“The innkeeper’s son, vowed that he had at twilight seen all the cats of Ulthar in that accursed yard under the trees, pacing very slowly and solemnly in a circle around the cottage, two abreast, as if in performance of some unheard-of rite of beasts. The villagers did not know how much to believe from so small a boy; and though they feared that the evil pair had charmed the cats to their death, they preferred not to chide the old cotter till they met him outside his dark and repellent yard…”
–The Cats of Ulthar
By H. P. Lovecraft
Contrary to popular belief; cats are indeed social animals, however their interactions are much more subtle when compared to the slobbering barbarism of say dogs, or the blind cud-chewing stupidity of cows. No, feline social structures are infinitely more complex with subtle twitches of the tail communicating far more than any obnoxious barking or mooing could convey. As such, in some cases of tight knit communities, the social structure might evolve into something more. Much as with humans, where cultural identities form cultural homogeneities, feline culture can progress much further into a cultural Identity. No, the capitalization of the I was not a typographical error, the intention there was to indicate the formation of a new individual, and individual made up of all the members of the clowder.
It is through this union that the clowder can act in its shared interest and also start to do amazing things by pooling resources. I’m not referring to the pooling of catnip for distribution like some sort of Marxist Calico Commune where supplies are distributed by need, but rather the combining of intellect, perception and paranormal ability. Once the gestalt consciousness is formed; Mr. Noodles can be perfectly aware of the approaching mailman by virtue of Cap’n Snuggles spying him from the rose bushes, as if Mr. Noodles himself was there watching him instead of being half asleep on the back of the davenport. Another shared resource, in terms of game mechanics, is pooling of psionic resources. The scope of what these powers can accomplish should be left up to the discretion of the GM, but it is not unheard of to have a clowder reanimate the dead to act as a proxy in order to facilitate interaction in a human dominated world.
The psychology of the consciousness is quite alien to humans and cats. Much as the way a human gestalt consciousness would be fundamentally different than an individual human, in the same way a feline consciousness would be different than the individual felines, with feline psychology already being exceedingly different than that of humans. The basics would be easy to understand; the adherence to the feline version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs for example. It should also be noted that the consciousness is not infinite; a reanimated proxy, for example, might start to “fall apart” should a large percentage of the individual cats become distracted, injured or ill. The malfunctioning proxy agent would stutter, walk into walls, or otherwise act in unnatural ways reminiscent of a broken toy. While the consciousnesses are known to utilize humans, dogs & swine as their proxies, they tend not to use their own kind nor any prey animals. Birds, mice and squirrels are for eating after all, seeing them as anything else would just be silly to the point of borderline obscenity to the consciousness.
Feline Gestalt Consciousness (X = total number of cats involved in action, Y = total number of cats in the consciousness)
|STR||1D3 x X||2 x X|
|CON||2D6 x Y||7 x Y|
|SIZ||1 x X||1 x X|
|INT||( 2D6 + 6 ) x Y||13 x X|
|POW||( 2D6 + 6 ) x Y||13 x X|
|DEX||( 2D6 + 24 ) x ( X / 2 )||31 x ( X / 2 )|
|Move||9 x ( X / 2 )||9 x ( X / 2 )|
|HP||6 x X||9 x X|
The cats attack with one mind, fighting them is akin to fighting a shoggoth, in that it’s a giant shapeless mass with one will. This ads to the efficiency of the attacks, which is why physical stats are a direct factor of the number of cats.
Re-Animated Proxy (Human)
|SIZ||2D6 + 6||13|
|INT||( 2D6 + 6 ) x Y||13|
|HP||14 -15||14 -15|
The proxies are little more than zombies, however, they retain a splintered fragment of their original selves, enough to appear dotty to the unaware observer. They comprehend as much as the hive mind operating them. An old lady may continue to bake cookies for the local children, just never actually eating any herself. A shut in telecommuting software engineer might continue to write code, although she would never actually finish the application, merely just adding terabytes of do-nothing functions and objects.