Thoughts on Rexfelis the Cat Lord
Date: Sat, June 29, 2002
Topic: Gods & Followers
Rexfelis, Oerth's cat lord, is one of the many deific figures of Greyhawk that suffers from a severe lack of detail in the canon sources. I've gathered my musings from threads on the Greytalk discussion on this matter into a cohesive theory on who and what Rexfelis is. Enjoy!
Thoughts on Rexfelis the cat lord
By chatdemon (email@example.com)
(Used with permission, do not reproduce or redistribute without the express consent of the author)
Although the traditionaI Greyhawk Rexfelis is a male figure, personally prefer the female cat lord from Planescape. I like the idea of
tying feline aspects to female human aspects, and it also allows you to
flesh this entity out using ideas from the Egyptian Baast or FR's Sharess
(who is Baast with a localized flavor).
In my campaign, there were, historically, several tribes of Wemics living in
the Suel basin as the Suloise Empire grew and expanded. Though primitive,
these creatures were fierce, savage opponents when crossed, yet loyal and
friendly when met peacefully. Cults devoted to their goddess, Onkara (a
local aspect of the cat lady (lord)), soon grew among the Suel, which led to
to experiments in magical breeding which created the Rakasta (Humanoid
feline race, from Mystara campaign setting). Initially, Onkara and the Wemic
tribesfolk we're honored by this imitative flattery and embraced their new
brethren with open arms.
Soon however, the Suloise mages of power learned of the secrets of Onkara's
cult and set about creating an arcane formula for achieving the same
results, in order to build better soldiers (since Rakasta are faster and
stronger than their human peers, and possess darkvision/infravision). The
greed and corruption of the mages caused their process to be flawed however,
and the result was the creation of Rakshasha.
These vile creatures offended Onkara, and she sent visions to her Wemic
shamans instructing them to expel all Suel humans from their tribes, and to
slaughter all rakastas and rakshashas they met. This of course led to the
Wemics being driven out of the Suel Empire, which was a blessing in its own
right, since they were thus spared extinction when the Rain of Colorless
Fire brought the empire crashing down upon itself. A few rumors, brought to
the Flanaess by Olman slaves freed from their Scarlet Brotherhood opressors,
speak of mysterious 'panthermen' of the Amedio Jungles (although Wemics,
Rakasta, and Rakshasha are primarily lion or tiger like, the panther is the
dominant great cat in the Amedio area, thus that name is used by the Olman).
The Olman claim that the panthermen are the mortal servants of a goddes
callen Ixa (pr. EEsha), who their own shamans invoke to protect their
villages from the ferocious panthers that stalk the jungle. Ixa is of course
another localized aspect of the Cat Lady.
It was pointed out by Marc Gonzalez that Apocatequil is a canon patron of the were-jaguars in the Olman culture, but I don't use Apocatequil myself. I replaced that deity with Ixa, who in the
Olman pantheon is the matron of panthers, jaguars, were-versions of both of
the former, wemics, rakasta, rakshasha, other mudane felines, and hunting.
She isn't a popular goddess among the Olman, though most villages keep a
small shrine or totem stone (a 4 foot cubical stone block with its edges
carved into scenes depicting the glory of whomever it is dedicated to,
generally a god, important spirit, or former hero/leader of that village,
tributes and offerings are left upon the block, which is tended by the local
shamans) honoring her in order to bring fortune to their hunters and keep
the wildcats of the jungle at bay. Tribute to Ixa is generally in the form
of the carcass (untouched by the renders) of the largest animal killed and
brought back by the hunters. In some of the more savage tribes, especially
the Olman influenced grugach clans, corpses of Scarlet Brotherhood, and
Keoish 'explorers' are often taking the place of an animal offering. The
shamans don't understand the reasoning for this (it satisfies Ixa/Onkara's
hatred of the Suel), but they have recieved postive omens suggesting that
such tribute pleases the goddess.
As far as nomenclature goes, according to my research, Ix (pr EEsh) was the
mayan word for jaguar. I took a bit of creative license and called her Ixa.
Use of the name Rexfelis to refer to the Cat Lady is attributed to the
rangers and druids of the Flan 'Old Faith', who invoked the power of feline
totems and fetishes to aid their tribes in hunting. It is theorized by
Archdruidess Reynard Yargrove of the Dreadwood that the focus on Rexfelis'
hunter/stalker aspects is what caused the ancient flan to give the entity a
male visage. Whether or not Reynard's theory is true, it is certain that
among many druids and traditional Flan folk of the Flanaess, the Cat Lady is
seen as being male and is venerated under the name Rexfelis.
The Cat Lady herself, while amused at being portrayed as a male, enjoys the
worship of the Old Faith druids, and is glad to have faithful among the
dwindling forests and wilderlands of Oerik to see to the welfare of her