How to play a proper Kitsune - character play


Hi all,

for some reasons my GM wants me to play a Kitsune (sorcerer). Although I didnt have any issues creating a proper working build, I am still struggling with the question how to make this character as "realistic" as possible.

I am looking forward to get some proposals which behaviour/manners/attitudes a Kitsune should show from your point of view.

I d like to avoid playing a "human with a tail".

Maybe some traditional asian folklore elements,.....

Dont hesitate to let me knwo about your ideas.


I think a kitsune is a trickster fox that uses illusion magic. Seems like an slightly underhanded manipulative personality would be right. Viewing others as less than you could be a part of that too.

Take fox shape and pretend to be someone's familiar. You should look up the rules for casting while shape changed. I can't find where I found it but I heard that Kitsune's human form is Tian so they don't blend in well anyways.

If you have streaming service and don't mind subtitles, watch the Chinese dramas Legend of the Green Hill foxes and or The Woodcutter and his Fox Wife. Both are about Nine tail foxes(Granted Chinese version or Huli Jings) Warning both are 30 episodes but both ar on Youtube and are based on Buddhist fables .

Essentially, I feel the viewpoint they have is that the world is one big prank waiting to happen and everyone, even you, can be the butt of it at any time. This doesn't mean you're out to hurt people but if you can save the world AND make people laugh.. then why not?

Your part in this play is to ensure that everyone either has a good laugh, learns from that prank, or preferably BOTH.

More than one greedy noble has found out that lady they fancied was in fact a fox (in the LITERAL sense), who just made off with their purse, their clothes, and their dignity to force them to walk back to the castle, in the nude, in front of all of their subjects...

And that's just for starters.

Kitsune can vary pretty wildly from story to story. Trickster and prankster aren't always the same thing, and not all kitsune fall under the umbrella of trickster. There are numerous stories about fox spirits that focus on the more tragic aspects of being something that gets along with humans but isn't human. There's others that have a Little Mermaid kind of quality of the fox trying to become human. If you're powerful, you might consider yourself to have some kind of rank in a celestial bureaucracy. I would tend to run a kitsune character firm in the belief that a human will never actually trust a kitsune, and so keep a lot of secrets, hide my true face, and generally play with the premise that no one is going to help me or do anything for me unless I manipulate them into it.

Neil Gaiman's story, Dream Hunters, is a good read. Tamamo no Mae is worth looking up, and so is Inari Okami.

If you DO play pranks, a good rule to follow is to have it be about taking someone arrogant and powerful down a notch, usually in a way that teaches a lesson.

Thanks for your input so far. Especially the TV shows sound promisssing. If anybody anybody would describe, how he acted as a Kitsune when playing one, I would be thankful.

Imagine being part man, part dog, and part cat. Smells, curiosity, feeling things and tasting them... The whole world is a riotous explosion of sensation for you, with all five senses running overkill to notice the smallest details and you always want to know what that little charred smell is. You might be able to resist that impulse, but you definitely want to know.

You are alone, you don't fit in with the dogs, the cats, the foxes, the humans... Probably your best match for someone who understands your loneliness is a half-elf, but even they usually are born alone, where you were once part of a litter. You want to make friends with everything, everyone, but they don't understand you. They don't play your games, they aren't interested in that squirrel like you are, and that's okay but they can't even understand why you like the things you do. How do you explain the difference between this tree and that one? You haven't seen that one yet, you already know this one. They just don't get you, and you can't understand why the world is so boring to them.

Foxes Cunning was named after you, and you know it. Proud, fast, and constantly thinking about something new, your kind of intelligence is definitely called cunning for a reason. They didn't call it Foxes Rote Memorization, you view every situation with a survivalist mind. A predatory scavenger, you are equally suited to finding weaknesses in your enemies, identifying and using the world around you, and knowing when it is time to step into the shadows and safety of your den to wait out something stronger than yourself. You approach most of life with vivid curiosity, but a part of you will always be working on the next problem and finding out how the things you just learned can help you to live.

Also in Japanese consider Foxes(And Kitsune) subjects of Inari Ōkami (稲荷大神, also Oinari) is the Japanese kami of foxes, of fertility, rice, tea and sake, of agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, and one of the principal kami of Shinto. In earlier Japan, Inari was also the patron of swordsmiths and merchants . You can find statues of Foxes outside all inari shrines. So what aspect of Inari would your Fox consider most important?


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(1) I don't know how I feel about you playing a character you didn't pick. Maybe talk to your GM about why they want a kitsune sorcerer in the party. Seems weird to me. (I wouldn't want a GM telling me that I had to play an elf, so I don't think anyone should tell you that you have to play a kitsune.)

(2) Kitsune are actually REALLY fun from a psychological perspective because you get into this whole "external you" versus "internal you" dynamic. People who just run around playing an anthro fox really aren't getting the full experience. You're like an outsider looking in on humanity, a person who is intimately experienced with humans but isn't one. To some extent, because you have to perfectly play at being human, you might understand humanity better than humans themselves do, and that itself can make a really interesting character.

(3) It's really easy to get sucked into Japanese folklore, but in actuality almost every human culture has personified fox myths, from the Hu Jing of China to the Kumiho/Gumiho of Korea, to Reynard the Fox of France, to Briar Fox of of North America. Foxes are usually seen as intelligent and something of a trickster, but every culture has a slightly different take on the idea. It can also be equally fun to subvert or downright eschew expectations.

I hope this helps you out. If you're looking for more information and are willing to shell out some cash, I wrote an entire 20-page chapter on the topic of kitsune for one of my company's books that can tell you way more about the research I did on the topic and how I translated it into Pathfinder then I ever could hope to here. (I also contributed the chapter on kitsune in Pathfinder Playing Companion: Blood of the Beast, so that's another great place to look.)

Dark Archive

I'm playing a Kitsune Rogue in a Kingmaker game, and I've attempted to integrate some fox-like behavior into the character. Things like really loving food, particularly fruits and berries, as they make up a good chunk of a foxes diet. Or being very much not a morning person, because foxes are naturally nocturnal. A mix of skittishness, playfulness, and curiosity can help round out an interesting character personality.

Nirdish wrote:
I'm playing a Kitsune Rogue in a Kingmaker game, and I've attempted to integrate some fox-like behavior into the character. Things like really loving food, particularly fruits and berries, as they make up a good chunk of a foxes diet. Or being very much not a morning person, because foxes are naturally nocturnal. A mix of skittishness, playfulness, and curiosity can help round out an interesting character personality.

One of my favorite scenes involving a Fox person Was in the Korean Drama" My Girlfriend is a Nine Tailed Fox" When Miho( the Nine tailed fox) was trying to learn how to eat vegetables .

Definitely remember that you’ve always got two faces. One for the outside world, and one for yourself. Consider how your character thinks about this fact pretty heavily.

Are they cocky? Is it all too easy to pull the wool over these hapless humans eyes?
Are they paranoid? Always looking over their shoulder, worried when someone might see through their act?
How do they treat friends? Are they allowed to be “in” on the secret? Is it kept even from them?
Do they perhaps hide for a specific reason? Have they made an enemy of someone powerful? Did their first lover react poorly to the truth?

Putting some thought into the two-faced aspect of it more than the “Fox” aspect of it is really important I think to having an interesting kitsune character.

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