Canotili (sometimes known as canotina) are native changelings of the Midwest. They feel most at home in the grasslands and forests prevalent there and have little tolerance for cities. Traditionalists by nature, the canotili love the time-honored customs and trappings of their tribes. In a time when the native tribes depended upon their hunting skills for survival, canotili were honored as spirits who could bring luck to the hunt and steady a bowman's aim. In return for their help, skilled fletchers and bowmakers among the tribe spent long hours crafting small bows and arrows for their "spirit friends." Canotili cherished these gifts and used them in contests where both the accuracy and distance power of the bows and the straightness of the arrows were tested. Those whose gifts found favor usually discovered that they had been "blessed" by the canotili. The canotili were also credited with helping to harvest tree-grown fruits and nuts. Many tribes believed that the canotili used their agility and strength to climb to the tops of trees and shake down the choicest food for their tribespeople to gather.
These diminutive wilderness dwellers still test hunters today. Hiding among the greenery of tree or prairie grass, they stealthily follow (and sometimes precede) lone hunters and test their worthiness by setting dead-fall traps, scaring off game and making mysterious noises in the underbrush. Hunters who avoid the traps, find the trail again, and bravely investigate the ominous sounds are rewarded by the canotili with gifts of good luck. Those of the canotili's human tribe who prove worthy will be granted both good luck and the canotili's offer of assistance with spiritual matters.
Not all aspects of the canotili are so positive, however. Being rather solitary, canotili like their privacy. Humans (and European changelings who knew no better) would often stray into a section of woods that a canotili had claimed for their own. If the canotili discovered the interlopers first, they would use their guile and magics to lead the hapless intruders astray and dump nuts, branches and old squirrels' nests down on them as they moved through the ever-deepening woods.
Should the intruders surprise the canotili, however, truly bad things would happen. A person coming face-to-face with an unprepared canotili disturbs them and causes them to automatically react with fright. Most people usually aren't quiet or clever enough to sneak up on them! When a canotili is startled, their body reacts by releasing a potent pheromone that causes those exposed to it (except for the canotili) to flee in terror. Because many older people died from this chemically-induced fright, legends arose that seeing a canotili face-to-face meant that someone in the person's family was doomed to die. This has had the effect of making the canotili even less sociable than they once were.
Canotili look much like slightly smaller versions of the Plains or Great Lakes Indians. Each group favors the traditional garb and styles of their respective tribes, whether Sioux, Crow and Cheyenne, or Ojibwa, Winnebago or Blackfoot. Their features are somewhat more elongated than those of their human kin, with their fingers and toes seeming too long and almost prehensile. Unless they take care to shield them, all canotili have eyes that glow in the dark. Most canotili take great pride in maintaining their traditions, and their clothes, accessories and weapons are always well-made and highly decorated. Despite this sartorial splendor, canotili are able to blend into the background, changing themselves and their clothing in a chameleonlike fashion and becoming all but invisible when they remain still.
- Younglings are so small and thin, and their fingers and toes so long that they seem almost ratlike. These pixie gamins can disappear into the underbrush or tall grasses in a heartbeat; especially after they've pilfered some minor item from "the big ones" as they call humans. Their love of bells, clinking ornaments, rattles and other noisy accessories prevents them from being able to truly escape all notice as their elders can, however, and they are often forced to flee the wrath of those they've robbed, shrieking and running while shedding their noisemakers to make their escape. Canotili younglings learn early to make their own way through wilderness areas, and rarely band together with others of their kind except to play. Despite their frail-seeming appearance, even youngling Canotili possess better than average Strength and Dexterity which they use for climbing trees and drawing their greenwood bows.
- Braves are the movers and shakers of the canotili. They are usually small enough to slip in and through areas that larger humans couldn't hope to traverse. Further, having learned their lessons as younglings, most braves have discarded noisy decorations in favor of eye-catching beadwork or intricate embroidery. As the young adults of the nation, braves feel obliged to show all other Nunnehi that their tribe is the finest. They are never less than royally attired and carry only the finest greenwood bows (strong bows stained green so as to blend into the grasslands and forests). Each brave's arrows are personalized by a particular color, design or fletching style. Braves are the canotili who most often challenge hunters in the forest or insist on proving their skills in tribal contests. Almost savagely independent, canotili braves meet only to compare their skills, mate or defend their people against outside threats. Their ability to climb trees and disappear in a flash serves them well against enemies and rivals. Brave warbands are sometimes formed to harry European changelings and other intruders in their lands.
- Elder canotili seem to revert to their childhoods, almost losing touch with the real world entirely. They prefer to spend long hours hidden in trees or meditating in their homes. Once again, they take up noisemakers and use them in their personal decoration, but they also favor rattling windchimes, strings of dried beans and such as outside adornments to their homes. Drums, whistles and rattles are much in evidence inside, and it is a rare canotili elder who is found without at least one such noisemaker in hand. They are much sought after as spiritual advisors, being thought to have halfway crossed over permanently into the spirit realm. Elder canotili have been known to possess strong Medicine for healing and blessing.
Lifestyles EditThe canotili prefer living in the forests and grasslands of the Midwest. All seek to remain true to their tribe's traditions, and canotili who are forced into cities either leave and make their own way in the wilderness or waste away and die. They are one of the Nunnehi Nations least able to adapt to modem life.
Birthrights & Frailty Edit
- Affinity: Prop
- Earth Blend: Canotili have an affinity for natural places and an innate instinct for stealth. When remaining still, canotili change color (including whatever they are wearing or carrying) to blend in with the background against which they are set, in much the same way chameleons do. This is only effective in areas of natural plantlife such as grasslands and forests. It doesn't work inside or when the canotili stands near the plastic greenery of the local mall.
- Physical Enhancement: Because of their density and agility, canotili start with an extra dot in both Strength and Dexterity.
- Terror: When surprised or startled, canotili exude a powerful pheromone that causes frightened panic in all non-canotili. Such beings usually flee in terror, but some strike out blindly at the cause of their fear. If canotili could control this ability, it would be a potent weapon; since it occurs only when they are surprised, however, it places them in the unenviable position of either having people run from them, or leaving them open to one complete attack before they can even begin to defend themselves.
Views of Others Edit
- Inuas: These wise brothers and sisters have great Medicine. We would be wise to count them among our friends.
- Kachinas: They do not bother us, nor we them. It is better that each should keep to his own.
- May-may-gway-shi: Let them keep to their rocks and rivers. We want no part of them.
- Nanehi: They have the right idea in keeping alive their traditions. We honor them for it. Let them not forget that we too practice the ancient arts of our people. They are not the only keepers.
- Nümüzo'ho: Too big, too noisy.
- Pu'gwis: Forest dwellers like ourselves, the Pu'gwis have been cursed with ugliness. We do not know if this reflects their inner spirits.
- Rock Giants: Too big, too hungry and too stupid.
- Surems: These cousins also know the art of silence.
- Tunghat: These so-called "Owners" of animals should realize that having the power to call their animal brethren to them doesn't give them the right to do so. They deserve to be hunted themselves.
- Water Babies: Like the water they love, they float dreamily along, little caring for their other kin.
- Yunwi Amai'yine'hi: They should stay in the south where their antics will not disturb us.
- Yunwi Tsundsi: Good hiders and workers; we admire them.