A púca (pl. púcaí, though many use púcas; also phooka(s)) is a type of fae. Usually the life of the party, they all enjoy jokes and pranks, often at the expense of others.


Púcaí in their natural form appear, for the most part, human, albeit usually a bit scruffy and unkempt. They have pointed ears, and their eyes are golden in color, often resembling those of a dog, horse, or bird. All púcaí can shapeshift, and they usually start doing this before they can walk. This shapeshifting involves only animal shapes, and each individual púca has different favorites, as well as a different color of fur/feathers. This color stays constant for all their shapes - for instance, a black dog, a black horse, a black pigeon. Black, white, gray, and brown are the usual colors. Typically they keep a repertoire of one to three standard shapes, but in a pinch they can attempt others. This natural talent means that shape-changing curses often don't stick on a púca - if you turn one into a toad, they might be a bit confused for a time, but it won't take them long to change into another shape.

Like all fae, púcaí are deathly allergic to iron. Iron reacts strongly with the magic that is an integral part of their anatomy, and causes a violent allergic reaction in the form of a burn. This starts out resembling a rapid and intense sunburn, but prolonged contact with iron can cause any fae's flesh to blacken and die. Púcaí are also among those fae who enjoy living with or near humans, and therefore do not fade in an urban setting (though they do better in the country than amongst skyscrapers).

Other than that, púcaí are as immortal as any true fae - they will not die of natural causes. They age very slowly, achieving physical majority after about five-hundred years, and social recognition of their adulthood after their first thousand - though (in the manner of many fae) whether or not they ever truly achieve emotional maturity is debatable. After that, the rate of their aging decreases exponentially (the older they get, the more slowly they age). Because púcaí are so long-lived, they typically only have one child at a time - twins/triplets/etc. are incredibly rare occurrences. Also, they tend to be fertile in cycles of at least a century or two, reducing the likelihood that they will have numerous children in quick succession. As púcaí tend to be naturally raunchy and amorous, and do not limit this behavior to their own species, half-púcaí offspring are not rare occurrences, but the traits of the non-púcaí parent tend to subsume the púca genetics. Half-human offspring, for example, usually cannot shapeshift, and are simply especially lucky and long-lived humans with the ability to see through glamour.

Púcaí are omnivorous, and eat pretty much anything humans eat. They have a typical fae fondness for sweets and milk, but are about equally enamored of alcoholic beverages. Genetically, they are predisposed to handle large amounts of alcohol without suffering many adverse affects - they can drink themselves silly, and usually wake up only mildly fuzzy the next morning, rather than wincing at every stab of light.

Magical Characteristics

All fae are capable of glamour - an elaborate illusion that will fool all five senses (at least for a mortal) - and púcaí are among the most skilled at personal glamour. They can alter their physical appearance to resemble anything and anyone - and depending on how skilled the individual púca is, they can fool all five senses with their illusion. Almost all púcaí rely on glamour to appear human, as they usually live within human society and interact primarily with humans. Given the prankster nature of the species, however, it is not at all unusual to find a púca impersonating someone else, usually in a farcical manner. Púcaí with enough practice can even create larger illusions, extending to the people and environment around them. The larger and more detailed the glamour, the more effort and concentration it takes to maintain. For instance, hiding their eyes and ear tips is such a minor glamour they can usually do it without thinking about it, but making the particularly annoying person standing next to them look like Barney the Dinosaur takes more effort, and won't last if too much distance is put between the púca and their target. By the same token, púcaí are capable of seeing through most glamour. Their own glamour can be defeated in the usual ways: even if they can fool another fae's eyes, it is nearly impossible for them to fool another fae's sense of touch. Even mortals can see through glamour, if they have a special ointment rubbed on their eyelids, have pure iron touching their skin, or turn their clothes inside out.

Like all fae, púcaí are incredibly attuned with nature - they can move through the woods without cracking a single twig or disturbing a single leaf. Also, púcaí are especially keyed to animal life - they spend so much time in animal shape that they typically get along quite well with actual animals, and can usually convince them to help pull off a prank. In addition, púcaí have a perfect inner compass - even if they've never been somewhere before, they can figure out the cardinal directions. They often use this ability to get prank victims utterly and hopelessly lost.

There are many stories of púcaí secretly doing housework or farmwork in the night. They are excellent at getting in and out of places without being seen, and can perform most domestic tasks with great speed. Púcaí all enjoy jokes and pranks, often at the expense of others, but usually this doesn't involve actual harm. It is close to impossible to convince a púca that their brand of humor is wrong, though if there are unintended consequences to their pranks they might feel remorse… depending on who suffers. Púcaí typically only prank those who 'deserve' it - you won't find them bullying children or harrying housewives. They simply think the world needs to lighten up a bit, and they are drawn to the arrogant and the rude like moths to flame.

No fae can tell an outright lie. They can bend the truth, and they can talk in circles around the truth, but if they actually SAY the sky is red, it had better be red, or they're considered an oathbreaker and their magic (if not their life) is forfeit. On that note, all fae can sense magic in their vicinity, usually by feeling or seeing it.

Society and Habitat

Púcaí are solitary fairies, found primarily in the Seelie Court. They tend to live alone, although they sometimes settle down to raise children for a while. However, they typically like to travel, and púcaí will often leave their family sometime in their second thousand years to explore on their own (though they frequently come back to tell wild and crazy stories about their adventures). Púcaí are about evenly dispersed between Earth and the Otherworld, although the balance has been shifting steadily toward the latter with each passing decade for the past few centuries.