|Catfolk or amurrun
|Images of catfolk
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 54
Catfolk, known in their language as amurruns, are lithe, feline humanoids1 most commonly found in Garund.2 They are known for their extreme gregariousness, and an overdeveloped curiosity that often brings them trouble.13
All catfolk have long tails and feline ears, but vary greatly in how much they resemble humans or true cats. This variety can manifest within a single clan or even a single family, and even closely related catfolk can look highly distinct from one another.4
Catfolk delight in venturing into unexplored areas, whether untrammeled wildernesses or ancient dungeons. They like finding treasures and baubles, but for most catfolk, the experience of the journey itself is the true reward. Catfolk's inherent curiosity and agility mean they excel as swashbucklers, bards, fighters, and rogues. Their love of the natural world and drive to puzzle out secrets of all types leads many to become investigators, druids, or sorcerers.5
According to their own legends, the amurrun originate from great cats made by the world's creator spirits to hunt down threats to the young world. In order to pursue their task more effectively, these cats were given intelligence and forms suited to making and using tools.6
The catfolk built an early nation in southern Garund, which later collapsed due to unknown causes before Earthfall. Many of the fallen nation's amurruns left Garund for the Valashmai Jungle afterwards. The catfolk returned to Garund during the Age of Darkness, during which they resettled the ancient nation's territory and established a new kingdom, which they named Murraseth, under the rule of sister-queens. Records of the previous catfolk nation were mostly destroyed, in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.6
During the Age of Enthronement, the amurrun allied themselves with the Shory Empire and the derhii to combat demons and the Spawn of Rovagug. Murraseth underwent a period of instability at this point, during which the sister-queens abdicated in response to popular anger at their detachment from common needs. Multiple experimental governments rose and fell during this time, eventually culminating in the formation of the Council of Elect. Many amurrun left Murraseth at this time, and emigrated to Arcadia and Iobaria.6
Catfolk see themselves as wanderers, explorers, and wardens against evil forces, particularly ones from the Great Beyond.147 Their curiosity takes them to the ends of Golarion to seek and enjoy new experiences and cultures, and many worship Desna, goddess of travel. They are adept adventurers, often as rangers, rogues, wizards, or clerics; traveling catfolk are sometimes referred to as pouncers.1 Catfolk who never travel are typically pitied or looked down upon by others. Catfolk often use travel as a means of resolving personal or political conflicts. When a feud occurs or a catfolk does not support their community's leader, they often leave to travel for a few years and give the issue time to blow over.7 Many catfolk speak their own language, also called Amurrun.1
Youth and education
Amurruns are typically born and raised within large extended families. Traditionalist amurruns celebrate their children becoming old enough to explore on their own with a simple challenge to find a hidden object. Catfolk treasure these coming-of-age prizes, keeping them for life as good-luck charms. A second milestone occurs when the individual is old enough to travel on their own, away from the community. This is typically marked by the new adult selecting a rock, piece of wood, or other object from the first location they visit unsupervised, which is kept as an additional memento.7
Higher education, such as in combat, magic, or skilled crafts, is traditionally handled through apprenticeships. Amurruns skilled in a particular talent almost always have one or two active apprentices at any particular time. A consistent lack of pupils, in contrast, is a significant mark against an individual's skill and prestige in their craft.7
Amurruns who master magic typically learn it through apprenticeship to another amurrun magic-user, through bargains with nature spirits or similar supernatural beings, or through personal experimentation. Most catfolk magic-users are bards, druids, or sorcerers; wizards are somewhat rarer. Amurrun wizards usually specialize in divination or abjuration magic, but often find it practical to have some experience with all fields of magic. Amurrun spellcasters often adventure in search of new or long-lost magical techniques.7
Catfolk are not particularly religious, and view religion as an unnecessarily strict way of codifying morality and philosophy. They view deities as simply powerful spirits who grant access to the afterlife in exchange for supplication, and typically only give gods or other spirits offerings and prayer as pragmatic attempts to gain greater control over their immediate circumstances. Catfolk who feel a need to worship typically turn to Bastet; in addition to Sarenrae as a patron of protecting the world; Shelyn as a patron of personal expression; Cayden Cailean as a patron of freedom and joy; Erastil as a patron of family, harvests, and hunts; Desna as patron of travel and discovery; and Calistria as a patron of defiance and secrets.7
Catfolk can be found across the entire length and breadth of Golarion on every continent, from the southernmost tip of Casmaron all the way to the Crown of the World and the North Pole. As such, the catfolk diaspora has formed a wide range of distinct cultures and ethnicities, often including practices and traditions from the cultures that surround them, as it is rare that catfolk live in isolation from their neighbours. The most prominent of these ethnic groups include the following:8
- Askedhaki: Most commonly found in Vudra and the Impossible Lands, these catfolk are normally nomadic and are renowned for hunting creatures that would hunt their fellow humanoids.8
- Lyashtaki: Found in the Valashmai Jungle of Tian Xia.9
- Mitzenki: These arctic catfolk can be found across the northern-most reaches of Golarion.8
- Qittaj: These catfolk are most commonly found across the Empire of Kelesh including some of the eastern reaches of Qadira.10
- Sethurril: The most common catfolk ethnicity, the Sethurril originate in the catfolk homeland in the south of Garund.10
- Shemtej: Found only within Osirion, Rahadoum, and Thuvia, these catfolk are strongly associated with the deity Bastet.10
The largest population of catfolk is of Sethurril catfolk in the city-states of Murraseth, Frowiseth, Eserowaan, and Ulemsaleth in southern Garund, which lie in what is believed to be the original amurrun homeland. The cities' shared territory is rumored to hide a significant threat to the world and is extremely well-defended, and travel within it is restricted and often barred to outsiders and even most catfolk.9 Anuli, in Holomog, due to its proximity to Murraseth, is known to house significant numbers of catfolk.11 Shemtej catfolk can also be found in Osirion.12
Numerous catfolk left Murraseth during the Age of Enthronement to settle other parts of the world, founding additional settlements outside of the original amurrun homelands. These include the Mitzenki settlement of Sorroclaan within the Fangard forest of Iobaria and the treetop city of Usclaeth in Arcadia.9
Vudra is home to large populations of nomadic catfolk who travel through the subcontinent in large caravans. These catfolk are known as the Askedhaki and tend to dress ostentatiously. Because of their catlike appearance and rich clothing they are unfortunately sometimes mistaken for rakshasas and so have also taken to adorning themselves in religious symbols to stave off attacks from mistaken and overzealous people.13
Large communities of Lyashtaki amurruns also live in the Valashmai Jungle of Tian Xia, who claim descent from rebellious slaves who overthrew an ancient empire of godlike tyrants. The Valashmai amurruns are among the most common and peaceful inhabitants of the jungle, and are allied with the local anadi and iruxi. The catfolk of the Chenlun Mountains are instead enemies of the fire yai that live there. Valashmai amurruns typically have gold or silver fur with leopard-like markings.9
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 54. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Introduction” in Heroes of Golarion, 3. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- “Trickster Racial Options” in Dirty Tactics Toolbox, 22. Paizo Inc., 2015 .
- “Catfolk” in Blood of the Beast, 4. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “1: Ancestries and Backgrounds” in Advanced Player's Guide, 11. Paizo Inc., 2020 .
- “Catfolk of Golarion” in Legacy of the Lost God, 67–68. Paizo Inc., 2020 .
- “Catfolk of Golarion” in Legacy of the Lost God, 68–69. Paizo Inc., 2020 .
- “Catfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 16. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Catfolk of Golarion” in Legacy of the Lost God, 70–71. Paizo Inc., 2020 .
- “Catfolk” in Ancestry Guide, 17. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Anuli” in Distant Shores, 19. Paizo Inc., 2015 .
- “Introduction” in Blood of the Beast, 2. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “People of the Impossible Lands” in Impossible Lands, 23. Paizo Inc., 2022 .