Hengeyokai is a catch-all term for several shape-changing races found throughout the Oriental D&D setting, often existing on the fringes of human society. They exhibit a natural curiosity that often drives young Hengeyokai to spend several years among human society, learning and experiencing all they can of human society. Their shape-changing ability is entirely a natural feature of their race. Hengeyokai are not lycanthropes in the sense that their shape-changing condition is caused by a disease or racial curse. Their activity is not dependent on lunar phases. They cannot heal wounds by shifting between forms. They cannot transmit their shape-changing ability in any way except to pass the condition on to their children. Nor are they especially vulnerable to silver or magical weapons - at least, no more so than any human.
Hengeyokai belong to any one of a number of sub-species and may often be confused for shape-changing spirits such as the evil Hu Hsien. Consequently, several species of Hengeyokai (fox and rat Hengeyokai in particular) are intensely distruted by humans unable to distinguish them from similar shape-changing spirts. They are frequently attacked on-sight by humans once their dual nature has been revealed. Others, such as the Tanuki (Racoon-Dog) Hengeyokai are often mistaken for spirits of a more mischevous, but no less unwelcome, nature. Consequently, those Hengeyokai sufficiently fascinated by humanity to move amoung mankind for any given period of time would be well advised to kep their racial abilities hidden from their neighbours as much as possible.
Due to their position outside human social structures as well as their somewhat chaotic nature, Hengeyokai are extremely limited in their class selections. Nor do they take on positions of power in human society at name level, for they have neither the patience nor the inclination to rule over humanity. Good aligned Hengeyokai may appoint themselves the protector of a given location or human settlement, however, and expect very favorable treatment in return. Hengeyokai do not acquire followers in the manner of human, spirit-folk or Korobokuru characters. Even if their chosen class would normally permit it.
Shape Change: All Hengeyokai possess three forms: their human form, a hybrid form and their animal form. The particular animal form is chosen at character generation and cannot be altered thereafter. Damage, AC, movement rate and stats for the character while in their animal form are outlined in the table below. The character can change forms only once per day per character level. This means that a first level character who changes form from human to animal one day, will not be able to change back to it's human form (or adopt the hybrid form) until the next day.
Changing form is a full round action during which the character can do nothing else. Armour, clothing and equipment do not transform with the character, however. The character must make provisions for the storage and transportation of his gear while in animals form. Armour, clothing and weapons not especially made for the hybrid form may not be worn or used when the character is in hyrbid form. However, in hybrid form the characters hands remain sufficiently human as to use weapons, rings, etc without penalty.
Animal Form: When in animal form, the character appears as a normal animal. Since this is a natural rather than a magical transformation, the characters true nature cannot be detected by spells that detect magic or illusions save for spells such as Wish or True Seeing. In animal form, the Hengeyokai has the movement rate, abilities, AC, attacks and damage of the animal as shown in the table below. In animal form, the Hengeyokai gains 120ft Infravision and the ability to speak with all normal animals of the same species as his animal form. Given the limitations of animal intelligence, such conversations are likely to centre around the presence of food/predators, weather etc. The animal will not be able to divulge complex information regarding human society or even reliably identify one human as opposed to another. The character retains his ability to understand other, non-animal languages, but cannot speak any language other than his animal language while in animal form.
While in animal form, the Hengeyokai may not case any spells or use any weapons, armour or other items of equipment (with the exception of armour specially made for their animal form). While in animal form, the Hengeyokai has fewer hit points than normal - only 1/2 their usual number of hit points (rounded up). Hit points lost in one form are carried over point for point to the next. Thus a 24 hit point character would normally have 12 hit points in animal form. If, however, he had already lost 8hp, then his animal form would have just four hp left, not 8. A Hengeyokai cannot change to his animal form if doing so would leave the character on 0hp or less. A Hengeyokai reduced to 0hp in his animal form is dead. He does not bleed and then expire at -10 as would other characters (although he expires at -10 in his other forms as usual).
Hybrid Form: When in hybrid form the Hengeyokai appears as an anthropomorphic version of his animal form, standing on two legs (or fins) and with functional hands and arms. A Hengeyokai cannot fly in hybrid form, even if his animal form would allow him to do so. Otherwise the Hengeyokai retains the general features of his animal form including fur, scales, wings. tail etc. In hybrid form the Hengeyokai can speak with animals of the same species as his animal form and can communicate normally with other humanoids. In effect, the Hybrid form character can speak any language he knows. He retains the 120ft infravision of the animal form and can use weapons as normal. He cannot, however, wear any armour, items or other equipment that has not been specially designed for his hybrid form. The Hybrid form has a base movement speed on 120ft and swims as a normal human. Even carp hybrids require air to breathe. Carp Hybrid-forms do not have the ability to breathe water. Hegenyokai in Hybrid form as easily identifiable as being something other than human -even when wearing bulky or concealing clothing. Hybrid form characters may cast spells and otherwise use their class abilities as normal.
Human Form: While in human form a Hengyokai is, mechanically and physically, a normal human character with the exception of one or more minor distinctive features related to his animal form -such as a sharp nose or round, fishy-eyes. To all intents and purposes the character is a human. In this form, the character looses the ability to speak with animals but retains the ability to understand what an animal of the same species as his animal form is saying. Like the animal form, this form is not magical in any way. It is not an illusion. A Hengeyokai in human form cannot be identified for what he is using any magical means short of a wish or True Seeing.
Stat bonuses: Each Hengeyokai sub-type gains different racial bonuses to stats in accordance with the aforementioned table. Characters who wish to be Hengeyokai must have stats that fall within the racial minimum and maximums described below AFTER racial modifiers are applied.
Hengeyokai speak their own racial language, the common trade tongue and the court tongue. They do not gain bonus languages for high intelligence scores. They may speak with normal animals of the same species as their animal form while in animal or hybrid forms.
Movement Rate: 120ft
Hengeyokai Animal Form Stats and Stat Modifiers:
Animal Form Damage AC Movement Fly Swim Stat Modifiers
Badger 1-6 9 90ft n/a n/a +2Str, -2 Wis
Carp n/a 7 n/a n/a 120ft +1Wis, -1Str
Cat 1-3 9 120ft n/a n/a +1Dex, -1 Wis
Crab 1-3 8 30ft n/a 60ft +2 Str, -2Cha
Crane 1-2 9 60ft 120ft n/a +1 Wis, -1 Dex
Drake n/a 7 60ft 120ft 90ft +1Cha, -3 Dex
Fox 1-3 6 150ft n/a n/a +1 Int, -1 Wis
Hare n/a 5 180ft n/a n/a +1Wis, -1Str
Monkey n/a 6 120ft n/a n/a +2 Dex, -2 Wis
Tanuki/Dog 1-6 9 120ft n/a n/a +1 Con, -1 Int
Rat 1-3 5 90ft n/a n/a +2Con, -2Cha
Sparrow n/a 3 30ft 150ft n/a +2Cha, -2 Con