Kitsune, Faith and Mischief

“I cannot, for my soul, remember how, when, or even precisely where, I first became acquainted with the lady Ligeia. Long years have since elapsed, and my memory is feeble through much suffering. Or, perhaps, I cannot now bring these points to mind, because, in truth, the character of my beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placidcast of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low musical language, made their way into my heart by paces so steadily and stealthily progressive that they have been unnoticed and unknown.
-Edgar Allen Poe, “Ligeia”

Playtest Version

This material is still in the process of being playtested. It is fully usable as written, but may be refined or changed in later versions. As always, this content should only be used with GM permission.

The Kitsune


Kitsune are furry, multi-tailed humanoid foxes with the supernatural ability to change their shape. They are also known to be able to summon flickering magical flames that float in the air and to create illusions. They can walk freely among human society, where they serve their gods and make mischief, usually at the expense of the wicked. In some places they are viewed as sacred messengers of the divine, and in others, as malicious thieves and scoundrels. However, this is usually the result of the same individual kitsune reappearing in an area numerous times over their many centuries of life.

Natural Shapeshifters

Every kitsune has two forms. One is their kitsune form, and the other is that of another sort of medium-sized humanoid. If the kitsune in question has a non-kitsune parent, their guise is usually the same species as that parent. Furthermore, regardless of form, kitsune do not have an inherent sex or gender, and can freely change them as they see fit. The general appearance of either form does not shift radically with such changes, so people may assume the kitsune to be a fraternal twin. Sometimes the kitsune may have even more subtle differences than that when changing sex and/or gender.

Legends Walking in Secret

The most famous story about a kitsune is that of a man who had such expectations of beauty that he rarely met a woman he found appealing, but after many years he met a woman in the marketplace that exceeded even his elevated standards. He courted her and they married, but once she was pregnant he tired of her and mistreated her until one day she revealed she was not human at all and left him to be lonely forever. There are many other tales, often involving unjust mayors, greedy landlords, and other such figures meeting poetic justice at the hands of a secret kitsune.

Kitsune Names

Kitsune who live within another culture will normally be named according to that culture. However, since kitsune have no fixed sex or gender, they might take multiple names to avoid confusion, or they might have a unisex name. Kitsune raised within a community of other kitsune usually list their family name before their personal name.

Kitsune Family Names: Aoki, Chiba, Fuuma, Hattori, Inoue, Kikuchi, Kuzunoha, Maeda, Nomura, Sugawara, Taniguchi, Uchida, Watanabe, Yoshida, Youko
Kitsune Personal Names: Chihiro, Hikaru, Hotaru, Ibuki, Iori, Jun, Kaoru, Kyo, Midori, Mirai, Natsuki, Setsuna, Shinobu, Tamaki, Yuki

Kitsune Traits

Your kitsune character has a number of abilities related to their spiritual and magical nature.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
    Age. Kitsune mature to adulthood at the same rate as the race their non-kitsune guise resembles, but their natural lifespan is extremely long. In their kitsune form, they are born with one tail, and at the end of each century they grow another. If they live to 900 years old, instead of growing a tenth tail, they instead ascend to a spirit form and are transported to a plane appropriate to their religion, alignment, or other affiliations, where they exist as a being known as a tenko either for 100 years or until they decide to reincarnate as a newborn kitsune, whichever comes first. A tenko who had been a yako kitsune in life usually reincarnates as a zenko, and vice versa.
    Alignment. Many kitsune are natural born pranksters, but even those who are not tend to care little for strict order and discipline, except with regards to religion or the practice of a martial or arcane art. Zenko are somewhat more likely to favor order, but most are still chaotic. Zenko also tend towards good, while Yako are usually neutral in that regard, or sometimes even evil.
    Size. Kitsune, in their natural form, tend to be roughly the same height and weight as humans, typically from five feet to over six feet tall. Their guise form is generally a height and weight typical for that species, although possibly on the end of the range closer to their natural form’s height and weight. Your size is Medium.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
    Guise. You have a specific humanoid appearance that you can adopt. This form is typically human, but may also be an elf, a dwarf, or another medium sized player character race. As an action, you may shapeshift to change your physical sex, and/or change your appearance to or from that of the chosen race. This is not an illusion but an instantaneous physical change, and it does not modify your clothing, attribute scores, or abilities. Changing the physical sex of your kitsune or humanoid forms does not radically change appearance beyond the specific physical traits modified. Skin color, tattoos, fur patterns, hair color, length, and style, and other such traits remain similar. The true sight spell or other abilities that can detect shapeshifters will show your kitsune form, and if you die you will revert to kitsune form if in humanoid guise.
    Kitsune Magic. You know the dancing lights cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the silent image spell once without any material components. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast the alter self spell once. Casting these spells in this way does not expend a spell slot, and you regain the ability to cast these spells this way when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice, typically one that is often spoken by their guise race.
    Subrace. There are two varieties of kitsune, and which a child is born as is independent of the parents. Choose one of these subraces.

Zenko

Zenko kitsune tend to be more attuned both to divine energy and to nature, whether it be agriculture or the untamed wilds, frequently becoming either clergy or guardians of shrines or sacred places. They also often serve as messengers, either between mortals and the divine, or in a more mundane capacity.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom Score increases by 2.
    Calling. You gain proficiency in your choice of either the Survival or Religion skill. You also gain proficiency with your choice of either Herbalism Kit or one type of Artisan’s Tools.

Yako

Yako kitsune are strongly in tune with arcane energy, civilization, and people. They may still become clerics or priests, but usually of gods related to magic, travellers, money, or the like. They frequently become magic users, con artists, or thieves as well.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma Score increases by 2.
    Calling. You gain proficiency in your choice of either the Deception or Stealth skill. You also gain proficiency with your choice of either Poisoner’s Kit or Thieves’ Tools.

Random Height and Weight

Base Height Base Weight Height Modifier Weight Modifier
4’8″ 110 lbs +2d10 x(2d4)

New Feat


Quick-Change

You have a habit of preparing in advance to disguise yourself on the fly, using reversible fabrics, lightweight accessories that are easy to add or remove, straps for changing the length of garments, wigs, collapsible hats, and the like. You gain the following benefits:

  • Your Charisma or Wisdom score increases by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency with Disguise Kits. If you already have proficiency with Disguise Kits, you gain proficiency with your choice of either Cobbler’s Tools, Jeweler’s Tools, Leatherworker’s Tools, Tinker’s Tools, or Weaver’s Tools.
  • As an action, you can swiftly and dramatically change your appearance even without access to a Disguise Kit or prepared disguise. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your Proficiency Bonus before you must prepare new materials during a long rest. You cannot impersonate a particular person with this ability, only to change your appearance enough to look like you are not the same person.
Legal Appendix

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System Reference Document 5.1 Copyright 2016, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell, Chris Sims, and Steve Townshend, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Kitsune, Faith and Mischief Copyright 2019, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.

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