|Source books||1E Fiend Folio, Tome of Horrors 1, Monstrous Manual|
In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the Tabaxi are a fictional race of feline-humanoids. Resembling humanoid leopards or jaguars, they are a primitive, reclusive people dwelling in jungles who are sometimes led by giant, evil versions of them called Tabaxi Lords. Although sometimes known as catfolk or cat-people, they seem to be distinct from the catfolk described in the Miniatures Handbook and Races of the Wild.
The tabaxi and the jaguar-lord tabaxi appeared in second edition for the Maztica setting in the adventure module Fires of Zatal (1991). The tabaxi and tabaxi lord appeared in the Monstrous Manual (1993).
A tabaxi resembles a lithe, graceful, athletic human with a leopard or jaguar-like head and a tail. Instead of skin, they have beautiful spotted fur pelts that ranged in color from light yellow to brownish red. They have sharp teeth and retractable claws, which are their primary weapons in combat. They are tall and slender, and have eyes of green or yellow.
Tabaxi dwell in tropical or subtropical jungles in clans of equal parts male and female. Hunter/gatherer groups of Tabaxi are called Hunts, and a clan usually contains several. The Hunts work the area around the clan lair. Some lairs are temporary, but most are small villages of ramadas (huts with grass roofs supported by tall poles, and no walls). A lair will typically contain some young Tabaxi, plus an elder who leads the clan. 50% of these elder-leaders are aided by a shaman. A clan has a 10% chance of owing allegiance to a tabaxi lord (see below); these clans tend toward evil, warlike ways, and their shamans worship evil powers. Shamans of clans not under the control of Tabaxi Lords worship powers related to sunlight, rain, or animals.
Tabaxi are reclusive and avoid other intelligent beings, even other tabaxi clans. They do not engage in trade, which they consider demeaning, but some few have agents who trade for them. Tabaxi speak their own ancient language. Legends tell of a great tabaxi civilization that was supplanted by other races.
Some tabaxi have solid spots and are also called leopard men; they pronounce their name ta-BAX-ee. Tabaxi in other regions have roseate spots, are called jaguar men, and pronounce their race's name tah-BAHSH-ee.
Tabaxi have few natural enemies. For food, they prefer the boar-like peccaries and huge rodents called capybaras; only a very degenerate clan attacks members of another intelligent species for food. Tabaxi are sometimes hunted for their pelts, worth up to 250 gp each. Their skins and claws are also useful in some types of natural magic.
Tabaxi are great hunters, combining quick, stealthy movements with natural camouflage to surprise prey. They are clever and organized, often driving prey into an ambush (though some play with prey before killing it). Tabaxi climb and swim, and can use those abilities in combat. Because of their cleverness and acute sense of smell, tabaxis are almost impossible to trap.
Tabaxi often use weapons of wood, bone, and stone, including bolas, slings, obsidian studded clubs (treat as battle axes), and javelins with atlatl. The preferred weapon of Tabaxi, however, are their claws and teeth. If both forepaws hit, a tabaxi rakes with its rear claws. A group encountered in the wild will include a Hunt Leader, and may also contain a priest.
A tabaxi lord appears as a huge jaguar or leopard, depending on where it is found. They are intelligent, malicious, and cunning. They speak tabaxi and languages commonly used by nearby societies. The antithesis of couatls, tabaxi lords hate them (the feeling is mutual) and attack them on sight.
Tabaxi lords use trickery, ambush, allies, and spells to weaken foes before closing for combat. Some 55% are wizards, while 40% are priests of a dark power known as Zaltec. Five percent are both wizard and priest. Wizard spells are chosen from the schools of illusion, enchantment/charm, or necromancy; spells from the schools of alteration and invocation/evocation are never used. In addition to spells that require only verbal components, they can use the following powers at will: detect good/evil, detect invisibility, bind, and hypnotism. The bravest and cruelest tabaxi lords can use dimension door three times per day.
Tabaxi lords are closely related to tabaxi, perhaps a cursed version. All tabaxi lords are male and must take a tabaxi mate to produce offspring (always a male tabaxi lord). Although usually solitary, a tabaxi lord sometimes takes leadership of a tabaxi clan for the purpose of mating and insuring offspring. Such clans become evil and warlike under their rule. Some choose to stay with the clan even after the offspring is born and sent off to make its way in the jungle.
In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, Tabaxi are known to inhabit the Chultan Peninsula, and worship the deity Ubtao. It was they who defended the city of Mezro while Eshowdow was attacking it, eventually driving him back. Like the Aarakocra, they may be an immigrant race to Faerûn from Maztica, given that the deity Zaltec the Tabaxi Lords worship is a Maztican deity.
Tabaxi first appeared in the 1E Fiend Folio and appeared again in the Tome of Horrors and Monstrous Manual. They have not appeared in a 3rd Edition or 3.5 Edition product, with them seeming to have been replaced with the catfolk described in the Miniatures Handbook and Races of the Wild. A similar race to both tabaxi and catfolk are the rakastas of the Mystara campaign setting.