kappas Species in Scarterra | World Anvil


Kappas are a large well known kith that like to dwell in or near fresh water bodies in both Fae home and the material plane.

Basic Information


Kappas are short humanoid Fae creatures, averaging just over three feet tall. They vary in color tremendously. The plurality are different shades of green but some are orange, rusty red, brown, or blue.   Like most fae creatures, they defy easy classification. Kappas have vaguely frog-like facial features mixed with their more human-like traits though they have vaguely beak-like mouths. Some even have sparse hair.   Kappa have webbed hands and feet, but they can retract their webs on land in order to better grip and manipulate objects. Kappas also stand out for their turtle like shells and carpace protecting their backs and torsos.   Kappas are best known for their flattop skulls with depressions in them shaped liked bowls full of water. If this pool of water every dries out or is spilled, within minutes a kappa's body and muscle wills lock up and then the kappa will solidify into something resembling petrified wood until the kappa's water is refilled.   -Daishiro author of Comprehensive Guide to Kappas

Ecology and Habitats

Kappas are fully amphibious and can breathe air and water perfectly well.   Kappas are famous for having a bowl shaped head full of water. If the water in their bowl head spills or evaporates completely, a kappa will quickly fall into stasis appearing as petrified wood statue until their bowl is refilled.   If a kappa's bowl is filled with salt water (or if a kappa is swimming in salt water), the kappa is fully functional but very uncomfortable. In game terms, they have a +1 difficulty on all social and mental rolls.   Because of this, kappa rarely move more than a short distance from rivers, lakes, and ponds.   At dawn and dusk, a kappa can dive into a body of water in the material plane and emerge in a body of water in Fae Home if the body of water is relatively deep and the body of water co-exists in both planes.   It is a physically taxing to make the transition between planes, requires hours of rest to recover, so most kappa do not shift locations more than once or twice a month barring a pressing need to be some where (or avoid enemies in one plane).

Dietary Needs and Habits

Kappa are omnivores capable of eating most fresh animal and vegetable matter, preferring to eat their food raw.   Kappa subsist primarily on fish, shellfish, and water fowl. Kappa are famously fond of cucumbers. It's not just for subsistence, kappas experience a euphoric calming effect from eating cucumbers similar to mortals with certain drugs. It doesn't impair their faculties directly but it calms their aggression.   -Daishiro author of Comprehensive Guide to Kappas
Kappa are (in)famous for their love of eating mortals' digestive organs, but this is for ritual reasons, not for subsistence. They believe this gives them power or that this gives their unborn children power. For reasons I'll get into later, this practice was very rare until recent times.   -Kaitolama, kitsune historian

Biological Cycle

Kappas tend to live a maximum of 400 years before they enter their twilight state.   This 400 years is not counting time spent in forced stasis when they do not age, but stasis is not a pain-free secret to great lengevity though because lengthy periods of stasis can drive a kappa mad.   Kappa grow and mature relatively quickly moving from infant to adult in roughly ten years. Kappa males and females are theoretically fertile for their whole adult lives though the odds of conception at any one instance of mating are fairly low.   Kappa females usually have single offspring or rarely twins.   Kappas are curious tricksters and many times their curiosity or tricks lead to their premature deaths. A kappa that is slain usually turns into a small pond, little more than a large puddle.   If a kappa reaches old age and completes its twilight time, they will turn into a new pond, stream, or well, or they will merge into an existing body of water making it larger. Driven by instinct, they will usually travel great distances to their final resting place, sometimes even traveling deep into arid areas they would normally never dare enter.   Kappas that die violently tend to leave behind murky dirty while kappas that undergo their full twilight time tend to leave behind pure clean water, not always safe water. A lot treacherous river rapids represent a kappas finally resting place.   -Daishiro author of Comprehensive Guide to Kappas

Additional Information

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Kappas have sensory capabilities roughly on par to humans while on land, their vision is a bit worse and their sense of smell is a bit better.   When underwater, all five senses are enhanced, even taste, so most kappa prefer to eat their meals underwater.   -Daishiro author of Comprehensive Guide to Kappas

Civilization and Culture

Common Etiquette Rules

Kappa generally take good manners very seriously, though there are stories that if you bow at a kappa, they will be obligated to bow back and spill their water, most kappas don't fall for that trick anymore.   Kappa have a strong sense of bravado and like to challenge passers by to various athletic contests, especially wrestling and this often leads to their water being accidentally spilled.

Common Dress Code

Most kappa remain nude, or they dress in simple loin clothes. Sometimes, while trying to fit in with other cultures they will wear more complex clothing but they usually look ridiculous.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Kappas tend to have limited magic relying on their knowledge and physical prowess more often than their magic. LIke most Fair Folk, magical power increases steadily as they get older, but their physical prowess tends to peak early.   Kappas are knowledgeable in herbal lore, knowing which plants can cure or kill. They also have advanced knowledge of and anatomy and medicine especially in regards to bones. They can help set bones for healing or in combat they can very carefully deliver surgical strikes to break their foes' bones.   Kappa magic focuses on the standard Water Aspect Fae stereotype. Kappa magic tends to be focused on illusions, physical augmentation and healing.   If a dehydrated and petrified kappa is restored, the kappa is obligated to repay them and all kappa follow through with this, but some do this in a begrudged limited fashion and some provide their savior with decades of service. Generally kappas are less generous rewarding people who rehydrated them when they are the people who tricked or forced them to spill their water in the first place.


Kappas are one of the first distinctive @kiths to emerge, appearing at a time when kiths were rare and Fair Folk with kith were often stigmatized by other Fae.   The kappas represent one of the first major exoduses of Fae away from the Water Court and they helped establish the broad pattern that Water Court loyalists tend live in the sea and Water Court rebels tend to stick to fresh water bodies.   Due to their ancient history as stigmatized outcasts and rebels, kappas have developed a culture of fierce independence. Kappa are generally at least somewhat loyal to other kappas, but they are reluctant to join Faerie political factions prefering to operate on short-term mercenary deals or to ignore other Fae altogether.   Kappa do sometimes work out long term relationships with individual non-kappa Fae who are also Water Aspect Fae that are renegades from the Water Court.   It's rare but not unheard of for Kappa to develop working relationships or even friendships with water loving mortals.  
"The kappas are an ancient kith but they have largely been ignored for most of history until recently.   humans say that we Faeries are mercurial, strange, and unpredictable but humans are always stranger. A century or two ago, a human academic named Daishiro, for unknown reasons, decided to dedicate his life to study of kappas. Even more surprisingly, he found a rich noble to sponsor his studies.   Armed with a limitless supply of cucumbers, Daishiro went out seeking kappa and interviewed them, watched them, weighed them, measured them. Everything he could think of.   He detailed his findings in a book called Comprehensive Guide to Kappas, this was not a big deal until someone uncovered a book simply called Kappas, written roughly two millenia early by some other crazy human sage who decided to dedicate his life to studying kappas.   The two books mostly agreed but two thousand years ago, kappas averaged an inch or two taller, a bit stronger, and they avoided their twilight time by a full century.   A few kappas and a few of the kappas enemies took noticed and looked deeper into this. There are only two known books written exclusively about kappas but kappas are a foot note in many other books about the Fae. Comparing notes across multiple sources it appears that for the for the last two thousand years, kappas have gradually gotten smaller, weaker, less fertile, less intelligent, less magically skilled, and they don't live as long.   As this realization spread throughout the kappa population, kappas have collectively panicked. Kappa unity is dissolving as kappas disagree on how to deal with the problem or even if there is a problem at all, but the main questions the Kappas are dealing with are 'Why is this happening?' and 'How can we fix this?'"   -Kaitolama, Kitsune historian
"We kappa are in a period of decline, but so what? This isn't our first period of decline, and it won't be our last. Our noble race is almost 20,000 years old. The kappa race waxes and wanes like the moon and ebbs and flows like the tides. Each 2000 year period of decline is followed by a 2000 year period of ascendancy. We cannot alter the natrual cycle any more than we can stop the sun from setting."   -Chaifung, kappa
"Lies and slander form our jealous rivals! Kappa are an ancient kith and are as strong and wise now as our noble ancestors were!"   -Kawasso, kappa.
The lowly wretches of the kappas are declining because millenia of inbreeding are finally catching up to them. This is why they gradually grow more small, more foolish, and more pathetic.   -Rhoda Shadowsplash of the Water Court
"Most kappa believe their reduction in power and fortunes is real and most believe this is at least indirectly the result of in-breeding.   Kappa have been stepping up their interactions with mortals, especially humans and this is rarely to the humans' benefit.   Some stronger kappa have begun empowering warlocks and charging their pawns to seek mystical solutions to empowering kappas. Some believe that kappas will grow stronger just from the simple act of making reciprocal mystic pacts with mortals.   Some humans warlocks actually benefit from their association with kappas but this is the exception not the rule.   Kappas, especially male kappas, have always been sexually curious about mortal kind, but before they were peeping toms and creepy gropers. Now they are often turning to rape.   Other kappas, especially females believe they can incoporate human blood into their reproductive make up by actually drinking human blood, eating human flesh, drowning human children, stealing human babies and/or ritually eating human organs. humans rarely survive these attacks and they rarely die quickly because the kappa tend to attack them butt-first, a very painful and ignomanious way to go.   -Kaitolama, Kitsune historian
"I do not believe we kappa have a reproductive crisis, but let us pretend for a moment that abusing humans will somehow make the next generation of kappa stronger. Is it worth the price? I'm not going to weep for any individual violated humans, but the humans are numerous and dangerous as a group. Until recently, humans barely acknowledged we existed, so they left us alone. The last thing we want is for humans to start hunting kappa en masse."   -Chaifung, kappa

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

For most of their history, most kappas were loners, either true loners or only associating with other kappas. They rarely get involved in Fae or mortal politics, but they sometimes interacted with individual fae and mortals for various personal reasons.   Recently, kappas have entered into the wider fae and mortal society with a desperate fervor as they are trying to find a way to reverse their kith's gradual decline.
Genetic Ancestor(s)
400 years
Average Height
3 feet, two inches.
Geographic Distribution
Related Ethnicities


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