And, as I am an honest Puck, / If we have unearnèd luck
Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue, / We will make amends ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call…
It’s not the first time the pooka has been in fantasy gaming by any stretch—one appears as far back as Dragon #60 (the issue that also gave us Roger Moore’s excellent “The Elven Point of View” and most of the lesser elven gods…but it’s also an April issue, so beware of “humor”). They also appeared in Changeling: The Dreaming, but that’s a game I know zero about. (Tell me about/recommend books/editions in the comments!) Most significantly in terms of the proto-d20 family, the pooka appeared in John Nephew’s Tall Tales of the Wee Folk, a supplement I’ve raved about before that was written for “basic” Mentzer box/Rules Cyclopedia-era D&D. There it was a faerie in animal form that could perform a variety of neat feats, including messing with time and appearing visible to one person while invisible to everyone else (think Harvey). Potentially OP, sure, but also potentially awesome. Who doesn't love playing a talking magical rabbit?
Meanwhile, Pathfinder’s pooka is a part spritely person, part rabbit…but I’d take the rabbit part with a grain of salt. It could just as easily be any of the animals listed in the pooka’s change shape special quality, or a raccoon, greyhound, squirrel, hedgehog, or what have you. At only CR 2, it’s a more low-powered beast than its D&D forerunner. But it’s still definitely a chaotic prankster, and its special abilities and intoxicating pixie dust aid in the effort.
And let’s not forget that telepathy by touch/invisibility combo! Nothing like having a chatty companion (or familiar) that no one else can see and who speaks in rhyme, metaphor, centuries-old fey slang, and worse. Heck, the GM might even want to use cards from a game like Dixit to represent the pooka’s “speech.”
The point is, these fey should be fun. Or annoying. Or disturbing—it’s a short slide from chaotic neutral to evil. But always unforgettable.
The pooka Analiese “adopted” the young knight errant Berost during his training—in fact, he sometimes grudgingly names her as the reason he did not pursue his dream of being a paladin. He is more right than he knows. Analiese’s second sight gave her a premonition that Berost would die if he ever wore the Lady’s blue. When adventurers come recruiting under the banner of the Lady, Analiese does everything she can to spoil Berost’s relationship with them.
A pooka has taken a dislike to the executioner of Gyrford and has resolved to torment him into a new line of work. Along the way, she has discovered that the headsmen, when not hooded, is also a slaver (and a tax-dodging one at that—a crime that, if uncovered, would send him to face his own ax). Unsure how to proceed past her usual pranks, the pooka decides to recruit some adventurers to help…and she might even join them as a familiar or companion if they particularly impress her.
The trees of the Spirit Wood were more than trees to Finnén; they were his friends and boon companions. In some cases, this was a literal friendship—at least one treant slumbered there—and with the other trees…well, who can judge a fey’s relationship to nature? But Finnén’s actions after the Spirit Wood was clear-cut for lumber…that is easier to judge. Driven mad with loss, the pooka swore his revenge on the inhabitants of Kestrel Point: one limb of theirs for each limb cut off his trees. And since the fey is only a little thing and has only his dagger and some stolen saws to work with, he’s started with Kestrel Point’s children…
—Pathfinder Bestiary 4 216
Yikes. That got dark. Sorry!
Looking for the platypus? It’s back here.
And now to close this post the same way TTotWF (and A Midsummer Night’s Dream) ends:
…So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends.