Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hengeyokai, Tanuki, Kitsune, magical animals as PCs in EotFM

Henge (変化, change) Yokai (妖怪, ghost, phantom, strange apparition)
Here's what I wrote in the first real Empire of the Flaming Moon rules post
Hengeyokai - can turn into a small animal or back 1/day/level. Feared and hunted by the Emperor and his agents.
1d4 HP.
2 - 2000 XP
3 - 4000 XP
4 - 8000 XP (& etc)
(I adjusted the level numbers to what I'm going with from now on.)

Let's go into a little more detail!
I like +Zak Smith 's ideas in his post, so I'll adapt it and summarize here. Quotation marks mean a direct quote from Zak or Oriental Adventures (the 1E book).
  • - One does not start as Hengeyokai. When a creature (including a PC) dies, on rare occasions their passion is so great that their spirit possesses a nearby animal instead of doing whatever else it was gonna do in death. The animal and spirit become one.
    • the player chooses an animal, and the DM figures out how far away one of those is. That's where the new Hengeyokai PC starts.
    • new stats are rolled, and adjusted to the player's idea of what is appropriate for that animal.
    • the new PC knows where "friends" are and how to get there, but it is up to the player what other memories from the dead PC are carried over, if any. 
    • If the dead PC's POW score was positive, this is added to HP of the new PC.
    • The new PC begins in animal form.
  • A quote from Zak/Oriental Adventures: "The traditional Eastern forms are carp, cat, crab, crane, dog, drake, fox, hare, monkey, raccoon dog, rat, and sparrow, though PCs may take the form of any animal in that size range (and no, the dog is not a great dane)."
  • The Hengeyokai has two forms: animal and human. No in between. They can change once per day per level, so if you change from human to animal at Level 1, you're in animal form until the next sunrise (or whenever you choose to change after it.) A vestige of the animal form is always present in the human, "A raccoon dog hengeyokai may have a silver stripe through his hair. A sparrow hengeyokai may have an unusually sharp nose. The choice of the exact identifying feature is left to the player and the DM."
    • "Changing form requires one complete round during which the character can do nothing else. Armor and equipment do not change form along with the hengeyokai. The character must make provisions for the storage or transportation of his equipment in some way."
  • Animal Form is as described in Zak's post, with minor modifications (mostly RE: low HP)
    • undetectable from normal animals; not an illusion
    • real animals not of their type will distrust them
    • Infravision 120 ft
    • ability to speak to animals of their kind
    • cannot use items designed for humans, clothes, armor, weapons, etc
    • have vocal capabilities of natural animal
    • can speak Hengeyokai in either form
    • half HP, round up, damage carries over point for point except for last 1 HP (if total HP is 12 and takes 8 damage in human form, will have 1 HP in animal form)
  • At 0 HP in human form, reverts to animal form and is dead. Hengeyokai that die cannot come back as a different Hengeyokai, and are truly dead.
  • Ninja and Swordsmen who die and become Hengeyokai are expected to report to and continue to serve their Clan or School, respectively, even if their new human form looks different. Samurai consider Hengeyokai dishonorable and will not come back as one.

A few people were asking me about Tanuki, and I was wondering about how I'd do Kitsune, and I think the below solves both. A Hengeyokai PC may choose this only at character creation. If this is chosen, it is their only starting template.

Animal Trickster: POW score is equal to total of Modifiers to [WIS or INT] + [CON or CHA], and is a positive score even if those ability modifiers are negative.
Requirements: WIS of below 8 or above 12
Having this template allows a character access to spells without magical training, but only spells related to illusions, polymorph, or those that affect the mind.
Forms: The animal form can be bipedal, and speak human languages. However, this behavior marks the creature as a trickster and they will typically be beaten or killed by any humans or natural animals present.
Animal Tricksters revel in pranks and deception; if they do not attempt a prank or cause someone to change their actions by deception at least [once a week or once every other game session, depending on DM preference], the great trickster Kami will take away their Trickster Animal abilities and they will become "regular" Hengeyokai, losing this template. They do not get another to replace it but continue to get templates when levels are gained.

Some links for inspiration: (gain +1 CHA after becoming Kitsune and 1 tail per level, seductions count as pranks) (Ninja clans desire spider Hengeyokai agents)

You get the idea.

A Samurai realizes with horror the spider on the wall at the meeting of rebel Daimyo could be a spy.

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