Can a human take "Racial Heritage(Kitsune)" and then benefit from "Fox Shape"?


Rules Questions

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The feat in question:

Quote:
You can take the form of a fox whose appearance is static and cannot be changed each time you assume this form. Your bite attack’s damage is reduced to 1d3 points of damage on a hit, but you gain a +10 racial bonus on Disguise checks made to appear as a fox. Changing from kitsune to fox shape is a standard action. This ability otherwise functions as beast shape II, and your ability scores change accordingly.

Now, I know that since you as a human do not have a bite attack, you don't suddenly gain a 1d3 bite attack. However, it doesn't say that you have to have the "change shape" supernatural ability in order to benefit from this feat. It simply says "you can take the form of a fox".

There's one possible hiccup, that being "Changing from a kitsune to fox shape", but I think that this is gotten around by the line in racial heritage where it says "for the purpose of taking traits, feats, how spells and magic items affect you, and so on". It shouldn't be much of a stretch to say that "how feats affect you" falls under that.


Yes, I think it would be absurdly over-narrow to say that the text OF the feats is not also included in "and so on." Why would the rules even allow you an ability to take a feat that then didn't function at all?

This should work just fine. Technically it does seem to be written in as GM fiat, though.


By the wording, yeah, it looks like it would work. However, I don't think I'd allow it. That's a pretty big racial ability (the shapeshifting) to be coming from just a trace amount of Kitsune heritage. Also, it leaves the character in a situation where they can be human form, or full on fox form - but can't be the typical kitsune antro-fox? It just all reeks of unintended rule-interactions making for ridiculous outcomes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Crimeo wrote:

Yes, I think it would be absurdly over-narrow to say that the text OF the feats is not also included in "and so on." Why would the rules even allow you an ability to take a feat that then didn't function at all?

This should work just fine. Technically it does seem to be written in as GM fiat, though.

We've been over this ground before with kobolds et. al. Racial Heritage won't give you a kobold tail, a kitsune tail, or the ability to change shape. It does not give you access to racial FEATS.


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Quote:
It does not give you access to racial FEATS.

It explicitly says it gives you access to TAKE racial feats, "For the purposes of taking traits, feats..."

The question is only "does it also treat you as a kitsune for the purposes of the feat's internal text"? And the answer seems overwhelmingly biased toward "yes" when it mentions taking feats, mentions replacing text for other things, and says "so on". But does not technically explicitly list this outside of the "so on." It merely waggles its eyebrows and nudges in in the ribs and does an Eric Idle skit as to this implication.

Quote:
Racial Heritage won't give you a kobold tail,

I agree, but note that unlike taking a kobold's tail, the ONLY thing required here is to simply swap out the phrase "changing from a kitsune..." to "changing from a human..." It does not require any change in anatomy or whatever, only text wording.


By RAW, it looks like you can. It would seem to be an oversight, I would think. Since there is no alternate racial trait that gets rid of the Kitsune Change Shape, they probably thought that adding that as a prereq would be superfluous. I'm not PFS, but I wouldn't allow this at my table, unless the player really wanted to, and I sat down to find out why, and how much it would change balance.

At first glace, though, the mechanical pros of someone doing this is +4 DEX, +1 natural armor, tiny size (some benefits there), Scent, low-light vision, and a base land speed of 40 ft, almost at will. There are cons, obviously.

Contributor

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I would say that this falls squarely in the category of "Humans can't take feats with Racial Heritage that modify things they do not possess." A human with Racial Heritage (tiefling) can't take a feat that gives her a prehensile tail because humans don't have a prehensile tail. A human with Racial Heritage (kitsune) can't take fox shape because she doesn't have the change shape ability. This is supported by the flavor text to fox shape, which says, "in addition to your other forms."

What you do in a home game is your own business, but I'm almost positive that this use of Racial Heritage wouldn't fly at PFS. (Although its a pretty great way to get access to the kitsune trickster rogue archetype, if you want to add Int to all of your Charisma-based skill checks.)


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Being allowed to take a feat that is normally racial does not automatically make you meet the prerequisites for said feat.

Can you take a feat that alters your normal Kitsune powers? Sure, if the printed text allows you to take it.

Can you USE that feat? Nope, you aren't a kitsune.

If questions arise, consult the rules. If one reading of it requires editing the text, and the other does not, use the interpretation requiring the least changes.


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Would you rule that "improved initiative" requires you as a prerequisite to have > 0 base reflex save, because the preview flavor text says "your quick reflexes..."?

Fox shape has an explicit list of prerequisites. Shape change is not on it. Shape change is not mentioned anywhere by name. It's not a prereq, nor is it involved in the use of the feat.


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It could be argued that nowhere in the feat (save the flavor text) is Change Shape ever referenced. It doesn't modify Change Shape, nor does Change Shape appear as a prereq.


The wording of the feat says that changing from Kitsune to Fox form is a standard action.

You are human, not Kitsune, so although you are allowed to take the feat, you may not benefit from it.

Additionally, your bite is REDUCED to... so since you don't START with a bite attack, that line is irrelevant also.

It looks to me like all this would do for a human is give them a +10 disguise roll to look like a fox.

Strict, even harsh, reading of the rules, but I don't believe a third level human fighter should have unlimited shapechanging in addition to a free bite attack for the cost of one feat.


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Doesn't seem a big deal to me.


Quote:
changing from Kitsune to Fox form is a standard action.

This though doesn't require anything about being a kitsune anatomically. It requires nothing but swapping out the technical title "kitsune" for "human", i.e. basically exactly what human heritage just did for the prereqs.

(Bite doesn't matter regardless because nobody ever has wanted this feat for a bite anyway)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It requires no special ability, body part, body shape, or anything else, such as that.

It functions.

It is also sort of a silly thing to throw a fit about.

What is the difference in balance between a Human, or Kitsune, doing this?

Other than some sort of flavor reason, I find no need to deny this legal combination to function.


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I understand that it seems like it might be unintended, but it also seems like something that might make for an interesting character. Plus, it's a 2 feat cost for something that has little to no combat application.

Plus, the wording of it should work. Notice how other racial feats say something like "your tail", those don't work because the human does not have a tail. In this same feat, it uses the same language in saying "your bite attack". Because you don't have a bite attack, it doesn't become a 1d3 bite attack.

For the feat itself, it simply says "you can take the form of a fox". It doesn't say that you can use your change shape ability to take the form of a fox. It even tells you the action cost and how it functions.

That's why I think RAW, definitely. RAI is a little shaky, which is why it might be defined as cheese, but it's not even game breaking so I wouldn't be worried about it as a DM.


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I've reversed my opinion on this.

I too, think that RAW, it is legal.

Also, it would be fun to play. Still no bite attack though.

Scarab Sages

I agree it is an oversight, since the prereq probably assume "A kitsune with ChangeShape(Su) racial trait" which you would not have. Since the books, especially the non rules books, don't get erratad or fixed in FAQs, we can't rely on it being never cleared up.

We could say "it's not a big deal", but think: is it a big deal that druids and other shapechangers can change into small animals and spy on NPCs? Or sneak past guards and then change back? It just wouldn't be powerful in combat, but is powerful for other reasons.

Yes you'd need 2 feats, but that's still potentially less investment than just being a Kitsune and taking the feat (Otherwise the PC would just draw up a Kitsune, there must be some reason they want to be human instead).

OTOH, if I trust the player, I'd let them, just for fun. Because there is so much that is clearly allowed making my life difficult as a DM, that this might at least make a fun diversion for us. But as alex1976 says, I'd only allow the bite while in fox form.


alexd1976 wrote:

I've reversed my opinion on this.

I too, think that RAW, it is legal.

Also, it would be fun to play. Still no bite attack though.

Easy enough to pick up like a 1/2 orc or any 'human' with adopted [tusked].


graystone wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

I've reversed my opinion on this.

I too, think that RAW, it is legal.

Also, it would be fun to play. Still no bite attack though.

Easy enough to pick up like a 1/2 orc or any 'human' with adopted [tusked].

Sure, if you wanna invest that much into it, I don't see why not.

It would be fun to be able to run around as a little fox... cute little critters they are!

Silver Crusade

I think it is RAW illegal, sufficiently so that I'd disallow it at PFS tables I run.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My reply will be on the same level of the question.
"Sure, you can, enjoy your life as a fox."
The feat don't give a way to turn back into an human. So you assume fox form and stay in that form forever.


Diego Rossi wrote:

My reply will be on the same level of the question.

"Sure, you can, enjoy your life as a fox."
The feat don't give a way to turn back into an human. So you assume fox form and stay in that form forever.

LOL that's a bit harsh.

It functions as Beast Shape II, which is (D).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
alexd1976 wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

My reply will be on the same level of the question.

"Sure, you can, enjoy your life as a fox."
The feat don't give a way to turn back into an human. So you assume fox form and stay in that form forever.

LOL that's a bit harsh.

It functions as Beast Shape II, which is (D).

PRD wrote:
D) Dismissible: If the duration line ends with “(D),” you can dismiss the spell at will. You must be within range of the spell's effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell's verbal component. If the spell has no verbal component, you can dismiss the effect with a gesture. Dismissing a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

It is a feat, as written not even a supernatural one. It is not Dismissible as you can dismiss spells, not feats. -

It is the new version of GIGO, Silly In, Silly Out.

Even more fun: Best shape is "Components V, S, M ", so as for the rules about dismissing a spell: "You must be within range of the spell's effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell's verbal component."

Foxes don't speak.


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Diego Rossi wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

My reply will be on the same level of the question.

"Sure, you can, enjoy your life as a fox."
The feat don't give a way to turn back into an human. So you assume fox form and stay in that form forever.

LOL that's a bit harsh.

It functions as Beast Shape II, which is (D).

PRD wrote:
D) Dismissible: If the duration line ends with “(D),” you can dismiss the spell at will. You must be within range of the spell's effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell's verbal component. If the spell has no verbal component, you can dismiss the effect with a gesture. Dismissing a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

It is a feat, as written not even a supernatural one. It is not Dismissible as you can dismiss spells, not feats. -

It is the new version of GIGO, Silly In, Silly Out.

It functions as the spell, says so in the feat.

Not liking it isn't a valid rules argument to change it.


alexd1976 wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

My reply will be on the same level of the question.

"Sure, you can, enjoy your life as a fox."
The feat don't give a way to turn back into an human. So you assume fox form and stay in that form forever.

LOL that's a bit harsh.

It functions as Beast Shape II, which is (D).

PRD wrote:
D) Dismissible: If the duration line ends with “(D),” you can dismiss the spell at will. You must be within range of the spell's effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell's verbal component. If the spell has no verbal component, you can dismiss the effect with a gesture. Dismissing a spell is a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

It is a feat, as written not even a supernatural one. It is not Dismissible as you can dismiss spells, not feats. -

It is the new version of GIGO, Silly In, Silly Out.

It functions as the spell, says so in the feat.

Not liking it isn't a valid rules argument to change it.

And even if you absolutely wouldn't allow the player to dismiss, they certainly wouldn't be stuck in that form forever. Beast Shape II only has a duration of 1 min/level.


Yeah, what IS the duration on this rules exploit, exactly?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

To repeat the edit above:

Even more fun: Best shape is "Components V, S, M ", so as for the rules about dismissing a spell: "You must be within range of the spell's effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell's verbal component."

Foxes don't speak.


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Diego Rossi wrote:

To repeat the edit above:

Even more fun: Best shape is "Components V, S, M ", so as for the rules about dismissing a spell: "You must be within range of the spell's effect and must speak words of dismissal, which are usually a modified form of the spell's verbal component."

Foxes don't speak.

What does the fox say?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Skreeeeeeeeee wrote:


And even if you absolutely wouldn't allow the player to dismiss, they certainly wouldn't be stuck in that form forever. Beast Shape II only has a duration of 1 min/level.

That is a valid point. So the character taking the feat would be locked in fox form for 1 minute/level unless he has a way to speak the words of dismissal.


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Well, if the "words of dismissal" happen to be "fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow" then he's covered.


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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Well, if the "words of dismissal" happen to be "fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow" then he's covered.

+1 internet points for you.


In this situation, coudnt it be said that since youre not using a verbal component to transform, you dont need vebal components to dismiss it?

In fact, how does a regular caster casting beast shape dismiss the spell?

The Concordance

Johnny_Devo wrote:

I understand that it seems like it might be unintended, but it also seems like something that might make for an interesting character. Plus, it's a 2 feat cost for something that has little to no combat application.

You still gain the bite attack of a fox, as per Beast Shape. I can see an Unchained Rogue or anything with an Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists taking great benefit from tiny sized dex/attack/AC bonuses.

Fox Shape Kitsune's are fun! Urban Barbarians, Feral Combat Training Monks, Natural Attack Ranger/Slayer, Mouser Swashbucklers, etc. It has combat application!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A human has no inherent ability to change their form, so I would let you take this feat but you would be unable to use it until you gained some way to change your form (via spell, etc...). If you want to turn into a Fox, play a Kitsune, that's why they are there.

A feat alone is not sufficient to give you unlimited use of what is the equivalent of a 4th level spell. (something not normally usable until 7th-8th level)

In my experience, anytime somebody wants to poach abilities from another race, it's usually because they want the "cool ability" but don't want to take the disadvantages associated with that race, or they want the bonuses from something else. It's munchkin behavior in my opinion.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Crimeo wrote:

Why would the rules even allow you an ability to take a feat that then didn't function at all?

Nonspellcasters can take metamagic feats. Just because you meet the prereqs for a thing doesn't mean it does something for you.

I lean slightly on the side of: this feat "chain" violates RAI, as does so much of the Racial Heritage stuff. However it isn't really broken in the least. I'd let a player have it.


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No.

Fox shape is not the ability to turn into a fox. Its an alteration of the change shape ability that a kitsune already has. Without having that change shape ability to start with, the feat does nothing.

We also give you the ability to take feats that you can't use all the time either situationally or because you lack an ability or some other key component. You can take Combat Casting (it has no prerequisites) even if you don't have any spells or spell-like abilities. Logic assumes you will not if it is no use to you. Just because you have Deadly Aim, we don't assume you always have the ability to make ranged attacks.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

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LazarX wrote:
We've been over this ground before with kobolds et. al. Racial Heritage won't give you a kobold tail, a kitsune tail, or the ability to change shape. It does not give you access to racial FEATS.

Tail Terror 2.0?

Sigh

OP: Yes you can take it as a human. No you don't get anything for doing so.


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I understand that, as intended, it is indeed altering the change shape ability, but as written there is no such language. At least by my reading.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its an alteration of the change shape ability that a kitsune already has.

Source on this?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

No.

Fox shape is not the ability to turn into a fox. Its an alteration of the change shape ability that a kitsune already has. Without having that change shape ability to start with, the feat does nothing.

We also give you the ability to take feats that you can't use all the time either situationally or because you lack an ability or some other key component. You can take Combat Casting (it has no prerequisites) even if you don't have any spells or spell-like abilities. Logic assumes you will not if it is no use to you. Just because you have Deadly Aim, we don't assume you always have the ability to make ranged attacks.

He is speaking on the on the Tail Terror feat. A feat that altered what you can do with your tail, which Humans don't have.

The Fox Shape feat does not mention a Shapechange ability, the requirement of a Shapechange ability, or any other ability, limb, or body shape,that is required for the feat to function.


I agree that you couldn't get out of fox shape until 1 min/level. However, circlet of speaking or wand of beastspeak.

Quote:
A human has no inherent ability to change their form, so I would let you take this feat but you would be unable to use it until you gained some way to change your form (via spell, etc...)

A human also has no inherent ability to hit two guys with one sword swing, does that mean you would let somebody take the feat "Cleave" but not let them use it until they otherwise gained some way to hit two people in one swing?


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blackbloodtroll wrote:


The Fox Shape feat does not mention a Shapechange ability, the requirement of a Shapechange ability, or any other ability, limb, or body shape,that is required for the feat to function.

______

You can change into a fox in addition to your other forms.

Prerequisites: Cha 13, base attack bonus +3, kitsune.

Special: A kitsune may select this feat any time she would gain a feat.

Benefit: You can take the form of a fox whose appearance is static and cannot be changed each time you assume this form. Your bite attack’s damage is reduced to 1d3 points of damage on a hit, but you gain a +10 racial bonus on Disguise checks made to appear as a fox. Changing from kitsune to fox shape is a standard action. This ability otherwise functions as beast shape II, and your ability scores change accordingly.
____

A human has no other forms, and cannot change from kitsune to anything.

A taking a feat does not give you the ability to use it.


Quote:
You can change into a fox in addition to your other forms.

Sure, just buy a hat of disguise first, done and done I have other forms now. Or be any class that can cast any polymorph spell.


A human has a human form. Changing into a fox would be in addition to that.

It works fine, it's just weird and unexpected. Which, in my opinion, is half the fun of Racial Heritage. :)


I think the problem here is more racial heritage more than anything.

Should feats written exclusively for one race be worded in a complicated manner so they can't be used by other races that found a loophole? No, because again, it is overcomplicating the rules of the feat for a tiny side case. So the rules of contruction for that feat are reasonable enough. The very concept of race specific feats was supposed to be enough of a barrier that we would not have to ask these questions.

The problem is that there is that loophole to begin with. What good does racial heritage actually do? What benefit does it acutally add other than maybe grabbing a racial feat or two? For the most part, it just seems like a complicated thing that causes arguments like this.


That text is also separated, and seems to be more fluff than rules text.


Quote:
I think the problem here is more racial heritage more than anything.

Oh for sure. This and "contingency" and "contingent action" and "wish" and "Eldritch Heritage" etc. are all terrible design ideas for all the same reason: writing out anything that suddenly applies to 1,500 other rules that were not originally written with it in mind will always, without exception, cause dozens of bugs.

They can be fun, but they should probably all be bundled up in one "optional goofy campaign rules that will probably break everything" book or something.


As for me, i rather like the idea of it working, as it lets a human have something more interesting. They always seem a bit bland to me.


Johnny_Devo wrote:
As for me, i rather like the idea of it working, as it lets a human have something more interesting. They always seem a bit bland to me.

They're completely unrealistic. Why hasn't a species that isn't night blind just attacked in the dark and slaughtered them all?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Your other forms being Human, and Human.

Honestly, flavor-wise, you have the blood of Kitsune, so it's not a stretch.

Balance-wise, it is just the same as a Kitsune with the same feat.

I mean, I am not seeing the problem.

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