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Basic Information

An Urmahlullu is to cat and Assyria what a Centaur is to horse and Ancient Greece. That is to say, an Urmahlullu is a creature from Assyrian Mythology (a subset of Mesopotamian Mythology) that had the body and limbs of a lion (or possibly a tiger or leopard), from the shoulders on down, attached to the human upperbody at the waist. More or less a feline Centaur. Four clawed legs, and two human arms.

Urmahlullu were guardian spirits, supposed to protect against various demons… and… other unsavory things. In particular, there was often a statue of one or more Urmahlullu outside any public lavatory in Ancient Assyria. How a six-limbed intelligent semi-magical predator became associated with bathrooms remains a mystery to modern man.

The margins of old illuminated manuscripts sometimes featured Sagittaries, a form of babuin (monster drawing in the margins of books) which were also cat-centaurs. Possibly this is the same critter, just with a different name due to geography, chronology, and linguistics. Sagittaries also ended up as sculptural grotesques/gargoyles in some medieval construction.

All of which raises the question: why did D&D feel the need to make up the word "Wemic" when Urmahlullu and Sagittaries were available?

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Game and Story Use

  • Given the proximity of these regions and eras, it's not a terrible stretch to put a feline centaur variant into your classical mythology jam. Mesopotamia is just a bit further East than Greece and Rome, and the Assyrian Empire collapsed just before 600 BC, so such a creature could be a transplant or holdover.
  • While much of gaming and pop culture depicts centaurs as friendly, they were naturally pretty rowdy in the original myths. Swapping out the herbivorous horse half for murderous carnivore parts is only going to stress those sinister tendencies. Urmahlullu are probably cold and capricious.
  • If the PCs piss off a god of cats in the ancient middle east, they may get stalked by a hunting pack of serpopards led by an Urmahlullu warrior and a lamassu or sphinx.
  • Why bathrooms? There's got to be a good story explaining how that tradition started.
    • Does the Urmhalullu resent being used as a bathroom indicator, or is it proud to have a duty?
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