|Illustration by Matthew Adams for CHARACTER ARCHAICS.|
You may have seen his art in the new YOON-SUIN book.
The Grimalkin are a race of ageless cat-folk -- the kin of the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Puss-in-Boots and the Cait Sith of Scottish folklore. They are fey creatures, sensitive to magic and pathways to the Otherworld.
Like all things native to the fairy dominions, a grimalkin is especially allergic to cold iron and will take double damage from weapons made of the metal. Additionally, they must save vs spell or begin smoldering at the point of contact. The effect is uncomfortable but does not cause additional damage of itself. Likewise, things of silver disgust them and they will recoil from fear of contact with it. Silver-contact will make a grimalkin ill who fails a CON check -- continuous sneezing, coughing of hairballs, weeping of slimy tears -- all these symptoms will persist for 1d6 days.
Though the grimalkin is ageless, it is given to strange transformations over long periods that demarcate the phases of its existence:
- A grimalkin in estray wears clothing, speaks the common tongue and walks upright. Such catkin may be friendly to mortals but are usually tricksome and perilous. In estray a grimalkin may cast spells and has a 2-in-6 chance of noticing invisible creatures or hidden passages to the Otherworld. The forepaws of a grimalkin-estray are delicate and hand-like, allowing it to utilize weapons and pick locks, if necessary.
- A grimalkin in chester was previously in estray and got this way from eating too many mundane rats, usually while in the towns of men. A grimalkin-in-chester resembles a normal cat in all respects -- though it is perhaps unusually fat, friendly and stupid. Being in chester is especially embarrassing to all catkin and something typically avoided. But the temptation of those soft, gray rats is sometimes too much for their greedy stomachs to resist. Each time they consume one, there is a 10% chance that they will spontaneously chester. And every rat within their reach requires them to save vs spell or be compelled to catch and eat it. A chestered grimalkin must abstain from consuming rats for two weeks in order to return to a state of estray. It's said that certain spells of alteration can expedite this process.
- A grimalkin in wilder ["wil-dur"] has returned to its primal fey form and is difficult to see clearly in the mortal world as more than a gleaming pair of eyes beyond the throw of the lantern's light. Catkin-in-wilder shun all exposure to sunlight, for it will turn them to wood (though a save vs petrifaction is allowed). They are not especially fond of lesser lights either, and will seek to extinguish them if opportunity allows. In wilder a grimalkin has no memory and will not be able to distinguish friend from foe. It is able to move in and out of the Otherworld at will and will sometimes drag its prey (deer, goat-man, pilgrim, or other medium-sized bit of flesh) back to its fey-side lair. A grimalkin-in-estray who is near death from wounds or illness may opt to revert to its wilder state out of desperation. It is exceedingly difficult to coax one back from this atavistic monster-shape, but not impossible. Certain potions -- usually containing ingredients like virginal blood infused with moonlight, or crushed toadstone -- may bring the grimalkin back to a state of estray.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE GRIMALKIN IN DOLMENWOOD CHARACTER ARCHAICS, AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND PDF THIS AUTUMNTIDE.