Pooka (4e Race)
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Wild and chaotic animal tricksters, the premiere shapeshifters of the Feywild.
|Average Height: 3'5" - 6'5"|
|Average Weight: 50 - 100 lbs.|
|Ability Scores: Differs according to subrace.|
|Speed: 6 squares|
|Languages: Common, Elven|
|Skill Bonuses: Differs according to subrace.|
|Fey Origin: You are native to the Feywild, so you are considered a fey creature for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin.|
|Glamourkin: You are closely related to the gnome and satyr races. You get a +4 racial bonus to saving throws against illusions, and a +2 racial bonus to the Nature skill.|
|Horns of the Beast: Your head is crested with a set of horns, pronghorns or antlers. Your charge attacks deal +1d4 damage. At 11th level, this increases to +1d8 damage. At 21st level, this becomes +1d12 damage. You cannot wear helmets or other forms of restrictive headgear without special modification to their design.|
|Sooth or Sleight: At will, you can use the wizard cantrip prestidigitation as a minor action.|
|Speak with Beasts: You can communicate with natural beasts and fey beasts.|
| Subrace: At character creation, you must choose one of the following subraces. For more information about the differences between these breeds, see the Pooka Subraces section below.
|Wild Soul: You have the natural ability to shapeshift into a beast of the wild, as Druids do. You possess the Wild Shape at-will power. Your attributes and skills are not normally affected by these transformations. Further refinement in the application of this ability requires advancement as a Druid, or the acquisition of Pooka feats.|
|“||We appear here and there, now and then, to this one and that one at our own caprice.||”|
Pookas are the fabled animal tricksters of the Feywild. They are relatives of the gnome and satyr races; although wilder, weirder, more solitary and less peace-loving in general. These spry and sprightly creatures are renowned for their druidic shapeshifting abilities. They are also notorious for their delight in confusing and misleading everyone they meet. Beyond those common traits, however, each pooka is as unique and unpredictable as the Feywild itself. Some are merely miscreants and ruffians, harmless in their tricks, occasionally even helpful. Others are vicious loners, brutal predators or downright monstrous.
Play a pooka if you want...
- To be feral, animalistic, mischievous and sneaky.
- To have a primal connection with animals, the wilderness, and the Feywild.
- To have an unpredictable demeanor and a love for sewing chaos and confusion.
- To be a member of a race that favors the Druid class.
The modern Sylvan racial name pooka derives from the older Sylvan word púca, with a meaning analogous to 'nuisance' or 'trouble'. Common derivations of the name include pucca in modern Elven, phookah in Dwarven, pwca in Draconic and puck in some Common folk-tongues. The 'p' is often confused for a 'b' in certain rural dialects, resulting in such variations as booka, bucca, bwca and buck. The collective noun for a group of pookas is a revel or a pack. Taxonomically speaking, a male pooka is a hob, a female is a doe and a child is a pup. In hunting terms, pooka flesh is called hogget and the horns are buckawns.
Pookas vary greatly in size and shape, even more so than the most diverse of humanoid races. Some are scrawny and short, others are tall and stout. Most of them have a lean build, with gangly limbs, large and slanted eyes, floppy elfin ears and a mouth filled with predatory fangs (and tooth decay). Their facial structure is delicate and angular like those of other Fey creatures, but always animalistic. Their exact features depend largely on their subrace and their preferred habitat, but they tend to have muzzle-like noses, high foreheads, small chins and triangular jawlines. Their lanky limbs terminate in monkey-like paws with long clawed digits, specialized for climbing trees. Some pookas stand on hoofed flanks instead of feet, but this is more peculiar to the glashtyn and gruagach subraces, and even then it is something of a rarity. Pookas all sport prehensile tails, ranging from short and tufted to long and shaggy. Overall, their appearance tends to be scruffy and weathered, and their
Pookas are always horned or antlered in some manner, and these vestigial features differ considerably between each individual. They come in all shapes and sizes, spiralling like the horns of a goat, or curling like those of a ram. Some pookas sport tiny, imp-like horns, whereas others have the many-branched antlers of an elk. Their coloration also varies from bone white to glossy black. In any case, each pooka regards their horns as a matter of pride and distinction. A pooka's crown of beasts is a status symbol marking their dominion over the creatures of the wilderness. To lose one or both appendages is a mark of utter disgrace and will often lead to ostracism from other pookas. Still, some flamboyant pookas are known to engrave or decorate their horns.
Pookas are covered from head to toe in a thick coat of hair, usually black, but sometimes exhibiting earthen tones like russet, ginger, tawny brown, or very rarely white. This coat can be straight or curly, short or long, lank or shaggy; but usually it is a disheveled combination of lengths, matted down with dirt and gristle. Around their faces, hands and feet, the hair is usually shorter and downier. Their scalps, wrists, ankles, knees, elbows and groins tend to feature thicker, longer tufts of hair. A pooka's eyes, on the other hand, are always the same; a sulphurous golden hue, with glassy, flat pupils like those of a goat or a horse. Curiously, they retain these distinctive amber eyes in all of their transformations, and cannot disguise them even through illusory means. This limitation allows them to be easily identified by the wise.
Pooka lifespans are akin to those of gnomes, although they usually do not endure past 300 years of age due to their feral lifestyles. Signs of old age are less visible under their hirsute features, but their hair does tend to develop a mangy look as they approach a venerable age. They also tend to get noticeably smellier as they get older, since a pooka rarely bathes (if at all). There is very little sexual dimorphism among pooka genders. Female pookas do exhibit slightly more feminine curves, but they tend to be the same height as the average male. At any rate, pookas more often than not mate with members of other species. Pooka children are marginally less hairy than their mature counterparts, almost resembling feral gnomes with a soft down covering their bodies. Their horns begin as little more than bony nubs on the crown of their heads. They grow up fairly quickly, reaching full maturity at the age of fifteen.
Pookas typically dress sparsely. Modesty is not among their virtues. Rather than covering their hairy bodies in itchy cloth, stuffy leather or heavy metal, they prefer to drape themselves in a plethora of ropes, bangles and belts, upon which they fasten various ornamental trinkets. It is common to see a pooka dressed in leafy canopy, or seashell-encrusted netting, or even stolen jewellery. Thankfully, most pookas at least have the humility to girdle themselves with kilts, breeches or loincloths. If such apparel is stolen, it is often torn or left open at the back to accommodate a tail. Footwear, on the other hand, is shunned by the typical pooka, who prefers to cherish the feeling of soil, grass and autumn leaves between their toes. They are also fond of piercings, tattoos and other body modifications, which serve to further embellish their self-perceived uniqueness.
Pookas are very individualistic by nature, but they can be divided into certain subracial groupings, reflecting their behavior and their resemblance to particular animals. The differences between each subrace of pooka is largely superficial, although disparities in size and aptitude are relevant to a pooka character. Despite the inherent differences, most pookas do not acknowledge their subrace as being a distinction amongst their race. Indeed, most pookas are wont to behave as though they are the only member of their species.
Pookas do not necessarily breed within their own subrace, nor are their offspring guaranteed to be of the same breed. Were a gruagach and a glashtyn to bear a pup, that child may turn out to be a jackalope. Moreover, there is some confusion as to whether breeding with another species - Fey or otherwise - would produce a child of pooka heritage. One thing is for certain; there are no pooka halfbreeds. The resulting offspring would either be a full pooka pup or a feykin.
Gruagachs: (Groo-ah-gacks) Also known as Grogans, Bucks, Kornebucks and Capricauns. These surefooted but stubborn pookas resemble goats and sheep in facial structure. They tend to be short, but not quite small enough to compare with gnomes and halflings. They possess moderately sized, curling goat horns, their tails are long and tufted at the end, and their eyes are wide and slanted. As far as personality goes, gruagachs have much in common with satyrs, being of a more hedonistic, pleasure-seeking bent. They are also known for their love of double-talk and wordplay. If they choose to go adventuring, they are most likely to become Druids, or more rarely, Seekers.
Glashtyns: (Glash-tins) Also known as Glashans, Brags, Fossegrims and Equicauns. These large and gallivanting pookas bear the equine features of horses, donkeys or ponies. Their horns tend to be the shortest of the subraces, but they themselves tend to be the tallest. They range from human to elvish in height, and usually have thick manes of hair and long tails. Glashtyns have a reputation for being the nastiest breed of pooka, with a penchant for terrifying those they encounter. They also show a fondness for living in wet places like lakes, creeks, fenlands and marshes. They are most likely to be Druids or Wardens, depending on their propensity for the shapeshifting arts.
Bargheists: (Bar-guests) Also known as Skrikers, Shucks, Galletrots and Cynocauns. These swift, slender pookas have the traits of dogs, wolves, foxes and other canids. They are somewhat shorter and slimmer than gruagachs, and their horns are somewhat small. They typically have short tails, large eyes and narrow muzzles. Bargheists are very solitary and wary of strangers. They will often seek to baffle or frighten those who disturb their privacy. They are far more comfortable around other friendly Fey races, however. Those with an adventure in mind are naturally predisposed towards the ways of a Druid, but the spiritual path of the Shaman is also attractive to a bargheist.
Jackalopes: (Jack-ah-lopes) Also known as Wagways, Hursts, Nissenacks and Lagocauns. These curious yet cautious pookas are reminiscent of rabbits, hares and pikas. Many of them feature large, branching antlers or forked pronghorns, and their long ears can be drooping or cocked. Jackalopes are usually of small stature. Their hair is fuzzier and more fur-like, and they bear distinctive cotton-tails. All these qualities make jackalopes the most conventionally 'cute' breed of pooka, and certainly the most mischievous and playful. It is common for a jackalope to display kleptomaniac tendencies, particularly for trinkets and knick-knacks. While they favour the path of druidism, they may show an interest in the bardic arts as well.
Playing a Pooka
Deep in the wildest and weirdest woodlands of the Feywild, the pookas twine amongst the twisted trees. Tricksters, scoundrels and wanderers, they roam from wilderness to wilderness, frolicking with animals and trafficking with fellow Fey. As a race, the pookas are closely related to gnomes and satyrs, in whose lands they are welcome - or at least tolerated - but the eladrin consider them a nuisance or worse. Pookas are clever and secretive, but much less discreet than gnomes and much more afflicted by wanderlust, leading to an almost invariably nomadic lifestyle. They possess the same selfish motivations as the average satyr, and they are fiercely protective of the wilderness and its critters. Their love of folk music is well known, and a pooka without some manner of woodwind instrument at hand would be a rare sight indeed. They also have a keen fondness for rhymes, riddles, ballads and tales (especially tall-tales).
Pookas don't often live in familial or communal groups. Due to their strong personalities and diverse habits, they tend to rub each other the wrong way. For this reason, pookas aren't as numerous in the Feywild as gnomes or eladrin, and they are rarer still in the mortal world. They despise societies that try to tame nature rather than coexisting with it, so they are more likely to be encountered in forests, moors and other uninhabited regions of the world. Many of them favour harsh climates, particularly mountain crags and highlands. Still, they may take a liking to farmsteads and other rustic settlements. Pookas who help around the household or work in the fields aren't unheard of, although it would be a mistake to label them 'tamed'. A pooka might develop a fondness for a kindly human farmer, but they are likely to enrich that man by stealing from his neighbours, unintentionally causing trouble for the poor soul. Law is an alien concept to a pooka, unless it is a law of nature.
Most pookas have little reason to go adventuring, and yet many become adventurers all the same. This is precisely because pookas don't like to have good reason for doing anything. They go wherever their footpads take them, and follow only their own sense of rampant curiosity. Every pooka values trickery as the best of all heroic qualities. When others might take the direct route to achieving their goals, pookas are always looking for the sneakiest or craftiest route. Or at least, the route likeliest to cause the most trouble along the way. Despite their sneaky tendencies, few pookas are truly cowardly. They simply enjoy boggling, baffling and befuddling those who are unfortunate enough to cross their paths.
A pooka almost always follows the path of a Druid, even those who are not keen on leading a life of adventure. This being because the shapeshifting abilities of a Druid have become inseparable from the very identity of the pooka. No other race takes more passionately to the gift of the Wild Shape than these animalistic creatures. One is often more likely to cross paths with a pooka in animal form than to meet one in its true form. Although it is not impossible to encounter a pooka unpracticed in druidic magic to at least some extent, it is extremely unusual.
Pooka Characteristics: Capricious, cunning, curious, deceitful, deviant, evasive, feral, fickle, flippant, gregarious, impish, lecherous, loutish, melodramatic, mischievous, musical, passionate, protective, raucous, savage, swift, teasing, territorial, unpredictable, wily.
Male Names: Aengus, Aeronn, Baldric, Billy, Bruinn, Casnar, Cellach, Culhwch, Devon, Dougal, Eochaid, Eric, Finn, Godric, Gwydion, Hob, Iain, Jack, Knick, Lionel, Lucan, Mooch, Obrey, Osric, Peddler, Rhys, Robin, Ronan, Seamas, Seanan, Taran, Will.
Female Names: Aerona, Aggie, Aileen, Bree, Brianna, Bryna, Cerridwen, Cliona, Dierdre, Drysi, Eirwen, Eliwlod, Fiona, Flidais, Glenys, Gwendolyn, Iorwen, Jackie, Keana, Luned, Lyonesse, Maggie, Macha, Nessa, Niniane, Olwen, Oonagh, Rhiannon, Scena, Seanach, Viviane, Wynne.
Balin Bucklaggart is a pooka Warden hailing from hearty gruagach stock. Cheerful and filled to the brim with mischief, Bucklaggart was quite at home in the forests of the Feywild, living with a herd of rare Fey beasts and shepherding them away from harm. Foolishly, Bucklaggart decided to play a good-humored trick on a powerful wizard who just happened to be sojourning through the pooka's little corner of the Feywild. The wizard took offense at the pooka's antics, and in revenge he captured the herd of Fey beasts under Bucklaggart's protection, taking them with him to the mortal world in order to exploit them for his magical studies and experiments. The pooka followed the wizard out of the Feywild and joined a band of adventurers in order to better understand the mortal world. Seeking to atone for his failure, Bucklaggart has devoted himself to tracking down the wizard and recovering his charges.
Derrick of the Black Mane is a pooka Druid of the ill-tempered glashtyn breed. The large and beastly Derrick has a black heart and a foul manner. He takes great joy in confounding or terrorizing others. Like most pookas, he is an inveterate prankster, but his particular sense of humor is unerringly grim. He has a love of dark riddles and games, particularly those with brutal consequences for the witless incompetents who cannot match them. Conversely, he does not handle it well when the joke is on him. Derrick has joined a party of adventurers, but his interests do not coincide with those of his companions. He seeks only to belittle, mock and outwit them along the way. His true goal is to abandon his so-called 'friends' at their hour of greatest need, in what he sees as the ultimate prank.
Gentle Annie is a pooka Shaman belonging to the bargheist subrace. Pleasant as her name suggests, Annie is in tune with the spirits of the wild. She lives amongst a tribe of gnomes, having quickly earned their respect through her services as a healer and an enchantress. Unfortunately, the gnome village was attacked by a raiding party of spriggans not long after Gentle Annie had settled in. Several gnomes were captured and dragged into the foul depths of the Feydark to be enslaved by fomorian tyrants. Horrified, Gentle Annie resolved to lead a rescue expedition. She put out the call for any able-bodied aventurers who were brave enough to venture into the Feydark and save the unlucky slaves before they were lost forever to the darkness below.
Griflet is a pooka Bard of the gregarious jackalope persuasion. The fuzzy, footloose pooka has been charming and enchanting folk with his music for longer than he can remember. His talent for music is surpassed only by his talent for getting into and out of trouble, a quality that has earned him many friends and many enemies. The Feywild has been Griflet's backyard for so long that even its wondrous sights are beginning to lose their novelty in the pooka's eyes. Driven by a desire to see the marvels of the mortal world, the funloving pooka has lent his aid to a motley group of adventurers. Only time will tell whether or not Griflet's camaraderie is worth the trouble he will undoubtedly get them into.
Diarnan of the Wind is a pooka Jumper and a runt of a gruagach. This small pooka was abandoned at birth and only by the grace of the Feywild did he survive his infancy. Diarnan lives in peaceful opposition to the wilds around him, his natural speed has kept him alive. His home is on the wind, drifting wherever curiosity may take him and staying only long enough to take what he needs to survive another day. Despite his life of minor thievery, he is very well liked by all in the taverns where he likes to spend his time and other peoples money. His wanderings unwittingly led him into the mortal realm where he was captured by goblins. Captivity sparked his innate abilities and he teleported out of his shackles and escaped the camp in the night, although not without first taking enough of the goblins supplies to keep him fat and happy for days to come.
Cernarawn, the Horned Hunter, is the Archfey of the pooka race. He is fearsome to behold; taller than the tallest oak, broad of shoulder and crowned with the massive antlers of a prehistoric elk. His golden eyes glower from within the eye sockets of a stag skull, though none can attest to whether this is his true face or merely a grim mask set upon his features. Where he treads, his great hoofed footfalls rattle the very bones of the Feywild.
Cernarawn's dominion is the never-ending cycle of the seasons, the unbroken circle of life, death and rebirth. In the spring, he brings life to the wilderness, tending the glades and groves of his domain. In the summer, he walks astride the animals, protecting them from the many dangers of the Feywild. In the autumn, he hunts the beasts that he once protected, striking from the darkness with his oaken spear. In the winter, he sleeps the sleep of death, dreaming of things that once were and of things that are yet to be.
Cernarawn does not hold court with his fellow pookas, though he may come to their aid if they should invoke him. He will also answer the pleas of satyrs, firbolgs, wilden and gnomes. He attends the Court of Stars whensoever it is convened, but he does so only out of respect for Oran and Tiandra. Since before the fall of Cendriane he has kept his own counsel, stalking the forests of the Feywild. His only companions are the Hounds of Cernarawn, an elite cadre of mighty pookas hand-picked by the Archfey to accompany him in his wild hunts.
Robin Goodfellow. Hob of the Hearth. Puck of the Green Fey. Merry Wanderer of the Night. What can anybody say about this many-named pooka? Wilder than any other, shrewd and knavish as they come, faithful only to the Green Lord Oran and the Feywild itself. A Gruagach with a mastery of druidic shapeshifting and a penchant for meddling in the affairs of others, Robin is either a free spirit who sees the bright side in everything - or a deranged, dangerous lunatic - depending on who you ask. He attends no court or troop, no market or revel. And yet all the Fey know his name, for it is synonymous with pooka, puck and prankster proud.
Few can tell where Robin Goodfellow will turn up next, or what new mischief he will wreak. Should he wish it, even the Fomorian tyrants of the Feydark would bend to his whimsical will, or else face the shame of being his latest patsy. The very stars themselves are not suspended too high for Robin to reach, when the fancy strikes him. Robin is every bit the trickster his goatish horns, twinkling eyes and lopsided grin suggest. His motivations are as mercenary as his whims. Though Oran is the Archfey to whom he owes his unfaltering allegiance, he has done the bidding of Cernarawn, Tiandra, Hyrsam and even the Prince of Frost, depending on his ephemeral moods.
Robin Goodfellow, perhaps more than any other, embodies what it is to be Fey-wild. Sometimes it is possible to outwit him, to collude with him, or even to earn his favour. But only a fool would expect this to be true the next time he is encountered. In all his doings, he is a creature of two faces. Whether wise or foolish, helpful or hazardous, charming or terrifying; he is ultimately true to himself alone...whatever that may be at the time.
The Amadan, with equal measures of mirth and cruelty, serves the Summer Queen Tiandra as Royal Jester, though he himself is no fool. Mercurial, conniving and cavalier, this wiry little bargheist began as little more than common chattel. Learning the arts of the Bard, he performed and politicked his way into the High Court of Senaliesse, and has earned a permanent place there through a neverending chain of deceptions and manipulations. Among the Summer Fey, he is now the highest ranking noble of pooka heritage.
While he is a sinister figure of considerable power, the Amadan still prefers to do things the pooka way - that is to say - the most devious way imaginable. His diminutive and pleasant appearance belies a wicked mind as keen as a knife, and twice as deadly. Garbed in a raiment of frivolous colors and tinkering bells, the Amadan jests without restraint, knowing that he alone is untouchable among the gentry of the Summer Fey. His weapons are scathing satire and biting parody, his shield is diplomatic immunity, and they each serve him well. He carries himself with such an audacious dignity that many a noble eladrin has silently cursed his name.
Other courtiers have risen and fallen with Her Majesty's whims, but the Amadan understands the Queen's dry tastes. Half-tamed though he is, he remains her favoured pet, and one of her most trusted advisors. For indeed, the Amadan, as Royal Jester, can speak the plain truth to Tiandra without fear of castigation, and every Queen has need of such sincere counsel.
Harnvi - also known as Haarnbiu, Ol' Hot-Iron, Hervé Jackrabbit and the White Puck - is a powerful jackalope, infamous for his habit of befriending individual humans and causing mischief wherever that person goes. Harnvi's general pattern is to choose some unremarkable yet personable fellow and affix himself to said person, remaining invisible to all others. While he is ever-friendly and polite to his chosen companion, the pooka's very presence has the unfortunate consequence of turning the unlucky friend's life upside down.
Since Harnvi only allows himself to be detected by the human he has befriended, others may become suspicious of that person's seemingly eccentric behaviour, and may arrive at the conclusion that the man has gone mad. While the pooka is genuinely concerned for the safety of his friends, he still delights in uprooting them from the comforts of their lives, seeing it as his duty to show them the delights of true freedom - freedom from security, responsibility and routine. Harnvi will normally only excuse himself from his new friend's life if his existence is proven, whether by logical proof or magical detection. Afterwards, he travels abroad until someone else takes his fancy, and the chaos starts afresh.
To those who are lucky (or unlucky) enough to meet him, Harnvi appears very large for a pooka, with a protuberant rum belly, an all-white fur coat and relatively small antlers between his long lagomorphic ears, which he often hides beneath a tall stove-pipe hat. His good cheer can be very infectious, but sadly remains exclusive to his chosen victim.
Pooka Character Options
The following feats, paragon paths and epic destinies are either exclusive to the pooka race, or suggested character options.
- Heroic Tier Feats: Call of the Wild, Dweomer Dwindle, Shapes of the Wild, Trickster Tunes
- Paragon Paths: Gruff (Gruagach), Knocker (Jackalope), Grim (Bargheist), Kelpie (Glashtyn)
- Paragon Tier Feats: Foolish Fire, Glamour Guise, Invisible Friend, Nightmare Ride
- Epic Destinies: Hound of Cernarawn, Deadly Trickster (PHB), Primal Avatar (PHB2)
- Epic Tier Feats: Balefire Bellow, Wyrd Wizening
The following items are associated with pookas.
- Magical Implements: Buckawn
- Wondrous Items: Horn of Cernarawn, Puckflute
- Mount Slot Items: Pooka Harness
|“||Shall we their fond pageant see? Lord, what fools these mortals be!||”|