Manticora

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Manticoras are a race of leonic humanoids with a resemblance to manticores native to the Dungeons & Dragons setting of Scarred Lands. Originally a monster race in the setting's first edition, they became a playable race in its second edition. Their possible connection to the Proud, a species of Titanspawn tauric lionfolk similar to wemics, is unknown.

Titanspawn Manticoras[edit]

Appearing in the 1st Creature Collection, the Monster Manuals of the Scarred Lands, the manticora are commonly known as "Vangal's Cats", as this twisted race are a warped melding of human and cat created by the malicious god Vangal, an offshoot of the same project that created the manticores.

Unlike most catfolk, their human side predominates, which makes them look particularly hideous; a manticora has a human face, with features twisted to give it a vaguely feline cast, and a human body covered in russet-gold fur. Their digitigrade legs end in feline paws, whilst their human-like hands sport black, retractile claws in lieu of nails. Like their manticore cousins, the manticora sports shark-like teeth, which it constantly sheds and replaces. They stand between 5'6" and 6'6" tall, although their tendency to hunch forward - the race is capable of falling to all fours for greater speed - makes them seem shorter.

Manticora embody most of the worst traits ofcats and humans. They are affirmed man-eaters; human flesh is a great delicacy among the race. What's more, manticora enjoy hunting for sport, particularly sentient races; they take great pleasure in the fear and pain of their prey. To one of Vangal's cats, there is no greater proof of their hunting superiority than to be able to deliver agonizing, terror-stricken death to the victim of their choice. By tormenting their prey, they believe that they reaffirm their position at the top of the food chain.

Manticora society is based on the pride; these war bands are more inclined to rove from place to place than to stake out a territory of their own. Once they've entered a hunting ground, they take prey with little regard for the long-term health of the ecology. Manticora never mark their territories; that might deprive them of potential prey. A pride is led by a powerful male and his mates (usually three or four of them), all of whom are likely to have a few levels in one or more character classes. Scarred Lands manticora make proficient barbarians, rangers, fighters, rogues and evil druids; their preferred multiclass is barbarian. Manticora clerics typically choose the domains of Destruction and Strength. They have very few wizards, although a few prides are notorious for bloodlines that produce more than their share of sorcerers. Vangal's cats are unlikely to keep domestic animals, although some prides have bred a particularly vicious breed of lion to guard their camps. Only the strongest prides can afford this luxury, for it requires them to bring in all the more meat.

Vangal's cats can use weapons, but only if they feel that their prey is dangerous. When they're confident in their ability to take a victim down, they resort to tooth and claw for "added intimacy." They're skilled at curing hides, and they typically wear armor sewn together from the hardened skins of their prey, augmented with the occasional scrap of scavenged metal. When using weapons, they prefer short harpoons (like barbed shortspears) designed to sink into flesh and stay there, weighting prey down. When closing for the kill on a dangerous victim, they use spiked chains to entangle their foes or simple chopping or slashing weapons.

Manticora tactics typically involve harrying their prey to tire it out, sneak attacks and even psychological warfare. Although they're sufficiently ferocious to fight in open combat, they prefer keeping a fight on their terms at all times.

Redeemed Manticoras[edit]

In 2nd edition, the manticoras appeared in the Scarred Lands Player's Guide. Here, they were retconned from being a wild monstrous race as evil as any Titanspawn to being more morally neutral - after all, they were technically created by the gods and fought on their side during the Divine War.

The manticora are a graceful, yet fearsome combination of feline and human. They stand upright on two feet, with a long, lion’s tail swishing between their digitigrade legs. The torso is humanoid, and the whole is covered in tawny or russet-gold fur. The manticora’s head shares features of both species: catlike eyes and nose, but humanlike ears, and a foreshortened leonine snout filled with sharp feline teeth. Male manticora have a thick mane, while females have more fur covering the face than the males. Manticora wear rustic tunics and simple cloth robes for clothing, though being furred, they tend to wear as little clothing as possible, climate permitting. More than one sage has observed that the manticora must be related to the panther-like terali catfolk of Termana.

With the titans defeated and Vangal more or less having left them to their own devices, the manticora have begun to civilize themselves, engaging with the divine races and settling into semi-permanent towns and cities. They are a race in transition, ready to take the next step forward as a people. As a former servitor race to one of the gods (even if that god was Vangal the Reaver), the manticora do not face the same stigma as many of the Redeemed. That said, most other races still consider the catfolk to be dangerous and untrustworthy, citing stories of bloodthirsty manticora raids on settlements and villages all around the Blood Steppes, and even as far off as Vesh, New Venir, and Hollowfaust. However, a number of contemporary manticora are making great strides to repair their tarnished reputations. The manticoras’ greatest success thus far has been with the Ganjus elves, who have established a number of treaties and trade agreements with peaceable factions among the lionfolk. Elsewhere, the manticora have established relations with the orcs of the Plains of Lede and the slitherin of the Walled Warren.

The manticora are a traditionally nomadic people, divided into tribal groups called "prides" that are normally led by the strongest male, although some powerful females have overturned this rule in the past. Some of the more civilized prides have begun to settle in the Haggard Hills, forming small towns and villages and engaging in regular trade with the other races. Some of the more violent manticora tribes of the Perforated Plains, still somewhat loyal to Vangal, have formed a loose union, or at least a peace pact, with the Bleak Savannah’s “proud” (a race of savage, centaur-like leonine creatures). Yet other manticora, particularly in the Blood Steppes, remain fiercely independent. The manticora admire storytellers and keepers of history, perhaps because the race has not existed for a very long time relative to many others. Skalds and bards are common among them, valued by their prides. The manticora prefer oral traditions over written ones.

Since their formation during the Divine War, and until it ended, the manticora were loyal to Vangal, acting as his prized raiders and warriors on Scarn. They hunted titanspawn, primarily, but were also known to turn on the other divine races (and it is even said that some of them developed a taste for human and elven flesh). With the war over and Vangal’s attention turned elsewhere, some lionfolk see this new era as a time of reawakening, spiritually and culturally. Some have chosen to follow Enkili or Tanil, while others view Madriel or (more likely) Belsameth as their spiritual guide.

A manticora’s alignment can vary, although they tend toward the chaotic. Many are evil by human standards, although a growing number have shifted toward a neutral alignment. Good manticora are not unheard of, but they are rare.

The manticora were raiders and scouts for Vangal during the Divine War. The thought of adventuring for one’s own gain was very far from their understanding. In recent decades, however, having watched the other races, some manticora have chosen to leave their pride to seek glory on their own. Part of this newfound sense of agency may also have to do with a growing need to understand other cultures in order to thrive in a post-war world. Still, many manticora maintain their natural hunting instincts and view adventuring as a means to slake their blood-thirst.

Male Names: Akul, Choo, Garghi, Hepto, Klah, Megdak, Otahk, Tocho, Yasi Female Names: Boona, Elu, Isi, Maruna, Pezi, Sihu, Terha, Woki, Zola

5e Manticora Racial Traits[edit]

Manticora are skilled hunters and trackers, as demonstrated by their common traits.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and either your Wisdom or your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. Manticora mature in their late teens, and few live over a century.
Size. The typical manticora is just under 6 feet tall and weighs around 160 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet. Provided your hands are empty, you can choose to move on all fours. If you do so, your land speed increases to 40 feet.
Darkvision (60 ft.). Your catlike eyes can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
Manticora Combat Training. You have proficiency with claw gauntlets and shortbows.
Natural Hunter.When you select skill proficiencies from your class during character creation, you add Stealth and Survival to your list of choices.
Natural Weapons. You have fangs and claws you can use in combat. Both are finesse weapons with which you have proficiency. Your Bite attack deals 1d4 piercing damage, while your Claws attack deals 1d4 slashing. If you deal improved unarmed damage, such as from the monk’s Martial Arts class feature, you can deal your normal unarmed strike damage with your Claws attack instead.
Languages. You speak Leonid and any one other language.