As a vast and incredibly topographically and ecologically varied continent, Africa teems with all manner of natural resources and trade commodities, and where there are valuables there are fortunes to be made for those with a keen eye for bargains and a willingness to take risks. And that is precisely where the kuino feel most at home – these sharp-eyed fae are always on the lookout for a good deal, and so have spread across the continent to anywhere they feel they can reap the most rewards. Kuino have a reputation for avarice and materialism that isn’t quite fair – they are born from the dreams of better lives mortals have when they come across valuable goods or raw materials. Those dreams can be selfish and destructive, it’s true, but they can also lead to better communities and a better world. As this kith is fond of saying, money is only as evil as its usage.
Although it’s sometimes falsely reported that this kith only dates back to the early days of colonialism – their actual roots stretch back at least a millennia earlier, though that’s still young by Dreaming standards – it is true that period changed them in significant ways. Most notably was the decision of the previously fractious kith to organize into a group that has been known by several names but most recently simply as the Company. It is not a single corporate entity, mind you, but a sort of organizational pyramid with the most famous and successful kith members at the top and all the others below them vying for position. There are all manner of branches dedicated to different industries and areas of interest, as well as corporate titles that are theoretically meaningless but nevertheless fiercely coveted.
Of all the indigenous kiths of the continent, the kuino have consistently been the most organized in their dealings with the Kithain and other foreign fae, even if they prefer to work through front companies and enchanted mortals until the last possible moment (to avoid tipping their hands). While some of their fellows have accused them of selling out, the kuino simply respond that they’re beating the outsiders at their own game, and point to their ever-increasing holdings as proof.
Understanding the Company is key to understanding how most kuino live – even those rare members who reject a role in it are still at least partly defined by it. After joining fae society, kuino are expected to claim territory in a business field and prove their value to the kith as a whole, under the loose supervision of senior kith members in that field. Exactly what value means varies by industry – financial success is always a solid metric, of course, but even less tangible things like political or social influence can earn the respect of the Company. The Company holds two official meetings every year, which members are expected to make every effort to attend, as well as numerous parties, networking events, and even award ceremonies.
In their private lives, kuino tend to maintain an extensive network of professional contacts, but few close friends; their tendency to base relationships on potential advantage and their willingness to break bonds to get ahead can make it hard to stay close to them in the long run. For their part, the kuino see their position as pragmatic – all relationships are about getting what you want from others, they’re just honest about it up front. It’s notable that some kuino actually find long-lasting friendships and even love affairs when someone who has no “value” to them proves willing to stick around and support them, and they are fiercely devoted to such unlikely partners.
Appearance & LifestyleEdit
Kuino are not always in business attire, despite rumors to the contrary, but even in casual moments tend to pick clothing and jewelry that subtly (or not so subtly) suggest power and authority. What really makes this kith stand out, however, isn’t their wardrobe; it’s the second set of eyes they possess in their fae seeming. While one set of eyes sits normally on their face as would a human’s, their second set of eyes grow in above these, set in the forehead where a human’s eyebrows might be. The iris and sclera of the second pair of eyes are completely black, giving them a distanced and emotionless look. The kuino also often sport either a snow-white skin tone or a mahogany black one. In rare instances, some are pigmented with half white and half black skin.
In addition to drawing energy from dealmaking and wordplay, kuino are intensely curious and voracious learners, and find Revelry in immersing themselves in their chosen field of interest. A kuino who intends to go into agribusiness will get a degree in agriculture as well as business administration, for example, while another whose trade is copper will study geology and even work down the mines for a time before moving into management. When one of the kuino Unleashes her magic, the area tends to reflect her chosen field as well – for example, the copper expert might cause everything to take on a metallic sheen and feel the weight of a deep earth mine.
- Affinity - Prop
- Eyes for Detail - Kuino receive the Acute Sense (Vision) Merit for free during character creation, and cannot botch any Investigation or Alertness rolls where good vision is a potential benefit. Kuino cannot be surprised in combat if the threat is visible to their extra set of eyes – this includes while they sleep, as the second set of eyes never fully closes.
- Bargainer’s Gift - All kuino gain a dot in Manipulation, even if it takes them above 5. In addition, by spending 1 Glamour and touching a contract – or person involved in a verbal agreement – the kuino can instinctively recognize any potential loopholes, fine print, or other areas of potential exploitation. (Whether they close these gaps or use them for their own benefit is their choice.) Lastly, kuino subtract -1 from the difficulty of all Contract Art cantrips.
- Sambio - All kuino have a treasured possession that houses a portion of their fae spirit. The kuino need not carry this item with them, but they are justifiably quite paranoid about its safekeeping. Should someone else take possession of the item, the kuino cannot harm them, and must roll Willpower (difficulty 8) to resist following their commands. This item is all but cosmetically immune to normal damage, but cold iron, magic, and magical weapons can destroy it. It has 10 Health Levels, and only ever suffers one level of damage per attack. If it is destroyed, the kuino is immediately slain. If cold iron is used, the kuino’s fae spirit dies as well. Kuino automatically sense if their item is damaged.
- CTD. Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Player's Guide , pp. 87-89.