Oni

About

Not all divine creations are meant to live as mortals. Some spirits are created as guardians instead, tasked as protectors of elements of nature that cannot protect themselves. When these spirits accept their divine place in the metacosmos and take on such charges, they become kami. But some of these spirits are willful, obstinate, or simply rotten, railing against such demands from the gods and becoming bodiless and unable to interact with the world they can torturously still observe. Others receive such punishment simply for failing at their duty, and their despair at their condition twists them like those that began with a seed of darkness. When these spirits look upon mortal lives and become overcome with envy of the flesh and pleasure that humanoids can revel in, they form surrogate bodies of their own and become monsters known collectively as oni.

When an oni manifests, they always do so in a form that parodies a specific humanoid ancestry closely associated with the oni’s obsessions and envies. Giants’ over-the-top personalities and sizes are likely the reason why these humanoids are the most common incarnations chosen by oni; such oni are known collectively as yai oni. Yet there exist oni associated with almost every kind of humanoid. Most oni are capable of supernaturally disguising themselves as their associated humanoid type and use this ability to infiltrate societies and seize control from within. Once established, oni typically reveal their true form and revel in dominating those they view as lesser beings fit only to serve their whims.

Oni are nothing if not vain. They typically choose comely or striking appearances in their humanoid disguises—forms that are completely at odds with the ugliness of their true natures. An oni’s true form is indicative of their innermost desires and always has features such as oversized teeth that verge into tusks, sharp claws, unusually bright skin colors, or a third eye in the forehead. Oni have desires as varied as those of any being, though by their nature these desires are almost always for hedonistic or destructive experiences of the flesh, typically food, pleasure, or violence.

Oni humanoid forms are limited to one specific appearance. An ogre mage can assume only one specific ogre form, while an ice yai can appear only as one specific frost giant. Some oni have greater control over their shapeshifting power and can assume the form of any humanoid creature, and these oni tend to be the most dangerous.

Different oni exist for nearly every humanoid ancestry. Kuwa oni mask their golden skin and four-fingered claws in human form, while ja oni hide as hobgoblins. Other yai include wind yai (who take their form from cloud giants) and the immensely powerful void yai (who form from other yai and ascend to rule over rune giants).

Section 15: Copyright Notice
Pathfinder Bestiary 2 (Second Edition) © 2020, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Alexander Augunas, Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Joseph Blomquist, Logan Bonner, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Jesse Decker, Darrin Drader, Brian Duckwitz, Robert N. Emerson, Scott Fernandez, Keith Garrett, Scott Gladstein, Matthew Goodall, T.H. Gulliver, BJ Hensley, Tim Hitchcock, Vanessa Hoskins, James Jacobs, Brian R. James, Jason Keeley, John Laffan, Lyz Liddell, Colm Lundberg, Ron Lundeen, Jason Nelson, Randy Price, Jessica Redekop, Patrick Renie, Alistair Rigg, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Amber Stewart, Jeffrey Swank, Russ Taylor, and Jason Tondro.