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May 4, 2008, 10:32 pm

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Elias and Manfred


Elias and Manfred are basically a ventriloquist act. However, the major difference between them and other ventriloquists is that Manfred the Talking Cat is a real cat and not a puppet.


A tall, lean man in his early thirties, Elias is a friendly, talkative chap who most people take to instantly - those who do not are usually people with an allergy of, or other aversion to cats. Elias has a particular knack for adapting to different social settings and classes, and so easily ingratiates himself with those around him. He dresses smartly enough to imply a natural respectability, but not so expensively as to suggest snobbery and aloofness. He is exceptionally attached to Manfred, not just because the cat forms his livelihood, but because Manfred has a distinct personality and there is a bond between them. However, Elias has his feet planted firmly on the ground, and suffers no delusions about his partners nature - it’s a cat, albeit an exceptionally bright and likeable one.

During the act, Elias wears an expression of almost constant amusement.

Elias’s parents were jugglers themselves, working with a travelling fair, who settled down in the capital for a couple of years when Elias was born. After about six of seven years working in the city, they set off again, with Elias, touring the major cities of the Kingdom, stopping at towns and villages along the way. Consequently, Elias is quite knowledgeable regarding the geography of land, and has travelled many of the lesserknown tracks and minor roads that fairs and circuses travel to avoid other traffic and getting fined for blocking the Kings Highways. Like his parents Elias became a practised juggler and tumbler, but decided that he preferred juggling words to knives and flaming clubs. He started with a carved wooden dummy, but soon decided that every ventriloquist already had wooden dummies or cloth dolls (he had also seen someone with a talking box) so started looking for something new.

He found Manfred as a kitten in a small village, for whom he paid a few coppers.

It took several years, but with help from a circus animal trainer, dedication and hard work, Elias and Manfred (entertainers) were born. Deciding that his sort of act did not fit circuses or fairs, Elias bade farewell to his parents and friends and set out to seek fame and fortune.


Manfred is a cat, allegedly a cross between a domestic cat and a Wild Cat (at least that’s what the farmer who sold Manfred to Elias insisted - given the size difference between the two types, it seems highly unlikely).

He is brown, with hints of stripes, and larger than your typical mouser. Because of the extra pad and claw on each foot, Manfreds paws are noticeably large and can deliver quite a swipe when he is annoyed.

Manfred’s just a cat, but that’s not to say he is slothful and silly. His curiosity is tempered with a wild cats caution, his playfulness and contrariness restricted to the periods between shows and not during them (maybe he knows how the next meals being paid for, or he is just well trained, it is hard to tell).

Manfred is very affectionate towards Elias and he is friendly enough towards those who are kind to him. His favorite foods are sausages and eggs, and he is not averse to pinching them off your plate when you are not looking!

His wild cat heritage has also provided Manfred with an innate danger sense: he can spot cat-haters on sight and is usually aware of being watched or followed, something that has allowed both he and Elias avoid trouble on more than one occasion.


Elias and Manfred the Talking Cat are two eccentric characters for you GMs to entangle PCs with. Being travelling entertainers, Elias and Manfred can be met just about anywhere, and as they are very good at their job it is possible for them to stay working in one place for as long as you need them to. Elias and Manfred are basically a ventriloquist act. However, the major difference between them and other ventriloquists is that Manfred the Talking Cat is a real cat and not a puppet.

Now, do not go assuming that Manfred is some foul feline mutant, secretly manipulating a hapless Elias. No, Manfred is a fairly normal cat. He is quite large (not fat, just big) and in the same way that some people are born with six fingers, Manfred has six pads on each paw, meaning that he has exceptionally large paws (but oh so soft and furry).

Manfred also rather brighter than your average mog, though it is hard to tell exactly how much brighter; only Elias and Manfred know for sure and they are not letting on just yet.

Their act is simple and traditional. Manfred sits on Eliass lap, or on a bard stool or table, and Elias with his hand gently on the cats back prompts the cat to open and close it’s mouth in sync with Eliass words. It’s a remarkable thing to watch, and both professional ventriloquists and animal trainers alike are likely to be impressed by the achievement.

If the actual physical act of ventriloquism was not enough, what’s actually said is mightily impressive as well. The pair sings duets, tells jokes, has arguments with one another, talks with the audience, and has philosophical conversations about life and mice. Manfred is also fond of his boastful gossip-laden tales of the times he has spent as mouse-catcher-in-residence at various noble houses throughout the lands, though Elias always says, You are making it up! (one of their catch phrases, along with You great fluffy berk! and At least I wash!).

They have a peculiar knack for judging their audience, and know when political satire is the order of the day or when rude jokes are called for. They are as comfortable performing for the nobility as they are amongst simple villagers, and are always careful not to offend their audience more than is acceptable.

Elias and Manfred have travelled the length and breadth of the kingdom.

The only reason they have not ventured further abroad is the fact Elias cannot speak any other languages, although when explaining this to people he actually blames Manfred’s lack of language skills (and gets a laugh when he does).

The pair could easily settle down in a major city and become part of the established local entertainment scene, but they prefer to keep travelling, as happy to work in rustic rural barns as they are in velvet-curtained theatres; helps them keep their edge claims Elias.

Others who have worked alongside the comic duo claim that the pair like to keep moving as stopping in one place for a month or more always seems to lead to a bizarre rumour that the cat is planning on ditching Elias and going solo. Some people, it seems, have a poor grasp on reality. Elias and Manfred have been in business for about seven or eight years now. During that time they’ve made a positive impression on their employers and fellow entertainers alike (only a few disgruntled ventriloquists complain because Manfred is a real cat, Elias is not a proper ventriloquist). People always talk about Manfred as though he is a person, rather than just a prop in a clever act; perhaps this has something to do with Elias’s tendency keep Manfred talking even after the shows over.

Plot Hooks

One night whilst out for a stroll Manfreds danger
sense fails him and he falls foul of some villainous kidnapper. It might result in a simple ransom demand, but Manfred might be kidnapped for other reasons.

-A professional animal trainer or a ventriloquist jealous of Elias’s success might be responsible.

-Possibly he gets kidnapped by a gang of street kids who take a shine to him.

-Or similarly by the servants of a noble woman who wants an exotic pet.

-And then there are the idiots who think that Manfred really can talk and plan to sell him to highest bidder.

Enter the PCs in any fashion you desire.

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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Scrasamax
May 5, 2008, 9:28
I like this sub, as I like ventriloquists and cats and don't think i've ever seen the two converge. A few things I would toss in, wild cats are not quite as large as most people think they are, so it is not only possible for the two species to crossbreed, there are cat breeders in the US who do that specific thing. They sell the larger offspring for very high prices. Cats with extra toes are uncommon but not rare, and the official term is polydactyl. Had a cat who 23 toes, when a normal cat only has 18, and each tow had a fully functional claw. Very much large and fuzzy feet until he grabbed something!
Michael Jotne Slayer
May 5, 2008, 9:38
Agreed, but I imagine larger wild cats in the deep forests of a fantasy setting. I'm glad you liked it Scrasamax, It's been a long time since I posted anything;) And this is pretty different from most of my stuff, ever:D
Voted Murometz
May 5, 2008, 14:12
I like this pair, for the simple fact that the are likable. They are interesting without being dark and sinsiter, and can be involved in countless plothooks, or at the very least, serve as red-herring type npcs to confound players.

Hmm, me'thinks they should be involved in something dark and sinsister! :p
Voted manfred
May 5, 2008, 18:44
Now wait, what made you think of THAT name? :D

But it's a pretty cool pair. And I like cats too! I just wonder if a cat can be that patient... that must have been a really masterful training.
Voted Drackler
May 9, 2008, 19:28
Interesting... A (not-quite) talking cat, and a ventriloquist.
I love it. Two colorful charaters with which you can entangle the PCs.
Voted EchoMirage
October 29, 2008, 5:17
You get two thumbs up from me.
Voted valadaar
May 21, 2013, 11:24
Yes, an interesting name choice to be sure. I like these two.

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