16
\$\begingroup\$

I'm writing my own D&D universe and there are two deities I've chosen from the official setting to incorporate: Lolth and the Cat Lord

The Cat Lord seems to be depicted as a deity for the Tabaxi in Volo's Guide to Monsters. I've tried to find more information about the church of the Cat Lord, how they work, their beliefs etc. but I haven't found anything.

Where can I find more information about the Cat Lord, especially focusing on mortal worshipers (organization & hierarchy, rituals, worldview, etc.)?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Not immediately useful, but I just felt I needed to link DiTerlizzi’s Cat Lord—it’s among the most famous and evocative of D&D illustrations. DiTerlizzi did a lot of the illustrations for Planescape, including that one, back in the AD&D days, and his style—particularly that image—has become closely associated with the planes for many players. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 17 '17 at 14:56
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, a more useful comment: do you mean specifically information from the latest edition of D&D (5e), or any information about the Cat Lord from any edition of D&D? As my previous comment notes, the Cat Lord predates the current edition by quite a bit, so there may be more information if answerers go back further, but then that runs the risk of something having changed in the latest edition. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 17 '17 at 15:03
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Any edition but more about the religion than the being itself. \$\endgroup\$ – Ralphy Jul 17 '17 at 15:05
23
\$\begingroup\$

The Cat Lord is not a deity

Until the 5th Edition Volo's Guide to Monsters, none of the many variations of "Cat Lord" in D&D canon rose past rank 0 "quasi-deity," and even that was only a sidebar'd suggestion in the Epic Level Handbook.

In terms of religious veneration of the Cat Lord, the best attestation I could find came from Dragon Magazine Compendium, in which the tibbits are also said to follow the Cat Lord. Here, the Cat Lord is identified merely as "a powerful creature" and it's noted that the tibbits have no organized religion surrounding her, viewing her as more of an older brother figure and spiritual protector. This includes no details about any religious practices.

...but the tabaxi have other gods

The gods of the tabaxi, at least in the Maztica setting, are Tezca, Nula, Azul, and Zaltec.

  • Tezca is a chaotic evil solar deity. He desired fresh human hearts as sacrifices. His faith is a brutal one; each day at sunset, his priests congregate to offer the fresh heart of an unfortunate victim to ensure that the sun-god shall show his face again tomorrow. His faith is related to warmth, life, and power over fire.

  • Nula is a chaotic neutral goddess of wild beasts, a demipower whose influence is growing slowly across the Maztican continent. She is invoked by hunters and those who fish, leaving gifts of seed and bone in the wilds for her to know she has been called upon. Primarily depicted as a monkey, she has lesser aspects representing many other animals of the wilds.

  • Azul is a lawful evil god of water and rain. Often the first deity enshrined and venerated in new territory (to ensure the rains favor this land and will provide for its people), Azul watches over all bodies of water, from the smallest streams to the mighty ocean, and even the very rare (in tabaxi territories) snowfalls. His priesthood keep themselves scrupulously clean with baths and pumice stones. Foul sacrifices are performed to him in the spring to ensure a prosperous wet season.

  • Zaltec is a chaotic evil war god, a vicious deity symbolized by skulls, hearts, blood, and jaguars. Tabaxi who have fallen under the sway of a tabaxi lord (a related creature) tend to worship Zaltec. He is venerated by fresh hearts on his altar, blood spilled in battle, fasting, and ritual scarification. His priests wear black robes, wash their hair in the blood of their victims, and spike it outward in garish diplays. What that might look like, who could say.

Beyond that, though, there is nothing official about the Cat Lord's religion

...because, as noted above, it simply doesn't exist. "Cat Lord" is a well-worn trope in D&D, having appeared in some form in short stories (a group of them appear), novels, the 1st Edition Monster Manual II (the original, a male), Planescape (the second, a female), the Epic Level Handbook (a 37th-level shapeshifting rogue, male) and elsewhere on and off. Until Volo's Guide, however, none firmly attributed deity status to a Cat Lord, and no source that I've found suggests any kind of open worship.

That doesn't mean you can't borrow some...

There are other feline deities, of course - you can look into Ferrix, goddess of weretigers; Bast, a vengeful Egyptian tutelary cat goddess, and Sharess, a Faerunian demipower of cats and hedonism. Any of these might provide a reasonable model for a Cat Lord religion, if that's what you're after.

I hope this has helped.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the thorough, historically grounded answer... but also for the 'Zaltec priest" illustration XD \$\endgroup\$ – SirTechSpec Jul 17 '17 at 18:19
8
\$\begingroup\$

The Cat Lord has a long history in D&D.

The Cat Lord first appeared as Meerclar, Lord of the Cats (based on a character in Michael Moorcock's Elric stories) in Supplement 4 to the Original D&D game. (3 brown books/OD&D). The Cat Lord was described as:

A giant sabre tooth tiger, standing 20 feet tall and 30 feet long...He is able to sense anything within the range of any feline, and can call on 1-100 tigers and 1-50 lions to do his bidding. This being, when called, will not appear himself; he will work through a cat on or near the area. If he is forced to come himself he will kill the caller. (Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes, TSR, 1976, p. 55)

As you can see, worship of the cat lord had its benefits, and its hazards. He was one of a number of Master Types (Others being Lizards, Snakes, etc)

MASTER TYPES
These beings live in other dimensions called half-worlds. In these worlds every creature of earth has a ruler which is the most perfect specimen of his type. They are all neutral in alignment

The Cat Lord reappeared in the Monster Manual II for AD&D (1e) and was generally considered a "quasi-deity" at the time.

He was used in Greyhawk some most notably in Gary Gygax' "Gord the Rogue" novels, where Gord has an affinity with the Catlord (they're related, actually) and eventually takes on the mantle of Catlord. I am not sure I can in good conscience recommend that someone read those books, as for all his merits Gary's prose skills are somewhat off-putting, but there is a good bit of lore detail, including the idea that "Cat Lord" is a title passed on from near-deity-level badass to another, in them, especially in Saga of the Old City. Here's a writeup of Rexfelis the Catlord from the Greyhawk days.

Animal Lord

Animals Lords are powerful creatures of neutral good alignment that live on the Outer Plane of the Beastlands. In the game, each animal lord is a humanoid being, powerful like a celestial paragon or demon prince, that represents all animals of its chosen type. For example, there is a Mouse Lord, a Lizard Lord, and a Hawk Lord. The most well-known animal lord is Rexfelis, the Cat Lord." - Wikipedia's List of Greyhawk Characters

In Second Edition, the Planescape Monstrous Compendium has a female Cat Lord, as one of a set of animal lords.

3rd Edition: Tomb of Horrors Complete, in which he's a unique outsider.

Anyway, in all the classic depictions, he or she is strongly aligned with the forces of Neutrality, and pays little mind to the human realm, mainly being all about the cats. He's only known to be friendly with one other deity, Xan Yae, a Neutral monk goddess. As such there are no churches or rituals or whatnot - his worship, even among felines, is "more of a partnership."

\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

The Cat Lord appeared in the 1st Edition Monster Manual 2. Many of the creatures that appeared in that book were taken from early Dragon Magazine articles and 1st Edition modules. (I don't recall the Cat Lord appearing in a module, I bet he was a Dragon article.)

It is possible that if you look up the source of the MM2 creature that there might be some additional info that the author presented. Also I think MM2 had a list in the back of who created each monster, that might be helpful too in figuring out where the Cat Lord came from.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.