Inuas were born of the dreams of the northernmost natives, the Inuit and Aleuts. These tribes believed in spiritual beings who lived inside all things whether animate or inanimate. Assigned the role of aides to shamans, inuas were important spirit helpers who assisted their human partners in communing with the greater spirits and performing amazing deeds. They also acted as observers to insure that no one in the community broke any taboos.
To fulfill their role, the inuas learned much spirit lore and walked the paths of the Upper World seeking wisdom from elder spirits. They are reputed to be among the wisest and most knowledgeable of all Nunnehi, and have as their affinity the Realm of Fae because they are so concerned with things not of this world.
Most inuas prefer to take the shapes of animals when interacting with shaman so that their true identities within the tribe will not be compromised. Most frequently, they assume the shapes of foxes, caribou, seals, ravens, walrus, and polar bears. They are always small versions of these magnificent animals so that they can easily enter a shaman's home or place of power.
Inuas most often assist shamans by using their power to imbue amulets with luck or a specific song of power. Rarely, they will take over the job of helping directly with their fae powers. Somewhat shy and unwilling to reveal themselves to the uninitiated, inuas prefer the indirect method assisting a shaman. They are more comfortable in their role as go-betweens than as people of power in their own right. Inuas believe they are responsible for guiding the Inuit and Aleuts, and watch over them to see that they do not offend the Creator-spirits.
Inuas look much like regular members of their human tribes. Broad-faced and black-haired, most still follow the custom of using labrets (plugs of ivory, bone or other hard materials inserted through the skin beneath the lips so as to form a chin decoration), making them the "pierced ones" among the Nunnehi. They wear clothing like that of their tribe. In their preferred spirit-advisor form, each inua takes on the shape of an animal important to the welfare of the tribe.
- Younglings look like normal children of the tribe. They usually have some minor distinguishing feature that marks them as inuas: gray- or amber-colored eyes, pointed ears, or small birthmarks that resemble a particular animal shape such as a wolf's head. These differences are easy to overlook unless someone is deliberately attempting to spot an inua. Younglings learn the survival skills of the tribe and begin learning how to shift their shape.
- Braves look much like normal teenagers, except that they have begun to show signs of the change they undertake whenever advising shamans. Each has some small feature associated with the animal shape they has chosen to manifest that stays with them when they revert to their human appearance. A fox inua, for example, might develop a rather pointed and elongated nose, or a raven inua's eyes might become smaller, set wider apart and change to a beady black. Though the change does give the brave a rather odd appearance, it is not enough to absolutely mark them as non-human.
- Elders must usually leave the community or take up residence in their chosen shaman's abode as an "animal familiar." In their more human form, they show marked animal traces such as tufted ears, tails, crests of feathers, beaks or whiskers like those of seals. It is no longer possible for them to masquerade as human. Many elders assume their animal form and remain in it indefinitely, assuming their other forms only when they need to communicate.
Inuas live in communities of a few related extended families. They consider themselves caretakers of those in their village.
Birthrights & FrailtyEdit
- Affinity: Fae
- Imbue Amulet: Inuas may choose to invest an amulet with any single power from the Arts of Chicanery, Legerdemain, Primal, Soothsay, Sovereign, Spirit Link, or Wayfare. While this grants the inua's chosen shaman a great power, it is usable only once and only in the specific form invested within it. Thus, if the inua chose to invest an amulet with the Primal power of Heather-Balm, for example, they would also have to choose a Realm that is to be affected by the power, such as Actor 3, Familiar Face. This would allow the shaman to "borrow" the Nunnehi's power to heal someone they recognize. Once used, the power is gone, and a new amulet must be made.
- Change Form: Inuas have the power to change their forms to those of animals native to their region. Though it is possible for them to assume more than one animal form, in practice it takes a great deal of time and energy to learn how to move in one chosen form, much less two or three. An inua who chooses to devote such time to doing so can learn more than one animal shape. To simulate this, the inua must begin learning the shapes while still a youngling. They give up five freebie points for the second shape. When they become a brave or elder, they may choose to learn another shape at the cost of 10 experience points. If the character begins play as a brave or elder, They cannot have learned more than one shape. Changes to their body follow the patterns of the animal shape they chose as their first type.
- Susceptibility: Because they are so closely linked to the world of spirits and animals, inuas are highly susceptible to all pollutants. When in the vicinity of any pollutant (within a few yards), inuas take a -1 to all rolls. If actually in contact with a pollutant, inuas receive a - 2 penalty. Thus, if near the Alaskan pipeline, the inua would be fine, but if caught in a pristine bay when an oil spill occurs, the inua is in trouble. Air pollution affects inuas while they are within its fumes. Once sheltered from its affects (as inside a building where the air is filtered), they are fine. Obviously few inuas care to visit Los Angeles.
Views of Others Edit
- Canotili: These hunters would do well to pay more attention to the spirits and less to their own prowess.
- Kachinas: Soulmates to us, though they live in such a far-off, strange land.
- May-may-gway-shi: We marvel at their ability to enter the hard spirit brother known as rock.
- Nanehi: Keepers of the traditions as we are, though perhaps too concerned with their appearances.
- Nümüzo'ho: Their anger touches echoes in our own hearts. We cannot condemn them for their fight to save our world.
- Pu'gwis: Afflicted, yet noble, the Pu'gwis seek only for those who will love them. We must devote more of our time to finding a way to break their curse.
- Rock Giants: They are no doubt fine warriors, but their appetites concern us.
- Surems: The peaceful people. Many among our kind see them as traitors; they follow the path their spirits have laid out for them.
- Tunghat: These brothers should come and live among us. Perhaps they could learn to be the caretakers of seal and caribou.
- Water Babies: Their devotion to children is admirable, but they should give more of their time to listening to the counsel of the spirits.
- Yunwi Amai'yine'hi: Akin to our playful otters, these Nunnehi bring us many smiles.
- Yunwi Tsundsi: Hard workers and crafters. Perhaps we can arrange trades with them.