Saga of Jaraah
Guardians of Chatenei
Guardians of Chatenei can change into snow leopard form (and back) once per month per level. There is an intermediate half-man/half-snow-leopard form that counts as half a transformation. The ability resets with every full moon. If the character wears anything rigid that could interfere with the transformation, then the character may suffer damage or find itself awkwardly confined upon completion of the transformation.
Guardians of Chatenei are humans. There are no known cases of 1/2 elf guardians, or guardians of any other racial type. The blessing/curse is passed down randomly.
In human form, the character behaves much as any other human with the same racial abilities and restrictions in terms of choice of class, ability scores, life span, etc. Being from the northern reaches of Jaraah, these characters will usually share the cosmetic physical attributes of their normal kinsmen (pale skin and hair, pale blue eyes, etc.). Some of them will have dark splotches mimicking the spots their snow leopard forms have. Over time, the character’s human form will grow to match the snow leopard form. The splotches will darken, the eyes will gain a feline cast (shape of the opening, roundness of the pupil, color of the “whites”). The character’s face will morph slightly and the teeth will become more pointed. The tips of the ears will also sharpen.
Half-human half-snow leopard form
In this form, the Guardian has much of the advantageous morphology of both forms. It’s head will take a distinctly feline shape and grant the superior sensory abilities of the snow leopard. Through improved hearing, smell, and stubby whiskers the character fights as if it has the blind-fighting proficiency.
The character retains thumbs, but its hands and feet grow vicious claws. Therefore, the character can fight with normal weapons, or fight unarmed as a snow leopard. The character uses its human statistics to fight (HD, THAC0, etc.). It gains a natural AC of 8 (DEX bonuses apply). If the character is wearing better armor than AC 8, the natural AC is non-cumulative.
- Claw/claw/bite, 1d2/1d2/1d3
- If two successful claw attacks, then can rake with rear feet (assuming no shoes on) for additional 1d3/1d3 with successful attack rolls
- Strength bonuses apply
The character gains speed and agility in this form. It can move at rate 15, jump upwards 10 feet, and jump forwards 15 feet from a stationary crouch. It also gains bonuses to climbing because of its claws.
Speaking is very difficult in this form, so spells with a verbal component have a 50% chance of failure. Spells with only somatic or material components are unaffected. Guardian spell-casters have developed a special library of spells they can cast in this form without penalty.
Snow leopard form
In this form, the character resembles a large snow leopard (5’ – 6’ long). It can fight as a snow leopard, but with greater damage.
- Claw/claw/bite, 1d4/1d4/1d8
- If two successful claw attacks, then can rake with rear feet (assuming no shoes on) for additional 1d6/1d6 with successful attack rolls
- Strength bonuses apply
The character fights as the better of its human and snow leopard forms. If the human form has better HP and THAC0, then those numbers are used. Otherwise the snow leopard form base statistics are used as follows:
- HP: 4d8+2 (roll once at character creation, this number is permanent)
- THAC0: 16
- AC 4 (DEX bonus does not apply)
The character cannot use its human armor in this form. Specially crafted armor can be fitted for this form, but the character would not be able to put it on itself.
In snow leopard form, the character can fight without penalty in normal darkness. In true darkness, the character fights with only a -2 penalty relying on its heightened hearing, smell, and tactile senses from its whiskers.
In terms of mobility, the character in this form has movement 18, can jump up 25 feet, and forward 30 feet from a stationary crouch. In all other ways, it behaves as a superior specimen of leopard.
Fur will be various shades of white (snow white through slushy grey) with various colors of dark spots (brown to black).
Normal spell-casting is impossible in this form. Spell-casters must use dedicated spells specially adapted to this form. These spells cannot be used in any other form.
Penalties and restrictions
Guardians of Chatenei are socially awkward and therefore suffer a -2 to CHA. Their feline characteristics make them prone to solitude. Being marked also makes them wary and not trusting of people outside their tribe. Members of their tribe who know what they are treat them reverently, so this is no encumberance in those settings.
Guardians of Chatenei are vulnerable to silver and will take double damage from silver weapons. They also cannot handle silver items (such as coins) which will cause burn damage if held in close enough proximity (gloves, pouches, and clothing are not enough to prevent pain and even burns over time).
On the night of a full moon (15th of each month), the character must make a save vs. polymorph or unwillingly turn into its animal form. This transformation counts against the monthly limit. Of course, the character could willingly let the transformation happen (choose not to attempt the save vs. polymorph). Reversion to the human or half-human form is at the will of the character, but cannot happen for 24 hours after the full-moon even if the character willingly let the transformation happen. Otherwise, there is no restriction on how soon after transformation the character can transform to another form.
Guardians of Chatenai are true lycanthropes. Therefore, their natural attacks can infect others per normal rules.