Kitsune of the Eclipse Part III

Part I covered an Introduction to the Kitsune – the creature of the legends and how it fits into a d20 universe.

Part II covered the basic one-tailed Kitsune and how the racial attributes were derived.

And now, for Part III, it’s the powers and life cycle of multi-tailed Kitsune.

Blacksmith Munechika (end of the 10th century)...

Forging with Foxfire makes for a tricky blade.

There’s even less agreement about the powers of Kitsune with multiple tails than there is about the ways of one-tailed Kitsune. In some tales they are messengers of one or another god, in some simple tricksters, in others possessing or vampiric spirits, and in still others (albeit mostly in more modern versions) they are elemental spirits of nature.

In Eclipse terms multiple inconsistent descriptions usually simply means that means that there are mutually-exclusive choices to make – and there is at least one which fits right in.

A Kitsune who’s about to gain his or her second tail faces a tough decision. Their power may be increasing, but they’re still small wild canines coming up on either age 100 or 200 (depending on the story). That’s not a good thing. It means that – without their shapeshifting magic – they are far, FAR, beyond the point of “natural death”.

And all magics have their limitations.

Some few – confident in the Wheel of Incarnations or their spirits destination – accept the way of things, and pass on. We don’t really need to concern ourselves with them. Characters who peacefully accept that there is, indeed, a time to die don’t tend to have exciting adventures after that point unless they reincarnate or something.

Others, unwilling to abandon either life or their physical forms cling tightly, employing their shapeshifting to maintain a body which should – in the normal way of things – be long since dust. They continue to be physical foxes, independent of any greater powers, and with all the frailties of flesh. They’re most commonly known as Nogitsune.

Two-Tailed Kitsune-Nogitsune Powers Template (+1 ECL Race with basic Kitsune Package):

  • +1d6 Mana (6 CP).
  • Adept (6 CP) for two sets of Rune Magic skills. While Illusion and Transformation are fairly common, a wide variety of other – principally elemental or nature-related – powers have been reported.
  • +4 to each of the four Adept skills (8 CP). This will normally be enough to get a Kitsune up to second level spells.
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/must pull a silly prank on a sapient creature of another race to get this to work (6 CP).
  • Magician (for Rune Magic) (6 CP).

Nogitsune normally gain one additional tail per additional level of spell they can use – thus a nine-tailed Kitsune can, within it’s specialities, cast ninth-level spells. Traditionally it takes a century to advance in status that way, but going adventuring – and taking horrible risks – can speed up the process a great deal.

Nogitsune may mix template levels with normal ones if they wish – a process that can lead to them wielding enormous magical power at relatively low level while remaining hopelessly frail. This is NOT recommended in d20 – where seeing a certain amount of damage coming your way is almost inevitable – but it is something of a shortcut. Of course, if you alternate template levels with normal levels meant to toughen yourself up, you’ll wind up with your basic high-level spellcaster. If you focus on normal levels your magical talents will lag,

Advanced Nogitsune Template Level (+1 ECL and +1 Tail):

  • +2d6 Mana (12 CP).
  • +4 to each of the four Adept skills (8 CP). This is enough to gain +2 effective caster levels with those rune magic abilities and +1 level of spells.
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/must pull a silly prank on a sapient creature of another race to get this to work (6 CP). Buying this ability again means that you still only get five uses – but that your Mana recovery increases by +1d6 each time. Elder Nogitsune continue to play silly tricks on people because their reward goes up and up…
  • +1 Bonus Feat or 6 CP ability of choice – although some privileges and reputation are almost mandatory at some point (6 CP).

Kitsune may also opt to abandon their physical bodies to become free fox spirits. This requires a complex balancing act, hovering in astral space while maintaining a bond to the physical world so that they can return to it and avoid being drawn into an afterlife and a maintaining a bond with an afterlife so as to avoid being drawn into the physical world and a new incarnation. That’s not easy. In fact, it requires making a pact with a spirit powerful enough to control an afterlife and willing to help you out.

In general, that means making a bargain with a god – normally offering service in exchange for help in maintaining your life. Traditionally, Kitsune make pacts with Inari, a thoroughly benign sort of deity who likes benign kitsune – but, at least in d20, a wide variety of other gods may be willing to make the relevant pact. A Kitsune who does so becomes a functionary in the entourage of a god – acquiring a sort of spiritual rank. They’re usually known as Myobu. Sadly enough, free fox spirits are still rather vulnerable. Their delicate balance between the worlds can be easily upset unless they invest a lot of time and energy in stabilizing it by taking actual levels which provide hit points. Even then, without a true physical form to focus magical energies, their powers are usually less impressive than those of Nogitsune – even if their connections are a lot better.

Two-Tailed Kitsune-Myobu Powers Template I (+1 ECL Race with basic Kitsune Package):

  • Mana as 3d6 Power (6 CP).
  • Shapeshift with Shape of Death and Incorporeal, Specialized/Shapeshift and Shape of Death only as Prerequisites, Incorporeal it costs [1 + Tails] Power to remain corporeal for an hour, Incorporeality is Corrupted/magic works against the user normally (8 CP). Yes, Myobu are spirits – and, in fact, since they are technically permanently using Shape of Death, they are vulnerable to being Turned, Destroyed, Rebuked, Bolstered, and Commanded by characters wielding positive and negative energy. They do, however, gain Turn Resistance equal to their current number of tails.
  • Witchcraft I, II, and III, with Summoning and two Pacts – at least one of Service and (usually) one of Duties, Tithe, Souls, Vampirism (darker patrons often offer this pact, or minor variants that drain energy form the natural world), or Spell Failure. (12 CP).
  • Rite of Chi with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized/must pull a silly prank on a sapient creature of another race to get this to work (6 CP).

Myobu may continue to take template levels if they wish, with much the same consequences as a Nogitsune doing the same. Myobu, however, do not acquire tails according to the level of spell that they can access; they simply acquire them by taking Advanced Myobu Template levels – at a minimum of one template level per century.

Advanced Myobu Template Level (+1 ECL and +1 Tail):

  • +1 Bonus Feat or 6 CP ability of choice – although basic Returning (will come back after being “killed” unless special precautions are taken) and Favors/Spirits or Patron are almost required after four or five tails (6 CP).
  • Mana as +4d6 Power (8 CP).
  • +2 Advanced Witchcraft abilities of choice. (12 CP)
  • +1 to a Saving Throw of Choice (most commonly Will or Reflex) (3 CP).
  • +1 Contact (1 CP).
  • +2 Skill Points (2 CP).

So now that we have the mechanics, what is Kitsune culture like?

That one’s easy. Kitsune Culture is pretty much a myth. Foxes are common enough, but foxes who are old enough to become “civilized” are extremely rare, hence they usually model most of their behavior on the local culture as filtered through the mind of a small, fragile, wild animal that mostly hunts small rodents. Their common traits are mostly those of small canines.

  • When they fight each other it’s usually to submission or flight, not death. Fighting to the death risks serious injuries – which wild animals often will not survive.
  • Even the oldest and wisest Kitsune tend to be shortsighted, impulsive, instinct-driven, and more than a bit childish.
  • They’re very interested in mates and offspring. They also know that most of their fox-children are simply going to be short-lived wild animals.
  • They dislike confinement, and often extend that feeling to objecting confining others.
  • They respect those amongst themselves with more tails. They’re generally older and are always more powerful.
  • They usually consider each other as – at least – distant relatives. After all, given the number of descendents a hundred-year-old fox will have, any two Kitsune almost certainly are related in many MANY ways.

…and that’s about it.

Kitsune are skillful illusionists, and – if that advantage is employed cleverly – can be very effective. If it’s not employed cleverly… well, they make a decent pot of soup and a pair of fur gloves.

Try to stay out of hot water now!

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One Response

  1. […] ECL Kitsune: Part I, Part II, and Part III (with higher ECL […]

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