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Kitsune

Despite their human masks, most kitsune have none of humanity’s ambition for power or desire for riches. Rather, kitsune are motivated by less hazardous claims to fame and seek success and notoriety through more enduring mediums, such as artwork, storytelling, and song. As a result, kitsune embrace art in all of its forms and seek to build their legacy through their creations.

Sly Shapechangers

Kitsune are a race of shapechangers whose true appearance is that of a humanoid with vulpine features—they have heads, tails, and fur akin to that of a fox, as well as five-toed digitigrade legs and small, black nails at the end of each of their digits. Remarkably, kitsune are shapeshifters who the ability to assume a specific human form at will whose appearance is as hereditary as any other physical feature they possess. This human guise is always of the same age, build, and gender as the kitsune and has the same eye color, hair color, and voice.

Standing between 5 and 6 feet in height both in their true form and their human form, they appear graceful and lithe but are otherwise indistinguishable from ordinary humans while shapechanged. Their build varies, but most weigh between 100 and 120 pounds.

Kitsune fur ranges from orange-red to orange, fulvous to brown, and gray to dark gray. Rare kitsune are born with snow-white fur are considered blessed by their people’s goddess, while those with pitch-black fur are thought as being cursed by malevolent forces. They have vibrantly colored eyes running the gamut of the rainbow that sparkle like gemstones.

They like to wear clothing that closely resembles human garb save for small, unnoticeable alterations that allow the garment to be worn both in their human form and their true form.

Kitsune guile extends beyond their clothing. Centuries of persecution by humans have made kitsune secretive and deceptive, unwilling to risk those they don’t trust with the truth of their heritage. Kitsune are apprehensive about allowing even close friends of foreign races to learn even their most closely-guarded secrets and tend to value family and their communities over all else. Kitsune are often fiercely loyal of the friends they do make, however, valuing them more than any treasure.

Playful Tricksters

Kitsune value a bit of good-natured fun, believing that a good prank or two keeps the drudgery of everyday life amongst otherwise dull humans. Kitsune pranks are usually relatively harmless and mostly revolve around exaggeration. Kitsune adore storytelling in all its forms, and consider exaggeration in the form of tall tales to be something of an art form—the more you can convince your listener, even temporarily, the better you are at your art. This tradition likely evolved from kitsune culture’s desire to stay hidden from humanity’s prying eyes, as a good deception can help a kitsune avoid scrutiny by an otherwise suspicious person.

Kitsune playfulness only extends so far, however.

Underneath its friendly affability, kitsune culture possesses a wicked sense of justice that espouses the importance of seeking retribution when forgiveness is impossible, especially when one can sate their vengeance without getting caught.

Kitsune are notorious for the uncharacteristic ruthlessness with which they seek vengeance upon their enemies and prefer punishments wrought with irony whenever possible. To what end a kitsune will go to avenge herself varies based upon the individual and the slight, but such pursuits can become increasingly dastardly and malicious as the kitsune becomes more and more desperate to even the score between themself and their enemy.

Loyal But Secretive

For most kitsune, it’s easier to simply blend in with humanity than to simply walk around in their vulpine true forms, regardless of whether or not they believe that the locals would accept them. This is a matter of practicality to most kitsune— humans are fickle and fearful people, so why risk irritation or bigotry if they don’t have to? Kitsune culture places high value on privacy as a result, and many kitsune choose to keep much of themselves to themselves from the majority of foreigners.

When kitsune do bond with others, foreigners or not, it’s often when someone displays a great deal of loyalty to them.

Kitsune prize loyalty above all else, to the extent that for most kitsune “building a home” refers more to a social home than a physical one, but they don’t devote themselves unto others thoughtlessly. Ever prepared to uproot themselves should their greatest secret get discovered, kitsune can be difficult to truly win over simply because they’re used to have to cut others out of their lives at a moment’s notice. Should a kitsune find companions who delight them, be they other kitsune or foreigners, they quickly become attached to those individuals, quickly building both their home and life around them. Even when circumstances force a kitsune from her friends and family, however, they willingly go out of her way to maintain ties with them.

Kitsune Names

A kitsune has a given name, a family name, and a clan or community name. Given names are usually Sylvan words for natural phenomenon that remind the kitsune’s parents of their child, but traditionally a kitsune isn’t named until they’ve survived their first month of life in a festival called a manyue.

A kitsune’s family name often reflects some mark of pride for one of the kitsune’s ancestors, such as the descendants of a skilled running having the family name Swiftpaw. Clan names are traditional and often descriptive of the group, going back several generations or longer.

Female Names Beku, Chitori, Fuyo, Hanako, Hakara, Kinzami, Kumisa, Mizayuki, Nami, Ozuru, Rikaiyu, Rizumi, Shira, Tayano, Tamoko, Waraba, Zuki

Male Names Akusai, Baisuo, Daitsugo, Fushiro, Hien, Hiru, Ihan, Isao, Kaimoru, Masaaki, Noshika, Ryu, Satoshi, Shinaro, Takori, Tsumei, Yoji.

Family Names Akiharu, Autumngale, Cherrywind, Chimato, Dancingbreeze, Fusato, Gemmiko, Ichihara, Ironwrought, Joumei, Luckystar, Masei, Sadanako, Sunblaze, Silvertongue, Swiftpaw, Yoshitaka.

Clan Names Flameblessed, Galespeaker, Icehome, Sanddrifter, Sunkissed, Stonespeaker, Storykeeper, Thunderforged, Trailfinder, Voidwalker.

Kitsune Traits

Your kitsune character has a number of traits in common with all other kitsune.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.

Age. A kitsune reaches adulthood in their late teens and lives less than a century unless they have multiple tails. Such kitsune are called kyubi and typically live two centuries for every tail they possess.

Alignment. Kitsune tend towards no particular alignment. They emulate both the best and worst of humanity.

Size. Kitsune vary wildly in height, ranging from barely 5 feet to well over 6 feet tall. Though they tend to have slighter builds, heavyset kitsune aren’t unheard of. Regardless of where you fall within that range, your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Natural Weapons. You have sharp fangs in your true form. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d4 piercing damage. If you have the martial arts class feature or a similar ability, add +1 to your damage rolls with your unarmed strikes instead.

Pounce. You can make a running long jump or a running high jump after moving only 5 feet on foot, rather than 10 feet. If you have the Athlete feat, you can make a running long jump or a running high jump without needing to move, rather than needing to move 5 feet.

Shapechanger. You can use your action to polymorph into a specific human identity or back to your true form, as if using the change appearance option of the alter self spell, except this ability doesn’t require concentration. This human form is the same age, build, and gender as your true form, has the same hair color, eye color, and voice, and appears to belong to a specific human ethnic group. Your statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying isn’t changed. You revert to your true form if you die.

Sly. You gain proficiency in Deception and have advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks to pass yourself off as human using your shapechanger trait.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Sylvan and either Common or one human language of your choice. Sylvan is a fluid language rife with double entendres and intricate grammar. Although you aren’t fey, kitsune adopted Sylvan as their racial language and have used it ever since. Fey aren’t known for publishing tomes, so many of the world’s Sylvan literature was secretly written by kitsune masquerading as humans.

Subrace. Vast geographic distances have resulted in four kitsune subraces: arctic, desert, forest, and steppe. Choose one of these subraces.

Subrace Options

Arctic Kitsune

Native to frigid lands with short summers and long winters, arctic kitsune dwell primarily in small communities located within taigas and tundras. Known as Kusrivaki in their native Sylvan, arctic kitsune have thick fur, short ears and snouts, and wide feet well-adapted to trekking across snow and balancing on ice. Often thicker and heavier set when compared to kitsune of other subraces, arctic kitsune have seasonal fur coats that alter between a white, marbled coat during the winter and dark gray, brown, or peppered in the summer.

Arctic kitsune culture values somberness and seriousness more so than those of other kitsune cultures, and their human forms usually resemble humans of hyperborean ethnic groups.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Hyperborean Anatomy. From your wide feet that give you an edge moving across slick surfaces to your insulated fur, your body is well-equipped for survival in hyperborean climates. When you’re in your true form, you ignore difficult terrain from nonmagical ice and snow. You also have advantage on Constitution saving throws against extreme cold up to –45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Desert Kitsune

Known equally for their fiery complexions and personalities, desert kitsune—or Thaelabi as they’re called in their nativeSylvan—also have large ears with fluffy, sandy fur and dark eyes. On average, desert kitsune are shorter than members of other kitsune subraces and their human forms typically resemble humans belonging to desert-dwelling ethnic groups.

Although they value cheerfulness and whimsy, desert kitsune seldom respect foreign authority and lawmaking, especially those of humanity, and strongly believe in an eye for an eye, craving equal or greater vengeance when wronged.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.

Desert Survivalist. Your body naturally endures many of the desert’s hardships. For every pound of food you eat, you also count as having drank 2 gallons of water. You also have advantage on Constitution saving throws against extreme heat up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Forest Kitsune

Known as Huyeou in Sylvan, forest kitsune make up most of the kitsune population, their kind especially versed in living in secrecy among humans. Extremely diverse in appearance, forest kitsune fur runs the gamut of red-orange, orange, brown, fulvous, and gray while their eye color spans the entirety of the rainbow, most often in jeweled shades like amethyst or emerald. Their human guises take nearly every size and shape imaginable and can mirror nearly any human ethnic group. Forest kitsune tend to mingle better with humans both culturally and socially than any other kitsune subrace and are often found living amongst their human peers in secret communities and neighborhoods. Members of other kitsune subraces sometimes accuse forest kitsune for internalizing too many human behaviors.

Ability Score Increase. Choose Charisma or Intelligence.

Your chosen ability score increases by 1.

Urban Repertoire. For many forest kitsune, learning to use many different kinds of tools and equipment is a priority for blending into human cities and settlements. Choose one martial weapon or one tool. You gain proficiency with the chosen martial weapon or tool.

Steppe Kitsune

At home on wind-scoured badlands, steppe kitsune are a nomadic people who make their homes in hilly or mountainous terrain. Known as the Daksairi in their native Sylvan, steppe kitsune are often tall and lanky with straight, dense fur flecked in multiple shades of black, gray, white, fulvous, and orange that lacks the fluff characteristic of the fur of other kitsune subraces.

Steppe kitsune often have warm-colored eyes that are commonly compared to the radiance of the sun, moon, and stars, and their culture emphasizes reservation and contemplation over brashness. As a result, many steppe kitsune are plainspoken folk, much to the chagrin of kitsune of other subraces.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Mountaineer. You always count as being acclimated to high altitudes and have advantage on Athletics checks to climb and Constitution saving throws to make a forced march.

Gregarious and Affable

Ever cognizant of other’s opinions of them, kitsune make concentrated efforts to be sociable and friendly to whomever they meet. As an old kitsune saying goes, “People are concerned less by honey than vinegar.” To a certain extent, kitsune affability is part of their overall ruse, but most are genuinely friendly and interested in what others have to say. After all, one can’t discover a ruse that was never there to begin with.

Dwarves. “They’d like you to think that they’re these quiet, stoic types but get a little honey mead in them and you see that they’re much like the rest of us. Like a good steak, they’re best with a flagon of ale at their side.”

Elves. “Ugh, elves. They’re like dumplings; a million varieties, but all basically the same: dismissive of anyone who isn’t at least a few centuries old.”

Gnomes. “Honestly? Never seen a gnome that wasn’t a thoughtful, genuine person. A little eccentric? Sure, but aren’t we all deep down?”

Humans. “A single human is fine, but as far as groups go one could do so much better. All too often they’re cowed by their own ambition, greed, and fear, but is that really their fault? Most people choose the best among them to follow, but humans have a bad habit of choosing the worst. You think humanity is great now? Dream of how much more they could achieve if they let go of their herd mentality, let their best selves shine through, and lament.”

Kitsune Culture

Kitsune make great efforts to hide all trace of their true selves from outsiders in the interest of maintaining their human guises, making kitsune culture something of a clandestine mystery to foreigners. Although part of their reason for doing so certainly has grounds in the preservation of their way of life, keeping their human lives separate from their native rites and traditions allows kitsune to maintain a sense of individuality without fear of breaking human behaviors, laws, or traditions severely enough to warrant investigation.

Kitsune take great pride in the fact that their culture is one that lives and breathes by way of song, story, and art. Kitsune possess a rich oral history that shadows humanity’s own, often offering their race’s perspective on the events that shaped and defined humanity. In many ways, human history and kitsune history are one and the same, and human societies often adopt kitsune song and stories by accident without anyone, most kitsune included, realizing that the author wasn’t human.

Since there is no accurate way for anyone to distinguish which race wrote what song or story, most kitsune adapt stories from all sources to suit their oral history, taking what they like and altering what they don’t just as humans often do. Well-liked human kings and heroes are often reimagined as kitsune while boring or disliked figures often become human antagonists, which speaks more about the kitsune perception of humanity than a thousand tales could possibly tell.

Life & Death

Kitsune celebrate life’s changing seasons with great enthusiasm: each birth is a blessing, each marriage a momentous joy, and each death a bitter passing. Kitsune parents are taught to meticulously care for their young, spending at least a full month bonding with their newborn. A new father is expected to care for his child as much as possible immediately following their birth to allow the mother a measure of recovery, and he remains a crucial part of the child’s care throughout the rest of the child’s life. Kitsune are capable of siring children with humans, though the result is always a kitsune child whose human guise prominently features their human parent’s physical traits.

Kitsune need no invitation to celebrate, and often hold private yet extravagant parties for life’s milestones, especially an infant’s birth, a youth’s coming of age, and a young couple’s marriage. These celebrations often have traditional rules and customs that must be followed. For instance, most kitsune consider it bad luck to celebrate a child’s birth until it has lived for one full month and tradition mandates that a kitsune coming of age ceremony must celebrate an entire year’s worth of young adults simultaneously on the night of the first full moon of the new year. Likewise, it is customary for kitsune to partake in two weddings; a public “human” wedding that abides by local laws and customs and a private “kitsune” wedding open only to kitsune community members and close friends of the newlyweds.

Even when confronted with death, kitsune are optimistic folk who prefer to sing tales that honor the individual’s memory rather than mourn their loss publicly. While death is as painful to a kitsune as it is to anyone else, kitsune legends claim that prolonged mourning brings sorrow to the dead, making it harder for them to pass on to the afterlife. As a result, families often hire a scribe to record stories told about the departed during a traditional celebration of life ceremony called a shoshiki. At the end of the celebration, the stories are bound into a sturdy tome that is presented to the next of kin. These books are kept within family dwellings as treasured mementos, and are often copied and passed along from family member to family member. After a few generations, the original text is usually donated to a community library where the deceased kitsune’s memory can be preserved.

Architecture

Although they tend to be of better quality than their human counterparts, kitsune architecture is specifically designed to resemble that of local humans from all outward appearances.

Usually unassuming from the outside, kitsune homes are often feature lavish interior decorating. Kitsune especially adore furnishings with the ability to change form and function, such as shelves that unfold into tables or book shelves that conceal rooms, and go out of their way to incorporate such novelties into their spaces. Most kitsune view their homes as a family member and take excruciatingly good care of it as a result.

Clothing

Kitsune clothing tends to mirror whatever styles are popular with the indigenous human population so as not to arouse suspicion. Keenly aware that humans view clothing as an expression of homeland, personal taste, style, and wealth, a kitsune among humans carefully chooses their clothing to match whatever identity they’ve fabricated for the community they’re staying in. That said, they tend to favor clothing with flashy colors that accents their natural pigmentation or has visually pleasing patterns. Jewelry is a must, and a kitsune ensemble usually places less emphasis on footwear, as many kitsune elect to walk barefoot in their true forms whenever possible.

A kitsune’s shapechanging ability affords them a unique ability in regards to clothing—as part of changing their form, a kitsune can magically alter their clothing and worn equipment to better fit their current form. While limited in use, they can alter their clothing enough to account for slight differences between their forms’ body size and shape. This is most commonly used to alter human footwear enough that in their true forms, they can walk barefoot. Perplexingly enough, a popular trend among kitsune tailors is to render this power redundant by designing clothing that can subtly accommodate both of their wearer’s forms. For example, trousers designed with this aesthetic in mind often have a small flag with a stylish button that, when a kitsune shifts from their human form to their true form, allows their tail to comfortably pass through.

So ingrained is this fashion fad that it is primarily why kitsune pay little mind to footwear—so far no one has invented a nonmagical shoe with this function.

Communities & Nations

Kitsune are prone to wanderlust and seldom aspire to political power, yet despite this they maintain cohesive communities that can be dozens of miles in diameter or as small as a city block. To a kitsune, a community is a support network first and foremost, and kitsune rely on their communities for everything from verifying their alibis to staying in touch with one another. Yet despite their gregariousness, kitsune communities rarely gather in a single place. After all, the more kitsune who converge upon a single location, the more difficult it is to keep the community’s existence hidden from outsiders, and keeping the community’s existence is crucial to protecting its members from any who might wish to persecute them for being kitsune. Fully kitsune settlements are likewise rare for these reasons, yet against all odds such settlements exist. Typically, the rare kitsune settlement grows around a well-liked individual or familiar. As kitsune continue to settle around the fledgling hamlet, the trust and loyalty between the community’s members overpowers their people’s natural wanderlust, resulting in a permanent settlement. Most such settlements often welcome foreigners of other species with open arms, provided they follow the community’s laws.

Kitsune kingdoms and nations are practically unheard of— they’re so incredibly rare that they’re usually the stuff of fairy tales and legends rather than reality. Kitsune don’t submit well to authority, and few possess the discipline, ambition, or willpower needed to shoulder the responsibility that proper leading requests, and those who do usually end up trying to assume control over existing human governments rather than forge their own. While loose confederations of kitsune communities sometimes form during troubled times, actual sovereign nations seldom last. In the exceedingly rare situation that true kitsune kingdoms arise, however, its often due to the rulership of a respected and admired kitsune folk hero that the people rally behind.

Cuisine

Kitsune are omnivorous, their basic fare identical to that of humanity. Ingredients in a traditional kitsune meal are usually prepared and served together, seared over an open flame using techniques like pan-frying and stir-frying. Kitsune relish sweets made from beans and rice, coloring them with natural products such as with daifuku, dango, and uiro. Kitsune are best known for their teppanyaki, or “iron-griddle frying.” More than the food, teppanyaki chefs cook their guests food directly in front of them while performing dazzling tricks and comedy routines for their entertainment such as juggling knives or spinning eggs.

Although this style of cooking has become popular with other species, kitsune are regarded as masters of teppanyaki because of the traditional shapeshifting routines they incorporate into every performance—a feat few others can match.

Language

Kitsune don’t possess a native language—as shapeshifters who value living among humans undisturbed, most kitsune families prioritize teaching their children whichever human languages are most dominate in their homeland. As a result, most kitsune speak a human language as their primary language, and nearly every kitsune learns to speak Common at some point in their lives for similar reasons. This works well enough for most kitsune, as they are incredibly talented at learning languages and enjoy peppering their dialect with words learned from foreign tongues. Young kitsune acquire language alarmingly quickly, with most young kitsune able to speak short sentences by their third birthday.

In addition to more conventional languages, kitsune typically teach their children to speak Sylvan, which they traditionally use to pass secret messages to one another under the noses of their human neighbors, who are often monolingual. Few kitsune consider Sylvan to be their primary language, however.

Relations With Others

Kitsune generally have poor relations with humans, as the latter generally view kitsune as thieves, liars, criminals, and vagrants.

When asked to justify these stereotypes, most point towards a perceived kitsune “dishonesty” or “nefariousness” on account of their shapechanging powers—a stereotype born from irrational paranoia. The most bigoted humans openly despise kitsune for these reasons and more, including everything from their “inhumanity” to their ability to sire more of their kind with human parents, the latter of which has led to stories of kitsune men bedding human women and leaving forever, leaving the mother to birth a vulpine “monster.” While such incidents almost never happen, enough humans think they’re commonplace that kitsune are treated like bogeymen in many places.

Humanity’s opinions regarding kitsune have slowly seeped into those of other species that humanity openly interacts with. While elves generally tend to take such tales with a grain of salt, in their haughtiness acknowledging that humanity is prone to overreactions, many dwarves staunchly agree with humans, claiming no good can come from a species that saunters about pretending to be something it isn’t. By contrast, hauflins generally tolerate or even like kitsune, the former seeing their shapeshifting powers as unique and their storytelling as entertainingly creative, while the latter sees kitsune shapeshifting for what it often is—a means of living quietly away from humanity’s often judgmental eyes.

Trades

Although they’re often accused of being con artists and criminals, kitsune are far more likely to take to the arts or a crafting trade, such as carpentry or basket weaving, then resort to petty crime. Kitsune gravitate towards trades that value artistic skill and delicate finesse over brute strength, few taking to physically demanding careers. The only exception to this is farming and other agricultural pursuits, which kitsune view as noble work.

Origins & Religion

Kitsune adore storytelling and value a good tale more than a truthful one, and as a result numerous legends about the origin of their race exist. Most are fabricated lies designed to confuse or startle other races, especially humans, but so many stories exist that even kitsune have trouble telling the real ones from the fake, a problem most kitsune are unconcerned with. Though infuriating to scholars, most kitsune agree that an enjoyable story is better than a boring story even if the enjoyable one is false. Of course, this logic doesn’t extend to blatant lies that serve only to confuse or harm others for most kitsune, but the general consensus for many kitsune is that religious myths are by their very nature impossible to prove true anyway, so why not take some liberties and have fun with it?

Most kitsune worship the progenitor of their race and a deity of agriculture, communities, and nature.

According to holy texts, kitsune are descended from the Lord of Lord’s messengers and are first among the deity’s favored. However, kitsune are exposed to plenty of deities thanks to their close living proximity to humanity, and are prone to follow any deity worshiped by humans that they personally take fancy to. It isn’t uncommon for local kitsune to make up their own, strange pantheons consistent of favorite local deities.

Kyubi

Countless myths and legends regarding kyubi, kitsune who possess multiple tails, exist. Although foreigners often mistake the word for an ethnicity or a completely separate race of kitsune-like creatures, kitsune use “kyubi” as an honorific, much like “doctor” or “sir” or “madame,” and affix it to the front of the kyubi’s name as a sign of admiration or respect.

Traditionally, “kyubi” refers exclusively to fully-actualized, nine-tailed kitsune, but the infrequency of such individuals has resulted in a linguistic shift in which most kitsune now use the honorific to refer kitsune that possesses two or more tails.

Human folklore about kyubi tends to contain more exaggeration then truth, and many such tales claim that kyubi have absolute control over the world around them. While kyubi do possess more innate magic than other kitsune, their powers tend to be limited to charms, enchantments, and illusions aimed at altering the minds and perceptions of the weak-willed. Kitsune stories about kyubi, on the other hand, tend to focus more upon the deeds of the kyubi rather than her powers. As their powers suggest, kyubi are often tricksters and deceivers, but the motivation behind their tricks and deceptions are individualistic and vary considerably.

Where one kyubi might use her powers to coerce a village into serving her every whim, another might trick a tyrant into believing that his holdings are being haunted by a vengeful spirit to force them to repent for their misgivings.

Exactly what conditions give rise to a kyubi are poorly understood, and speculation from kitsune and foreigners alike abounds about whether which kitsune ascends is predestined or a matter of accident, coincidence, or hard work. Whatever the case might be, most agree that a source of power, be it magical or spiritual in nature, is required to fuel this apotheosis, making even the weakest kyubi a force to respect.

Chakra

All living creatures possess chakra, the mystic energy that a mortal soul uses to animate its body. Most people are unable to harness chakra in a meaningful way—notable exceptions include monks, who focus their body’s chakra into the mystical ki they utilize for many of their supernatural powers.

In most people, the body’s chakra focuses around seven key points located along their body’s spinal column, starting in the groin and moving up to the crown of the head. Kitsune, however, possess an eighth chakra point located at the base of the spine, the tail chakra. Kitsune seeking this path to become kyubi employ dozens of drills, including martial arts and meditation, to harness the power of their chakras. Slowly and medothodically, these kitsune ascend into kyubi by learning to unlock and enlarge their body’s eight chakra points, beginning with the tail chakra and ascending in order until finally the crown chakra has become permanently unlocked. For each chakra mastered, the kitsune grows additional tails. Despite being the most straightforward path to kyubi ascension, harnessing one’s chakra is arduous, and few kitsune ever accomplish it if they learn of the method’s existence at all.

Deific Blessings

Common kitsune belief claims that the ascension of a kyubi is a blessing from the gods, the patron deity of the kitsune. In truth, deific blessings are seldom the cause for a kyubi’s ascension, but belief in the religious significance of kyubi is rampant among kitsune and most kyubi enjoy the benefits and prestige that comes with supposedly being blessed. Those kyubi who truly do ascend with the help of the gods are often among their most loyal servants, utterly loyal to their deific patron and as flawless in practicing their deity’s dogma as a mortal can be. When a deity does back a kitsune’s ascension, the god’s very will shapes and alters the kitsune’s body, infusing them with so much divine energy that their body’s chakra points burst open with holy (or unholy) power. In most cases, this is a reward given to a living kitsune for pleasing a specific deity. Of course, what can be given can also be taken away, and kyubi who displease the gods may find their chakras suddenly closed, the method for accessing the powers of a kyubi wiped clean from their body’s muscle memory. When this happens, the kyubi’s additional tails slowly wither and crumble from their bodies, much as an infant’s umbilical cord eventually crumbles off of a newborn’s body.

In rare cases, a deity might choose to reveal their favor for a newborn kitsune by granting them ascension from birth.

In addition to being born with two tails, the infant possesses snow-white fur and eyes reflecting one or both of the deity’s favored colors. Since the birth of a whitefur kitsune is already viewed as a sign of deific favor by most kitsune communities, the birth of a whitefur kyubi heralds a child with a grand destiny akin to that of a messiah. Kitsune who receive the blessings of a deity are incredibly rare, however, with only a handful of individuals in a generation receiving the honor.

Enlightenment

For some, ascension into a kyubi is a matter of personal discovery tied to individual sagacity. According to sacred texts, the Flower of Foxes was once an ordinary fox who came to understand the nature of suffering, and in doing so unlocked the knowledge necessary to control their chakras. Eventually, the power attained by Inari Okai caused the once-lowly fox to ascend into a deity.

As their patron deity before them, some kitsune become kyubi by following a similar, albeit personal, path to enlightenment.

The cause of a particular transformation is up to you and your GM. A transformation feat can symbolize a latent quality that has emerged as you age, or something that’s happened to you during the campaign. For kitsune, these feats are often the result of training, a quirk of birth, or divine favor.

Although myths and legends speak highly of kitsune who become kyubi through enlightenment, the path to enlightenment is different for every kitsune. One’s pursuit of knowledge might stem from learning esoteric lore, mastering the art of war, or mastering a trade or craft, or simply embracing the satisfaction of performing good deeds or enjoying life to the fullest. Such experiences define a kitsune, and through enlightenment the kitsune learns to open their chakra points and actualize the best version of themselves. To the enlightened, one need only to possess the discipline and devotion necessary to commit one’s self entirely to the pursuit of enlightenment in order to achieve it. That so few kitsune are kyubi, however, seems to speak loudly of their kind’s willingness to dedicate themselves to metaphysical pursuits.

Still, many kitsune have such a powerfully innate yearning for such experiences that they are all but compelled to wander in their youth, leading some to believe that desire for ascension via experience and enlightenment is ingrained within the heart and soul of every kitsune.

Unusual Bloodlines

Magic flows within the veins of all kitsune, and for some it is a matter of inheritance that sparks the kitsune’s ascension into a kyubi. Exactly when this bloodline manifests as well as what source it stems from varies from individual to individual; for example, kitsune with kyubi ancestors are more likely to manifest additional tails themselves, while the touch of a particularly powerful fey, the boon of an ancient dragon, the meddling of a mad wizard, and similar influences can infuse an infant kitsune with latent power that will one day spark her transformation into a kyubi.

Unlike other kyubi, those for whom ascension is a birthright seldom have to work towards opening their chakras; instead, their souls naturally produce the energies needed to open their chakras and doing so is almost second nature to the kitsune.

Many such kitsune become kyubis during their childhoods, sometimes as birth and other times after a powerful surge of emotion or a similar catalyst sparks the latent powers within them. Such kitsune might simply wake up one morning with an additional tail or sprout it suddenly during a particularly stressful experience. Kitsune with unusual bloodlines seldom inherit only the potential for ascension from their ancestors.

Such kitsune often manifest traits such as unusual pigmentation or supernatural powers unseen in ordinary kitsune, such as the potential for becoming a sorcerer.

Although arguably the rarest kind of kyubi, based on kitsune storytelling one might think that a quirk of birth was the most common reason for ascension. In truth, many kitsune storytellers simply prefer heritage to other means of becoming kyubi when telling their tales because it adds a measure of grandeur to the character that working hard simply can’t match.

It’s also relatively rare for kitsune to develop kyubi abilities earlier than adolescence, as young bodies are usually ill equipped to handle the formation of additional tails and the flood of mystic power that their presence heralds. Kitsune who acquire additional tails earlier in life are often more mischievous than other kitsune, and use their powers often and without much thought for responsibility. In doing so, young kyubi acquire a taste for power unseen in others of their kin and often believe they should get whatever they want whenever they desire it.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

5e Files: Kitsune © 2020, Everybody Games; Authors: Alexander Augunas.