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Pooka
(POO-kuh)

Pooka are among the most charming and congenial of the Kithain. However, they're also rapscallions, scoundrels and ne'er-do-wells known for their deceitful, devious, eccentric and mischievous ways. If eshu are reckless, pooka are demented. Their lives are a constant barrage of pranks, lies and wild stunts. They love to play and hate to work. Faerie lore claims that pooka are descended from innocent dreams of long ago, when mortals watched animals at play and wished they could be so free as well.

Everything is larger than life for pooka. They find it difficult to take mundane life seriously, and they'll do anything to discourage the sadness that it brings. If they carry ,1 piece of that sadness Jeep within their hearts, you'd never guess it. Pooka's lives are a blur of happy chaos. They chase away doldrums with an almost desperate effort. No joke is too low if it gets a laugh.

Truth is anathema to a pooka. Anything she says will be peppered with lies to make it more interesting. After spreading foolishness and misinformation, she'll retreat to a safe vantage point where she can watch the fun. If the object of her pranks is angered, the pooka will be confused. Maybe the focus of her attention needs a little help with his sense of humor. Maybe it'll take a little more work to "cheer him up." Or perhaps he's afflicted with a deadly curse: He's mundane. Mundanity is disturbing to pooka, and they have an overwhelming fear of becoming banal.

Their eccentricity is their easiest escape. The mortal world is a mystery to them — they're exotic creatures who share a primal affinity with the animals they resemble. They excel at shapechanging, and even their mortal seemings always carry some signs of their bestial alter egos. In fact,   pooka can take on the form of his chosen beast. This increases his opportunities for mischief.

A changeling's animal affinity will often tie into her environment. Pooka who dwell in the city often take the forms of dogs, cats or even rats, while country pooka may emulate horses, wolves or wild hares. Most are mammals, but a few avian and reptilian pooka do exist. Eshu have told tales of lion, kangaroo and platypus pooka, but few believe them. Many do believe, however, that stories of animal tricksters throughout the world were no doubt inspired by these fae.

For all their mischief, pooka have a strong sense of nobility. Seelie pooka are loyal friends and courageous in battle. If one of their pranks causes real pain, they are genuinely sorry. Unseelie pooka can be vicious and feral, but most do their best to fit in with their Seelie brethren. In fact, their streak of mischief results in them pretending to be Seelie on occasion! Flocks, herds and parades of pooka travel about, enacting plays and carnivals for fae and mortals alike. Wherever they go, they bring laughter, deceit and confusion. Welcome to the greatest show on Earth.

Appearance: Whatever forms they choose, pooka are usually cute. Though their appearances are manifold (depending on the nature of their animal affinities) they are often furry, with elongated animalistic features and even actual animal ears.

Lifestyle: Whether they live as actors, clowns, jugglers, court jesters or stand-up comedians, pooka somehow manage to eke out a living doing what they love. Perhaps that's the biggest prank of all. Seelie drift toward promising mortals who need a little cheering up; Unseelie act as confidants to those who can ensure their survival. In the city, one can expect them to see them around universities, the city parks or maybe the bohemian part of town. In the country, be sure you're kind to the animals you meet.

• Childlings are little angels, especially when they think they're going to get caught. Seelie childlings are like playful baby animals, always causing trouble and trying hard to avoid punishment. Unseelie childlings are destructive little beasts, but soon learn the fine art of making sure the Seelie get blamed.

• Wilders have a notoriously crude sense of humor. Imagine a class clown who'd seduce your best friend's S.O. while planting a stink bomb in the school's ventilation system. When his pranks are going really well, he'll even get a luminescent gleam in his eyes. Be careful when a wilder pooka starts to sharpen his claws.

• Grumps age gracefully. Most of them settle down to jobs in which fools can make an easy living. While their sense of humor never fades, it does become more subtle. Greybeard pooka tend to prefer elaborate pranks that can take weeks to orchestrate properly.

Affinity: Nature

Birthrights

• Shapechanging — Each pooka has an affinity with an animal of her choice. When completely alone, she can shapechange into that animal (or back from it) in one turn. Shapechanging costs a point of Glamour, but reverting back is free. The pooka has all of the animal's natural abilities (claws, speed, leaping, etc.), although it's only possible to assume the forms of mundane beasts. Even the large and scary forms tend to be far more playful than deadly, even when a fight breaks out. Changelings can't ken the animal form of a pooka in her mortal seeming. They really don't need to see the animal form to figure it out, though: a pooka often shares a few of the animal's more endearing qualities. A cat pooka, for instance, might lick her fingers after a meal, or purr when stroked. In her faerie mein,. she might have little ears and a long swishing tail.

• Confidant—The innate charm of a pookaifeaks down the barriers of even the coldest people. Adding a faerie's curiosity that makes him an outstanding confidant, Once during a conversation, a pooka may roll Perception + Empathy (or Subterfuge) to get a changeling or mortal to spill her, guts; the difficulty is the "victim's" Willpower. Each success allows a truthful answer to one personal question. This isn't an instantaneous effect, though. It takes time, effort and roleplaying to coax out the information! This Birthright functions normally at all timest: even with mortals. A pooka can never botch an Empathy + Subterfuge roll.

Frailties

• Lies — People may trust a pooka, but no one in their right mind would believe one. They're infamous for their elaborate lies. No matter how important a issue may be, a pooka must always mix in a lie. It's her nature. A pooka must make Willpower roll (difficulty 8) to tell the whole truth.

Different pooka have different styles of lying. Some Seelie pooka always say the opposite of what they mean, while many Unseelie purposefully tell the truth now and then to throw listeners off-guard, Unseelie pooka sometimes couch their lies very carefully — if an Unseelie makes his Willpower roll at the beginning of a scene, he can mix lies and truth freely. This can make him even more dangerous....

Quote: "Of course, it was then that I realized that I had to save them all.  It's amazing what super glue will do to the scabbard of a broadsword.."


Behold the wit and wisdom of Runcible Shaw, Chronicler of Peculiar Events...

On Boggans — Never around when you need them, and when they are, they're so stingy! Why the last one I met only gave me three helpings of dessert.

On Eshu — Hang around these guys and you'll have a fairly calm life. Couldn't think of a safer way to travel cross-country.

On Nockers — Nockers have such a wondrous joie de vivre. Hearing them regale us with their great praise for everything is a delight. Do tell us what they said about boggan craftsmen again!

On Redcaps—Um.. .here. Light the fuse on this and give it to that redcap over there. He'll be ever so thankful. I'll just wait behind this troll.

On Satyrs — Their festive occasions definitely need a few pooka around to liven them up. Spike the punch, and watch the fun begin!

On Sidhe — So regal. So elegant. It must be wonderful to be the center of so much intrigue and politics.

On Sluagh — Outspoken and cheerful.

On Trolls — If ever you get into more trouble than you can handle, stand behind one of these.

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