Magic beasts are animals that are amazingly long-lived and hardly show any signs of aging. As animals, they may be indistinguishable from their common animal counterparts. However, they often have some kind of sign that alludes to their magical nature which accrued in them over the years such as not showing any signs of aging.
Magic beasts are capable of cultivating life force and magic power, owing to their longevity. Some are innately attuned to natural magic and simply grow stronger over time, while others must actively practice a cultivation method. They tend to be much more intelligent than mundane animals, and most are capable of speaking in sapient languages. Magic beasts are notable in that when they have reached a high enough stage of cultivation, they are able to take on a humanoid form.
Cultivation is the process of improving health, increasing longevity, and most importantly gaining a higher power. This is accomplished by cultivating qi or mana and training in martial & mystical arts. Magic beasts are predisposed to gradual cultivation, where they simply become stronger with age. However, many are determined to increase the rate of cultivation usually to reach a certain power level before their life is over or even to attain a form of immortality by actively practicing these techniques.
Magic Beasts often possess a Core within their bodies which contains their essence of their accumulated power. Some may have multiple or even be able to intentionally use their core as a magical focus. However, Cultivators of any species highly prize these cores, going as far to and will hunt the Beasts to obtain them to increase their own cultivation path or to be used in the production of magical items.
Magic Beasts can use the life force
or magic power
within themselves to take on multiple forms. The larger the changes from their default forms, the more power is spent to transform. A Magic Beasts will not be able to change forms until their body reclaims a sufficient amount of power. Each default form a beast takes on is genuine and thus will not be dispelled by magic items or abilities that reveal illusions. This also means that they only exert their magic or life power to transform but none is spent to maintain a default form it.
The animal form is sometimes considered the "natural" form of a full-blooded Magic Beast. When in animal form, the beast is indistinguishable from natural animals of its kind. Conversations with normal animals are usually limited to a few simple phrases and concepts, depending on the sophistication of the animal species. The Magic Beast can speak any language they know (including sapient and animal languages) and have any special senses of their animal. However, for species without dexterous limbs like thumbs, they have a very limited range of manipulating objects. Also due to this or the shape of their body, they may be physically restricted from performing certain magic, and wielding certain tools or wearing certain things.
In a humanoid form, a magic beast looks like a unique member of a human
fey or spirit species. As a humanoid, the henge can cast spells, wear armor, and use weapons and equipment made for humanoid races. However, they may lack special animal senses (or appendages) and abilities. They appear almost completely like a humanoid race with completely human skin, face, nose, skull, torso, and limb structure. The humanoid form can also be held indefinitely by those with sufficient skill.
A magic beast can opt to retain some of their animal features while still appearing mostly like a human/humanoid fey. The prominent traits of their animal species that persist can be things like claws, horns, eyes, ears, tails, reduced fangs, specific senses or instinctual behaviors. As only a slight variation to their humanoid form, this can also be indefinitely held and is in fact a less costly transformation.
are outliers in that they can transform into inanimate objects without strain if they use leaves as a focus for their magic power.
only take on the form of human/elven women as they are exclusively female. Their "natural" form instead of being a normal spider is a liminal form that looks a human woman's upper torso attached to an enlarged spider abdomen and legs, called an Arachne. Their kemonomimi variation retains a shrunken version of their abdomen and legs on their back as well as their multiple eyes.
Not all Magic Beasts are equal in talent. Divine Beasts are Magical Beasts with high enough cultivation levels to channel and tap into divine energy. They possess extraordinary status in the world. They often represent great potential and incomparable strength.
Supreme Divine Beasts
Apart from regular Divine Beasts there are Supreme Divine Beasts that are much stronger and even more talented. These Divine Beasts are Kings among Beasts. They often are part of (or even started) Noble Bloodlines that often include countless members channelling divine energy. They often have unique Secret Skills related to their bloodlines. There are countless magical beasts on Kaf, but Supreme Divine Beasts are almost mythical existences.
Magic beasts were believed to have originated with the ancestors of the Longryu clan of Drakains. Stories tell of how deities of the Shen Bureaucracy would keep various animals as pets or companions, including wild sea dragons. Those who lived with their handlers divine realm were said to naturally absorb its essence which granted them a spiritual awakening resulting in sapient wisdom and intelligence to become their retainers.
The direct offspring of these awakened dragons either went of to continue serving the gods, or went off into the world to discover their own abilities or purposes. Along the way they discovered cultivation techniques which also allowed them to reproduce the process that changed them into their awakened status.
Then the Ghulat Wars ravaged the world and forced most drakains into hiding and obscurity.
Some of these rituals were picked up on by the fox retainers of Inari, who by chance learned cultivation rituals from a drakains to become the first Juweihu. Either way, with the fall of civilizations and culture, the esoteric art of cultivation was nearly lost.
With the gap in power left, small bands of remaining human species make attempts to reestablish civilization and stumble upon various methods of cultivation. Through trial and error, accident, or even negligence, the secrets of cultivation were picked up by other animals leading to the diversity of magic beasts today.