In case you can't tell, the Kitsune aren't really made as a player character race. They're more of a fey/monster thing, although as in all critters 3rd Edition, you can play 'em if your DM lets you.


The Kitsune are a race of shape shifting half-animal beings, something like the Rakshasa. In their natural form, they look like two-legged humanoid foxes with one or more bushy tails swishing behind them. Their legs are jointed backward at the ‘knees’ like a dog or cat, and they have powerful haunches, allowing them to jump with great facility and sprint quickly, though they tire easily. A Kitsune’s face features a long, pointed muzzle lined with sharp little teeth, and their eyes are the eyes of a fox. Large triangular ears stand at attention on top of their head. A Kitsune’s entire body is covered with reddish-brown fur, tipped with white at the tail, ears, muzzle, and limbs. The fingers and toes are clawed.

Kitsune are very mischievous, curious and clever. Secrets tempt them terribly, so that a Kitsune will often stalk, spy, and pry at a mystery until they unearth the truth. This curiosity frequently lands Kitsune in hot water, since they just don’t know when to quit. On the other hand, the legendary cleverness and resourcefulness of Kitsune is no myth, and they just as often manage to get themselves out of trouble, one way or another. Kitsune are extremely confident in their own abilities, and do not hesitate to cause trouble or leap into dangerous situations since they are certain they can handle it if anything goes wrong.

Kitsune are somewhat vain, as well. They are susceptible to flattery and bribes, though they usually recognize these for what they are. They like to prank people who seem to lack a sense of humor, and usually do not intend any harm by this (though it sometimes happens). On the other hand, if someone insults or scorns a Kitsune, the Kitsune responds with vicious, even lethal pranks in retribution. If offended badly enough, the Kitsune may carry these pranks beyond an individual to family, friends, even the entire village. To make the Kitsune stop, the offender must do something to placate the Kitsune. Publicly humbling himself before the Kitsune is popular, as are reparations such as a sacrifice of valuables, a time of servitude, or some duty undertaken for the angry Kitsune.

In all things, Kitsune are extravagant. They do not believe in moderation. They love passion, wealth, luxury, beauty, sweeping stories—anything on a grand scale attracts them. Kitsune are usually chaotic, rarely neutral, and never lawful. They may be good, neutral, or evil otherwise (although true neutral Kitsune are considered touched in the head). They favor rogue, bard, and wizard classes, though occasionally Kitsune clerics or druids appear.

Social creatures, Kitsune love to interact with humans and other races, though they find dwarves distasteful and think elves are too laid back. They visit cities frequently, usually leaving a wake of chaos behind them. Kitsune do not get along well with each other on a long-term basis, since their personalities and goals are almost guaranteed to clash sooner or later. However, despite their liking for cities and society, Kitsune are most at home in the wilderness. First and foremost they are animal spirits, guardians of sacred places. They protect the wilds and people of the rural countryside. Rural folk often honor good Kitsune with worship as small gods, and such Kitsune favor their worshippers with their (unpredictable) protection.


Despite their chaotic nature, Kitsune society is hierarchic. There are nine ranks of Kitsune, and every Kitsune bears an obvious insignia of its rank in the number of its tails. Kitsune of the lowest rank have one tail, and the ranks (and number of tails) proceed upward from there. Rank is somewhat inherited, but not completely. It is also partially earned, but not always. Age has a great deal to do with it. The older the Kitsune, the likelier it is to be powerful and highly ranked. There are only nine Kitsune of the ninth rank at any one time (they are called the Council of Nine Tails). They answer to the single Kitsune of the tenth rank—Inari. She is the ruler and goddess of all Kitsune, and is possibly their creator.

Though she rules all Kitsune, and all Kitsune revere her, she cannot command Kitsune who do not swear themselves to her service. Kitsune who have sworn allegiance to Inari are good or neutral, and do not intentionally harm others unless they feel they have been wronged. They are known as Myobu. Kitsune who do not follow her are called Nogitsune, and may be good, neutral, or evil. These are often malicious, though rarely a Nogitsune of a kinder disposition simply desires freedom. One of the duties of Myobu is to prevent malicious Kitsune from wreaking havoc. Note that there is no real way to tell a beneficial Kitsune from a malicious one.

In return for serving her, Kitsune who swear allegiance to Inari gain her personal protection. To harm one of her Kitsune without good reason is to invite the goddess’s wrath. Inari is a benevolent goddess, and expects her followers to obey her wishes in causing no harm to those who do not deserve it. If a Myobu accidentally causes harm or damage, then it must make reparations to the injured party. On the other hand, Inari does not consider frustration, embarrassment, or inconvenience to be ‘harm.’ If someone who has not been truly wronged by a Myobu attempts to hurt one, then she may personally take a hand in protecting them and punishing the aggressor. She will also punish a person who has been wronged but has not approached the offending Myobu for peaceful reparations. A Myobu who purposely hurts someone, or who refuses to make amends for hurting someone, answers to her.


Kitsune take the Jump skill for free at 1 level per hit die. They receive a +4 to Climb, Knowledge (Nature), Wilderness Lore, Hide, and Spot checks. They take a -2 penalty to endurance-based checks, and have the Scent ability. They can attack with their claws for 1d4 points of damage per hit (no Rend attack), and with their bite for 1d6 points of damage. Kitsune have 10% spell resistance, which increases by 5% at each rank. Thus, a nine-tailed Kitsune has 50% spell resistance.

Kitsune hate to be bound. Kitsune who are forced into any kind of captivity against their will (a Geasa spell, prison, etc), they lose 8 hit points. These hit points cannot be healed or regained in any way unless and until the Kitsune is freed, in which case they can be healed just like any other damage. Kitsune who accept servitude or captivity of their own free will effectively take on a geasa. In this case, they always have a condition or goal to fulfill in order to free themselves of the obligation. A Kitsune is never bound in such an agreement without a way out. Though a Kitsune would almost never enter into such a binding on purpose, they can occasionally be tricked into it. Also, Kitsune who commit a wrong while in service to Inari are obligated to make amends for it.

While uncommon, Kitsune clerics are well-known. A Kitsune cleric always worships Inari, and they undergo a transformation that sets them apart from all other Kitsune. Upon becoming a priest of Inari, a Kitsune cleric’s fur turns completely white. This allows instant recognition by other Kitsune, and also by other races (who normally have no way to tell whether a Kitsune is good or evil). These Kitsune serve as guardians of Inari’s shrines, and also bear messages between their goddess and her worshippers.

Kitsune progress in hit dice, ability scores, and power as they progress in tails, according to the table below. When creating a Kitsune, roll its abilities and assign them as normal, with the modifiers for that rank (they are not cumulative).

Tails HD (d8) Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha Special Abilities
1 5 -1 +2 0 +1 -2 +1 1st level illusions; shapeshift; Dancing Lights spell; Energy Drain
2 6 -1 +2 0 +1 -2 +1 2nd level illusions; Light spell
3 7 -1 +3 0 +1 -1 +2 3rd level illusions; Dominate Person spell
4 8 0 +3 0 +2 0 +2 4th level illusions; Produce Flame spell
5 9 0 +4 0 +3 0 +3 5th level illusions; Divination spell
6 11 +1 +4 +1 +3 0 +3 6th level illusions; Charm Person or Mammal spell
7 13 +2 +5 +1 +4 +2 +4 7th level illusions; Three Lives
8 15 +3 +6 +1 +5 +4 +4 8th level illusions; Commune spell
9 18 +4 +7 +2 +6 +6 +5 9th level illusions; Resplendent Aura

Shape shifting: All Kitsune can shape shift. They have three forms: a natural fox, a half fox/half-human (in which all their tails are visible), and a human form, which can look however the Kitsune wishes, but always has some quality or mark that indicates the Kitsune’s true nature (paw-feet, fox ears, a tail, or vulpine features are common).

Illusions: All Kitsune are skilled with illusion. As they progress in power, they are able to use more powerful illusions. The DC to see through a Kitsune’s illusion spell is equal to 15 + Kitsune’s rank + level of the spell. Additionally, Kitsune illusions have the property of feeling solid to a person until perceived as illusion. Thus, an unsuspecting guest of a Kitsune could sit on an illusionary chair, unless they recognized it for illusion. Kitsune illusions behave in all other ways (including illusionary damage) as normal illusion spells. Kitsune can cast illusion spells up to 3rd level at will. 4th through 9th level spells can be cast once per day per rank each (so a five-tailed Kitsune could cast any five 4th level illusion spells, AND any five 5th level ones). A Kitsune’s caster level for granted spells is equal to its rank, unless the Kitsune has levels in any spell-casting class, in which case caster level is whichever is higher.

Spell-like Abilities: At most ranks, Kitsune are given spell-like abilities. These function as if the Kitsune were a caster of a level equal to its rank, and the Kitsune can use each one a number of times per day equal to its rank. The exception to this is the Commune spell, which may only be used once per day no matter what rank the Kitsune holds.

Energy Drain: This power functions automatically whenever an injured Kitsune touches a living being. The Kitsune drains the energy it lacks out of the victim to replenish itself. If the Kitsune is wounded, it drains hit points (1d8 per round of contact). If it has been ability-drained, it steals the target’s matching ability (1 point per round of contact). The DC equals 10 + Kitsune’s rank. The Kitsune can suppress this ability if so desired by succeeding in a Will save of the same DC. A particularly evil Kitsune can use this ability to drain extra energy to augment its own. It can raise its hit points to half again their permanent total, and raise each of its ability scores to 18 (ability scores already at 18 or above cannot be augmented). This augmentation lasts until the next sunset. In any case, this is a temporary effect that cannot become permanent. A character killed in this manner simply dies. It does not rise as undead.

Three Lives: Kitsune of seven tails or more gain a blessing due to their wisdom and experience. If the Kitsune is reduced to negative Constitution in hit points or lower, it rises the next dawn, alive and fully healed, even if the Kitsune was beheaded or burnt. They must be killed three times to truly die. In some cases, Kitsune who please Inari greatly can have their lives ‘recharged.’ That is, she grants them three more lives, even if they had used all theirs.

Resplendent Aura: Nine-tailed Kitsune are truly favored of the gods. A Kitsune with such power can choose to manifest it, enfolding herself in a magnificent glowing mantle of power that can cow those who witness it. Observers with 5 hit dice or fewer must make a Will save at DC 25. Creatures that fail who are opposed to the Kitsune’s moral alignment (good vs. evil) flee in panic. If not opposed, they feel compelled to kneel in awe. Creatures with ten hit dice or fewer must make a Will save at DC 25 or be unable to attack the Kitsune while the Aura is maintained, and be shaken for 5 rounds after the Resplendent Aura is revoked. Creatures with more than 10 hit dice do not need to make a saving throw, but they do recognize the Kitsune’s divine favor. The Kitsune may gain bonuses to charisma-based checks in such a case. The Resplendent Aura lasts for 3 rounds, or until the Kitsune dismisses it. While using the Resplendent Aura, a Kitsune may only take partial actions. Maintaining it takes most of the Kitsune’s concentration. The Kitsune can manifest it twice per day. A creature that successfully saved against it once that day does not need to do so again.

Famous Kitsune

Inari: Variously considered to be the first Kitsune elevated to godhood, or the goddess who created the Kitsune, Inari has a fairly wide base of worshippers in the countryside. Besides Kitsune, who see her as their ruler, she is revered by farmers, shepherds, druids, and other rustic types, and women. She is a goddess of rice and fertility as well as foxes, and she is seen to represent both both the nurturing and the cunning sides of the female. For some reason, foxes are somewhat associated with the dead (perhaps because they’re not afraid of carrion when pickings get slim), so she is seen as a rustic protector of the spirits of the dead as well. Note that although Inari is considered to be a benevolent being, she is not above trickery and mischief herself. She is seen to have the typical female fickleness, and the Kitsune (both good and evil) take after her. She is worshipped at shrines rather than temples, and they are always watched over by women or by white foxes (her Kitsune priests).

Tamamo Nomae: the most evil Kitsune who ever lived. She was a nine-tailed Kitsune who disguised herself as a woman and seduced the young emperor. She ruled with him as empress for many years. It was a terrible period. She used her powers to charm the emperor into granting her every whim, and her greed and selfishness plundered and twisted the nation. Finally her disguise was penetrated, and the members of the court attempted to kill her. She escaped them and fled.

Denava: a Kitsune who fell in love with a mortal man and married him. She bore the man one son, who had slitted eyes and a tail. She stayed with him on the condition that he must never burn incense in the house. The man was so upset over the appearance of his son that he attracted an evil spirit to the home, and a priest required that sandalwood incense be burnt to drive it out, so she had to leave her family. The little boy, whose name was Bosan, grew up to be a great priest. He was the one who recognized Tamamo Nomae’s true nature and saved the kingdom.