Tuesday, July 9, 2019

OSR Commentary - Sound & Fury An Alternative Ecology For The Caterwaul From The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition Fiend Folio

They are the stalkers from beyond furthermost gates of Fairyland, the caterwaul is a creature that comes straight out of Welsh myth. These creatures are said to have been a family of witches that crossed over into the deepest parts of the chaotic hell lands of Fairyland. They became trapped in their cat forms after crossing nine times back & forth into our reality.  They have become less & much more then normal human beings. The caterwaul are beings of the edges of the wilderness & the places where reality is very thin.

From the back roads of Ireland & Scotland these creatures numbers increased as their skills of hiding in shadows & moving silent along the byways of legend allowed them to move along the old trails of the late Roman Empire. They have been encountered as far away as Hungry & the upper edges of Bohemia. Each hunting season one caterwaul male assumes the title 'King of Cats' in a vicious rite as illustrated by the British legend the King of Cats.
"In the British folk tale The King of the Cats, a man comes home to tell his wife and cat, Old Tom, that he saw nine black cats with white spots on their chests carrying a coffin with a crown on it, and one of the cats tells the man to "Tell Tom Tildrum that Tim Toldrum is dead." The cat then exclaims, "What?! Old Tim dead! Then I'm the King o' the Cats!" Old Tom then climbs up the chimney and is never seen again"
The caterwaul gains the white scar/spot on his chest then initiates 'the hunt' for all of Europe & beyond. These hunts are vicious affairs in which a pride of these creatures will single out a bloodline or familial line of humans. For the next six to eight months they will murder & consume these people in a weird occult or mystically symbolic fashion.  It is believed to ensure a healthy birth of new kittens for the coming year.

Caterwauls will seek out the graves of murderers & criminals of violent nature's  after they've been hung or executed by excruciating means. The caterwaul will steal into a church or temple to pass over the corpse to steal the soul before the gods or angels of death have a chance to send it onto its final reward. Such souls are consumed by these beasts in the depths of their lairs in the deepest parts of Fairyland. The caterwaul has incredibly acute occult senses allowing it maneuver the hidden gates & byways back to its otherworldly lairs. There is a large amount of animosity between certain clans of Fey & these creatures. Blink dogs in particular have an inbred hatred for the caterwaul due to their origins in the wars of the gods which involved many Fairy families of both commoner & royals alike.

The caterwaul always takes a small valuable trinket from each & every kill secreting these in their 'trail lairs' hidden hunting lodge lairs along human trade routes & lairs. These places will be filled with such trophies used for attracting a mate for the coming year. These creatures are vicious apex predators of the highest order turning to violence at the slightest provocation due to their chaotic natures. They will easily abandon a lair in search of easier killing ground if there is even the slightest hint of discovery. Secrecy & stealth are their greatest allies & they have moved across the face of Europe & many parts of Asia Minor for centuries without discovery.

These beings have used their sonic cry to murder their human & near human prey with easy. They have taste for human flesh above all else & often stalk adventuring parties for the weakest members picking them off at their leisure. There are deep ties between the caterwaul & certain witch families whose patron cat goddess is a particularly murderous aspect the goddess Bastet. 

Bastet artwork by
Gunawan Kartapranata

These creatures guard the abandoned temples of Bastet in the dreamlands & have been known to serve her whenever the Elder goddess has need of them. The caterwaul is not welcome in many parts of the dreamlands & certain occult rites are known to sorcerers there for banishing these monsters back to their home realities.
Into modern times caterwauls remain little changed. They now have an unlimited hunting ground & the killing of man has become easy in many ways. No one misses a homeless person or the occasional occult practitioner who stumbles upon onto one of the numerous lairs of the caterwaul. The caterwaul still practices their  same rites even in modern times. Many believe that the caterwaul is responsible for the reports of 'phantom cats' seen across Australia & Europe. 
There are sources that say these monsters have been seen in many of the post apocalyptic wastelands of alternative Primes using all of the techniques & skills they developed all of those centuries ago. 

All artwork belongs to the respective artists & is used without permission.  The Fiend Folio is trade marked & copyrighted to Wizards of the Coast & this blog entry is not a challenge to the copy right & trade marks of Wizards of the Coast. The text of this blog entry is for entertainment & educational purposes only. All text & description is @trademarked & copyrighted to Dark Corner Productions 2018 

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