Searches here and elsewhere has convinced me that while kitsune do exist, there's no baseline mechanics for creating PCs or NPCs. I am hoping I am wrong, as one of my players has her heart set on a kitsune character. If there is no official documentation, I would be grateful for any shared homebrew.

Conversely, if there is a good reason why kitsune are not made available as player characters, I'd be delighted to know. I would assume that such a character would be rather distracting from the usual theme, but there are the ratlings and naga races that give me pause. Is it simply because the kitsune's nature make them too restrictive for good playing? That is the reason I'm currently giving my player.

I found this to be helpful, but not complete enough.

  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, Kitsune are an explicit PC option in 5e (Emerald Empire). \$\endgroup\$ May 21, 2019 at 10:17

2 Answers 2


In Enemies of the Empire, starting on p244 there are rules for "Shapeshifters" and "Child of Chikashudo" advantage. On 246 they have a sample Kitsune so you know which shapeshifter powers/aspects are typical for the race. The option is more general because there's so much history in other books for what was once a minor clan, and because so many other creatures fall under the same category.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much! The rules in the book you recommended seem to be quite adequate for my situation. I thank you, and my players thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Acies
    Mar 30, 2018 at 14:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ sliiight error: the Kitsune Clan and the Kitsune from Chikashudo are two different - if related - thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Dec 9, 2021 at 18:34

There may be some confusion present as there is both a Kitsune clan/family as well as kitsune spirits. The Kitsune family is absolutely a playable character type, whereas the kitsune spirits are just that; spirits of Chikushudo who, while they might visit, have no home in Ningen-do. The kitsune spirits are known to interbreed with the Kitsune family (who live in Kitsune Mori [Forest]) and the Child of Chikushudo Advantage that CatLord mentions is intended to represent just such a character.

As for why Naga and Nezumi (Ratlings) are represented as playable characters, the (very) short answer is that the Naga and Nezumi are purely MORTAL and as such are not meaningfully different from Rokugani (or gaijin) at a cosmological level. Even then, the stats are really meant to represent NPCs, as evidenced by the fact that all of the mechanics were are discussing are presented in "Enemies of the Empire", a book of potential antagonists. Even the sidebar on page 81, above the Naga creation rules says

The mechanics in Fourth Edition Core book are designed for Rokugani and are not ideal for depicting Naga.

Certainly you may allow Naga and Nezumi characters in a game, just as you may allow gaijin and the game will not immediately break.

The kitsune, however, are full-fledged spirits and, beyond some extremely specific techniques and plot necessity, arguably not subject to the game's mechanics some 99% of the time. In my experience spirits of all kinds are best handled in L5R when dice rolls come into play primarily to give the players information.

Meaning no flippancy in my response, I would posit that you would have the answer to your query by the simple expedient of replacing "kitsune" with almost any other spirit. For instance, "[Is there] a good reason why [fire kami] are not available as player characters?"

  • \$\begingroup\$ For clarity, I would liken playing a Naga or Nezumi to playing a character with a race from the back of the D&D 4e Monster Manual, who doesn't have any sort of level adjustment. Sure, you can do it but its mostly there because they figure people are going to try to do it anyway, whether they're writing PCs or NPCs, and providing stats that are compatible with the rest of the system just means less headaches all around. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 5, 2018 at 7:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .