Kitsune: A New Hero Type for Deadlands
Up to Inhuman Heroes Kitsune  

A Deadlands: Weird Wars Character Type

  by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock


Kitsune Miniature In Japanese folklore, there are many of the Hengeyokai - animal shapeshifters - be they cats, cranes, carp, badgers, birds, or even dragons. One of the best known would be the Kitsune, who are foxes (often possessing multiple tails or golden fur) capable of taking the forms of humans - and almost exclusively the forms of pretty maidens, to entice and waylay foolish human men.

Tales of Kitsune are varied, and often fairly sordid. It is probably best not to go into great detail. As for actual Kitsune in the Deadlands universe, they may not completely fit the Japanese myths. After all, creatures that become real in Deadlands usually have a twist here or there, lest any mortal know exactly how to deal with them. (The myths might hide a grain of truth ... but only a grain.)

One common theme about Kitsune is that while they are in human form, they always retain their tail (or tails), and hide them under skirts or robes. They are always exceptionally beautiful (or handsome), and invariably skilled in matters of etiquette. They possess remarkable abilities of illusion, to the point that some poor fool traveler could one night be entertained by a beautiful woman in a comfortable mansion ... and then wake the next morning to find himself cramped underneath the floorboards of a house. If ever frightened (that is, failing a Guts check), they revert to their true (fox) form and flee - and they can be scared by things that would frighten a fox but shouldn't normally bother a human (such as a barking dog) while not so much as bat an eye at horrors of the supernatural (since they themselves fall in that category).

That all said, Kitsune are not exclusively creatures of the darkness. It is possible that a member of the Posse may be a weaker version of a Kitsune ... the distant result of an unholy union between a human mother and a rare Kitsune male, many generations ago.

Family Tree

A "Kitsune" hero is of at least partial Japanese descent. The Kitsune part of his heritage may well go back several generations, long before the Reckoning. It is quite likely that his ancestors, despite their strange parentage, led perfectly normal lives as apparently full-blooded humans. However, with the advent of the Reckoning, supernatural powers grew stronger again in the world, and your hero's recessed heritage came to the fore, likely at an inopportune time. (This could well be an excuse as to why your character - or your character's parents - left Japan.)

Generally, one's Kitsune heritage does not show up until the teenage years and young adulthood. The most common situation in which the unfortunate character discovers this heritage is that, in a particularly stressful situation, he or she involuntarily changes into fox form and runs away. If there are any witnesses, this could have severe ramifications.

Your character has the Edge: Kitsune (5 points), and has the following rules that apply. Having the "Purty" Edge is strongly recommended. If your character is not Purty, then it's likely because of some sort of disfiguring scar that cancels out what otherwise would be a handsome face.

Kitsune characters cannot have the Nerves o' Steel Edge.

Kitsune Rules

Your character is beholden to many of the same rules that are described in greater detail about Kitsune as Abominations. However, you are not an Abomination - for the most part, a good thing.

Your character is subject to the same rules for shape-shifting (voluntary and involuntary) as a true Kitsune. You are not, however, a supernaturally evil creature, nor are you a vampire.

In fox form, your character is for all intents and purposes an ordinary fox, physically speaking. However, your character retains all Mental Traits, and also any skill levels (though the die type for Corporeal-based aptitudes is now based off the die type of the appropriate Trait in fox form). As a fox, your character is at -4 to manipulate machinery, thanks to the lack of opposable thumbs. You can "speak" with other animals, but you can't speak the tongues of humans in this form.

In hybrid form, your character is somewhere between fox and human, being human-sized and walking upright, but possessing a fox tail (or tails), fox ears, and quite possibly a vulpine muzzle and fur. The same rules apply to this form as they do for a normal Kitsune.

In human form, your character looks perfectly human. Unless you take a special Hindrance, you don't have a tail, and your reflection and shadow look perfectly normal. However, if you ever fail a guts check, you are forced to revert to Hybrid or Fox form (player's choice). If you should fail a guts check and get a result that says you must flee, then you must change to Fox form. One note about this forced change - it only takes an action to change, no Spirit roll is required to make the change, and no Wind is expended in the process. It can still be awfully embarrassing, though.

Kitsune Talk

Part of being Kitsune kin is that you get to learn the language ... instinctively. In any form, you can understand the speech of Kitsune, regardless of what form they are in. In Hybrid form, you can even communicate in "Kitsune talk", and you can converse with mundane foxes. (Not that mundane foxes would have much to say.) In full Fox form, you can't speak with humans, but you can freely converse with not only Kitsune and foxes, but mundane animals as well. This, however, confers no sort of command or control over such creatures.

Counting Coup

Kitsune may Count Coup in the same way as Harrowed. In fact, many unscrupulous Kitsune (is that redundant?) count Coup on each other as a way of getting those coveted extra tails more quickly. Counting Coup on a half-breed Kitsune offers no benefit; this only applies when Counting Coup on a true Kitsune. (And, incidentally, any Harrowed who tries Counting Coup on a true Kitsune is going to look awfully silly when he sprouts a fox tail.)

Additional Edges and Hindrances

Due to their half-breed nature and the unpredictability of the supernatural, there's a great deal of variance in the powers and limitations of Kitsune characters. Some get a little more of the good side of Kitsune ... some a little more of the bad ... and some a mixed blessing of both.


Longevity Cost: 2

Your character has gained something of the immortality of full-blooded Kitsune. Your whole family aged well, and were long-lived, but you got the grand prize - You don't age at all, from the point of adulthood onward. This has little in-game application in most campaigns, except that it gives you a much better excuse to have a Veteran background. This doesn't mean that you're truly immortal, though. You are still subject to diseases and violent means of death and other unpleasantries. Don't get cocky!

Multi-Tailed Cost: 3/special

You have the envy of any young Kitsune - two tails! Accordingly, you get a +1 bonus to Mien, just like any regular Kitsune would. You also get the appropriate increased difficulty to disguise the presence of your tails - a TN of 5 instead of 3 - if you're stuck with them in human form. A Kitsune who does not have the Tail Hindrance cannot gain more than two tails - Such a Kitsune just isn't "Kitsune enough".

If this Edge is purchased after character creation, then the cost is equal to four times the new number of tails, and this can only be done in one-tail increments. In other words, going from one tail to two tails would be eight points. Going from two to three would be twelve points. Going from eight to nine would be thirty-six points. And that's as high as it goes.

This may seem ridiculously expensive, but that's because ... it is. Kitsune are rare enough, and Kitsune with multiple tails even rarer.

Talking Fox  Cost: 2

Even when you are in full Fox form, you can speak in your normal voice in whatever languages you can speak in as a human. Just be careful about when and where you speak. Some folks don't react rationally to the presence of talking animals.

Arcane Background: Kitsune Illusionist  Cost: 3

This is a very specialized Arcane Background, and the specialty of most Kitsune. If you have this Edge, you have the magical powers of illusion that a true Kitsune would have.


Tail -3

Regardless of what form you are in, you have a "fox tail", just like the flaw of a true Kitsune, and it's up to you to dress in appropriate attire to disguise it. Typically, it's a TN of 3 to disguise a single tail. Each additional tail adds 1 to the TN required. At the Marshal's discretion, if you wear appropriate clothing (bulky robes, a dress with a bustle), this roll will not be necessary unless someone is specifically looking for signs of the out-of-the-ordinary. Such clothes, however, tend to confer penalties to Nimbleness-based actions.

Shadow -2

Whether you are in human or hybrid form, your shadow suggests the features of a large fox walking upright, dressed and acting as you are. Ordinary people who see this (casual notice only on a Cognition check against a TN of 11) and who don't believe in such things are likely to ignore it. (You might get some awkward questions from small children, though.) However, anyone who has experience with the supernatural or a belief in the occult may see it for what it is, on a Cognition roll against a TN of 5, and act on it accordingly. (This may be modified by various factors. Poor lighting may raise the TN. If the character in question is deliberately checking the shadow, the TN may be much lower, or the success may even be considered automatic.)

Fox Statistics

The following are statistics for a common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill fox. A Kitsune in Fox form uses the following characteristics, except that the Kitsune keeps the same Mental Traits (Cognition, Knowledge, Mien, Smarts, Spirit) as it has in human form, and keeps its same skill levels (though the die type may change). It also gains any Fox aptitudes listed below, unless the Kitsune has the same aptitude at a higher level in human form.

Animal Cog Def Knw Mien Nimb Qk Sm Sp Str Vig Size Pace
Fox 1d4 1d6 2d6 1d6 3d8 2d8 1d6 1d4 2d6 2d4 3 12
  • Aptitudes: fightin': brawlin' 2d8, filchin' 2d6, sneak 2d8, trackin' 3d4+2, survival: wilderness 3d6
  • Damage: claw (STR), bite (STR+1d2)

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