Danuki (Greyhawk)

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Unofficial rules compendium
Danuki and Tanuki
Just like there are people-foxes and monster foxes in kitsune and nogitsune, there are people-danuki and monster-tankui. Tanuke from the bestiary and very magical creatures. Danuki are less magical, but still very magical for humanoids. The two words are different transcriptions from the same word in Japanese. Just as a European troll can be many different things in different stories, danuki and tanuki are different interpretations of the same mythical root, that appear in different ways in different stories.

Danuki are Japanese spirit animals, at home in brush, hills, and ditches, kin to kitsune and tengu. As game creatures, they are humanoids, related to the tanuki (japanese raccon-dog) the same way kitsune are related to foxes. Danuki are a small and very cowardly race. They are peerless shapechangers but rarely have an agenda with their change of forms; pranks and laughter suffice for them.


Danuki vary greatly in their natural appearance, and as all danuki are shapechangers, their natural appearance is often irrelevant.

Physical Description: Danuki are small, about 2'7", furred humanoids that are very animal-like, looking like a Japanese raccon-dog walking on its hind legs. Their bodies appear rotund and short-limbed, much of this is actually fur. They have fluffy tails, and when a danuki fails a disguise, the first sign is often that the tail is poking out.

Society: Danuki can live in most temperate climates and thrive in much the same places humans do. They are not as adaptable as humans and avoid extremes of heat and cold. When living with their own kind they often make their homes in burrows or hollow trees, but they gladly live in the dwellings of other species.

Danuki are clever, but they are also shy, lazy, cowardly, and pleasure-seeking. They like to find positions in society where they can enjoy life without having to work too hard. They love to socialize. Few danuki would go out of their way to harm or oppress others, but neither would they normally offer help to strangers. Danuki love to trick and humiliate pompous and self-righteous people, and this might incidentally help the oppressed.

Relations: Danuki are often considered blessed fools, and a certain level of unruliness is expected. Elves, gnomes, halflings, and humans share this generously condescending attitude, and even dwarfs find danuki charming if untrustworthy. Other animal-like humanoids, such as catfolk and kitsune, treat danuki more as equals. Orcs, goblins, and similar evil creatures find danuki to be nuisances better eaten than spoken to. Creatures of shadow like dhampirs and wayangs are unlikely to even know danuki exist or consider them fey.

Alignment and Religion: Danuki are self-centered and tend towards chaotic alignments. They have an instinctive need to humble the pompous and aloft, and tough not all danuki dare to do so, it is considered highly virtuous among danuki to trick and make fools of overly lawful creatures. This does not prevent danuki from acting like pompous fools themselves. Most danuki have a health respect for gods and spirits; a danuki may make fun of errant clergy, but when confronted with genuine faith they are impressed and respectful. A danuki who is particularly impressed might seek to serve and spread such a faith, often with hilarious consequences in the case of creeds of law and discipline.

Adventurers: Heroes among the danuki are often spellcasters, psychic magic comes naturally to danuki. They make excellent occultists, psychics, rogues, and alchemists. Danuki magic usually works with natural materials like leaves and sake, a sake-swilling danuki might be an alchemist taking an elixir or an occultist using an implement.

Names: Tanuki take names from the culture the live in, often names relating to interests of physical features.

Male Names: Aito, Akio, Akira, Eiichi, Hansuke, Hibiki, Hikaru, Hiroto, Hiroyuki, Izumi, Koji, Taichi, Yokuto.

Female Names: Hikaru, Kaiya, Mao, Natsuko, Nozomi, Rei, Sachi, Tamiko, Umeko, Yoshiko.

Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Racial Traits: -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -4 Wisdom. Danuki are clever of both paw and mind but shortsighted and their size limits the strength they can muster.
  • Size: Danuki are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on their combat maneuver checks and to Combat Maneuver Defense, a +2 size bonus to Fly checks, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
  • Type: Danuki are humanoids with the danuki and shapechanger subtypes.
  • Base Speed: 20 ft.
  • Languages: Danuki begin play speaking Common and Sylvan. Danuki with high intelligence scores can choose from the following: Elven, Catfolk, Draconic, Gnome, Halfling, Terran, Vanara, and Yutu.
  • Random Starting Age: Base age 10 years
    Barbarian, Rogue, Sorcerer +1d4
    Bard, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger +1d6
    Cleric, Druid, Monk, Wizard +2d6.
  • Aging Effects: Middle Age 35. Old 55. Venerable 80. Max 80+2d20.
  • Height and Weight (male and female): Height 2'2 Weight 30 lbs. Modifier 2d4 Weight Multiplier x2 lbs.,

Skill Racial Traits

  • Natural Actor: All danuki have a talent for acting and gain a +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks.

Magical Racial Traits

  • Masterful Shapeshfter (Sp) Three times per day a danuki can assume the form of another creature, as alter self, beast shape II, monstrous physique I, or object shape I. To use this ability, the danuki must make a Disguise check (DC 20), with a +5 DC modifier each if the assumed form is not a humanoid or animal, is of another age category, is of the opposite gender, has a fly speed, or breathes water. The attempt takes a full-round action. If the attempt fails, the danuki cannot attempt to assume that form again for 24 hours, and the attempt still counts against the daily limit. The transformation lasts until the danuki chooses to end it or suffers the frightened, panicked, or terrified condition. The transformed shape comes with clothes as appropriate, but no other equipment. This ability has an emotion component (see psychic magic), a danuki cannot assume a new form when under the influence of a non-harmless effect with the emotion or fear descriptors.
  • Learned Shape Every danuki learns to master certain learned shapes. The danuki can assume these learned shapes as an immediate action without having to make a Disguise check and without counting against the daily limit. All danuki begin with a tanuki animal form (use raccoon stats) as a learned shape. For each rank danuki gain in the Disguise skill, they can select one additional form. Each form is static and cannot be changed. The selected form must be one the danuki can assume with master shapeshifter by taking 20 on the Disguise check.

Weakness Racial Traits

Appropriate Phobias

The GM must approve all phobias and insure that at least the threat of them occurring comes up in the story. In each scene here should be about 10% chance of the phobia being a problem, directly or indirectly. This should come up as appropriate in the story, but sometimes the GM might want to randomly check if some minor event triggers a phobia, especially if the phobia has not been triggered in a while.

An animal phobia includes all monsters with body parts that resemble that animal. Disguises, assumed shapes, and illusions can trigger a phobia, as long as the danuki does not see through the deception. Suffering a phobic reaction from an illusion does not count as interacting with that illusion for disbelief. Even resemblance can trigger a phobia; a danuki phobic about thunder will react badly to drums and explosions, and a danuki phobic against wolves can be scared by a stuffed wolf or an artwork depicting wolves.

  • Coward's Excuse: Danuki make great spellcasters, but their concentration is easily disrupted. All spells cast by danuki have emotion components (see psychic magic). This is in addition to any other components of the spell and cannot be removed in any way. Note that alchemist elixirs are not spells.
  • Phobic: All danuki have a phobia, usually against a type of predator animal or a member of a specific race or class (such as a wolf, oni, elf, or ranger), but sometimes a natural phenomena. In addition, all danuki are phobic against getting caught; this triggers when when grappled, entangled, cuffed, bound, or locked up. When in the presence of their phobia, danuki become shaken, and if touched or attacked by the object of their phobia they become covering for 1 round and thereafter panicked for another 1d6 rounds.

Alternate Racial Traits

  • Burrow Robber: Some danuki live mainly in burrows. They gain a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks, but take twice the usual Perception penalties due to range (-1 per 5 ft. of distance). They lose both the bonus and penalty when they assume the form of a creature other than danuki or raccoon. This does not replace any other racial trait.
  • Trained Shifter Some danuki that work magic discover that their racial shapeshifting abilities develop differently. When a trained shifter casts a transmutation (polymorph) spell with a personal range and a duration of 1 minute/level (or uses an elixir of such a spell they made themselves), the duration is extended to 1 hour/level. They also gain alter race as an at-will spell-like ability, and this benefits from the increased duration given by the first part of this ability. The danuki can return to their normal form as a standard action. This replaces masterful shapeshifter and learned shape.

Danuki in Greyhawk

Danuki are relatively common in Nippon and the Nippon Territories, but only a few individuals ever get outside this area. Individual danuki can achieve positions of wealth and power, but most live on the fringes of society or as small-time businessmen or shopkeepers.

Advance Race Guide Design Points

-1 Speed 20 ft.
+12 Master Shapeshifter
-2 Mixed weak ability scores
+1 Lowlight vision
+2 Natural Actor
-2 Coward's Excuse

10 points

Race Trait Options

Danuki can choose among the following race traits.

Focused Fear (Race) You gain an additional phobia (as the phobic danuki racial trait), but you are less afraid in general and gain a +2 trait bonus on saving throws against fear effects.

Imitator (Race) When you use the masterful shapeshifter danuki racial trait to imitate something or someone you have seen in the last 24 hours, you gain a +4 trait bonus on the Disguise check.

Improvising Shapeshifter (Race) You can attempt to use the masterful shapeshifter danuki racial trait an additional time per day.

Good Nose (Race) You gain scent in your natural form, but the range is only 10 ft. (5 ft. when upwind, 20 ft when downwind).

Scholar of Forms (Race) For each of the following knowledge skill you have ranks in, you gain an additional learned shapeshifter form, which must be of the listed creature type. Knowledge (engineering): animated object. Knowledge (dungeoneering): monstrous humanoid. Knowledge (history): humanoid. Knowledge (local): humanoid. Knowledge (nature): animal. Knowledge (nobility): humanoid. This adds to the forms gained from the learned shapeshifter danuki racial trait.

Racial Feat Options

Advanced Danuki Shapeshifter

Prerequiste: Masterful Shapeshifter (danuki racial trait), Disguise 6 ranks

Benefit: Select one of the following spells: beast shape III, monstrous physique II or object shape II. You can imitate the selected spell with masterful shapeshifter.

Special: You can select this feat multiple times. Each time you do, select a different spell to imitate.

Expert Danuki Shapeshifter

Prerequiste: Masterful Shapeshifter (danuki racial trait), Disguise 12 ranks, Advanced Danuki Shapeshifter.

Benefit: Select one of the following spells: beast shape IV, monstrous physique III or object shape III. You must have selected the spell of the same name with Advanced Danuki Shapeshifter. You can imitate the selected spell with masterful shapeshifter.

Special: You can select this feat multiple times. Each time you do, select a different spell to imitate. You must have selected the spell of the same name with Advanced Danuki Shapeshifter each time.

Practiced Danuki Shapeshifter

Prerequiste: Masterful Shapeshifter (danuki racial trait).

Benefit: You can use the masterful shapeshifter danuki racial trait an additional two times per day.

Special: You can take this feat multiple times, the benefits stack.

Danuki Utility Shapeshifter

Prerequiste: Masterful Shapeshifter (danuki racial trait), any Craft skill (5 ranks)

Benefit: You can shapeshift a part of your body into a tool or other object three times per day. This works like major creation (sp) with a caster level equal to your hit dice, except that is a transmutation effect and the object is physically connected to you and cannot be disarmed, dropped, or taken away. Someone successfully sundering the object inflicts damage on you, but you gain the benefits of the hardness a regular object of this type would have.

Special: You can take this feat multiple times, each time after the first you gain three additional daily uses of the ability.

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