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Kitsune have a ranking system all their own in
their tails. Inari has nine tails (though sometimes depicted with a
thousand or more, Inari usually wanders around with just the 9). The
youngest kitsune in their fox form will have two tails. As the kitsune
grows in age and power, they grow more tails.
While the kitsune use the tail count as a ranking
system, there is no precise measurement for when one will grow a new
tail. Sometimes the differences between growing one tail and the next
will be quite small while the difference between the next two seem
Humans, however, are not generally privy to
this particular ranking. Usually a kitsune will only leave one tail
visible when they are around humans, though they sometimes will show
more if they are showing off. The size of the tail is fairly standard
for the fox forms, but in the human forms can vary quite a bit. Some
kitsune leave the tail being exactly the same size as it is when they
are in fox form, some of the more traditional kitsune have their tails
the same proportionate size in their human form as their fox form. The
actual appearance of a given tail is not particularly important, more
the style of the individual kitsune.
kitsune can always show less tails than they actually have but they
cannot create a convincing illusion to make it appear as if they have
more (e.g. a 5-tailed fox can show 4 or 3 or 2, but cannot pretend to
have 6). The same is true for the size of their fox form. Kitsune grow
slowly over the years and can eventually reach the size of small ponies.
Whatever size the natural fox form, the kitsune can always make
themselves smaller, but not larger.
A kitsune in fox form will always show at least
two tails; they seem unable to completely mimic their wild little
cousins to show only one. A kitsune in human form usually shows one
tail, though kitsune with practice can learn to hide even the one.
For the purposes of game mechanics, it may work
best to directly relate tails to the ranking of the character. I wasn't,
and am not, convinced that there is an effective way of doing this. The
below ranking is (obviously) mostly tongue in cheek, but is at the same
time relatively appropriate.
- Baby - stop chewing on the couch, you'll
hurt yourself. If the fox is in fox form, a single tail means
they are *not* a spirit, but an ordinary fox.
- Adolescent - please don't shoot your foot,
or your brother's foot.
- Young adult - proficient with basic
abilities. You are allowed to handle your own knife at the dinner
- Moderately skilled in several areas.
- Starting to show some masteries, soon you
will be a sought after power.
- Master at your abilities, likely a Lord at
- More than a master - you are among the elite.
- Legends will be written about you - there
are one or two of this power level in a millenium.
- Deity/Minor Fortune - Inari. He's
territorial and he likes his position. You might want to find some
way of hiding before he finds you.
Obviously, most kitsune who are out and
about would fall somewhere in the 3 - 6 range, with 4 or 5 being
average or so. Only those who are unusually focused (or old) make it
to 6. Oddly enough, a disproportionate number of 7 tailed kitsune
are wanderers if they are not silver.
Kitsune retain the senses of their wilder
small cousins. Their nose is quite sensitive, as is their hearing.
In some extreme cases, this can be a problem for the kitsune.
who spent his first years among humans in the Crane courts, nearly
choked on several occasions due to the abundance of perfume (he will
still avoid courtier Cranes to this day). Star, a young monk who
spent her earliest years alone in a mostly abandoned mountain range,
can stand on the roof of Kyuuden Ikoma and hear the patrolmen on the
streets below. Any time she goes into a larger city during the noisy
hours of day, she must have a means of covering her ears, or
risk ringing headaches from the cacophony around her.
Kitsune are cheerful equal-opportunity eaters.
From grains to nuts and berries to almost any sort of meat, kitsune
will cheerfully eat it. There are some exceptions. Some kitsune,
usually monks, are rice sworn. They eat only rice, and nothing else.
Others further restrict themselves to wild rice only. Another
notable limitation is that pregnant kitsune must eat fresh food.
Anything pickled will make them violently ill. Sometimes this means
that the pregnant mother eats only rice during the pregnancy.