Thursday, 9 October 2008


Noisms' law: write a blog entry about how you'll be writing lots of exciting blog entries over the coming week, and you are sure to lose your network connection. Such is life. Anyway, without further ado:


Oni are malevolent spirits taken humanoid form, whose sole purpose is to plague mankind. Like their relatives the Rakshasa, they delight in causing mayhem and destruction, and their existence is an abhorrence to the natural world. They are creatures of chaos, and have no uniformity of appearance or purpose beyond misery and harm - though in combat many show a preference for great iron clubs called kanabo.

Nobody knows the origin of the Oni, though some suspect they are the souls of the evil and insane dead, brought back to the world of the living from jigoku (hell) by Izanami, Goddess of Death, for purposes unknown.

The basic Oni template is detailed below. The DM should roll for appearance/special abilities and hit dice in the relevant charts.

Climate/Terrain: Any
Frequency: Rare
Organisation: Solitary, Band
Activity Cycle: Any
Diet: Carnivore
Intelligence: Low - High (d6+8)
Treasure: D
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
No. App.: 1, or 1-8
Armour Class: -1 - 2 (d4-2)
Movement: 12
Hit Dice: 5 - 10 (d6+4)
Thac0: By Hit Dice
No. of Attacks: 3
Dam/Attack: d10+2/d10+2/d8+3 (By weapon/by weapon/bite)
Special Attacks: If an Oni is wielding a kanabo, with each successful strike he can stun his enemy, causing the opponent to lose initiative in the next round.
Special Defenses: Oni can only be wounded by enchanted weapons.
Magic Resistance: 1d100%
Morale: Champion (15-16)

Roll one d12 d3 times on the following table for each Oni's appearance/abilities:
1 - Horns. The Oni has two twisted horns sticking out from its forehead, like a goat.
2 - Horn. The Oni has a single, narwhal-like horn sticking out from its forehead.
3 - Skin Like Ice. The Oni's skin is freezing cold, and anything it touches or which is touched by it suffers 1 hit point of cold damage.
4 - Skin Like Fire. The Oni's skin is boiling hot, and anything it touches or which is touched by it suffers 1 hit point of heat damage (this result cancels a roll of '3').
5 - Withering Gaze. The Oni's very glare is enough to chill the soul. Three times per day it can gaze to cause energy drain.
6 - Vampiric Bite. If the Oni hits with its bite attack, it can drain d6 additional hit points and add them to its own total.
7 - Coloured Skin. The Oni has purple (1), red (2), yellow (3) or blue (4) skin (roll a d4). Purple-skinned Oni have +25% resistance to magic. Red-skinned Oni have 50% resistance to fire damage. Yellow-skinned Oni can only be hurt by weapons enchanted to +2. Blue-skinned Oni have 50% resistance to cold damage.
8 - Stinging Beard - The Oni has a long, ragged beard, interwoven with rocks and pieces of metal and broken glass. It can use its beard like a scourge in combat, gaining an extra attack for d4 damage.
9 - Third Arm - The Oni has a third arm, and gains an additional attack per round.
10 - Third Leg - The Oni has a third leg, which raises its movement rate to 15.
11 - Tail - The Oni has a prehensile tail, which can hold a weapon of small size to gain an extra attack.
12 - Third Eye - The Oni has a third eye. This allows it to cast spells as a 3rd level Magic User.


  1. See, now this is cool! A true thing of beauty.

    When I was little, my step-grandma's name was Leona, however, I just couldn't say it, so instead I just called her Oni, well, the name caught on. She wasn't very popular in the family, I guess that she was really mean to my mom and her kin when she was little, thus my uncle thought that this name was hilarious. He was a hippy who dodged the war by staying in school. He picked me up a children's book that was about a man who went down into his well and fought the Oni, it was one of my favorite books, though now the title, and the book are gone, however . . . well, I'm rambling.

  2. Ripper x: I think I've heard that story before... an old Japanese folk tale. But I can't remember any of the details. I'll have to dig around.

    I know a Lebanese guy here in Japan whose name is 'Oni'. He gets expressions of shock and amusement whenever he introduces himself, and has a little pre-prepared spiel about how that's a normal name in Lebanon and it doesn't make him a demon!

  3. Stinging Beard
    Cool post! Consider this monster "borrowed"...

    In reference to the stinging beard, have you seen 'Forbidden Kingdom' yet? If not I wont ruin it, but there's a foe in there that uses her hair in a way that I might imagine the Oni using its beard. Very cool visual.

    In fact, since you're into the Japanese influence in D&D you ought to check the above mentioned movie out when you get the chance. Granted, it's Chinese... but there are some really neat ideas floating about in it.

  4. Gamer Dude: Thanks. No I haven't seen Forbidden Kingdom. Is that one of the ones by the guy who made The House of Flying Daggers?

  5. No, it is decidedly not.

    I've always wondered, close psychological analysis aside, is there basis in the original mythology for the (nowadays commonplace) idea of Oni that embody certain sins, or is that a post-Sailor Moon invention?

    Rather: I've always wondered where that idea came from. Maybe from the same impulse that leads us to add ", God of (concept)" to the names of all non-monolatrist deities?

    They were who they were, you two-bit pop anthropologists! *shakes fist*

  6. Nick: Are there oni in Sailor Moon? I've never seen it.

    I find it odd that people might need a reason for oni to exist (they embody certain sins!) when the European equivalents (trolls, goblins, demons) need no such reasons. They just are.