Thursday 1 July 2021

The Bakeneko

The Bakeneko is written by Gustavo Tertoleone. Art is credited to Gustavo Tertoleone. The publisher is Black Dog

This is a character class written for use with Old School Essentials, Caves & Hexes, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Like The Jester before it, this product does make some use of harder-to-read fonts, but this doesn't extend to the important text.

The Bakeneko is a Japanese nature spirit, a yokai, which takes the shape of a cat, of a humanoid cat, or even a human. In this they are similar to Faerie Animals, but there the similarities end. Bakeneko get a number of class skills, which they need to allot points to in order to use. All of the skills are potentially useful, and the Bakeneko can gain more points (potentially) at each level. The skills are roll-under, d6-based, so that if you have 2 points in the Necromancy skill, for instance, you have to roll a 1-2 on 1d6 to use it. Skills may have other limitations; for instance, Nine Lives can only be used nine times.

Some of the skills are not well defined, and will require judges to adjudicate when and how they apply. This is an artifact, in part, of the OSR aesthetic, in part due to the pamphlet-sized space the class is published in, and in part, I think, because the class abilities are written to make sense in more than one game system.

Altogether, this is a good class, and will fit well into an Oriental/Asian-themed DCC game.With minor name changes, it would work well in almost any game. A judge running a game in Dolmenwood could use this class as a substitute for the Grimalkin in Wormskin #1. See also the Black Cat class in The Class Alphabet.

In the Far East, located in a secluded island which is home for an entire nation, live a group of powerful individuals who have deep connections with nature itself. These beings are called yokai by the local people. Some of them get used to living among humans, disguising themselves to look like us. These are called Bakeneko, cat spirits who can take different forms, like humanoid cats or regular cats, and some may even take the face of other people to look exactly like them! Be ready to become a Bakeneko and live huge adventures in a far land.

Get It Here!

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