Some people seek to emulate the ways of royalty. But for the baagh, regal behavior comes as naturally to them as breathing. Stately, powerful, and graceful, the baagh are natural-born aristocrats, and it is hard to resist the urge to genuflect in their presence.
The most reserved of the feline beastfolk, baagh have an otherworldly, royal quality about them. No matter what their actual station, a baagh carries him or herself like a natural noble, with stately reserve and observation of decorum. Members of this race tend to be dominant in personality, and to take charge of any situation with their strong natural charisma, treating their friends as valued subordinates, and their enemies as beneath contempt. If a baagh treats another as an equal, this is a sign of the greatest possible respect, and this may be offered to anybody, friend or foe, depending on their behavior. Baagh prefer to be alone, or in the company of equals, though even in groups of friends, they tend to be reserved and a bit aloof.
In some human dialects, "baagh" is a word for tiger, and that is exactly what the baagh are: tigerfolk, with the traditional black-and-orange body markings showing them for what they are, with a rare few that have white fur instead of orange, and blue eyes instead of green or gold. Powerful and majestic, their height often getting close to eight feet, the baagh are physically the most powerful and muscular of the feline beastfolk, and almost always carry themselves with a sort of supernatural grace and aristocratic bearing, which holds up no matter what circumstances they find themselves in - the baagh are never caught unawares, and if they are, they never show it.
Baagh tend to act like nobility, and in all fairness, most of them are nobility on some level, though some are distantly so. The tigerfolk are often the sultans, khans and maharajahs of lands all over the world, and most of them were born into court life. However, it is also considered a matter of duty and honor to serve in a military function, and so most baagh have also blooded their claws, as they tend not to be idle in their rulership. Those who live in lands ruled by the baagh consider themselves either greatly fortunate to have such honorable rulers, or cursed by the gods for having rulers that are known for hunting sentient prey to keep their skills sharp, depending on the temperament of the individual baagh rulers.
Despite their noble heritage, it is not at all uncommon for baagh to fall out of favor, or to go on pilgrimages and other extended journeys, which get them out of the intrigues of court life and into the world. This leads many baagh to take up lives of wandering and occasionally adventure. At the end of these travels, many baagh return home to their lives of rulership, though there are some that give into their love of solitude and live alone or in a state of wandering with a select few for all their lives.
The people known generally as "catfolk" is composed of the smaller species of feline humanoid. They are loosely-knit, and lack most organization, though they tend to be friendlier and work better with their own kind than with other races. Most catfolk have made the transition to living among other races almost flawlessly, and are generally accepted, if not always well-liked, by those among whom they live.
Catfolk are bright and engaging in personality, and tend to be energetic and sometimes mercurial in temperament, not holding back anything in their expression of emotions, and always seeking to live life to the fullest while indulging their infamous curiosity. They are surprisingly honest in their desires, and not ashamed of them.
Catfolk have the features of a small feline and a human melded together, with fur in almost any variation of coloration and pattern covering most of their bodies, a flexible tail which provides balance as well as being partially prehensile, and a very feline-appearing head, complete with ears, whiskers, and bright, light-sensitive, slitted eyes. Catfolk with elven or human blood in their lineage (and they can interbreed with either of these races) tend to lack any body hair, save for their furry ears and tails, though they do tend to have hair on their heads. Catfolk tend to be around five-and-a-half feet tall on average, with the males being only slightly taller than the females, and both sexes being lithe and agile in build.
Despite what others might think of them, catfolk get along with most races without trouble, and quickly develop live-and-let-live relations with whoever they need to share space. They get along especially well with gnomes, whose love of pranks and curious and inventive minds delight the catfolk. However, there is deep racial enmity between the catfolk and the ratlings and wolfen dating from time out of mind, and neither side appreciates the presence of the other. Individual catfolk may overlook these longstanding racial feuds without social stigma, but these are exceptions to the rule. Despite popular opinion, catfolk actually like being around mouselings, thinking them cute and entertaining companions, though mouselings tend to be far too nervous around catfolk for the reverse to be generally true.
Catfolk are free-wheeling by nature, and not prone to taking orders well. While they may live in cities, they seldom feel that its rules apply to them. However, they generally lack the maliciousness needed to intentionally commit great crimes, especially directly against others, though they may engage in mostly harmless mischief.
All catfolk have a natural curiosity that all-too-often takes them far from their normal prowls and into all manner of trouble. Thus it is no surprise that the adventuring life should appeal to them. Adventurers, former and present, are looked upon by other catfolk with high esteem, as a source both of interesting stories and useful skills.
While lacking major nations of their own, the pantheri are noted for being a powerful and dangerous tribal people, living as solitary hunters or small family-based tribes that stake out and defend a territory from all intruders. They are noted for their natural cunning, and feared by many for their deadly skill in ambush and guerrilla tactics. Statistically, pantheri might have the traits of either big or small feline beastfolk.
Those who get to know the pantheri will notice that they are startlingly similar to catfolk in temperament, in their changes of mood and playfulness. However, these observers will also note that pantheri are far more reserved than catfolk tend to be, taking themselves very seriously indeed (perhaps too seriously, in fact) as a matter of survival. They work hard, they fight hard, and they play hard, throwing themselves into each activity with complete abandon. When dealing with outsiders, pantheri can be very shy, and prefer to hide rather than face direct confrontation if possible, though they will fight hard for territory that they feel is theirs.
Just as catfolk resemble small cats, pantheri resemble the smaller members of the big cats: cougars, jaguars, leopards, and so forth.
Aside from a loose tribal structure, with occasional meetings between groups for trade and to bring fresh genes into their tribes, pantheri do not have much organization, and prefer the freedom that this and their natural tendencies towards isolationism bring. While they might get along with outsiders that are decent neighbors, especially elves and halflings, pantheri generally shun all who are not of their tribe.
Despite this natural shyness, however, many pantheri do have the curiosity that is a part of being a feline. For some, this curiosity is so strong that they find it overcomes their reticence towards sociability, and they go out to investigate the outside world. These rare few often find a place as adventurers, because this gives them the most options for travel, exploration, and privacy when they want it.
Lords of the savanna, the lionfolk are known by all to be both wise and mighty. At once beloved and feared, the simbani carry themselves with a commanding, regal grace, every member of their kind born to be a potential ruler.
A cat might look at a king, but a simbani is a king (at least the males are), or most likely directly related to one, and every simbani knows this as a matter of culture and instinct. However, despite this initial aristocratic bearing, so long as the simbani are treated with respect, they tend to be quite laid-back and often as playful as any catfolk kitten. Thus, simbani can be incredibly formal and commanding in their demeanor, but at the same time they prefer to relax and enjoy life when possible. Theirs is the relaxation that comes with true confidence in one's personal power, and most simbani feel no need to abuse that power when they can have so much more enjoyment in moderation. Outgoing and extroverted, lionfolk are fun to be around, though it can sometimes be a bit disconcerting when they suddenly shift into a more regal mode as they feel a situation has changed.
Topping out just beneath eight feet in height (though most are somewhat less than this, six to seven feet being more normal), the simbani lionfolk are powerfully-built lionlike humanoids, the males having prominent manes that they hold as their prides and joys, and never willingly cut, though they do prefer to keep them neatly groomed. Both sexes have tufts of fur on their tailtips, and tend to have incredibly muscular, though still agile, builds.
Strong and skilled, the simbani are able rulers of their territories, whether in established fact or by de facto reign, and have been so for a very long time. As seasoned diplomats and able warriors, the lionfolk are excellent motivators of people, and have long traditions that demand wise and just rulership from their kings. Justice and mercy are of equal importance in their eyes, and they try very hard to find a balance between the two.
To ensure that their young adults are fully aware of the world around them, and to prevent them from becoming spoiled by noble living, it is standard custom among the simbani to banish these developing males and females to the wilderness, to make their own ways for a time, relying on their own skills to survive. This keeps their populations from growing too high, and also ensures that those who do survive this period are among the best blood, and the most deserving to pass on their line. In this time of wandering, which can last many years, or even decades, depending on the tradition of a given simbani family, while most simbani youth will join up with others of their kind, many will join up with those of other races, and take to the life of adventuring.