The Cheshire cat is a wonderful agent of confusion in The Alice in Wonderland stories, and when I say stories I mean all of the ones that’ve been written, and filmed, animated, and played via video game. All those stories are based on the original story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Lewis Carroll is a pen name for the author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Why he wrote under a pen name I don’t know. Although his name is a pain to say. Anyway, we seem to be straying from the topic.
I’ve touched on the Cheshire cat, for a few moments at least. Now, I’ll discuss the dire.
Dire: means extremely serious or urgent, and Dungeons and Dragons takes this word and creates Dire Animals. Take a wolf, for example. It’s a pretty big threat as it stands, but take that wolf and make it the size of a horse… Yeah, now you’ve got a dire situation caused by an animal of unusual size.
And, D&D didn’t stop with just a dire wolf; they went and made a whole slew of animals dire, from bears and boars to dire rats and dire bats. They’ve gone and made the whole damn forest full of squirrels that could send men running and screaming out of the woods. And, that’s not that I’ve seen a dire squirrel in any of the rule books, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there.
Fear the Dire Squirrel.
Anyway, back to the Cheshire cat. The cat according to D&D rules wouldn’t be so much and animal as it would be a magical beast. (Magical Beast is the type of animal that has features that can’t quite be explained by nature, such as an animal that can talk and disappear on command. Just because it’s a magical beast doesn’t mean it can’t be dire. I found a dire template somewhere, I just don’t remember where.
Anyway, to make a dire creature you increase its size. A Cheshire cat is a tiny creature, and I want to make it into a large animal. So, starting at Tiny our Cheshire cat has a strength of 3, moving it up to a small size would increase its strength by 4. So, at a small size Cheshire has a 7 in strength. Then we do it again. Moving Cheshire from small to medium adds another 4 points to str, for a total of 11, but that’s not the end of it. We want our Cheshire cat to be a large creature, and to get from medium to large she gains 8 more points in str, leaving her with a total of 19 points in str. This change also reduces her dexterity.
This makes our Cheshire cat unhappy, and quite ready to rend the flesh off of someone’s face. And, she can do it without ever having to worry about anybody seeing her doing it. Why? Because the Cheshire cat can make good use of the greater invisibility spell, and attack actions don’t cause her to lose her concealment.
And, I’m back to not understanding what my brain is trying to tell me. So, I’m gonna stop this here.