Menehune are the native fae of Polynesia, found in large numbers in Hawaii, Tahiti, and Easter Island. They even have close cousins on New Zealand and New Guinea. Like the nunnehi, they stick close to their traditional way of life and reject modern technology and the attendant Banality.
The menehune came to Hawai'i with the Polynesians, though the islands were inhabited before this by the people of Mu. For thousands of years, the menehune and their dreamers lived in harmony under the social system called kapu, (Hawai'ian for "taboo") which regulated everything from how to treat the chief to when it was permissible to fish.
The menehune essentially ignored the Shattering, as their communities were still rich in Glamour. Not long after James Cook's first visit to Hawai'i, however, the islands became a regular stopping point for trade ships traveling between Asia and the Americas. Iron tools and weapons flooded the islands, and the kapu system began to break down. These sudden shocks of Banality nearly wiped out the menehune, until a chance meeting with an American nocker named Jack Doggins. Doggins taught the menehune about the Changeling Way, allowing them to shield themselves from Banality in human bodies.
Like the Nunnehi, the Menehune are cut off from the Dreaming to a more drastic degree than the Western changelings. They can no longer gain Glamour from it whatsoever and must rely instead on the Glamour of nature and the Umbra.
When they first realized their entrapment in the world, they sought aid from the spirits, whom they believed to be the remnants of an older, very powerful dream. Some claim spirits are the dreams of Gaia, wile others claim they are the long-forgotten dreams of primitive humans, or even the dreams of living humans, denied and repressed, trapped in a separate world. Regardless, they allied with many spirits, usually those of plants and stones, and through them they can gain some Glamour from the natural world. Some Menehune can even step into the spirit world.
Menehune & Kapu Edit
The menehune still hold the kapu system sacred. Much in the same way as the sidhe still cling to a medieval European past, the menehune harken back to traditional Hawai’ian culture. To the menehune, the kapu hold magical significance. To break such a taboo brings trouble not only for the taboo breaker, but on all the people, for to break a taboo is to bring Banality to the fae.
Many of the taboos that modern humans look at as metaphors or practical laws actually have magical ramifications to the menehune. The ali’i are the holders of the people’s store of mana, much as balefire is for European fae. Thus, to step on the shadow of the ali’i is to steal Glamour from them and thus from all menehune.
Even if the taboo breaker suffers no penalties from the act, a penalty will surely occur later, and not necessarily to them but to others. To break any of Pele’s taboos is to incur her wrath; she may not strike immediately, but she will eventually. A taboo breaker is thus worse than an oathbreaker among the Kithain. They don’t just harm themselves and their oathmates, they harm everyone.
Camps replace Court for the Menehune. Because they fall outside of the Seelie/Unseelie framework of mainstream changeling society, those terms are not relevant to them. Instead, they fall into one of two camps: Feast and War. These reflect the two natures represented in their culture. The former represents peaceful, agrarian behavior associated with the god Lono and other Earth fertility dieties. The latter represents a more violent aspect associated with the war god Ku and all the arts of war.
As with Seelie/Unseelie aspects, Menehune can shift between these camps and often do. During the four months of the Makahiki, most of them are of the Feast, but some shift to the War for the other eight months of the year.
Like other fae, the Menehune have dual Legacies; one to reflect their Feast nature, the other to represent their War nature. They have more in common with the Legacies of the Nunnehi and the Hsien than with those of the European fae.
Instead of kiths, menehune have one of four callings: ali'i (chief), kahuna (lore-keepers), hana (craftsmen), and kokua (warriors). A menehune's calling is identified at Chrysalis by their community's senior lore-keeper, and cannot be changed. Unlike Western fae, the menehune have not had to deal with conflict between the different callings: they follow the kapu system still, and the rights of the ali'i to lead are sacrosanct.
- The Ali'i are not just leaders, they are living reserves of Glamour for their entire community. Like the sidhe they are uniquely vulnerable to Banality, but a loss of Glamour by an ali'i threatens all menehune in the area.
- Kahunas serve as intermediaries between the menehune and the spirits, and are the arbiters of the kapu system. They may intercede with the spirits on behalf of a menehune who has violated a taboo, or even negotiate a change in taboo altogether. Occasionally a kahuna can get away with violating a taboo themself, if it is for a good cause.
- The Hana are the heart of the menehune community, and have the power to build any structure, no matter how complex, in a single night - provided they are not witnessed by mortals. If they are seen, they will abandon the project and never return. Hana have a habit of playing pranks on the other callings, to remind them of their place in the kapu system: there's no point in having chiefs, priests or warriors if there's no one for them to lead, bless or defend.
- Kokua are athletic and quick to anger, and are the most likely to follow totems such as Shark. They defend the menehune from both mortals and Western fae, when they are not squabbling amongst themselves. The ali'i usually allow such behavior, within limits, as a way for the kokua to burn off excess energy.
Menehune Music Edit
The music of the menehune can cause people to cry. It is so infused with aloha, love, that listeners cannot help but weep at times, overcome by its beauty. When all else fails, the traditional chanting can even open the most Banal heart, saving many a menehune from an icy fate.
Popular among them are mele ho’aeae (long songs) and mele oli (joyful music). They never play haole-influenced music, keeping strictly to the traditional forms.
Aumakua (Totems) Edit
Each Menehune has a spiritual connection with a totem spirit, called an Aumakua. Their close ties to nature have granted them the ability to contact the totems of plants, rocks, and bodies of water. Typical Hawai'ian totems include palm trees, Mokihana berries and trees, 'o'hio trees, lava, waterfalls, etc...
Contacting a totem spirit marks the "coming-of-age" of a Menehune. By the time a Menehune is aware of their faerie nature, they have usually received some indication of the identity of their aumakua; either through a dream or visionquest or by frequent contact with physical manifestations of the spirit. For example, as a kahuna keiki iki, Rushing Water became lost in the forest after a volcanic eruption and separated from her friends. When her family found her, she was sleeping peacefully beneath the shelter of an 'o'hio tree. Later, she dreamed of taking a trip in a beautiful 'o'hio wood-carved canoe. These occurrences seemed to indicate to her and to the elders of the village that she had an affinity with the 'O'hio totem.
A Menehune preparing to contact their aumakua for the first time must prepare themself with a hula and lu'au, chanting, and giving thanks to the spirit. The Menehune then places themself in the presence of a physical representation of the totem. A kahuna (usually one with the same totem or whose totem is also physically manifested in the chosen location) then steps sideways, taking the aspirant with them into the Umbra. Once there, the Menehune seeking contact must chant to the totem to draw it to them.
Menehune Totems Edit
Totem Benefits Edit
A Menehune gains the following advantages from a totem alliance:
- A totem alliance is necessary for entering the Umbra. Without it, the Menehune cannot step sideways, no matter their Arts or Realms.
- The Menehune gains certain adjustments to their Advantages and/or Abilities, depending on the totem ally.
- The totem comes in the form of a relationship with the totem itself, practiced through stewardship of the totem's material children (palm trees for Palm, lava flows for Lava, etc...)
Stepping Sideways Edit
In addition to the totem relationship, stepping into the Umbra for the Menehune requires Wayfare 3 or higher and Nature 2 or better. They must be in the presence of the totems physical representation. The Menehune "walks into" their totem material... by stepping in a river, plunging into a stand of palm trees, or disappearing into a molten lava flow.
A Bunk must be performed with the maximum number of success limited by the Bunk. The roll is Wits + Mythlore with difficulty equal to the Gauntlet. The difficulty is adjusted by the relative purity of the totem material. Impure material adds difficulty while pure material may subtract from the difficulty. For example, Big Stick finds himself in Honolulu and wishes to enter the Umbra. His totem is Palm, so he finds a palm tree along the crowded beaches. It has grown up "breathing" car smog and is somewhat wilted. The Gauntlet is 8 here, and the storyteller adds 2 to the difficulty due to impure Totem materiel. The difficulty is 10... almost impossible to cross over. A botched attempt results in the Menehune getting caught in the Gauntlet.
A Menehune can brig other changelings into the Umbra with them. They must have the Fae Realm at the appropriate level and spend one Glamour for every person brought over. All those stepping sideways must hold hands. A changeling who cannot step sideways on their own may find themself caught in the Umbra if their guide leaves them. In that case, they must search out a trod and return to the physical world from their, but this is a long and dangerous task.
Umbral Advantages Edit
The ability to enter the Umbra grants some advantages:
- Banality is rare in the Umbra, usually only prevalent around areas of high Gauntlet.
- While in the Umbra, the Menehune can "peek" into the physical world by rolling their Glamour against the Gauntlet rating.
- Ancient trods exist in the Umbra, old spirit realms, and domains of faerie power from before the gates to Arcadia closed. These have been empty for many centuries, unvisited by the fae. Some Menehune have sought these places out and use the to gain Glamour or expunge Banality, allowing them a connection to the Dreaming they otherwise do not have. However, the journey to these far-off trods is usually fraught with danger.
Glamour & Banality Edit
Because they are able to tap into the natural world for Glamour, these fae tend to have slightly higher levels of beginning Glamour than other fae; the storyteller should award one additional dot of Glamour to Menehune characters (Giving Keiki iki a beginning value of 6, Kanaka 5, and Kumu 4). Conversely, they are more susceptible to Banality. When away from natural settings, difficulty factors for enchanting others are increased by 1.
Gathering Glamour Edit
Since they are severed from the Dreaming, Menehune cannot easily gather Glamour from human creativity (difficulties are raised by 2 unless the activity is from an indigenous culture, such as a Hawai'ian traditional hula dance or uma wrestling match). Instead, they mainly draw Glamour from Gaia Herself. A Menehune'd current Legacy determines how they replenish their natural supply of Glamour. Feast People gather Glamour from natural phenomenon, such as trees or rocks, while War People get theirs from animals, especially hunting animals like pigs or fish. A pig hunt among young Menehune War People is sure to bring much Glamour (as will a pig hunt by native Hawai'ian park rangers trying to control the boar population by hunting). All Menehune may gather Glamour from pure water. In addition, Ali'i may gather Glamour from the bones or other physical remains of dead (perhaps slain) chieftains or other powerful people (which include movie stars or politicians). The bones will provide a certain amount of Glamour over a number of years (similar to dross) as long as they are ritually kept and are not seen or touched by mortals.
As with other changelings, Glamour may be obtained by Menehune in one of three ways.
This slow method of gathering Glamour is the Menehune equivalent of Reverie. In order for the Menehune to use this means of refreshing their supply, they must locate a naturally occurring source. In general, it is not possible for them to gather Glamour within a city, even when in the presence of a possible source. Hothouse plants or gardens, Christmas tree farms, rock gardens, or rivers flowing through the center of a city do not provide Glamour sources since they are usually so influenced by Banality or simply too tainted.
- System: One they have located a source, the Menehune must spend at least one hour in contact with it (dangling their feet in a stream, sitting in or under a tree, climbing rocks, sitting in a cave, or relaxing among flowers). The roll is Wits + Kenning (difficulty 7). One point of Glamour is gathered per success. The process may only occur once per day and the same source may not be used more than once per moon phase.
Alternatively, a Menehune may attempt to rip Glamour from a natural source. This process, known as raiding, is similar to Ravaging. Although doing so reduces the amount of time that must be dedicated to the process, the practitioner risks increasing their Banality.
- System: The Menehune must be somewhat familiar with the source of Glamour. They roll their Banality rating (difficulty 6). The number of successes equals the points of Glamour gained. A botch gives them a permanent point of Banality and may harm the subject of the Raiding in some way: a living plant may die, a body of water become polluted, etc.
This method is similar to Rapture. Since the Menehune cannot inspire themselves in this manner, they have discovered a way to use their connection with the Umbra to achieve a similar ecstasy through the blessing of a totem spirit. This may only be attempted at the changing of the seasons.
- System: The Menehune must first undergo a ritual purification. When ready, the attempt to summon their Aumakua by offering it a song, story, dance, lu'au, or other artistic form. The totem spirit will usually answer such a summons, although it will remain in the Umbra nearby. When the spirit if present, the Menehune rolls their appropriate Attribute + Ability (difficulty 7). The number of successes indicates the Glamour points gained from the totem. 5 successes grants them a permanent point of Glamour. A botch causes the spirit to flee and gives the fae two points of Banality. They may not try again until the next change of season.