D&D monsters who kidnapped party members by making them fall in love. That's the worst-case outcome here, but a normal failure just means that you'll spend all your downtime with your new cougar-wife, and if you're lucky, she'll actually join your party as an NPC ally. Danny Prescott edited this entire series.
Were-cougar: Init +3; Atk claw +3 melee (1d4+1) or bite +4 melee (1d6+2) or wail (special); AC 13; HD 3d10; MV 40' or climb 20'; Act 1d20; SP shapeshifter, pounce, lover's wail; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +4; AL C; Crit DN/d4.
A were-cougar is a shapeshifter with two forms. In her human form she appears as a woman on the cusp of old age wearing simple local dress. She seems feisty and self-reliant. In her lion form, she has a slightly demonic air, pointier ears, shaggier fur, sharper claws (she uses identical statistics regardless of form).
A were-cougar is the implacable enemy of the nearest town, and may treat PCs as allies if they are outcasts there. She collects husbands and has a harem of 1d8 local men in her den at all times. She is not particularly jealous, and allows her men to take second wives, so long as she retains their primary loyalty. There is a 50% chance the were-cougar is first encounter her in lion form.
If a were-cougar makes the first attack of combat she will use her lover's wail; otherwise she attacks normally. Thereafter, she will alternate attacks between claw, bite and wail, pouncing when possible. Each round she doesn't pounce flip a coin; if heads she uses her move to shift between her human and cougar forms. A were-cougar prefers to use her claw and bite attacks against female opponents and against males who pass their Luck check against her wail. If every living male opponent has been affected by her wail she will return to her den and any new husbands will follow.
Shapeshifter: A were-cougar takes half damage from ordinary weapons. She counts as unholy for lawful clerics. The were-cougar can shift between her human and cougar forms as a move action.
Pounce: A were-cougar can pounce to gain an extra d20 attack die and attack with any two attack options, i.e. claw and bite, bite and wail, or wail and claw. The were-cougar can only pounce if she surprises its victims, attacks first due to initiative, or has taken no damage since her previous attack.
Lover's wail: A were-cougar sings a haunting, wordless song, like a lonely woman singing to her cat. A were-cougar's wail affects the male opponent with the highest Personality score who hasn't been affected yet today (in case of tie, she targets the opponent with the highest Luck score from among those with highest Personality). The affected target rolls a Luck check to see how he is affected.
  • Half Luck score or lower - The were-cougar falls in love with the target and stops combat immediately. She will offer to marry the target and join the them as an NPC who mostly follows his instructions. She will follow him anywhere in order to live her life beside him.
  • Luck score or lower - The were-cougar is the most beautiful woman the target ever saw, but he knows it is just not to be.
  • Higher than Luck score - The target falls in love with the were-cougar and retires from combat while trying to talk his friends into stopping their attack. The target spends his downtime between adventures living with the were-cougar as her lover in her den. He refuses to go on journeys that would take him too far away from his lover.
  • Higher than double Luck score - The target falls deeply in love with the were-cougar, and fights to the death to prevent anyone else from attacking her. The target retires from adventuring to marry the were-cougar and live with her forever in her den.

Demonic crit: A were-cougar rolls 1d4 on the demon crit table.


  1. I loved the retirement outcome. Not everything has to be death and dismemberment. I can almost see her den, like the Bugs bunny underground home with a fishtank and a rug

  2. Now that you mention it Thiago, that sounds perfect for her. Very possibly, Bugs Bunny is one of her husbands.