“Are those plague puppies?” Someone asked, since they were born when a plague of virus was enveloping the land.
We responded that they were Tanukitsune-sans. And after a while, that got shortened to Sans. They were Sans. We were pretty sure they had appeared to trick the virus into staying away, using their special skills.
During a spell of time when everyone retreated to the safety of their homes and didn’t go out much, a small horde of creatures appeared in our house.
Day by day, one by one, they popped up. We called them tanukitsune.
We assumed their children would be full of tricks too.
It seems they were the offspring of a fox (kitsune in Japanese) and a tanuki. Tanukis are racoonish, badgery animals that live in Japan. Foxes and tanukis have a reputation for being tricksters and shape-shifters.
Eventually, we ended up with a deck of 58 different Sans. Each is its own unique self, yet they belong to four tribes. There are 13 Sans plus a wild card in each tribe. The wild cards are tardigrades. There are also two jokers—Coronia, the corona virus, and a Japanese supernatural creature called Amabie, thought to keep the plague away.
The suits are: the Silky Sans, the Cotton Sans, the Boro Sans, and the Odd Sans.
Members of the Silky tribe are made of silk—but don’t think that means they are delicate. Silk can be very tough.
The Cottons are mostly made of cotton, naturally. They are white, or pale, or pastel.
The Boros are also cotton, but it is dark, old Japanese indigo-dyed cotton that has been mended with patches.
The Odds are related to the other three tribes, but there is something odd about each of them.