Oni

The corrupted, twisted servants of nature given corporeal form to consume and destroy without end

Basic Information

Anatomy

Oni are a race of evil spirits native to the Material Plane, who manifest physical bodies based on the shapes and desires of humanoids mortals - in pure spirit form, an Oni is nothing but a disembodied evil longing for the sins of the flesh. In this spirit form, Oni are relatively harmless and invisible. However, when given corporeal form, Oni can take an almost infinite number of forms - though this true form is always similar to a specific type of humanoid such as Human or Kitsune, save that it is always deformed and monstrous to look upon, with tusks, additional eyes, or strangely colored skin all serving as common physical attributes.   Because of this, their anatomy is exceedingly hard to describe for certain - each Oni well varies depending on the exact form it takes, though the common throughline between all Oni is "Humanoid", meaning that most can be found having at least two arms and two legs, with at least one head atop a central torso. They often possess circulatory, skeletal, and nervous systems(Though such systems might well be many magnitudes more efficient and durable than the norm), and as such typically possess the standard set of organs and internals for the race they appear as.

Biological Traits

Oni can take an almost infinite number of forms - though this true form is always similar to a specific type of humanoid such as Human or Kitsune, save that it is always deformed and monstrous to look upon, with tusks, additional eyes, or strangely colored skin all serving as common physical attributes. Their bodies can range in size depending on the humanoid creatures they are mimicking, from the normal sized Kuwa(Human-derived) to the gargantuan Yai that mimic true giants such as Dai-Yukai and Jotun.   However, not all the Biological Traits of the Oni come from the humanoid creatures whose forms they take - as creatures born from the failings and corruption of Kami, all Oni have biological traits such as skin blemishes, skin color, bone growths, horns, extra eyes or limbs, or such that hearken back to the Kami they were born from - such that an Oni that was once a giant carp-like Suijin might have gills or fins along their cheeks, scaly skin, or other signs of their former aquatic heritage.

Genetics and Reproduction

The topic of whether or not Oni can reproduce through normal means is a debate which sends scholars of Oni lore spiraling into endless debates of varying intensity - many such scholars claim Oni cannot reproduce normally and must rely on corrupting other Kami or mortals, while others claim that they likely can reproduce normally but simply see no value in it in favor of the sheer twisted enjoyment out of blackening the soul of a Kami or mortal being.   However, both sides can agree that Oni are at least capable of the act of sex - for it is one of the basest pleasures they delight at indulging in.

Growth Rate & Stages

Oni do not grow - they appear fully formed and ready to indulge in all of life's hedonistic pleasures.

Ecology and Habitats

Because they can take on most any humanoid form, Oni can thus inhabit most any environment or habitat on Zheng-Kitar.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Oni, despite their existence as outsiders, wear humanoid flesh and thus require and delight in indulging in all the pleasures of the flesh that were denied to them during their previous lifetimes as Kami - meaning that they will eat anything, drink anything, and indulge in anything like the hedonistic monsters they are.

Biological Cycle

As evil spirits with a close connection to the spirit world, Oni do not age - they only get stronger as they age and conquer and indulge.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Oni do not have any social structure of their own - they tend to avoid others of their kind and favor slipping into the social structures and societies of the creatures whose bodies they mimic the forms of. Only the monstrous Oni Yai, who mimic True Giants, and the terrifying Oni Daimyo, towering Oni who have ascended to Demigod status, dare to rally and subjugate their own kin.   However, Oni do have a "code" of sorts they live by - this Oni "philosophy" is built on three pillars: maekaga (dominance), kaedakaga (punishing the undeserving), and tezukaga (hedonism): these are the guiding principles of all oni, with tezukaga taking precedence.   Despite their fallen state, oni are still bound by the Laws of Golden Perfection, the ancient laws that bind all Kami - The most important of these scriptures are a ban on open war between oni and kami and forbiddance of direct intervention in mortal affairs. However, oni may still work around these laws by employing non-oni agents.

Facial characteristics

Oni faces are terrifying, demonic things - they often possess sharp fangs, extra eyes, strangely colored skin, and sharp and jagged features that lend them an imposing demonic visage few can tolerate or stand for long periods of time.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Oni can be found almost anywhere across Zheng-Kitar, as they appear whenever and wherever Kami fail to perform their duties or live up to the laws that bind them, and are so overtaken with rage and despair that they become an Oni rather than simply fading away.   However, for reasons that have only recently become explained, they tend to be most prevalent in the lands of The Narixian Empire, as the legendary Boiling Lake was only recently discovered to serve as a "plug" of sorts on some sort of focal point for Oni - whether that be a giant Oni Demigod(Known as Oni Daimyo) or some sort of twisted Oni Citadel. This "plug", though it was recently discovered to be watched by eternally vigilant Githyanki and Narixians since the formation of their culture, serves as a twisted nexus for Oni, making their appearances much more likely when Kami in the area fail in their duties and begin to fade away or even when Oni crawl out of the lake itself, ready to indulge in mayhem and slaughter.

Average Intelligence

Oni tend to be quite intelligent on average - they are well-equipped to blend into the societies of the humanoids they mimic the forms of, and often weasel their way into positions of power within such societies to better indulge in their hedonistic appetites with abandon.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Oni senses can vary somewhat - the different forms they take means that while most all Oni possess the ability to see in the dark, many others might have low-light vision or even true seeing, letting them see through all magical illusions and fakery.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Oni names tend to titles or epithets rather than names - such as "The Horned King" or "Lord of the Caldera". Their names are typically taken from the conventions of the humanoid species whose bodies they mimic the forms of.

History

Though the origins of the Oni vary and are hotly debated, a common theory prevails that they were in fact formed from some of the very last surviving Kami who endured the total obliteration of the continent at the hands of the Yema as they sought to Defeat the Sapphire Elves thousands of years ago, before even the Advent of the Spirit Kings. Consumed with rage and despair as the continent burned around them, rendering them unable to fulfill their roles as guardians of the natural world, these last Kami, rather than fade away as the Yema burned away their wards and homes in great sheets of divine fire, indulged in their rapidly building hatred and despair, becoming Oni that they may deliver their revenge onto the world. Given new form, these former Kami took to wanton destruction and hedonism as a way of life, holding their burning hatred of the Yema for destroying their wards, at their former Kami brethren for being cowards and weaklings unable stop the destruction of their wards and ways of life, and at mortals for failing to sufficiently appreciate the pleasures of the physical world and for being unable to stop the Yema close to their hearts as they went on to become one of the greatest evils the continent has ever known, raging at everything and everyone.   As they were thus believed to have originated on Zheng-Kitar, it is also where they are most prevalent - as beings who begin existence as kami, nature spirits bound by strict divine rules known as the Laws of Golden Perfection, Oni continue to form into the present day when Kami go the route of these ancient progenitor Oni, embracing their hatred and rage to become something more corporeal. When a kami fails to live up to these laws, it is stripped of its powers and becomes a formless spirit. Most former kami simply fade away, but some are so overtaken with rage and despair that they will themselves into a physical form that mimic humanoids, becoming oni. Oni become obsessed with their new-found corporeality and revel in physical pleasures such as food, sex, and violence, and to wreak vengeance on the world for its percieved fault, doomed to never be satisfied until all of reality is yoked beneath their destructive, hedonistic rule.   However, a major roadblock to the Oni's plans of universal domination quickly appeared before them - as beings that were and remain innately spiritual beings, Oni do not have a true physical body until they can "manifest" one: Meaning that while many Oni might exist at any given time on the Material Plane, many millions more exist in the formless Spirit World as spirits unable to properly form a body, existing as disembodied evil longing for sins of the flesh, harmless and invisible. It is only at certain places or under certain conditions that an Oni can properly take on a physical form - such as The Boiling Lake in The Narixian Empire, which is believed to be a natural "cradle" that allows them to form with astounding speed within its watery depths.   Now, they exist as one of the greatest threats Zheng-Kitar has ever known - as beings that were once spirits tasked with protecting a material realm they now believe is undeserving of such care and concern, they exist now solely to dominate, consume, and indulge without end until the very last drop of blood is spilled, the last scrap of food is consumed, and the last creature is dominated and broken before them.
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Genetic Ancestor(s)
Lifespan
Immortal
Conservation Status
Oni are rare only because of how closely their appearances are watched for and kept in check - if such a vigil was stopped, they would surely overrun the continent in short order.
Average Height
Varies wildly. Oni have been recorded as small as 2ft(0.6m) tall and, in one legendary instance, as tall as several miles/kilometers tall.
Average Weight
Varies wildly.
Average Physique
Though their physical size can vary wildly, Oni are universally humanoid beings that can appear as both male and female, appearing both lithe and heavy-set, though they are more commonly seen with fit bodies ready to indulge in slaughter and death. Their bodies process food and calories incredibly quickly, meaning that while they can get large and obese, it is extremely rare for them to do so.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Oni bodies can vary wildly in color, but are rarely "normal" colors - blood red, bright green, dark blue, and similar colors are common, with dark charcoal black also quite common.

Born from Mortal Souls

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Though most all Oni are born from Kami, a very rare few exists who are born from the souls of mortals instead - rarely, a mortal creature’s soul can become a disembodied oni upon death if it was suitably vile or twisted in just the right ways to allow for them to become an Oni, or in even rarer cases, a truly evil individual becomes an Oni after it has undergone a particularly vile ritual that ends in suicide, binding its soul to the Spirit World and damning itself to an eternity as a twisted Oni. These oni born from the darkness within Mortal Souls(Either intentionally or not) are more often destined for positions of great power and strength than most others of their kind.
 

Beings of Unnatural Might

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Though all Oni are born into the Material Plane and given corporeal form with a specific form - a "base form" which they are born into this world with and a form they revert to upon death that typically resembles a species of humanoid - they are also natural shapechangers, able to alter and change their bodies around to suit their needs at-will, making them a terrifying threat to the world, as with this ability are they able to blend into civilized societies with startling ease. Many scholars debate the limits of this unnatural shapechanging ability, as most Oni seem to restrict the forms they take to the species of humanoid their "base form" appears as - whether this is a limiation imposed by the Oni themselves or is an actual limitation in the ability, is unknown.   Another terrifying power all Oni possess is that of regeneration - as they are naturally formless spiritual beings, they retain a strong connection to the Spirit World even after taking corporeal form, and it is thanks largely to this connection that their flesh knits itself back together at a startling rate, making them nigh-unkillable unless any given oni's specific weakness(Often elemental in nature, such as fire or acid) is found and deployed against them to sever this spiritual connection and render them truly mortal long enough to kill them permanently...otherwise, simply killing them with mundane means will only delay the inevitable, as their bodies can recover even from total atomization unless this spiritual "Link" is severed.

Types of Oni

  As described above, Oni are beings that often descend from Kami(Though exceptions exist) - and because of this, not only do Oni typically resemble a specific humanoid species, but also show signs of the Kami they once were, whether that sign is skin color or some other bodily mutation. Oftentimes, Oni have powers that hearken back to the Kami they once were as well - meaning that Oni spawned from former Kaminari Kami might have fantastical powers over thunder, wind, weather, and/or sound.   Below are listed the various types of Kami oni can be descended from, and any given signs or powers they might gain from such a heritage.  

Kami-Descended Oni

 
  • Shikigami: Because of the immense weakness of the Shikigami, it is altogether rare for one to give birth to an Oni - they rarely possess the fortitude to become one of the legendary engines of destruction that the Oni so often are. However, when such a process does take place, the Oni that results to have skin akin to paper, or have multiple paper talismans stuck to their body much like a Jiang-Shi, and often possess small but impressive host of abilities including invisibility, the ability to become a statue, and an unusually high skill with improvised weapons. Shikigami-born oni are often some of the most avidly wrathful amongst all the Oni, specifically towards those who pollute the environment - thus focusing their wrath on non-kami more often than not.
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  • Fukujin: Even rarer than the Shikigami, Fukujin-born Oni almost never spring into existence due to the nature of the Fukujin themselves - because Fukujin are the guardians of ornamental shrubs and miniature trees cultivated by mortal hands, for them to 'fail' their wards and become wrathful enough to trigger a transformation usually requires a combination of failure on part of the Kami and failure on part of the mortal that tends to their ward. When such a unique scenario occurs, a Fukujin-spawned Oni typically has blackened branches and tree trunks sprouting from its skin, has milky white eyes, and has the fairly impressive power of future sight, good fortune, and the ability to despoil and speak to plants. Even moreso than Shikigami-spawned Oni, they tend to make mortals the targets of their wrath, prioritizing Fukujins above all other Kami when they turn their attention to their kin.
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  • Kodama: Some of the most plentiful of the Kami-spawned Oni, Kodama-spawned Oni are plentiful and common, as the tiny and shy Kodama often find themselves filled with wrath after their tree wards meet their end(Often by mortal lumber industries). These Oni often have dark green skin, bald heads with shards of stained red ceramic jutting from their heads, with hollow pits where their eyes and mouth would be. They tend to have minor powers over nature, allowing them to speak to plants and influence trees and other greenery as well as spread a sickening blight to healthy plants to infect the "wards" of other Kami. Often cruel and sadistic, these Oni enjoy enacting cruel and innovative tortures on their victims similar to how their wards once met their end - often running creatures through massive lumber saws, splitting them into pieces, or otherwise hacking them to bits while they yet live with a bloody savagery unusual even to the Oni.
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  • Umibiku: Another plentiful variety of Oni, the Umbiku-Spawned Oni often come into existence when a ship inhabited by an Umibiku is sunk or abandoned, corrupted by the isolating loneliness and what they view as betrayal by those who once crewed them. These Oni are oftenm wildly varied in appearance and physical characteristics, but often have parts of their ship jutting out from their bodies along with blue or blue-adjacent skin. They tend to have strong powers over wood and waves, and have an uncanny ability to control sailing vessels with some variety of strong telekinesis, manipulating rigging and masts and sails even as the crew loses control of their ship. They tend to hunt their prey down on or below the water, favoring aquatic Kami or creatures, especially sailors and ship captains. They are often many of the "Ghost Ships" spoken of in legend, as they will, in time, alter their vessel or ship to suit their own twisted personality, pressing others into service to crew them and their vessels.
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  • Dosojin: Somewhat uncommon but nonetheless powerful, Dosojin-spawned Oni often come about when a Dosojin, guardian of roads and trails, loses their ward to a rockslide or some other disaster or more commonly takes altogether too much enjoyment out of misdirection and confusing those who enter their domain with their ability to manipulate paths. These Oni are often stony in appearance and outwardly resemble monks of some kind with bald heads, like walking monk statues, but possess powerful control over space that allows them to perfectly know their locations and directions(Making them immune to mazes and similar traps) manipulate an area to confuse those within it, misdirection and trappings others within a maze of its own creation. These Oni are much feared for their ability to manipulate terrain and space itself, and take much twisted pleasure in trapping others in endless mazes or toying with them in remote areas with no chance of escape. Strangely, they are not will liked by and often seen as rivals of minotaurs for reasons unknown.
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  • Zuishin: One of the rarest types of Oni, the Zuishin-Spawned Oni are a feared lot, even moreso than the fearsome Yai(Oni who take after True Giants) - for while the means and reasons by which a Zuishin might undergo a fall and transformation into an Oni are suprisingly common, the Zuishin themselves are notoriously zealous about killing themselves or other Zuishin before this can come to pass. With a fervor unmatched by all but the most zealous of mortals will a Zuishin end its own life when its ward comes to an end or when it senses the onset of rage within itself, seeing this as its last and greatest duty to all Kami - only extremely rarely will a Zuishin prioritize itself over its duty and honor and embrace its hatred at the loss of its ward or a devastating loss in battle to an Oni, thus transforming into an Oni themselves. Much feared for their terrifying combat prowess, Zuishin-Spawned Oni often resemble a Nio Guardian statue, angry and wrathful gods of battle surrounded by a a shroud of blood-soaked cloth and crimson red light, with an exoskeleton of jet-black bone protecting their white and gold-skinned bodies and eyes that glow a baleful red. They are masters of all weapons imaginable, and almost unbeatable in martial combat.
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  • Suijin: These aquatic Kami are rare to form but feared for their power - whenever a massive suijin, guardian of lakes, rivers, and other aquatic bodies falls victim to the wrath, despair, and corruption neccesary to become an Oni after losing their ward to pollution, greed, Oni attacks, or otherwise failing to abide by the Ancient Laws, they become Suijin-spawned Oni. These Oni are aquatic nightmares, and are often seen with scaly skin like a fish, fish-eyes, gills, fins, and other aquatic bodily mutations with powers that let them control and spoil water, bar and restrict movement, alter memory, break magic, and unleash massive torrents of water from their mouths alongside other powerful abilities. Powerful beyond measure, these Oni are feared for their ability to flood the wards of other Kami and locations in general with their ability to create massive amounts of water.
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  • Toshigami: Almost unheard of, Toshigami-spawned Oni are perhaps the rarest of all the Oni that come from Kami, save for perhaps Jinushigami-spawned Oni - these Kami of Sakura Blossoms, Time, and Memory almost never fall victim to the corruption neccesary to trigger a transformation into an Oni, as their exceedingly high wisdom, calm demeanor, and detached nature means they rarely experience the negative emotions needed, fail to protect their wards, or even break the Ancient Laws enough to trigger a transformation in the first place. When they do occur though, they are beings to be feared across the world - with their mastery over time and their control over time and memory, they are engines of destruction the likes of which the world quakes at the mere mention of, with pinkish skin, hair that resembles corrupted sakura petals, and a body made of swirling blackened branches.
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  • Kaminari: Rare but not unheard of, the already wrathful and angry Kaminari Kami make for natural Oni when they truly lose control of their anger or otherwise trigger a transformation into an Oni - though because of the nature of their wards(Thunderstorms high above the world), they most commonly become Oni when they begin to enjoy the wrathful destruction they visit down upon mortalkind, breaking the Ancient Laws in the process. They look almost identical to their Kami counterparts, with Green Skin, bright red hair, and a ring of drums surrounding them - the main difference is their eyes, which shine a bright red-gold and crackle with black lightning.
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  • Jinushigami: The rarest of all the Kami-spawned Oni, Jinushigami almost never transform into Oni - as the greatest and mightiest of all the Kami, a Jinushigami almost never loses its ward or falls to wrath and despair because they above all other Kami are wise enough to ensure such a thing never happens, relying on their wisdom and power born of ageless power and skill to stave off corruption and keep their souls incorruptible and pure. Instead, perhaps the only way to truly turn a Jinushigami and corrupt it that has ever been uncovered is to strike at them where they are most vulnerable - the Kami under their protection. In the only recorded case of a corrupted Jinushigami, it was achieved by the corruption and destruction of every Kami within the given Jinushigami's ward over the course of a thousand years - making it a tall order indeed to turn one of the mighty incorruptible Mountain Kami. But once formed, Jinushigami-spawned Kami are terrifying beings of titanic size and scale, able to flatten cities, control entire swathes of terrain, and literally hijack the wards of other Kami and corrupt them on a whim.
  Below are listed the various "variants" of Oni - also known as the Oni types, each representing a specific species of humanoid whose form they take on as their "base form"(Though often twisted and mutated). Notably, these Variants can often freely exist with the signs of which Kami they were descended from, meaning that a given Oni might have a certain base form(And the powers afforded to such a form) as well as the powers and appearance ascribed to those among its kind descended from a certain type of Kami.   There are many more Oni Variants than what are listed below - quite literally as many as there are species of humanoids - but the ones below are merely the most populous and well-known.  

Oni Variants

 
  • Kuwa: Oni that wear the guise of Humans. Typically gold-skinned with four-fingered claws.
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  • Atamahuta: Oni that wear the guise of Ettins, two-headed brutish giants. They wield two weapons flawlessly and can use spells through their weapons.
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  • Ja Noi: Oni that wear the guise of Hobgoblins, masters of Goblinoids. They are unusually disciplined and extremely focused, and make excellent commanders and leaders, preferring large armies and units to single combat.
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  • Nogitsune: Oni that wear the guise of Kitsune. They are typically female(Though not always), and are masters of poison and mental manipulation and compulsion that serve as excellent spies or assassins.
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  • Kigyo: Oni that wear the guise of Merfolk and Sea Elves. They are masters are underwater combat, have limited mastery and manipulation of water, and are experts at wielding tridents. Rarely seen by surface dwellers, as they prefer to dominate and destroy underwater folk and kingdoms.
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  • Najikai: Oni that wear the guise of Serpenfolk and Lamia. Insatiably greedy for wealth and luxury, they infiltrate communities of outcasts, serpentfolk, and Lamia to replace their leaders to live lives of luxury and gluttony.
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  • Futaido: Some of the most plentiful Oni, they are born as Ogres and wear their guise, which they wield to quickly take over Ogre Tribes to satiate their lust for destruction and tribute.
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  • Nishin: Rare spirit Oni bound to the form of a spiritual entity surrounding a mask. Not naturally occuring, but used by meddling spellcasters as familiars. They can take over creatures who wear the mask they inhabit and use their bodies. Often cowardly and fearful, they are grumpy even amongst Oni and often are found serving mortals or other Oni in the hopes of earning a physical body.
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  • The Yai: The most feared and powerful of the Oni, The Yai is simply a broad category for the Oni who take the forms of True Giants, whether that be Jotun, Dai-Yukai, Sun Giants, Fire Giants, Rune Giants, Cloud Giants, or more. They are divided into Fire Yai, Water Yai, Wind Yai, Earth Yai, Ice Yai, and Void Yai.
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  • Oni Daimyo: Not a classification of species and instead more of a title, Oni Daimyo are Oni who stand head and shoulders above their peers as great warriors and leaders, becoming demigods in their own right who often control armies, domains, or possibly even nations. They are the only breed of Oni who typically rally their peers and form gatherings of Onikind, as the Oni tend to avoid others of their ilk.

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