Tales of Tolgard
The changecat is a feline creature with the ability to shapeshift form from a small house cat into a large plains cat. In the smaller form, it is identical to a normal domestic cat. Its coloration runs the full spectrum of colors and patterns that a normal house cat might have, but its eyes are steadier and more confident. The magical beast spends most of its time in this smaller form, as it requires less food to sustain itself.
When this beast is in its larger form, it is very sleek, powerful, and fast. Its tawny coat is more like a lion’s than a cheetah’s, lacking spots of any sort. Its claws are not retractable in this form, and are designed for traction as much as for fighting.
Changecats are the result of a wizard’s experiments to engineer a perfect animal companion and guardian of his most valuable treasures. By manipulating a house cat magically, he was able to create the first changecat, which was then able to breed true with any feline animal. Changecats roam the wilds of the world, but are still often encountered as pets among the rich and powerful. Changecats have an affinity for humans, elves, and half-elves, regarding other humanoids with suspicion. If a humanoid treats it kindly, there is a good chance that it will adopt that person and become a traveling companion. It will remain in house cat form, and its new friend will probably not learn its true nature until the changecat’s companion becomes threatened.
A changecat rarely fights anything larger than itself while in the smaller form, and will switch to the larger form as quickly as possible. It hunts mice, small rats and birds in its natural form, but while in plains cat form it will go after larger prey such as deer or antelopes. Its preferred hunting tactic is to stalk from concealment until it gets within 100 yards of its prey, then burst forth with amazing speed. Changecats do not hunt intelligent creatures, and only attack them if they attack first. They have no natural enemies, but they have displayed an antipathy for goblins, orcs, and half-orcs.
A changecat remains in one form until it chooses to assume a new one. A change in form cannot be dispelled, nor does the changecat revert to its natural form when killed. A true seeing spell, however reveals its natural form if it is in plains cat form. A changecat can make this change up to five times per day.