are loosely based on the information posted
mostly because I'm too lazy to type out everything
I know,and I don't have that much time between
work and life
The kitsune race is one filled with myth and contradictions. While I don't claim to be an expert on it, I have been studying the race itself, and its place in Japanese, Chinese, and Indian mythology. This thesis is an aid to those who wish to know about the kitsune, or who wish to play one in some RPG's. The thesis is far from complete, and I will be adding information as I learn of it, and am at least reasonably sure of its veracity.
To explain some things: This information, for
the most part, has been gathered by debate and interview with
sources from various chat areas, discussions on the net, and
through books that I have been able to come across. The biggest
source if information, so far, is from the following:
Kitsune: Japan's Fox of Mystery, Romance, and Humour
-by Kiyoshi Nozaki
This book is *filled* with legends of the
doesn't present any hard evidence, but it shows many of the
innate abilities of the kitsune, shows kitsune pranks in
action, and does mention the kitsune's ties to the 13
elements. Note that this book was written after three years
of extensive research. It is by no means complete.
FoxKnight (Ben Ludwig) A friend on alt.horror.werewolves
Probably the person I have spoken to the most
kitsune, FoxKnight and I have discussed, debated, and
bandered around information on the kitsune, it's place in
the Orient's culture, and the abilities, the theological and
cultural significance, and the spiritual placement of the
kitsune. These discussions have always been enlightening,
and he will be giving more information that I will most
likely find very useful for placing in this section.
Anthony Kitsune from FurryMUCK
Anthony has done an amazing effort in
information on not only the kitsune, but on the fox's role
in cultures in the West as well. Unfortunately for me, I am
biased to attempt to keep my data limited to the kitsune,
and the East, but I do suggest that others contact him if
they wish another point of view on the kitsune, and the fox.
Kij Johnson Author of the short story 'Fox
This was a wonderful short story, showing how things
could have looked from a kitsune's point of view. She has,
from what I heard, written an actual novel now that follows
in the footsteps of this short story, but I've yet to read
I will admit that some information listed here is hypothesis only. I have tried to keep to the facts that have been gathered or found, but for ease of understanding, speculation must be used for those who are curious about details. Most speculation has been discussed, debated, reformed, and changed as I have learned more of the oriental way of life, and their beliefs and culture.
Without that, this document would be next to useless.
After much consideration I have also decided, to a limited extent, to add 'game mechanics' out of this document, except where it may be essential, and stick to the lore and to information that is good for RP format.
Where an -> is listed, I'm using 'game
mechanics'. This is where I've added information that isn't
really listed anywhere, but is extrapolated and considered after
much reading and consideration. There's no real, solid evidence
on this specific information, because simply there couldn't be
NOTE: In most legends, the number of tails that a kitsune has is not mentioned. This usually does not mean much, as most kitsune, in mortal forms, do not show off their tails. (Simply because of possession, illusion, whatever) The usual exception is for nine-tails, which are given special attention to. If you see a legend about kitsune, tails do not come into play often.
Also note: In legends, the word 'fox' and
'kitsune' are interchangable. For the most part here, when the
word 'fox' is used, it is referring to the fox-spirit, unless
obviously shown otherwise.
What is the kitsune?
To start with, I'll take an excerpt from
'Kitsune', the book listed above.
'Kitsune is an animal supposed to be mysterious, fascinating, and mischevious. And he is believed to be very grateful for the kindness done to him, as seen in many tales, and is also affectionate as revealed in some dramas. He is enshrined as a god because of his supernatural power. He is endowed with the subtle art of metamorphosis, and he is able to bewitch men in the guise of a charming girl. An exceedingly interesting and entertaining beast Kitsune is.' (preface, page vii)
The Author also mentions that the kitsune, and it's idea, was introduced from China and Korea, and went through an amazing metamorphosis once ntroduced to the Japanese culture.
The word Kitsune comes from two syllables: kitsu, and ne.
Kitsue is the sound made when a fox yelps, in Japan, and ne is a word signifying an affectionate feeling. In the ancient times, the word kitsu meant 'fox', as well.
According to data I have collected, the kitsune
that is most often considered is the fox-spirit, also known as
the Hu-Ching in China. For the most part, I will be stepping back
from the 'mortal fox with powers' aspect of the kitsune, as that
is often what the kitsune is considered at first glance, and dig
a little deeper at the roots of the entity discussed here.
The kitsune are ageless, being spirits, but are not immortal. Kitsune manifest, and can live a lifespan of 900 years, before they are likely to leave/die, and return to the spirit world.
Kitsune older than 900 years old are rare, as the amount of essence to fuel their existance on the physical plane would be extreme, and they would be doing more harm than good.
The 13 Races of Kitsune
Chinese mystecism, and I believe Japanese mysticism as well, have 13 low elements. The spirits of the orient were aligned to these elements. The Tengu, as I've read so far, are aligned with Heaven, Mountain, and Wind (and possibly more). The Tanuki are aligned with Forest, though I could easily believe there's more to them than just this.
The kitsune are an aspect of the elements, meaning that they have ties and abilities from each of these. This, incidentally, places them in the same catagory as Dragons, but on a much, much smaller scale. (For more on Dragons, see 'enemies'.
The elements are broken down into 13 catagories, and the kitsune are divided into each type. (I call them Clans, but that's just me. Though perhaps Dynasties or Houses might be more appropiate) The elements are: Wind, Earth, Fire, River, Heaven, Thunder, Mountain, Void, Spirit, Time, Forest, Ocean, and Music.
In the book 'Kitsune', the word Heaven is replaced with Celestial, and Void is replaced with Dark. From what I've seen, this makes little difference.
Each kitsune has it's own strengths, based on the element that it is aligned to. The element reflects where the kitsune's powers originate, and what affinities it has in the elements.
For example, a Fire Kitsune would be unaffected by fire, could easily feed from the element of fire to strengthen itself, and would use fox-fire with ease. A kitsune of water would not use fire too well, but would be a natural healer, and would thrive near or in water.
The most common kitsune are the Celestial kitsune, who follow Inari, then the Wild kitsune, then the Dark kitsune.
Celestial kitsune are also called 'High Kitsune'.
Kitsune and Inari
The Inari shrine is one of the most popular temples in Japan. It is also almost synonymous in the minds of the Japanese, with kitsune.
The symbol of the shrine, a red torii (a symbolic entrance), with the image of two white foxes (the messangers of Inari), were found in almost every town, village, private house, geisha house, and garden in Japan.
Inari is the god of Rice. The suffix 'ri' is
used in many religious words, and was used with the word ine
(rice crop), to show the respect and reverence that the Japanese
had for the god.
To quote Kitsune (page 12)
'Some people think that the white foxes, the guardians and messengers of the shrine, are identical with the diety Inari...'
This is not so, because..
'...the god of foxes [The Lady] has never been deified in the Inari shrine as the object of worship, though there is a tributary shrine dedicated exclusively to the sacred white foxes in the precinctsof the shrine...'
Another name for the white foxes of the Inari shrine is 'myobu'. Myobu is a court-rank for ladies. The Inari shrine was supposed to have a rank in court, (I am guessing this is where the honor-caste system of Japan would have applied), but the foxes of the Inari shrine did not. There is a legend, however, where a woman named Shin-no-myobu said that her luck was granted by the foxes of Inari, and so the name Myobu was granted to them.
Another thing to note, is that the first male kitsune served the Upper Temple, while the first female kitsune served the Lower Temple of the Inari shrine. Their five children also served the shrine, but were not given any roles that I have been able to determine. They did, however, each swear ten oaths to the Shrine.
Celestial kitsune, as far as I can determine, are usually white. This is not a hard and fast law, mind you, since I've seen exceptions. It is also said that nine-tailed kitsune also become white, so perhaps the two kitsune in the mark of the shrine are 'nine-tailed'.
-> Speculation for Roleplaying Purposes Only ->
For each shrine, a male kitsune will swear fealty to the High Temple, and a female kitsune will swear fealty to the Low Temple. These two kitsune are the Temple Guardians. Any other kitsune who work for the shrine will swear ten oaths to the shrine. (I'm willing to believe that the ten oaths are the code of Bushido.) As with their forefathers, the Male Guardian would be named Osusuki, and the Female Guardian would be called Akomachi.
These oaths allow the kitsune to gain access and live in the Inari shrine. This also makes them do what Celestial kitsune do... they aid and comply to the wishes of the people around the shrine, and who follow the Inari faith.
A kitsune who has not sworm fealty to the Inari shrine is called a Nogitsune, or Wild Fox. Also note that Guardian kitsune have nothing to do with the pranks and mischief that other kitsune are known for.
In fact, one of the roles of the Guardian kitsune is to chastice or purge nogitsune who are causing problems in their domain.
Side note: The kitsune were so respected that
in the No plays, where all actors wear masks, forcing them to use
their bodies to tell the play, *nobody* wears masks when the play
The kitsune, physically, is a spirit. The Orient was filled with spirits, in legends. The water had spirit, the forest had spirit, the mountains, the wind, the fire. Everything had spirits of one manner or other. These spirits were called Kami.
Animals also had their spiritual counterparts. Some of the more commonly known ones were the Kitsune and the Tanuki. There is also the Tengu, but this is not part of the document, as from what I've read, they have a background and diversity to make their own thesis.
To manifest, the kitsune has a number of options. The most draining - and direct means - is to simply appear in the physical world. This is, from what I understand of the orient, disruptive of nature, and usually has bad side-effects.
-> A kitsune who simply just manifests
loses their innate essence faster, meaning they must feed more
often, or suffer weakness. This feeding, depending on the
strength of the kitsune, will usually mean blight on the region
around them. Though the weaker the kitsune, then less
effect this will have. The problem with simply manifesting is
that the kitsune becomes completely vunerable to all forms of
attack. Physical damage hurts the kitsune, as does magical damage
to a greater extent.
When a kitsune manifests, it has a number of choices. It can appear as a kitsu (fox), a fox-headed person, or as a normal person of very great attractiveness. In any case, the number of tails that the kitsune has will be obvious, unless the kitsune takes great pains to hide them, which is also very draining.
Note however, they can shapeshift at will.
The second option is to possess either a fox or a person.
Fox-possession, detailed later, was the most
common means of kitsune manifestation.
-> A kitsune possessing someone had to overcome their will.
Usually, the process appeared similiar to insanity, while the kitsune fed off the person's willpower. Taking a sleeping person, however, usually was a lot quicker, since the kitsune could invade the dreams, and take its time to sap the will of the target. Possession is not a shared thing. Once done, the kitsune controls the body, and once they have left, their host will not remember the experience.
Kitsune possession was usually not long-term, unless the kitsune truly had a reason to stick around. Possession was usually broken by a blessing or exorcism done by someone of the Shinto or Buddhist faiths, or if someone called in a Guardian kitsune to deal with the matter. Also note that unless the kitsune is very powerful, shape-shifting was limited to foxform, fox-person form, and the form of the person they're possessing.
Another possessing option is to possess a child or a fox, either very young, or unborn. This method was the least taxing on the kitsune, and resulted in a hybrid of the kitsune and the person/fox possessed. If possessing a child/fox, the full possession takes longer, but if pre-born, it's instant.
A kitsune in a possessed body cannot be hurt until forced out of the body, but the body itself can be damaged and killed. If that happens, the person who originally owned the body is lost forever, and the body dies, pushing the kitsune out. The possessing kitsune can move to a new body, but must wait at least one day before he has the power needed to wage another mental battle for control of the body.
The third option is the Avatar method. This is by which a kitsune takes the time needed to create a physical body of magic and matter, gathering up molecules and scraps of energy to create a new form. While the actual creation of said body takes great ammounts of time and energy, it gives the kitsune a form of its own that it does not need to fight to keep. While in this form physical attacks against the kitsune are of little use, as it only damages the body. While the kitsune will feel the pain of such attacks, it cannot die if the body is destroyed. Magical attacks however have full effects on the body, and the kitsune spirit within.
This is easily the least taxing of the methods for a kitsune to show up. This also, incidentally, gives a kitsune a long-term physical body.
The kitsune who uses this method has no extra tails visible, and has to eat, drink, sleep, breath, and suffer the full range of mortal life, all 900 years of it. They also bleed, and can possibly get sick. A kitsune using this method can transform into a fox-form/human-form, and with development, possibly other forms as well. As an additional note, a kitsune who has an avatar can not be simply banished or exorcized.
-> One common thing, however, is that a kitsune, once here, can become enraputed with the full range of sensations that they experience in their physical form. This tends to turn kitsune into hedonists, willing to experience new forms of pleasure and pain. Older kitsune, who have lived in the physical world for a long time, may become more jaded, however.
Another aspect of spirits, is that to be able to manifest and survive on a physical level, they require sustenance. The Gaaki, for example, feed off of many different things, depending on the type of gaaki you come across. Some feed off of scents, some off of blood, some from pain, others from tears, and the more dangerous type feed from souls. Kami usually require small gifts, and prayers to sate them, or they would become hostile and dangerous. These gifts, and the worship, 'fed' the kami.
The kitsune, on the other hand, feed from the essence of the land, it's elements, and it's people. They are vampires, in a sense, and require essence to sustain themselves.
-> A kitsune who has an avatar does not feed quite like other kitsune. Instead, as long as they do not tap into the abilites they posses, they will function more or less as normal for a human or fox. Use of their abilites will weaken them, but if given the chance to relax, they will recover on their own.
-> A kitsune who has possessed someone still has to feed, if they wish to keep the body for long periods of time. Feeding for the most part will be in the same manner as the kitsune who simply wishes to manifest. The kitsune, however, is simply capable of draining the host they are in.
-> A kitsune who's manifested has to feed the most often. The amount of energy that is used to stay material can be quite extreme.
To keep manifested, and to keep the use of it's ablities, the kitsune much draw off the energy around them. This chi, or essence, is found in the elements, fire, forest, wind, and others.
Like the Cats of China, kitsune are also capable of feeding off of knowledge. With this, the kitsune is also capable of learning and developing their abilities, and could possibly grow more quickly. It was the myth that unless a person cut the tail off of a Cat, the tail would grow, and the cat would learn, until eventually it could transform into a human.
The other source that kitsune can feed from is the soul.
The soul has a mystical quality to it, making it the strongest source of essence found. It is the source of inspiration and power for mortals, and it is also a source of energy that can grow and heal. To a kitsune, this is a resource far greater than any other.
To feed from a person or animal, the kitsune must first touch the target. Once the kitsune has fed for the first time, this is no longer required, as the kitsune is capable of maintaining a link with the target, and will constantly drain the target from then on. This 'drain' can be large or small, depending on the needs and desires of the kitsune, and can be so minute as to not cause harm.
The soul, however is a reluctant source of nuirishent. For a kitsune to actually benefit, the target should be willing.
Once feeding has begun, the experience become pleasant, and the more that is taken, the more pleasure both the kitsune, and the target, will feel.
Unrestrained feeding continues this pleasant sensation, until it becomes a searing sensation in the target, beyond their capabilities to handle. Even after feeding, it requires being treated with soba (a balm made of buckwheat) to remedy this.
(As a side note, I don't know if soba is drank, or if it is applied where the kitsune focused their feeding. To this day, I have had no clue.)
The more willing the victim is to being fed from, the less harm they will suffer from being drained, and the more the kitsune will receive from the target. A kitsune's willing lover is much safer than a resisting victim, and the kitsune will benefit more from a lover. It is a good guess that this is why kitsune are more willing to seduce others than to simply take what they wish, even if it is for reasons of trickery.
A case where a kitsune has taken from someone not willing has been listed, though this was done because a certain lord had been trying to have an affair with his maid, but couldn't because of a jealous wife. The kitsune, instead, transformed into the lord, met the maid, and fed from her in the samurai's stead.
It is also mentioned that when a Nogitsune does feed, they will tell their partner what is needed to alleviate the pain, as a recompense for the service the victim had provided.
This tale, and the treatment, is listed in 'Kitsune', page 167-8 (the treatment was listed as 'decocted buckwheat', but I've since learned, from a book called 'Kwaiden', that this mixture is called soba, and was usually peddled at the side of many roads as a remedy.)
Kitsune are capable of not feeding during intimacy, though there is still some side effect from doing so. Kitsune should always be careful.
Kitsune can also feed from the elements, or from knowledge.
The side effect if a kitsune feeding is by the essence of the element being removed from whatever it is feeding from. The after-effect is an ash.
As a note: the after-effect is mostly speculation, from what has been heard in other legends regarding spirits. The presence of a spirit often left a residue behind, similar to ash, though of a consistance unidentifiable. In fact, this residue still appears in the orient today.
Living things that are fed from, over time, begin to wither, in a manner similar to aging. It isn't aging par-se, but the person or animal becomes weak, pale, and sickly, as their essence fades.
This usually will not happen to people in just one feeding, but there are many examples of nine-tails who take human lovers, who waste away to death over time.
Kitsune can also draw on the by-products of their elements.
A kitsune could drain the wood from a fireplace, along with the fire. They can drain from the stones of a home. They could feed from the music of a singer, or the knowledge written in a book.
Whatever they draw from does not have to be destroyed, though it will most certainly be weakened by the experience.
-> From what I can guess, kitsune are more
adept at feeding from their own element than from outside it, and
most adept at feeding from people. This is a rundown, based on
Wind - Feeding from the wind would leave
air. This would be hard to breath, and would be sort of a
'pocket', remaining in an area until a stronger, fresh wind
could disappate it. Think of more of a 'dead zone' in the
spirit world, that needed to be swept away. This would tie
in well with the legend of Tamamo-no-Mae, where when she
transformed into a stone, anything that approached her died
Earth - Feeding from the earth would
allow kitsune to draw
from the stones, and from the soil. This would more than
likely kill most crops, as the land becomes cracked and
Fire - Feeding from fire would snuff the flames. As part of
RP, I've envisioned the flames cirling towards the kitsune
as it draws on the fire, the flames leaving the source of
their creation, and vanishing into the kitsune. Note that
most kitsune create fox-fire, so this most likely would be a
common form of feeding.
Ocean - The kitsune could draw
nuirishment from the oceans,
the waves, and from the sea creatures found there. This
would leave behind still, flat water, with no wind or
sealife to be found in the vicinity.
River - The river kitsune would feed from the riverside and
brook, leaving tainted water, dead fish, and possibly a dry
riverbed at the most extreme.
Forest - These kitsune would wither trees, feeding from the
wood and the plants around them. Animals in the vicinity
Time - Time kitsune would feed on the lifespan of the things
around them, aging them at an unnatural rate. Time might
seem to slow around them as they feed, making tasks seem
longer and harder than expected.
Void - These kitsune could feed from the marshes and swamps,
leaving stagnant, poisoned waters and dead creatures. They
could also feed from the shadows around them, stealing the
shadow of people, or making the darkness seem more bleak.
Heaven - These kitsune feed from the essence of magic and the
heavens. This includes drawing from sorcerers if they can,
or ley lines, or the Temple. They would also feed from
knowledge, like books or from stories told. This would make
the books harder to read or remove the words, or could cause
a person to forget what had been said, or what they were
saying. (And this does seem to be a trick some kitsune do..)
These kitsune would also feed from starlight, or if
bold enough, from the warmth of the sun. These kitsune are
more adept at feeding 'outside their element' than other
kitsune are, and could take from other areas without less
hassle. (Heaven is the 'Prime' element)
Mountain - These kitsune can feed from
rocks and stones and
precious metals and gems. Such things would crumble or
become fragile after. The mountain ranges and hills the
kitsune fed from could transform into barren wastelands and
Thunder - These kitsune feed from the storms and harsh weather
around them. This quells the storm eventually, after
producing a stale, lifeless rain. (As a further
speculation, these kitsune could theoretically live on
electricity, later. ;)
Spirit - These kitsune feed on other
spirits, hunting them and
devouring them. They would leave weak, lifeless spirits in
their wake, if anything at all. These are also the ones
most likely to harm people they fed from.
Music - The kitsune can feed from music, poetry, and the
feelings connected to this. It can leave a musician without
inspiration or skill, or leave the music lifeless and dull.
These examples are at varying shades of extreme. A kitsune doesn't *have* to take away all the essence of its feeding ground. A younger kitsune most certainly doesn't need to strip the essence out of everything it comes across, though an older kitsune most certianly will, to maintain themselves.
-> As a side note, kitsune, with the correct
understanding, could also drain the essence from magic,
enchantments, and places of power. Celestial kitsune (Heaven) are
most likely to do this, as this is their 'element'.
Kitsune are spirits, and spirits have names. A kitsune's name is it's mark on the land, and it's heritage. Many kitsune are listed in legend by their names.
Any kitsune with 'ri' as a suffix is more than likely a celestial kitsune. Common 'holy' words are as such.
The above words are all good names for a Celestial kitsune, or Guardian Kitsune.
Kuzu-no-ha (Arrowroot-leaf) was a kitsune in a 5-part play of the same name. She fled her family when her son learned of her true nature. Her son, once he had tracker her down, was rewarded with the ability to speak with all creatures.
Tamamo-no-mae, also went by the name Hua-yang. She was a nine-tailed kitsune, and was responsible for the destruction of the king Pan-Tsu, in India, and has over a thousand innocent people killed by him.
-> Side note: Kitsune, overall, are not seen as good or evil. They are truly amoral. The deaths done are not by Hua- yang, but by the emperor, trying to please her. More than likely, their deaths also fed her, since she's a nine-tail, and were part of the reason the emporer, and his kingdom, fell. (To a nine-tail, destroying a kingdom because of a poor ruler would be considered a good thing, in the very long run. Remember, kitsune live to be 900+, they have to see things in the long view.)
Later, Hua-yang fled to China, calling herself Pau-ssu. She joins the harem of Yu, king of the Chou dynasty. She eventually becomes his queen, and just to see her smile, Yu goes through unspeakable acts of cruelty. Under her guidance, the Chou dynasty falls.
Pau-ssu eventually fades/dies, only to be reborn in Japan, calling herself Tamamo-no-Mae. She joins the emperor's court, and the deaths continue. When she is discovered, she takes her true form, a golden kitsune with nine tails.
-> As an amazing coincidence, she is discovered by Abe- Yasuchika, a decendant of Abe-Seimei, who was the son of Kuzu-no- ha, the kitsune listed earlier. ;) Kuzu-no-ha was more than likely a Guardian kitsune, and her child, of course, would be the Guardian of the emperor, as would his decendants.
She flees after she is discovered, and transforms into a large rock in the moor of Nasuno. In this form, she kills anything that approaches. Birds, people, and plants wither and die around her. It takes a priest with a magic hammer to kill her.
-> For purposes of understanding, kitsune exploit the weaknesses seen in others. This is a natural side effect of being spirits, being amoral, and needing to sustain themselves.
Tamamo-no-Mae was a nogitsune. Abe-Yasuchika was a Guardian kitsune. Since he was protecting the emperor, it was his place to see that she was exposed and driven out. Even kitsune have politics. ;)
Genkuro is a kitsune, who's parents were 1000 years old (!), and were hunted to form a magical drum (called a tsuzumi), and were used to seduce the God of rain into producing rain at the sound of it. It is through a play about Genkuro that it is learned that kitsune are feminine in nature.
Koan (buddhist priest) was a kitsune, who would wander around, telling others he was a Buddhist Priest. He would be invited into homes, were he would tell sermons, and be treated as a proper guest. When he wrote his name for others, he would write his name, age, signature, and seal, along with the character of LONGEVITY.
Jingoro (enshrined) was recored as possessing someone when he thought the man was going to try to kill him. The man, to escape possession and not come to harm, had a shrine built to Jingoro, calling it Jingoro-Inari.
Gengoro (express messenger) was a kitsune known
for having the strength, speed, and vitality of three people, and
was known to do farmwork, and send messenges for the people he
He was later killed by a wild dog.
Genkuro (hair-cutter) was a kitsune who made a
habit of tracking down women in Tokyo (then called Edo), and
cutting off their hair and breaking pans.
Hakuzo (learned) took the form of a Buddhist scholar, and would talk and answer religious dialogues in the temples. He was seen as very wise, and very scholarly. When he was discovered to be kitsune, he vanished, but would later be seen hanging around outside the temple, preaching the doctrine of Buddha in the dark.
Later, the temple was renamed Hakuzo Inari.
Kojoro (little maid) was the mate of Gengoro,
and appeared to be a young maid of around 12 to 14. She would do
duties for the temple she lived in, and seemed to be quite
popular among the children of the region. She vanished after four
As is seen, kitsune do not use their real names when among mortals. The true name of a kitsune can be used to bind the kitsune, banish it, or work spirit magic on it. For the most part, the kitsune will take a name appropiate to the task at hand, or as a joke.
Kitsune are spirits, and can be controlled or
manipulated as such, though the stronger the kitsune, the more
dangerous it is to try this without their name.
-> A kitsune, who is attacked with magic,
and who's true name is used against them, loses their innate
resistance to the magic.
Kitsune Tails and Ranks
Kitsune are most often recognized by the fact they have more than one tail. This does not have to be the case, however, as kitsune who have possessed someone, or who have taken an avatar, do not necessarily show their tails.
Be that as it may, a kitsune gains power and stronger magics as it ages. The kitsune gains a tail once every hundred years, until they become a nine-tail. At this time, most kitsune turn silver, though there are exceptions.
Another way a kitsune can gain their tail, is
by being rewarded by another kitsune. When one kitsune has done a
service, or aided an older kitsune, it is possible to gain a tail
for their efforts. This is, of course, not to be expected, and is
not usually asked for. To gain a tail from an older kitsune, the
giving kitsune must be of 9 tails already, and needs to be
willing, which most are not. The actual service generally takes
between ten, and a hundred years. Most kitsune will not seek this
option as it puts them in servitude and control for another.
Some kitsune, though, become apprentices to other kitsune, learning from them, and eventually being called to do some form of quest or service (or two, or three). When the teacher is satisfied, he may grant a tail for these services. The more tails a kitsune has, the more tasks and longer the tenureship will be.
-> As a note, if a kitsune is to gain tails early, for some reason, the length of tenure should be one to ten to fifty years for every tail the kitsune already has. (Or even longer)
The number of tasks, or the severity of them, could also depend on the number of tails the kitsune already possesses.
Most tasks are dependant on the type of kitsune who is teaching.
A Guardian kitsune might request the student see a shrine built, or track down and scold a wayward nogitsune.
The easiest way to know how strong a kitsune is, is to look at their tails. This is not always true, mind you, as it also depends on the manner in which the kitsune has appeared.
Kitsune, as they age, can become quite
powerful. A kitsune's strength of magic depends on the number of
tails it has.
-> There is no real way to calculate how strong a kitsune is.
It isn't like there is any solid record of kitsune, and how strong they could be. A good idea, however, is that a two-tail is twice as strong as a one-tail, a three tail is twice that of a two-tail, a four tail is twice as strong as a three tail...etc.
It may seem scarey, but consider.. a nine-tail required *thousands* of deaths to fuel herself. She was capable of destroying anything that came near her, even weakened.
This is different from my original idea of kitsune strength, after giving it much thought. Partially for balance, and partially because I missed a lot of other details. Kitsune, being vampiric, can potentially draw on *hug* amounts of energy, and don't need to necessarily weaken themselves to do their magics.
Based on how the kitsune is in the material
plane, they need to draw on resources for sustaining themselved
at different rates. A kitsune who cheats reality, and just *is*,
needs to feed more often than a kitsune possessing someone, who
needs to feed less than a kitsune who's taken an avatar.
For note: Ki or Chi is the strength of the soul. The soul recovers from harm on it's own accord. ( This is, obviously, all speculation, but it's something to go by for purposes of using kitsune in an RP environment, and helps explain some of what happens and why, with kitsune.) Kitsune need to feed depending on the number of tails they have, and how much they've been using their innate abilities. For the most part, a younger kitsune needs to feed more often, but takes less than a kitsune who's older.
Kitsune Damage and Death
Kitsune, depending on how they have manifested, can be harmed in different ways. A kitsune who manifests in an avatar is capable of rapid regeneration, healing most wounds in almost no time, and developing resistances to most normal weaponry. The exception to this is if the kitsune is struck by a blessed object, or a magical object. Such attacks can cripple or outright slay a manifested kitsune, driving it into the spirit realm, or, if powerful enough, destroying it permanently.
Kitsune who are possessing someone are in a better position.
The physical body can be attacked or killed, but the kitsune can simply leave the body at any time, leaving the hapless victim to suffer whatever fate was meant for the kitsune. To harm the kitsune requires a blessed or magickal weapon, meant to harm spirits.
Kitsune who have simply manifested are very vulnerable to physical harm. Anything that can harm a mortal can harm the kitsune. These kitsune do not regenerate like other kitsune, and must either spend their resources to heal, or heal at a natural rate. Magical weapons and faith can harm these kitsune less than other kitsune, because they are accepted as more 'natural' to the physical world, having attuned to it some. These kitsune, once killed, re-animate in the spiritual world, much weaker than any other of their brethren.
-> When a kitsune wishes to heal, they must
expend energy. A kitsune who's spend energy to heal becomes more
desperate for essence, and has to feed much sooner.
When a kitsune as been killed, unless their spirit has been destroyed, they have a number of options. Depending on how recently and how much they have fed, they can re-manifest in any of the listed ways.
If they do not, or can not, remanifest, they can just wander the spirit worlds, biding their time and waiting for the most convenient time to do it.
While in spirit form, the kitsune is very vunerable to magical attacks, but completely imune to any kind of physical damage, be it magical or normal. A magical sword could not hurt the kitsune as it is still a physical attack, but something as a drain life spell would hurt the kitsune gravely.
Kitsune, being spirits, are amoral. They have only a basic understanding of right and wrong, and make decisions according to what they think will aid them the most.
-> A kitsune's core personality is dependant
on the type of kitsune they are. The beliefs in the elemental
forces, and the kami which possess them also apply to the
Wind - Flighty, these kitsune are
staying in one place for long.
Earth - Solid and unyielding, these
kitsune are rooted in
history, and resistant to change.
Fire - Quick-tempered and reactionary,
Fire kitsune are
constantly moving, and very emotional.
River - Natural healers, these kitsune
are quiet and
Ocean - Furious and tempestous, these
kitsune are natural
Time - Contemplative and quiet. These
kitsune are seers,
Void - Dark and brooding, these kitsune
malicious and very protective of their domains.
Mountain - Distant, these kitsune are
withdrawn, silent, and
prefer to observe before acting.
Forest - Quiet and serene, these kitsune
watch those around
them. Once satisfied with what they see, they
become playful and mischevious.
Music - Pleasant and polite, these
kitsune enjoy company
Thunder - These kitsune are loud and
arrogant, filled with
Celestial - Protective and noble, these
kitsune believe they
must guard all under their domain.
These aspects of a kitsune are less likely to change than other aspects of their personality. As a kitsune becomes involved with those around them, parts of their personality may change. Kitsune are naturally mecurial, but are most often true to their element than to anything else.
Kitsune follow their own code of ethics, though they adapt the morals of those around them, more for the sake of being accepted than for any other reason. Unless they are Guardian kitsune, they can be both allies and enemies to the mortals around them. If someone offends what a kitsune considers 'correct', they can become evil, malicious, and disruptive. If someone behaves according to their ethics, they will become polite, kind, and helpful.
This contradiction is evident in the sheer number of legends of kitsune, how they were feared and hunted on one hand, and revered and worshipped on the other. There are legends of kitsune guarding samurai for a favour done, while there are others of kitsune taking the desired lover of another samurai.
There are legends of kitsune aiding the
peasantry, while there is another of a kitsune stealing food from
a lowly traveler.
Some things that kitsune believe in.
1) Kitsune aid each other, helping their clan
and showing a united front. Even Guardian kitsune will prefer to
drive out a nogitsune, instead of killing them.
2) Kitsune respond to what they see around
them. When a kitsune sees what they consider an act against their
code of ethics, they will aggravate the situation. They will
respond favourably to what they consider a 'moral' act. If a
kitsune is treated well, they will respond in kind, and may even
go out of their way to aid their friend, while if they are
treated poorly, they become extremely spiteful.
3) Kitsune try to follow their promises and
personal word of honor. If a kitsune breaks their word, or
somehow dishonors themselves, they become very self-distructive.
A kitsune's emotions are a weapon against a kitsune. Sorrow or guilt can paralyze them, and in the most extreme, it can kill them.
A kitsune can be blinded from the darker side of a person by being treated well, and will be loathe to harm or work against those they have declared friends.
4) Kitsune are will not accept unwilling
charity. Those who wish to help kitsune must do so of their own
free will. Kitsune are loath to ask for help, and will not accept
help that is not freely given.
5) Kitsune are emotional and very vengeful.
Kitsune will lose their temper at the slightest provocation. Once
someone has earned a kitsune's enmity, the kitsune will begin
enacting revenge that can become quite extreme. On the other
hand, those who have earned a kitsune's trust and loyalty will
see a friendship that can last through many trials.
6) Freedom is very important to the kitsune. They do not accept being forced into something they do not wish, and do not like being bound or trapped. Doing so weakens the kitsune, and is frowned upon by other kitsune.
If a kitsune is to be in a position of servitude, this requires that the kitsune has either been bound spiritually, or owes someone a dept or favour. Otherwise, other kitsune may appear to torment the 'owner', or if the kitsune is unwilling to gaint their freedom, punish the kitsune.
The offspring of a kitsune is always another kitsune. These children are often fox-kits, though human children can also be born. These children are automatically 'avatars', and gain the strengths and weaknesses of such manifestation.
Kitsune can control their fertility, if they
are manifested, otherwise reproduction is as normal. A possessed
person is not a kitsune per-se, so the offspring will not be
kitsune, but can potentially have innate magical talents.
Kitsune have a number of inherent weaknesses.
This section is mostly for those who are playing kitsune, since
most kitsune will not tell others about this, and it is not
Those of certain faiths who actually possess faith (read: Clerics, Priests, Monks, Healers) do not see kitsune illusion.
In fact, if they touch an illusion made by a kitsune, the illusion will dissolve. The distruction of a kitsune's illusions by faith is a traumatic event to a kitsune, as their concept of reality gets destroyed. This is a psionic attack of sorts, and can drive the weaker kitsune mad.
(Opposing Faiths: Christianity and Buddhism are both good examples)
Continuing on this vein, members who have faith can also remove the connection a kitsune has with someone who has been fed from, preventing the kitsune from being able to drain them again.
They can also ward themselved from a kitsune's innate abilities, or protect someone from said abilities.
Enemies and the Kitsune
The kitsune have many allies and enemies. Their interaction with the oriental cultures have given them a diversity that is truly amazing.
Dragons - The dragon is *the* symbol of the elements of the orient, and as such, the kitsune are a lesser creature under them. The dragon is capable of tearing away the spirit of a kitsune, robbing them of the source of their existance. The kitsune and the dragon are naturally hostile to each other, and while they rarely come face to face, the kitsune are known to attempt tricks on the dragons. The only advantage a kitsune has against a dragon is the kitsune's innate cunning.
Oni - There is little that could produce
such a reaction of fear in kitsune than the Oni. The oni are
oriental demons, creatures that feed from the land and the spirit
world much like a kitsune feeds from the elements. The oni are
powerful, and can drain a kitsune to a withered husk. Most
kitsune, when seeing an oni, will either flee in terror, or curl
up and whimper, hoping for either mercy, or a quick death.
Oni who practice magic (common), are even more of a threat, as their sorceries are stronger than all but the strongest of kitsune.
'Men of the Cloth' - Shinto, Buddhist, and other faiths are a bane to the kitsune, as many faiths have developed wards and symbols that can harm, bind, or ward a kitsune. To the holy men, a kitsune's illusions, and their very reality, does not exist. A kitsune's innate magics can not harm a holy man, but the reverse is not true.
Sites of faith also harm kitsune, though a
kitsune is capable of entering such places. Kitsune make a
practice of trying to change the faith of a temple to that of
Inari, giving the kitsune access and power at the shrine.
Kitsune are *not* innate sorcerers. They do,
however, have innate abilities that fall under the concept of
magic. This is called 'Fox-magic', and is as follows:
Kitsune are innate illusionists. To them,
illusion is as real as anything else around them. A kitsune who
uses illusion to appear human *is* human, and can talk, act, make
love, and sire children while the illusion exists. A kitsune who
transforms a staff into a snake, creates a snake who can crawl,
bite, and kill.
The kitsune, using this glamour, can make objects, weapons, people, homes, and even manipulate the landscape to suite their needs. More often than not, the illusions are biased towards the element the kitsune is connected to.
One kitsune is capable of creating illusions and manipulating the landscape in a small vicinity, but when kitsune gather their collective resources, whole cities can be made.
Kitsune can make pockets in reality. They can make an entire castle under someone's floorboard, and populate it with people. This world is real, but made from the spiritworld. As such, there can be a time-dilation. This time dilation, on average is: 1 day on Earth = 7 Years in the Realm.
These realms are usually just homes, and forests, and are not whole worlds. It usually takes about three to five kitsune to make a whole realm and populate it.
Kitsune can dominate those around them. This is a form of enchantment, and using this, a kitsune can cause someone to see anything the kitsune wishes, or overlook things the kitsune wants them to. Once control has been established, the victim is held until someone can break the magic.
Kitsune can produce lightning or fire by rubbing their tails. This becomes a melee weapon. Kitsune can also breath fire, to a limited range, about five feet or less. Kitsune can also create small balls of fire, and use these as lights, thrown weapons, or as playtoys.
Kitsune can possess targets, taking over their minds and bodies. This is sometimes out of sheer necessity. Possession lasts until the next sunrise or sunset unless the kitsune is using this as a form of manifestation. They have no access to the abilities or memories of their target.
A kitsune can transform into anything covered by the 13 Elements. This means they can turn into trees, forests, rocks, water, or other people. The limits are that the transformation does not give them the innate abilities of the form they have taken, and they are vulnerable to what can harm that form.
Kitsune who are possessing someone can not use this form of transformation, unless they are doing it through illusions.
Kitsune can create small balls of focused power. These balls look like small, white spheres that can easily be mistaken for a child's toy. These balls are a focus for kitsune abilities.
Kitsune enjoy playing with this ball, and use it as a focus for some of their magics.
Kitsune and Magic
Kitsune can study any normal field of magic. A drawback they possess however is that to use any form of magic requires them to either draw the energy from a source of power, or draw it from themselves. Unlike mortals, though, they weaken when they draw off their own energies, which does not replenish under its own power. A kitsune who casts magic too often will eventually become weak, and starved.
These are examples of oriental magic.
This is the magic of chi, or essence. With it, a mage can see auras and sites of power, and can manipulate, draw on, or expel chi. (Yes, for those of you who play Streetfighter II, this is where you get to throw chi-bolts...) Akasic magic is not powerful, however, unless it is combined with other magics. It is good to draw in energy for things like healing, regeneration, and reversing the loss of essence that a kitsune causes by feeding.
Kitsune follow the oriental Elements, and as such are tied to the elements they represent. A kitsune can, to a limited extent, already influence the elements they are a part of, and if they study elemental magic, can become very dangerous in their field of study.
1) Wind - Simple enough. With this study, they
can create winds, cause tornadoes, and influence local weather
This is also the element that manipulates ice and snow.
2) Earth - They can move rocks, transmute minerals and physical objects, and build things.
3) Fire - This is a kitsune's specialty. They can create fire, control fire, and cook meals. ;)
4) River - This is a life-giving power. They can create water, or control the creatures that live in water. They can heal others with this element, and bring life to things around them.
5) Ocean - This is a cousin to River, but to a larger scale. This is where kitsune cause very strong storms, flooding, and tsunamis. This is how mages conjure creatures from the depths.
6) Forest - This allows for the control and manipulation of wood, trees, and creatures of the forest. Those who study this element are almost druidic in their ability to survive and blend in with the woods, and can find herbs and roots to work salves with.
7) Mountain - Cousin to stone, this element allows for the control of the mountains, and those that live in it. With this, kitsune can cause earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.
8) Thunder - The cousin to Wind, a mage can thow lightning, cause storms, and create shields of energy. (Hey, in the future, this becomes quite powerful... control machines, net-run without a computer, etc, etc...)
9) Celestial - This is the power of magic, and
With this, a mage can teleport, call upon creatures of magic, and throw meteors at targets. This allows a kitsune to do most other magics at a very reduced effect.
10) Dark - This is the magic of the void. With this magic, kitsune can cause blights, drain life, summon creatures of darkness, slip into shadows to vanish, and drain the light from areas. Note: Kitsune do not consider this study 'evil', and about 1/4 or so of the kitsune race are Dark Kitsune.
11) Time - This does *not* allow for time travel... now that that is out of the way, this *does* allow kitsune to speed up and slow down time, age or youthen targets and objects, and to *predict* future events. This is the perception and manipulation of time, not the mastery of reality...
12) Music - This is the control of sound
and music. With this, kitsune can sing effects that are very
similiar to spells.
This can control others through entrancement, ward off creatures of a supernatural nature, and control the moral of others. Think of banshees, bards, and shamans. This is where the 'power words' of streetfighters come in... (I think)
13) Spirit - This is the manipulation of the spirit world, demons, and other creatures. Magic of this nature does not work on mortals well, since mortals have SOULS, not spirits. As such, kitsune have to wait for someone to die, before this sort of magic will effect someone well. With this, a kitsune can bind, summon, banish, ward or trap a spirit.
This is the study of Geomancy. Sites of power, and ley lines are a large part of this magic. With this, a person can find out the best way to build on a site, creating a location of power, or a means to tap into a leyline or a nexus. This allows someone to travel the Dragon Lines (ley lines) to get from location to location, and also allows them to tap the line for power.
This is runic magic. With this, a mage can write the words of power, or call them out to create magic effects. These are also good for warding places, banishing or controlling spirits, and binding sites.
Kitsune Customs and Ettiquete:
Kitsune have an elaborate set of customs and ettiquete that range far and wide.
The giving of false names and a respectfull bow is only the start of a greeting. There is also tail placement, which will discern for another who is what, what they are, and what role they take in kitsune culture over all. This can even be a part of kitsune seduction and prowess display.
Note: Kitsune ~NEVER~ speak their true names except to the goddess or to one they trust with their lives and have taken as life mates. To know a kitsune's true name is to have the ability to gain power over said kitsune. One should never give out the true name, and create characters witht he false one that the kitsune has assumed while in the mortal realm.
All kitsune start splaying thier tails on an introduction, and splay them evenly behind them. They will repossition them after the true amount of tails presented is actually known.
Note: Kitsune often hide the true ammount of tails the have by illusion, but as kitsunes see through illusion, this is a relatively mute point. Keep in mind if you are disguising how many tails you have, that other kitsunes will be able to see through it.
Kitsune that are interested in each other, or want thie interests known to another will present their tails as above, then start to ripple them softly or hard, depending on what they are seeking. The faster it is, the more apt they want for just some fun action. The slower it is, the more likely they are seeking passions and possibly more with the other kitsune. If there is a harder ripple, the more prone they are to just wanting to sate thier primal lust on the other of interest. They will all pass by the one's interested's side and display an affection for the other by wrapping thier tails about them seductively. This will initiate the intimate and sexual portion of thier coupling.
Should the other not want anything to do with the kitsune, they will not 'flag' thier tails back to them, but will give a normal greeting. If the other kitsune does not understand that, and descides to proceed, as soon as the kitsune slides by them, they will turn to face the interested kitsune and make thier disinterest known by stepping back. This is the sign that they do not wish for anything.
A third attempt to seduce may get you challenged and hurt, if not killed.
Challenging another kitsune is not another difficult task. All that's done is a simple smacking of tails on the shoulders and sides, much like the backhand of the glove.
Note: The smacking of a kitsune in the face with tails is considered an insult! Another kitsune having this done to them will attempt to challenge the offending kitsune.
Those whom are victorious in a fight will often display thier tails in a virulent manor, parading them in victory.
Those who have been defeated in fair combat will often slush thier tails through the dust on the ground, showing thier submission to an obviously more powerful opponent.
The prior is in fair combat. This is more fun, and often, at some point or another, everyone ends up with dust in thier tails.
Kitsune ~NEVER~ fight to the death. Nor do they wage war upon eachother. As children of Inari, all kitsune are inherantly good, and any that deviate from this path or bring hate upon another kitsune has turned to a Nogitsune. Nogitsune are hated by kitsune, and kitsune will drive them off if not given reason for pause. Nogitsune that wish to return to the grace of Inari might seek out a nine tail to repent, or a temple to the goddess where it would seek out the Osusuki or the Akomachi. But even in these cases, kitsunes do not outright kill nogitsune.
Should any kitsune ever bring war between the elemental clans, then that kitsune will incur the wrath of the goddess, and either be turned into a nogitsune or destroyed.