The second wave of colonists to reach Selna were the immigrants from an overcrowded nation called Walastia. Ostensibly, the nation’s leaders began considering an expedition to Selna for the purposes of reclaiming the vast investments they had given over to the Kaldornian fleet. With time, the leaders began to consider other options. Not only was the nation overcrowded, but the Walastian nobles had their collective eyes on numerous undesirable groups within the nation’s buckling borders.
It was unfortunately predictable that the expedition became a colonization effort. Though it did not empty Walastia of these groups, as the nobles would have preferred, it did reduce the populations significantly. This voluntary exodus did lead to other problems, but those were of little consequence to the colonists.
Among the vast throngs of willing colonists were the dissidents that were forced to go, often in shackles. These dissidents were of many walks of life; politicians, scholars, and seditionists. But all were against the government in some way. It may have been a calculated mistake to include these dissidents, as many were able to gain influence and even control over the colonists, often times before the boats landed on Selna.
When they did land, the new colony was named Walkonia, a name meant to both honor and rebuke their shared heritage as Walastian exiles. Through the guidance of the dissidents, and the hard work of the hopeful colonists, the new settlement was an initial success. They had landed on verdant shores, away from the more dangerous territories of Selna, including the Kaldornians and Jhorrund tribes.
Without much to bother them, the Walkonians did what they knew best, and build an agrarian society. Walkonians harbor a dislike for any monarchy, and elect their leaders, but their system favors workers, unions, and helping the less fortunate. Slow work was done by the dissident leaders to secure the allegiance of the population, and to ensure that any links to Walastia were severed. So far there have been no formal attempts to communicate between the colony and its estranged mother nation.
Though favoring scholarly pursuits, Walkonians are not technologically advanced, and dislike the notion of automation or industry. The people are proud workers that would rather pull a yoke than to see their hands idled by machinery, and reject any magic or technology that would affect those principles. This is not to say that they dislike magic or technology outright, but there is a healthy suspicion cast on most new “innovations” unless they seem practical to the ever pragmatic Walkonians.
Boasting the largest static population on Selna, Walkonia also has the largest army, though this is composed mostly of mandatory enlistees that have not seen much combat. Jhorrund recognizes the need for stronger allies, and has given much military aid and training to specialized branches of Walkonia’s armies. This has bolstered Walkonia’s military readiness, but their ability to extend the reach of their army is far less than that of their neighbors. This hasn’t bothered the Walkonian leadership so far, but the looming specter of warfare is on the horizon even for this quiet nation.
It took decades for them to make first contact with the Jhorrund. The happy and fruitful people of Walkonia made peaceful efforts to welcome their neighbors. Though initially shocked, the Jhorrund were overjoyed by the apparent existence of a friendly colony. It was not long before the first delegations spoke of Kal Dor, and each was quick to point to historic slights by the thieving brothers and their new empire. So began a friendship born of mutual understanding for each other and enmity for a shared rival.
Fox Folk- The Mysterious Natives of Selna
Very little is known about the fox folk, except that they are present in the legends of the Jhorrund, and there is some murky evidence that they existed during the twilight of the Advent Empire. The fox folk won’t say if any of it is true, leaving much suspicion about their intentions and character.
Even so, the fox folk are immaculate survivalists and opportunists, living secretly in all corners of the continent. Eponymously, they appear as anthropomorphic foxes, though some possess the ability to look like anyone (perhaps anything) at all.
They inhabit every city, in various hills, forests, and even some mountains, finding all the best places to stay hidden until they wish to be seen. Similarly, what little is known about the fox folk is restricted to what the fox folk wish to be known about them.
They are capricious, slow to trust, and full of knowledge they seldom share. It is of no surprise that enterprising fox folk sometimes make great information brokers, but those that do are often at odds with their secretive kin, sometimes isolating themselves from their own clan and race.
Occasionally, one will find a fox folk that eschews secrecy in favor of adventure. Young kits are given to seeking excitement and worldly experience in the company of other adventurers. These fox folk are steadfast companions, and can be implicitly trusted within these adventuring circles. Stories abound of the amazing loyalty that these adventuring fox folk show for their circles.
Whatever racial legacy has yet to be revealed for the fox folk, they seem to be so woven into the continuing history of Selna that one can bet on a fox folk being near or at the site of various historic events. The presence of fox folk can be so ominous that it sends soothsayers into fits, and the superstitious into panic. This reaction appears to please most fox folk, rankled though any other party may be.
While the fox folk don’t have a nation of their own, they instead form small enclaves throughout the continent. They owe no collective allegiance to any one nation, but exist within them all, as well as in isolation within smaller groupings and communities composed entirely of fox folk.
Fox folk are not by nature distrustful of the outside world, but they understand the value in maintaining their secrecy. Those who know enough about the fox folk understand that their history is riddled with tragedy and oppression. When they do discuss the matter, fox folk tend to reference this history as the rational for their closed society. They are far more likely to trust individuals than they are to trust organizations or nations that might begin to think of fox folk as assets rather than people.
Few outsiders have seen the exclusive fox folk enclaves, but those that do are usually trusted by and endeared to the fox folk at large. Their unique culture and aptitude for knowledge gathering has given them a rather academic lifestyle that seeps into nearly every aspect of their day to day lives, including their mysterious religion. Even the most raucous vulpes or flighty kitsune are devoted to study of some sort, whether dynastic histories or botanical mysteries.
Much can be said of the more nuanced aspects of fox folk society, such as cuisine and art. While one would suspect that these cultural traits would be hidden away, the Vulpes clan does a great job of using these traits to make connections and ease tensions. A vulpes chef is likely to be found in any major city, and a niveus may write an inscrutably thorough biography piece, while a kitsune artists will sometimes filter their art into public channels. Fox folk culture, as a result, is something that is seen as unique and rare, but obtainable and approachable. Though these meager offerings don’t comprise the entirety of fox folk culture, they do enough to broker understanding for those willing to see fox folk as something other than secretive scoundrels.
Foxfolk Racial Traits–
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2
Age. Fox Folk live roughly as long as a human does, though some may unlock inner potential to live longer, owed to some ancestral secret.
Alignment. Fox folk value secrercy, and their own culture and society. Unless an outsider proves worthy, they are unlikely to care for any perceived moral obligation to non-fox folk.
Size. Fox folk may take many forms, but their natural form is relatively short, between 4 and 5 ft tall. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 ft.
Darkvision. Fox folk live in the darkness, and they use it to their every advantage. You can see within dim light as if it were bright for 60 feet. Also, you see in darkness as if it were dim light.
Language. You speak, write, and understand Common, and Ancient Selnan, a race jealously guarded as the shared secret language of the folk folk.
Ancestral Loyalty. You gain advantage against any spell or effect that would force you to reveal information, including enchantment spells that charm or dominate.
Sub Races. Fox folk are split into different clans, accounting for some strange ancestral split between their kind, owing not so much to a physical distinction as it does to a spiritual essence that seems to have marked each clan separately.
Sub-Race – Kitsune
Through some secret of the fox folk, the Kitsune clan has forged a close relationship with nature. Rumors speak of them being caretakers, responsible for the slow healing of the land. Others say that they wrested some dark secrets from the ruins of the Advent Empire. The most anxious rumor mongers even speak of secret kitsune cabals that control entire swaths of wilderness, keeping outsiders from trespassing their sacred lands.
Whatever the truth may be, the Kitsune clan often shows a stern reverence for nature. Kitsune are known to admonishing those who would harm nature, at times even eschewing the perception of shyness that fox folk work so hard to maintain. Despite this, the Kitsune clan encourages peaceful balance, and in the past have worked to prevent vengeful kitsune from wreaking destruction in the name of nature.
Despite deep seated suspicions and aspersions cast upon all fox folk, kitsune tend to be like calm oases, and nurture to those in need. Though these traits lead them to have more amicable interactions with non fox folk, they are also careful not to be exploited, and tend to travel often rather than setting down roots. Some kitsune have been known to travel between towns in a circuit, secretly assisting favored families with gifts and protection.
Though Kitsune clan fox folk tend to become druids, they have also been known to follow other paths, at times becoming paladins dedicated to nature, wise monks who meditate on the wisdom of the forests, or even studied spellcasters looking to nature for arcane inspiration. These tendencies, however, do not bar them from any given class.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Kitsune Magic. You can conjure strange patterns of light to distract your foe. Gain Dancing Lights and Minor Illusion as cantrips. At 3rd level you may use the spell lesser restoration once, and regain the ability to do so with a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for these spells. At 5th level, you may wild shape as a 2nd level druid for 1 hour, but you are restricted to the form of a fox (use the statistics for a cat). You may use this racial wild shape feature in addition to any other wild shape uses gained from any class abilities.
Touch of the divine. You may use any unspent hit dice to heal plants in a ritual that takes 10 minutes to perform, restoring 1 plant per hit dice spent, or 1 tree per 5 hit dice spent. At level 3, you may spend hit dice to heal animals directly, rolling your hit dice in place of theirs through a similar ritual. At level 5, you may use the same ritual to heal any living creature, expending 2 hit dice for each hit dice of healing that the target receives.
Sub-Race – Vulpes
Clan Vulpes comprises the caprice of the fox folk. Though all fox folk have the capacity for levity and whimsy, Clan Vulpes exhibits it in earnest. Clan members are often traveling tricksters, spies, and saboteurs, working for the good of fox folk everywhere by ensuring that secrets are found and well kept. The more visible of the clans, vulpes members can be seen in any city, blending in or standing out as they wish.
While many rightfully suspect fox folk as secret gatherers, and attempt to keep them away from sensitive information, vulpes members relish a challenge, and enjoy stealing information (and less often, valuables) from difficult targets, as they excel in getting out of tight situations.
Though all vulpes members are tasked with gathering information, not all take it through trickery. Some are cartographers, anthropologists, and cultural mavens. This had led to various fox folk being seen as social icons, either through their contributions to historical and societal research, but also for their contributions to art and music. Despite any attained fame, these socialites tend to be aloof, if only to protect themselves as all fox folk are wont to do.
Clan vulpes produces many bards, rogues, and monks*, though not exclusively.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
Blend In. You may use alter self once per day, as per the spell. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.
Animal Charisma. You gain advantage on all rolls to influence people towards friendliness, or to get yourself out of trouble. This will not work if the target or targets are hostile, or in the din of battle.
Claws. You have sharp claws that can be used as weapons on combat. Your claw attacks deal 1d4 damage. You may make an additional claw attack as a bonus action with your off hand, even if you are wielding a weapon in your other hand. Neither claw attack adds your strength bonus to damage. You are considered proficient with your claws.
Quick Escape. You may use your claws as impromptu lock picks or cutting tools for the purposes of picking locks, cutting rope, or undoing other restraints. Using them in such a way renders your claws useless for 1d4 days while they regrow, denying you your claw attack as well as the ability to escape restraints.
Sub-race: Clan Niveus
Clan Niveus is perhaps the most secretive of all of the fox folk, and the most distinctive among them. Nearly all of Clan Niveus has white or grey fur, and piercing eyes the color of arctic ice.
While Clan Vulpes are the secret gatherers, most of Clan Niveus is tasked with compiling the information. While dozens of vulpes gather disparate knowledge, the niveus make sense of it through a careful archival process. This makes Clan Niveus especially integral to the dissemination or suppression of these secrets. So thorough is their duty that other clans are restricted from knowing the history of the fox folk as a matter of clan law.
Niveus members are unlikely to attach themselves to a city, or a stretch of wilderness, but do travel often to secretly destroy dangerous knowledge or those that seek to exploit it. Many niveus kits are sent off on pilgrimages, as their elders know that secrets cannot be found by study and practiced archeology alone. Many kits rise to fame by securing entire oubliettes worth of dangerous secrets.
Clan Niveus produces an unusually large number of wizards, bards of the college of lore, eldritch knights, arcane tricksters, and clerics to the god of study, though not exclusively.
Student of the Scriptorium. You may choose one of the following feats: Keen Mind, Linguist, Observant, and Resilient (choose between Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma). You must meet the prerequisite for the chosen feat. This replaces the sub-race ability score increase.
Seeker of Secrets. You have advantage on any rolls meant to discern secrets, whether through hidden doors or in cyphers or puzzles.
Cypher Magic. You learn the message cantrip. At 3rd level, you may cast the illusory script spell once per day. At 5th level, you may cast nystul’s magic aura once per day. Your spellcasting ability for these spells is Intelligence.
Sub-race: Clanless Nogitsune
Rejected by all clans, the majority of nogitsune are considered traitors and corrupt villains that sow misinformation and bring shame to the fox folk as a whole. Nogitsune are, with few exceptions, mean spirited tricksters.
Their behavior and outlook run the gamut from prankster to sociopath. Though the latter is an unfair generalization, the tendency for nogitsune to give in to darker urges has tainted the perception of their entire affiliation both within and outside of the fox folk community. The shadow foxes are without a doubt seen as an unlucky omen by any who have so much as an ounce of superstition in their bones. Most nogitsune gleefully enjoy reinforcing these biases, as they revel in the confusion and fear that they tend to sow.
Through some strange pacts, the nogitsune appear to have mastered the darkness, and use it to their every advantage. As such, they mimic their nobler brethren by hiding in the shadows, and calculate their appearances so as to maximize fear and panic caused by their very presence.
There is no official affiliation between these clanless misanthropes, as they cannot normally stand each other. They do occasionally cling together to defend themselves against overtures by the fox folk to stamp them out, and more often to carry out brutal retributions against the oppressive clans. It is through their tenacity and cunning that the nogitsune have taught the clans to fear the darkness.
Despite the tendencies of most shadow foxes, some exceptional nogitsune fight this stigma and attempt to either join a clan, or distinguish themselves as heroes. Historically, no nogitsune has ever joined a clan, as their rejection is automatic. However, some stories tell of heroic shadow foxes saving lives and securing dangerous knowledge for the clans. These stories are regularly quelled by the fox folk in general, but they persist in the regions that recognized the selflish acts of the unforgotten nogitsune.
Few know how the strange shadow foxes came to be, but some claim that it is the corrupting knowledge they hide away that initially caused the fox folk offshoot, either through dissent or mystical alteration.
Ability score increase. Your charisma score increases by 1.
Shadowcraft. You may cast silent image once, though any image you create must appear darkened or as a shadow. You can use this to cast dim light in a 5 foot square. You regain the ability to do so after a long rest.
Affinity for the Black. You may attempt to hide using a Dexterity (stealth) check even if you have been seen, as long as you are in dim light or darkness. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
Shadowhex. You may impose bad luck on others when you hide in shadows. While in the shadows and unnoticed, you may use a reaction to grant disadvantage on any roll performed by a target within 30 ft. This feature may be used after the initial roll is made. Once you use this feature, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
[My fox folk and sub-races are inspired by the Fox Folk created by Doctor Necrotic for Doctor Necrotic Media, who was further inspired by the idea of Brynvolk and Paizo’s Pathfinder. His version of Fox Folk can be found “HERE”]
*A Clan Vulpes monk might be similar to the protagonist from the amazing martial arts film, Iron Monkey. Maybe that needs to be a new archetype…