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TV to Tabletop: Puss in Boots

TV to Tabletop: Puss in Boots

TV to Tabletop is a series where we take ideas from popular fantasy TV and movies and translate them to D&D terms. Use them as-is, rename them to hide your sources, or get inspiration for your own new ideas!

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is the third and latest movie from the popular Shrek franchise. Like many characters in the franchise, Puss in Boots comes from European folklore as an anthropomorphic cat who uses trickery to benefit his human friends. In the Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots is a suave, swashbuckling feline who always saves the day.
(Warning: this article may contain slight spoilers for the film beyond the trailer.)

Background: Former Adventurer

In the opening action sequence, Puss in Boots dies when a giant bell falls on his head. All is well until Puss in Boots learns he just lost the eighth of his nine lives. His doctor warns that the next death will be final.

Concerned that his daring lifestyle would cause his last death, Puss in Boots promptly retires and becomes something resembling a pampered housecat. This is until he gets pulled back into the adventuring lifestyle with the promise of eight fresh lives.

Similarly, your character may have withdrawn from the hazardous life of an adventurer until such a time that circumstances dictate that you save the world once more. You might be so rusty that you need to remember your vocation all over again. But you’ve still got stories.

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: Land vehicles
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A collection of trinkets, an explorer’s pack, and a pouch containing 25 gp

Reason for Retirement

You previously lived the life of a daring adventurer. But something happened that caused you to give up this career—at least until circumstances dictate you don your armor once more in order to save the world. Choose or randomly determine your reason for retirement.

d8Reason for Retirement
1You destroyed the lich’s phylactery and scattered its armies to the four corners of the world. You are a hero known across the realms.
2While cleaning out a dangerous dungeon, you encountered an eye golem. You quickly fled battle and took up life as a rutabaga farmer.
3You used the reward for saving three noble children from a coven of night hags to purchase a tavern that you now run with your partner.
4You started a family while adventuring. After a near death experience, you chose a more mundane life to support them.
5Your corpse was digested and passed by an angry behir. Your companions recovered your body and had you resurrected, but you had no desire to repeat the experience.
6While unconscious and dying, your deity spoke to you, imploring you to build a new church in a remote part of the world.
7After a lifetime spent acquiring and using magic items, you now sell them to the highest bidder from your metropolitan headquarters. 
8Having found a partner in a faraway land or distant plane, you chose to remain there instead of returning home.

Feature: Adventuring Contact

In your former travels, you met many diverse characters, and you can find a helpful acquaintance whenever you come to a settlement where you’ve been before. Provided you can justify your past behavior, they will provide you with a place to hide, rest, or recuperate, unless you have shown yourself to be a danger to them. They will shield you from the law or anyone else searching for you, though they will not risk their lives for you.

Suggested Characteristics

Use the tables from any background as the basis for your traits and motivations, modifying entries when appropriate to suit your identity as a former adventurer. You may wish to review other backgrounds that represent your life before you began adventuring.

Monster Template: Specter of Death

In the film, Puss in Boots encounters the specter of Death as the Big Bad Wolf three times. In each instance, Death toys with Puss in Boots before coming to a begrudging mutual respect.

As a GM, you may find that 5E’s easy access to resurrection magic makes death a trifle. Add this Specter of Death template to any Beast (not only a wolf!) to stalk PCs who have cheated their due, adding some teeth to the afterlife. This increases the monster’s CR by 2.

What Big Legs You Have. A Beast with this template can use its action to polymorph into a Beast-Humanoid hybrid or back into its true Beast form. Except as described below, its statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its Beast form if it dies.

What Big Teeth You Have. A Beast with this template gains a bite attack, which uses its Strength and deals 1d6 damage. If the monster already has a bite attack, it deals one extra damage die with this attack.

What Big Ears You Have. A Beast with this template has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks to detect a creature who was brought back to life using resurrection magic, such as the raise dead, resurrection, and revivify spells.

What Big Arms You Have. A Beast with this template has opposable thumbs while in its Beast-Humanoid hybrid form and is proficient with all simple weapons.

Once per short rest, a Beast with this template can summon two spectral scythes (use the stats for the sickle, except these scythes deal 1d8 magical slashing damage). The scythes disappear if the monster is killed.

Hard to Kill. A Beast with this template has two additional HD if its CR is 3 or less, or four additional HD if its CR is 4 or higher. If a Beast with this template is killed, any creature within 30 feet of that Beast can’t be targeted by another Beast with this template for at least one week.

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About Benjamin Eastman

Benjamin L. Eastman was introduced to D&D by his four closest friends—who immediately betrayed his trust by sacrificing his first character to a demonic artifact. Undeterred, he’s played all manner of RPGs in the intervening years. In addition to writing Warlock Lairs and monsters for Kobold Press, he’s contributed to the Stargate RPG and Americana, and co-authored DMs Guild adventures including Baby Tarrasque. He is perhaps proudest of the bar brawl—his first published monster in the Creature Codex

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