Tanuki, Tea and Sake

“Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain —
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.

-Edgar Allen Poe, “Lines on Ale”

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.

TANUKI     +2 CON     +2 WIS     -2 DEX     6 HP

The robust shapeshifting folk known as the tanuki bear a resemblance to the ordinary animal from the human homeworld that shares their name—a brown and black furred creature related to foxes that also bears a resemblance to raccoons and badgers, sometimes known as a “raccoon dog.” Despite their ability to hide themselves among other folk, the tanuki have a reputation for magical abilities, pranks, and—despite the trouble they cause—bringing fortune to those who treat them well. Many think they are only a tale for children meant to teach generosity and hospitality, but in truth, they walk among many societies in secret.

Size and Type

Tanuki are medium Humanoids with the tanuki and shapechanger subtypes.

Tanuki Magic

Tanuki gain the following spell-like abilities: 3/day—ghost sound, At Will—token spell.

Change Shape

As a standard action a tanuki can take on the appearance of a single specific Medium humanoid. The tanuki always takes this same form when using this ability. The tanuki gains a +10 racial bonus to Disguise checks to appear as that type of humanoid. This ability otherwise functions as disguise self, except the tanuki can remain in this form indefinitely.

Fit In

Tanuki gain a +2 racial bonus to Diplomacy and Stealth checks.

Low-Light Vision

Tanuki can see in dim light as if it were normal light.

Playing a Tanuki

You likely…

Take time to really savor the pleasures of life.

Test your wits against others, usually in ways that are mostly harmless.

Consume prodigious quantities of alcohol and other intoxicants.

Have a side of yourself that you keep private and try to get some alone time in between celebrations.

Other species probably…

Mistake you for the species your alternate form resembles.

Consider you to be good luck in financial ventures.

Are amazed at your dedication to partying.

Are suspicious due to the rumors and legends about your kind.

Physical Description

Every tanuki has two forms. One is their tanuki form, and the other is that of another sort of medium-sized humanoid. If the tanuki in question has a non-tanuki parent, their guise is usually the same species as that parent. Furthermore, regardless of form, tanuki 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 tanuki to be a fraternal twin. Sometimes the tanuki may have even more subtle differences than that when changing sex and/or gender.

Home World

Tanuki originate from the same homeworld as humans and traveled to the stars along with them. Since then they have assimilated into many other societies and have flourished, hidden, across an even wider spread of worlds where humans may not be immediately welcome.

Society and Alignment

Typical tanuki are usually boisterous, uninhibited individuals who can handle truly astonishing amounts of alcohol. In addition to their fondness for strong drink and company, they tend to be easily excited by bold new business or financial ventures, some of which might even be entirely legal. Some tales say their involvement will bring good luck to such endeavors. At the same time, they also value their privacy quite strongly and their talents make them excellent at evading pursuers when they wish not to be seen. Tanuki usually have an element of neutrality in their outlook, but their playful instincts lead them to generally slightly favor good and/or chaos.


Most of the time tanuki are cultural chameleons, blending invisibly into the community and only appearing in their differing form for anonymity among people who know them or when embodying legends (which they most likely shared into the community in the first place). However in reasonably cosmopolitan cultures and locales they will use their shapeshifting freely, appearing in either form and whatever gender they wish to express at the moment.


Nearly all tanuki have a potent sense of humor and a fondness for all manner of shenanigans. Most also have a fondness for delicious food and drink—especially in large quantities—for good company, for beautiful vistas to be admired, and for tests of wits or cunning, which is how they generally view commerce and other social interactions with strangers. Wealth is often seen as a prize to be won and then promptly exchanged for whatever brings joy in the moment. With a tanuki’s talents, you can always find a way to get more, after all. Their robustness makes for talented vanguards and their knack for experiencing the world deeply plus their natural talent for magic makes them excellent mystics as well.


Tanuki usually have names like those of the folk they are raised among, though often they will have either multiple names they go by or a unisex name, since they do not have an inherent gender or sex. If raised in a community of tanuki, however, they have their own styles of names. These names list the family name first, followed by the personal name.

Tanuki Family Names: Asano, Baishou, Chiba, Date, Fujimori, Imamura, Kanamori, Matsumoto, Saikawa, Togashi, Uesugi, Yadama, Yutani, Zayasu
Tanuki Personal Names: Akira, Ayumu, Chihiro, Harumi, Hibiki, Izumi, Kei, Kurumi, Makoto, Minoru, Nagisa, Ren, Shizuka, Tomomi, Yuu

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All material in this document following the Playtest Version sidebar and prior to the Legal Appendix that is not otherwise designated as Product Identity is Open Game Content.



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